Assorted Links (9/29/2013)

Here’s a list of articles I have been reading and videos I have been viewing lately:

For Most Presidents, Shutdowns a Rite of Passage

“If the White House and Congress don’t reach a deal by midnight on Monday to fund government operations, President Barack Obama will only be the latest in a lengthy list of commanders in chief to have a “shutdown” stamped on his legacy.”

Colorado State University has a plan to raise more revenue: Build a $246 million, 40,000-seat football stadium

“Faced with declining state funding, Colorado State University is raising money to build a $246 million, 40,000-seat football stadium on its campus, which it believes will attract more out-of-state students paying higher tuition.”

Daniel Henninger: Let ObamaCare Collapse

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that neither Ted Cruz nor Congress can kill the entitlement state. Only the American people can.”

The Iranian ‘moderate’

“Iran’s president and the centrifuges are both spinning.” Sobering assessment of Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani by WaPo’s Charles Krauthammer…

No government shutdown has caused a stock market meltdown yet

“The government shuts down. The economy unravels. Stocks plunge. That may be Wall Street’s worst fear, but history shows it’s mostly overblown…”

The Weekend Interview With Howard Gordon: TV’s Antiterror Evolution

“In The Wall Street Journal, Bari Weiss talks to Howard Gordon, the lead writer for 24 and co-creator of Homeland, about the collision of news and popular culture in post-9/11 America.” Having watched all 8 seasons of 24 and 2 seasons of Homeland, I found this interview with the lead writer for 24 and co-creator of Homeland quite fascinating…

Closed for business? Government shutdown history

Belgian civil servants, for example, carried on nicely for a year and a half while their politicians bickered over forming a new government. The government can only spend money “in consequence of appropriations made by law,” or in other words, after Congress says so and with the president’…

A Small President on the World Stage

At the U.N., leaders hope for a return of American greatness, writes Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal.

Band-aids Can’t Fix the New IPCC Report

Here’s a quote from Cato’s assessment of the new IPCC report: “The Humpty Dumpty-esque report once claiming to represent the “consensus of scientists” has fallen from its exalted wall and cracked to pieces under the burdensome weight of its own cumbersome and self-serving processes, which is why all the governments’ scientists and all the governments’ men cannot put the IPCC report together again.”

Truly “Exceptional” And Dumber Than Ever: Verbal SAT Scores Plunge To Fresh Record Low

“Another year, another record low for the average verbal SAT score, and another sad achievement for a nation that is getting fatter, dumber and ever more in debt.”

Obamacare’s average monthly cost across U.S.: $328

“Sept 25 (Reuters) – Americans will pay an average premium of $328 monthly for a mid-tier health insurance plan when the Obamacare health exchanges open for enrollment next week…”

Obamacare: One blow after another – Jennifer Haberkorn and Carrie Budoff Brown

“The Obamacare that consumers will finally be able to sign up for next week is a long way from the health plan President Barack Obama first pitched to the nation. Millions of low-income Americans won’t receive coverage. Many workers at small businesses won’t get a choice of insurance plans right away. Large employers won’t need to provide insurance for another year. Far more states than expected won’t run their own insurance marketplaces. And a growing number of workers won’t get to keep their employer-provided coverage.”

Veronique de Rugy – HHS’s Rates Are Out — Despite What They Say, Costs Are Going Up

Mercatus Center senior reseaerch fellow Veronique de Rugy runs the numbers… If anyone is interested in reading HHS’s official press release and report claiming premiums are “lower than originally expected”, see

Avik Roy – Obamacare Bends the Cost Curve—Upward

Quoting from this article, “Back in 2008, three eminent Harvard economists who were advising the Obama campaign—David Cutler, David Blumenthal, and Jeffrey Liebman—wrote a memo claiming that Senator Obama’s health-care plan could reduce national health spending by $200 billion a year… Last week, the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a rather different prediction: that “the [Affordable Care Act] is projected to . . . increase cumulative spending by roughly $621 billion” from 2014 to 2022.”

Barack Obama’s health-care conversion

Interesting and informative article from about the political origins of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (AKA “Obamacare”)…

Obama’s University Scorecard Plan Deserves an “F”

It will promote a political agenda, not educational goals.

The meaning of Lehman (take 4)

Here’s yet another 4-part, “5 years later” retrospective of the financial crisis worth reading; this time from The Economist. Apparently the editorial board of The Economist prefers descending order to indicate the intended order of reading, so Take 4 is to be read first, followed by Take 3 (available at, Take 2 (, and Take 1 (available at

Stagnation for everyone

“THE Census released new figures on income and poverty today. (You can see summary slides here.) They’re both grim and unsurprising. In 2012 the real median household income in America was flat relative to 2011 and down considerably from the pre-recession level. The poverty rate remains stuck at 15%.”

“Witch Hunts Always Find Witches”

Here’s philosopher Jim Otteson on the dangers of the NSA…

At 88, the King of the Blues is still rocking audiences

Blues guitar legend B.B. King — who played with Eric Clapton and U2 — has been performing for several decades and shows no signs of stopping.

5 Years After the Crash, What do Americans Think of Wall Street, Banks, and Free Enterprise? —…

The news media is engulfed these days by “5 years later” retrospectives of the financial crisis; this article from the American Enterprise Institute provides a synopsis of the recently published book “Five Years After the Crash: What Americans Think about Wall Street, Banks, Business, and Free Enterprise” (see…

Obamacare: Destined to Flop? Part I

In this four-part series, AEI’s Joseph Antos provides a comprehensive account of what is likely to happen with Obamacare now and in years to come. In this first installment, he tackles the exchanges. Parts 2-4 are available at,, and respectively.

Washington, D.C. Income Rises as U.S. Economic Freedom Sags

Like a tick on the back of a wounded animal, Washington, D.C. is doing just dandy, thank you, even though the country on which it feeds has been ailing for years.

Facebook Blames Government Spying for Lack of User Trust

Recent study found nearly half of Facebook quitters citing privacy as the reason.

Eight Things That Could Go Wrong With Obamacare

Congress passed it, now we’re seeing what’s wrong with it.

Economic Freedom of the World

The foundations of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets.

Baylor named among nation’s 10 most affordable private business schools « Baylor Proud

Even more than most students, tomorrow’s business leaders are likely to do a cost-benefits analysis when deciding what college to attend. That’s why we’re so glad to see Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business make U.S. News‘ list of the 10 most affordable private business schools.

Warren Buffett: Scrap Obamacare and Start Over

You know things are bad for President Obama when even Warren Buffett has soured on Obamacare and says that ‘we need something else.’ “”I would much rather see another plan that really attacks costs. And I think that’s what the American public wants to see. I mean, the American public is not behind this bill.” Warren Buffett

Karl Polanyi’s Battle with Economic History

Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation provides a foundation for much anti-market rhetoric. The problem is, the book’s claims aren’t supported by historical evidence.

Assorted Links (9/8/2013)

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

How Government is Destroying the Medical Profession: Q&A with Dr. Jeffrey Singer 

“Over the past 30 to 40 years, government involvement in medicine has resulted in a progressive regimentation of the industry,” says Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a general surgeon.” I also recommend Dr. Singer’s related (gated, but available if you register article by the same name @

Why America Is Saying ‘No’: Peggy Noonan on Obama and Syria

“Syria and Obama: Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man, argues Peggy Noonan.”

Have More Sex, Make More Money

Wow – this is exhibit A for junk science. Repeat after me, correlation DOES NOT imply causation. 

“Money can’t buy you love, but a new study suggests lovemaking can earn you money and not just if you’re employed in the red light district. Quentin Fottrell and couples psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish provide details.” 

Economist Ronald Coase Was Chased Out of UVA in 1964 for Supporting Market Solutions

“The Twitter feed of academic Siva Vaidhyanathan points to this story about how recently deceased economist Ronald Coase was chased out of the University of Virginia in the early 1960s. The heinous crime of Coase, who would go on to win the 1991 Nobel Prize in economics? He stood against the rising tide of belief in an economy managed by experts and regulators.”

Federal Homeownership Policy: Money for Nothing

“Our current system of homeownership subsidies has not delivered long run gains in the homeownership rate.” 

Why ‘Duck Dynasty’ Viewers Heed Its Call

“In The Wall Street Journal, Adam Chandler writes that hard work, solid values and a sense of humor have fueled the biggest show in cable-TV history.”

Baylor University National Commercial

From my employer, Baylor University “The mission of Baylor University – to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service – is showcased in this 30 second national commercial…”

Capitalism, Government and the Good Society 

On April 10, 2013, Liberty Fund and Butler University sponsored a symposium entitled “Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society.” The symposium featured presentations by Michael Munger of Duke University, Robert Skidelsky of the University of Warwick, and Richard Epstein of New York University on the topic of role for government in the economy and in our lives. These presentations were followed by a lively panel discussion of this topic moderated by Russ Roberts of Stanford University.  

More Evidence that Foreign Aid Throws Dollars Away for Nothing

“Western states should reconsider policies which hinder developing countries from taking full advantage of the global marketplace.” 

Mideast Strains Under Weight of Syrian Refugees

Amid the war debate concerning Syria, it is sobering to consider the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis of the Syrian refugees, as documented by this article from today’s Wall Street Journal…

Ronald Coase, 1910-2013

“Looking back on the magnificent, if often misunderstood, scholarly legacy of Ronald Coase (1910-2013).”

Online Class Aims to Earn Millions

“Two University of Texas at Austin professors, James Pennebaker and Samuel Gosling, this week launched their introductory psychology class from a makeshift studio, with a goal of eventually enrolling 10,000 students at $550 a pop and bringing home millions for the school.”

What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds

“In The Wall Street Journal, Sohrab Ahmari interviews Craig Zucker, the creator of Buckyballs, which was the hottest office game on the market before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned it.”  

What Mr. A did on his summer vacation

I highly recommend the incredibly inspiring video (and accompanying article @ about an Austin legend, Anderson High School music teacher and local musician Phil Ajjarapu.

“Anderson High School music teacher and local musician Phil Ajjarapu fell from an overpass onto Mopac in a motorcycle accident in 2012. He has since recovered from his near death experience and is moving forward making his first solo studio album.” – 1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS. World’s highest resolution video surveillance platform…

Interesting and scary video of DARPA’s “Argus” project; which apparently will soon be used by the U.S. Army to survey and spy on Afghanistan from an altitude of 20,000 feet with the ability to scan 25 square miles of ground surface in extraordinarily high resolution…  

There are better anti-poverty tools than the minimum wage

“Politicians, usually those on the left, frequently propose big hikes in the federal minimum wage — or even a dramatically higher “living wage” — as a way to fight poverty and help low-skill workers… But raising the minimum wage may not be a policy idea deserving of the passion it generates. It’s not a well-targeted, poverty-fighting weapon.” 

Five U.S. States Where People Drink the Most Beer

The Wall Street Journal runs the numbers and finds that the five states with the highest per capita beer consumption are 1) North Dakota, 2) New Hampshire, 3) Montana, 4) South Dakota, and 5) Wisconsin…

The global financial crisis and American wealth accumulation: The Fed needs a bubble watch

Interesting points raised in this article by AEI economist John Makin:

“• The 2008 housing bubble burst and the ensuing global financial crisis destroyed an unprecedented 22 percent of accumulated American wealth.
• This massive destruction of wealth has resulted in a tepid recovery marked by below-average recovery levels of saving, consumption, and investment.
• The Federal Reserve needs to create a “bubble watch” program to prevent speculative bubbles from destroying wealth accumulation in the future.”

The WSJ’s College Football Grid of Shame: rating how good all 125 teams are

Proud to point out that Baylor ranks highly in terms of its admirability/powerhouse composite score, outscoring all Big 12 conference teams except for TCU! 🙂

“As the season begins, we rate how good all 125 teams are—and how embarrassed their alums should be.”

The Good Book and the Not-So-Good Books

“The Code of Federal Regulations is as long as 95 King James Bibles.” 

8 Reasons Not to Go to War in Syria

“Is the U.S. on the march to war in Syria? Over the past week, the stage has been set for yet another military intervention in the Middle East.”

Obama to Control the Price of Ivy?

“Thanks in large part to federal aid, the price of college has risen astronomically, kneecapping students and taxpayers. Price controls will only mask the root problem while creating new pains of their own.” 

Cats Are Actually Man’s Best Friend

This is a wonderful essay on the relative merits (from a male perspective) of cats versus dogs. It resonates with me since Casa de Garven may very well qualify as a “feline colony”. 🙂

“In The Wall Street Journal, children’s author Peter Mandel says that it’s long past time for a little mutual respect between felines and their two-legged rulers.” 

Richard Vedder on the Real Reason College Costs So Much

This article does a great job of explaining why college is so damn expensive!

“In The Wall Street Journal, Allysia Finley interviews Richard Vedder on the economics of higher education. Vedder explains how subsidies fuel rising prices and why there’s a ‘bubble’ in college enrollment and student loans.” 

U.S. Policies Deter Inward and Encourage Outward Business Investment

“Inhospitable and incoherent U.S. policies are chasing investment to foreign shores.”

Get a life!

“The Economist Magazine writes that “Using the social network seems to make people more miserable”.”

U.S. Gun Laws as a Scapegoat for Mexico’s Drug Violence

The principal reason the drug gangs can obtain all the firepower they want is that they have vast financial resources at their disposal, not U.S. gun laws.

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