Gongol.com Archives: December 2018

Brian Gongol

December 18, 2018

News Regrets over a lack of regret

Senator Orrin Hatch admits that his recent brush-off of Presidential misbehavior was "irresponsible and a poor reflection on my lengthy record of dedication to the rule of law", according to the Salt Lake Tribune. It's good to see that his conscience won after all.

News New York state attorney general forces closure of Trump Foundation

Ordinarily at this point in a Presidency, someone might be thinking tentatively about where to put the Presidential library...not facing allegations of "a shocking pattern of illegality".

News Vatterott College to close

The for-profit college chain is closing. Remember that the same thing happened to ITT Tech in 2016. And that Purdue Global used to be Kaplan.

News Special-edition Lincoln Continentals to get suicide doors again

They're interesting to see...but why?

Health Reuters report: There was asbestos in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder

Certainly a damning assertion, if true

The United States of America Slightly bigger laboratories of democracy

Whenever someone suggests that the Federal government ought to do/regulate/pay for something, it's interesting to ask whether we should do that same thing at the level of a Federal Reserve Bank district. All too often, saying the Federal government ought to do something is a lazy way of saying "I want it but I don't want to pay for it." We ought to subject more ideas to multi-state tests that don't rise to the level of national programs. Might take some innovative coordination along state governments, but adults can handle it. The sooner we euthanize this idea that all good things must flow downhill from D.C. to the rest of us, the better.

Broadcasting Should cameras have been in the Michael Flynn courtroom?

There ought to be a fundamental right to press coverage of trials, but the the way TV coverage fueled the OJ Simpson debacle can't be erased from memory.

News We're doing graduate-level education wrong

The direct costs are high. The sunk costs are enormous. On one hand, America has a phenomenal system of graduate-level education. But on the other, it's basically closed to anyone who isn't ready to front the enormous up-front risk (in time, money, and foregone opportunities) to attend years of graduate school. That's messed up. In 2018, there's no excuse for still treating graduate-level education (aside from niche programs like "executive MBAs") like something that belongs to a priesthood, chained heavily to a system of perpetuating the priesthood. There are countless people in the private sector (and public and nonprofit sectors, too) who shouldn't drop everything to take a graduate program that will take years to complete with an uncertain outcome. But they should be on long-term tracks to gain lifelong education. There's a mountain of foregone social utility because people who are busy doing things out in the general economy aren't spending a little time in the classroom every week (including virtual classrooms), learning the latest research-based knowledge in their fields. There's also a mountain of foregone social utility because higher education often isn't getting the active feedback of millions of people who see the massive amount of technological and methodological progress being made *outside* the confines of academic research. If only we could revive the mentality that brought us the land-grant colleges and ag extension programs, but apply that thinking to the manufacturing and service economies. So much good would come from thinking more broadly about graduate-level education as a lifetime thing.

Humor and Good News Package thieves discover bomb(*)

A glitter bomb. A glorious, highly-engineered glitter bomb. It's brilliant.

Threats and Hazards Ohio man gets squad-car police treatment for trying to cash a check

The man tried to cash a check for about a thousand bucks and ended up in the back of a squad car because the tellers didn't believe him. It seems quite certain the police were called because he was black. Come on, people. That's outrageous.

News A healthy skepticism of technocrats

Brink Lindsey aptly puts it like this: "We think the technocratic style of reg is highly vulnerable to insider capture as well as to unforeseen consequences due to interaction with other elements of the regulatory thicket. We prefer a few big, dumb, rule-like interventions over countless little nudges." Remember the words of Margaret Thatcher: "The State's concern in economic affairs must be primarily to service the nation. Its task should be to ensure that as few obstacles as possible are placed in the way of our own pursuit of enterprise, not to try and organize how we should do that."

@briangongolbot on Twitter