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  • Archive for November, 2008

    Mumbai Musings

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 30th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Like most people, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India last week. Close to 200 people dead so far, with untold numbers more injured. It is a tragedy of terrible scope.

    Speaking as someone who works with violent crime survivors, I can attest that there is a hidden cost that very few of us will ever see. Thousands upon thousands of people were involved with the victims, from family members and close friends to coworkers and casual acquaintances. Most of those people will find their lives have been changed, and rarely for the better.

    Although hardly an expert on terrorism, I have been paying attention to the issue over the years. I thought I’d share a few thoughts.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in India, Law Enforcement, Predictions, RKBA, Terrorism, USA | 8 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 26th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Indian Flag

    [Flag source: Maps of India.]

    Posted in India, Terrorism, War and Peace | 13 Comments »


    Posted by Dan from Madison on 26th November 2008 (All posts by )


    Photo credit here.

    I am thankful for a lot of things, but for this post I would like to thank Jonathan for being such a gracious host on this blog.  The comments and posts that I read at ChicagoBoyz are very beneficial to me and always entertaining. 

    I would also like to thank Jonathan for inviting me to share some ideas here with what I consider to be one of the very best audiences on the internet.  The audience is not so large as to have a giant quantity of trolls, yet is large enough – and adult enough – to be able to engage myself and the other authors in thoughtful conversations.  Thanks to you, authors and commenters.

    That said, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and as always I am on my 36 hour Pre Thanksgiving Fast which precedes my Thanksgiving Day Cocktails, Gorging, and Traditional Late Afternoon Thanksgiving Day Nap.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

    Posted in Holidays | 12 Comments »

    The EU’s New Reluctant President

    Posted by Ginny on 25th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Helen will have informed commentary on the EU; still, I couldn’t resist putting together a few links about the irrepressible Klaus.  He’s the next president in the rotating European Union.  It’s hard to see someone of his vitality as “reluctant” but it’s also hard to see him as president of the EU about which he has so many doubts.  Sure, during our election, I argued that it is generally a good idea to have someone like the body over which he presides.  Still, in sheer entertainment value, Klaus may be a plus.

    In The Prague Post, Ondrej Bouda notes what may be a recurring problem: Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Europe | 6 Comments »

    Drucker on Management Mentalities

    Posted by David Foster on 25th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Among liberals, “progressives,” and especially academics, there is great joy at the prospect of an administration dominated by people who had very high SAT scores and who possess advanced degrees.

    At the same point in time, we are experiencing a serious credit crisis, brought about to a substantial extent by naive and inadequate mathematical models–mostly developed by people with very high SAT scores and very often with advanced degrees.

    About 20 years ago, Peter Drucker wrote a wonderful pseudo-autobiography, “Adventures of a Bystander.” It tells his own story only indirectly, via profiles of people he has known. These range from from his grandmother and his 4th-grade teacher in Austria to Henry Luce (Time-Life) and Alfred Sloan (GM).

    In the chapter titled “Ernest Freedberg’s World,” Drucker writes about two old-line merchants. The first of these, called “Uncle Henry” by those who knew him, was the founder and owner of a large and succesful department store. When Drucker met him, he was already in his eighties. Uncle Henry was a businessman who did things by intuition more than by formal analysis, and his own son Irving, a Harvard B-School graduate, was appalled at “the unsystematic and unscientific way the store was being run.”

    Drucker remembers his conversations with Uncle Henry. “He would tell stories constantly, always to do with a late consignment of ladies’ hats, or a shipment of mismatched umbrellas, or the notions counter. His stories would drive me up the wall. But gradually I learned to listen, at least with one ear. For surprisingly enough he always leaped to a generalization from the farrago of anecdotes and stocking sizes and color promotions in lieu of markdowns for mismatched umbrellas.”

    Reflecting many years later, Drucker observes: “There are lots of people with grasshopper minds who can only go from one specific to another–from stockings to buttons, for instance, or from one experiment to another–and never get to the generalization and the concept. They are to be found among scientists as often as among merchants. But I have learned that the mind of the good merchant, as also of the good artist or good scientist, works the way Uncle Henry’s mind worked. It starts out with the most specific, the most concrete, and then reaches for the generalization.”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Education, Philosophy, Politics | 20 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 24th November 2008 (All posts by )

    curved beach sunset

    Posted in Photos | 4 Comments »

    This Gendered Blog

    Posted by Ginny on 23rd November 2008 (All posts by )

    I sometimes mention this blog in class.  Not wanting to indicate its politics, I never give them the name and when they ask about its nature, I say something like: “I don’t know why they let me write there. It’s full of guys who’d like a tank in their backyard.”  Last week, the two Corps guys in the front row started grinning – “Actually,” one said, “that would be pretty cool.” 

    Anyway, clearly the guys here “have a pair” as Brad Paisley would say.  The only one close to its 91% among Gateway’s examples is Vodkapundit’s 90%. (Maybe gender is defined by tanks & liquor)

    Posted in Blogging, Humor | 15 Comments »

    Asleep at the Throttle

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd November 2008 (All posts by )

    Who is in charge of the clattering train?
    The axles creak and the couplings strain,
    and the pace is hot and the points are near,
    and sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear,
    and the signals flash through the night in vain,
    for death is in charge of the clattering train

    In his memoirs, Winston Churchill mentions that he thought of this poem, which he had read as a boy, during the appeasement days of the 1930s. I was reminded of it by this post.

    The original poem, which appeared in Punch magazine, is here and is pretty good.

    Also, here’s the whole issue of Punch in which the poem originally appeared.

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation, Environment, Poetry, Transportation | 6 Comments »

    Historic Photos of Madison

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 22nd November 2008 (All posts by )

    A few weeks back I received an email from a publisher that asked me if I would review a book they were putting out that had photos of Madison in it. I said sure, but that I would be honest and not give the book a rave review just because it was free. So the book did indeed arrive.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, History, Photos | 1 Comment »

    I’m Afraid that I Care, and I Want You There

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 21st November 2008 (All posts by )

    Posted in Music, Video | Comments Off on I’m Afraid that I Care, and I Want You There

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st November 2008 (All posts by )

    Yet in the world as it really is, events are unforeseen and trends materialize overnight. Where we live, unpredictability reigns. The last thing we should do if we want to know what the future will look like is extrapolate.

    Gordon Chang

    Posted in Predictions, Quotations, Society | 11 Comments »

    Time to Visit the Beach

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st November 2008 (All posts by )

    animals at the beach

    Hanging out with the Chicagoboyz.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 3 Comments »

    Four Bad Bears

    Posted by David Foster on 20th November 2008 (All posts by )

    …sounds like the title of a children’s book.

    It’s not, though.

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Markets and Trading | Comments Off on Four Bad Bears

    Announcement: Clausewitz Roundtable

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 19th November 2008 (All posts by )

    I am pleased to announce that in January, 2009 Chicagoboyz will begin hosting a roundtable discussion of the classic work of military theory, On War by Carl von Clausewitz.

    Clausewitz: On War

    Stand by for further announcements.

    Posted in Announcements, Clausewitz Roundtable, War and Peace | Comments Off on Announcement: Clausewitz Roundtable

    Log Me In

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 19th November 2008 (All posts by )

    I suppose I am WAY behind the curve here, but just today I have discovered a product that will make my life much simpler.

    As of late I have taken on some additional responsibilities wrt my career, and the extra load requires that I need to work at home on occasion. I didn’t really have a way to access my work computer, where pretty much everything I need is located. Well, I could have paid some people to set up secure layers and such to enter the private network, but this solution is cumbersome.

    A tech services guy said to just do it the easy way, and use Log Me In. This is a program that you download into your PC. After you do that, you can access that PC from anywhere you have an internet connection, as long as the PC is powered up and has an internet connection. You are literally controlling and working with the PC from wherever you are, real time. My only stumbling block was that I didn’t remember my Windows username and password – I just changed them and everything worked out great.

    Like I said, I am probably WAY behind the curve here, but this is like angels singing for the use I am going to get out of it. And the price can’t be beat – zero.

    I am not much into pushing products, but this one is a winner if you need access to a remote computer that may have a document on it that you need.

    As a birthday/Xmas present I plan on getting a Blackberry or other device like that – I hope Log Me In works as well with that as it does on my home laptop. But I bet the small Blackberry screen will be some sort of challenge. We will see.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Business, Internet | 9 Comments »

    “…simple service simply given…”

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 18th November 2008 (All posts by )

    The Sons of Martha
    by Rudyard Kipling

    The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
    But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
    And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
    Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

    It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
    It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
    It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
    Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

    They say to mountains “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
    Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.
    Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit—then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
    That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

    They finger Death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
    He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
    Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
    And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

    To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
    They are concerned with matters hidden—under the earthline their altars are—
    The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
    And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.

    They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
    They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
    As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
    Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s ways may be long in the land.

    Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
    Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
    Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
    But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

    And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd—they know the Angels are on their side.
    They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
    They sit at the feet—they hear the Word—they see how truly the Promise runs.
    They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and—the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons!

    Posted in Poetry | Comments Off on “…simple service simply given…”

    Hitler Foreclosed

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th November 2008 (All posts by )

    My vintage Camaro SS!

    Let me be merely the latest to post this (via Chicago boy JC and Clusterstock):

    Posted in Humor, Markets and Trading, Real Estate, Video | Comments Off on Hitler Foreclosed

    Experimentation, Uncertainty, and the Economy

    Posted by David Foster on 18th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Some interesting thoughts from Jonah Goldberg.

    The key point is that uncertainty about government policy makes private-sector decision making very difficult, and tends to inhibit rational and dynamic investment.

    (via Betsy)

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Political Philosophy, Politics | 5 Comments »

    Gentrification… and the Lie of History

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 17th November 2008 (All posts by )

    In the NY Times this weekend they had an article about a one man show by Danny Hoch. The topic of his show was gentrification, and how it impacted natives of New York City. In the article they reviewed him and he had the following quote:

    “I did a lot of community arts work through the 90’s, really believing that we were making a difference socially…. Within the last 10 or 15 years, those communities have virtually been erased.”

    On a seemingly unrelated line, there is a history of the neighborhood that I live in, the River North neighborhood in Chicago. Here is a link to a document summarizing River North history, notably its time as a manufacturing area called “Smokey Hollow”. This article summarizes the demographic changes in the Near North neighborhood of Chicago by decade.

    These types of documents talk about the history of a neighborhood as if it was continuous, with links between each era. However, the reality of urban areas like River North (and the New York of Mr.Hoch) is really quite different. Aside from some projects just north of Chicago Avenue near Cabrini Green, the neighborhood has turned over to a degree that most US residents would find astounding. There are literally no individuals living in River North that were even here ten to fifteen years ago.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, History, Real Estate | 7 Comments »


    Posted by Jonathan on 16th November 2008 (All posts by )

    drink Guaraná

    Drink Guaraná.

    Posted in Photos | 14 Comments »

    “Old Fashioned Values Like That Still Stand”

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 16th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Posted in Music, Video | Comments Off on “Old Fashioned Values Like That Still Stand”

    Leverage and the Housing Bubble

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 16th November 2008 (All posts by )

    The housing bust has been well chronicled elsewhere and I won’t add much to it by summarizing it; let’s assume that readers of this blog know the outlines (and details) of the story. But while everyone has learned the (often bitter) lesson that housing doesn’t always go up, it also comes down, they haven’t fully digested other elements of the financial picture. High LEVERAGE on a flat or declining investment makes the “buy” vs. “rent” even more skewed away from “buying”.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Real Estate | 29 Comments »

    Good Times!

    Posted by Jonathan on 15th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Caroline Glick offers a grim preview of US policy towards Iran, Syria and Israel in the Age of Obama.

    I used to think that Glick was shrill and alarmist. Unfortunately, she has been right about most of the big issues facing Israel since the late ’90s. We’ll know within a few months if she’s wrong now. I hope so, but I doubt it.

    Posted in International Affairs, Iran, Israel, Middle East, War and Peace | Comments Off on Good Times!

    Thanks Foster. Science & Ploughboys

    Posted by Ginny on 15th November 2008 (All posts by )

    I want to thank David Foster for putting up his post and thus allowing me to comment in a rambling manner.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t know what I think until I say it  – and having a forum is better than daily analysis.  (Indeed, given the results from Woody Allen’s intensive time on the couch,  Jonathan is probably more justified in charging a fee to posters & commentors than are some highly paid analysts.)

    Some comments assume those in the hard sciences, engineering and business are likely to be conservatives/Republicans.  Since, of course, I agree on their broad picture, I haven’t nit picked.  Their position echoes Horowitz’s opponents, who also assume business & engineering departments are conservative.  Liberal arts & social science colleges are more heavily weighted (in some, I’m sure, Nader got more votes than Bush).  But I’ve seen studies finding most colleges within universities (business, engineering, hard sciences) lean left – just not as far.  Shannon notes that they are more centrist and that is probably true.  And, practicing engineers and scientists may well move right.  Academia attracts leftish sympathies and peer pressure is a factor.

    Nonetheless, the only college likely to be majority Republican is the same that probably would do such projects as those cited by Chel and Anonymous – Ag schools.  They are also often geographically separated from the university because of the land-consuming nature of their research.  I support funding that research and many who share my general political positions would.  I came out of one of the great American institutions – the land grant college – and respect that history.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Blogging, Science | 4 Comments »

    Subdivision Wildlife

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th November 2008 (All posts by )

    My posts about cougars here and at LITGM drew a lot of traffic. It seems as though it is a subject of interest to a lot of people (a new cougar link dump soon to come). Gerry’s post here about coyotes also drew some links and clicks. The common thread is the encroachment of wildlife in typical non wildlife domains. I am not talking about “urban sprawl”, or people moving into areas where there is already wildlife established. I am referring to animals encroaching back into populated areas. This photo below was taken on the way to work this morning. Before bashing my photography skills, some background. Just outside of my house is this four lane highway. A deer was running down the median in the center, right next to my car. I changed lanes to the right lane and slowed down, all the while getting my camera out. When the deer randomly decided to cross the road I was ready and was able to slow down and snap this admittedly crappy photo with the one free hand I had (the other on the wheel). You can see the deer in the left lane here. It was a very large doe. She crossed the street, looked back at me and went into someone else’s yard. Click photo to enlarge.

    Car deer accidents cost insurance companies (and, in the end, us) millions upon millions of dollars. This is a very good pdf put out by the Wisconsin DOT that gives a lot of good information about car deer crashes.

    What is funny (or not funny) about this is that outside of extending the hunting seasons I don’t see any way that this problem will go down or go away – and I think it is getting worse. I see deer alongside the road (dead and alive) almost every day that I drive to work. When I was a kid it was a BIG deal to see a deer in the wild.

    The deer has very few natural predators around here any more. The only ones I can think of are wolves (only in Northern Wisconsin), and coyotes if they hunt in a pack. We also have the random cougar that comes by on occasion. One other predator of deer is winter. I hate to do this to myself, but I am wishing for a bitterly cold winter to kill off a bunch of the deer. I would rather suffer through a few months of bone chilling cold than risk my safety or the safety of my family due to a car-deer crash.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Environment | 55 Comments »