Glenn Beck: Why do they hate him so?
by John Staddon The New Criterion January 21, 2011
In January 2011, Vanity Fair published Tea’d Off, an article by Christopher Hitchens which is an attack on the Tea Party movement and its chief icon, broadcaster Glenn Beck. I have long admired Mr. Hitchens, for his prose, his erudition, his independence, and, not least, his courage now in the face of a dreadful disease. Mr. Hitchens is also one of our most brilliant debaters and polemicists. In short, I’m a fan; but I’m very disappointed by his caricature account of Glenn Beck…more
Citizens of North Carolina, to the extent that they pay attention to such matters, may be puzzled by the recent storm in a teacup at Duke.
A statistical study co-authored by two Duke economists and a sociologist described data suggesting that black and legacy applicants to Duke are more likely than others to shift majors away from their initial expressed preference for science, engineering or economics to subjects in the humanities or social sciences with a more generous grade distribution…more
Static theories are inadequate to describe real markets
Financial Times OCTOBER 29, 2012 From Emeritus Prof John Staddon.
Sir, As someone who was heckled by Robert May (Comment, October 20) while giving a plenary lecture to a conference on ethology in Oxford more than 30 years ago (I went on too long, as a nervous speaker will often do), I want to add to John Whiteman’s letter about predator-prey equations and market cycles (October 26)…more
Solution is to abolish multinational tax
Financial Times November 22, 2012, John Staddon
Sir, Sol Picciotto and Nicholas Shaxson are quite right that the tax treatment of multinationals gives them an unfair competitive advantage over smaller companies. But there is of course an even better way of solving the problem than restructuring the tax code as they propose…more
Cutting the Too-Big-to-Fail Banking Risk Down to Size
Wall Street Journal March 13, 2013, JS and various contributors
If size is the problem, size should be the target. The simplest way to deal with the TBTF problem is a progressive tax on total exposure. The largest banks should pay a marginal rate that makes them unprofitable. It would force them to downsize and would raise much-needed cash in a way that should not damage the economy…more
THE BLOOMBERG WAY
The Atlantic January/February issue 2013, John Staddon
In November, James Bennet interviewed Michael Bloomberg. They spoke about the role of government, highlighting such topics as the New York City mayor’s regulation of soda sizes and metzitzah b’peh, an ancient Jewish circumcision practice.
I liked Mayor Bloomberg more after reading James Bennet’s interview, but I still find him annoying…more
‘Gullivering’ American Enterprise and Its Job Creators
Wall Street Journal ,June 25, 2013 John Staddon and another
The core problem seems to be “legislation by delegation.” The Dodd-Frank Act and the Affordable Health Care act are both wish lists of utopian objectives, with no details about how they might realistically be achieved, plus the assumption that they are in fact achievable. An example from Dodd-Frank: “SEC. 714. ABUSIVE SWAPS. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the Securities…more
Science and the senator: missing the point about government waste
About to retire, Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn, M.D., has just released his 107-page 2014 Wastebook, a tabloid-type listing of over a hundred wasteful government-funded projects. Coburn continues the tradition of the late William Proxmire, the Wisconsin senator who, more modestly, chose just one or two “Golden Fleeces” each year.
Many objects of Coburn’s ire—agencies using paid “administrative leave” to isolate whistle blowers, vast misdirection of food-stamp money, for example—are right on target. But when it comes to science, he misses the point…more
A Most Curious Document
National Association of Scholars, June 23, 2016. John Staddon
Elite schools have struggled for many years to increase their racial and ethnic diversity, to foster ‘inclusion,’ and to eliminate any vestige of prejudice. Surely after decades of effort, universities must be among our least prejudiced, biased and hate-filled institutions?
Apparently not. Duke University, one among many, is worried about bias and hate and recently produced a report to prove it: Report of the Duke University Task Force on Bias and Hate Issues (April 30, 2016)…more
Team Player: Professor Shiller and Finance as Panacea
How big should finance be? How productive is the financial industry?
Psychology Today March 6, 2017, John Staddon
This is a new review of a relatively old book by a famous economist. The book seems never to have been critically reviewed, despite the eminence of its author. But as the financial industry looks forward to some kind of deregulation, the issues covered here are returning to the front page.
Shiller, Robert J. (2012). Finance and the Good Society. Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition. More
Unlucky strike: Private Health: The Science, Law and Politics of Smoking
Video John Staddon Cato Institute March 11, 2015
Duke Professor’s 1991 Warning about Campus Chaos is Oddly Prophetic
Intellectual Takeout, Annie Holmquist April 27, 2017
If one was to judge solely from headlines, it would appear that the only activities occurring on university campuses these days are riots and outrage. As professor Jonathan Haidt notes, it’s as if the university is possessed of a “tribal mind” which views “the demonization of inconvenient research and researchers” as its chief end…more
Taking Ta-Nehisi Coates Seriously
Ta-Nehisi Coates has become one of the most prominent intellectuals in America. But his case for reparations is flawed.
Intellectual Takeout John Staddon October 26, 2017.
In June 2014, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a feature
in the Atlantic
arguing that the terrible history of blacks in the United States justified reparations. Many consider this a radical proposition. Yet critical reaction was mild.
Kevin Williamson, writing in National Review, disagreed with Coates’ proposal but was impressed with the “beautifully written monograph,” describing the prose as “intelligent and sometimes moving.” In his muted critique, Williamson gives little weight to the faulty logic and fundamental injustice of Coates’ proposal…more
James Martin Center, John Staddon Jan 31, 2018
The British journal Nature, home in 1953 to Watson and Crick’s important DNA paper, was by 1966 rather in the doldrums, with a backlog of submitted manuscripts and losing ground to the general-science leader, the U.S. journal Science…more
Peer Review: the Publication Game and “the Natural Selection of Bad Science”
James Martin Center, John Staddon February 2, 2018
Professor Brian Wansink is head of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. The lab has had problems, some described in an article called “Spoiled Science” in the Chronicle of Higher Education early in 2017:…more
The Persistence of Memory and #MeToo
Intellectual Takeout, John Staddon February 8, 2018
The recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein have precipitated hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse. Many of the complainants are now adults, even middle-aged. But most of the alleged events took place when the victims were young – teenagers or even children. One of Weinstein’s accusers recounted events that occurred some twenty years previously; another accused Weinstein of raping her in 1992…more
Science and Its Discontents: Too Few Jobs—or Too Many Scientists?
James Martin Center, John Staddon February 28, 2018
The United States is producing more research scientists than academia can handle,” so begins a July 2016 article by respected New York Times science reporter Gina Kolata. It turns out that new PhDs in science have a hard time getting a job like their mentor’s: tenured faculty in a research university. Fifty years ago, in my own area of experimental psychology, things were very different. Postgraduates, after four years of college, were able to get their PhDs in four or five years. They usually got a tenure-track job at a reasonable university right after graduating….more
Racism Is Everywhere…Is It, Really? Suppressing debate is a non-solution
This blog is about how lack of empathy can lead to charges of racism; and how the perception that racism is pervasive can lead to demands for remedies worse than the disease they are supposed to cure.
A Chronicle of Higher Education article, written by Marcia Chatelain, an African-American curricular activist and associate professor of history at Georgetown University, claims that racism is found almost everywhere, that limiting academic speech is a necessary part of a cure and “That college campuses are complicit in encouraging and emboldening budding white nationalists.”…more
“She Blinded Me With Science” is a wonderful 1980s song by the Brit Thomas Dolby. It could be the signature tune for Professor Lisa Barrett’s deeply fallacious New York Times article on speech as violence. She writes: “Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain – even kill neurons – and shorten your life.”… more
“‘Diversity and inclusion’ is the moral benchmark of our time… Every corporation, college, and government agency, along with a growing number of bowling leagues and bait-and-tackle shops, has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion.” So says William Voegeli in a recent article. And so says the University of California at Los Angeles, whose campus-wide Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion earned (or at least, was paid) some $444,000 in 2016. UCLA is not alone in assigning overwhelming importance to “diversity and inclusion.”… more.
Like most Americans, I have always assumed that color blindness is our ideal. Not any more: color blindness is now become the new racism. So much for a 70-year struggle to fulfill Martin Luther King Jr.’s wish that his children be “judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” So much for the noble aim to treat people as individuals rather than as representatives of an identity group…more
To many modern sociologists, color blindness is a racist weapon that works, somehow, through whiteness, a scheme of thought invisible to most whites, but revealed by CBR sociology. Whiteness is part of systemic racism: “Exposing the Whiteness of Color Blindness” is a chapter subhead in Bonilla-Silva’s book. Whiteness is as real an identity as blackness. None of these, neither whiteness, nor blackness, nor systemic racism is measurable in an objective way.
Whiteness, “the practices of the ‘new racism’—the post-civil rights set of arrangements that preserves white supremacy” in the words of Bonilla-Silva—is apparently hegemonic: “I contend that ‘color-blind’ ideology plays an important role in the maintenance of white hegemony,” writes Ashley “Woody” Doane, a leading “whiteness studies” advocate who heads the sociology department at the University of Hartford…more