Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cruising the Left Coast tab dump 

At SFO, imbibing the Steam at the Anchor Brewing Company's bar and pumping out tabs. Do not confuse with wit or erudition.

[UPDATE: Post continued at the bar in the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, several hours later.]

The case against Enronizing Lehman. In other words, it is bad policy to criminalize business failure.

Lots of people in Princeton are without power, with the prognosis of restoration later in the week but as yet uncertain. That was one very powerful wind storm.

For the parliamentarians among you, Ezra explains the latest procedural device for passing health care "reform."

If you love Paris...

Are consumers improving their personal balance sheets, or just defaulting?

Does self-conscious greeniness make you a good person? Maybe not:

When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to "green" type.

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the "licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour", otherwise known as "moral balancing" or "compensatory ethics".

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the "halo of green consumerism" are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours," they write.

I speculate that "compensatory ethics" may obtain less often when "virtuous acts" are unfashionable, out of sight, or not otherwise done to impress others. Displays of virtue that are fashionable are perhaps less genuine, on average, than those that have stood the test of time. Do people who volunteer in soup kitchens or food banks practice compensatory ethics as often as people who drive a Prius? Your commentary is most welcome.

Put me down as doubtful.

Hamas, bless its little beating heart of evil, has announced a "day of rage" in response to the dedication of a renovated synagogue. A day of rage? Seriously? Nobody likes a day of rage. What with all that negative energy and such. These dudes are going to get nowhere, no matter what the merits of their cause, without new flacks.

The Rielle Hunter slide show. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it: Rielle's definitely well-preserved.

At long last, justice for ABBA. I'm not too cool to say I'm happy for them.

Be well.


By Blogger Georg Felis, at Tue Mar 16, 01:19:00 AM:

Latest procedural gimmick for passing the Health Care Takeover...err..Reform!

Ignore the Constitution and the Rules of the House, hold a sham vote, proclaim victory, and wack anybody who protests over the head with "Health care is sooo last week, we're doing jobs this week. Don't you care about jobs! JOBS!"

That about right?  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Tue Mar 16, 02:19:00 AM:

"Hamas, bless its little beating heart of evil, has announced a 'day of rage' "

So how exactly are we supposed to distinguish this from all of the other Hamas days?  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Tue Mar 16, 06:55:00 AM:

Word to the wise, if you want to call a woman "well-preserved" and not regret it, stick to this age bracket:


By Anonymous Robert Arvanitis, at Tue Mar 16, 09:16:00 AM:

Disagree regarding Lehman.
The worst business judgment is not criminal.
But it IS criminal to park bad assets with a friend and call it a "sale."
No question there.  

By Blogger Stack Trace, at Tue Mar 16, 10:55:00 AM:

Man, quit hatin' on the Prius. I drive one, mostly because my wife and I drive a *lot*, and the money saved on gas really does add up. We bought it when my wife was in grad school, when she had to drive 80 miles *each way* to get to school, about 3 times a week. Now we drive about 40 miles a day, when you take into account our whole schedule.

So not everyone out there driving a Prius is a pretentious jerk. It's just a car.  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Tue Mar 16, 11:30:00 AM:

Re: Reille Hunter

I, too, would have picked Reille over Elizabeth. Actually, I never would have gotten involved with Elizabeth to begin with.

My conclusions about John's marriage to Elizabeth (admittedly viewing everything from a distance):

1. Elizabeth wanted a good-lookin' guy.

2. John needed Elizabeth's brains to succeed.  

By Blogger Elise, at Tue Mar 16, 11:30:00 AM:

It's fascinating - and also kind of scary and sad - that the authors of the "mean, green" study consider it a given that:

green products are manifestations of high ethical standards and humanitarian considerations

even after these results. The authors cling to the notion that purchasing green products is ethical and humanitarian and therefore they strain to explain why the Greens act unkindly and unethically in other arenas. It never seems to occur to them to re-examine their premise: perhaps purchasing green products has nothing to do with ethics or with humanitarianism.

IIRC, there was some research a year or so ago that showed those who identify as liberals or progressives gave less to charity than those who identify as conservatives. Perhaps this study is just more of the same and has little to do with being green and a lot to do with how liberals believe the world works - and how it should work.  

By Blogger RPD, at Tue Mar 16, 11:31:00 AM:

I don't mind hybrid drivers who are cheap. i can appreciate that. It's the ones who are smug about their superiority that irritate the heck out of me.  

By Blogger Stack Trace, at Tue Mar 16, 11:50:00 AM:


Yeah, our slogan for the Prius... "Converting smog... into smug!"


By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Tue Mar 16, 01:14:00 PM:

If it turned out that Elizabeth Edwards never had cancer, would you be surprised?

John and Elizabeth -- and now Rielle -- have shown us that they're not normal people. It's not the sleeping around -- Tiger Woods is "normal" -- it's their narcisstic delusion and vain need for attention.

If Tiger Woods hadn't been married and hadn't been branded as he was ... he'd be just another young Jack Nicholson. Just watch "Entourage" ... I do ... it makes me ... jealous.

Rielle looks good in these photos -- but not in a "mother of my child" kind of way.  

By Blogger GreenmanTim, at Tue Mar 16, 02:42:00 PM:

I suggest the alternate title of "Barfly Buzz" in place of Tab Dump (which sounds more like a bodily function) for posts of this nature. Considering the source, natch.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Wed Mar 17, 11:04:00 PM:

Arthur Brooks' Who Really Cares? purported to show that conservatives are more generous than liberals in money, time, and blood. Much of that effect disappears, however, when one corrects for the percentage of religious people in each party. The religious are more generous than the nonreligious on a variety of measures, even after removing giving and volunteering for religious institutions. The difference is significant but not enormous. To this religious person's eyes it should be twice as much, but it isn't.

The persistence of generosity across several measures suggests that some modes of virtue are more strongly correlated with general virtue than others - and that environmentalism isn't one of these. It would be interesting to know what type of virtue is the best predictor of our types, and which occur as isolates.  

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