Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Rants

God forbid we might, y'know, be winning or something

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war...

Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us." -- Washington Post

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Friday, 27 July 2007

Rants

Where the money is

Next time some university-type starts inveighing against "the rich," remember this:

Colleges and universities are our nation’s richest — and possibly most miserly — “nonprofits.”

[They] are sitting on a fortune in tax-free funds, and sharing almost none of it. Higher education endowment assets alone total over $340 billion. Sixty-two institutions boast endowments over $1 billion. Harvard and Yale top the list with endowments so massive, $28 billion and $18 billion respectively, that they exceed the general operating funds for the states in which they reside. It’s not just elite private institutions that do this; four public universities have endowments that rank among the nation’s top 10...

These endowments tower over their peers throughout the nonprofit world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is America’s wealthiest museum. But the Met’s $2 billion endowment is bested by no less than 26 academic institutions, including the University of Minnesota, Washington University in St. Louis, and Emory. Indeed, the total worth of the top 25 college and university endowments is $11 billion greater than the combined assets of their equivalently ranked private foundations — including Gates, Ford and Rockefeller...

A recent survey of 765 colleges and universities found they are spending 4.2 percent of their endowments’ value each year. Meanwhile, private foundations — which are legally required to spend at least 5 percent of their value annually — average 7 percent spending. -- Lynne Munson, Inside Higher Ed
Many educational institutions (and their endowments) pay no taxes whatever at the municipal level, creating a tremendous negative impact on their host communities.  This is compounded as endowments buy up campus-adjacent properties "for future expansion," then turn around and rent them out in competition with tax-paying landlords.

Perhaps it's time for some adjustments.
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Article linked by Glenn

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Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Rants

Let a hundred complaints bloom!

BlogCritics commentator John Bambenek has filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint against Kos Media, LLC., better known as DailyKos.com, in an attempt to get the site declared a political committee and therefore subject to FEC rules. Glenn Reynolds and David Freddoso don't like the idea, on free speech grounds.

As for me, myself, personally, my opinion parallels that of Volokh Conspiracy commenter "PatHMV's" thought about the federally-mandated 21-year drinking age:

This is probably a law which should be strictly and harshly enforced, so that it will be repealed more quickly. -- comment on: "Parents Guilty for Permitting Drinking In Their Home"

Let a hundred complaints bloom, let a hundred enforcement actions flower: If securing free speech means we'll have to re-pass the 1st Amendment with "...and we REALLY mean it this time!" appended, the sooner we find out, and get started, the better.
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Note 070724 17:03: Edited 2nd para to make it clear that PatHMV's opinion was only about 21-year drinking age, and not about FEC regulations. I knew what I wanted to say, just couldn't get the words down!

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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Rants

Not sacrifice, but power

After posting this quote:

Chris Davies, a British member of the European Parliament, is proposing one of the most-extreme measures -- a prohibition on any car that goes faster than 162 kilometers (101 miles) an hour, a speed that everything from the humble Honda Civic on up can exceed. He ridiculed fast cars as “boys' toys.”
Glenn Reynolds asks:
Is it climate-protection, or social engineering? As I've said before, the hairshirt approach to environmentalism is a mistake, but some people can't resist it -- because for them, the hairshirt isn't a bug, but a feature.
But you can bet that Chris Davies and his friends in the номенклату́ра[1] won't be among those who wind up wearing hair shirts. For Mr. Davies and those like him, it's all about getting jollies by issuing the decrees that control other people's lives. (And I count Mr. Davies a member of that group on the prima facie evidence that he is a MEP. Q.E.D.)
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[1] in the Djilas sense. See also Live Earth carbon footprint, private jets for Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore's electric bill, etc., etc.

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