Has anyone seen a good article about the relative safety of government and private sector jobs in the recent economic umpleasantness? I found on for the United Kingdom indicating, "The number of people signing on for unemployment benefits rose by 138,000 last month - the fastest rate since 1971. Meanwhile, jobs and pay are still rising in the public sector."
I assume that the situation is similar in the U.S., as this graph suggests, but don't recall any good stories. A cynic would say that the stimulus package was designed primarily to save the jobs of unionized, government eployees. But how sustainable can that model be?
P.S. Is this connected to the he-session, as some are starting to call it. Men are more likely to have lost their jobs of late than have women.
Men and Women
About a year ago I was lunching with a friend who works for the New York Times, we were discussing blogs and newspapers. I said that there's much good information avialable on the web if one knows where to look. He said that there are hundreds of thousands of blogs (or some such large number). There's good information out there, but it's hard to find. By contrast, he implied, the Times brings "all the news that's fit to print" into one place. I didn't want to get into an argument, so I didn't bring up the question of whether his paper, in fact, does a fair job selecting and followig stories.
What was interesting to me was his attitude toward blogs. To him, they're all one, big, undifferentiated lump. Given that bloggers run from highly regarded, even nobel-prize winning economists to hardly educated people, that did not seem like an informed vew to me. After all, there are thousands of newspapers in the country. And we all know some are better than others. Why blogs should be any different, I have no idea.
I wonder the Times are feeling squeezed by the decline in circulation and the rise of a new medium. Beyond that, there's the loss of power and influence, about which I have blogged before.
All that was brought to mind by the revelation that someone or several people at the Times has been trolling blogs such as instapundit (and others) and leaving nasty comments. A sample (which I edit for family viewing):
OBAMA HASN'T EVEN RAISED TAXES YET YOU DUMB MOTHERF---
suddenly all these people are feeling persecuted by taxes. 'cause the money is all being handed out to black people by the black president. can we have more of them drowning their kids and trying to make it look like murder, plz?
I suppose if I were working a business that was doing great until a few years ago, but now is in decline, particuarly if it were a business that demanded much education but, as a rule, paid less than other elite jobs, I'd be rather angry too.
"If you give them scope with the people at large or their representatives, they will destroy all equality and liberty, with the consent andacclamations of the people themselves." John Adams, 1787.
The trend in elite circles. Parents who are disappointed when they have a son:
Gender disappointment is not an official psychiatric diagnosis. It's an Internet-era label, an appellation coined by women who are bitterly unhappy about their baby's gender and who can't get over it, even after their child is born. It's also a subculture, or, as Lewis says, a club. There are books on GD (Altered Dreams: Living With Gender Disappointment), herbal tonics and tablets intended to influence a child's sex, and a handful of fertility specialists who have no qualms about taking all the guesswork out of baby making. "Why not?" asks Jeffery Steinberg, MD, an Encino, California-based reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in the use of in vitro fertilization for sex selection. "We're not producing monsters; we're producing healthy babies."
Much of the talk on the GD message boards revolves around sex selection methods, ranging from various folk remedies to sperm-sorting and spinning methods (MicroSort, Ericsson) to the holy grail: in vitro fertilization with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a technique in which a doctor determines the gender of the embryos and transfers only those that fit the parents' request. The most popular at-home option is the Shettles method, named after the doctor who developed it and involving the exquisite timing of intercourse relative to ovulation. . . .
Some women go as far as to label their own boys as "failed sways" or "Shettles Opposites." The mother of little Caleb, writing on In-Gender, wants it known that her apple-cheeked son is "living as a MicroSort statistic": He is the unexpected result of a 92.9 percent girl sort probability that doctors gave her. The mom of three-year-old Isaac and two-year-old Isaiah, who's expecting another boy on December 15, has put a frowny-face icon next to her due date. "I hate my life," she writes. "My family is complete in reality but not in my heart." She is considering giving all three of her boys up for adoption: "I want to give them to someone who can actually love them."
P.S. I chose the label, "Pop Culture" for this one. It should be "mom and pop culture."
Literature, Poetry, and Books
That is among George Washington's pleas in the first Thanksgiving proclamation (coincidentally, also for Thursday, Nov. 26). We should thank Almighty God for, among several other carefully chosen blessings, "the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted...." That would include the Federalist Papers. Read President Lincoln's proclamation as well. We should not forget that our now traditional Thanksgiving holiday as the last Thursday in November was finally set during the Civil War. These proclamations constitute core elements of the American civil religion, which reflects and enhances our religious liberty.
Here's President Obama's proclamation. It presents a misleading view of Lincoln's proclamation. Obama claims that "President Abraham Lincoln ... established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war." Actually, the mending to be done was through a Union victory--the statesmanlike application of military force to suppress the unconstitutional rebellion. For example, the proclamation recognized the temptations a divided nation offered to ambitious foreign powers. I'm thankful he didn't change the tradition of Presidential Proclamations' echoing of the last words of the Constitution, specifying the date in Declaration of Independence years as well as in the Christian calendar.
By now, I assume everyone has read about the leaked emails showing that some scientists pressing the cause of global warming have acted more like advocates than like scientists.
I thought it would be worth linking to this piece which brings into question the famous "hockey stick" graph showing warming increasing over time. A sample:
Literature, Poetry, and Books
Men and Women
The latest poll saying that on 38% of Americans like the bill that the Democrats leadership is pushing through Congress has generated much discssion.
Question: How popular would tort reform be? How popular would it be to allow citizens of one state to purchase their health insurance in another state?
Some key provisions of the pending legislation are probably popular, too. Why not pass a minimalist improvement instead of a comprehensive change that the people don't want? It could even have the virtue of being truly bipartisan.
Mickey Kaus criticizes those who say health reform has to save money. Nonsense, Kaus, a rare, honest liberal on this question, says. We should willingly pay more to provide a genuing public good:
An alternative argument for health reform would say: extending generous health coverage to all citizens is part of America's social equality. We don't deny people what they need to regain their health. We don't decide that some people are worth care and others aren't, British-style. We can pay for it--it's expensive, it certainly doesn't help the deficit picture, but it's not that expensive at the moment, maybe a hundred or two extra billion a year. It's worth raising some taxes and maybe denying the affluent government retirement checks (which is not such a necessary part of social equality). If we can do some reasonable curve-bending in the long-run to bring down the cost, even better. But we're not counting on it, since so far nobody's been able to do it.
Question: do most Americans see it that way? What percentage of us agree that " extending generous health coverage to all citizens is part of America's social equality." I am fairly certain that the vast majority of Americans agree that people who really need medicine ought to get it. Do they agree that the government ought to provide it? Which level of government? And in what cases? Do most Americans think government should provide "generous health coverage" or do they think it should provide only the necessities, and think that anything above that ought to be provide for by our own savings, by insurance, and by private charity? I am not sure there is as much consensus on these issues as Kaus would like to think, especially when one puts it in a real-world framwork. How much more should we pay in taxes to provide generous health coverage, as opposed to the emergecy service we now provide? Etc. No one, and not country, can afford everything, however nice it sounds.