Patterico's Pontifications

3/24/2009

More L.A. Times Layoffs

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:57 pm

It’s becoming a dog bites man story.

Forgiveness of Student Loans As a Stimulus Idea

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:34 pm

Allahpundit has a post about massive student loan forgiveness as a stimulus idea. He says:

My sense of personal responsibility says no but my debt-crushed monthly budget cries proceed:

I can’t tell for sure if he’s being tongue in cheek or not, but this proposal is definitely in line with the “To Hell With Everything” attitude of the Obama administration. Allah conceded a personal stake in his analysis so I’ll concede mine: I’m one of those yutzes who actually paid mine off early.

My Dad, who would have been 84 last week, always advised me to pay off all my student loans. Everyone around me said: “The interest rates are low!” and “You should invest it and make more!” but I took Dad’s advice.

When I started out work, I worked at a civil law firm where the hours were typical big New York firm hours; basically, if things weren’t busy, you had a few hours to yourself on Saturday and that was it. I got up, went to work, drove home and went straight to bed, and repeated. 9:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m was a typical day if we weren’t busy; going home at 1:30 a.m. was typical if we were. Half day on Saturdays most easy weeks, and 8-9 hours on Sunday.

I’m not complaining; the money was good and I chose it.

One of my former partners still reads the site, and I want her to know that I mean no offense when I say my biggest joys in life were: a) seeing if I could get from the garage to a particular spot on the 90 Freeway in less than 15 minutes, and b) watching my checking account balance grow. Most of the people around me got fancy cars and such, but I had an idea I wanted to head into government work, which would be a huge pay cut, so I paid off the debts. And then my wife’s. And all our credit cards. And all our car loans.

If the government that wants to bail out irresponsible homeowners also decided to forgive all student loans, it would send a terrible message: you aren’t responsible for your own debts. (What am I saying? We’re already sending that message with home loans.) I think it’s a destructive message to send, and essentially punishes those of us who worked to pay off the debts.

Incentivizing irresponsibility is not a solution to economic problems.

L.A. Times Article Lifts Passages Straight from Wikipedia

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:53 pm

Gawker catches some amazing similarities between an L.A. Times article and Wikipedia:

L.A. Times article:

Designed to traverse Japan’s mountainous terrain, the trains use tunnels and viaducts to go through and over obstacles rather than around them. They travel on elevated tracks without road crossings and apart from conventional rail. An automated control system eliminates the need for signals.

Wikipedia:

In contrast to older lines, Shinkansen are standard gauge, and use tunnels and viaducts to go through and over obstacles rather than around them. With a minimum curve radius of 4,000 meters (2,500 meters in the oldest Tōkaidō Shinkansen), the system was built entirely from the ground up on elevated tracks without road crossings and separate from conventional rail. It employs an ATC (Automatic Train Control) system, eliminating the need for signals.

Heh.

The problem with relying on Wikipedia for research is that anyone can write anything on it at any time. You could go write: “Shinkansen are a breed of Indians found mostly in the plains of Kansas, characterized by large festering wounds on their shins and a love of everything Barack Obama.” The better it sounds, the longer it might last.

In fact, Wikipedia is so open to the public that, before writing this post, I checked to make sure that the above passage, quoted in the L.A. Times article, was actually there before the L.A. Times article. After all, some clown could have taken text from the L.A. Times article and put it in Wikipedia.

Except that they didn’t. The article had that passage yesterday. And the first sentence plagiarized by the L.A. Times was even there in February 2008.

Many journalists lift stuff uncritically from Wikipedia. Andrew Sullivan does it blatantly. But it’s great to see one getting caught this red-handed.

UPDATE: Oh, I almost forgot to mention: the Wikipedia article says: “This article includes a list of references or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations.”

Double heh.

Will Democrats play chicken with Healthcare?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:14 am

[Posted by Karl]

The Sorosphere is pushing congressional budget leaders to consider ramming Pres. Obama’s healthcare agenda through the Senate as part of the budget reconciliation process to bypass a filibuster and allow Democrats to pass a bill without Republican votes.  The AARP is not on board, recognizing the need for bipartisanship on the issue.  Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D) and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) also say that healthcare legislation must be bipartisan if it is to have lasting durability.

JournoListist Ezra Klein — who used to be a fan of the filibuster — suddenly favors the tyrrany of the majority, but provides an explanation of why trying to take over the healthcare system in the budget process is a dangerous idea:

If you want to know why we do not today have a 50-vote Senate, the Byrd rule is the reason.  The Byrd rule imposes a set of sharp constraints on the reconciliation process, limiting what is considered appropriate for reconciliation…

***

The matter is not simply academic: The Byrd rule allows senators to challenge the acceptability of any provision (undefined) of a reconciliation bill based on whether or not its effect on government revenues is “merely incidental” (undefined). Thus, if you enter reconciliation with a health-reform bill, it’s not clear what’s left after each and every provision — however that is defined — is challenged and a certain number of them are deleted altogether: the tax portions, certainly. And the government subsidies. But is regulating insurers “merely incidental” to government revenues? How about reforming hospital delivery systems? How about incentives for preventive treatment? Or the construction of a public plan? An individual mandate?

It’s hard to say. The ultimate decision is left up to the Senate parliamentarian, whose rulings are unpredictable. Under George W. Bush, Republicans managed to ram tax cuts, oil drilling, trade authority, and much else through reconciliation. But they were as often disappointed: The GOP leaders fired two successive Senate parliamentarians whose Byrd rule rulings angered them.

Taken as a whole, the uncertainty of the reconciliation process transforms it into a game of chicken: If Republicans refuse to cooperate with health reform and force Democrats to resort to reconciliation, no one knows what will emerge out of the other end. Republicans might have no input, but Democrats will be at the mercy of an obscure bureaucrat’s interpretation of an undefined Senate rule. It’s the legislative equivalent of deciding a bill on penalty kicks. 

Budget writers like Sen. Conrad know this as well as Klein does.  Indeed, the Byrd rule was a major factor in the unraveling of the Clinton healthcare plan in 1993-94.  One of the few things worse than socialized medicine would be trying to legislate it through the budget, resulting in a Rube Goldberg contraption missing all sorts of parts.

–Karl

“U.S. Seeks Expanded Power to Seize Firms”

Filed under: Obama — Patterico @ 1:14 am

What could go wrong?

Stupid Criminals Vol. XXVIII

Filed under: Morons — Patterico @ 1:08 am

Suggestion #1: don’t leave your jacket and cell phone at the house you burglarized.

Suggestion #2: if you do, don’t go back to get them.


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1727 secs.