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Bruce Bartlett, 61.

For more than 30 years, I was very comfortable within the conservative wing of the Republican Party. I still recall supporting Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater as a schoolchild. As a student, I was a member of Young Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom at the height of the Vietnam War, when conservatives on college campuses mostly kept their heads down.

....

But as the Bush 43 administration progressed, I developed an increasingly uneasy feeling about its direction. Its tax policy was incoherent, and it had an extremely lackadaisical attitude toward spending. In November 2003, I had an intellectual crisis.

American Conservative Edited by August1991
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Sarah Ruden on Camille Paglia, 65:

Most other cultures (including those of Europe) authorized parents to bind their teenage children to a lifelong sexual union. With no provisions for free courtship, the parties to a marriage could not exercise any right of consent they might have on paper. Puritans, in contrast, were scrupulous in allowing their children informed choice, and their laws provided for divorce. A strong rival sect of the time, Quakerism (which I need to disclose as mine), placed choice and equality in marriage at the center of its social ethics.

The sexual revolution was rooted in the same soil as the American Revolution. The freedom to choose for or against marriage, to choose among potential partners, and to leave an unbearable relationship readily invited consideration of other choices.

National Review
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Ethan Roeder, 36, Campaign Analyst:

In 2011 and 2012, the Obama campaign, with the help of more than two million volunteers, had more than 24 million conversations with voters. Online tools gave Obama supporters resources to help them play a crucial role in their neighborhoods, and a series of “share your story” pages on the campaign Web site provided a venue for voters to communicate directly with the campaign in long form.

All of this feedback doesn’t neatly boil down to a “yes” or “no” in a database — and why should it? Numerous avenues of listening, combined with the digital capacity to hold on to qualitative feedback, make campaigns aware of the differences among voters’ motivations, attitudes, protestations — not just their demographics and voting history. In a nation of over 200 million eligible voters, technology is allowing campaigns to finally see through the fog of the crowd and engage voters one by one.

NYT
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Gavin McInnes:

"While bemoaning Brooklyn’s yuppification, many say, “I miss old New York,” but the same way Germans idolize Native Americans they’ve never met, outsiders worship native New Yorkers without having any clue about how they act.

"When I think of real New Yorkers, I think of Irish and Italians born and raised in Brooklyn. This borough is what keeps Manhattan alive."

http://takimag.com/a...t#ixzz2F5TPzJWe

Edited by August1991
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  • 4 weeks later...

Robert Nault, 57, one time Liberal Minister of Northern Affairs:

Robert Nault is watching the First Nations protests now dominating Canadian news from a unique perspective. As Jean Chrétien’s Indian affairs minister from 1999 to 2003, Nault tried to modernize the way reserve communities manage their finances and elect their councils. But the Assembly of First Nations vilified him for it, and the Liberal government abandoned his reform push after Paul Martin took over from Chrétien as prime minister. Nault now divides his time between Northern Ontario and British Columbia, working as a consultant and negotiator for First Nations communities. He spoke with Maclean’s by phone today; this is an edited version of the conversation:

Q What do you think would need to happen for the “Idle No More" protests to open a path toward real progress?

A I think we have to get away from just the government and the Assembly of First Nations, and start looking at some form of all-party committee that’s been given a green light to work with Aboriginal leadership.

Macleans
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Andrew Leonard:

In 2012, for the first time ever, Americans watched more movies legally delivered via the Internet than on physical formats like Blu-Ray discs or DVDs. The shift signified more than a simple switch in formats; it also marked a major difference in how much information the providers of online programming can gather about our viewing habits. Netflix is at the forefront of this sea change, a pioneer straddling the intersection where Big Data and entertainment media intersect. With “House of Cards,” we’re getting our first real glimpse at what this new world will look like.

For at least a year, Netflix has been explicit about its plans to exploit its Big Data capabilities to influence its programming choices. “House of Cards” is one of the first major test cases of this Big Data-driven creative strategy. For almost a year, Netflix executives have told us that their detailed knowledge of Netflix subscriber viewing preferences clinched their decision to license a remake of the popular and critically well regarded 1990 BBC miniseries. Netflix’s data indicated that the same subscribers who loved the original BBC production also gobbled down movies starring Kevin Spacey or directed by David Fincher. Therefore, concluded Netflix executives, a remake of the BBC drama with Spacey and Fincher attached was a no-brainer, to the point that the company committed $100 million for two 13-episode seasons.

Salon Edited by August1991
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James Heckman, 62, Nobel Prize winner in Economics:

More educated women are working more than they ever have before. They're also spending more time on child development than they ever have before. Why? Because they've read all this literature about child development.

Less educated women are also working more - not quite as much - but they're not spending any more time in child development. So there's a great divide - that's what the demographers call it, "the Great Divide" - between the haves and the have-nots. So the parenting inputs are essentially not being achieved.

And in many cases, the kids are growing up and going into childcare facilities that are second rate, that are basically not really providing them with the stimulation that a good middle class family might do. And so that's another source of disadvantage and it's exactly the sort of disadvantage, by the way, that Alfred Marshall was worried about back in the 1870s and 1880s.

PBS

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Doug Smith, a blogger in Maryland, writes about graffiti and tagging:

Graffiti has historically been associated with different groups of people. These groups claim their "art" is done for different reasons. Not every group of kids you see on the streets is a crew. Who does graffiti may vary from town to town. What you read below is taken from discussions in alt.graffiti, other web pages, and published materials. Your police department can tell you what kinds of "crews" are active near you.

Graffiti vandalism is done by all races, creeds, colors, sexes, and by persons in every socioeconomic category. The police know the profiles of vandals in the various vandalism sub-cultures. You can't label all vandals in any particular way. Different cultures vandalize for different reasons, may or may not be violent, may or may not be in gangs or crews, or may or may not be going to art school. You just don't know until you ask your local police. Don't ask the graffiti advocate.


Gangs mark their turf with monikers and messages. As gang memberships increase, more and more gang graffiti is seen. The moniker or message in gang graffiti is meant to threaten and intimidate others, recruit new members, advertise the sale of drugs, and mark gang boundaries. Graffiti is a gang's major communication tool. Gang graffiti is plentiful in many areas. This graffiti is hate of the worst kind. There are several kinds of gangs that do graffiti. There are racial hate groups to drug dealers that deface our communities.


There are groups called "tagging crews" who put their tags up for "fame." These groups are vandals with little artistic ability. Taggers often have no particular "territory" as a gang member might have territory. It is common to see a tagger's mark over a wide area. The vandal attempts to show style through the type and placement of the tag. (Tagging a freeway sign is called tagging the "heavens." )

....

One of the best definitions of why vandals do graffiti was written by a former "graffiti writer." Of all the reasons I have read, this one is the most plausible : "But then I started thinking some more, and I realized what the essence of graffiti is about, why people do it. It's not for fame (there is none), not for girls (they don't care), not for money (ha ha), not for recognition (you can't be yourself), and not even for competition (what's the point) or art (because anything can be artistic). It's all about two things: tacky youthful rebellion (to a certain point), and more so, a desire to show that there are some things that just can't be controlled."

The Anti-Graffiti FAQ

Edited by August1991
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Robert Huber, journalist:

Confusion, misread intentions, bruised feelings—everyone has not only a race story, but a thousand examples of trying to sort through our uneasiness on levels large and trivial. I do, too. My rowhouse in Mount Airy is on a mostly African-American block; it’s middle-class and friendly—in fact, it’s the friendliest street my family has ever lived on, with block parties and a spirit of watching out for each other. Whether a neighbor is black or white seems to be of no consequence whatsoever.

Yet there’s a dance I do when I go to the Wawa on Germantown Avenue. I find myself being overly polite. Each time I hold the door a little too long for a person of color, I laugh at myself, both for being so self-consciously courteous and for knowing that I’m measuring the thank-you’s. A friend who walks to his car parked on Front Street downtown early each morning has a similar running joke with himself. As he walks, my friend says hello and makes eye contact with whoever crosses his path. If the person is white, he’s bestowing a tiny bump of friendliness. If the person is black, it’s friendliness and a bit more: He’s doing something positive for race relations.

Phillymag

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Susan Patton, Princeton Class of 1977:

A few weeks ago, I attended the Women and Leadership conference on campus that featured a conversation between President Shirley Tilghman and Wilson School professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and I participated in the breakout session afterward that allowed current undergraduate women to speak informally with older and presumably wiser alumnae....

For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.

Daily Princetonian Edited by August1991
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Noah Smith, Asst Professor of Finance, Stony Brook University:

Bayesian probability basically says that "probability" is, to some degree, subjective. It's your best guess for how likely something is. But to be Bayesian, your "best guess" must take the observable evidence into account. Updating your beliefs by looking at the outside world is called "Bayesian inference". Your initial guess about the probability is called your "prior belief", or just your "prior" for short. Your final guess, after you look at the evidence, is called your "posterior." The observable evidence is what changes your prior into your posterior.

How much does the evidence change your belief? That depends on three things. It depends on A) how different the evidence is from your prior, B) how strong the evidence is, and C) how strong your prior is.

....

English has no word for "the constant, repetitive reiteration of strong priors". Yet it is a well-known phenomenon in the world of punditry, debate, and public affairs. On Twitter, we call it "derp".

So "derp" is a unique and useful English word. Let's keep using it.

Some Blog
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Andrew Molson, heir to the brewing dynasty and chairman of the parent company Res Publica, said Joly was chosen for her entrepreneurial spirit, her community involvement and her Rolodex. Her age never factored into the equation.

“Through her dynamism she attracted a lot of talent to the firm, so it grew quite quickly from that perspective,” Molson said. “The part of going out and generating more business for the firm is a challenge that she was continuing to do until she decided to hang up her skates as they say.”

....

Alexandre Trudeau, the second-born son to former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau, has known Joly for a decade. They became friends after she recruited him to work on a fundraiser for Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain, where Joly was a board member.

When Justin Trudeau launched his campaign for the leadership of the Liberal party, Alexandre Trudeau, who makes documentary films, recruited her in turn.

“She’s the kind of person who brings energy, which is exactly what my brother needed — young, bold, creative-thinking people who are ready to take charge of today’s society,” he said in an interview. “She’s really a born networker, too. She knows everyone, she’s comfortable in both left-wing circles, right-wing circles . . . she’s a good uniter.”

The Toronto Star

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Arnold Kling on the geek/suit divide:

You go through a lot of analysis and many painful meetings before anyone writes a line of code. The technical staff have to be able to challenge the business units, because sometimes the business unit asks for something to be done in a really complicated way, when a much simpler solution is available to solve the business problem.

One of the worst things that can happen on a systems project is to find yourself revisiting the business-technical negotiations process after writing a lot of code. If that is what is happening now, this project is in an unbelievable amount of trouble.

Link
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Arnold Kling on the geek/suit divide:

Link

Very amusing. Mr. Kling seems to be super intelligent, and experienced but I guarantee you I have more experience in this topic than he does. I was only briefly and tangentially involved when the company was doing the same thing with a different government. ( Ontario. ) It's like trying to turn around a cruise ship, with no room for error, except you have no naval experience - only a dopey looking and unmotivated crew to help you. And they speak Italian. And the captain looks suspiciously like the Costa Concordia guy.

A couple of his comments were interesting:

This: "This is not a technical screw-up, and it will not be fixed by technical people. It is an organizational screw-up. And until that is recognized, it probably will get worse." is presumptuous. Although he's likely correct, the first rule of managing such things is to get all the information first. We don't know if the problem is simply too little capacity as has been suggested, or something more.

This: "One of the worst things that can happen on a systems project is to find yourself revisiting the business-technical negotiations process after writing a lot of code. If that is what is happening now, this project is in an unbelievable amount of trouble." is happening, but it is expected to happen. Moreover, they have to plan for this happening.

The comments are pretty good, too.

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Uruguay's president José Mujica: no palace, no motorcade, no frills

If anyone could claim to be leading by example in an age of austerity, it is José Mujica, Uruguay's president, who has forsworn a state palace in favour of a farmhouse, donates the vast bulk of his salary to social projects, flies economy class and drives an old Volkswagen Beetle.

But the former guerrilla fighter is clearly disgruntled by those who tag him "the world's poorest president" and – much as he would like others to adopt a more sober lifestyle – the 78-year-old has been in politics long enough to recognise the folly of claiming to be a model for anyone.

The Guardian Edited by August1991
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Paul Krugman, 60, Professor of Economics, Princeton.

The other day someone — I don’t remember who or where — asked an interesting question: when did it become so common to disparage anyone who hasn’t made it big, hasn’t gotten rich, as a “loser”? Well, that’s actually a question we can answer, using Google Ngrams, which track the frequency with which words or phrases are used in books...

NYT

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Catherine Rampell:

It’s not clear from the data why women might be more sensitive to grades than men are.

“Maybe women just don’t want to get things wrong,” Goldin hypothesized. “They don’t want to walk around being a B-minus student in something. They want to find something they can be an A student in. They want something where the professor will pat them on the back and say ‘You’re doing so well!’ ”

“Guys,” she added, “don’t seem to give two damns.”

Washington Post
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Hélène Buzzetti:

L’invitation journalistique était alléchante : passer une journée en compagnie du chef libéral dans un de ses bains de foule sans filet qu’il affectionne et multiplie depuis plus d’un an. Mais, bien vite, on constate que, pour comprendre le phénomène Justin Trudeau, il faut savoir marcher quelques mètres en retrait. C’est dans le sillage de l’homme qu’on mesure toute l’étendue de l’effet qu’il provoque chez les gens.

Le Devoir

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As often happens when people interact with a new technology, an unexpected thing emerged telegraph operators found they could recognise the individual sending to them by nuances in their transmitting style, which they called their fist.

...

The theory underlying fist analysis is predicated on an exactly analogous phenomenon. People express themselves on the internet in their own unique way. They have favourite words or expressions, spelling or grammar mistakes they always make, curiosities of punctuation, wrong or missed capitalisations, an habitual phrasing structure, ideas they frequently mention, strange little tics of their keyboard. If you have enough written material by them, its possible to develop a very distinctive lexicological profile composed of all those mannerisms which you can then go on to use in identifying them.

http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/how-to-hunt-somebody-down-on-the-internet-part-2/

Edited by August1991
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Nice going the the read of the week.

I am only reading academic stuff - but here is one on capital intelligence

Polanyi (1966) - we have the power to know more that we can tell because knowledge is personal and has no concrete rules to identify it, or how to observe it.

Edited by RB
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George Clooney, 53, Hollywood actor:

GEORGE CLOONEY: A good portion of the press abdicated its real duty. They played the fiddle while Rome burned. There was a real story going on. With just a little bit of work, you could have found out that it wasn’t just probably North Korea; it was North Korea. The Guardians of Peace is a phrase that Nixon used when he visited China. When asked why he was helping South Korea, he said it was because we are the Guardians of Peace. Here, we’re talking about an actual country deciding what content we’re going to have. This affects not just movies, this affects every part of business that we have. That’s the truth.

Deadline Hollywood

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James Bartholomew, October 2015, describes "signalling":

To my astonishment and delight, the phrase ‘virtue signalling’ has become part of the English language. I coined the phrase in an article here in The Spectator (18 April) in which I described the way in which many people say or write things to indicate that they are virtuous. Sometimes it is quite subtle. By saying that they hate the Daily Mail or Ukip, they are really telling you that they are admirably non-racist, left-wing or open-minded. One of the crucial aspects of virtue signalling is that it does not require actually doing anything virtuous. It does not involve delivering lunches to elderly neighbours or staying together with a spouse for the sake of the children. It takes no effort or sacrifice at all.

http://new.spectator.co.uk/2015/10/i-invented-virtue-signalling-now-its-taking-over-the-world/ Edited by August1991
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Joe Castaldo, journalist, writes about Target Canada:

It didnt take long for Target to figure out the underlying cause of the breakdown: The data contained within the companys supply chain software, which governs the movement of inventory, was riddled with flaws.

Canadian Business Edited by August1991
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