You are browsing the archive for 2013 October 30.

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Education Experts Also Oppose Core

October 30, 2013 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

Just about anyone who opposes the Common Core national curriculum standards, currently under serious fire in New York, is either a kook or a self-interested schemer. That, at least, is the impression an impartial observer would get from listening to many Core supporters. But the reality is quite the opposite: Education thinkers from across the political spectrum are taking on — and apart — the Core.

In the Empire State, education commissioner John King infamously declared parents and concerned citizens opposed to the Core “special interests.” He made the accusation as he cancelled a series of town hall-style meetings scheduled across the state. After major blowback, he scheduled new events, but the message King delivered was clear: Many Core opponents only care about themselves, not kids.

There is an extremely well-informed opposition to the Core, and dismissing opponents as loony or selfish does children no service.”

Alas, this marginalization strategy is not confined to New York. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, arguably the Core’s greatest champion, has accused Core opponents of employing conspiracy theories. And, in an op-ed being shopped to outlets around the country, Michael J. Petrilli and Michael Brickman of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute characterize Core opponents as a “small but vocal minority of conservatives” coupled with a bit of “the far left.” Read: scary fringe types.

Of course there are some Core opponents who say outlandish things, but that is the exception, not the rule. And much more important is a diverse group of people opposing the Core who are the exact opposite of the schemer stereotype: education experts.

The Common Core is opposed by scholars at several leading think tanks on both the right and left-hand side of the political landscape, including the Heritage Foundation, The Hoover Institution, the Brookings Institution and my own Cato Institute. My research has shown that there is essentially no meaningful evidence that national standards lead to superior educational outcomes.

Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Eric Hanushek, a well-known education economist and supporter of standards-based education reform, has reached a similar conclusion about likely Core impotence. He recently wrote: “We currently have very different standards across states, and experience from the states provides little support for the argument that simply declaring more clearly what we want children to learn will have much impact.”

Hanushek’s conclusion dovetails nicely with Common Core opposition from Tom Loveless, a scholar at the left-leaning Brookings Institution. In 2012, Loveless demonstrated that moving to national standards would almost certainly have little, if any, positive effect because the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Policymakers Must Remove the Barriers to Foreign Investment in the United States

October 30, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

No country has been a stronger magnet for foreign direct investment than the United States. Roughly 17 percent of the world’s $22 trillion stock of FDI is deployed in the U.S. economy — triple the stock in the next largest destination. With the world’s biggest economy, a skilled workforce, an innovative culture, and deep and broad capital markets, the United States has enormous advantages in the intensifying global competition to attract investment from the world’s best companies.

But those advantages have been eroding. In 1999, the U.S. share of global FDI stood at 39 percent — a full 22 percentage points higher than today — and has been on a continuous down slide ever since. Economic growth, improved labor skills, greater business transparency, and political stability in emerging economies have made them more alluring investment destinations. Meanwhile, burgeoning regulations, policy incongruity, and lingering uncertainty about the business and political climates have reduced America’s appeal.

The United States has slipped considerably over the past decade in a variety of areas that directly impact investment decisions.”

Positioned as it is at the technological frontier, the U.S. economy requires continuous investment to replenish the machinery, software, laboratories, research centers, and high-end manufacturing facilities that harness its human capital, animate new ideas, create wealth, and raise living standards. Over the years, foreign-headquartered companies have satisfied an important part of those investment requirements, bringing capital, know-how, and fresh ideas, while creating synergies by establishing new enterprises and acquiring existing U.S. firms. These U.S. affiliates of foreign-owned companies — call them “insourcing” companies — have punched well above their weight, contributing disproportionately to U.S. output, compensation, capital investment, productivity, exports, research and development spending, and other determinants of growth.

As reported in a new study published by the Organization for International Investment, insourcing companies represent less than 0.5 percent of U.S. companies with payrolls, yet they account for 5.9 percent of private-sector value added; 5.4 percent of private-sector employment; 11.7 percent of new private-sector, non-residential capital investment, and; 15.2 percent of private-sector research and development spending. They pay 13.8 percent of all corporate taxes; earn 48.7 percent more revenue from their fixed capital than the U.S. private sector average, and; compensate their employees at a premium of 22.0 percent above the U.S. private-sector average.

Competitive jolts to established domestic firms, technology spillovers, and the hybridization and evolution of ideas also result from the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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6 Most Wildly Offensive Halloween Costumes

October 30, 2013 in Blogs

By April De Costa, AlterNet

Sexy Squaw? Ana Rexia? Seriously?


Halloween presents people with the opportunity to be sartorially creative. Usually, people use this as a chance to be scary, illustrate puns, or dress as sexy (insert inanimate object here), but for some obtuse jagoffs, Halloween is a day to be outwardly racist, sexist, or culturally insensitive, because hey “get a sense of humor.”

 

Last year, Chris Brown made (more) headlines when he unapologetically tweeted a photo of himself and his friends clad in turbans, robes and long beards while brandishing fake assault rifles. Photos of the human garbage from Florida who wore blackface and dressed up as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman were widely circulated this weekend. On Saturday, Julianne Hough tweeted a public apology for her ill-conceived “Crazy Eyes” (from “Orange Is the New Black”) costume, complete with blackface. In the words of Salon writer Brittany Cooper, “Do not wear blackface for Halloween (or brownface or yellowface or redface). It’s that simple. To do so is utterly and incontestably racist and needlessly insensitive.“ The asshatery is widespread enough that UC Boulder went so far as to ask students to refrain from wearing such costumes. As the following examples demonstrate, clearly a market exists for tasteless Halloween garb.

 

1) Bin Laden/terrorist costumes:

Originally titled the “Fun World Adult Mens Osama Bin Laden Middle East Costume Turban + Beard,” the manufacturer has sinced updated the costume name to simply “Turban & Beard Instant Costume.” It’s hard to imagine that this new title is of much comfort to those who don a turban and beard. Rajdeep Singh, director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition, told the Huffington Post, “If you lost a loved one during the 9/11 attacks or during our nation's war against Al Qaeda, or if someone attacked your father in a hate crime because he wears a turban, I doubt this costume would make you comfortable.” After receiving pressure from the Sikh Coalition, Walmart removed the costume from its website, but it’s still available from Fun World. Perhaps …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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HumanProgress.org: Following the Forward March of Human Progress

October 30, 2013 in Economics

By most measures, there has never been a better time in history to inhabit our planet. A growing body of evidence points to dramatic improvements in human well-being. Meticulously created and managed, HumanProgress.org is a new, free, innovative website that steadily follows and documents the forward march of human progress. This new site closes the gap between the often pessimistic public perception and a more optimistic reality, and is a comprehensive new research tool that provides data in an easily accessible manner.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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The Mises Institute Is Now on Instagram

October 30, 2013 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

If you’re like me, you’ve concluded that reading messages up to 140 characters in length on Twitter is simply too exhausting. Who has the time?

If you’d like to know about the Mises Institute’s latest publications, events, news, media appearances, and videos by merely glancing at an image, then the Mises Institute’s new Instagram account is for you.

If you have photos of your own from Mises Institute events that you’d like to share, feel free to send them to me at rwmcmaken@mises.org.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Death Penalty Is Just One of Many Things the State Does Badly

October 30, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

6571

Marc Hyden writes in Mises Daily:

The framework that governs the death penalty guarantees dysfunction. Elected prosecutors are given broad discretion to decide to seek a death sentence or not — regardless of the wishes of the victim or victim’s family members. Political, rather than moral or legal, considerations sometimes drive elected officials to pursue a death sentence. Even the juries are designed to support the death penalty. If a prosecutor seeks capital punishment, then a person who opposes the death penalty is generally not permitted to serve on that jury. If that alone isn’t problematic enough, the appeals process that is currently in place is there not to introduce new evidence but to ensure the convicted was given a fair initial trial. It remains incredibly difficult to introduce new evidence. This framework favors the death penalty and the will of the government over protecting the rights of the people.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul Plans to Hold Janet Yellen'sNomination

October 30, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul today issued the following letter to Sen. Harry Reid announcing his intent to hold the nomination of Dr. Janet Yellen as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve unless S. 209, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, is also considered.

‘The American people have a right to know what this institution is doing with the nation’s money supply. The Federal Reserve does not need prolonged secrecy-it needs to be audited, and my bipartisan Federal Reserve Transparency Act will do just that,’ Sen. Paul said.

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Source: RAND PAUL