The few but not the proud, the neighborhood where Terrell died, treated like dogs, build your own president, and bottles of hope.
For the most part, economic jargon and complicated debt restructuring stories are Greece to us. Today, for example, the U.S. business media is previewing debt talks, which begin tomorrow. It's an ongoing dance between private creditors and Greece's "economic partners," other countries with skin in the game.
What about the Greek people?
There is belt tightening, and then there's strangling in a noose. Greece is about to join the Third World, if reports of the effects of its austerity measures are any indication.
The Daily Mail says parents are abandoning children they can no longer afford, and the country is running out of medicine, including aspirin.
It's a terrible situation based on the Daily Mail account, but it's difficult for people here to know where it fits in the big picture, especially when considering this BBC story, which says Greece is adding new categories of behavior to the definition of "disabled."
The new government "disability" list also includes compulsive gamblers, fetishists, exhibitionists and sado-masochists, the Associated Press news agency reports.
The Greek Labour Ministry said a panel of medical experts had decided to include such behavioural disorders on the list, but the new categories did not signify benefit entitlement.
But some people in Greece are fretting that it will lead to state payments to the new categories.(2 Comments)
The New York Times' ombudsman, Arthur Brisbane, asks an interesting question today that many people will consider a slam dunk, and others will consider: Should reporters point out when someone is lying?
As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie. My question for readers is: should news reporters do the same?
If so, then perhaps the next time Mr. Romney says the president has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying, more or less:
"The president has never used the word 'apologize' in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president's words."
Or should reporters simply write what they're told? If this question sounds familiar, you're probably a regular NewsCut reader.(13 Comments)
Not since the days of the ice castle has Saint Paul had as photogenic an event in January as the Crashed Ice spectacular at the Cathedral of Saint Paul.
Flickr already has plenty of early shots of the construction of the race course. We certainly expect more, especially with the colorful nighttime lightning.
Sorry, Minneapolis, you'll have to move out of the picture for a couple of days.
It was, as usual, a fascinating and insightful hour of Midday today when Gary Eichten invited Sen. Al Franken to answer listener questions, but the most fascinating answer was this one: "I don't know."
Gary's question: Is the U.S. killing Iran's nuclear scientists?
"I think we have been doing stuff that is clandestine to slow down their nuclear program," the senator said. "I don't know. I don't know if that's what we're doing."
Asked if assassinations are "justifiable," however, Franken paused and then didn't answer the question, which could have easily been done using either "yes" or "no."
"I don't.... I would like to get a briefing on that... It's very interesting; you go to a special room for briefings and I'd like to find out what the deal is there," he said.
Find the subject being discussed at 27:39
Of course, if the U.S. is resorting to assassination, a U.S. senator wouldn't be saying so, but one would figure out another way of answering the questions without a lie. Taking Franken at his word, it might lead one to wonder how many U.S. officials do know the answer?
"I want to categorically deny any U.S. involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Shahshank Joshi, an analyst with the Royal United Services Institute in London, suggested the assassinations were the work of someone or some country with a heart:
The actual weapon used was a magnetic bomb, which contributed to the very careful blast that left passengers dead but others outside the vehicle unharmed," he told Radio Free Europe, noting that the West has been pushing sanctions and negotiations in dissuading Iran from joining the nuclear club..
"The suggestion, therefore, is that either this was a group not involved with those sanctions or a state that was impatient with those sanctions and didn't think they would work anyway," he said.
The assassinations have been real life Mission Impossible. In the latest hit, two men on a motorcycle put a magnetic bomb on Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's car, killing him and the driver.
I don't often paste up news releases, but there are particulars in this one about a University of Minnesota Carlson School study that I'd hate to leave out.
The perception that women are scarce leads men to become impulsive, save less, and increase borrowing, according to new research from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.
"What we see in other animals is that when females are scarce, males become more competitive. They compete more for access to mates," says Vladas Griskevicius, an assistant professor of marketing at the Carlson School and lead author of the study. "How do humans compete for access to mates? What you find across cultures is that men often do it through money, through status and through products."
To test their theory that the sex ratio affects economic decisions, the researchers had participants read news articles that described their local population as having more men or more women. They were then asked to indicate how much money they would save each month from a paycheck, as well as how much they would borrow with credit cards for immediate expenditures. When led to believe women were scarce, the savings rates for men decreased by 42 percent. Men were also willing to borrow 84 percent more money each month.
In another study, participants saw photo arrays of men and women that had more men, more women, or were neutral. After looking at the photographs, participants were asked to choose between receiving some money tomorrow or a larger amount in a month. When women were scarce in the photos, men were much more likely to take an immediate $20 rather than wait for $30 in a month.
According to Griskevicius, participants were unaware that sex ratios were having any effect on their behavior. Merely seeing more men than women automatically led men to simply be more impulsive and want to save less while borrowing more to spend on immediate purchases.
"Economics tells us that humans make decisions by carefully thinking through our choices; that we're not like animals," he says. "It turns out we have a lot in common with other animals. Some of our behaviors are much more reflexive and subconscious. We see that there are more men than women in our environment and it automatically changes our desires, our behaviors, and our entire psychology."
"The Financial Consequences of Too Many Men: Sex Ratio Effects on Savings, Borrowing, and Spending" will be published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Co-authors of the study include Joshua Tybur (VU University Amsterdam), Joshua M. Ackerman (M.I.T.), Andrew Delton and Theresa Robertson (University of California, Santa Barbara), and Andrew E. White (Arizona State University).
Sex Ratios Affect Expectations of Women
While sex ratios do not influence the financial choices women make, they do shape women's expectations of how men should spend their money when courting. After reading a news article informing women that there are more men than women, women expected men to spend more on dinner dates, Valentine's gifts, and engagement rings.
"When there's a scarcity of women, women felt men should go out of their way to court them," adds Griskevicius.
In a male-biased environment, men also expected they would need to spend more in their mating efforts.
Population Data Supports Research Findings
In addition to conducting laboratory experiments, the researchers reviewed archival data and calculated the sex ratios of more than 120 U.S. cities. Consistent with their hypothesis, communities with an abundance of single men showed greater ownership of credit cards and had higher debt levels.
One striking example was found in two communities located less than 100 miles apart. In Columbus, Ga., where there are 1.18 single men for every single woman, the average consumer debt was $3,479 higher than it was in Macon, Ga., where there were 0.78 single men for every woman.
Research Implications for Marketers and Society
Whereas previous research has found that merely seeing an attractive woman in advertising would make a man more aggressive or make a man more interested in conspicuously consuming, "The Financial Consequences of Too Many Men" study suggests it may not be that simple. According to the findings, whether a woman is alone or surrounded by many or few men can have a great impact on the reaction it elicits.
Griskevicius says the effects of sex ratios go beyond marketing and influence all sorts of behavior. He cites other studies showing the strong correlation between male-biased sex ratios and aggressive behavior.
"We're just scratching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial behavior," says Griskevicius. "One of the troubling implications of sex ratios for the world in general is that it's about more than just money. It's about violence and survival."(1 Comments)
A new poll says Tim Tebow is now America's most popular athlete.
And that's big news for underwear. " It's very exciting for us. He is the hottest athlete in the country today," Dustin Cohn, chief marketing officer of Jockey, said in the Detroit Free Press. Jockey has an endorsement deal with Tebow.
SportsCenter on ESPN dedicated an entire show to Tebow and nothing but Tebow. Twitter really appreciated that.
I've written in the past about generally being tired of mixing an analysis of his football ability with the depth of his spiritual beliefs, but this bit on Conan requires I made an exception.
Today, the Washington Post asks if Tebow would rank as high if he were Muslim.
Chris Jackson joined the Denver Nuggets as a third-round draft pick in 1990 and converted to Islam a few years later, changing his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. As a point guard, Abdul-Rauf was fun to watch; he led the NBA in free-throw shooting for two years, dished the assists and was one of the Nuggets leading scorers. And he did all this despite having Tourette syndrome, which often caused him to twitch oddly on the court.
But in March 1996, about five years after his conversion, Abdul-Rauf decided his faith prohibited him from standing for the national anthem. He came to think of the American flag as "a symbol of oppression and tyranny."
The reaction was swift: the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for a game. The public outcry was brutal. Four radio station employees charged into a Denver mosque to play the anthem on a trumpet and bugle; they were charged with misdemeanors.
This is a question also asked today on Salon.com, also invoking Abdul-Rauf for a clue, but also mentioning other Muslim athletes, including the former Cassius Clay.
By now, even casual boxing fans are familiar with Ali's quote "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... No Viet Cong ever called me nigger." That one quote made Ali a social activist. And his social activism was based on his faith. Ali claimed that Islam prohibited war unless called for by Allah. That one belief made Ali's religion a wider social issue. What followed was public outcry. Ali was stripped of his championship belt, had his boxing license suspended, and was convicted of draft evasion. The Supreme Court ultimately overturned it. But for four years, Ali, arguably the greatest boxer of all time, did not fight.
So Muhammad Ali stood up (or in this case, sat out) for his religious beliefs. He made his religion a visible aspect of his life and a visible aspect of his professional boxing career. Just like Tim Tebow 40 years later. Just like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf 30 years later. Ali was an outspoken proponent of his religion, Islam, but was vilified for his outspoken religious beliefs. His Islamic beliefs.
(h/t: Matt Quintanilla)(4 Comments)
The economy, as you may have heard, is great in North Dakota. It's a great time to be a stripper in the Oil Patch, for example. But you can't really make a tourism campaign out of that.
This week, North Dakota unveiled its 2012 tourism campaign, "Arrive a guest, leave a legend," although this particular ad suggests another slogan might also fit.
"The direction of Arrive a guest. Leave a Legend. offers the idea that once visitors cross the border into North Dakota, everything and anything is possible," the North Dakota Tourism press release says.
(h/t: Stephanie Curtis)(9 Comments)