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February Links: California, Survival, Censorship, Prisons, the Unwise War on Overhead, and More

February 19th, 2012 · by Jake Seliger · No Comments

* “This is our national identity crisis in a nutshell: Do we want government spending half its money on redistribution and military, or re-dedicating itself to science, infrastructure, and health research?

* Stop Fixating on the Administrative Overhead of Non-Profits:

I’ve heard from more than one frantic foundation fundraiser who can’t raise a dime for overhead–everyone wants their money earmarked for programs. None of the donors seem to realize that even at a very well run charity, the electric bill, accountants, IT staff, grantwriters, compliance experts, investment managers, and yes, fundraisers do not actually get paid by good fairies who drop off wee buckets o’ gold at the beginning of every month. Or that unless you have all those boring-yet necessary things, you cannot actually run any programs.

* The Internet won the Congressional battle against censorship. This time.

* Funny grant fact of the day: the Family Planning Services Grants program was released on Valentine’s Day. One other curious fact about the program: it promises “grants” in the plural, yet only one award is expected.

* California dissolves redevelopment agencies.

* The Affordable Care Act continues to give; the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Research Program first appeared in 2010 and, as our subscribers know, it came back for another round recently.

* “This might seem a small thing — hey, so what if these foreign jet-setters endure some hassle? — but I think it is emblematic of some cumulatively larger issues. Americans are habituated to griping about our airports and airlines, but I sense that people haven’t internalized how comparatively backward and unpleasant this part of our “modern” infrastructure has become.”

* Do STEM Faculties Want Undergraduates To Study STEM Fields?

* Every day at my job I helped people just barely survive.

* “The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life.

* Great idea: “Legislation in Florida would allow parents to vote to restructure a public school into a private or charter model.

* Make playgrounds are safe but boring and kids won’t use them.

* For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage. This quote from the article: “Ms. Strader said her boyfriend was so dependent that she had to buy his cigarettes. Marrying him never entered her mind” reminds me of Bryan Caplan’s post “Poverty, Conscientiousness, and Broken Families,” where he says, “even when [the authors] are talking about men, low female conscientiousness is implicit. After all, conscientious women wouldn’t associate with habitually unemployed men in the first place – not to mention alcoholics, addicts, or criminals.”

* Government is not the only field in which people routinely have trouble using language.

* “How to Fight The Man:”

For generations people have been told: Think for yourself; come up with your own independent worldview. Unless your name is Nietzsche, that’s probably a bad idea. Very few people have the genius or time to come up with a comprehensive and rigorous worldview.

If you go out there armed only with your own observations and sentiments, you will surely find yourself on very weak ground. You’ll lack the arguments, convictions and the coherent view of reality that you’ll need when challenged by a self-confident opposition. This is more or less what happened to Jefferson Bethke. [. . .]

Most professors would like their students to be more rebellious and argumentative. But rebellion without a rigorous alternative vision is just a feeble spasm.

* Here’s some counterintuitive advice for literary critics: don’t read other critics before you write your review or criticism.

* Why the video pros are moving away from Apple. And I can’t blame them.

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