Division of Labour: April 2012 Archives
April 30, 2012
On rooting c. 1912

From the April 28, 1912 NYT:

Dr. George E. Howard, Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska, speaking before the conference of physical education and hygiene here last night, bitterly denounced organized "rooting," particularly during intercollegiate games.

"Partisan cheering," he said," is a singular example of mental perversion, an absurd and immoral custom. From every aspect it is bad. It robs the athlete of his due meed of honest praise. Morally it is on the level with the `jimmy' and the `toe hold,' the stuffed ballot box or the campaign canard. It reaches the limit of perversity when used as a `jimmy' to unlock the emotions of the audience at an intercollegiate debate."

Dr. Howard held that as now conducted intercollegiate sports of all kinds were becoming a menace to higher education. He said there was urgent need for the strict enforcement of the "low of competition" and the "law of amateurism."

Well, he was on the wrong side of history.

Posted by Craig Depken at 03:20 PM in Sports

Musings of the Gentle Cynic c. 1912

From the April 28, 1912 NYT:

  • The self-made man seldom puts on all the finishing touches.
  • It is considered a good thing not to be considered a good thing.
  • The man who breaks himself of a bad habit is never so successful in breaking himself of boasting about it.
  • Some people's idea of economy is to save shoe leather by buying an aero-plane.
  • Im-portunity knocks at the door oftener than his brother "op"
  • The chronic borrower discovers that some people are so close you can't touch them.
  • A man's reason is apt to succumb to a woman's reasons.
  • All men may have equal rights, but it takes a certain amount of hustle to realize them.
  • When fortune knocks at the door, some of us are afraid to open it for fear it may be the wolf.

    Posted by Craig Depken at 03:15 PM in Funny Stuff

    April 28, 2012
    Joplin, Tuscaloosa, and Media Bias?

    While making my morning coffee yesterday I happened to have the TV on to hear the news and weather. Because it was the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornado, both the Weather Channel and Fox News Channel had live shots from Tuscaloosa. Both live shots were set at the same construction site and included interviews of Tuscaloosa's mayor (can you say staged media event?). Both interviewers (Jim Cantore and Rick Reichmuth) alluded to Beito and Smith's WSJ article comparing the recoveries in Joplin and Tuscaloosa and asked the mayor to respond. The mayor gave some vague platitudes about planning for the long run "to get it right." Instead of following up with more pressing questions, both interviewers parroted the mayor's line in the remainder of their live shots.

    Perhaps TWC and FNC will do similar live coverage from Joplin when its one-year anniversary comes in three weeks and maybe that coverage will show Joplin in a favorable light compared to Tuscaloosa, but yesterday's coverage seemed slanted toward Tuscaloosa's statist, top down approach.

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 10:52 AM

    Government Is Coercion

    Lest anyone have any doubts, the remarks of this EPA official should make the coercive nature of government abundantly clear.

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 10:22 AM

    April 27, 2012
    She'll Be Charged With Manslaughter

    Woman Kills Man By Squeezing His Testicles

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 08:04 AM

    April 26, 2012
    Christopher Buckley on Barack Obama?

    Not really, but one might think so given the title of Buckley's soon-to-be-released book: They Eat Puppies, Don't They? In any case, this will be ordered soon--a Buckley satire will be the perfect way to decompress from this semester.

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 06:21 PM

    Allegory and Political Economy: Communication and Cooperation

    That's the title of Dan Klein's piece in the May issue of The Freeman.

    The issue also features contributions from folks such as Steve Horwitz, John Stossel, and George Leef--see the links to right of Dan's piece.

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 05:07 PM

    It's The Spending Stupid

    A IHS vid starring Antony Davies.

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 05:00 PM

    April 24, 2012
    On duty and bravery c. 1912

    From the April 23, NYT comes a story concerning the engineers of the Titanic who, as witnesses attest, kept the lights burning almost to the very moment the ship finally sank:

    "It is seldom that an engineer is saved in the wreck of a great vessel," said the Rev. G. McPherson Hunter, Secretary of the American Seamen's Friend Society, who is said to be the only clergyman in the country holding the certificate of a Chief Engineer. "Their conduct calls for the same kind of bravery which is exhibited by the skipper, who stands on the bridge and goes down with the ship. when the call of danger comes their duty is down in the bottom of the vessel instead of up on deck. In the case of the Titanic it is impossible to estimate how many lives were saved by their faithfulness. how many would have perished who are now saved had the lights on that great liner gone out? The engineers kept them burning almost to the last minute.

    "The engineers were not deceived by false hope. They were in a position to know how badly the vessel was injured. then they worked in an uncertainty which must have been maddening. On deck the crew and passengers could see what was going on. Down in the engine room they could not tell how the work of lowering the boats was progressing. they had no chance and they must have known it.

    The Rev. Mr. Hunter's theory is that the engineers off duty went to the assistance of those working, and it was the blessing of hard work which kept them from thinking.

    They did not hear the Captain's last word as the vessel began to sink that, duty done, every man must take care of himself. Even if they had they wold never have been able to climb up steep iron ladders before they could reach the deck. It was ninety feet from the water line to the boat deck, and they were thirty-two feet below that.

    "They died like men," said Mr. Hunter," and their bravery seems to have been overlooked. It can be said of them that, like the higher officers, they stuck to their posts until death."

    Posted by Craig Depken at 12:16 PM in Culture

    On marginal product of labor c. 1912

    From the April 23, 1912 NYT:

    Your issue of yesterday contained the startling news that the wireless operator on the Carpathia by accident received the call for help sent out by the Titanic as he was about to retire for the night.

    The Marconi operator at the present time is just as important a member of the crew as its Captain. While at sea it is just as necessary to have a man ready to receive messages at any hour of the day as it is to have an officer on the bridge in the absence of the Captain.

    Why should every boat having a wireless system aboard not be required to have both a day and a night operator on duty? It is horrible to think of what might have happened to the survivors had the Carpathia operator retired, a storm arisen, and the Olympic twelve hours away.

    Does it require another calamity to teach the steamship lines the necessity of having at least two operators aboard, even though the requisite accommodations in lifeboats are provided for all passengers!

    Posted by Craig Depken at 12:05 PM in Economics

    On response to disaster c. 1912

    From the April 23, 1912 NYT:

    Ceaseless efforts are being made at Southampton to put enough boats aboard the Olympic before her sailing on Wednesday.

    It is absolutely essential that this be done, for otherwise, it is understood, the passengers and crew insist that the sailing be postponed.

    It has not been possible to get the necessary number of solid lifeboats in time, but thirty-five additional collapsible boats arrived aboard this afternoon, and five more are expected.

    The boat deck will be almost entirely filled with boats.A thorough testing of all the life-saving appliances, and, possibly, an elaborate boatdrill will be held before the Olympic sails again.

    The Olympic will take aboard at New York the lifeboats of the Titanic, which are now there.


    This comes one week after the Titanic sank. While there are Congressional hearings under way and many proposals to change the regulations focusing on life boats, the market quickly began to put pressure on ship lines to ensure there were sufficient lifeboats to serve everyone on the ship (passengers and crew).

    What I didn't know until reading about the immediate aftermath of the Titanic was that the White Star Line was in complete compliance with the rules of the time concerning the number of life boats on the ship. Essentially, it seems, the Titanic (and her sister ships) were given "lifeboat credit" for all of the watertight compartments the ships had. Thus, while it would seem that a ship would naturally carry enough life boats for all on board, if the assumption was that the ship could not sink and that water tight compartments essentially substituted for life boats, then this (in part) explains the lack of life boat capacity.

    I wonder if this is a market failure or a government/regulatory failure?

    Regardless of the regulatory environment in the US or the United Kingdom, the market immediately moved to a model of full capacity in lifeboats.

    Posted by Craig Depken at 11:47 AM in Law

    April 23, 2012
    On what matters c. 1912

    The April 23, 1912 NYT has an obituary for one Bram Sroker. It is interesting what the folks of the time thought was important about Mr. Sroker's life:

    Bram Stoker, author, theatrical manager, close friend and adviser of the late Sir Henry Irving, died in London last Sunday. For twenty-seven years he was business manager for the famous English actor, in charge of the Lyceum Theatre during Irving's tenancy of that house....

    His [Stoker's] best-known publication is "Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving," issued in 1908. Among his other works, mostly fantastic fiction, are "Under the Sunset," "The Snake's Pass," The Watter's Mou," The Shoulder of Shasta," "Dracula," "The Mystery of the Sea," and "The Lady of the Shroud."

    Posted by Craig Depken at 01:45 PM in Culture

    April 16, 2012
    Free Martha, The Sequel

    Bill Frezza asks, I suppose rhetorically: "Justice may be blind, but who works overtime to make it deaf, dumb, and stupid? "

    Jon Corzine skates, but "marine biologist and whale watching ship captain Nancy Black faces 20 years in prison, not for "harassing" whales (which believe it or not is a crime), but because she has been charged with lying to Justice Department prosecutors investing allegations that some of her crew members whistled at a whale to keep it hanging around their boats."

    Basis for the misconduct:


    Title 18, Section 1001 of the United States Code is the successor to the False Claims Act of 1863, originally intended to punish crooked Civil War contractors. It has since metastasized into an all-purpose bludgeon that federal prosecutors routinely use to squeeze fines and plea bargains out of anyone unfortunate enough to become ensnared in one of the hundreds of thousands of regulations that govern everything from selling goldfish to the volume of your toilet flush.

    As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg characterizes it, Section 1001 has conferred "extraordinary authority" for prosecutors to "manufacture crimes."

    Posted by Wilson Mixon at 05:23 PM in Law

    April 15, 2012
    Marriage advice c. 1912

    The April 15, 1912 NYT provides a list of "don'ts" for husbands of the time:

    The Rev. Dr. W.W. Bustard, pastor of John D. Rockefeller's Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, in a prelude to his regular sermon last night gave these ten "Don'ts" for husbands as a solution of the divorce evil:

    Don't forget your wife wants to be loved as much after marriage as before.

    Don't arrange for your second marriage before your first wife is either dead or divorced.

    Don't compel your wife to ask for a cent every time she needs one.

    Don't carry all your religion in your wife's name.

    Don't let your neighbors pity your children because you were their father.

    Don't gossip - men should not encroach on a woman's privilege.

    Don't try to run a 40 horse power automobile on a 4 horse power salary.

    Don't live beyond your means, or according to your mean-ness.

    Don't forget the best legacy you can leave your family is the memory of a good husband and a kind father.

    Posted by Craig Depken at 10:32 AM in Culture

    Heart Wrenching c. 1912

    The April 15, 1912 NYT has three articles concerning the disaster unfolding on the HMS Titanic. The first is optimistic but, in retrospect, very heart wrenching:

    At 10:25 o'clock to-night the White Star line steamship Titanic called "C.Q.D" to the Marconic wireless station here, and reported having struck an iceberg. The steamer said that immediate assistance was required.

    Half an hour afterward another message came reporting that they were sinking by the head and that women were being put off in the lifeboats.

    The weather was calm and clear, the Titanic's wireless operator reported, and gave the position of the vessel at 41.46 north latitude and 50.14 west longitude.

    The Marconi station at Cape Race notified the Allan liner Virginian, the captain of which immediately advised that he was proceeding for the scene of the disaster.

    The Virginian at midnight was about 170 miles distant from the Titanic and expected to reach that vessel about 10 A.M. Monday.

    2 A.M. Monday - The Olympic at an early hour this, Monday morning, was in latitude 40.32 north and longitude 61.18 west. She was in direct communication with the Titanic, and is now making all haste toward her.

    The steamship Baltic also reported herself as about 200 miles east of the Titanic, and was making all possible sped (sic) toward her.

    The last signals from the Titanic were heard by the Virginian at 12:27 A.M.

    The wireless operator on the Virginian say these signals were blurred and ended adruptly (sic).


    Posted by Craig Depken at 10:27 AM in Culture

    April 12, 2012
    An unbeatable record? c. 1912

    From the April 12, 1912 NYT:

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - What is claimed to be a unique record in professional baseball was made here to-day in the game between Kansas City and Columbus when the ball tossed out by the umpire at the beginning of play was used throughout the entire nine-inning game, no other being required.

    Posted by Craig Depken at 10:44 PM in Sports

    Protecting the Politicians or the Citizenry? c. 1912

    From the April 12, 1912 NYT:

    Citizens of this town [Washington, DC] who carry any deadly weapon hereafter will be liable to penitentiary sentence or fine, or both, by terms of a bill passed in the House to-day. Any Washingtonian who has a pocketknife with a blade more than three inches long comes within the provisions.

    Representative Madden of Illinois proposed an amendment to cause all capital policemen to hold up visitors to Washington and search them for weapons. It was quickly passed, but later withdrawn.

    Posted by Craig Depken at 10:40 PM in Politics

    Navel-gazing c. 1912

    The April 12, 2012 issue of the NYT:

    Secretary Benjamin R. Andrews of the School of Industrial and Household Arts at Columbia says that household economics was taught in the young women's seminaries of this country as far back as 1835. Now 132 schools give collegiate degrees for proficiency in the courses of home-making.

    But conditions in the home have changed within seventy-five years. The original teachers of housekeeping trained their pupils in butter and soap making, knitting, spinning, weaving, the manufacture of garments, and many kindred occupations, which have been segregated from the home and specialized in factories. Were domestic servants as plentiful now as then, housewives would have nothing to do.

    Most of the present teaching of housekeeping is confined to the use of mechanical substitutes for the house servant. 'We are already teaching laundry work," Dr. Andrews says: "you should see the array of mangles [wringers] and other washing machinery in our basement." Such of the arts and crafts of housekeeping as could be transferred to factories equipped by machines have departed from the home. For those that remain machinery is being brought in, and the women are being taught how to use it. Thus the last of mediaeval (sic) institutions, that of mistress and servant, is disappearing.

    Posted by Craig Depken at 10:37 PM in Culture

    April 10, 2012
    What Is It About Ohio and Subtraction?

    Remember "The Diff" on the Cleveland Cavaliers scoreboard? Well the photo below shows the Ohio primary election returns. Apparently Ohioans find subtraction vexing. Or maybe it is Fox News viewers ...

    Ohio Diff.JPG

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 05:09 PM

    Are Wal-Mart Greeters Neo-Nazis?

    Below is the abstract of a forthcoming paper in Social Science Quarterly (emphasis added):

    The recent surge in hate group activity is a concern to many citizens and policymakers. We examine the roles of socioeconomic factors measured at the county level that are hypothesized to account for the presence of such groups, including social capital and religious affiliations. We estimate a Poisson regression model using counts of hate groups provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center for each of the over 3,000 U.S. counties. Our regressors include a wider set of variables than has been considered in previous studies, such as Jefferson and Pryor (1999). Our approach produces a better statistical fit than that in Jefferson and Pryor's paper, and the additional regressors contribute significantly to our understanding of hate groups. Both social capital stocks and religious affiliation exert an independent and statistically significant influence on the number of hate groups, as does the presence of Wal-Mart stores, holding other factors constant.

    Of course, the SPLC is such a joke that the results are probably nothing more than garbage in, garbage out.

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 11:31 AM

    April 06, 2012
    Co-bloggers in Action

    Art Carden rounds up the recently held APEE conference. I mostly attended different sessions from Art but I concur with his positive assessment of the conference. Besides seeing many old friends and intereting talks, I came home with three new paper ideas.

    One of the plenary talks at APEE was given by Larry White; he discussed his forthcoming book The Clash of Economic Ideas.

    Bob Lawson on economic freedom.

    Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 09:51 AM

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