1-15-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Look at Jim Crow

Brian Phillips dissects sharecropping, which is frequently (and wrongly) used by leftists to condemn capitalism for causing poverty among blacks in the south after the Civil War.

Combined, these laws essentially put black laborers back into slavery. The laborers could no longer negotiate on equal terms or act on their own judgment. The penalties for vagrancy greatly discouraged blacks from seeking better employment. The plantation cartel had the steady source of labor that it needed. In short, it was government coercion that protected racists and made the cartel possible.
Please note that I did not say "after slavery" above.

Weekend Reading

"Letting your winners run isn't a stock tip -- it's a time-tested technique." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Make More Money by Not Trading at All" at SmartMoney

"One of life's challenges is to take risks, no matter how small." -- Michael Hurd, in "Compelled to Control" at DrHurd

From the Vault

In light of the GOP selecting a new chairman the other day, it is an interesting coincidence that I complained about its out-going chairman, Michael Steele, about this time last year:
As I have noted in the past with other, similar, cries of "Hypocrisy!" from the right, it is fine to call someone a hypocrite, but not enough when that person's precepts are wrong to begin with and it would thus be immoral to actually follow them anyway.
I looked around a little bit the other day and came up empty when I tried to get some idea of what Priebus's political philosophy is like.

Did the Republicans act short-range, and choose a cypher so as to avoid the inevitable unpleasantness that comes with disagreement? If so, they will have buyer's remorse sooner or later, either due to his soon-to-become-apparent positions (because no one man can satisfy all factions, with their mutually contradictory goals), or because a jellyfish can't be a leader.

Who's an Expert?

Last week's encounter with a scam website caused memories of a classic essay I read years ago to bubble up into my mind: "False Authority Syndrome," by Rob Rosenberger. Here's an excerpt:
[Virus expert Wolfgang] Stiller sums up False Authority Syndrome among computer security experts: "Put me on a panel with a computer security person, and I won't claim to have his level of security expertise. But the computer security guy will invariably claim to have my level of virus expertise. How can you convince the audience in a diplomatic way that he doesn't?"
I'm not sure I care for the term "false authority syndrome," because it focuses too much on ultracrepidarianism, and too little on credulity. Also, the solution to the problem the essay explores isn't credentialism, either. I don't think Rosenberger makes this mistake, but I can see someone falling into it after reading his essay.

Time for Some Blues

Clifton Chenier sings, "I'm a Hog for You," live. I didn't watch the above video all the way through, but between the prominent food and the person twirling the ornate umbrella, I'd bet money it was filmed at a Jazz Fest.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

In the early 90's I was working at a small business that was trying to break into a developer support role for a fortune 500 company. I was chronically working 16 to 20 hour days and was often the last to leave the building.

I would lock the door, get halfway to my car, and because of fatique, couldn't actually remmeber LOCKING the door. So I'd go back, sometimes 4 or 5 times. This went on for a couple of weeks and was immensely frustrating.

I finally figured out that there was nothing particular to distinguish each door locking action from the multitude that came before it so I would look at the anti-burglar plate attached to the door and focus on one word of the address of the company that supplied it; someone out of Elkhart, Indiana. Problem solved.

Oh, and of all those times I went back to check the lock status? Only once was it left unlocked. And I had actually driven back after having gone close to a mile toward home.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


I'm similarly security conscious, but tend to be absent-minded. I have also likewise found that making a point of remembering that I locked a door very helpful.