Grade Inflation in Education Colleges

It’s common knowledge that “grade inflation,” the lowering of standards that leads to ever-higher student grades for the same performance, is rampant.  Matthew Denhart and Christopher Matgouranis note that, “It has been estimated that there has been at least a 0.1 percent increase in average student GPA in every decade since the 1950s. In 1991, […]

Queer the Census

George Takei and Brad Altman appear in perhaps the most memorable Census ad in history. I’m a bit bemused at the notion that people should fill out the Census based on their own perceptions of reality rather than reality itself. I get that some gays consider themselves married even though they live in states that […]

Taxes Per Person

Harvard economist Greg Mankiw argues that taxation as a percentage of GDP is a misleading way to compare national tax burdens and instead argues that we should consider taxes per person, which he calculates as Taxes/GDP x GDP/Person.   Using this metric, the United States is in the middle of the pack of major economies: France […]

Erick Erickson Explains Everything

Erick Erickson appears with CNN’s Howie Kurtz to answer for some of his sillier utterances to clear the deck for his future as a regular contributor to that network. Most of these things are sophomoric, at best, and it’s not unreasonable to expect better from a grown, intelligent man with a degree from a prestigious […]

Iranian Nuclear Scientist Defects to USA

The defection of a top Iranian nuclear scientist has confirmed what we already knew. An award-winning Iranian nuclear scientist, who disappeared last year under mysterious circumstances, has defected to the CIA and been resettled in the United States, according to people briefed on the operation by intelligence officials. The officials were said to have termed […]

Jaime Escalante Dead at 79

Jaime Escalanta, the inner city Los Angeles school teacher made internationally famous by the movie “Stand and Deliver,” has died of cancer aged 79. Elaine Woo has a long tribute to him in the LAT: Jaime Escalante, the charismatic former East Los Angeles high school teacher who taught the nation that inner-city students could master […]

David Brooks Hates Women!

Having already posted twice* on a rather unexceptional David Brooks article, I’m reluctant to weigh in a third time. But Amanda Marcotte‘s take is such a head scratcher that duty calls: It’s always been obvious David Brooks has always had a problem with women who succeed, but even I was surprised that his vendetta against […]

Take Turns Traffic Sign

Ezra Klein points us to this Gary Lauder TED Talk on making driving more efficient: He correctly points out that roundabouts are much more safe, efficient, and cost effective than stop signs or traffic signals.  He acknowledges that sometimes they’re not practical and illustrates in amusing fashion why stop signs cost us a lot of […]

Misery Loves . . . More Misery

Matt Yglesias points to David Brooks’ assertion that “The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting” in order to tout a congestion pricing tax. Brooks doesn’t pivot from this into any real policy specifics. But the upshot of the commuting point is very clear—we should charge people a fee to drive on crowded roads […]

Fred Phelps Wins Suit Against Dead Marine’s Dad

A father whose Marine son was killed in Iraq has been ordered to pay the court costs of the men who picketed the funeral. On Friday, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered that Albert Snyder of York, Pa., pay costs associated with Fred Phelps’ appeal. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro […]

Political Sex Scandals

Prompted by the RNC expensing trips to bondage clubs, the  folks at the Daily Beast took a look at all “58 scandals over the past 20 years involving all politicians or major candidates for city mayor and above” using a “a methodology that accounted for whether a crime was committed, versus inappropriate behavior; whether the […]

Blogging and Strategic Thinking

Thomas Barnett reflects on how blogging has made him a better strategic thinker: With the blog, I can now attach my first-impression analysis to the formal citation, with both hot-linked to the full article and stored in a content management system — the blog — that I can instantly access and search from anywhere in […]

University of Florida Bars Haiti Footage

A strange one from Inside Higher Ed: The University of Florida has told two master’s students at the Documentary Institute that they cannot use footage they shot in Haiti for their thesis project because the university barred student travel to Haiti, The Gainesville Sun reported. The students say they needed the footage for their film, […]

Marriage and Happiness

NYT columnist David Brooks points to the case of Sandra Bullock, who found out that her husband was having a sleazy affair shortly after she won an Oscar to illustrate his contention that, “If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be reasonably happy. If you […]

Caption Contest Winners

The Reputation Gone In 60 Seconds Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

Huffington Gawker

Writing from an imaginary 2090, Simon Dumenco describes the future of media: A lot of people seem to think that Huffington Gawker was a real person — like Johnny Walker or Betty Crocker. Actually, Huffington Gawker was born thanks to the efforts of two people: a Greek self-promoter named Arianna Huffington (the Betty Crocker of […]

Will Tea Party Activists Derail before November?

I’ll be appearing at approximately 2:10 Eastern this afternoon on National Public Radio’s “To the Point” with guest host Sara Terry.  We’ll be talking about the Tea Party movement and related issues. Dave Weigel will be among the other guests. A list of local affiliates carrying the show and a podcast link is here.

NYT Apologizes for Singapore Truth

The following Correction ran in the March 24 NYT under the headline “Apology.” In 1994, Philip Bowring, a contributor to the International Herald Tribune’s op-ed page, agreed as part of an undertaking with the leaders of the government of Singapore that he would not say or imply that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had attained […]

Burying The Lede

Over at Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller site, the lead story has the following headline: High flyer: RNC Chairman Steele suggested buying private jet with GOP funds Buried in the sixth(!) paragraph is this tidbit: Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a […]

Getting Government Off Our Backs

Government is so entwined in our lives that many who rail against it don’t even realize that they’re using government programs, Steve Benen argues.  He uses notes the case of a Tea Party leader who rails against socialized medicine even though she’s on Social Security and Medicare.  Steve says that people like this shouldn’t be […]

Caption Contest

Time for the Monday OTB Caption ContestTM (AFP/Jim Watson) Winners will be announced Thursday PM

Are the Tea Parties Racist?

Charles Blow thinks so. It’s an extension of a now-familiar theme: some version of “take our country back.” The problem is that the country romanticized by the far right hasn’t existed for some time, and its ability to deny that fact grows more dim every day. President Obama and what he represents has jolted extremists […]

Obama Recess Appointments

In yet another way President Obama is like his immediate predecessor, he’s shamelessly abusing the recess appointment power to bypass Senate intransigence. President Obama, making a muscular show of his executive authority just one day after Congress left for spring recess, said Saturday that he would bypass the Senate and install 15 appointees, including a union […]

Is Obama’s Treatment of Netanyahu Anti-Semitic?

In answer to the question, “Why has Barack Obama treated Netanyahu so ‘rudely’?”, Glenn Reynolds responds: Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible — certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really. This is absolutely absurd. First of all, I wouldn’t characterize the President of the United States not completely kowtowing to […]

Academic Freedom for Me But Not For Thee

In a posting titled “The Lie of the Liberal Arts Education,” Jeff Goldstein recounts at length an emailed plea from a former professor to remove his name from the About page list of those under whom Goldstein studied.  After a rather uncomfortable follow-up confrontation by telephone, Jeff discovered that this cartoon created and published on […]

Police Tasering Pregnant Woman ‘Justified’

The 9th Circuit ruled yesterday that police can Taser pregnant women posing no risk so long as judges can concoct an implausible risk years later. Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in […]

Nuclear Treaty Symbolic But Useful

President Obama announced this morning that he had reached an agreement with his Russian counterpart on a new START agreement. While I’ve generally been dismissive of Obama’s “Reset Button” approach to relations with Moscow, I believe this treaty was a no-brainer. I explain why in my New Atlanticist piece, “Nuclear Treaty a New START.” The […]

Repealing Health Care Reform by Constitutional Amendment

Georgetown lawprof Randy Barnett wants to repeal the just-passed health care reform act by an Amendment to the United States Constitution: THE FEDERALISM RESTORATION AMENDMENT The legislative power of Congress shall not be construed to include mandating, regulating, prohibiting or taxing the private health insurance of any person; nor shall the power of Congress to […]

Socialism vs. Welfare Statism vs. Free-Markets vs. Corporatism

One of the annoying things about America’s two-party system is that with so much of the political discussion locked in a “us vs. them” rhetorical stance it’s difficult to rise out and see how political models might move in a very different direction. We get so logjammed with overheated rhetoric that it’s sometimes difficult to […]

Smearing Conservative Bloggers with the Truth

For some reason, I didn’t get the TrackBack and thus missed Dan Riehl‘s reply to my “Congress Receiving Death Threats” post.   Given that 18 hours have passed, I’ve decided to write a new post rather than bury my response as an update. He’s right that I mistakenly attribute a post with Doug Powers’ byline […]

Georgetown Cocktail Parties

In response to a posting from Tunku Varadarajan accusing him of being a “polite company conservative” who “yearns for the goodwill of the liberal elite in the media and in the Beltway—who wishes, always, to have their ear, to be at their dinner parties, to be comforted by a sense that liberal interlocutors believe that […]

Caption Contest Winners

The Wardrobe Malfunction Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over. (AFP/Alberto Pizzoli)

Weather To Go To College

Whether it’s owing to the clever title or the quirkiness of his research question, Inside Higher Ed today points me to Uri Simonsohn‘s piece for The Economic Journal, “Weather To Go To College.” No, the title isn’t a misprint: Does current utility bias predictions of future utility for high stakes decisions? Here I provide field […]

ObamaCare Fight Ends with Whimper

After a year of strum und drang, the Senate has passed the reconciliation rider containing the various “fixes” to the bill by a comfortable 56-43 margin, with Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, and Mark Pryor joining all the Republicans in voting against. Because of a parliamentary ruling on a provision dealing with student loans, it actually […]

Social Security Payouts Exceed Pay-ins

The Social Security Ponzi scheme* is collapsing sooner than expected: The bursting of the real estate bubble and the ensuing recession have hurt jobs, home prices and now Social Security. This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross […]

Gates Limits ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Secretary of Defense Bob Gates today issued an order sharply limiting the enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Clinton-era regulation governing how the military deals with homosexual troops.  Spencer Ackerman has details. In a major victory for opponents of the military’s ban on open homosexual service, Defense Secretary Robert Gates significantly revised how the […]

Congress Receiving Death Threats

As many as ten Congressmen have allegedly received death threats over their votes on health care reform. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is warning that some of his Democratic colleagues are being threatened with violence when they go back to their districts — and he wants Republicans to stand up and condemn the threats. The […]

Caption Contest

Time for the Thursday OTB Caption ContestTM (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File) Winners will be announced Monday PM

Tim Tebow’s Wonderlic Prayer Request

ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio presents anecdotal evidence that Tim Tebow’s habit of wearing his religion on his sleeve (not to mention his eyeblack) may not translate as well at the next level. At the Scouting Combine, the Wonderlic exam is administered to players in groups.  The 12-minute test is preceded by some brief instructions and comments […]

OTB Radio — Tonight at 5:30 Eastern

After a brief hiatus, the next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30-6:30 Eastern. Dave Schuler and I will be joined by a special guest, Dr. Steven Taylor of PoliBlog to talk about ObamaCare:   How big an F’ing deal is it, really?  Is it Constitutional?  What will be […]

Perriello Home Targeted by Tea Party Terrorists

It appears that the Tea Party movement has evolved from screaming epithets and spitting on people to acts of mayhem. Federal and local authorities are investigating a severed gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother, discovered the day after Tea Party activists posted the address online so opponents could “drop by” […]

Global Warming Resolves Island Dispute with Wisdom of Solomons

Greatest Story Summary Evah: “Rising sea levels have submerged an island claimed by both India and Bangladesh. Global warming appears to have buried the dispute.” More details: What the Indians call New Moore island and the Bangladeshis call South Talpatti lies in the Bay of Bengal, a region with large potential reserves of gas and […]

Scott Brown and Buyer’s Remorse

Scott Brown was elected to be the final vote against ObamaCare but he never got the chance.  Now, some of his erstwhile supporters are having second thoughts. Republican folk hero Sen. Scott Brown is being taunted by triumphant Democrats – and slammed by irked conservatives – after the historic health-care bill he was elected to […]

Radical Center: Friedman’s Fantasy

For a really bright fellow who spends a lot of time talking to cabbies and world leaders, Tom Friedman has a remarkably naive view of how the world works.   His latest brainstorm is a “Tea Party of the radical center.” My definition of broken is simple. It is a system in which Republicans will be […]

Political Myth Making

You know all those stories you’ve been reading about how Nancy Pelosi rallied the troops through her iron-fisted leadership? And how Rahm Emanuel was ready to trade it all for a bag of magic beans? Jonathan Bernstein says we shouldn’t take those as gospel. Politicians…brace yourself…don’t always tell the truth!  They try to make themselves […]

Health Care Reform: Point of No Return?

As regular readers are painfully aware, I’ve been opposed to President Obama’s health care reform plan, such as it was, from the beginning.  But, apparently, it’s much worse than I thought.   Economist Thomas Sowell, one of the more thoughtful columnists in the business, sees it as the banana peel on the slippery slope to doomsday. […]

Computer Storage 1980 vs. 2010

We all know that computing power and storage have increased exponentially over the last couple of decades but this graphic illustrates the phenomenon very well: As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, my first computer, purchased in 1989, had 640k RAM and an 8 MB hard drive. via John Biggs Most of us carry portable telephones […]

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