Monday, November 25, 2013

Professor says Rob Portman was off base with his criticism of her study

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

What was she supposed to say? I took $350k and went to Vegas?

And who in Academia is going to say she was fleecing the public, and put their own grants at risk?

It's commonly held that the "private sector" is a bunch of corrupt rent seekers, but Diogenes and his Lamp* would not likely find any more in a University, either. 

* That's a historical / philosophical reference that you "Liberal Arts" critical thinking majors should get. If you had to go to wikipedia, you should consider suing your school for consumer fraud. 




 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Apparently, There are no Economists Associated with the ”Union of Concerned Scientists”



Given the overall quality of this article, no intelligent life forms either.  I was going to mock this piece, but Kevin Williamson has already opened up a 55 gallon drum of toxic ridicule and dumped it all over this alleged analysis. 

Still, this exhibition of ignorance has to make you wonder about the quality of the rest of the tripe analysis that the Union of Concerned “Scientists” is pushing. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Here’s a Head Scratcher –



Apparently, Time Warner Cable is going to heroically stop carrying advertisements for semi-automatic weapons, or ads that feature guns pointed at people. Civilization Triumphs! Violence in World Ends! 

Except that no mention is made of when they are going to stop carrying shows where guns are pointed at people. 

Not exactly a surprise, they wouldn’t have much to show other than HGTV. 

Still, one wonders what happens when the next big ultra-violent action flick comes out and the ads feature lots of guys firing automatic weapons at, well, everything. I don’t think that you have to be Carnak The All-Seeing to predict, that somehow, someway, those ads will make it through to your living room.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Crazy Hooker Maria?



Apparently, according to Elizabeth Wurtzel, the answer is to place a hysterical phone call to David Boies.  Problem solved. Don’t try this at home kids; one of America’s top litigators isn’t likely to take your call. 

Of course, this woman who played the “powerful man will rescue me” card included this passage in the same essay:

“I believe women who are supported by men are prostitutes, that is that, and I am heartbroken to live through a time where Wall Street money means these women are not treated with due disdain.”


Oh, and then there’s this gem:

“For a while after my first book came out, I went home with a different man every night and did heroin every day—which showed my good sense, because the rest of the time I was completely out of control.”


And so stay at home moms are prostitutes to be treated with disdain? Apparently, Crazy Hooker Maria isn’t the only, or perhaps even the primary, Crazy Hooker in this story.

Certainly, there’s more room for extensive mockage of Ms. Wurtzel. And it would certainly be justified. She’s not unintelligent, can write a bit (though if her only genre is ‘poor little me’, that vein is probably tapped out), and is connected enough to land a good job with Boies’ firm, but chooses to harness the forces of nuclear energy in pimping false humility. 

Reflect a bit about this passage and the one above about after her book launched:

“I have no husband, no children, no real estate, no stocks, no bonds, no investments, no 401(k), no CDs, no IRAs, no emergency fund—I don’t even have a savings account. It’s not that I have not planned for the future; I have not planned for the present.”


Ms. Wurtzel will always be poor. Sure, she has the capacity to generate a high income. But she will always be poor. Because poverty isn’t about cash flow, it’s about having a planning horizon that lasts longer than an ADHD 7tth  grader confronted with a box of twinkies, an Xbox, and searching YouTube for wardrobe malfunctions. There are lots of financially broke people who aren’t poor, because they can set goals and work to attain them. 

Her “I live specifically, with intent” protest aside, her essay suggests that she simply follows the path of least resistance for whatever situation she is in. Ms. Wurtzel is simply following the siren song of “If it feels good, do it”. Or more unfortunately, “to thine own self be true”.

If you have a lousy, undisciplined self, this is probably not the motto to follow.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amazon Categories Are Not Infallible.



A singularly unparalleled collection of dreck. Taking a quick look at the top 20, both paid and free:

Just a thought – if the title of the book features phrases containing any of these: “selected quotes”, “heart advice”, “dating”, “positive thinking”, “great lessons from”, “mindfulness”, “superheroes”, “close your eyes”, or  (especially) “Tuesdays with Morrie”, no philosophy is occurring.  None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Move along; no thinking is occurring here. It’s the philosophy version of Mad Libs - fill in the blanks on your three | seven | twelve step program to smuggery.

Of the others,

“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. Really? People are paying for this? As the ESPN guys used to say, C’ome on, Man!

The Communist Manifesto.  While a work of great practical import, Marx, as an economist, has been largely discredited since, ohhhh, Eugen Böhm von Bawerk started writing about him in the 1880’s.  Which is probably why most academic Marxists can survive only in America’s teacher’s colleges. Sort of explains the country’s Stalinist 5 year plan approach to education, as well as the not entirely unexpected pitiful results. Clue for Parents: If you hear one of your kid’s teachers use the phrase “social justice”, it explains why your kid isn’t learning math | science | history | English | fill in subject matter here.

Of the rest, Plato, Hayek, Aquinas, Sun Tzu, Kant, and to some degree, Hume, are all well worth spending time with. Paine, Rousseau, and Nietzsche less so.  And looking at this list, where are our chief problems, the pragmatists? (William James, John Dewey, Charles Pierce)? Or, for that matter, the existentialists, or the positivists | logicians?

You have to go further down the list to hit Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, and Locke. But, unfortunately, the ratio of dreck to worthwhile remains pretty high.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Apparently, There are no Facts Associated with Politifact Ohio.


The gang at Politifact rates Josh Mandel as a “Pants on Fire” liar: “Mandel issued a statement on the day of the decision asserting that Brown had voted "for what will likely go down as the biggest tax increase in history."

“What will likely go down…”. That’s tentative language about a future projection. It’s not a hard statement like “is the largest”. Technically, the numbers don’t even have to support it for it to be true – as long as the public perception is that it is the largest. 

Unfortunately for the Politifact gang, this statement cannot be categorized as a lie. It’s an estimate, or projection, if you will, about a future result. The unfortunate thing about guessing about the future is that it takes a long time to figure out who is right. And even then, there’s a difference between a liar and a bad estimate. Business Insider notes that the Obama Administration projected unemployment to be around 6% or so if we passed the stimulus bill. Current result? 8.2% plus or minus a couple of ticks. Is Politifact calling Obama a “Pants on Fire Liar”? Even now that the facts are in? 

Politifact attempts to cover their behinds by listing detailed projections / estimates that Mandel’s projection is not correct. However, these are just estimates as well. Given their best case, we’ll have to wait until 2020 or so to see who’s right on this one. 

They are even forced to concede this “And they cited a chart from FactCheck.org showing the Affordable Care Act producing the largest tax increase since 1968 in raw dollars. In the article the chart accompanied, however, FactCheck.org called raw dollars a "rather useless yardstick" and "a poor way to measure the size of a tax increase," because it makes no adjustment for inflation and takes no account of a population that is steadily rising.” So, it is, possibly, the largest tax increase in history.  Just not by measures that Politifact likes. 

Given that a) costs of any Government intervention in the economy are likely extremely underestimated at time of proposal, and b) the increasingly likely chance that GDP growth will not match up to official projections, it is far from certain that Mandel is that far off the mark, let alone a “pants on fire” liar. 

What was the last major government entitlement program that came in under budget for any serious length of time?

There’s certainly a lot of argument to be made that Mandel’s statement is not in line with other estimates.  One could argue that it’s more pessimistic than “expert” opinion. There are legitimate criticisms to be made about who has the better guess about future results. “Pants on Fire Liar” isn’t one of them. 

Next up, if Nancy Pelosi says that 2+2= 22, Politifact will rate it as “Mostly True”, because “actual numbers were involved.