Links (Chavez, Libor, etc.)

Hey Mr. Economics Professor
Hey Mr. Economics Professor

(Hat-tip to Bryan S. for today’s image; it’s related to an Adbusters campaign and book about economics teaching that I’ll have to blog about another day.)

(1) Wealth Inequality Video:  I keep getting emails saying this video about wealth inequality is going viral. I usually think that claims that something is going viral are usually just attempts to make it so. But here I am, helping with that!  And with mixed feelings.  The graphics are great, but the narrator mischaracterizes socialism so as to repeatedly throw it under the bus. And I have heard that the study it is based on (which we covered in the Short Run section of D&S a while back) had some methodological problems.  But it’s definitely worth watching.

(2) Bloomberg Businessweek’s Racist Housing Cover:  We’re running an article by Darwin BondGraham on the so-called housing recovery as our March/April cover story.  There’s a pretty good article by Susan Berfield in last week’s issue of Businessweek about the recovery, reporting on what looks like a bubble in Phoenix, Ariz. But the accompanying cover is awful–repeats the “blame-the-minority-borrowers” narrative, as Ryan Chittum at the Columbia Journalism Review blog first pointed out (see the cover there, and Chittum’s nice analysis). We’re going to have fun with the Businessweek cover in our art for Darwin’s piece.

(3) Darwin BondGraham on Libor:  Darwin has a nice piece on Libor in Counterpunch: LIBOR: Viewing the Biggest Financial Crime in History.

(4) Parody of Lanny Breuer’s Frontline Interview: By Jaime Falcon, via Barry Ritholtz:

(5) Occupy the SEC Files Suit:  Great post at Naked Capitalism.  But I didn’t understand Yves Smith’s comment at the beginning that people might “dismiss this sort of undertaking as quixotic or agitprop,” and I said so in the NC comments (no response–oh well).  These people are heroes, imho.

(6) Rick Scott and Obamacare:  Mother Jones had a good piece on why Rick Scott of Fla. caving on Obamacare is not him moving “left”–it’s about directing new Medicaid enrollees to private ensurers. Krugman made the same point here.

(7) On Hugo Chávez:  Check out the roundtable discussion on Democracy Now!.  And FAIR had this hilarious piece about a lame AP report:

One of the more bizarre takes on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death comes from Associated Press business reporter Pamela Sampson (3/5/13):

“Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.”

That’s right: Chavez squandered his nation’s oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world’s tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?

Read the full FAIR blog post.

(8) In Honor of International Women’s Day (Today): Not so economics-y, but a  controversy about rape at the University of North Carolina.  Today’s New York Times has an article about the controversy, in which women are speaking out about the university’s undercounting sexual assault and rape, and failure to act quickly on accusations.  And a couple weeks ago Jezebel had this piece about a UNC student who faced expulsion for speaking out about her sexual assaulter. Even though she never mentioned his name in public, the university threatened to bring her up on some kind of honor-code violation for speaking out (as part of the group the NYT article reports on, I gather).

Now here’s the hilarious part: The Daily Dolt’s take on the university’s stance–a satirical piece about the victimization of men who have to hear about rape:

What kind of culture are we living in, if we can’t protect our most defenseless citizens: people who have to hear about rape? It seems like no matter what we do to try to stop women from speaking about their sexual assaults — no matter how many “take back the morning after we failed to take back the night” events we hold — there’s a continuing problem of women wanting to talk about rape.

How big of a problem is this?  Just consider these harrowing statistics.

Rape Talk in America, by the Numbers:

  • According to the Department of Justice, a low estimate of the number of women who talk about getting raped every year is 150,000. When you consider that that’s out of between 300,000 to 1.3 million women who are raped, that’s an awful lot of talking.
  • Approximately  32,000 women in the US are impregnated against their will each year as a result of rape, and you just know they’re gonna talk about that. The hard truth is she’ll be talking for two.
  • 97 percent of rapists are never incarcerated, which means that they are in no way protected, and live in constant fear of running into the assaulted woman. Em-barrassing.
  • Studies show that college students think  50 percent of rapes claims are false, even though only 2-8 percent are actually estimated to be false claims. That means these women who talk about their rape aren’t even convincing, making the whole ordeal that much more unnecessary. Why torture your victims when science has shown that they won’t even believe you?

As a heterosexual male I know I am in constant fear of being talked to about rape. But just remember, guys, if a woman does talk to you about her sexual assault and you don’t feel impregnated with sadness, then it wasn’t a legitimate rape talk. A man cannot be made sad by illegitimate rape talk.

While we can never fully eliminate rape-talk on campus, with your help and the continuing efforts of the UNC administration, we can make talking about rape the exception, and not the rule.

Read the full hilarious piece.

That’s all for now–sorry for the long post.

–Chris Sturr

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