Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Cruising the Web

What awful news to wake up to this morning. It's such a cliche to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, but that is how we all feel. As with the Ariana Grande concert shooting attack at the French nightclub, Bataclan or the shooting at Pulse, the Orlando nightclub, I keep thinking about people happily preparing for a fun night out, maybe texting their friends their excitement at having scored tickets or discussing what they're going to wear to the concert and then to have this unbelievable horror.

While following the news on Twitter between classes yesterday, I saw a lot of people rushing out to score their political points about gun control or to counter those points. And then there was that horrible CBS vice president who thought it was worthwhile to tweet out that she didn't have sympathy for the victims because they were country music fans who "often are Republican." Who even thinks that way about people shot to death? I just can't imagine. I don't normally support firing people for what they say on Twitter, but I'm glad that CBS fired her.

But there were still such stories of personal courage and goodness of people who sacrificed their lives serving as human shields to save others, that my heart reels. Here are some more inspiring stories.

Just as after the hurricanes we heard such tales, I'm struck at how many truly good people there are in this world and I'm humble in doubting my own courage to sacrifice for others.
But the number of casualties could have been much higher had it not been for the brave few that helped first responders tend to the wounded.
From a firefighter who was shot while performing CPR on a wounded woman to a man who saved his friend from bleeding to death to the ex-marine that stole a truck to transport victims to the hospital - several civilians became overnight heroes.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4942928/Stories-heroism-emerge-amid-Las-Vegas-massacre.html#ixzz4uRMFyfwN
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

I wish that our country could take at least a few days to grieve before people leap to try to take political advantage of such a tragedy. But I guess that is too much to expect. Let's find out what kind of guns this guy had and how he acquired them. Then, as Jazz Shaw challenges the Democrats calling for more gun control laws, which laws are they proposing that would have stopped this monster since automatic rifles have been illegal since 1986? If there are laws that could be enacted that would have prevented adaptation of a semi-automatic into a fully automatic weapon, then that should be something to be done. But let's get the information first before jumping to our partisan hobbyhorses.

25% Off in Office and School Supplies

Deals in Office Products

Deals in Home and Kitchen

Shoshana Weissman and C. Jarrett Dieterle write about what makes Judge Don Willett, Trump's recent nominee to the 5th Circuit so special. Sure his tweeting is fun and helps him stand out among other less noticeable judges. But it is his judicial philosophy that is important. Many judges with a conservative judicial philosophy believe in deferring to the elected branches of government, but Willett is part of a new, more libertarian group that believe that judges need to apply their constitutional deference to actions of the government as well as in other cases. It shouldn't seem like such a remarkable concept, but it is important in these days of over-weaning governmental reach.
On the other hand, libertarian legal scholars such as Randy Barnett have suggested an alternative approach called “judicial engagement,” which encourages courts to more aggressively evaluate laws and regulations to determine whether or not they violate the Constitution. Willett’s jurisprudence underscores his belief that judicial duty means taking the Constitution and its limits seriously—and not putting a pro-government thumb on the scale. He demonstrated this most clearly in the 2015 case Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, in which the Texas Supreme Court struck down a requirement that eyebrow threaders complete hundreds of hours of coursework and pass exams, all of which were unrelated to eyebrow threading.

In his concurring opinion, Willett derided overly deferential judges and suggested an alternative: “In my view, Texas judges should instead conduct a genuine search for truth—as they do routinely in countless other constitutional areas—asking ‘What is government actually up to?’” In other words, if legislatures or regulators enact a law or rule, they must articulate coherent and persuasive reasons for why it is necessary. It is the job of courts to ensure that such reasons actually make sense and are permissible uses of government power.
Patel was a case concerning the over-regulation of certain industries that have been put in place as a reward to those already operating in that business to create barriers against competition. THe case involved the many hours of coursework required to become an eyebrow threader. The requirements weren't about customer safety but about keeping the number of eyebrow threaders low. We've seen this over-licensing trend across the country in professions such as being a florist, hairdresser, or undertaker. Many of these overly broad licensing requirements keep just the people we'd like to see get jobs and start their own small businesses out of work. But those who operate the schools that benefit for the hundreds of hours required for getting a license and those who already have a license have teamed up to keep competition low. For example, these are requirements in Nebraska that would be removed by a new law proposed there to lower barriers to employment.
LB343 removes barriers to employment or practice in 7 personal care fields, and one medical profession:
Cosmetologists and barbers: Reduces requirement of 2,100 classroom hours for licensure to 1,500, in line with most states.

Massage therapists: Reduces requirement of 1,000 classroom hours for licensure to 500, in line with most states.

Cosmeticians: Eliminates state registration requirements for cosmeticians.

Electrologists and estheticians: Retains current 600 classroom hour requirement for licensure, while removing an additional requirement for 600 credit hours.

Nail technicians: Reduces current 300 hour requirement set by licensing board to no more than 200 hours.

Audiologists: Eliminates duplicative requirement for licensed audiologists to receive a second license to dispense hearing aids.
Many of the groups opposing this legislation are among those that profit from these excessive regulations. One example is some cosmetology schools, who claim that requiring fewer hours may force a harmful change to curriculum. This bill does not alter the curriculum taught in cosmetology schools at all, however. Some opponents also argue that Nebraska’s 2,100 hours of cosmetology training produces a safer work environment. Independent research shows that all Nebraska’s students are getting with more hours is more student debt than other practitioners in other states.
If Judge Willett is going to strike down such barriers to employment that are just meant to protect others from competition, more power to him.

The Council of Graduate Schools has recently released its report on graduate school enrollment and degrees from 2016. Mark J. Perry at AEI highlights some of the interesting findings
from the report.

For the eighth year in a row, women earned a majority of doctoral degrees awarded at US universities in 2016. Of the 78,744 doctoral degrees awarded in 2016. women earned 40,407 of those degrees and 52.1% of the total, compared to 37,145 degrees awarded to men who earned 47.9% of the total (see top chart above). Women have now earned a majority of doctoral degrees in each academic year since 2009. Previously, women started earning a majority of associate’s degrees for the first time in 1978, a majority of master’s degrees in 1981, and a majority of bachelor’s degrees in 1982 according to the Department of Education. Therefore, 2009 marked the year when men officially became the “second sex” in higher education by earning a minority of college degrees at all college levels from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees.
Women are receiving more advanced degrees than men in more fields.
By field of study, women earning doctoral degrees in 2016 outnumbered men in 7 of the 11 graduate fields tracked by the CGS (see top chart above): Arts and Humanities (54% female), Biology (51.7%, and one of the STEM fields that we hear so much about in terms of female under-representation), Education (69.4%), Health Sciences (69.9)%, Public Administration (77.4%), Social and Behavioral Studies (60.2%) and Other fields (50.7%). Men still earned a majority of 2016 doctoral degrees in the fields of Business (54.1% male), Engineering (77.2%), Math and Computer Science (74.2%), and Physical and Earth Sciences (66.4%).
So with all the panic over women being underrepresented in STEM fields and business, how about men's underrepresentation in Biology, Education, Health Science, or Public Administration. Could it just be that men and women, on average, are making different choices in fields that they want to pursue?
The bottom chart above displays total enrollment in 2016 by gender and field for all graduate school programs in the US (certificate, master’s and doctoral degrees from Table B.13), showing that there is a significant gender gap in favor of women for students attending US graduate schools. Women represent 57.5% of all graduate students in the US, meaning that there are now 135 women enrolled in graduate school for every 100 men. In certain fields like Education (75% female), Health Sciences (77.7% female) and Public Administration (77.1%), women outnumber men by a factor of almost three or more. By field of study, women enrolled in graduate school outnumber men in the same 7 out of the 11 graduate fields of study noted above, with females being a minority share of graduate students in only Business (45.1% female), Engineering (24.7% female), Math and Computer Science (31.5% female), and Physical and Earth Sciences (37% female).
Will we start to hear people worrying about this gender disparity among men and women in certain fields or will all the attention be on the fields in which men outnumber women and no mention of all the fields in which women outnumber men? Mark J. Perry doubts it.
If there is any attention about gender differences in the CGS annual report, it will likely focus on the fact that women are a minority in 4 of the 11 fields of graduate study including engineering and computer science (a gender gap which some consider to be a “national crisis”), with calls for greater awareness of female under-representation in STEM graduate fields of study and careers (except for the STEM field of biology, where women have actually been over-represented for decades). But don’t expect any concern about the fact that men have increasingly become the second sex in higher education. The concern about gender imbalances will remain extremely selective, and will only focus on cases when women, not men, are underrepresented and in the minority.

To conclude, let me pose a few questions, paraphrasing George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams: If America’s diversity worshipers see any female under-representation as a problem and possibly even as proof of gender discrimination, what do they propose should be done about female over-representation in higher education at every level and in 7 out of 11 graduate fields? After all, to be logically consistent, aren’t female over-representation and female under-representation simply different sides of gender injustice? (emphasis in the original)

Best Deals in Vitamins and Supplements

Interesting Finds at Amazon: Updated Daily

Spring Savings in Grocery and Gourmet Food

Home and Kitchen Markdowns

John Stossel reports
on how the Americans with Disabilities Act has been used to shut down Berkeley's wonderful program of putting their professors' lectures up on the internet for free. This was great. I listened to quite a few of them from the history department there. They helped me prepare for my own classes or as a refresher course. But then, as Stossel reports, the federal government decided that this was too good a thing to keep its hands off of.
President Obama's eager regulators, in response to a complaint from activists, decided that Berkeley's videos violated the ADA. The Justice Department sent the school a threatening letter: "Berkeley is in violation of title II ... (T)he Attorney General may initiate a lawsuit."

What Berkeley had done wrong, said the government, was failing to caption the videos for the hearing impaired. The ADA makes it illegal to "deny" deaf people services available to others.

Equality is a noble goal, but closed captioning is expensive.
Berkeley couldn't afford the cost of close-captioning the 20,000 lectures, so they just stopped offering the lectures and removed the videos from its website.
So now, instead of some deaf people struggling to understand university lectures, no one gets to hear them.

Politicians mean well when they pass rules like the ADA, but every regulation has unintended consequences. Most are bad.
There is a happy ending to this.
In this case, fortunately, an angry entrepreneur came to the rescue. Jeremy Kauffman hates to see valuable things disappear, so right before Berkeley deleted its website, Kauffman copied the videos and posted them on his website, called LBRY (as in Library).

He says the Berkeley videos are just the start of what LBRY has planned. He wants the site to be YouTube — but without the content restrictions.

LBRY uses a new technology that operates like Bitcoin. It's "decentralized," meaning videos posted are stored on thousands of computers around the world. That makes it nearly impossible for governments — or even Kauffman himself — to remove them.

"LBRY is designed to be much more decentralized, much more controlled by users" and "absolutely freer," Kauffman explains in a video I posted this week.

He acknowledges that with no censorship, his invention may end up hosting videos of bad things — beheadings, child porn, who knows what else. But he argues that if he creates a system with censorship, "it allows us to keep the bad stuff out, which is great, but it also allows dictatorial regimes to keep content off. Do we want to make videos available to the people in Turkey, Iran and China? We say yes."

LBRY will let users flag videos depicting illegal actions. Those videos may no longer be shown on LBRY. However, other websites can show the illegal content using LBRY's technology, and Kauffman can't stop that.

Kauffman says he won't remove the Berkeley videos from his site even if he's sued because there aren't captions for deaf people.

"Is that a reason that content shouldn't be available to everyone?" asks Kauffman....

Thank goodness for the internet and for people like Kauffman, someone willing to spend his own money to keep information free.

Tools and Home Improvement

Today’s Deals

Fashion Sales and Deals