Friday, August 10, 2012

What I’m reading #74

There will be more material from Quote Unquote the magazine, I promise, as soon as I finish editing these two books and reporting on these five manuscripts. In the meantime:

Matt Nolan, an economist, rips into the Herald over its article that started with: “Economists have proven it’s cheaper to let Maori children die than spend money to provide equitable health treatment.” I saw that and didn’t read the story because from that first sentence it was obviously wrong, stupid, deranged or perhaps all three. Matt did read it and is righteously angry:
I would normally ignore the nonsensical ramblings of a journalist on issues they don’t understand, but they had to go and attack “economists”.  We get this crap all the time, the very fact we are willing to discuss and mention trade-offs makes people who can’t be bothered thinking convinced that we cause the trade-off.  By daring to say that increasing the provision of healthcare costs money, the journalist has decided to give the impression that the economist at Auckland University (who was working in conjunction with people from other disciplines) is immoral.
Personally, I think writing articles piled with misinformation based on an unwillingness or inability to read a university press release has a larger degree of “immorality” than an economist discussing trade-offs.
Speaking of nonsensical ramblings, here is Marc Hinton opining about Valerie Adams winning silver:
Because if something “blocked” Adams from her pursuit of gold, and it was something that shouldn’t have, the public have a right to know. Also, what “broke” her? Again, answers will be sought.
A right to know? No. There is much better – and much more sympathetic – comment here. And, earlier, here, from the same eyewitness about what a hard and lonely life it is without a team.

In bed with Robert Fripp, well almost. He hasn’t given an interview for seven years but he did speak recently to the Financial Times. He never was a conventional rock god.

Degrees of discrimination (via David Thompson):
Psychologists Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers, based at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, surveyed a roughly representative sample of academics and scholars in social psychology and found that “In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues.” This finding surprised the researchers. The survey questions “were so blatant that I thought we’d get a much lower rate of agreement,” Mr Inbar said. “Usually you have to be pretty tricky to get people to say they’d discriminate against minorities.”
One question, according to the researchers, “asked whether, in choosing between two equally qualified job candidates for one job opening, they would be inclined to vote for the more liberal candidate (i.e., over the conservative).” More than a third of the respondents said they would discriminate against the conservative candidate. One respondent wrote in that if department members “could figure out who was a conservative, they would be sure not to hire them.” […] Generally speaking, the more liberal the respondent, the more willingness to discriminate and, paradoxically, the higher the assumption that conservatives do not face a hostile climate in the academy.
Left is right, right is wrong. What’s the problem here?

Finally, country singer Randy Travis makes the news again, but not in a good way. The February incident was bad enough, but this is plain weird. It’s one thing to be a fan of George Jones but there is no need to emulate his nuttiness. I can’t understand how someone rich and famous could end up in that state. Don’t they have friends, minders? It’s not as though he had the pressure Amy Winehouse was under. Except, and I am guessing but this is a common guess, it must be hard being gay in Nashville – maybe even harder than in Hollywood.

Anyway, I am a big fan and have been since his first official album Storms of Life from 1986. No Holdin’ Back from 1989 was great too and this is its cover:

I hope he gets well soon. Here he is with his 1989 remake of Brook Benton’s 1959 hit “It’s Just a Matter of Time”. That low E-flat he hits on “go home” and “I know” is pretty special. All together now, “Bom-bom-bom-bom”:

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