Monday, October 22, 2007

The Problem With Economics

Read this.

Russ Roberts does it again. It is the best thing I have read in a while.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It Is Two O'Clock, I Had Better Start Working

Since I have to leave at 3:00PM.

The saying at the grocery store was we in the produce department got more done by 8:00AM than the meat department got done in a day.

This is not the case with me anymore.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Politics, Leadership, And April 16th

(I spent a good amount of time trying to decide if this post is appropriate. I think it is more a personal statement about things that have bothered me for months more than anything else, and it should be read that way. I think we all have tried to come to grip with things that are hard to grasp. This is just another attempt.)

I woke up this morning to the news. Victims' parents are considering filing lawsuits against Blacksburg, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

It has been sixth months, but my initial impression of how the event has been handled has changed very little. Cho was a sick kid, and nothing ex ante could have reduced his violence. Nothing. There is no blame.

But President Steger and those in charge that day's first reaction was to cover their ass. They lied about the dorm being shut down. I walked past 20 minutes after the first shooting. People were freely entering and exiting. They lied about the lock-down system in the dorms. A card was required between 10:00PM to 10:00AM. An Email is instantaneous and does not need a committee. Steger did not know, but he refused to say he did not know." Steger's first reaction was to cover his ass. He got on the talk shows the next morning and covered his ass. Instead of saying, "We might have done some things wrong. We will examine what happened and make decisions later. Please let us grieve now. Please." He politicized and media-ized the event by getting on talk shows. He did damage control. He did what university presidents who make a half a million do, he played public relations. He has done the same thing for the past six months. He enacted reactionary policies that cannot prevent another incident but cost millions of dollars and makes some people feel better. We even have a Community Service Fair today in honor of the victims. And he kept the university focused on being a top-tier research institution while honoring those who lost their life with memorials and concerts.

Steger is a damn good politician. Damn good. But I do not consider him a leader. Russ Roberts defines leadership this way: "The essence of "leadership" is doing unpopular stuff, stuff that goes against the consensus and that later turns out to be right."

I do not pretend to know what will turn out to be right. But I do not think Steger is willing to do unpopular stuff, and I do not think he agrees with this definition of leadership.

I do not think Steger should be forced to resign. But if he was a leader, I think he would have accepted some blame and eventually stopped covering his ass. Eventually the politics has to stop. It has not stopped with him yet.

This comes off as a personal attack. And it is. But the problem with many so-called leaders, especially in academia and government, is that the fear of doing something different, something unpopular cripples them. It paralyzes them into being politicians. Maybe it is the voters and the public's fault for being fickle. Maybe professional and for-pay government and public service has become necessary.

But politics and playing politics is still disheartening.

What Is A Lethal Ape?

It is not caring, not sharing
It is a volatile focus
It is a lack of stability
It is a lack of respectability
It is seeing the devil
It is seeing the Truth
It is not clever, but
It is forever
It is a high
And most of all
It is F.T.B.

Expect to win.

I wrote this when I was 22. Here is my comment then: "You know you're 22 years old and you have no clue. Does that make you dangerous or just stupid?--Probably stupid."

Things never change.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

They Will Break Your Heart

The Redskins, that is what they do.

Tyler Cowen criticizes one of those economics papers. One of those many papers that fail the common sense test.

It is all bullshit, and I am volunteering for it. What does that say about me?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Some Things

1. Work when you work. Play when you play. Confusing the two leads to immense trouble and existentialist crises.

2. I like good baseball and good football. If I could just stop rooting for teams, then watching games would bring me great joy. (I used to dislike Livan Hernandez, but if I needed someone to pitch a big game, he would be on the short list.)

3. Most people do not give a damn about a person's diet. They just want you to eat and keep eating. Old women get much joy out of watching young men eat.

4. This song holds the secret of life (and the female orgasm). I have not figured it out yet. But I know it holds the secret.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Isn't Tomorrow Friday?

It has been a long day, and a longer week. I guess I haven't been busy enough.

Information And Work

First the Einstein Quote of the Day:

A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.

No matter how arrogant I get, it amazes me how many ideas are out there. The vast majority are mediocre or irrelevant. But even if I could somehow eliminate my exposure to these categories, I would still be swamped trying to incorporate and filter good ideas.

One (and I have) could spend day upon days just going through ideas, but eventually one has to work. He has to pick something and just go with it.

Getting caught up in ideas is getting caught up in the past. The pass is a sunk cost. Today is the only thing we have.

(I write this as I am listening to Jimi Hendrix's "I Don't Live Today" "It's such a shame to waste your time away like this...Get experienced.")

(The idea discussion was sparked by