June 2015 Archives
The shooting last night at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston seems obviously motivated by race, but it also specifically targeted Christians at worship. The shooter is still at-large. Pray for the victims, their families, and the law enforcement officers who are risking their lives to catch the killer.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (CBS Atlanta/AP) -- A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault that authorities described as a hate crime.
The shooter remained at large Thursday morning and police released photographs from surveillance video of a suspect and a possible getaway vehicle.
CBS News reports worshippers were at the church at the time for Bible study.
For your financial entertainment here are two very different approaches to family finances. First, here's a name-dropping advocate for "wife bonuses".
As I stroll around the mall on a recent trip to Houston, Texas, moving from designer store to designer store, my mind is crunching numbers. Will I splurge on the elegant $750 French navy Chanel ballet pumps that I've been lusting after for months? Or shall I be pulling out my gold card to grab a pair of limited-edition $800 Louboutins, with striking red Valentine's hearts on the toe, to match their distinctive sole?
As I tally up the total, I can't help but smile -- I can easily stretch to both pairs of shoes, and still have plenty left of my five-figure bonus.
These pricey pairs of designer footwear will join a lineup of Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Diane Von Furstenburg and Rupert Sanderson heels and a closet crammed with handbags from Prada, Chanel and Anya Hindmarch. Every single one was bought with one of my annual bonuses -- the nod from a happy boss for a job well done.
But, in this case, the boss in question is my husband, Al. The role he's rewarding me for is my work as a stay-at-home wife and mother. And the luxury labels are purchased with the "wife bonus" -- 20 percent of his own company bonus -- that I'm proud to receive for putting his career before my own, and keeping our lives together.
There were common threads in this group. These were people who had all made the money in their own lifetimes and done that as much by saving, investing and making careful choices about spending as by making large salaries.
One of the big choices was what they spent money on. A common thread was frugality about cars. Not only did they buy modestly priced vehicles, they kept them for a long time.
But fancy cars were more of a proxy for unnecessary purchases. Steve Ingram, a real estate and oil and gas lawyer in Albuquerque, said he and his wife simply didn't care that much about material possessions.
"We have some nice things, but I drive a car for 10 years and then trade it in and get another car for 10 years," he said. "We like to travel, and we'll spend the money for that because it's worth it having a real experience together."
There are many paths you can follow in life. Scout ahead and see where your choices will take you.
President Obama is now pedaling an emotional appeal to the Supreme Court, hoping that the facts on the ground will be allowed to stand despite their illegality. Just as a reminder, zero Republicans voted for Obamacare; the law's shoddy crafting is a product of the Democrats' deception, intransigence, and reckless disregard for the will of the people.
In a speech to the Catholic Health Association, Obama will talk about the hundred years it's taken to reform healthcare in the United States, and the millions it has helped over its five years of implementation. With a ruling due by the end of the month that could potentially send the new insurance marketplaces into a tailspin, Obama will warn, the social contract is at stake.
"The rugged individualism that defines America has always been bound by a set of shared values; an enduring sense that we are in this together," Obama plans to say, according to excerpts released Tuesday morning by the White House. "That's we have an obligation to put ourselves in our neighbor's shoes, and to see the common humanity in each other."
He continues, "Five years in, what we're talking about is no longer just a law. This isn't about the Affordable Care Act. This isn't about Obamacare. This isn't about myths or rumors that won't go away. This is reality. This is health care in America."
"This is reality" he says, but it's a reality built on lies.
Random variance likely accounts for the mistaken perception that small schools and small classes are better for students. Did Bill Gates waste a billion dollars on this misunderstanding of statistics?
The problem is that because small school don't have a lot of students, scores are much more variable. If for random reasons a few geniuses happen to enroll one year in a small school scores jump up and if a few extra dullards enroll the next year scores fall.
Thus, for purely random reasons we would expect small schools to be among the best performing schools in any givenyear. Of course we would also expect small schools to be among the worst performing schools in any given year! And in fact, once we look at all the data this is exactly what we see. The figure below shows changes in fourth grade math scores against school size. Note that small schools have more variable scores but there is no evidence at all that scores on average decrease with school size.
States like North Carolina which reward schools for big performance gains without correcting for size end up rewarding small schools for random reasons. Worst yet, the focus on small schools may actually be counter-productive because large schools do have important advantages such as being able to offer more advanced classes and better facilities.
Good teachers and principals are more important than small classes and schools -- and the smaller your classes and schools, the more good teachers and principals you need to find.
The linked article doesn't mention class size at all -- in jumped to that conclusion myself!
Charles Murray has a novel suggestion for overcoming the suffocating rules our American bureaucracy foists on us free citizens: insure yourself against penalties and ignore the absurd regulations. I'd really like to read an analysis by an expert on insurance and insurance law who can tell us if this proposal is plausible.
Seen in this perspective, the regulatory state is the Wizard of Oz: fearsome when its booming voice is directed against any single target but, when the curtain is pulled aside, revealed as impotent to enforce its thousands of rules against widespread refusal to comply.
And so my modest proposal: Let's withhold that compliance through systematic civil disobedience. Not for all regulations, but for the pointless, stupid and tyrannical ones. ...
The risk in doing so, of course, is that one of the 70-odd regulatory agencies will find out what you're doing and come after you. But there's a way around that as well: Let's treat government as an insurable hazard, like tornadoes.
People don't build tornado-proof houses; they buy house insurance. In the case of the regulatory state, let's buy insurance that reimburses us for any fine that the government levies and that automatically triggers a proactive, tenacious legal defense against the government's allegation even if--and this is crucial--we are technically guilty.
Why litigate an allegation even if we are technically guilty? To create a disincentive for overzealous regulators. The goal is to empower citizens to say, "If you come after me, it's going to cost your office a lot of time and trouble, and probably some bad publicity." If even one citizen says that, in a case where the violation didn't harm anything or anyone, the bureaucrat has to ask, "Do I really want to take this on?" If it's the 10th citizen in the past month who says it and the office is struggling with a backlog of cases, it's unlikely that the bureaucrat's supervisor will even permit him take it on.
It's whack-a-mole, but the government doesn't have enough hammers to hit all of us.
More from Michael Barone.