Friday, April 22, 2005

BN lays down the smack

I give you Brendan Nyhan.

Word, man. Word.

I reproduce my favorite pic for you....

BIlly Joel and Hershey's Kisses: Foiled Again

I just walked over in front of the main admin building (Allen) here at Duke.

There is a protest. Students Against Sweatshops is protesting the fact that a subcontractor employs people from a firm that has (allegedly; I am willing to believe it) abused union organizers.

The SAS activists have wrapped parts of the building in aluminum paper. The symbolism? They want to "foil" Duke's complicity in this heinous labor abuse.

The company in question, Angelica's Coporation, is guilty of trying to run a business (laundry) where margins are REALLY thin....what am I trying to say.....foil thin? They have been charged with some safety violations, including (this is from the Duke students' literature) "allowing 200 lb bags of dirty laundry to fall 15 ft onto workers."

Some questions:
1. Does it really matter that the laundry was "dirty"? Or is the idea of actual work so repugnant to the students that the real protest is the fact that anyone has to handle dirty laundry at all?
2. Foil: WTF? I mean, you had all sorts of "Duke's dirty laundry," or union-bashing, to work with. Instead, they wear foil hats and hand out Hershey's kisses (wrapped in foil, doncha know).
3. Billy Joel? When I walked by, Billy Joel's famous nonprotest song, "We Didn't Light the Fire", was playing. Seemed too perfect. Some lyrics, for the "we are so bored, we'll protest anything, just so we feel better ourselves, and even if there is no purpose or impact" generation:

We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...

(maybe they got the idea to use the song here?!?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Question You Dread

The other day, it happened.

My son asked me the "question." The one you know a kid will ask someday, but you hope that they won't.

We were driving in the car, and there it came, out of nowhere: "Dad....why didn't the Skipper and the others just KILL Gilligan? They would have gotten off the island."

Oy.

Anyway, you can also check this about the economics of monetary policy and the island of the Gilligan.

(Nod to J.M.P.P., who is a link in the chain of life)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sunday, April 17, 2005

From "Notes from the Lounge", an excerpt:

Even in econ departments, liberals outnumber conservatives, though not quite as overwhelmingly as elsewhere. And, if you'll forgive the cheap-shot, economics is "inherently conservative" in more or less the same way that biology is "inherently anticreationist" or physics is "inherently anti–perpetual motion machine." If there aren't many full-blown socialists in econ departments, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that it's not because Karl Rove gets to vett the macro textbooks.

That seems pretty fair. ATSRTWT.

Sanchez is getting tired of the whining of conservatives about oppression, and I am, too. Neo-Maoist student groups are going into classes and confronting profs about their opinions. It's no better to do that just because you happen to be conservative Neo-Maoists, folks.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a "developing situation." It didn't develop. But it involved a student demanding an apology from a prof who had criticized US foreign policy. This was a class where evaluating US foreign policy is directly relevant to the subject matter of the class, and the conduct of the war in Iraq was being compared to conduct of the first Gulf War, the Viet Nam war, and WWII. The prof gave his view that some members of the administration had made significant mistakes in the run-up to the war. I wasn't there, but I expect he may even had been rather caustic.

Look: the prof gets to be critical in that situation. You disagree, argue with the prof. If the prof then gives you a bad grade, or even just calls you names in class, because you disagreed, THEN we have a problem.

But there is no guarantee that smart people will always agree with you. I still say that conservative students should be thankful, 'cause they get to play against the first team. Liberal students get a smile and pat on their pointy little heads: "Good liberal! Here's a biscuit. Now, run along while I argue with this conservative."