Assorted Links (10/8/2012)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

A ‘47%’ Solution for Romney

“In The Wall Street Journal, Arthur C. Brooks writes that when Mitt Romney is attacked for his comments about Americans who don’t pay taxes, he can counter that the president’s policies are stifling opportunity.”

‘Trickle-Down Government’ and Internet Freedom

“In The Wall Street Journal, Information Age columnist Gordon Crovitz writes that while tyrants make a run at global Internet censorship, the Obama administration stands by passively.”

Political Diary: Obama’s Campus Rules

“The Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Payne on Obama’s visit to the University of Wisconsin.”

Ode to a Green Datsun

“In The Wall Street Journal, Michael Judge writes: Who wouldn’t love a car that was part all-terrain vehicle, camper, go-cart, minibar and tank?”

What Percent Are You?

According to this app (published one year ago on the website), it apparently takes total annual household income of $506,603 in order to be a 1 percenter, $200,001 to be a 5 percenter, $154,101 to be a 10 percenter, $97,400 to be a 20 percenter, $42,350 to be a 50 percenter, and so forth…

Breakthroughs in Cancer About to Happen: Mt. Sinai CEO

“Dr. Kenneth Davis, president & CEO of Mt. Sinai Hospital, says over the decades people have been disappointed with the breakthroughs in cancer treatment. “These big breakthroughs are about to happen,” he tells “Squawk Box.””

A Former Crack Dealer On The Economics Of Drugs

“Lots of economists write about illegal drugs. One thing missing from their papers: Actual drug dealers.” Fascinating podcast, featuring an interview with “Freeway” Rick Ross was one of L.A.’s biggest crack dealers, who provides a case study for economic theory predictions. Basically, drug prohibition enriches dealers and encourages criminal behavior, without putting much of a dent into the overall level of consumption of illicit drugs…

Calif. gov. takes action as gas prices keep rising

“Gov. Jerry Brown is taking action in an effort to drive down the cost of gasoline as California drivers cope with record-breaking prices at the pump.”  According to AAA, the statewide average price in California for a gallon of regular rose today (Monday, October 8) to an all-time high, hitting $4.67. Glad to be living in Texas, where the average price per gallon is $3.516 (the national average is $3.798) – source:

Are You Bailing Out Your Kids or Grandkids?

“In a still-fragile economy, individuals and families invariably are turning to those they know best for financial support: older parents and grandparents.”  The “good” news is that we’re not quite yet Spain, where apparently well over half of adult children between the ages of 18-34 live with their parents. In America, “…as many as four in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 are living with their parents now, or moved back in with parents temporarily, because of the economy.”

Another Year, Another $1 Trillion-Plus

“The Wall Street Journal writes that the Obama Presidency goes four for four on record deficits.”

This quote in particular caught my eye: “Another worrisome portent is that annual interest payments on debt held by the public fell 3%, to $258 billion from $266 billion in 2011, even as debt held by the public increased. That’s because the Administration is rolling over its debt sheet in the short term to take advantage of today’s bargain interest rates, which can’t last.”  The problem with paying off debt with debt (particularly with ever shorter maturities) is that this type of financial strategy is unsustainable – at some point, a liquidity crisis (where no one is willing to lend at virtually any price) becomes inevitable. It’s weird that the financing strategies and practices of the US Treasury Department are increasing beginning to resemble Bear Stearns… Bear Stearns failed in March 2008 and was bought by JP Morgan Chase after suffering a liquidity crisis in which their counterparties decided, over the course of a very short period of time, that they weren’t going to continue to enable Bear Stearns to keep rolling their debt over… See Bill Cohen’s book “House of Cards” (@ and you’ll see what I mean!

U.S. Companies Remain Wary of Hiring

“Despite positive indicators, companies are cautious with headcount.”

Will Jobs News Boost Obama? History Says No

“Peter Cook looks at the relationship between unemployment numbers and presidential re-elections. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.””

John Taylor: The Romney Cure for Obama-Induced Economic Ills

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford University economist John B. Taylor outlines Mitt Romney’s agenda for economic growth and job creation.”

The Romney Reboot Arrives

“Daniel Henninger writes that Mitt Romney went on offense and put Barack Obama on defense for 90 minutes.”

What Campuses Can Learn From Online Teaching

MIT’s new president Rafael Reif not only corroborates the ongoing discussion that my colleagues and I are having at Baylor University – i.e., the notion of revolutionizing and improving learning by “flipping” the classroom, but he also holds out the hope that by eventually monetizing online-only courses, this may create a revenue stream which can be used to cross-subsidize residential campus instruction…

The Opening Statement

The New York Times’ David Brooks makes the case for Romney and against Obama by, among other things, heavily citing various (critical) passages from Bob Woodward’s new book entitled “The Price of Politics” (cf. Woodward is associate editor for Washington Post, and is perhaps most famous for collaborating a generation ago with Carl Bernstein on reporting the Watergate scandal which took the Nixon presidency down…

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