Archive for May, 2012

Jeanne Kirkpatrick: Calls out ‘Blame America First’ crowd

Historic speech by a life-long Democrat, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, at the 1984 Republican GOP convention that is famous for calling out & labeling the ‘Blame America First’ crowd.

Sadly, it seems that all the best speeches are long past.

(h/t Jennifer Rubin)

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Bad theology: Snake-handling edition

There are many more extreme & deadly examples of how bad theology leads to tragic & unnecessary harm, but they are subtle & more socially acceptable. Like believing abortion is a choice, or that there is no God.

Mack Wolford, a flamboyant Pentecostal pastor from West Virginia whose serpent-handling talents were profiled last November in The Washington Post Magazine , hoped the outdoor service he had planned for Sunday at an isolated state park would be a “homecoming like the old days,” full of folks speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a “great time.” But it was not the sort of homecoming he foresaw.
Instead, Wolford, who turned 44 the previous day, was bitten by a rattlesnake he owned for years. He died late Sunday.

Reynold’s Law

My paraphrase: If the top 25% of earners all have college degrees, then get everyone a college degree & everyone will be in the top 25% of earners.

I dub this Reynolds’ Law: “Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.”

Higher Ed Bubble (cont.)

Grade inflation edition. From Mark Perry:

The connections among “grade inflation, “tuition inflation,” “college textbook inflation,” and exponentially rising student loan debt are important.  Perhaps students find it easier to accept rising tuition, higher textbook prices (many selling for $200-300 now), and $25,000 in average student loan debt if they at least graduate with mostly As and a GPA above 3.0?  Even if they can’t find a job, they can take pride in having “earned” an inflated GPA?

My bet: this grade inflation is also related to the expanding number of fringe social studies majors inheriting smart students dropping out of more academic majors.

The STEM degree programs are typically hostile towards students. They get the best & brightest students — all fascinated by STEM subject — then they drive them into other areas of study where they either get time to party or find faculty interested in their learning. Check the proportion of STEM grades to humanities. My experience is limited & anecdotal, but also universal. Current STEM programs are hostile to students. Others are, by contrast, focused on teaching a cherished subject to young students.

Instapundit: Demography as Destiny

The future belongs to those who show up: how demographics determine the future & other reasons to be pro-life & not just anti-abortion… Real men provide for & raise children.

From the NY Times column by Ross Douthat linked to by Instapundit:

In Japan, birthrates are now so low and life expectancy so great that the nation will soon have a demographic profile that matches that of the American retirement community of Palm Springs.

And this added by Instapundit

Funny how the warnings of demographers are laughed off, while the warnings of climate scientists produce immediate calls for action. But what’s most revealing to me is the kind of sentiment displayed in the comments to the piece, such as “There are a DISGUSTING number of people on this earth.” And: “This column is nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on a woman’s right to choose.”

Read the whole thing.

Words matter: harness

President Obama campaign speech:

From President Obama’s campaign kickoff speech, Columbus, Ohio, May 5, 2012:  ”This country is at its best when we harness the God- given talents of every individual….”
Warning, Americans: For those not raised in farm country, “ harness” is more than a verb implying a general, cooperative marshaling of talent.

I’m not inclined to want to be in a harness. #Don’tTreadOnMe!
(h/t Instapundit)

Bullies

Heard on the radio that a local city council wants to outlaw smoking outdoors on balconies because the smoke might drift to a neighbors balcony. They also want to outlaw Styrofoam take-out containers at all local restaurants. That is pathetic. Time to disband a city council that has time for such inanities.