Monday, June 27, 2011

Go to college

An excellent article in the much maligned New York Times this weekend by David Leonhardt defends the case for going to college. He says the anti-college for the masses argument ends up being an elitist one, for me and not for thee. He notes the parallels between this debate and the debate about high school for the masses that occurred at the end of last century. The American cultural decision, high school en masse, has been widely validated, especially when compared to parts of Europe.

More education for all! How can we disagree. Leonhardt quotes a recent study by The Hamilton Project, showing that college tuition has delivered an inflation-adjusted annual return of more than 15%; for the stock market, the historical return is 7%, for real estate, it’s less than 1%.

Read his whole piece here.

Thanks to Lyneka for pointing us this way.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Challenge em

Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Paul Ryan (R-WI)

The Republican's have yet to come up with a coherent answer to the argument that they prefer tax cuts for the wealthy over medicare cuts for the elderly. Obviously, any even semi-sophisticated analysis will note that tax cuts and medicare are not a zero-sum game. They do not trade-off with each other directly.

The Clarion Content, while willing to see taxes raised for the highest earners and the biggest estates, is just as earnestly interested in seeing the defense budget cut, along with the expenditures on foreign wars and futile nation building exercises.

The Republicans are going to have to develop some kind of narrative for when their electoral opponents accuse them of being willing to bargain off Granny's health care and retirement for their fat cat friends' tax cuts.

As yet, they have been unable to produce one. Read here a transcript of how a freshman Republican Representative from Arkansas, Rick Crawford, fails to handle this question in a town hall meeting with constituents. Representative Crawford starts out with the tack that, well, Medicare is broke anyway, but is unable to stick to this line of reasoning. John Q. Public points out, if Medicare is broke, it is hardly fair to give tax cuts to the richest of the rich in such a moment.

Time for a better answer, time to come up with it soon, or the Republicans will face Congressional trouncing in November of 2012, regardless of what happens at the top of the ticket.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Selling alcohol earlier

Found this picture Google image searching for: "Buying Liquor at 5am."

Not sure how we feel about this one here at the Clarion Content. As libertarian leaning, get the government out my business, kind of people, we know in principle we ought likely be in favor, but practically having knocked back an alcoholic libation or two in our day, we wonder...

The North Carolina State Legislature is considering changing the law to allow liquor sales Monday through Friday to begin at 5am rather than 7am. Theoretically, why is that even the government's concern period? We certainly do not hold with the state's monopoly on hard liquor sales here in North Carolina. But in practice, from no limited experience, we can definitively tell you, dear readers, that very little good comes of alcohol that must urgently be purchased at 5am rather than 7am in the morning.

There are very few healthy, wholesome reasons why folks must have alcohol at 5am. Again, it is generally our contention that the State should stay far away from regulating the wholesome-ness or lack thereof in an individual's behavior that is not threatening to other citizen's lives and well-being. Ah, and therein lies the rub and not just in this case, not threatening to other citizen's lives and well-being.

Specifically, here, how high is the risk to other citizen's lives and well-being in allowing early morning alcohol purchases? The sun is never really up at 5am. This and more is what the State Legislature must weigh, in addition, the bill contains a slew of other provisions and changes to existing alcohol sales law. Read more here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Presidential topics

The second Republican Presidential Primary debate was held last night in New Hampshire. The reviews? It was very vanilla. Only Minnesota firebrand Michelle Bachmann stood out. The Washington Post offered this note, a keen insight to the topics that will decide the 2012 general election. Domestic issues dominated the debate; candidates spent 105 of a potential 120 minutes on domestic policy. The only foreign policy question that got extended treatment was the American military presence in Afghanistan.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time for a study

Something to consider

The New York Times ran an interesting article this weekend in the wake of the Congressman Anthony Weiner racy pictures scandal. (Weiner has been outed for sending naughty snaps via the interwebs.) The article observed that a casual look around the political landscape would say that female politicians have been embroiled in far fewer sexual scandals than their male counterparts.

We know, we know, the plural of anecdote is not data. But how about a study? The NY Times speculates, "Women have different reasons for running, are more reluctant to do so and, because there are so few of them in politics, are acutely aware of the scrutiny they draw -- all of which seems to lead to differences in the way they handle their jobs once elected."

Here at the Clarion Content we read it as another good sign for the millennium of women.

Dogs rolling with the SAS

The British Special Air Service or SAS has been a model for special forces detachments of armies throughout the Western world. The SAS traces their history to World War II. The British government has largely veiled the SAS and refuses to comment on matters concerning their missions.

It was fascinating to read then, in the British tabloid, The Sun, that SAS soldiers have been rappelling into combat raids with German Shepherds strapped to their bodies. The dogs, renown for their police work, have proven incredibly useful in commando raids, including, apparently, the one that killed Osama bin-Laden. The dogs are equipped with infrared night visions cameras and are often used by troopers to scout ahead. Our furry four-legged friends typically wear body armor to protect against knives, gunfire and grenade shrapnel. Apparently some pooches have even been trained in the use of oxygen masks and have made parachute jumps, following in the giant footsteps of their forebears.

Read more here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Postmodern globalism run amok

The world market emphasizes the delights and upsides of being able to sell anything and everything from anywhere. This range is supposed to virtuous in and of itself. The presumption is that more choice is always better. Despite recent studies debunking that idea, it has proved a hard meme to dislodge.

While as our friends over at the MEP Report are fond of reminding us, the plural of anecdote is not data, sometimes the solid illustrative anecdote can serve as a beacon to shine a light on the reams of transactions taking place below the surface knowledge of the Empire's paperpushers.

To wit, the story of a seventeen year-old Chinese kid who decided to sell one of his kidneys over the internet to finance the purchase of new electronics gear; a laptop and iPad 2 amongst the haul. The Clarion Content has long hooted about the flourishing grey market for organs in China. The teen thought he had gotten away with it, having handled the transaction on his own without his parents knowledge. But his mother, not surprisingly, noticed the new computer equipment and then found her son's deep red scar. The BBC and a local Chinese TV report indicate the authorities are concerned.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


California is not gaining any new Congressional seats from the 2010 Census. This is the first time in the state's history that it has not gained enough population between censuses to garner additional representation in Congress. (Its population was up by 5 million folks or 14.6%.)

The state has yet to reverse the historic outflow of domestic migration. California lost approximately 72,000 residents to other states in 2009-2010. It is the fifth consecutive year of domestic migration outflow, something never previously seen in California's history.

It is something the Clarion Content believes must have a profound message for those who analyze the American psyche and American dreams.

Practice what you preach?

Not so much for Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey; Governor Christie prefers do as I say, not as I do.

The governor, who has been slashing school budgets and social services in New Jersey, while wringing his hands about the state's budget crisis, apparently is ready to spare no expense when it comes to his personal indulgence.

The incident in question? Wednesday, Governor Christie decided to use a state police helicopter to attend his son's baseball game against St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, Bergen County, NJ. Surely the governor must have traveling from official business and wanted to see his family? What kind of scrooge would begrudge a person that?


Governor Christie's last engagement on his official schedule before his son's baseball game was a private meeting Tuesday night at the governor's mansion with a group of Iowa donors who are trying to pursuade him to run for president.

Shady, Mr. Governor, shady.