PrestoPundit

Archive for February, 2006

The Staph Epidemic

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/28/2006

The LA Times reports on the “spider bites”, boils and rashes that are caused by a newly virulent strain of staph. Quotable:

community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus appeared as early as 1990. The community strain is genetically different from that found in hospitals. Because it has not been bombarded by as many antibiotics, it is less resistant to drugs, but is more virulent.

To gauge the prevalence of the strain, researchers at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar analyzed skin infections that showed up in their emergency room. In 2002, methicillin-resistant staph caused 29% of those infections. Two years later, the rate was 64% ..

Posted in Science | Leave a Comment »

“Why I Wrote the Book”

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/28/2006

Bruce Bartlett comes clean. Quotable:

The last time a Republican president — Richard Nixon — sold out his party’s core beliefs, it led to huge losses for his party in 1974 and 1976. I think Republicans are deluding themselves if they believe that gerrymandering of the House of Representatives and millions of lobbyist dollars will protect them from big losses this November. It’s worth remembering that Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 not because more Republicans voted, but because fewer Democrats did. They, like many Republicans today, were dispirited by a president of their party who took their loyalty for granted ..

Republican voters need to ask themselves whether they are satisfied with the direction George W. Bush has led them or whether they would really prefer to get back to the policies and philosophy of Ronald Reagan.

Posted in Books, Bush | Leave a Comment »

“Meathead” Democrats are Killing California

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/28/2006

The Wall Street Journal takes on Rob Reiner and the tax and spend death spiral in California. Quotable:

As much as the popular flight from California might be good for some neighboring states, it’s very bad news for the entire United States. California continues to account for about one-sixth of the overall U.S. economy, and its competitive decline will inevitably hurt everyone. If the Meathead tax passes in June, the reverse gold rush out of California will surely accelerate. And Hollywood’s liberals will discover again that a state with fewer businesses creates fewer jobs and collects fewer taxes.

Posted in California | Leave a Comment »

Bernanke’s Big Laugh Line

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2006

Did you catch this from Fed. Chair Ben Bernanke?:

“It’s generally a bad idea for the Fed to be the arbiter of asset prices,” Bernanke, 52, said in response to a question after a speech at Princeton University in New Jersey. “The Fed doesn’t really have any better information than other people in the market about what the correct value of asset prices is.”

The main role of the Fed. is to manipulate up and down the price structure of relative prices across time. This is the market in which it plays. The most important component of this time structure is the structure of capital goods and capital goods production, i.e. asset prices.

In other words, the joke here is that Bernanke is saying that the Fed. has no business being in business — the argument of such Hayekians as Larry White.

Posted in Economics | Leave a Comment »

Hong Kong Cuts Taxes

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2006

This is what genuine “supply side” economics looks like — Hong Kong is cutting its already low taxes because Hong Kong has a budget surplus. This isn’t the #1 rated free market economy in the world for no reason.

Posted in Economics | Leave a Comment »

Judge Posner on the Summers Purge

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2006

Judge Posner nails it:

What was crucial was that [Summers] challenged the worker’-cooperative model of university governance (a model adhered to more closely by foreign universities–which is one reason they are on average inferior to our own), that an influential fraction of the faculty rebelled, and that a timid and inept set of trustees were unwilling to back Summers against the rebels. I knew a year ago that Summers was embattled; I never thought it a battle he could lose. I am greatly disappointed in the Harvard Corporation and would be gratified to see its members resign in embarrassment.

One sign of the Corporation’s ineptitude is its decision that there shall be an 18-month period in which, in effect, Harvard will have no president and the faculty will consolidate its power. But as serious is the signal that the Corporation is sending to potential candidates. The signal is that only individuals willing to be weak presidents need apply for the job–individuals willing to concede a veto power to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and devote their presidency to fund-raising, glad-handing, and back-office management ..

The following suggestions .. are offered as aids to thinking imaginatively about the governance of the nation’s most prominent university:

1. The members of the Harvard Corporation should resign; their successors should rescind Summers’ resignation.

2. The reconstituted Corporation should redefine the lines of command of the university, making clear that faculty are not the owners or “citizens” of Harvard, but rather are honored employees.

3. A purely consultative University Senate should be created so that the university administration can obtain reliable, representative expressions of faculty opinion.

4. The president of the university should be authorized to appoint the department chairmen.

5. The anachronistic institution of tenure should be reexamined and perhaps jettisoned. The market for university professors is highly competitive; a good person whose contract is not renewed can get a comparable job elsewhere. (See my post on tenured employment of January 15 of this year.)

6. A generous buy-out program should be instituted in order to encourage early retirement and thus provide greater career opportunities for young academics.

If the suggested measures precipitated some, even many, resignations of faculty, the quitters could easily be replaced with individuals of equal or higher quality.

Posted in The Left | Leave a Comment »

30 State Eminent Domain Reform Update

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2006

Highlights from The Entrepreneurial Mind.

Posted in Law, Liberty | Leave a Comment »

Why Summers Had to Go

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2006

Jeff Jacoby takes a look. Quotable:

Harvard’s 27th president announced his resignation last week, but Lawrence Summers’s fall from grace actually began on Oct. 26, 2001 .. That was the date on which he addressed the annual public service awards banquest at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and had the temerity to speak favorably of American patriotism — and, even more audaciously, to express admiration for the men and women who serve in the US armed forces ..

Posted in The Left | Leave a Comment »

Is it Hayek?

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2006

It’s Ben Bernanke in his first major speech as Fed. Chair:

the dollar provides a reasonably secure gauge of real economic values only when inflation is low and stable. High and variable inflation degrades the quality of the signals coming from the price system, as producers and consumers find it difficult to distinguish price changes arising from changes in product supplies and demands from changes arising from general inflation. Because prices constitute a market economy’s fundamental means of conveying information, the increased noise associated with high inflation erodes the effectiveness of the market system. High inflation also complicates long-term economic planning, creating incentives for households and firms to shorten their horizons and to spend resources in managing inflation risk rather than focusing on the most productive activities.

This certainly is not Hayek:

low and stable inflation and inflation expectations enhance both economic growth and economic stability.

Posted in Ben Bernanke, Economics | Leave a Comment »

Is Rob Reiner a Crook?

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2006

Perhaps not a “lock him up” thief — but something worse, a man who steals millions out of the hands of children and stuffs it in the pockets of his political friends.

Hugh Hewitt continues pressing Schwarzenegger for a Reiner firing.

How did “Meathead” get to be an expert on pre-school? It’s a typical Hollywood story — “Meathead” felt unloved by his father:

Acclaimed director Rob Reiner struggled with his filmmaker father’s success during his childhood because he felt unloved. Reiner became convinced he was “invisible” as a young boy because director Carl Reiner was often too busy to spend time with him, and he only realized his father did love him after undergoing hours of therapy later in life.

He says, “Dad’s a great guy and I love him, but he had such a high-powered career. It kinda took him away and a lot of times I didn’t feel noticed. I had this feeling that my father didn’t love me. I’ve now been through enough analysis to know better – he does love me and I love him and we’ve got a good relationship – but that’s how I felt as a kid growing up.”

And years of therapy led to Reiner’s current effort to take control of California’s private pre-school system:

Reiner’s interest in a child’s early development dates back more than 20 years to when his sister, Annie, a psychoanalyst, encouraged him to examine his formative years in analysis. After completing therapy, he wondered about the upbringing of kids who turned up on the 11 o’clock news as criminals.

The case against Reiner is made here and here.

Posted in California | Leave a Comment »