Saturday, December 17, 2011

Near Miss: Motorist Avoids Head-On Collision with Tractor Trailer

As we head into winter, next time you find yourself getting impatient while driving on a snow- or ice-covered road, you might want to keep this video (from Russia) in mind:

Obamas Fly Separately to Hawaii for Christmas

Last summer, Daily News columnist and The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros referred to Michelle Obama as a "Modern Day Marie Antoinette" for among other things her lavish vacation in Spain partially on the taxpayer's dime.

Since then, nothing has changed, despite a presidential executive order about avoiding unnecessary federal travel costs. In this video, hapless White House spokesman Jay Carney, a former "journalist," lamely tries to justify the First Lady separately flying to Hawaii on a taxpayer-funded military jet on the family "annual holiday trip" instead of waiting for the president to join her on the same plane.

According to the Hawaii Reporter, "Mrs. Obama’s early flight to Hawaii costs about $63,000 (White House Dossier), but add security and personnel for a total of about $100,000," while the the total cost of the family trip is at least $4 million.

The Daily Mail asks: "With thousands of families struggling to raise funds for Christmas, you would think the Obamas might manage a little thriftiness."

On the subject of vacations, Keith Koffler of the aforementioned White House Dossier blog wrote the following back in August:
First Lady Michelle Obama over the last year has spent a total of 42 days on vacation, or a little more than one out of every nine days, according to a White House Dossier analysis of her travel.
 Her vacations, the cost of which are mostly borne by taxpayers, include trips to Panama City, Fla., Martha’s Vineyard, Hawaii, South Africa, Latin America, Vail, Colo., and her visit this week to her brother in Corvallis, Ore.
The total does not include a nine day sojourn in Martha’s Vineyard that the Obamas will enjoy this month. Nor does it include a trip she made to Ireland and Great Britain in May, which I’m counting as official travel...
 Mrs. Obama’s extensive vacation travel comes while many America citizens find themselves out of work or having trouble making ends meet as the economic recovery stalls.
Taxpayers pick up most of the cost of transporting the first lady and her extensive entourage – including Secret Service and her staff – to her various destinations. While she may in some cases pay some of the tab for her personal expenses and travel, the amount is dwarfed by the overall cost to the public.

China Gives Failing Grades to Liberal Arts Curriculum

Does Florida Governor Rick Scott (who wants to de-emphasize state funding for liberal arts degrees) and China may have something in common when it comes to creating real jobs for college graduates?
Much like the U.S., China is aiming to address a problematic demographic that has recently emerged: a generation of jobless graduates. China’s solution to that problem, however, has some in the country scratching their heads.
China’s Ministry of Education announced [in late November] plans to phase out majors producing unemployable graduates, according to state-run media Xinhua. The government will soon start evaluating college majors by their employment rates, downsizing or cutting those studies in which the employment rate for graduates falls below 60% for two consecutive years.
Separately, does this description resonate at all with the U.S. under the Obama administration?
State-controlled media portray China's leaders as living by the austere Communist values they publicly espouse. But as scions of the political aristocracy carve out lucrative roles in business and embrace the trappings of wealth, their increasingly high profile is raising uncomfortable questions for a party that justifies its monopoly on power by pointing to its origins as a movement of workers and peasants.