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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 17, 2021
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 17, 2021   Strategic Political Economy “You lost. Stop acting like you won” [White Hot Harlots (lyman alpha blob), via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-14-21] “The abortion issue has been lost. I cannot fathom any plausible near or medium-term scenario in which the actually existing American left mounts a successfu […]
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Tuesday: The state of science

Staph Aureas colonies growing on what looks like a blood agar plate

Guys, the state of science in this country is truly messed up.  Pharmageddon continues with the big research companies still laying off in high numbers, especially here in the US, and getting out of certain research areas. (Jeez, 2009 was a very bad year for US scientists.  58,000+ of us let go in an industry where hiring freezes have been the norm for over a decade.) Some of those research areas might be important to you even if you don’t know it right now.

For example, did you ever wonder how your great grandparents coped without antibiotics?  We’re only a couple of generations away from the dark ages when unchecked infections lead to gangrene and amputation, sepsis and death.  But have you ever wondered how little it would take to get that whole ball rolling?  Well, here’s one modern account that should chill you to the bone.

Meet Lucy Eades, youtuber extraordinaire.  Lucy has been documenting her family’s evolution in intimate detail for several years now.  Lucy and I have wildly dissimilar lives.  She’s young, blond, pretty and busy with three children under the age of five.  She’s into homebirths, cloth diapers and attachment parenting.  I like dropping in on her channel because it’s like watching a documentary on some exotic culture I will never visit.

Last November, just after Thanksgiving, her daughter Jacelyn scratched herself below the waistband of her underwear.    No biggie, right?  Wrong:

The day after on Saturday she asked why it was so itchy as she was trying to find comfort while rubbing & scratching at it. I talked to her about how wounds can itch as it heals & it’s best not to touch because any open wound could become infected & that would result in an ouchie…more so in kid friendly terms.

Sunday she pointed the area saying it hurt & upon inspection I noticed a pimple. Not sure if it was a pimple or not, ant bite, or what, but a small pimple look alike bump that hurt. Nothing more.

Monday morning after she woke we immediately looked it over & noticed a small black dot in the middle of it. Aside from that nothing else had changed. We were thinking maybe a spider bite? Never know when you stay in a hotel. Called the Dr and we brought her in later that day during one of their open “sick” appointment time frames. Dr said it could be staph, we’ll keep an eye on it. Since we had just battled staph (what 2 weeks ago? if that?) that it was a likely that even if it wasn’t staph it could turn to staph. She prescribed us some oral & topical antibiotics and gave us instructions for hibiclens, etc. for if we needed to use them eventually we wouldn’t have to bring her back in & expose her to more winter illnesses being passed around. She was fine at this point. Nothing hurt, we went about our day.

Tuesday-Wednesday is when my memory starts to fail me. At some point she becomes uncomfortable & it’s confirmed staph. We were told staph is on every surface every person & we naturally have it on our skin because of this.Some are effected while others are not. Some people with open wounds are more susceptible to staph than others for no known reason. Jacelyn is one I guess. We go fill the script at the pharmacy on Wednesday and resort back to warm soaks in the tub & attempting to squeeze out the infection with no success. Dr office swapped patient information & called in wrong prescriptions. We received anti-fungal meds.

Thursday we call the Dr office back still trying to get the right meds & to inform them that the infection appeared to be spreading. She had a fever, her hip/leg hurt, & it was no longer draining the way it should resulting in a massive hard rock like lump. Her skin was even starting to look raw in that area. They said she needed the antibiotics for a while & it would help. That evening I told Joel I wasn’t comfortable with the situation & I was taking her to the children’s hospital.

It was officially Friday by the time we arrived here (still here). She was running a 102 fever at arrival. They set up the IV’s & talked about procedure in depth with me. They had to sedate her using three different types of medicine. We talked about all our options, pros, cons, side effects, etc. The whole works. I apologized for being annoying but told him I wanted to be as informed in this process as I could be.

In walks 2 nurses, the Dr, a medic & 2 other employees. This goes from being scary to serious feeling. It was like one those ER episodes where 50 rush in the room all doing something different. One dose of sedation was enough to put a grown 200+ lb guy under.

What follows is a nightmare of bad reactions to sedation, two surgeries to remove dead tissue and drain the wound, and a hospital quarantine.  Jacelyn has MRSA, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.  MRSA has developed resistance to standard antibiotics and some strains of MRSA are resistance to Vancomycin, which has been considered the last line of defense.  Ironically, MRSA is dangerous because of the overuse and improper use of antibiotics.  Nevertheless, you would think that the drug companies would be all over this area of research, designing new antibiotics or different approaches to combatting bacterial infections.

You would be wrong.  This is one of the therapeutic areas that big pharma can’t wait to dump, along with reproductive health and central nervous system (CNS) drugs.  That’s because they’re difficult, expensive to develop, have narrow safety profiles, or, in the case of women’s reproductive health, prone to class action lawsuits.  Women have been their own worst enemies when it comes to reproductive health.  Some feminists have a tendency to see every therapeutic agent as a weapon of the patriarchy to control their bodies.  As if.  And side effects are unavoidable, although we’re getting better.  But the cost of defending what was intended to cure has become so expensive that pulling out of these areas is more cost effective than sinking more money into research.

It takes a long time and a lot of clinical trials to get a new antibiotic approved.  Not so much with oncology where the life or death nature of the disease leads to speedier approval of new drugs. And in the case of cancer treatments, there are far fewer lawsuits when the drug doesn’t work out quite as well as hoped.  Patients’ families are grateful for any extension of life.  So, that’s where pharmaceutical companies are putting their money. It’s a callous and mercenary business decision.  It wasn’t always like this but this is what results after mergers, quarterly earning mania, a quirky, capricious, anachronistic FDA and the high cost of defending lawsuits have worked their own special magic for a couple of decades.  No more research on antibiotics.  Don’t expect that big pharma will care about your staph infections or birth control after you’ve sued their asses off.

Yes, they’re greedy bastards at the top but that’s a different topic.  They weren’t always this bad.

So, sports fans, we’re getting perilously close to the days when a simple break in the skin could kill you.  Lovely.

********************************

Katiebird sent me a link to this article about scientific publishing and plagiarism by two University of Kansas bioinformatics researchers.

In the technical world of bioinformatics, the two University of Kansas computer scientists were riding high in 2009.

Mahesh Visvanathan and Gerald Lushington published three articles with an international audience. They were invited to make a poster presentation at a conference in Sweden.

Although a lack of airfare kept them from going, their real problem wasn’t a tight travel budget — it was plagiarism.

Portions of all three of their articles had been lifted from other scientists’ work. The entire summarizing statement in their presentation had come from someone else’s journal article.

In an endeavor such as science that relies on original work and trustworthy information, plagiarism and fraud seem out of place. But misconduct is being detected with increasing frequency. And while it may be that the scientific community is just getting better at sussing out fraudsters, some scientists fear the problem is growing.

Competition among researchers has taken on a harder edge, they say. More scientists are competing for limited grant money, faculty appointments and publication in top journals. This intense rivalry makes it tempting for some to cut corners and fudge results.

The number of scientists caught committing fraud remains small, but each case can cause real harm, from wasting time and resources of other scientists who follow false leads to putting lives in jeopardy with bogus health findings.

There is a difference between the kind of plagiarism that the Research Works Act is supposedly trying to address where researchers frequently lift methods, diagrams and pictures from other papers routinely.  That’s a kind of excusable plagiarism because new work frequently is dependent on older work.  In that respect, the RWA could have a chilling effect on scientific publishing if it were rigorously enforced.  It’s quite another thing when your conclusions and whole paragraphs of explanatory text are lifted straight out of someone else’s publication.

But the pressure to publish is intense and, unfortunately, there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there who rationalize about what they’re doing.  While I can’t comment on how rife the academic world is with examples of plagiarism from other people’s publications, I suspect that the practice is alive and well in the corporate setting where the Wall Street financier’s value system has trickled down to the laboratories.  Well, you can hardly blame the more senior people for doing it or rationalizing about it later.  Their pedigree and PhD creates a field of excellent and  superior brainwaves around them that the more junior people can’t help but pick up and be influenced by even when the senior person has done little to nothing on the project.  Sort of like Lady Catherine DeBourgh in Pride and Prejudice who credits herself with a sensitive prodigy’s talent in music and would have been a great musician had she only learned to play.  Or the rationalizer’s work/family circumstances are more important than the person’s who actually did the work.  Or the rationalizer needs a green card.  Or <fill in the blank>.

If you have the power to steal a colleague’s work, the reasons for doing so aren’t hard to conjure up.  It’s your word against theirs.  With the patent lawyers sitting on publications and project data for so long, it’s easy to slap your name on a paper or patent when the actual inventor is out of the way.  All the skullduggery and credit stealing happens before the paper ever hits the journal or patent office.  Who’s going to know?  I’ve even heard that in some companies and departments credit is awarded to favorite underlings like a reward for loyalty.   Those favorites can swoop down on a project in its final stages and hog all of the years of credit to themselves at the last minute.  You’d think this would be an ethical problem requiring accountability and punishment. Not so.  It’s just the way things are done.  Not all companies operate this way but the current layoff environment makes it more common and brazen.  Yep, research is a sick business.

Well, it will all sort itself out in the end and the researchers who are left can always go into sales if they are ever exposed.

Science is baaaaaad  for you, children, Very bad.  You’ll spend years working and studying on project for which you will get no credit and end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Run away! Run Away!

*************************************

Susie Madrak cites a post today about how 3 female regulators’ warnings about the impending financial crisis were ignored.

Bies was a central bank board member from 2001 to 2007. Several times in the transcripts she said she was worried about the housing bubble.

Bies warned fellow board members that exotic mortgages — for instance, negative amortization loans in which balances become bigger and not smaller over time — were too dangerous for consumers.

She warned about the Wall Street-created securities backed by risky mortgages.

“I just wonder about the consumer’s ability to absorb shocks,” she said at Fed meeting in May 2006.

“The growing ingenuity in the mortgage sector is making me more nervous as we go forward in this cycle, rather than comforted that we have learned a lesson. Some of the models the banks are using clearly were built in times of falling interest rates and rising housing prices. It is not clear what may happen when either of those trends turns around.”

Later in 2006 she told Fed board members: “A lot of the private mortgages that have been securitized during the past few years really do have much more at risk than investors have been focusing on.”

Bies is an economist and was a former Tennessee banker. But the two most powerful men at the Fed and the Fed staff dismissed her concerns.

That May meeting was Ben Bernanke’s second as chairman of the Fed. He said the cooling off of the housing market was a “healthy thing.” And that “so far, we are seeing, at worst, an orderly decline in the housing market.”

In June 2006, Tim Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that “we see a pretty healthy adjustment process under way. … The world economy still looks pretty robust to us.”

A Fed staff report said: “We have not seen — and don’t expect — a broad deterioration in mortgage credit quality.”

Tim Geithner, Tim Geithner… Where have I heard that name before?  No, no don’t tell me.  Let me work this out…

Tol’ja

White House vs Women: Joe Biden Does it Wrong

Obama and Women: Two views

Um, I’m glad that the rest of the blogosphere is starting to pay attention to the way womens’ expertise is ignored in the public sphere and especially by the Democratic White House and party in general.  We here at The Confluence have been covering this very thing for a couple of years now, including one post that cited the story about the female musicians who get orchestra seats after they’ve auditioned behind a screen.   Wow, that’s an old reference.  You’d have to look long and hard to find it, unless someone already found it for you in other posts, like:

The Gender Gap and Female Bodied People

Yeah, why *did* we do that?

WTF?? Another example of how Sexism costs us all

Bairly Downgrading the FDIC

There are many more on the topic.  Try keywords “Sexism Costs” or “Costs of Sexism”.  Well, it’s not like it’s plagiarism or anything.

Unless someone is going to say they invented the Plum Line Metric too.  (that would be here, and here as well) Then I will have to raise a snit.

Welcome Susie!  We will send out our complimentary new members package complete with white sheet (‘cos an accusation of racism is just around the corner) and you starter pack of hormone replacement therapy.   No, no, don’t thank us.  Most members don’t.

Thursday: Analysis comes trickling in

According to Dan Balz at WaPo, Ohio may be key to Obama’s reelection.  He won’t necessarily lose the presidency if he loses Ohio.  It’s just that no one since Jack Kennedy has been able to pull it off.  Obama apparently has a problem with white working class and older voters.  I don’t suppose it has anything to do with telling Appalachia to go F%^ itself in 2008 or that Pennsylvania voters were bitter, narrow minded racists.  Still, a lot of them probably ended up voting for him in 2008 because he ran as a Democrat and the 2008 financial crash scared the bejeesus out of them.  So, I’m betting that a lot of them are none too thrilled that he turned out not to be a Democrat after all.

It’s one thing to subvert the dominant paradigm locally.  There were some thought provoking referendum items on ballots yesterday and since the debt ceiling debacle in August, voters are starting to get a more complete picture of what the Republican party is all about.  Well, except for Virginia.  But if the presidential contest comes down to Romney vs Obama, it may be much tougher to call it a victory in advance for the Democrats.  If voters want a “change election” and they’re not happy with Obama’s performance so far and they see moderate Mitt as a the guy to send a message to Democrats to clean up their act, well, it would be a shame.  Because the legislative races could sweep Democrats into power again and to be saddled with Mitt would just be another missed opportunity.

There are a couple of  things I would like to point out to the Obama contingent: 1.) You may have perfectly good reasons for opposing Hillary Clinton.  You haven’t persuaded me that they’re really *good* reasons, but I will accept that you have them.  But you are just a tiny but vocal contingent and unfortunately, according to pollsters, Hillary is still wildly popular among the dirty, unwashed, insufficiently educated voters you look down on- to your detriment.  Just because YOU don’t like her, doesn’t mean the rest of the country cares a flying f%^& what you think.  You can take your chances with Obama or reassess your candidates.  Sherrod Brown also looks promising. 2.) The idea that the African-American community will have a riot and abandon the party if Obama isn’t renominated is speculative at best, bordering on racist at worst.  That attitude presumes that economically stressed people will put their racial preferences before their economic preferences even though the performance of the person up for reelection, and who has blown them off for 4 years, has been poor and made their lives miserable.  One thing I think Obama Democrats are overlooking is that half the African-American community is female.  With Clinton running, African-American females can’t lose.  Identity politics could work here as well.  I would vote for her because she’s the better candidate but we can’t overlook the fact that the double X thing is even more historic than the absence of some silly mutation that causes less melanin to be produced in the skin.  3.) You could always go with a primary.  True, primaries are expensive but maybe *this* time, you could allow full participation of your base.  And while in normal election years primaries haven’t worked in the incumbent’s favor, the last three years have been anything but ordinary.  This is a different economic environment than anything we’ve seen since the Great Depression and as we know, organisms that fail to adapt to their environment, don’t make it to pass on their political philosophy to the next generation.  But even more importantly, having a primary could reenergize the country and suck the air right out of the Republicans’ offensive.  That is, if you have the right people primarying.  You would have to get candidates who could make a strong case for an FDR style New Deal set of programs.  It could be a way of arguing against the same old bipartisan shtick that Democrats like Obama have been peddling for the past decade.

Just some ideas since the poll numbers don’t appear to bode well for Obama next year and the signs that the party is starting to realize that are all over the place.

***************************

Oh, look, Washingtonian Magazine says that the State Department is one of the top 50 best workplaces.  Fancy that.  I wonder why that is?  Back in the Bush years, career diplomats were quitting all over the place and emailing some very critical “good-bye cruel world” resignation letters.  Remember?  What could have possibly changed…?  No, no, don’t tell me.  From the CNN report:

The State Department made the list based on a survey of Federal News Radio listeners and in consultation with the non-partisan, non-profit Partnership for Public Service.

Hillary Clinton’s State Department has 44,362 employees and they can take advantage of perks including a student-loan repayment program, a transit subsidy, and a wide array of courses through the Foreign Service Institute, Washingtonian Magazine says.

“We’re making history every day when we come to work. That’s pretty amazing,” Gilberto TorresVela, an economic officer in the Office of Cuban Affairs, tells the magazine. “State’s employees feel that their work makes a difference in foreign affairs, helping to make the world more secure,” the article says.

What did Jon Favreau say about working for Hillary once upon a time?  I can’t remember.  But I do remember Tina Fey saying “bitches get stuff done”.

***************************

Coming to a workplace near you:  Your company lays you off.  A new company comes to town and hires you as a contractor working for less pay and fewer benefits and sends you to work – at the company that just laid you off.  This is how we treat our STEM graduates who worked for Lilly.  And the contracting company is going to skim some profits off of this arrangement with Lilly, at workers’ expense.  I’m amazed at how many people in the comment thread are talking about unionizing.  You never would have heard that kind of talk from chemists a few years ago.  But the American Chemical Society has been conspicuously absent while its professional members have been getting the axe and watching their compensation packages get decimated.  Something has to be done.

The funny thing is that this attempt at “in-sourcing” may not be as money saving for Lilly as the outsourcing they were doing to China and India.  We knew the outsourcing wasn’t cost effective because it’s hard to keep track of the work and proprietary information half a world away. In-sourcing will have its own set of problems because they’ve taken the scientists who used to be invested in their projects as problem solvers and reduced their participation to hands on workers who perform a series of tasks for a specified amount of money.  The problem with producing new drugs isn’t that American STEM workers don’t produce.  The problem is that the management hasn’t got a clue about how to do research to make conditions conducive to the discovery of new drugs.  Here’s a hint: you can’t do good research with a “flexible” staff.  You need to hire people who are willing to go above and beyond what you ask of them, who will stay late to watch a reaction, who will come in on their days off to count cells and start new passages, who are willing to read more papers on new methods.  If you take their expertise and try to break it down into little “just in time” bits, not only will you start running into IP issues, necessitating information roadblocks to keep the contract workers from looking at the sciency stuff that makes their work interesting, what you will get is someone who doesn’t feel invested in the project or the company.  They’re too busy trying to make ends meet for their families and feeling resentment that they’ve spent so much time slaving away at hard subjects in college just so they could be treated as no better than some high school dropout assembly line worker for about the same pay.  At 5:00pm, they’re out of there.

Businesses in Indiana where this is going on are going to take a hit when those same workers have their salaries drastically reduced.  They will be buying less in the way of goods and services.  And let’s not forget that if the work is only contract, there’s no way these workers can safely plan for the future.  That means fewer homeowners, more renters, fewer people invested in their communities, more of the “paradox of thrift”.  It could also mean fewer people with health insurance if contract workers have to pay for it themselves with reduced salaries.  And that’s going to come back to bite taxpayers in the butt when those same workers suck up precious public health dollars when they get sick.  Those are the same STEM workers who were paying a lot of state taxes and helping other people.  Now, they become a burden on the state.  Everybody loses in this arrangement except the new middleman overseers.

We’re not talking about high school dropouts here.  This is the way we treat STEM workers.  And if there are readers out there who are entertaining the idea that STEM workers shouldn’t feel entitled to a healthy salary, I suggest they try it themselves.  Go check out the requirements for a BS degree in Chemistry or Biology or engineering.  We are laying these people off in droves.  The ones that aren’t forced into early retirement are cooling their jets while the industry tries to cut corners every way it can, reducing the output of research as a result and creating a vicious circle of more layoffs.  The industry MBAs did this to themselves.  Let’s stop blaming STEM graduates for being at the mercy of some cost saving management fad.  If I hear one more politician parroting the business community’s lies about how they don’t have enough STEM graduates so they can use it as an excuse to import more cheap H1B visa holders instead of treating their current crop of labrats with respect and dignity, I’m going to get a posse of laid off  chemists together to occupy their Manhattan offices.  Do you hear me, Bill Clinton??

Meanwhile, contracting continues apace with nurses aides and home healthcare assistants taking a blow to their salaries.  Here’s a typical story.  Substitute “chemist” for “nurse’s aide” and “Lilly” for “hospital” and the result is converging for both sets of workers:

In June, one of the state workers at the Grand Rapids home, Emilie Perttu, 24, reluctantly left her job and took a nurse’s aide position at a hospital for a quarter less than she was making. Ms. Perttu, a single mother of two, started at the veterans’ home as a contract worker for J2S before becoming a state worker last year. She said that after Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, cited the outsourcing plans in his budget for 2012 and 2013, she feared losing her job or having her wages sharply reduced.

The lower wage, she says, has left her strained to cover $675 a month in rent, along with basics like food and child care. So Ms. Perttu collects $400 monthly in food stamps and child care assistance, programs administered by the state but largely financed by the federal government. She has not been able to buy winter coats for her children, she said, and often avoids calls from credit card bill collectors.

For those of you who think your virtue has kept you employed through this recession, don’t get comfy.  Once you, the worker, are mandated by law to carry your own health insurance with no competition from a public option or low cost health plan, the companies you work for will feel no obligation to keep you on the payroll.  They can lay you off and hire you back as a contractor.  Your health insurance becomes *your* problem.  This is what you get when you hire a president and Congress that are scared to address cost control, business run amok and hyperbolic TV bloviators who call them socialists.

**************************************

And THIS, was the one thing that ended Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations last night:

It wasn’t all of the stupid s%^& he has been saying up until this point.  No, it was Perry having a “senior moment”.  In fact, if he had just said, “Sean, I was thinking so fast I lost my train of thought. Did that ever happen to you?  Can you come back to me on that one?”  The crowd would have totally understood his.  Republican voters aren’t all concerned with whether the dude is perfect.  On the contrary, if he’s just a regular average guy like themselves who occasionally makes mistakes, they are cool with that.  He’s human.  There were many good reasons to reject Perry up to this point.  Mostly it’s all the stupid s%^& that comes out of his mouth when his brain is working optimally.  Making a big deal out of a brain freeze *might* just be overkill.  It could revive his standing slightly.  Republicans might begin to “feel his pain”.  You don’t want that.  On the other hand, if Fox News starts proclaiming the Perry era over, that’s a different problem.

*******************************

I think we can see the Republicans strategy for defeating the 99%.  It starts with Karl Rove’s sudden interest in the Massachusett’s Senator’s race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown.  Rove has seen the mojo emanating from Warren.  The attempts to paint her as a Harvard elite liberal have failed and she seems to have tapped into a deep vein of discontent among the peasants.  They are getting all righteously indignant and look like they might start revolting.  We can’t have that.  So, we will bombard her from now until election day.  It will be unrelenting.  It will be like 3 weeks before the election from now until November 2012.  We’ll keep her so busy defending herself that she will run out of money and will have to keep tapping the proles for more.  And more.  Because no matter how much money she has, we always make her spend more.  Her supporters will get sick of the constant begging.  And that’s why the Citizens United ruling was so outrageous:

This video is a little irritating in its “I’m going to talk really sloooowly for you because you don’t seem to be getting it” approach to its target audience (hint: it’s not us).  They could have been snappier and put in a little more humor.  But after you’ve seen it, it’s hard to say you don’t understand what the problem is:

*******************************

And I am introducing The Plum Line metric today.  The Plum Line is described as “a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant — what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.”  I’d say that is a pretty accurate description.  A couple of times per day, Greg Sargent posts a compilation of blog posts from around the web.  It is probably safe to assume that these are the writers that Sargent feels are the more authoritative and “serious” voices from online journals and the blogosphere.  But how many are women?  And what will the numbers tell us?  I don’t know yet but a blogger like Sargent who writes for the Washington Post is going to refer to people who have access to information or powerbrokers.  So, The Plum Line Metric may give us an indication of how much access and potential influence women have to shape political opinions “with a liberal slant”.

Today’s Plum Line Metric:

Happy Hour Round Up:

Number of citations: 12

Number of male writers cited: 12

Number of female writers cited: 0

In a perfect world, women should represent half of the writers cited since 1.)they represent half of the population as a whole, 2.)there is no shortage of female bloggers and writers on the internet and, 3.)presumably, they have opinions about how the world should be run that is not identical, but may be complementary  to the conventional wisdom of liberal male opinionmakers. So, ideally, the ratio of females cited to males cited should be close to or equal to 1.  Does anyone want to argue that allowing one half of the population to assume the responsibility for speaking for the other half of the population will actually express the full range of issues and priorities that that other half feels are important?  Right.  Moving on.  Since the goal is to eventually reach 1 and we are at less than 1 now, let’s put the number of females cited in the numerator and the number of males cited in the denominator. We could use male citations/ female citations, which would be an indication of how many male voices we listen to per female voices, but we run up against the possibility of division by zero and mathematics hasn’t been able to get around that problem yet.

Today’s Plum Line Metric is 0/12 = 0.

This metric is not meant to be a slap down of Greg Sargent.  He just happens to have an easy to count compilation at the end of the day. We could also include the Morning Post from The Plum Line.  But let’s just stick to the Happy Hour compilation for now and I’ll update it with a cumulative ratio as well.  Maybe we can plot it on a graph.  We could even go back through the archives for a couple of years to see if there have been any trends or changes.  Suggestions are welcome.

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Two things about Joe Paterno.  1.) He’s 84 years old.  Even if he hadn’t been fired, he should have been made an emeritus years ago.  My god, the man was prematurely decomposing.  It would have been better if he hadn’t gotten fired but 2.) He knew that a member of his staff was a relapsed child molester and covered it up.  No number of national championships can make that acceptable.  None whatsoever:

Yet it was Mr. Paterno who remained the public face of the university. He met with his team Wednesday in a gathering that players described as emotional. Stephon Morris, a junior cornerback, said Paterno was near tears when he told the team he was leaving. “I’ve never seen Coach Paterno like that in my life,” Mr. Morris said. Still, Mr. Paterno’s talk was not all about the turmoil. Mr. Morris said Mr. Paterno’s main message was “Beat Nebraska,” referring to Penn State’s next opponent. When he left, his players gave him a standing ovation.

Yeah, cry me a river.  As one of the signs in the accompanying slide show says, “Joe Paterno is NOT a victim”.  Well, that’s the last time that student will get season tickets.

There are causes that are worth rioting and smashing car windows.  Firing Joe Paterno for abetting a creep who was seen having anal sex with a 10 year old in the Nittany Lions locker room showers is not one of them.

BTW, I lived in “Happy Valley” when I got my first job after graduation.  For a former University of Pittsburgh student, football season up there was almost unbearable.  Well, there’s nothing much else to do in State College but still, they took it to ridiculous extremes even by obsessed fan standards.  Fall weekends were a perfect excuse to get the f%^& out of town and hang out in more sophisticated and cultured venues- like Harrisburg.  Yeah, that’s how bad it was.