Dennis "Do me a solid" Rodman Open Thread

I would love to see the look on some career diplomats' faces if Dennis Rodman's foray into international diplomacy ends up working.


Rodman to North Korea: 'Do me a solid' and release American prisoner

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Credit where due, Darrell Issa edition


And So Was Cowherd. . .Partially

M Scott Eiland's picture

Iron Man 3 did better (about $20 million more over the weekend, according to estimates), and CC will win his bet. He's still a moron.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Gatsby...Spoilers? How Can there be Spoilers?


In my show report:


9:50pm showing in Hollywood. I got one of the last two tickets and had to sit in the center of the very first row. My audience really, really liked this film. I am not sure that since the audience around me was having so much fun, I enjoyed the movie more because of this myself. 


It is not a great film, but some of it is very good. I liked Nick (Toby McMcquire {Oscar worthy?}) as a recovering Alcoholic Narrator...I liked, loved the artistic conceit of having Fitzgerald's words being written on the screen in a large variety of fonts...the excess that American represents was in the brightness of the lights, distant and near, and most interesting...I noticed none of the modern music that is so being debated now on all the movie boards.


Jay-Z music as Jazz...why not? I didn't notice that all the music is apparently modern.


It was a worthwhile experience.





i take that


as definitive proof that andy kaufman is really dead.


to steal from ta nehisi coates, the new gatsby is.... BLUESHAMMER! (just google it and you'll understand.)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

running out of conservative sharks to jump:


Greatest conservative rap songs of all time. Not from the Onion.

Ledeen makes peculiar statements.

mmghosh's picture


The other big reason for the proliferation of the doctrine of self-radicalization is that it firmly blocks any effort to single out the followers of any given ideology, and thus rejects the very idea of a war against terrorism.

Hint, sir:  There is always a war against terrorism on somewhere.  The real question is searching for the roots of terrorism.

No, I don't Understand it (an Honest Answer to an Honest Q)



...the deal with Hedgies has always been tinged around the edges with deep conspiracies....I honestly don't know if they are Masters of the Universe or not.


But I do think that inflation is much higher than the Fed is reporting...but I wouldn't give the Hedgies anything, if possible, let them languish and die.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Well, For One Thing. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .this is an answer to your question a while back about how not knowing higher math can be bad:

An analysis of Iksil's trades revealed that he was using Microsoft Excel excessively, making a number of formula errors that caused him to underestimate the risks of his positions.

A $6.2 billion lemming plunge.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Heh. Good catch there. Excel is a great program

mmghosh's picture

I will defend it to the death, seeing as it got me my thesis accepted.


Of course - one knows the downsides, easy to make mistakes, has no audit trail and I'm pretty sure smart guys like Iksil were not using Excel to make deliberate errors.   


I'm somewhat overawed by its ability to do so many things so intuitively, and within a single program, its like having your personal statistical rocket launcher (and so much easier than SPSS).  And no, Excel is not higher math - that would be Mathematica.

I'm always impressed


by the incredible amount of effort put forth by individuals and organizations with the goal of making large amounts of money without actually producing any useful goods or services. I think it's a fundamental flaw in our financial systems that such a large fraction of the profits generated by corporations arise from such activities.

A bunch of very smart people

mmghosh's picture

these fund managers.  What is the problem with them legally making money, providing its legal?  


Lots of people are doing so (as are undividuals, pension funds and so forth) right now. 


I get the general idea that these fund managers are bad guys, but its not clear to me from reading Krugman (or DeLong) why they should be regarded as such.

It's not that they're necessarily


bad guys,  or doing anything illegal.   I think Floater is disturbed by the same thing I am - a scientist or engineer tends to have a gut feeling that ultimately the economy should be based on someone actually producing a tangible product or service.  Of course there's trading,  and there has to be,  but it can't be *all* trading. 


Also,  the trading now tends toward derivatives of derivatives, so the trading is several levels removed from the production (if any),  and the "investors" often neither know nor care what the ultimate product is.   We're told that the free market produces incentives for efficiency, ethical behavior, etc,  but if the investors have no clue what's being made by who, one guesses that's got to weaken the feedback and make for large fluctuations based on perceptions and rumor rather than reality. 


Of course all of this is just what I said: gut feeling.  I'm not an economist and don't want to become one.

My sentiments too


There's also the complaint that an oversized banking sector takes away talent from other occupations that would benefit people more.


Many mathematically and scientifically talented people go into finance who might've for example helped develop new and useful technology. 

I tend to agree with Krugman, DeLong and co

mmghosh's picture

as the best American liberals do.  But - there is a Democratic US Administration, and a Democratic US Senate and there is the entire EU economic bigwigariat (especially the Germans) who are running their economic systems opposite (or in the American case unenthusiastically) to liberal economist prescriptions.


Surely they can't all be fools/knaves.  And conspiracy theories about big business working together to screw Western middle and working classes seem no more credible than Mossad planning 9/11.

No Conspiracy


Simply a fact.


Every MBA for the past 30 or 40 years has been taught essentially to screw the middle class. Of course, that's not what they call it at Harvard. They call it outsourcing and offshoring (now "global sourcing"). They call it downsizing (now "right sizing"). Reengineering is another term for the same concept.


Put another way, it's all about finding "value". Well, the poor have little value to be found, so you need to mine the middle class. Make products that don't last as long, have horrible customer service, and so on. They find value in squeezing both employees and customers.


The middle class is not the target because there is an evil conspiracy inspired in irrational hate. It's just business sense. The middle class was the target because it had accumulated both wealth and income, while lacking the protection that the wealthy enjoy.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

The primary goal of any ruling class


is not to ensure full employment or healthy economic growth. It's to ensure that they remain the ruling class. When viewed through that prism their actions make complete sense. Down through history though we've seen over and over again where ruling elites stack things in their favor too much they can bring down the very societies that they're a part of. So yes both fools and knaves.

Well there are a number of problems


When very smart people focus their talents on rent extraction rather than productive enterprises it will tend to lower the standard of living of the vast majority of the populace. Now don't get me wrong. It's clear that modern industrial societies need a way of allocating capital. It's also equally clear that you can't build an economy solely off of that. (Small countries that act as financial havens don't count since they are simply extracting rents from the rest of the world). So the question becomes what fraction of the profits, and perhaps more importantly what fraction of the human capital in the form of smart talented people should be expended in that direction. I think we're way past the point where it's productive for society as a whole.


Another problem is with that legal part. Economic power is political power and so it can often dictate what is legal. If the activities that produce such power generate useful goods or services that's one thing. If they're nothing but rent seeking it's a different story entirely.

The Complaint Is. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .that they seem to be making money in a way that (the argument goes) has no inherent positive value, and which can have a very high negative impact when the individuals involved are incompetent (like the idiot who didn't know how to use his spreadsheet) or are outright corrupt (like how the combination of Nick Leeson's fast and loose trading practices and his employer's failure to follow its own internal safeguards destroyed Barings Bank in 1995). There's a certain inherent gambling element in capitalism, but when things in a particular institution *literally* are run like a gambler trying to run a system on a casino, it might be worth taking a look at.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I think it's a valid complaint


Finance tells itself they're reducing risk by spreading it around, but I think anyone who's been conscious since '08 knows that's false. 


Consider the student debt derivative trading. It's all legal of course, but is creating a situation where the average taxpayer might again have to help bail out the financial sector, yet isn't benefiting one whit from the trades. 


Lots of finance is operating with free insurance from the government, which means the rest of us are taking on risk with no reward.

That's the kind of keen insight

aireachail's picture

that comes with vestigial nobility.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Young, who has already been forced to resign from his position once before for downplaying the impact of the recession on people,

The fish must be biting at his favorite lake.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Looks like Beijing--at least quietly-- is willing to acknowledge that it is losing patience with its psychotic dependent.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It's one reason not to worry too much about NKorea


China holds a lot of sway, its leaders are rational, and so this situation won't get completely out of hand. Right? 

Or The Chinese Are Trying To Have It Both Ways

M Scott Eiland's picture

"We can't go in and squash them ourselves because it would be against our interests, but we know they're insane--if you have to use those forces that you've justifiably positioned around them to deal with their provocations to actually deal with them, we won't consider it a hostile action against us." Which is an implicit threat to the Norks, too ("If you push the imperialist running dogs too far and you get nuked, we'll just wait for the fires to die down and sweep up the ashes. You're on your own, idiots.").

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



After 4 days of no progress in getting an American released, international diplomacy novice Dennis Rodman tries the new tactic of dissing Obama in order to appear aligned with North Korea:


"I'm not a diplomat, man, I'm just trying to go over there ... But I'm going to do one thing for you. We got a black president can't even go talk to him, how about that one? ... I'll put it like this, Obama can't do s**t. I don't know why he won't do it. So do that bulls**t." 



Gee, This Doesn't Look Like Extortion Or Anything

M Scott Eiland's picture

Especially with the IRS scandal breaking today and everything.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Richwine, Harvard PhD, fired from Heritage Foundation


for research that got him hired in the first place.


Question: Will Harvard fire his dissertation advisor and will AEI fire Charles Murray, who basically directed the research remotely?

Richwine's dissertation advisor weighs in


From Slate:


“I have never worked on anything even remotely related to IQ, so don't really know what to think about the relation between IQ, immigration, etc,” Borjas told me in an email. “In fact, as I know I told Jason early on since I've long believed this, I don't find the IQ academic work all that interesting."


Where I got my PhD, if the main dissertation advisor knew bupkis about a student's dissertation topic, the PhD student would have to find someone qualified to direct the dissertation.


Harvard's Public Policy dept. apparently isn't very interested in having dissertations directed by qualified researchers.


But never fear, in a letter to the school newspaper the advisor assures everyone that even though he has "never worked on anything remotely related to IQ":


Jason’s research was sound. 

Oh gawds

brutusettu's picture

Richwine's arguments were built on the foundation of mostly race/IQ link.


Shorter Borjas

"If we just accept the gross cost estimate of Richwine and we don't bother to look at Yglesias criticism of that just that aspect, then Richwine has a much stronger hand to play in the pre-planned solution Richwine was hunting for."



George Borjas right off the bat looks like he's is already starting to protest too much.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

You know how this works.

aireachail's picture

At some point it will be disclosed that his family's real name is Vinorico.

Charles Murray, author of the Bell Curve, weighs in


Thank God I was working for Chris DeMuth and AEI, not Jim DeMint and Heritage, when The Bell Curve was published. Integrity. Loyalty. Balls.


Charles Murray is picturing himself delivering this line to Jim DeMint:  

I'll be travelling to San Diego over the weekend.


Hopefully no one needs to do me a solid. I think.

Someone told me Switzerland


is only a few hundred miles from, and is in a free trade/travel zone with Czechenslovakia, where Czechen terrorists come from.   Sounds suspicious. 


If they ask me about you I'm going to do the disgusted uncle act.

Iranian born Oregon men's basketball player

brutusettu's picture

has been asked on numerous occasions about the war going on in his country.


But at least those people didn't invent a new country.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

If you're not brown, there's no reason to frown



AEI's warm embrace of the Harvard PhD they funded


on "Hispanic Immigration and IQ":


When pressed on the fact that AEI must have known the subject of the dissertation when they offered Richwine his fellowship, the official responded in an email:

He came recommended by an elite institution and proposed to study immigration for his HKS dissertation. He received a 2 year non-renewable fellowship. After completing the fellowship and receiving his PhD, he began his public policy career in DC.

It's interesting that the mood in the country has changed so quickly. I think even in 2009 when the dissertation was awarded it wasn't this big a deal to be so anti-Hispanic in the conservative movement. Heritage also distanced itself from the 4 yr. old dissertation. 

Since we're discussing Harvard PhD's


who might also be idiots,  consider Leon Wieseltier,  who is opposed to the idea of having exit strategies:


The cult of the exit strategy. A “senior American official who is involved in Syria policy” plaintively said this to Dexter Filkins of The New Yorker: “People on the Hill ask me, ‘Why can’t we do a no-fly zone? Why can’t we do military strikes?’ Of course we can do these things. The issue is, where will it stop?” The answer is, we don’t know......  All this talk of exiting is designed only to inhibit us from entering. Like its cousin “the slippery slope,” “the exit strategy” is demagoguery masquerading as prudence.

Even the liberal New Republic


wants a no-fly-zone and air strikes in Syria?


That must make military action in the region a very sensible, centrist, consensus position.


... I love his complaint that people are being so sensible, prudent and boring now. Leon obviously feels like he's in some sort of straight jacket by being asked to plan. Hawks are apparently only truly free when they can make and blow stuff up.


W/out looking, I'm going to guess his position on invading Iraq.

Here's a lucky SOB



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

[Data] "That's *Blown* Out Of The Plane, Sir." [/Data] -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Heh- I like the delayed, way late reaction after they've gone



I don't think their reaction was delayed.


You've got to account for the 'HOLY SH*T!!!' factor.  Also there's absolutely nothing they could do for the guy anyway.  Lastly, I don't know what experience the guy holding the camera had.  He may not know the difference between a parachute and a slop chute.   I'm sure he knew that guys were going to parachute off the ramp of the airplane, so when a guy does exactly that he may not have been aware that something had gone wrong until he saw the reactions of others.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Immigration reform - will it happen?


The clock is ticking while many Republicans are trying to manage any bill other than border security to a slow death.


Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said... "If ... the differences aren’t resolved by June ... then the window will have closed on reaching a deal this year.”


I'm not saying today is the right day, but when is the right time to start fingers and for Democrats to at least attempt to pressure obstructionist Republicans with paying a political price?


Also, if this thing looks like it's going to tank, perhaps Obama could reassess his hands-off role. I'd say he should spend some of his re-election political capital on immigration reform but that seems to have mysteriously disappeared.

Nope--I'm Calling It

M Scott Eiland's picture

And here's the proof--even the king of the professional RINO a****les isn't groveling in fear any more. Shouting "RACIST HACK!!!" about the study's author doesn't deal with the basic reality that the long term math is not cutting in favor of amnesty, before we get to any of the many, many reasons why rewarding people with citizenship for unapologetic lawbreaking is an ethically bankrupt proposition.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Finally, anyone is entitled to ignore the study


based on the fact that one of its co-authors is a racist hack. 


It's not an "ad-hominem" fallacy to simply not give credence to the work product of a proven hack.


If Frum was willing to exhaustively comb through the study and reproduce the results himself, that would be fine. But he didn't. He's just assuming the study is innocent until proven guilty, which is appropriate for people on trial, not the work product of this Richwine fellow.

Re: Frum's claim


" ... so far I have not heard any good reason to doubt [The Heritage Study]"


He might look at Yglesias's critique:


The study starts by simply ignoring large swathes of the bill. There's no W Visa program here. No replacement of the Diversity Visa Lottery with a new points-based program. No expansion of H1-B, no reform of the treatment of spouses of skilled green card holders. There's nothing but amnesty for undocumented workers presently residing here. 


... Heritage pretends that you could make every single unauthorized immigrant vanish with no relevant macroeconomic impact. 


they assume ... that granting legal status to unauthorized workers will have no economic value to the workers. ... A big part of the reason that people want amnesty is that living illegally in the United States is a huge pain. There are lots of jobs you can't get. You can't get a bank loan to start or grow a business. You often can't get a driver's license. You may not be able to go to college. All that stuff depresses incomes and educational attainment.

But hasn't

brutusettu's picture

it already been shown that those low IQ immigrants lack the raw cognitive ability to wrap their heads around this "loan" concept or even the ability to get apply for a job that isn't handed to them?

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Long-term math


what is 6 trillion over 50 years as a % of US GDP?




Frum trumpets the stat as "important and explosive." It's meaningless.


... perhaps you're right about the canary in the coal mine aspect of this, tho OTOH Frum does enjoy being a bit of a contrarian.

Why is the # meaningless?


The Heritage # is: 6 trillion more spent on immigrants over the next 50 yrs.


First, it's focused solely on government spending in isolation from any additional revenue generated by additional growth or an enlarged tax base due to immigration reform.


So it's just one side of the equation. A Social Security Administration Study suggests additional revenue due to immigration reform would be $300 billion the first decade. Over a 50 timeframe, and assuming some growth, we can guess that would mean something like 3-4 trillion in additional revenue.


Obviously the interesting # is the extra spending minus the extra revenue, which would be between 2 - 3 trillion over 50 years. 


Now suppose the US averages the trend growth rate of 2.5% over that timeframe starting with a 15 trillion per annum GDP.


2-3 trillion extra government spending on immigrants over 50 yrs., as a % of total GDP, would be between: .14 - .2%.


The "explosive" immigration # from Heritage is that Congress is considering spending between 1/10th and 1/5th of 1 percent of total GDP over a 50 yr. timeframe.


To any serious think tank, this would be considered a rounding error.


brutusettu's picture

Just a big scary projected gross cost guess and not a projected net cost guess?


That alone strikes me as more a propaganda piece than some sort of real serious person study and that's just precious.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

brutusettu Has it Correct, Not Serious, a Propaganda Hit..nt



When the history of the financial crisis and aftermath


is written, Bernanke is definitely going to come off as the unsung hero.

Bernanke portrait


A bold prediction.


Let's wait 20 years and see. The Pacific seems to be in a strange new place right now and who knows what will come of it. 



Bernanke hasn't caved as hard to inflation hawks as some might have, but inflation has been below target most of the time since '08. It's hovering around 1%, the target is 2%, and arguably should've been 3-4%. 


Meanwhile U6 is still sky high and the employment-to-population ratio is stuck at levels not seen regularly since the 70s.


If there's a genuine recovery right around the corner, he'll get credit for shepherding the country to the light, but he's signaled he's retiring soon and economic data is still pretty mixed. 


He might just go down in history as better than average bumbling given the times.



I don't think


That's giving him credit for how quickly he went to totally unprecedented, unorthodox measures. And he's got votes he needs to wrangle before he can creditably promise laxity on inflation or anything else... I'll wait for after the bios before I cast my judgement.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Fair enough


But even extraordinary measures haven't had much impact given that we're at the lower bound. The stimulus package is the main reason the economy turned toward growth the past 4 yrs. To Bernanke's credit he has never been on the austerity bandwagon, unlike every single German banker who walks the earth. 


I'm certainly glad Bernanke tried aggressive policy, and didn't do anything stupid like raising interest rates, but do you think he'll be remembered for a monetary policy that was mostly ineffective? 


Also, I think he doesn't have too much restraint right now on the voting board of the FOMC and he's still undershot inflation by a lot. Running close to 1% inflation today is very poor policy, he didn't intend it, and it's a miscalculation that means companies aren't sufficiently discouraged from hoarding cash vs. investing.


Credibly committing to an inflation target is a central tool in normal times and one of the Fed's only tools right now, so I think it's a significant black mark. 


Overall, Bernanke-Obama look good compared to either Cameron-BofE or the Euroleaders-ECB.


But that's an extremely low bar - the UK and Eurozone are recovering more slowly than they did during the Great Depression.


So I wonder whether above average bumbler isn't more accurate than unsung hero.

And historically, this is *still* the best recovery from a


recession caused by a financial crisis in modern history. His immediate backstopping of the commercial paper supply and various rounds of QE kept the crisis from becoming a full-fledged meltdown and also made up for the fiscal retrenchment following 2010.


He has been about as bold as a central bank chairman can be, and his continuing of QE is pretty much the only reason the labor market appears to be weathering the sequester.

I might be overly discounting the effects of the QEs


"best recovery from a recession caused by a financial crisis" in any country or just the US?

In any country, with the single exception


of Japan after the 1990 crash.


See here.

Except '90s Japan, early 2000s Argentina, Iceland 2007


Germany 2008 ... I know I've read a rebuttal to these claims, but I couldn't find one.


I notice the author is drawing off Rogoff and Reinhart. I think there's reason to be skeptical of their research.



The most trusted people in America

Bird Dog's picture


To recap, almost half (49) are actors/directors or television personalities (including doctors/judges who are TV personalities).

There are 15 who are academics, authors and scientists. The most trusted at the NYT is Mo Dowd at 98, followed by Kruggie at 99.

There are 4 philanthropists.

There are only 2 religious figures (Rabbi Schneier at 48 and Billy Graham at 67).

All 9 of the Supreme Court justices are on the list. The most trustworthy is Ginsburg at 36.

There are 7 politicians, with the most trustworthy being the First Lady at 19. Barry is 65th.

There are 7 in the corporate world (Gates is at 7 while Buffett is 71st, seems like they should be reversed, especially after the Windows 8 debacle).

There 6 sports figures. Dungy (20) is the most trustworthy in this group. Tebow is 40th.

There are no trustworthy musicians.

In some strange way, this is an interesting snapshot of our culture.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

How am I not on that list?


There's something seriously wrong with America.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

"an interesting snapshot of our culture"



Her part of "Here comes trouble" line over the speaker

brutusettu's picture

Followed by a horrible 1st pitch before a Dodger game.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

BD's kiss cam things seems not to be showing

brutusettu's picture


"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

One more try

Bird Dog's picture

If it doesn't work, then try here.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Speaking of baseball

Bird Dog's picture

A kiss-cam compilation.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

And Yet Less Disastrous. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .than most pitches produced by the Dodger bullpen in recent days.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Thanks....That Such a Pretty Girl Could Throw a Baseball...



...that badly, was revelatory to me.


(out of curiosity sake, don't people throwing out a first pitch practice a little first at home, in a park, somewhere so they don't make such fools of themselves {of course, she remains very pretty}).



Be in the same group, throw a bad 1st pitch

brutusettu's picture

Make it on ESPN.  Practice and then just throw it over the plate, no ESPN (more non-ESPN level throws out there).

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Ah. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .I love the sound of thermonuclear Tweet squashing of Meghan the Moron in the morning.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Another item from a wingnut website -- pass

Zelig's picture


Me: We! -- Ali


Bird Dog's picture

"If it wasn't for politicians cheating on their wives, you wouldn't exist."

There's no real comeback for that.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

On The Other Hand. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .if you want to argue that adultery/trophy wife behavior is bad, the fact that Meghan the Moron wouldn't exist without the behavior is a rather good point of evidence in support of that argument, so Meghan is "winning!" I suppose. ]:-)

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Poe's Law As Applied To Gender Feminist Crazy

M Scott Eiland's picture

See if you can distinguish the piece of deliberately constructed gibberish from four pieces of genuine gender feminist lunacy.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Did You Look At That List?

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Beethoven's Ninth as a manifestation of rape culture" should make whoever wrote it literally unable to hold a job for all eternity. Whatever the silliness involved in creation myths, those who created them had a lot more excuse for ignorance about how things work.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



That passage about Beethoven's 9th appeared in a newsletter, in the 1980s and the author withdrew it.


It's not like it appeared in a Harvard PhD from 2009 or anything. 


Also, I'd be curious to hear the whole context. A Clockwork Orange famously had its murdering and raping protagonist identify the 9th as his favorite piece:


It had been a wonderful evening and what I needed now, to give it the perfect ending, was a little of the Ludwig Van.


Perhaps some of the associations expressed have something to do with the movie.

Approx 35%

aireachail's picture

of the US population wasn't even born yet when that was written.


I imagine this carefully stored away in a manila folder; preserved between sheets of the finest vellum paper and handled only with cotton gloves. It sees the light of day only on those rare occasions when an extremely important current social observation must be made.







What Percentage. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .of the US population wasn't even born yet when Genesis was written?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I'm gonna guess

aireachail's picture

it's something more than 35% (census records are sketchy).


Nevertheless, I'm reasonably certain that the subject newsletter article is not considered a canonical text by even the wackiest of those wacky feminists.  



I was gonna guess


that perhaps conservatives keeping alive old, irrelevant texts for their own purposes hasn't changed all that much over the millennia.

99.999999%. There's Hank and Ken White


IIRC, Hank had a deck chair on Noah's ark and Ken fired up a Pall Mall when he heard 'Let there be light.'

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

There's A Big Difference Between. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . ."this inspirational piece of music was enjoyed by evil people along with other people who enjoyed it" and "this piece of music was written as a paean to rape." And no, I don't see that as something that can be taken back after the (profoundly justified) burst of outrage it undoubtedly inspired at the time.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I see the difference


I'd also like to highlight that this was disavowed, appeared in a mere newsletter, and is several decades old. 


I'm not too sure why AEI is still writing about it.


Perhaps AEI would do better to focus on the more recent and important example of conservative scholarship by a 2009 Harvard PhD that AEI funded, who just published The Heritage Foundation's cost estimate of immigration reform, and whose dissertation contains things like:


When given the choice between a paycheck from a low-paying job and a welfare check, most intelligent people would realize that the welfare check offers them no potential for advancement. Low-IQ people do not internalize that fact nearly as well.

And Just For The Record

M Scott Eiland's picture

The "retraction" is idiotic as well, though not quite to the same degree:

The point of recapitulation in the first movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony unleashes one of the most horrifyingly violent episodes in the history of music. The problem Beethoven has constructed for this movement is that it seems to begin before the subject of the symphony has managed to achieve its identity.

OMG, her sensibilities were raped! Page Catharine MacKinnon and a musical therapist!

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Beethoven was supposed to be


chronically shy around women and the 9th, iirc, is his musical interpretation of "Ode an die Freude", a work that espouses the unity of mankind and the love that joins us all. 


Interesting that someone would read rape into it. I always thought that his 14th Sonata must be about something terribly sad until I discovered it was written to a foxy Italian chick he had the hots for. So maybe he just couldn't emote through music.

There's no mention of rape culture or whatever


so the retraction is pretty within bounds, even if not brilliant.


Personally I like Beethoven partly b/c I experience a masculine and muscular feel to a lot of his music. To me it doesn't connote coercive violence, but a seriousness of purpose to drill down a theme, without concern for its non-essential features. Beethoven is truthful, above all.


As for charging a piece of classical music with being too violent, that might sound dumb, but honestly, I don't enjoy a lot of 19th century symphonies b/c they evoke a kind of nationalistic, militaristic fervor that I associate with violence and war.

That's Not The Objectionable Paragraph In That Piece

M Scott Eiland's picture

The one where he begs the question about Hispanics being lower IQ than the general population without citing any evidence for the proposition is. It's kind of a "duh" observation that:

--working is superior to welfare as far as a means of existence goes, and;

--less intelligent people as a group are less likely to realize this (though as always individuals vary).

It's an obvious enough observation that one wonders why anyone thought that it was worth awarding a PhD for, without even getting into the racist assumptions that are contained in the rest of the piece. I'd probably be more outraged by the whole thing if I hadn't noticed references to deeply stupid dissertation topics from the moonbat side of things leaking into the media over the last few decades--the "universities are doing a crappy job of vetting this stuff" is most certainly not limited to "wingnut welfare" as your comments suggest.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It's not at all obvious


* Welfare might be the smarter choice for many unemployed immigrants. There's tremendous social pressure to work vs. take e.g. disability insurance, but there's no reason to suppose a job is obviously the "intelligent" choice. It might further the goals of the individual, depending on what those goals are. Lazy, conservative, unsupported assumption.


* IQ putatively measures some "core" but not all reasoning capacities. There's no reason to believe IQ tests measure the particular reasoning that goes into choosing between welfare and work. It's just a lazy pablum about what seems "smart" and then equating that with g.


* Even if g did significantly underwrite the welfare vs. work choice and Hispanic immigrants do indeed have lower average IQs, one wouldn't necessarily expect lower IQ within this range to correlate with choosing welfare. There might be a threshold where everyone within a range is equally likely to make the same choices. E.g. I don't expect people with 5 pt.s lower IQ than average to eat spoiled raw meat off the floor more often - that would only be an expected problem for people way outside the normal range of IQ variation. 


That passage burns with non-serious, conservative, stupid conventional wisdom. It's the opposite of research, just a lazy, conservative op ed. I agree with other problems you raise, though one can debate the merits of IQ differences between races. The mere fact that the dissertation supported such differences doesn't in and of itself mean it's bad research, tho I think in this particular case it obviously is.


I'd be curious to see some Harvard or equivalent PhDs from the port side that you think are this sh%tty who then went on to get good, high-paying jobs. In my experience, the competition and standards are much higher for academics who don't sell their souls to go on wingnut welfare and have to brave it in the underfunded, overcrowded academic job market.


For example, I had to write a real PhD that required years of research and thought, not that bu&&shit.

Pish posh.


His assumptions are well supported by the large body of 19th century cranial measurement studies.

And there are a huge number of jobs for which low IQ people

mmghosh's picture

are needed - fruit picking, making cheap clothes for smart, intelligent people and so forth - which would never be done by people of smart and intelligent ethnicities.


Some people have to (1) do the work (2) kept alive though workplace regulation and healthcare so they can continue to do the work without (1) complaining about low wages and (2) dying inconveniently in workplaces so that smart ad intelligent people can be kept fed and clothed.


A percentage of these workers might even have issues that render them unable to work and welfare might, as you point out, be a better solution for them.

Catchy, I'm not a doctor or nothing, but


when you censor yourself I've found that it's generally a good practice to actually censor out the dirty words.  This is one of those times where I think experience trumps education.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Don't Be Hasty

M Scott Eiland's picture

I suspect that the "Beethoven's music is kind of rapey" person would find those obscured "l"s to be rather phallic, and therefore worthy of obliteration. It's a holy effort, really--let Hyr Will be done.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Actually I thought that one


was the least inexcusable of the lot.  Not excusable,  you understand,  but not as bad as the others.  Most interpretive art/music criticism, feminist or not, has quite a bit of arbitrary BS in it.  Hearing some rape culture in the symphony reveals her own obsessions,  but really it isn't any more factually challenged than people claiming to hear sunrise or victory or German unification etc.

Have you read the Kreutzer Sonata?

mmghosh's picture

I'm not someone who can read a great deal into Western classical music, but Tolstoy obviously found enough material there for his story.   


Its hard to understand what people read in music.  Perhaps Prof Clary is wrong, but it is hard enough to know enough to condemn her out of hand.

Tolstoy. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .seriously needed to get laid.*

*--closed captioned for the sarcasm impaired, but seriously that guy had issues-- heck, whole rooms full of magazine subscriptions--on this matter. Taking his POV seriously on this is like giving credence to Mark David Chapman's take on The Catcher in The Rye.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


mmghosh's picture

seriously did get Sophia Tolstoya pregnant several times over , in spite of her multiple pregnancy related complications, and after giving her his diaries detailing his relations with his female serfs.  


If an artist of his immense insight could be inspired by a piece of music to write the Kreutzer Sonata, I don't really see your objection in a relatively minor American academic mining the 9th Symphony for whatever her sensibility took her to do.  It may not chime with yours, but it  should not be a reason for ridicule.


Stories about dependent creation and moralities based around and reinforced by them (and more especially when we today know that the stories are nonsense) are certainly worthy of ridicule, however. 



More than 36 hrs have transpired since Dennis Rodman's 'Do me a solid' request yet no action has been taken by North Korea.

Does Krazy Kim III Even Read Twitter?

M Scott Eiland's picture

This whole thing is absurd, but it's pointless to wonder about it if the lunatic or his minions don't even follow the information source in question.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It Would be Different if LeBron Asked...!...nt




M Scott Eiland's picture

I suspect that KJU is a Cavalier fan. :-P

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Stephen Hawking boycotts


Harvard is becoming a right wing joke


A recent Harvard PhD now at Heritage wrote a paper estimating that immigration reform would cost 6.5 trillion.


When people started looking into his background they found a loony right wing dissertation full of racist claptrap:


"Despite built-in advantages, too many Hispanic natives are not adhering to standards of behavior that separate middle and working class neighborhoods from the barrio."


"[n]o one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against. From the perspective of Americans alive today, the low average IQ of Hispanics is effectively permanent."


"When given the choice between a paycheck from a low-paying job and a welfare check, most intelligent people would realize that the welfare check offers them no potential for advancement. Low-IQ people do not internalize that fact nearly as well"


The author of this fine piece of scholarship was partially funded by the American Enterprise Institute, whom he thanked for its assistance. 


1. I can't imagine why Latinos think conservatism and racism go hand in hand when this guy is associated with the two highest profile conservative think tanks in the country. Will Heritage fire him?


2. Harvard scholarship is becoming a joke given all the right wing hackery produced by its professors and phD students. This crappola was signed off by its dept of public policy. 

A link to this PoS PhD




Skipping the breezy, terrible intro, it's about 120 pgs. long.


There's about 80 pages of what could pass as actual research; the ending parts about policy and solutions barely qualify, regardless of whether you agree on substance.


This is what people mean by "right wing welfare". This guy could not get a decent salary in academia on his merits.

How much worse can the ending parts be than the abstract?

brutusettu's picture

and the  intro?



A lot of the cites he's using in chapter 1 were nearly 2 decades or more old.





--when was the study written that showed social sciences sampled far too heavily western college students?



Regardless, there seems to still have been ample room for Richwine to at the very least almost throw out his "raw cognitive abilities" meme.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Yeah, chapter 1 really sucks


It's a terrible intro that reads like an upper-level undergraduate synopsis paper on the topic of psychometrics.


He's mainly rehashing some old arguments in response to Stephen J. Gould's 1981 criticisms of IQ.  


There are many, many, more recent and more sophisticated (and unaddressed) challenges to the assumptions he briefly defends on IQ, race, and income.


It's not my field, but I could write a better overview and defense of his chapter 1 position in about 2 weeks. The rest of his dissertation entirely depends on these assumptions. Any reasonable cmmttee would've required major revisions before passing this on. That is, ... unless your department is more interested in processing wingnut welfare recipients than scholarship. 

Still shaking my head


This passage should be below a decent website's (something like Slate or Salon) op ed standards, let alone a Harvard dissertation:


When given the choice between a paycheck from a low-paying job and a welfare check, most intelligent people would realize that the welfare check offers them no potential for advancement. Low-IQ people do not internalize that fact nearly as well.


Who the hell at Harvard signed off on this crap?

"Immigrants have become less-skilled relative to the native

mmghosh's picture



I was interested in this statement.  From what I remember from my visa interview, only specifically skilled people were actually allowed to immigrate into the USA.  


You couldn't immigrate into the USA if you were from the poor and huddled masses, unless you were specifically seeking asylum.  AFAIK, even asylum seekers have to pass a reasonably stringent assessment in case they are merely poor, not being abused. 

Legally, Yes

M Scott Eiland's picture

As the current attempt by Congress to excuse three decades of immigration law violations in demonstrates, not all immigration is legal. This is not to support anything in this individual's thesis (though I note the failure to refute anything in the actual paper in question today--in fairness I have to admit the legitimacy and effectiveness of indirect attacks as an easier route than frontal attack on a compelling argument), but it is definitely worthwhile to point out that those standards mean little in practice and will mean less than nothing if amnesty becomes the law of the land, since those trying to enter this country legally will be forever proven to be suckers for trusting the system.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Heh. That is tantamount to "free markets are a bad thing"

mmghosh's picture

Brilliant Analysis There, Colin

M Scott Eiland's picture

ESPN radio guy and notorious buffoon Colin Cowherd on upcoming "The Great Gatsby" movie: "It's a old-timey film. Who's going to want to go to see that?"

Yeah, no one's ever going to want to watch a big budget period piece movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. No one at all.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Another reason why the failure of gun control legislation...

Bird Dog's picture

...will have only small repercussions. First:

Gun crime has plunged in the United States since its peak in the middle of the 1990s, including gun killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes, two new studies of government data show.


Yet few Americans are aware of the dramatic drop, and more than half believe gun crime has risen, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.

In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly cut in half. Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.

Of more importance are areas where gun crimes have risen, such as Chicago. Second:

Americans put reforming immigration and reducing gun violence -- the focus of much of the attention on Capitol Hill in recent weeks -- at the bottom of a list of 12 priorities for Congress and the president to address. Americans instead say leaders in Washington should give highest priority to jobs and the economy, followed by making government work more efficiently and improving the quality of education.

Although pollees view immigration reform as a low priority, current law is past overdue for fixing.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

SC voters prefer an adulterer to a Democrat

Bird Dog's picture

By a 54-45 margin. I expect some interesting segments on the Colbert Report.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

BD, I'm pretty much convinced there are two different kind


of adulterers.  There are those that bug us because they violated oaths, normal values, and humiliated their families.  Then there are the guys who run around with pure hottness where we just sort of say 'Well,............ yeah.'

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

It's not so much the adultery



It's using taxpayer money to fund his trips to Argentina to see his mistress (and refunding the money after getting caught doesn't really count for much).


It's lying to pretty much everyone including your staff about going to hike the Appalachian trail when you were really in Argentina. The lies of course making it impossible for folks to get in touch with you -- and you're the sitting governor of the state.


But hey this is South Carolina. Quite possibly the weirdest politics in the entire country.

Well, it's not liked I worked his campaign here.


In fact, I didn't vote for him out of principle.  The principle being that I live in a different state. 

FWIW, adultery by elected officials is an issue for me.  I'm not prudish, I couldn't care less about what my barber or local landscaper does.  But, staying loyal to one's spouse is an easy oath to keep and if one will break faith with their spouse they'll break faith with anyone, or at least that's the way to bet.  The things you mentioned would have me voting for someone else as well but rather than 'it's not so much the adultery' I'd say 'on top of the adultery'.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

He will cheat his, spouse, taxpayers and perhaps anyone...

TXG1112's picture

But, he'll never buck the GOP line and his tea party supporters and that's all his constituents care about.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

And? IIRC, you're up in MD or VA


Neither of us had a say in this election.  I'll tell you straight up, I've held my nose when voting for what I believed to be the lesser of evils.  Evidently the folks in SC thought the cheater was better than the funny man's sister.  It's important that our opinions may differ, just not as important as the fact that they don't count.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

For me? No.


I'm not sure there's a 'need' overall, though.  Dead hookers and live boys seem to be the line for the average voter.  That's fine by me, the average voter can vote based on any criteria they want.  I can't affect that, so I'm not worried about it.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 




“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw



pretty sure that isn't two kinds of *adulterers* you're talking about, but two kinds of *observers* of the same.


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Testing your hypothesis

Bird Dog's picture



"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


M Scott Eiland's picture

She ain't Angelina Jolie. Really, she ain't even up to the standards of Mrs. Kucinich #4.

Not a big fan of Sanford, but seeing The Dick From South Carolina go out a failure is worth quite a bit of schadenfreude.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

So here I was walking the dog this morning,

Bird Dog's picture

and I ran into a movie set, just a few doors down from my property. They're filming Seven Minutes, and they're borrowing a neighbor's house for a few scenes. I went up to a guy to find out what was going on, turned out it was the producer. They're using various locations around the area. Anyway, pretty cool. And pretty exciting for our quiet little corner in the country.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Here's another option


One of my many day jobs was working at the City of Pasedena film office. Here's what you do when you have a movie shooting on your block. Complain loudly about the trucks taking up parking. Ask why you weren't warned. Say you'll complain to the mayor's office. If you're feeling especially ornery, blow your horn a couple of times in the middle of takes. Pretty soon the location manager will sidle up to you, talk real nice and pretty, and write you a check for several hundred dollars. Then you thank them for what they're doing for the local economy.


There was one instance in Pasadena when the whole block ganged up and each of them winded up getting more than the location fee itself (which is typically the house's monthly rent per day.) Unbelievable. And ironically (or not) it's the film people who are the worst in this racket.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs


Bird Dog's picture

but I could never do that. In real life, I'm not that confrontational face-to-face.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

At least get Kris Kristofferson's autograph!



My daughter said, "Kris who?"

Bird Dog's picture

And then I told her that the female lead was "Glimmer" in the Hunger Games. Kris was there, but I didn't see him, and now they're gone.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Wow - I guess Blade is already 15 yrs old


Kristofferson is so good in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

Get it twice.



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome.