The non-photo of the year

Alan Taylor’s wrap-up of year end best photos concludes with this:

The photo of Osama bin Laden’s dead body. Undoubtedly, this photo, if it had been released, would have been one of the iconic (if gory) photos of the year. According to reports, at least three sets of photographs of bin Laden’s body exist, somewhere in the custody of the CIA. President Obama has decided against releasing them to the public, concerned about them being used to incite further violence, or being used as a propaganda tool. Several FOIA requests have reportedly been declined. 

A new look

So, given my newfound propensity for the photo of the day, I’ve become increasingly frustrated at just how much WordPress shrinks most of the photos (as well as the occasional charts, etc.) so I’ve been casting about for a new WordPress theme to replace the Bueno you’ve become used to (assuming you actually read the blog on the website) since I moved to WordPress.   For now, I’ve decided to go with the Inove theme.  The photos appear to be about 20% larger.  I’d be happy with more than that, but all the other themes with larger photos have other drawbacks.  I also like the small, clean, fonts.  I always felt like the italicized quote font was just too big in Bueno (and at least one of you has formatting issues when reading the quotes on your phone).  Anyway, if you actually care about such things, I would welcome the feedback, as I’ll give Enterprise, Quintus, or Choco a try if people don’t like this.  Though, at least give yourself a day or two to let it grow on you.

Photo of the day

From a Big Picture series on Russia’s Parliamentary Election this week:

A member of the “Polar Bear” sports club casts her ballot at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Barnaul, the capital of Altai region on December 4, 2011. (Andrei Kasprishin/Reuters) #


Obama frames the debate

I was kind of surprised I haven’t read more in the blogosphere about Obama’s speech yesterday, though maybe I’m impatient.  From what I’ve read, sounds like it’s about time he gave a forceful speech like this to frame the debate.  I certainly was pleased to see him say this about supply-side economics:

The theory of “trickle down economics,” which holds that greater wealth at the top generates jobs and income for the masses below, drew some of Obama’s harshest criticism.

“It’s a simple theory — one that speaks to our rugged individualism and healthy skepticism of too much government. It fits well on a bumper sticker. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work,” Obama said of supply-side economics, drawing extended applause. “It’s never worked.”

Alas, if only Republicans could just accept this reality.

I also really liked the New Yorker’s John Cassidy’s take:

Today, Obama gave his first considered response to O.W.S., and it was surprisingly positive. He even adopted some of the protestors’ language, saying:

“I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren’t Democratic or Republican values; 1% values or 99% values. They’re American values, and we have to reclaim them.”

Of course, Obama has talked before about rising inequality and falling tax burdens on the rich. (In the summer of 2010, he made a futile effort to rally support in Congress for ending the Bush tax cuts.) But what was new about today’s speech was the acuteness and depth of Obama’s analysis, and the way he turned it on the Republicans. Rising inequality isn’t only morally repugnant, he said, it is economically inefficient and damaging to the country.

Right indeed.  It certainly is encouraging to see Obama take this line of attack.  There’s a lot of people you are simply never going to persuade with the moral argument, but the truth is, if you want sustainable, long-term prosperity for America, rising income inequality most definitely mitigates against that due to it’s massive inefficiency.  And Cassidy’s conclusion:

Like many people who voted for Obama in 2008, I have been critical of some of his actions and inactions. What has bothered me most has not been any one thing in particular, but his overall failure to articulate and defend the vision of an activist government tackling market failures and protecting the public interest, which Teddy Roosevelt helped to create. Yes, the President has done some positive things and made some good speeches, and, yes too, he has faced enormous difficulties, but all too often his heart hasn’t seemed to be in the fight.

Today, at last, he found his voice, or Teddy Roosevelt’s voice—or, as some are suggesting, Elizabeth Warren’s voice. Any way, it was a big improvement.

My two questions: 1) Will he keep it up?  2) Will it actually matter if he does?  Here’s hoping the answer to both is yes.

I’m not a modern parent

Really interesting essay in Boston magazine (thanks, Big D) about the nature of modern (over)parenting.  After reading this, I can honestly conclude I suffer from almost none of these pathologies, but I certainly recognize them among most of my friends and acquaintances.   I’m not into scheduling every last detail for my kids, I’m not in the least bit worried about where they get into college, and I’m definitely not interested in being their “friend” (not to suggest I don’t love spending time in activities with them).  My kids don’t just run around and play with other kids in the neighborhood with minimal supervision not because I’m opposed, but because there’d be nobody for them to play with (and damn if they all aren’t absurdly shy, a baby, or have autism).  There’s nothing all that much new here, but it does bring together in a nice readable form a lot of the recent research on parenting.

So, a question I had after reading this (not to be too smug) is how come I didn’t turn out like all these other over-programmed, hyper-vigilant, bonding-obsessed parents?  Well my parents sure weren’t, but the point of the article is that few parents were from my generation and that this generation’s parents have over-compensated in the other direction.  So, maybe not that.  Maybe I’m just unusually confident in my parenting and unusually sanguine about the fact that there’s only so much a parent can do against DNA (nothing like being well familiar with social science research).  As I often say, only half-jokingly, the best predictor of a child’s success is mother’s education level and since Kim has a PhD, there’s nothing left for us to worry about.  In Kim’s case, she came from a fairly poor, rural area with mediocre at best schools, had clarinet as her sole extra-curricular activity, and managed to thrive at Duke and with an OSU PhD, so her own personal experience mitigates the obsessiveness on child success.

Or maybe I’m all wrong and just as bad as the parents in the article and don’t realize it (though, I’m pretty sure I’m not).

%d bloggers like this: