Two Mistakes

One is by the Department of Education, and one is by “some college presidents.”

Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said he wants accreditors to “do more to address substandard and underperforming institutions” by focusing their efforts on weak schools while reviewing elite schools less rigorously.

Sure. Because the Harvards and Dartmouths of college-dom are such paragons of free speech, diversity of ideas, and quality teaching. Never mind that elite school elite professors spend more of their time doing government-funded research than they spend in the classroom doing actual teaching.

The “college presidents'” mistake is this:

Compromise

The AP had a piece on FoxNewsOnline that, among other things, expressed hope that in President Barack Obama’s (D) last year sitting in the President’s chair, there can be some compromise between him and Congress’ Republican leadership, that the two can work together.

Searching for potential compromise, President Barack Obama brought the Republicans who run the House and Senate to the White House on Tuesday to try to hash out an agenda for his final year, even as his top legislative priorities appear to be losing steam.

Gross Incompetence?

As if we didn’t need another reason to disband the Department of Education (see its Dear Colleague letter for an example of its gross dishonesty), here’s another, of utter failure to perform. DoE isn’t taking care of its digital data.

The Education Department doesn’t hold nuclear launch codes. But its vast data trove on student-loan borrowers and their parents—and the nearly $100 billion it disburses in new loans every year—are reason enough to want the bureaucrats to prevent digital intrusions. ….
The stakes go well beyond personal privacy. Federal student loans outstanding exceed $1 trillion, and Team Obama is trying to forgive those debts. It would add injury to injury if cyber-fraudsters were able to pile on for a taxpayer plundering.

Respect for Borders

In addition to what it is showing with its sea grab, the PRC is demonstrating it has no respect for land borders, either. The PRC is actively sending its government forces—non-military, so far—into other nations to kidnap persons there that the PRC wants and bringing them back within the PRC’s borders.

Among those who have disappeared or been repatriated amid President Xi Jinping’s growing crackdown on dissent, rights groups say, are five Hong Kong publishers of Chinese political gossip, including one who was in the territory and one in Thailand at the time. Others in Thailand include a journalist seeking refuge, two activists who were recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and dozens of Turkic Uighur minority members. Two in the group are European citizens.

Voter Identification

North Carolina’s Voter ID law is before the Federal Middle District of North Carolina with closing arguments just completed. The beef centers on the NAACP’s complaint (joined by the Obama administration) that voter identification is racist. Of course. What disagrees with the Left must be racist.

North Carolina’s law requires a prospective voter to have one of six forms of photographic identification, reduces the number of days of early voting, eliminates same day registration, and allows voters to cast provisional ballots if they say (not show) that they cannot meet the requirements (if a voter meets the requirements within a generous time frame after the voting, his provisional ballot becomes official).

Home Buying Down Payment Requirements

The PRC is reducing the size of down payment it requires for a Chinese citizen to buy a home from 25% to 20% of the purchase price. For those who already own a home and haven’t yet fully repaid that mortgage, the mandatory down payment on the purchase of a second home is being reduced to 30% from 40%. This is that government’s attempt to stimulate a slowing economy by inducing more consumption and thereby growing jobs. Supposedly.

The moves, though, raise the question: why is the PRC government mandating this sort of thing at all?

Oh, wait….

EU and Taxes, Again

Brussels on Thursday dusted off a set of proposals aimed at extracting more revenue from multinational companies. Better watch out, because some or all of these measures may become law.

European leaders often complain that multinationals avoid paying a “fair share” of tax. The Anti-Tax-Avoidance Package is supposed to remedy this by changing accounting rules and boosting reporting requirements….

Part of the EU’s beef is that low-tax member nations supposedly are competing unfairly with high-tax members. Another part is that some member nations cut better deals with multinational corporations to influence where these corporations locate their headquarters than other member nations are willing to cut.

More, Please

A US Navy destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles or within the territorial waters of an island [Triton Island, part of the Paracel Islands] claimed by China in the South China Sea, in a sign of increasing tension in the region days after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Beijing attempting to settle long standing territorial disputes. Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to the island as well.

More Government Interference

The Obama administration plans to require large employers to peel back the curtain on how much they pay men and women in a push to narrow long-standing earning gaps between the genders.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will roll out details of the plan Friday to begin gathering a summary of pay data from employers with 100 or more workers.

Leave aside the lack of validity of the data so confiscated by the government.

Statisticians and economists note…that analyzing wage disparities is a complex undertaking, and that aggregating data about many occupations is especially tricky.

The South China Sea and Chinas

Taiwan’s president, defying a rare criticism from key ally the United States, visited an island in the disputed South China Sea on Thursday to emphasize Taiwan’s sovereignty claims in the increasingly tense region.

A small correction: that’s the Republic of China, which sits on the island of Taiwan.

And good for President Ma Ying-jeou, who along with 30 staffers visited the island of Taiping in the Spratly Islands, a collection variously claimed by the RoC, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and which lie within Brunei’s EEZ, but which has been seized and occupied by the People’s Republic of China.