Archive for October, 2008

School Choice

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Cato opens full bore with not one, not two but three good posts on voucher systems in response to Obama’s debate answer and the “fact check” that vouchers don’t work.

The study found that students in the program did generally score higher. The reporters were confused by the fact that the findings for the whole group of students were not statistically significant at the prescribed cut-off. The researchers were only 91 percent certain (statistically) that the better performance of voucher-program students was due to the program rather than chance, and they had to be 95 percent certain. They did find statistically significant positive findings for some subgroups of students.

Compounding this error, the reporters then quote an education researcher saying, “We have no evidence that vouchers work.” This too is incorrect.

There have been ten analyses of random-assignment voucher program experiments (random-assignment being the gold-standard of testing treatment effects). All ten demonstrate positive voucher effects, 9 out of 10 find statistically significant effects for at least some subgroups, and 8 out of 10 find statistically significant effects for the whole voucher group.

And the parents involved are extremely happy with it and think their kids are safer. And the vouchers cost a third or less than what is spent in public schools. Oh, and these programs are all small and some highly regulated, which limits their effectiveness.

But if we use vouchers, we can’t hire more union members!


Thursday, October 16th, 2008

I’m really starting to dislike the Red Sox. They’re the Yankees reborn. Now that they’ve come back from 7-0 down, we’re going to have nothing but two days about clutchiness and character.

God, I hate the sports media. This has not been a good year for me, sports-wise.

House of Wax

Monday, October 13th, 2008

A presidential debate from 1908. Debates aren’t what they used to be.

Sign of the Times

Monday, October 13th, 2008

The Nobel Prize for Economics goes to liberal Paul Krugman. It’s not that he hasn’t done Nobel-level work; he has. It’s that this reminds me a lot of Carter’s Peace Prize — a way for the Nobel committee to endorse his politics.


Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Let it not be said that the left is immune from running down experts when they disagree with them. The anti-intellectual strain that is emerging in our political discourse is troublesome, to say the least. And it hurts conservatism as much as anything.


Thursday, October 9th, 2008

While McCain’s attempt to portray a planetarium projector as an “overhead projector” is stupid, I have to disagree with my fellow UVa alum alum. Earmarks are not the right way to fund a planetarium.

YK Linkorama

Thursday, October 9th, 2008
  • Nice to know that Congress is hard at work.
  • Didn’t Penn and Teller already demonstrate this?
  • I really love the idea of allowing people to cross state lines to get cheap insurance. Obama’s opposition to this is reprehensible. Why should states be allowed to outlaw cheap insurance?
  • I’m beginning to wonder if McCain’s stupid rhetoric isn’t going to endange Obama.
  • Private

    Monday, October 6th, 2008

    Radley Balko makes the case for Social Security privatization in spite of the market downturn. He’s right but it’s a complete non-starter politically.

    Garage Sale

    Sunday, October 5th, 2008

    Sue and I are in the initial stage of moving to Pennsylvania. The first stage is the ritual shedding of possessions. It’s astonishing how much useless crap you can accrete. So after the initial run to Good Will and the filling of several garbage cans, we had a garage sale. This was the first one I’d participated in since the mid-80’s.

  • I hadn’t realized that the $5 bill was changed I use cards for everything and rarely work on a cash basis. Having people hand me unfamiliar bills was a bit jarring.
  • The two people you meet at garbage sales: the guy who touches everything and asks lots of questions and buys nothing; the guy who rolls up and, without a word, casually buys something you thought would never sell.
  • A tip: schedule your garage sale for the time when (a) one neighbor has been advertising one for several days; (b) your other neighbor has suddenly decided he needs to sell his furniture and puts it out in front of your garage, drawing buyers.
  • I’m one of the worst people when it comes to sentimentalizing inanimate objects. I constantly pick up, say, a cassette tape I haven’t listened to in 15 years and don’t want to throw it out because I listened to it during that wild night in Boston. I have to force myself to toss/sell things.
  • Having a cute baby around helps sell stuff. If you don’t have one, see about renting.
  • I Rule

    Saturday, October 4th, 2008

    I just successfully named all 195 countries of the world. Of course, by the time I’ve finished this sentence, at least thee new ones will have been created.

    Debate Night Linkorama

    Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
  • A really cool look at the bridge that got rebuilt in Minneapolis.
  • The geniuses at Medicare have decided to stop paying for medical errors. Here’s why it’s a bad idea.
  • It turns out that cellulosic ethanol sucks almost as much as corn ethanol.
  • Libs are harping on Glass-Steagel as the origin of our problems. Bill Clinton says that’s garbage and he’s right.
  • A rundown of what went wrong in the mortgage meltdown. It wasn’t just the CRA, people.
  • The fiscal pictures gets even worse when you look at the states. What are we doing to our children?
  • That credit freeze? Eh, not so much.