Saturday, April 26, 2008
My wife: "Well, what are you going to do about it?"
Me: (Warily, because I she may already have told me what the hell this is about, and I forgot) "About....what?"
Wife: "Your son has a PLAYBOY in his car. I was looking for his tennis clothes, and I found it. What are YOU going to do about it?"
Me: (My son? She was there, too; I remember specifically). "What do you mean, what am I going to do?
Wife: "How are we going to punish him?"
Me: "Well, why would we punish him? As long as he lets me see it when he is done."
Wife: (Whack! Whack! Whack! on my shoulder)
Me: "Ow! OW! Dear, he's 18. He can buy a Playboy."
Later, after I have iced my shoulder, and Donna has calmed down, she gets around to the rest of the story. Turns out the Playboy is the October 1969 issue. Excellent condition. All the car ads and other things inside are beautiful color, like a time capsule.
The centerfold is a demurely posed (for our standards of 2008), extremely fit young black woman. (I only looked for purposes of research, dear. Don't hit my shoulder again). Her name is Jean Bell; she later was quite a few episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies.
Which led me to ask: Was that uncommon? A black Playmate, I mean. Turns out that the first black Playmate had been quite recent, March 1965 (Jennifer Jackson). And I had not known that.
An interesting video, on Jennifer Jackson.
On time people are smarter.
"People who score high on intelligence tests are also good at keeping time,
new Swedish research shows. The team that carried out the study also suspect
that accuracy in timing is important to the brain processes responsible for
problem solving and reasoning...They also demonstrated a correlation between
high intelligence, a good ability to keep time, and a high volume of white
matter in the parts of the brain's frontal lobes involved in problem
solving, planning and managing time." [Karolinska Institutet]
Reminds me of my little article. Be smart. Be on time.
(Nod to KL)
She gave me permission to post it.
I have been a Republican all of my 56 years. I have lived in Cary NC for the past 24 years.
I am DEEPLY offended by this insulting ad against Moore and Perdue that uses Rev. Wright. I just heard Linda Daves defend its use on MSNBC and to say she was laughable is an understatement. She said it was a commentary on their judgement to back Obama.
I will tell you it only shows me what Ms. Daves' judgement is and what I fear the NC GOP's judgement is. If that ad is the way the Republican party expects to earn my vote for governor, you are sadly mistaken. I would rather vote for the Democrat than the Republican if that ad continues to run. I am humiliated that my party would find this ad effective much less in good taste.
I have been very proud of the growth and progress I've witnessed in NC and also proud of it's growing reputation throughout the country in so many areas.
Today when I saw that ad I was ashamed of the NC GOP. Ashamed that you can not find a better way to uplift people and make them want to vote for the Republican, rather than target the baser instincts of some people. I thought the NC GOP was better than that. Your request on the website to try to keep that ad on the air is repugnant.
Here is the ad:
My own view: these ads get run because they work. This one may be too extreme. But it also may not.
The Durham Herald ran my view on this, a few days ago, after the PA primary....
The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina)
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News
April 23, 2008 Wednesday
STATE AND REGIONAL NEWS
BRIEF: Duke professor: McCain the real winner
Ray Gronberg, The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.
Apr. 23--DURHAM -- Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania primary win further scrambles a Democratic Party nominating process that's helping presumptive Republican nominee John McCain more than anyone else, a Duke University political scientist says.
While attention now turns to the May 6 primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, leading Democrats have reason to worry that Clinton's fight with fellow Barack Obama is going on too long, Duke professor Michael Munger said.
Their problem is that negative campaigning on both sides is driving down their vote-getting potential in November's general election.
"Clinton is saying bad things about Obama and Obama is saying bad things about Clinton, and the voters are going to believe both of them," Munger said. "Unless they find some way to stop this dance of death, we might as well get used to saying 'President McCain.' "
Recent polls in this state show Obama with a lead over Clinton that ranges anywhere from 9 to 25 points.
But I think the NC ad is a mistake tactically, and an offense to decency.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Which means, I think, I can post it without getting killed.
Why do men die first?
This is a question that has gone unanswered for centuries, but, now we know...
If you put a woman on a pedestal and try to protect her from the rat race... you're a male chauvinist.
If you stay home and do the housework .. you're a pansy.
If you work too hard... there's never any time for her.
If you don't work enough... you're a good-for-nothing bum.
If she has a boring repetitive job with low pay... this is exploitation.
If you have a boring repetitive job with low pay... you should get off your lazy behind and find something better.
If you get a promotion ahead of her... that is favoritism.
If she gets a job ahead of you... it's equal opportunity.
If you mention how nice she look s... it's sexual harassment.
If you keep quiet... it's male indifference.
If you cry ... you're a wimp.
If you don't... you're insensitive.
If you appreciate the female form and frilly underwear...you're a pervert.
If you don't... you're gay.
If you like a woman to shave her legs and keep in shape...you're sexist.
If you don't ... you're unromantic.
If you try to keep yourself in shape... you're vain.
If you don't... you're a slob.
If she has a headache... she's tired.
If you have a headache... you don't love her anymore. Or, worse, you need Viagra.
If you want it too often... you're oversexed.
If you don't... there must be someone else.
Bottom Line... Men die first because they want to.
Not an ump, actually, a "field manager."
The field manager confers with the two coaches to determine,
unanimously, if an out has been recorded.
The rules...the rules are pretty good. My favorite:
Rule 5.1: No one can keep score. In fact, no score can be kept by
either team or by fans; everyone is a winner!
Nice that one doesn't need to win to be a winner, but that just having a rule makes you one.
Because, for example, speaking at a "Birthday Party for Hitler" would be unfortunate.
The guy's excuse? He was just following orders. That didn't fly at Nuremberg, either.
(Nod to the Bearded Hammer of Warmoak)
2. Jim Shultz crushes the World Bank's attempt to de-villianize itself in Bolivia: There is, however, a good reason that Bolivians aren't used to hearing some of the Bank's ten boasts – it's because they aren't true. In fact, a few of the Bank's claims wander so far into fiction that one wonders whether the Bolivia office has hired Pinocchio and Associates Inc. as its new public relations firm.
3. Greg Weeks criticizes CATO's bizzare decision to give $500,000 to Venezuelan student activist Yon Goicoechea: Think tanks are certainly free to give their money to whomever they wish, but my immediate reaction was that this prize could permanently derail his political career and end up having the opposite effect the Cato Institute and others who hate Chávez want.
Thus spake Wesley Snipes in an effort to explain how he came to be 20 million in arrears to Unca Sam after not filing tax returns from 1999-2004.
Wesley's attorneys appear to be from Mars: "We were hoping for a complete acquittal," Snipes attorney Linda Moreno told reporters. "I have faith in the process, and I have faith in the jury system. We will appeal."
Looks like he's going to have a big legal bill to go with his big tax bill.
In all seriousness, though, doesn't 3 years in prison seem a little nuts here? Can't you auction off all his assets, put a lien on his future earnings and send him out to hustle up the dough? Prison seems unwarranted. Maybe the Feds are abusing Wes to send a message??
"Snipes' long prison sentence should send a loud and crystal clear message to all tax defiers that if they engage in similar tax defier conduct, they face joining him and his co-defendants ... as inmates in prison," said Nathan Hochman, an official at the US Department of Justice Tax Division.
Ya, maybe so.
Armed riot police raided the headquarters of 's main opposition party on Friday and detained scores of people in the biggest crackdown on the MDC since disputed elections last month, officials said. Dozens of riot police detained around 100 MDC supporters who were taken away in a crowded police bus, a Reuters witness said. The MDC said 200 to 250 police took part in the raid and they also took away computers used by the election command centre.
At this point, it looks like Mugabe staying in power seems like the most likely outcome of this mess. Father time (Bobby M is 84), seems like the only savior of the Zimbabwean people.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
2. Our trade pact with Colombia, Nic Kristof gets it! Some Democrats point out that Colombia’s government has been tied to paramilitary units that kill union members. It was important for Democrats to raise these concerns — forcing the Colombian government to crack down on paramilitaries and prosecute those who murder unionists. But Colombia’s progress has been immense. Assassinations of union members, while still a problem, have fallen 80 percent since 2002. Last year, the murder rate for union members was 4 per 100,000, reaching levels far below the homicide rate for the general public. As she clips flowers in a vast greenhouse, Ms. Reynosa knows that her future depends on access to the American market. She agrees that Colombia has human-rights problems, but she argues passionately that the free-trade agreement is the way to register continued improvements. More trade will mean more jobs and more security and human rights, she argues.
3. Roger Simon lays out Hillary's path to the nomination. A random excerpt: And then, of course, bribe the superdelegates.
Can some acts of violence be explained by a society’s “culture”? Scholars have found it hard to empirically disentangle the effects of culture, legal institutions, and poverty in driving violence. We address this problem by exploiting a natural experiment offered by the presence of thousands of international soccer (football) players in the European professional leagues. We find a strong relationship between the history of civil conflict in a player’s home country and his propensity to behave violently on the soccer field, as measured by yellow and red cards. This link is robust to region fixed effects, country characteristics (e.g., rule of law, per capita income), player characteristics (e.g., age, field position, quality), outliers, and team fixed effects. Reinforcing our claim that we isolate cultures of violence rather than simple rule-breaking or something else entirely, there is no meaningful correlation between a player’s home country civil war history and soccer performance measures not closely related to violent conduct.
While this is good, it's far from sufficient to stem the fraud and violence still being perpetrated in Zimbabwe by Mugabe and his people.
Incredibly, South Africa is now pushing a "unity government" where Mugabe and the M.D.C would somehow "share" power. This in an election where the votes have never even been reported? Where the incumbent presided over epic inflation, unemployment and out-migration?
Here's Jacob Zuma, head of South Africa's ruling ANC party:
Asked about a national unity government in Zimbabwe, Mr. Zuma said, “I don’t think it is premature because you are dealing with a situation where we are almost three weeks after the election and there has been no announcement of the results.”
Regional diplomacy had not resolved the crisis, he said, “so we have to say ‘what do we do?’ ”
“The natural thing is that there should be discussions,” he said. The call for a unity government “is not premature, it is actually appropriate at this time,” he said.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Hmmmmmmmmm. Don't blame me, I voted for Zombie Joseph Beuys!
"The sovereign claim to the Malvinas Islands is inalienable," she said in a speech marking the 26th anniversary of Argentina's ill-fated invasion of the islands, located 480 kilometers (300 miles) off shore.
The April 2, 1982 invasion prompted then British prime ministerto deploy naval forces to retake the Falklands, known as the Malvinas in Spanish.
The short, bloody conflict led to Argentina's surrender on June 14, 1982 after the death of 649 Argentines and 255 Britons.
Historians saw the invasion as an attempt by Argentina's ruling military junta, which was then in power, to divert attention away from domestic problems.
In her speech Kirchner called for Argentina to strengthen its representation in international bodies to denounce "this shameful colonial enclave in the 21st century."
And Vice President Julio Cobos said in the southern city ofthat "we must recover this territory that is ours, that belongs to us."
The comments came as Kirchner faces her own woes, battling against farmers who have barricaded roads in a protest against a stiff tax hike on soybean exports.The conflict has created shortages of meat and other staples in and elsewhere,and tested the social fabric, with pro- and anti-government supporters holding dueling rallies.
If it came down to it, do you think Gordon Brown would have the onions to do what Thatcher did the last time?
DURHAM, N.C. -said Tuesday her mother would be a better president than her father because is more prepared and more progressive.Clinton, campaigning for her mother, told about 300 people at that didn't have a complete grasp of the inner workings of Congress when he took office in 1993.
The former first daughter said her mother will benefit from her time as a.
Chelsea Clinton said her mother stands her ground on issues but knows how to work with Republicans. And that, she said, will help her mother navigate challenges and fulfill her campaign promises.
"I think that she'll be a better president because she'll be more progressive and she's more prepared," Clinton said. "She'll just hit the ground running from Day One in a way that my father was not as equipped to do."That is just so awesome in so many ways. It's probably faster and easier to say what parts are actually true. Given that "progressive" means "liberal" Hill would be more "progressive" than Bill. Thats about it though.
Hill "stands her ground on the issues?" LOL, like the war?? Knows how to work with Republicans? Better than Bill? Every hear of NAFTA, Chelsea??
Shouldn't we expect just a wee bit more perspective from a history major at Stanford?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Still, while I can accept that barefoot-walking is beneficial, it’s hard to shake off 30 years of wrapping my feet in foam. So I put this question—if bare feet are natural, why do we need shoes to “protect” the foot?—to a podiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, who explained, “People who rely on the ‘caveman mentality’ are not taking into consideration that the average life span of a caveman was a heck of a lot shorter than the life span of a person today. The caveman didn’t live past age 30. Epidemiologically speaking, it’s been estimated that, by age 40, about 80 percent of the population has some muscular-skeletal foot or ankle problem. By age 50 to 55, that number can go up to 90 or 95 percent.” Ninety-five percent of us will develop foot or ankle problems? Yeesh. Those are discouraging numbers—but wait. Are we talking about 95 percent of the world population, or of North America? “Those are American figures,” he says. Which makes me think, North Americans have the most advanced shoes in the world, yet 90 percent of us still develop problems? We’ve long assumed this means we need better shoes. Maybe it means we don’t need shoes at all.
OMG!! It's the "the solution to government caused problems is more government argument " applied to footware. Well done Mr. Podiatrist and well questioned Mr. Sternbergh!
1) The money is so low relative to the professions they might have gone into. Journalists also suffer from this bitterness. Interestingly, the more lucrative their current options are, the less bitter the professors seem to be--economists and engineers seem relatively cheerful compared to English and History professors.
2) It's so easy to tell exactly where you rank in the academic hierarchy. Well, I don't find it easy, but they all seem to. Unless you're very near the top, your ranking is reinforced every time you attend any sort of professional event. If you are near the top, you promptly switch to wondering why you're paid less than an entry level investment banking analyst.
3) It's so hard to switch jobs. Job mobility is so low that you can't salve your ego by telling yourself that your current job is merely a waystop en route to something better.
4) Academics have few alternative status hierarchies Getting tenure is an all consuming process that leaves very little time for developing other hobbies. And the job virtually definitionally does not attract the kind of people who will be happy putting their career on a back burner to family or lifestyle.
5) Academics have virtually no control over where they live They usually seem to go where the best job is, regardless of whether or not the local area suits them. In many cases, this further focuses them inward on academia, because there aren't all that many other people around who share their interests.
The full post is here.
This story appeared in the Deadly Tar Ball.
In particular, the story contains this as a final paragraph:
He wrapped up his speech by showing distrust for the presidential candidates.
"If John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were on a bridge and it collapsed, America would be saved."
I responded, in comments, like this:
The last sentence in the story is a summary of a joke, one that misses the point of the joke. What I actually said was this:
Suppose Clinton, Obama, and McCain were on a bridge. Now, suppose the bridge collapsed into the water....
Who would be saved?
Answer: The American people.
Not a funny joke, but it is in the context of someone asking me who I endorse, among the major candidates. The point is that I don't endorse any of them.
On the other hand, I wish them no harm. I hope that all the bridges they cross stand tall and firm, and don't collapse.
Monday, April 21, 2008
(Nod to my friend Keith Poole, who is recovering from neck surgery. I think the plan is that, after the surgery, he will actually HAVE a neck. It's called an "addanecktome." I trust it went well!)
(And, seriously for a moment, congrats to Keith for his Duncan Black Prize this year, which was well-deserved for his fine paper, "Changing Minds? Not in Congress!")
It erupted when Armenian clergy kicked out a Greek priest from their midst, pushed him to the ground and kicked him, according to witnesses.
When police intervened, some worshippers hit them with the palm fronds they were holding for the religious holiday. The Eastern Orthodox churches, including the Armenians and Greek Orthodox, follow a different calendar from Western Christians and celebrate
Wow. As always, I am not making any of this up.
PhD Economist turned firebrand President Rafael Correa began his term by trying to buy the military's support with:
"salary raises for soldiers; a 25 percent increase in the 2008 military budget, to $920 million; and lucrative highway construction contracts for companies controlled by military officials."
Yes you read that right. As it turns out the Ecuadorian military is old school:
Unlike the armed forces of most other countries in Latin America, Ecuador’s military has retained substantial economic might since a military junta transferred power to a civilian government in the 1970s. Through holding companies, the armed forces still control TAME, one of Ecuador’s largest airlines, and enterprises in the munitions, shrimp fishing, construction, clothing, flower farming and hydroelectric industries, making the military one of the country’s most powerful economic group.
Despite his efforts, the military is still too close to the US and Colombia for Correa's comfort:
Still, tensions persist over his clash with top generals, which emerged after Colombian forces raided a Colombian rebel camp in Ecuador last month. The raid against the rebel group, the Marxist-inspired Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, put Ecuador and its ally Venezuela on edge with Colombia. Twenty-five people were killed, including Franklin Aisalla, an Ecuadorean operative for the group, known as the FARC.
The face-off between Ecuador and Colombia ended at a summit meeting in the Dominican Republic, but it has begun again over revelations that Ecuadorean intelligence officials had been tracking Mr. Aisalla, information that was shared not with the president, but apparently with Colombian forces and their American military advisers.
The leak became evident when video and photo images surfaced in Colombia and Ecuador showing Mr. Aisalla meeting with FARC commanders.
“I, the president of the republic, found out about these operations by reading the newspaper,” a visibly indignant Mr. Correa said last week during an interview in the capital, Quito, with foreign correspondents. “This is not something we can tolerate. He added that he planned to restructure the intelligence agencies to give him greater direct control over them.
In a rebuke of senior military officials, Mr. Correa named as defense minister his personal secretary, Javier Ponce, who was an outspoken critic of the armed forces in his previous careers as a poet and an editorial writer at some of Ecuador’s largest newspapers.
While I am not Correa's biggest fan, I am with him on this one. Civilian control of the military is a must, (as is, I might add, *not* having the military run large civilian companies). I'd rather see the craziest policies coming out of a democracy than excellent ones coming after a coup from a military junta.
Here is a summary listing the occupation, the alleged number of practitioners and their average salary. The data is "culled from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data" and you can see them all by clicking on the "in pictures" link from the link above.
Prosthodontists 480 $158,940
Astronomers 1430 $ 95,000
Industrial Psychologists 1140 $ 89,920
Mathematicians 2840 $ 86,780
Political Scientists 3970 $ 86,370
Nuclear Reactor Operators 3750 $ 70,800
Sociologists 3440 $ 68,300
Agricultural Engineers 3050 $ 67,810
Gaming Managers 3330 $ 67,340
Here is Forbes and the BLS on what is a Political Scientist: Most of these professionals work for the federal government and earn more than $100,000 annually. The majority of course work is in Washington, D.C. The BLS says, "May study public opinion, political decision making and ideology, as well as analyze the structure and operation of governments."
Economists don't qualify as "rare" because there are over 15,000 of us according to BLS!
hat tip to BR
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Incident the First:
In the Hardees across the street the "Inn at Virginia Tech," where I stayed when I gave my talk at the B-school. (I stayed at the Inn, not the Hardees). Asian kid, reading THE ECONOMIST. Aryan frat boy looking kid, sitting at same table, reading USA TODAY. It's 6:45 am. White kid: "You damned Asians! You are just exploiting us!"
Asian kid: (Stares, amazed. Me, too).
White kid: "Yeah, it says here that the fall of the U.S. dollar has caused such an increase in exports that there aren't enough containers in the U.S. They are piling up overseas."
Asian kid: (Patiently, and quite sensibly) "Well, but the U.S. still has a huge trade deficit with most countries in manufactured goods. It may be true that imports are up, but the NET trade pattern is still in deficit."
White kid: (Throws USA TODAY at Asian kid) "You just hate America. You people want all those containers gone so you can bankrupt American businesses."
Asian kid: "'You people'? I'm from Richmond."
White kid: "Well, let's go to the car. I'm not going to explain to you what an idiot you are in front of all these people. And I'm sure you don't want to walk."
Incident the Second:
Philadelphia airport, about 7 pm. Two 20-ish kids walk up to the gate, two gates down from mine. I was sitting reading the paper, waiting for my flight.
One kid sees the door is closed. "Open that door! OPEN THAT DOOR!" Yelling loudly, and in quite a threatening way.
30-ish black woman behind the counter, no other airline personnel around. She tells the kid that in order to leave on time, they have to close the door five minutes before departure for checks. Plus, she had announced three times that this was the "final boarding call." (It's true, she had, I heard it).
The kid yells, "I didn't hear you. I was right here! You have to OPEN THAT DOOR RIGHT NOW! OPEN IT. I MEAN IT."
Woman: "Sir, I'll have to call security if you don't back off. I can't open the door, the flight is leaving."
Kid: "I see it! It's right there! It hasn't left. Open the door. I'm TELLING YOU, OPEN THE DOOR!"
The woman told the kid, without getting angry or raising her voice, that there two truths he was going to have to accept. First, the flight was gone and she would have to rebook him. Second, if he didn't stop yelling and threatening her, she was going to call security.
Kid: "I'm just going to stand right here and block the gate. You can't do this to me."
(Stands against the desk, arms around machine for checking boarding passes.)
Woman picks up phone, makes call in low voice.
Three minutes later, three men in uniform show up. One is about Angus's size, and is clearly in charge. One is about 5'10", and extremely solidly built. And the other....I swear he was 6'10", and 375 pounds. He looked like a human mountain, on the move. The two smaller guys get on both sides of the protesting kid, and speak to him in low tones. Kid decides to make a break for it, and turns around and runs his face smack in the giant guy's chest. Kid backs off, holding his forehead and gaping at giant.
For some reason it reminded me of the line in "Princess Bride," where the Billy Crystal character threatens to call the "goon squad." And Andre the Giant says, "I'm on the goon squad." And Crystal says, "GAH! You ARE the goon squad." This guy was a one man goon squad.
Anyway, handcuffs for the loudmouth kid. Now, I have some sympathy for the "I'm here before scheduled departure time" argument. But I also have sympathy with the woman gate agent. She bent over backwards NOT to call security. And then when security came it was justice swift and sure. I can't imagine what the kid thought would happen. That is NOT going to end well.
I think both incidents were some of the people Obama may have been talking about, idiotic bitter white guys.
How's the new album?
So good I can't even explain.
Well, try. What do you like about it?
Mostly the cool music. Each beginning is sorta long, 1 or 2 minutes. Actually I don't really care if the beginning is long or short. I just care that the music is great.
What's your favorite song?
Every song is my favorite song.
Well, if you could only listen to one song right now, which would it be?
The first two.
Classic. Describe Cloud Cult's music in general.
They're great. They sound like a professional rock band, IN WHICH THEY ARE!
Is there anything else you want to tell people about the album?
I'd like to tell people, once you find this in the Radio Shack, buy it. It's the best thing I've ever listened to in my whole life.
Have you ever been to Radio Shack?
What do you think goes on in there?
Kinda like the iTunes store. Just a whole bunch of people buying music. But no elevator music. Mostly rock or something.
Do you have anything else you'd like to say to everybody?
If you're in a Radio Shack and you see guys dressed up for a tea party with clouds, buy that one. Because that one's "Feel Good Ghosts." It's the best. It makes me want to get up out of my seat and start par-taying. That means partying.
How do you par-tay?
How do I par-tay? I do it by, getting out of my seat and doing a little bit of this and little bit of that. Pinch of this.
A pinch of what? What are you talking about?!
You get out of your seat and dance.
Man I gotta start going to their RATSHACK!!!
"President Bachelet reiterated that Chile adheres firmly to the only one China policy, respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Popular Republic of China, recognizes that Taiwan and Tibet form part of China. The Chinese side expressed their appreciation for this Chilean position."
Why, Madame President? Well here's her explanation for the smoocheroo:
"China has a strategic dimension for the development of Chile and its people. There'll be investments, more companies and more opportunities. And it's a reality that doesn't permit any kind of second guessing."
Holy crap! You're not just supposed to come out and say it so cravenly like that are you?? Are the Chilean government's foreign policy positions simply for sale to the highest bidder? Is she subtly trying to encourage Taiwan to start a bidding war? Wow!
Hat tip to Greg Weeks.