May 23, 2014

FT’s Giles Finds Piketty’s ‘Wealth Inequality’ Work Riddled With ‘Data Problems’ — And Wrong

French economist Thomas Piketty has become a darling of the left for allegedly “proving” that, as paraphrased by Chris Giles at the Financial Times, “wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war.” The Media Research Center’s Julia Seymour has described Piketty as a “‘rock star’ of the far-left,” an accurate assessment given praises heaped upon his book and especially his public policy prescriptions by the likes of Alternet and Vox’s especially gullible Matthew Yglesias. Seymour also notes that Piketty’s work has received a great deal of favorable notice in the establishment press, and that he has met “with the Treasury Secretary” and “(President) Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.”

Of course these “oligarch groupies,” as Jeffrey Lord describes them, love him. Piketty favors an 80 percent tax on incomes above $500,000 and a progressive global tax on real wealth (i.e., after subtracting debt). The problem is that FT’s Giles, having done a deep dive into the economist’s data and spreadsheets, has found serious problems in the professor’s work which nullify his conclusions.

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The Two Faces of Michael Kinsley on Government Secrets

During the Pentagon Papers controversy over the release of Vietnam-related military and other documents in 1971, if a columnist had written that “the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences,” and that “that decision must ultimately be made by the government,” he or she would have been tagged in the press as a “(Richard) Nixon defender” and “an enemy of press freedom.”

How ironic it thus is that Thursday, in his New York Times review of Glenn Greenwald’s new book (“No Place to Hide”), current liberal Vanity Fair columnist and former CNN “Crossfire” host Michael Kinsley used that very language as he went after Greenwald, who has been NSA eavesdropping leaker Edward Snowden’s go-between for the past year, with a vengeance. And yes, he did it at the Times, the very newspaper which was at the heart of the Pentagon Papers litigation that was ultimately decided in its favor.

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Comment of the Day: On Common Core

From a NewsBusters commenter:

I have a bachelor’s degree in Math. I read some of the common core math instruction. If you wanted to turn students off to math, if you wanted to make them hate it with all their being, if you wanted to make math so incomprehensible that few American students will ever be able to master it, you could not have done a better job than coming up with Common Core.

Addition and subtraction are simple concepts. Multiplication and Division are simple variations on the theme of addition and subtraction. By using a “new” and contrived language to teach basic math concepts you are promising American illiteracy in the subject.

As I wrote ten days ago (BizzyBlog mirror):

This garbage has got to go.

The default assumption has to be that anyone who still supports Common Core is uninformed, bought and sold, or an unapologetic statist.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052314)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Restaurant Owner Has The Perfect Response To Reviewer Who Told Waitresses To ‘Show More Skin’

Filed under: Business Moves,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Morgantown, West Virginia (HT Business Insider, whose headline I used; video is at link; bolds are mine):

Posted: May 15, 2014 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: May 21, 2014 12:21 PM EDT

Online restaurant reviews can be harsh, but when one diner posted on Urban Spoon that the servers at the Atomic Grill needed to “show more skin,” the owners were not going leave that one alone.

“That sort of attitude is Cro-Magnon at best,” said owner Daniel McCawley.

But McCawley and his staff always try to please their customers, so they will be showing a lot of skin; potato skins.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the restaurant is offering a special on loaded potato skins. The proceeds from the special will benefit the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WVFRIS) program.

“I’m a husband and a father of a 12 year old girl,” McCawley said. “I have five sisters and it was just offensive.”

The post on Urban Spoon has been removed, but the grill’s owners hope the special educates people and shows the grill’s stance on the issue.

“If you have a minute, have some potato skins, try some fresh, local barbecue and give to a good cause. It’s important to us, it should be important to the community,” McCawley said.

The special runs May 24-26, and the restaurant will also have information available about WVFRISS and their work.

Go here for the rest of the story.