Archives

Friday, November 11, 2011

400-408 – David Barton, founder and president of Wallbuilders (wallbuilders.com), an organization dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.  Author of many articles and books, including Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion, and America's Godly Heritage – a book that challenged me to reconsider what I had been taught about American history, specifically the role of Christianity in it, that finally culminated in me going to grad school and getting a Master's degree in political philosophy and American government.

Where would our founders say we went off the rails?  Two places:  in 1804 with the passage of the 12th Amendment which made the president directly elected by the people; and in 1913 with the 17th Amendment at the direct election of senators.

Today, we start with why the personhood amendment lost Tuesday in Mississippi.

413-423 – David Barton, Analysis of the Republican field, starting with Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.

428-438 – David Barton, On to Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann.

443-452 – David Barton, Lessons from Tuesday's election, Repeal of DOMA, and FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial, 

• Rutherford Institute (11/10/2011) Citing Concern for School Safety, Federal Court Dismisses Case Against Calif. School that Banned Students from Wearing American Flag T-Shirts.

• Charles Krauthammer (NRO, 11/11/2011) The 2011 Elections: Split Decision: American politics are inherently cyclical

• Peggy Noonan (WSJ, 11/12/2011) The Republican Unreality Show: A moment in this week's debate suggests the GOP needs to sober up.

• WSJ (11/11/2011) If Iran Gets the Bomb: The world immediately becomes a far more dangerous place.

• Ken Timmerman (FPM, 11/10/2011) Connecting the Nuclear Dots on Iran.

458-508 – Ray Comfort, best-selling author of more than 60 books, countless tracts, and numerous videos, and co-host (with Kirk Cameron) of the award-winning television program The Way of the Master.  Perhaps his best work is his recent 180 Movie, showing people going "from pro-choice to pro-life in seconds!" (180movie.com).  The ADL is outraged with the comparison.

• ADL (11/9/2011) ADL Derides Film's 'Cynical, Perverse' Attempt to Compare the Holocaust to Abortion in America.

512-523 – Ray Comfort,  Reaction to the personhood amendment going down in Mississippi, and his work last week on three local high school campuses.  

528-539 – Ray Comfort, Take your group through the 180 Course at heartchanger.com.  Fran's story.  The key is Ray's simple request to complete the following sentence, "It's okay to take the life of a baby in the womb when..." 

544-554 – • Christine Dhanagom (Lifesite News, 11/10/2011) Increasing number of disabled Israeli children sue for not being aborted.  Wrongful life lawsuits!

558-608 – • Matt Wirz (WSJ, 11/11/2011) Generation Jobless: What Hedge Funds Can Teach College Students.  

My Summary – Hedge fund manager Daniel Ades, 31, is an expert in the $242 billion market for bonds backed by student loans, who obsesses about everything from unemployment rates in different professions to the long-term earning potential of young graduates.

Historically, investors have assumed 25% to 30% of student loans will default, but now they're anticipating defaults of 30% to 40% among today's graduates.

Unemployment for those 20-24 with a 4-year degree is 8%, for those without one its 21%.

Today's maxim is, "Stay in school, just not too long."

The biggest indicator of default is the student not graduating.

Second is the perpetual academic who is chronically changing majors or starting and stopping school.

Default increases dramatically for "5th year seniors."

Tuition at a public 2-year college averages $2,963 in 2011.  For a private 4-year, its $28,500.

It may make more sense to go to technical school than to law school.

// It's not just about where you can get the best education," he said during an interview in the Miami Beach office of his hedge fund, Kawa Capital Management. Students should pick schools where the payoff from higher salaries upon graduation exceeds the cost of the education by the widest margin, he contends, especially when the job market contracts.

By that arithmetic, technical colleges come out on top, Mr. Ades said. "We're in a skills based economy and what we need is more computer programmers, more [nurses]," he said. "It's less glamorous but it's what we need."

Law school, on the other hand, can end up a sucker's bet in periods of high unemployment, experts in student loan-backed bonds say.

The U.S. has far more law schools than other professional schools, resulting in an excess supply of lawyers, said investors and analysts. In recessions, law school graduates have a harder time finding work than other graduates from professional programs and are more likely to default on their student loans.

Nevertheless, law students have been willing to take on even more debt for their degrees, borrowing a record $68,827 on average to attend public universities this year and $106,249 for private educations, according to the American Bar Association.

// "We don't expect unemployment rates to go down for the next year or two so it's difficult to get excited about student loans against that backdrop."

The market for student loans not backed by the government is nearly frozen, at only 16% of the 2009 level.

70% of all Sallie Mae (SLM Corp) loans have the parents as co-signers.

Bottom line:  Banks are lending less, and charging higher interest rates for the loans they do make. Colleges, on the other hand, aren't charging any less and with less debt available to them, students will be forced to ask whether paying top dollar really pays off, Mr. Ades said.

• WSJ (11/9/2011) Generation Jobless: Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay.

// Although the number of college graduates increased about 29% between 2001 and 2009, the number graduating with engineering degrees only increased 19%, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Dept. of Education. The number with computer and information-sciences degrees decreased 14%. 

Since students typically set their majors during their sophomore year, the first class that chose their major in the midst of the recession graduated this year.

Research has shown that graduating with these majors provides a good foundation not just for so-called STEM jobs, or those in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, but a whole range of industries where earnings expectations are high. Business, finance and consulting firms, as well as most health-care professions, are keen to hire those who bring quantitative skills and can help them stay competitive.

// Students who drop out of science majors and professors who study the phenomenon say that introductory courses are often difficult and abstract. Some students, like Ms. Zhou, say their high schools didn't prepare them for the level of rigor in the introductory courses.

Overall, only 45% of 2011 U.S. high-school graduates who took the ACT test were prepared for college-level math and only 30% of ACT-tested high-school graduates were ready for college-level science, according to a 2011 report by ACT Inc.

"If you haven't been given the proper foundation early on, you fall farther and farther behind as the material gets more difficult. It's discouraging, demoralizing," says Claus von Zastrow, the chief operating officer and director of research at Change the Equation, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group that seeks to improve science and math education. It has led professors to anticipate the high levels of attrition.

612-623 – Calls – If you could do it over, either for yourself or the children you paid for, would you do college differently?  How many of you actually work in the area you got your major in?  What do you think of the increasing number of students who pick easier majors despite less pay?

628-639 – Calls – 

644-654 – Calls –

• LAT (11/11/2011) Heavens! It's 11-11-11.  Forget the 11th hour; today's palindromic date has the 11th month, day and year. Nobody is sure what this confluence of 1s portends. Regardless, plenty of people are determined not to miss out on the cosmic vibes.  111,111 squared is a palindrome (read the same backwards and forwards) 12345654321.

• Richard Stearns (WSJ, 11/11/2011) Evangelicals and the Case for Foreign Aid: Americans think 25% of federal dollars go to aid. It's really about 1%Mr. Stearns is president of World Vision USA and author of "The Hole in Our Gospel" (Thomas Nelson, 2009).