URLs du Jour


  • A little obscure Eye Candy from Mr. Ramirez.

    [A Dodo, I think]

    Here's my best guess. And if you need a pointer to what the heck he's talking about, here you go.

  • Oh, that mother. Joel Kotkin writes at UnHerd: America has an Oedipus complex.

    As in Sophocles’s tragedy Oedipus Rex, we are witnessing a generational drama in which inheritors kill their proverbial father to marry their mother, in this case Mother Earth. The psychology behind this pattern is above my pay grade, but many of the richest people on the planet, and their heirs, now seem anxious to disparage the economic system that created their fortunes. With few exceptions, the new rich, and particularly their children and ex-wives, embrace a racial, gender and environmental agenda that, while undermining merit and economic growth, still leaves them on top of the heap.

    The ideology of the mega-rich will shape our society for the next generation, in large part through philanthropy. The non-profit sector, the primary vehicle for inherited wealth to be laundered into political influence, has been growing rapidly; in the US, non-profits’ assets have grown nine-fold since 1980. In 2020, non-profits brought in $2.62 trillion in revenues, constituting over 5.6% of the US economy. Increasingly, much this money came from the new tech elite: among the most prolific donors were Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott; Bill Gates and his now-discarded wife, Melinda French Gates; Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan; and Laureen Powell Jobs, the Left-leaning publisher of the Atlantic and the widow of Apple’s founder.

    Provocative! Because you know (wink wink) what Oedipus and Jocasta were up to in the palace bedroom after Oedipus got King Laius out of the way. Is Kotkin metaphorically implying that's what America wants to do to Mother Earth?

    And what's the counterpart of Laius? What Dad did America kill to get into the sack with Mom Gaia? The free enterprise system? Limited government?

    Kotkin's bottom line:

    Yet while the current oligarchs deserve opprobrium, the ultimate danger posed by the non-profit tsunami lies in their feckless embrace of a policy agenda that undermines the very essence of competitive capitalism. Like feudal lords, this new elite, emboldened by a common ideology, may continue to thrive in a world of frozen social relations, but only by destroying the very system that brought them their own good fortune. And, just as with Oedipus, it’s only a matter of time before that backfires in a disastrous fashion.

  • If you paid off your student loans, you're a sucker. Eric Boehm notes the latest giveaway from Joe Lunchpail to the well-off: Biden Reportedly Set To Forgive $10K Student Debt for Americans Earning Over Six Figures.

    Americans earning well over six-figure incomes would be eligible for a student debt forgiveness plan that President Joe Biden is reportedly set to unveil later this week.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, that means most of the benefits of the roughly $300 billion proposal would flow to wealthier American households, according to a new analysis of the proposal.

    Biden and top White House officials have been promising action on student debt for months, and CNN reported Monday that an announcement is likely coming on Wednesday. Reportedly, the White House will announce plans to forgive up to $10,000 in student debt for Americans earning up to $125,000 this year—though important specifics about the plan, like whether it would be a one-time event or an ongoing entitlement, remain unclear.

    I guess we'll find out later today. I'm theoretically interested in how the lame/tame news media will cover this upward wealth transfer, but I fear that if I watch, I'll either spike my blood pressure perilously, or throw stuff at the TV. Or both.

  • Just five? Cato's Neal McCluskey provides his Top Five Reasons Federal Student Debt Cancellation Is a Bad Idea. Skipping down past all the practical and ethical objections (with graphs), here's the clincher:

    5. Unconstitutional

    The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power of the purse. A president unilaterally cancelling up to $1.6 trillion would be a rank violation of that power. Of course, the federal student loan programs are themselves unconstitutional. The federal government only has the specific, enumerated powers given to it by the Constitution, and the authority to fund education, either directly or through loans, is nowhere among them. Cancellation would thus be a double violation of the Constitution.

    Some cancellation advocates argue that Congress gave the president the power to cancel all loans in the Higher Education Act. But not only is the constitutional ability for Congress to give away its power highly dubious, the Higher Education Act does not authorize blanket cancellation, only forgiveness under specific loan repayment programs.

    And the implication of that is…

  • Of course it's an impeachable offense. Charles C. W. Cooke, back in April, noted: President Biden Is Planning to Violate His Oath of Office Again. He is referring to a WaPo story that was actually headlined "White House officials weigh income limits for student loan forgiveness".

    That’s not the headline, of course. But it should be:

    The administration is considering various ways to forgive some student loan debt through executive action. In recent weeks, senior Biden aides have examined limiting the relief to people who earned less than either $125,000 or $150,000 as individual filers the previous year, the people said. That plan would set the threshold at around $250,000 or $300,000 for couples who file their taxes jointly, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and the people familiar with the matter stressed that planning was fluid and subject to change.

    There can be no “limits,” because the move is illegal. There can be no “decision,” because the move is illegal. There can be no “planning,” because the move is illegal. Last summer, Nancy Pelosi said:

    “The president can’t do it,” Pelosi said, at a press briefing. “That’s not even a discussion.”

    Pelosi said any student debt forgiveness would have to be carried out by Congress.

    Why did Pelosi say “the president can’t do it.” She said that because the president can’t do it. Why did Pelosi say “that’s not even a discussion”? She said that because everybody knows that the president can’t do it. Why did Pelosi say that this was a matter for Congress? She said that because this is a matter for Congress.

    Yes, to repeat a point made above, I fully expect the MSM coverage to avoid all these fuddy-duddy complaints about constitutionality. Instead we'll have multiple interviews with the "forgiven" who will now, finally, be able to afford to feed their children.

  • You never seem to see the word "riddance" without "good" in front of it. And David Harsanyi is not breaking that rule, as he bids an early farewell: Good Riddance, Saint Fauci.

    Perhaps no person in American history has done more to harm trust in public health than Anthony Fauci, who will step down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December. And it’s not merely his aggressive inaccuracy about the Covid pandemic or even his championing of authoritarian policies that created untold damage to American life. All of that is bad enough. But as Fauci transformed into a political operative, he regularly lied to the American people and led the political suppression of debate.

    In October of 2020, three scientists — Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford — released the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a document that rejected the “damaging physical and mental health impacts” of Faucian lockdowns for a more focused protection of high-risk populations. In December of 2021, the American Institute for Economic Research obtained emails between Fauci and Francis Collins, the former director of the National Institutes of Health. In them, we learned that duo had conspired to smear those dissenting scientists.

    Robby Soave interviewed Fauci last month, and did he express any regrets?

    When asked what he would do differently if he could go back in time to the beginning of the pandemic, White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci said that he would recommend "much, much more stringent restrictions" from the get-go.

    Of course, Fauci had no actual power. That power was wielded by various government functionaries, including Trump.

  • We're number 35! If you were wondering which colleges have the most managers per 1,000 students… well, the Chronicle of Higher Education has your answer: Which Colleges Have the Most Managers per 1,000 Students? (It's from 2018, so things may have shifted a bit.)

    Among the 691 4-year public institutions ranked, the University Near Here made an impressive showing: number 35, with 22.3 managers per 1000 students, earning salaries of $2,226 per student.

    In comparison, the University of Vermont managed to run their school with 6.3 managers per kilostudent, total salaries $1007 per student, in 412th place.

    UMaine-Orono: 2.3 managers/kilostudent, $311/student.

    The median figure for all 691 schools was 7.4 managers per kilostudent, with salaries of $744/student.

    For fun, check out the Staff Directory of one bit of UNH: Advancement. I count 12 Associate Directors; 8 Assistant Directors; 6 Managing Directors; 1 Manager Director; 2 Executive Directors; and 26 Directors with no leading modifiers.

    Only two Managers, though: an "Operations & Employee Experience Manager" and an "Alumni Board Relations Manager".

    How much Managing is actually necessary with the Alumni Board? Are the Relations that thorny?

Last Modified 2024-01-30 7:22 AM EDT