Articles of Interest

2 Jun

I have too much to do…
“American workers, on average, spend 45 hours a week at work, but describe 16 of those hours as “unproductive,” according to a study by Microsoft. America Online and, in turn, determined that workers actually work a total of three days a week, wasting the other two….

And, with due respect to Mr. Gilbreth, all the energy that’s been poured into trying to force everyone to work at the same pace and in the same way — it seems that’s the real waste of time.” [ NY Times ]

*The first paragraph only applies to most well paid white collar jobs.

‘Flexible relationship with reality’
Leonhardt on Dobbs’ claim about leprosy and immigration NY Times column

“And the official leprosy statistics do show about 7,000 diagnosed cases — but that’s over the last 30 years, not the last three.

The peak year was 1983, when there were 456 cases. After that, reported cases dropped steadily, falling to just 76 in 2000. Last year, there were 137. …

…What about the increase over the last six years, to 137 cases from 76? Is that significant?

“No,” Mr. Krahenbuhl said. It could be a statistical fluctuation, or it could be a result of better data collection in recent years. In any event, the 137 reported cases last year were fewer than in any year from 1975 to 1996.”

Politicization and mediocrity
Monica Goodling, who recently resigned as the Public Affairs Director at the Justice Department had the following education –

“Goodling received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1995 from Messiah College, a Christian institution. She received her J.D. in 1999 from Regent University Law School, a Christian institution founded by Pat Robertson.” [ Wikipedia ]

*Regent University Law School is a Tier 4 law school.
A NY Times article discussing politicization of Justice Department using another case – “Rachel L. Brand, [who] by her own admission, has never prosecuted so much as a traffic case. But in January 2006, when Justice Department officials began to discuss removing some United States attorneys, Ms. Brand was proposed as the top federal prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan, an e-mail message released on Friday shows.”

Foxy Facts
Fox news commentators were discussing global warming recently and during the course of the discussion, a commentator casually stated that like every ‘story’, global warming had two sides to it and that only one side was being highlighted.

Lush Green Hedges

NY Times article on the out of control incomes of top hedge fund managers quoted Brad Delong, UC Berkeley Economist, as saying –

“There is some question as to what the hell they are doing that is worth” that kind of money …. “The answer is damned mysterious.”

Britain canceled a criminal inquiry into bribery allegations linked to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal between BAE and Saudi Arabia citing economic and national security concerns. Jubilee Research (pdf) from Dec. 2006 when the news was first broken.

The arch-conservative
Fred Thompson has emerged as a conservative champion having exceeded or met all the requirements – he is an actor, a divorcee, has a deserved reputation for being lazy, and married to a woman who is four years younger than his daughter who died in 2002 of an accidental prescription drug overdose.

Goodbye Lenin!
A Polish man woke up from a 19-year long coma to find communism has given way. Facts follow fiction – Wolfgang Becker movie, Goodbye Lenin! has about the same story.

Uncivil Rights Leader

18 Aug

Andrew Young, respected civil rights leader, was hired expressly to improve Walmart’s public image.

“In the Sentinel interview, Young was asked about whether he was concerned Walmart causes smaller, mom-and-pop stores to close.

“Well, I think they should; they ran the `mom and pop’ stores out of my neighborhood,” the paper quoted Young as saying. “But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First, it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs; very few black people own these stores.”

Washington Post

Highway to India

5 Dec

Amy Waldman recently wrote a series of articles about the socio-cultural impact of highways and the burgeoning number of cars.

Here are the links:

The articles include interactive features with audio commentary and slideshows. While the photographs are well shot, Waldman’s hurried narration leaves much to be desired.

Brief comments and caveats: Waldman puts far too much emphasis on the posited transformative cultural power of both the highways and the increasing number of cars. And she repeatedly paints “old India” in stereotypical terms like, “the land of dharma”, etc.