Tuesday, July 05, 2016

30th Anniversary....

On the morning of July 5 (our 30th wedding anniversary, with thanks to John Cappleman, Kevin Grier, Randy Hutter, Brian Roberts, and Andrew Rosen for attending way back when...), I got up early to go to the grocery store.  Not many people there at 7:00 am.

I got to the checkout aisle, and the young lady (25 years old, not at all unattractive) gave me a big smile.  I'm thinking, "Oh, yeah, I've still got it."

Then she started actively laughing.  I looked down at the cart, and saw these three things:


That's right:  Roses, a sparkly anniversary card, and men's hair coloring. 

She apologized for laughing, but kept bursting into giggles as she tried to get the stuff charged.  She was still laughing, and telling the other store workers, about my cart contents, as I slunk off to my car.  I do NOT "still got it."  Fortunately, I'm married, so I don't really need it.

Happy Anniversary, Donna Gingerella!  I love you!

"Blue Devils": Ever Wondered?

You may have wondered how Duke chose the "Blue Devils" as their mascot.  (You also may not have wondered, I realize...)

If you DID wonder...wonder no more.  A five minute documentary, pretty well done.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Independence Day Rodent Action

Have you ever wondered how an American would act, if he were a small rodent? I think I have the answer.

We noticed some mouse droppings, and our dog-sitter claimed to hear "scritching" sounds (her word, not mine). So I put out some traps, baited with chocolate peanut butter.  Figured that would be irresistible.

Next day...found this (click for an even more Independent image):


Two things are noteworthy.

  • First, the trigger is licked completely clean.  This was extremely dense, sticky chocolate peanut butter.  Any jiggling and WHAP.  But no.  Licked it clean. Trap is still set, unsprung.  Balls.
     
  • Second, and even more American:  note the two small objects in the left foreground.  Yes, those are what you think they are.  The mouse, after eating all the bait, took a dump on the trap.

And that, dear ones, is the sort of spirit that makes America great.  A happy Independence Day to you!

Economic Freeedom and Racism

Tolerance in the United States: Does economic freedom transform racial, religious, political and sexual attitudes?

Niclas Berggren & Therese Nilsson
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Tolerance is a distinguishing feature of Western culture. Still, it varies between and within countries, as well as over time, and irrespective of whether one values it for its own sake or for its beneficial consequences, it becomes important to identify its determinants. In this study, we investigate whether the character of economic policy plays a role, by looking at the effect of changes in economic freedom (i.e., lower government expenditures, lower and more general taxes and more modest regulation) on tolerance in one of the most market-oriented countries, the United States. In comparing U.S. states, we find that an increase in the willingness to let atheists, homosexuals and communists speak, keep books in libraries and teach college students is, overall, positively related to preceding increases in economic freedom, more specifically in the form of more general taxes. We suggest, as one explanation, that a discriminatory tax system, which is susceptible to the influence of special interests and which treats people differently, gives rise to feelings of tension and conflict. In contrast, the positive association for tolerance towards racists only applies to speech and books, not to teaching, which may indicate that when it comes to educating the young, (in)tolerant attitudes towards racists are more fixed.

Nod to Kevin Lewis