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Archive for July, 2007

Shlaes: As McCain goes, so goes the GOP

Posted by erweinstein on July 28, 2007

Economics and business journalist Amity Shlaes argues in her Bloomberg News column that John McCain is the US Republican Party’s only chance to take substantive positions on the issues for the 2008 election. Although she does not conduct an in-depth examination of the primary candidates, Shlaes concludes that the other Republican presidential front-runners represent shallow sound-bite policy proposals and the triumph of “electability” above actually thinking about the serious problems facing the nation (immigration reform, Congressional ethics, runaway federal spending, Iraq, etc.). Summary quote:

You may not agree with every one of McCain’s positions. But at least he has positions. He is the candidate who is making unpopular, and often right, choices.

Shlaes warns that a rejection of McCain by the primary voters will consign the GOP to a policyless, leaderless wilderness (perhaps one very similar to the Democratic Party’s condition over the past six years). With McCain’s campaign on the rocks and the alternatives comprising Romney’s plan (or was it a gaffe?) to “double Gitmo” and Giuliani’s desire for the authority to “infrequently” arrest and detain US citizens without judicial review, the near-term future of the Republican Party seems perplexing at best and bleak at worst.


For those uninterested in the Republican primary, Shlaes has also written a new history of the Great Depression, which was released last month to mostly positive reviews. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my Amazon Wishlist.

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High school math boosts college science

Posted by erweinstein on July 26, 2007

A Harvard press release details a new study showing that preparation in high school mathematics predicts better grades in college biology, chemistry, and physics. The study was conducted by Philip M. Sadler of Harvard and Robert H. Tai of the University of Virginia, and their journal article will be released in Science this week. Sadler and Tai surveyed 8,474 students taking “introductory science courses” at 63 colleges and universities and found interesting relationships between years of high school coursework and college grades. While the amount of high school background in each subject correlates with college performance for that same subject, only high school mathematics demonstrates the “halo effect” that improves college scores in other fields.

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No Hiding Place

Posted by erweinstein on July 17, 2007

…for George Galloway. The bombastic, socialist, anti-Jewish, pro-Soviet UK Member of Parliament has been suspended from the House of Commons for 18 days. His offense is obstructing the Parliamentary investigation into the alleged payments he (and a charity he directs) recieved from Saddam Hussein’s government out of the Oil for Food Program.

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Austan Goolsbee vs. Michael Moore

Posted by erweinstein on July 7, 2007

Austan Goolsbee, University of Chicago economics and business professor and the chief economic adviser to Barack Obama, critiques Michael Moore’s new movie Sicko.

(Link from the incomparable Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution.)

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