Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Mid-Week Snippets

If things are a bit quiet around here, it's because I find myself under a sufficient crush of deadlines at work at the moment that much of my waking time is currently in front my work computer, and when I'm able to break I generally don't want to see a computer screen. The following are thus rather brief and unformed notes in lieu of a post.

The Billion Dollar Man

Due to the above factors, I haven't got around to downloading a new book from Audible, despite having a credit waiting for me and War and Peace finished, so I find myself back on NPR on the commutes. As such, I am actually moderately up on the news, and heard about President Obama's official kick-off of his 2012 presidential campaign. The goal, we are told, is for the Obama campaign to raise one billion dollars for the presidential campaign, an unprecedented number. This would leave far behind the already staggering spending of the 2008 campaign, in which Obama raised $745 Million and McCain raised $368 Million. Somehow I can't help finding this darkly funny as several of my progressive friends have been posting frantically over the last few months about how Republicans are funneling all the money to the rich and Citizens United has shockingly tainted the political process with money.

More Sleep Please

It seems that inequality isn't only a matter of money, it's a matter of sleep. The WSJ tells us this morning about the real top 1%:
For a small group of people—perhaps just 1% to 3% of the population—sleep is a waste of time.

Natural "short sleepers," as they're officially known, are night owls and early birds simultaneously. They typically turn in well after midnight, then get up just a few hours later and barrel through the day without needing to take naps or load up on caffeine.

They are also energetic, outgoing, optimistic and ambitious, according to the few researchers who have studied them. The pattern sometimes starts in childhood and often runs in families.
I am not one of these. I work very well at night, when I get going, but mornings are not my time at all. Instead, I seem to be one of the "wanna be short sleepers", people who routinely get less than seven hours of sleep a night but end up tired as a result. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day.

GE and Taxes

Now that the fuss is mostly behind us, it appears that GE is in fact paying taxes, though it won't be clear for several years, in all likelihood, exactly how much their 2010 federal taxes are, since these things are negotiated for years. Megan McArdle takes the opportunity to advocate for reducing the corporate income tax to a nominal amount such as 1% of profits so that it's not worth dodging, and catching the money on the other end by taxing capital gains at the same rate as income. This is, however, one of those typically libertarian suggestions which is so logical and reasonable that it will probably never happen. Sigh...

For someone who finds it all too easy to mindlessly eat, when given the chance, fasting is typically not all that hard for me. I suppose mindlessly not eating is in a sense not all that different from mindlessly eating. However, one forgets that for most people Fridays are days to let loose a little bit more than usual, until one walks into the breakroom and sees this, as I did last Friday:
The crock pot on the left is shredded turkey in sauce, while the one on the right is shredded beef. Yeesh.

On a family trip last weekend we had a chance to listen to a couple of different audiobooks (from the family collection or the library) that are more kid friendly. The girls were just finishing up listening to The Last Battle (read by Patrick Stewart). It was striking me that it's too bad that the Narnia movies seem to be foundering badly on the first three books, which aren't structured well for movie adaptation, as the last four really are much better structured to be movies. Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle have always been my favorites out of the series.

We also listened to a good chunk of Kipling's Jungle Book, which I haven't read in a long time (if ever) in its entirety, though some stories from it such as Rikki Tikki Tavi are family favorites. It was also striking me how delightfully frank about matters of life and death Kipling's animal characters are -- as one would expect animals to be.


Anonymous said...

"my progressive friends have been posting frantically over the last few months about how Republicans are funneling all the money to the rich and Citizens United has shockingly tainted the political process with money."

I disagree. We need to spend more on political campaigns, though ideally the money should not all come from deep-pocketed special interests.

The auto industry spent over $4 billion in 2009 on advertising. Just the auto industry, just in 2009. And that was a huge drop from 2008, because of the downturn in the industry. If you figure in the food and beer industries, soap and household products, and all the other advertising that we see on a daily basis, marketing in the US is probably into twelve digits.

Since choosing a president is arguably more important than choosing a brand of soap, the marketing effort behind the election should be comparable in scale.


Big Tex said...

Saw the bit on GE and Taxes yesterday... typical measured and informative piece from McArdle.

Enbrethiliel said...


Did you ever come across that list, "You know you were born after Vatican II if . . ."

My favourite criterion: "Friday night was hamburger night!"

Ah, yes . . .

Well, not literally hamburgers for me, but the implied chasm between "Fishy Fridays" and the concepts of TGIF and Casual Fridays is obvious.

Jenny said...

At my house growing up, Friday was pizza night. That would be pepperoni and sausage pizza with extra cheese. I was an adult before I realized why restaurants had fish specials on Fridays.