URLs du Jour

2013-01-25

  • Building a positive meritocracy: It's
harder than it sounds David Brooks has an interesting column on how (what he calls) "meritocracy" is driving inequality. An interesting factlet (picked up by Tyler Cowen.

    Robert Oprisko of Butler University found that half of the jobs in university political science programs went to graduates of the top 11 schools. That is to say, if you have a Ph.D. from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and so on, your odds of getting a job are very good. If you earned your degree from one of the other 100 degree-granting universities, your odds are not. These other 100 schools don’t even want to hire the sort of graduates they themselves produce. They want the elite credential.

    Highlight added.

  • David Mamet, writes eloquently in (of all places) Newsweek on "Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm". Specifically, it's about guns; more generally, it's about the proper relationship between government and the citizenry.

    It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs. One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. “One-size-fits-all,” and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is “slavery.”

    Must read. If only to find out what and where "Chelm" is. There's a poll at the bottom to agree/disagree with Mamet, and I know you'll do the right thing there.

    [Update [2012-01-26, 5:58am]: Just checked, and the pro-Mamet side is winning in an 88%-12% squeaker.

  • You might have noticed a line from President Obama's Inaugural address that defended the current set of entitlement programs by denying that they made us a "nation of takers". My ears pricked up a bit at that; wasn't there a recent book with that title?

    Why yes there was: A Nation of Takers: America's Entitlement Epidemic by Nicholas Eberstadt. Is Obama the only president to use his Inaugural Address to trash a book he disagreed with? Probably.

    Anyway: Eberstadt responds today in the WSJ. It's filled with sad statistics that illustrate that—yup, when you look at the programs that that rob Peter to pay Paul, there are getting to be an increasing number of Pauls and fewer Peters. Conclusion:

    The moral hazard embedded in the explosion of social-welfare programs is plain. Transfers funded by other people's money tend to foster a pernicious "something for nothing" mentality—especially when those transfers seem to be progressively and relentlessly growing, year by year. This "taker" mentality can only weaken civil society—even as it places ever-heavier burdens on taxpayers.

    Generosity is a virtue, on that we can all agree with President Obama. But being generous with other people's money is not the same thing.

  • Here's a story on Slashdot that describes proposed legislation to increase the H-1B visa cap to "rise automatically with demand." (H-1B visas go to workers with technical skills or other special qualifications.)

    I don't have strong opinions on immigration changes, but what's interesting is the comments. Tech professionals are heavily represented in the Slashdot community, and they usually lean left, but holy cow are they spittin' mad about furriners possibly competing for their jobs.

    There are also wiseacres who snark about the Orwellian notion of a "cap" that "rises with demand."

  • It's always nice when someone you like likes something you like. If you know what I mean. Andrew Klavan agrees with Pun Salad that Justified is "the best crime series on TV and what may be about to become one of the genuinely great crime series of all time. " If you didn't believe me when I said it, maybe you'll believe Andrew.


Last Modified 2013-01-31 11:41 AM EST