In the News 02/17

Check out this frontpage headline:

“Plenty of Spilled Milk to Cry Over for Dairymen Lured to U.S.: Dutch Farmers Vent Udder Frustration With Mr. van Bakel as Plan Curdles”

I obviously need to steal the WSJ more often.


Happy Year of the Tiger! (and Lent)

This comes a few days late and I’ve got some food pictures to post from the New Year.

So Lent starts today, and though I am not Catholic, there’s a certain masturbatory quality to self-improvement. I’ve decided to give up meat (am being ambiguous about seafood, but let’s say it’s not included). Unfortunately, restaurant week, spring break and people’s significant others visiting also coincides with the second half of Lent. For that half, I’m going to like, trade permission to eat duck (and in certain instances, duck and lamb) for giving up chocolate.

We’ll see how this all goes. Day 1!

from the WSJ no one ever picks up

“…The resulting selloff took the Dow below the psychologically important 10000 level in the final moments of trading…” – WSJ

It’s true, but I love the slightly condescending tone.

Also in today’s WSJ, an article on student “rent-a-crowds” to create artificial buzz. Not a bad strategy for developing that initial momentum, though definitely shady as hell.

Washingtonology*: slash-seekers?

So after Republican Charles Crist of Florida hugged Obama last year and his Republican opponents for the senate seat used footage of him to attack his Con[servative] cred and so The Caucus, NYT’s blog on beltway politics, wrote an entry on this apparent signal of Crist’s attempt to back away from another disaster.

Perhaps this all just seems so insignificant because I lack the attention span to follow the minutiae of politics closely, and I acknowledge that like 13-member Korean boy bands, this can be a way to branch out and reach more specific audiences. My issue here lies with the writing: (emphasis is all mine)

“MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – This time, a handshake replaced the hug.

When President Obama walked down the steps of Air Force One here today, Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida was waiting on the tarmac to greet him. But on this visit, Mr. Crist did not embrace the president, perhaps in the hopes of avoiding a scene like the one that has haunted him for months in his bid to win the Republican Senate primary.

But is a long, lingering handshake any different than a hug?

For about 27 seconds, the president tightly gripped the governor’s hand and clutched his arm. They exchanged pleasantries and a bit of conversation. Then, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. gathered close for a tight photo of the three.”

Making water from a stone, eh? Kind of reminds you of those “inappropriate handshakes” between Kerry and Edwards. Or maybe that was just internet fangirls. I suppose they write for the NYT now.

*I realize Washingtonology might not be an extremely precise term but you get the gist

Street nerddom

I love [other people’s] marketing so much

Also in the news

“The second Georgia case, Wellons v. Hall, No. 09-5731, ordered the federal appeals court in Atlanta to reconsider its decision that there was nothing legally amiss in two edible gifts the jurors in a capital trial gave to court personnel — a chocolate penis for the trial judge and chocolate breasts for the bailiff.” – NYT

The Liberalism of Academia

I still remember the comment my teacher wrote on one of my journal responses in junior year (HS) English, on the liberal slant in academia (a response to an Economist article), “But could it also be that more intelligent people are more likely to be liberal?” This struck me the wrong way at the time, but to temper the question down a bit we could ask whether liberals are more likely to have that “academic curiosity” or whether mostly-liberal-academics have created academia in their own image. After all, there are different academic cultures: see that of Mainland China (and possibly other East Asian countries), where the student-teacher relationship is much more hierarchical and derivative than the more egalitarian one here.

The NYT covered the work of two academics who would probably lean towards the latter. They argue that the profession is just typecast as a liberal one, just as nurses are typecast as a women’s profession, but they also make a good point about other factors that might perpetuate the liberalism among academics.

“Nearly half of the political lopsidedness in academia can be traced to four characteristics that liberals in general, and professors in particular, share: advanced degrees; a nonconservative religious theology (which includes liberal Protestants and Jews, and the nonreligious); an expressed tolerance for controversial ideas; and a disparity between education and income.

The mismatch between schooling and salary complements a theory that the Harvard professor Louis Menand raises in his new book “The Marketplace of Ideas.” He argues that the way higher education was structured by progressive reformers in the late 19th century is partly responsible for the political uniformity of today. In the view of the early reformers, the only way to ensure that quality, rather than profit, would be rewarded was to protect the profession from outside competition. The tradeoff for lower salaries was control; professors decide who gets to enter their profession and who doesn’t.” NYT

p.s. I voted so you can’t blame this sbrown thing on me