Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sitting in Austin airport dumping of the tabs 

Yeah, I've been *really* busy. Just keeping my schedule straight has become something of a full-time job. But I still read, and therefore have accumulated a big wad of tabs which I should spew out before I burst. Or my computer crashes. You have seen many of these over the last couple of days, no doubt, but some of them may be new to you.

Harvard historian Niall Ferguson goes to town on what passes for foreign policy in the Obama administration. It isn't pretty.

Megan McArdle: "When freedom is bad for business." How difficult it is to start, and wind up, a business in Iraq. This is a tragedy, and a failure of American policy. It should be possible to start a small business in an hour, with a simple disclosure form and a nominal fee. Anything more, anywhere, destroys the possibility of more wealth for everybody.

Slow-walkers two abreast on the sidewalk in front of you, and people who occlude the escalator. Yes, they suck, but they are not a reason for rage:

A lot of us have 'shoulds' in our head," says Dr. Deffenbacher. Ragers tend to think people should do things their way, and get angry because the slow walkers are breaking the rules of civility. It's unclear exactly why some people harbor such beliefs, Dr. Deffenbacher says. Such ways of thinking are generally learned from family, friends or the media, he adds.

Ragers' thoughts tend to be overly negative, over-generalized and blown out of proportion, leaving them fuming about how they can't stand the situation, how late they are going to be, and how this always comes up, Dr. Deffenbacher says. In contrast, someone blissfully free of sidewalk rage may still be frustrated, but thinks more accepting thoughts such as, "this is the way life is sometimes" or, "I wish that slow person wasn't in front of me," he says.

I have a lot of "shoulds" in my head, but I do not regard the nameless people around me as moral actors. They are like the weather, and there is nothing much I can do about them. All the fuming in the world will not change that.

Why are there fewer women in science?

Christopher Hitchens, who can still unlimber his pen to wonderful effect, mocks the "human rights establishment" for suddenly noticing that the Taliban are the most brutal people in Afghanistan, by a long-shot.
The turning point, in the mind of the human rights "activists," appears to have occurred in late January, when a Taliban suicide-murderer killed at least 14 civilians in the Finest Supermarket in Kabul. Among the slain was a well-known local campaigner named Hamida Barmaki, whose husband and four small children were also killed. One wonders in what sense this was the Taliban going too far—women are killed and mutilated by them every single day in Afghanistan. Yet let the terror reach one of the upscale markets or hotels that cater to the NGO constituency in Kabul, and suddenly there is an abrupt change from moral neutrality.

Not really surprising, though, right?

Increasingly, innovative companies are avoiding going public, and confining their capital-raising to the now vast private capital markets. This is not surprising; we have made it so unpleasant to be an executive of a public company that I do not know one who would not rather be private. Worse, the people who do succeed at public companies are experts in process and governance, and not very likely to make imaginative leaps or forge new businesses from the wreckage of the old.

More later.


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Feb 16, 12:42:00 PM:

"I have a lot of "shoulds" in my head, but I do not regard the nameless people around me as moral actors."

Except for the ones who stick their luggage in the front of the plane when their seats are in the back, of course.  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Wed Feb 16, 01:21:00 PM:

Re DF 82:

LOL! Touche!  

By Blogger Mystery Meat, at Wed Feb 16, 05:39:00 PM:

George Carlin had a joke about motorists. People who drive faster than you are fking lunatics and people who drive slower than you are fking assh0les.  

By Blogger My name is Inigo Montoya, at Wed Feb 16, 09:50:00 PM:

Try going to Hong Kong though - people walk slower than you can imagine, at least 2 abreast on narrow sidewalks, and have a (well-deserved) reputation for walking in diagonals. They aren't wired the right way there.

That doesn't give me sidewalk rage though - what does is when the diagonally-inclined geese cough right on you without covering their mouths as they walk past.


By Blogger My name is Inigo Montoya, at Wed Feb 16, 09:55:00 PM:

And PS - Ferguson is a righteous dude, and learned man. He books are like warm apple pie. I dig him.

Scary about Lara Logan too...  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Thu Feb 17, 01:00:00 AM:

The job I have probably wouldn't exist if not for federal regulation; I do work for a publicly traded company, but I think this regulations that cause a need for the position I hold (and the few others in my small department) would be there even if it were a privately held company. This particular industry is highly regulated, period...  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Thu Feb 17, 01:01:00 AM:

Oh, and how did you enjoy our weather? It's warmed up this week, a lot. Only a week ago, we were lucky to get out of the 30s..  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Thu Feb 17, 03:52:00 AM:

Mystery Meat, that is not a joke, it is true. That is my exact experience, honest. You can't imagine how frustrating it is.  

By Anonymous Opinionated Vogon, at Thu Feb 17, 07:22:00 AM:

I will admit to road rage.

But this is not about "the rules of civility". It's about a disregard for the law and common sense. People driving a 2 ton projectile with a nonchalant attitude and who are oblivious to the danger they create for others and themselves need to be hectored.

I choose not to remain silent, but to call them on their recklessness.

Call it road rage if you like, but I will continue to point out people's unsafe and illegal actions to them when I see it. I think if more people did, we all be better off.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 17, 12:14:00 PM:

I think road rage is caused by people cruising placidly in the left lane (the passing lane), pure and simple.

If you want to drive at a given speed, fine, but let those who want to drive faster get past you. Blocking them is a provocation.

For the record, I am generally slower than the median drivers now, but drove faster when younger, and I feel like I can now see both sides of the issue.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Feb 17, 10:35:00 PM:

Miss Ladybug, I enjoyed the weather immensely. Especially after the winter we've had in the mid-Atlantic, which is unprecedented in my 23 New Jersey winters (six of which were back before the "hockey stick").  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Feb 17, 10:36:00 PM:

Oh, DF, solid point. You got me dead to rights.  

By Blogger Steve, at Fri Feb 18, 09:21:00 AM:

"...I do not regard the nameless people around me as moral actors. They are like the weather, and there is nothing much I can do about them."

Exactly. They may be clueless but getting stressed about it only hurts you. Now how do you deal with liberals who deny economic reality? Tolerating their ignorance and intransigence only makes the problem worse.  

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