CSotD: Let’s Hear From The Experts …

Cornered (AMS) opens today’s discussion, and the arms crossed posture is perfect.

I’ll begin the topic by confessing that Constant Reader Bob Crittenden dropped me an email to very politely point out that, if I began the blog in 2010, yesterday was its 12th, not 11th Anniversary. The problem, I shamefacedly confessed, is that I haven’t adapted to it being 2022 yet, a fact that I may come to grips with in another month or two.

Besides, “Math is hard!” as Barbie said. Except what she said was “Math class is tough.”

And there’s a meme going around pointing out that Barbie is 80. She’ll be 63 in a month. So, whatever she said, apparently she was right.

She’s the expert.


On a more serious note, this meme popped up on one of my feeds, and I welcomed it because it uses an actual portrait of K’ung Fu-tzu and it’s absolutely true that about 98% of what you see attributed to him is bogus.

Some of it is racist and stupid: There were a lot of “Confucius say …” jokes a generation ago, told with a Charlie Chan accent.

But some of it is racist and sincere, bits of cheesy fortune-cookie philosophy that is supposed to be thoughtful and deep.

If it can’t be attributed to Confucius, it’s fobbed off as the wisdom of some Native American, because they’re all very wise and thoughtful and deep like Chinese people, only more natural and organic.

Oddly enough, the same professor who shepherded us through the Analects brought a Navajo elder to seminar, who asked us why we wanted to adopt his religious beliefs when we had not explored the depths of our own.

Excellent question.


To which I would add — eventually getting around to cartoons — that I suspect cartoons featuring Durga, the many-armed Hindu goddess, will one day be seen as offensive as blackface, but not yet. I saw one today.


Any change to universal respect will require some serious self-examination, and this Michael Ramirez (Creators) cartoon is a good stage-setter, because he’s got it backwards, but transparently so.

His metaphor assumes that we all start out equal and that the race is won based on individual merit. But we don’t start equal: Equity means that we are willing to acknowledge the extra help some of us need in order to compete fairly.

In horseracing, that means a “handicap,” or an amount of weight each horse carries to even things out. The term has been adopted by golfers without anyone whining about it being unfair, but, then again, it’s only been in recent years that “we” have started letting people on the course who don’t look like “us.”

There’s no perfect system. I’ve known people who grew up coddled, surrounded by books, given the best of health care and education, but who face-planted out of the gate and never amounted to a hill of beans.

I’ve known others who had no books, no health care and frequent beatings as kids, but still managed to come out on top.

But neither are average outcomes, and it’s foolish — and cruel — to contend that we all start out with the same chance and that where we finish is entirely due to personal character.

Equity is something like a staggered start in which we offer those who need a little help the tools they need to then compete on an equal basis.

Good health care, well-funded schools and adequate access to food are the necessary foundations of a society that, itself, wants to succeed.


You can’t simply make a few nips and tucks to change “unfair” into “fair,” as this Benjamin Slyngstad cartoon points out, referencing the NFL and its Washington franchise.

Changing the team’s name was barely a start, given the league-wide depth of racism that persists in hiring, well-laid out in Brian Flores’ pending lawsuit (as discussed here previously).

Now it seems the newly-christened “Commanders” are determined to continue to be a humiliation for the league. Having barely satisfied earlier complaints, they are now facing yet another devastating lawsuit alleging not simply sexual harassment but prostitution. Team owner Dan Snyder offered to investigate the charges against himself.

The league, rather, says it will take up that task.

It only took the NBA four days to decide to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.

You suppose maybe that equity/equality thing requires action, not just speeches?


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Joe Heller)


(Dana Summers – Tribune)

A pair of differing takes on the anti-vax truckers currently tying up Canadian highways and industry.

Heller echoes Canadian voices that recognize the danger when dissident voices threaten the transportation links between two major trading partners, while Summers uses the issue as a chance to take another swing at the people who pick our vegetables, cut our meat, watch our children and service our hotel rooms.

The Canadian demonstrators have danced on the grave of their Unknown Soldier and made health workers wear civvies rather than scrubs on the way to work in order to avoid harassment and worse. And in tying up bridges between the two countries, they pose a real risk of factory shutdowns on their side and even longer supply chain delays here.

Which makes it hard to understand how two cartoonists could take such a differing view of things.

Maybe someone needs to clarify that “Great White North” is a reference to the snowy climate.


Here’s an interesting development to watch: On January 29, Chip Bok (Creators) posted a cartoon basically accusing Nancy Pelosi of seeking re-election so she could continue to pursue insider trading.

Fair enough, but a number of congresscritters have been suspected of benefiting from inside information, not all of whom have been Democrats, much less knee-jerk targets of the far right.

Here’s a whole lot more than you wanted to know about it

… but with a chart about how various members beat “SPY” — the Standard and Poor average.

If you screen out the Pelosi-bashing, calls for a ban on stock-trading for legislators and their families have seemed loudest from the far left.

But politics makes strange bedfellows, and whether it was pressure from the right or from the left, the Speaker has announced support for a ban on trading.

Baby steps.



4 thoughts on “CSotD: Let’s Hear From The Experts …

  1. On congress critters beating SPY:

    Without a scale along the X-axis, it’s a little difficult to contextualize that last one.

    For some personal context, I managed to beat SPY this last year mostly by investing in a SPY-based ESG ETF. I’m a self-employed, work from home, on a team of one individual, and definitely don’t have any insider information. I barely know what my own business is doing half the time. I was a half percent up on SPY, and that’s essentially due to not investing in fossil fuels. Something it’s not hard to imagine a typical Democrat politician doing.

    If the scale is small (0-2% maybe), then I don’t see anything nefarious, just good sense (save maybe toward the top). If the scale is large (0-50% or so), then it’s a different story. One of those “numbers can say whatever you want if you frame them right” deals.

  2. Read the whole thing and you’ll likely find a lot more context. It was, as noted, a lot more than I wanted to know about it, but you’ll probably find it interesting. I just thought it was worth noting that party affiliation doesn’t appear to make a consistent difference, which is adequately shown on that one of godknowshowmany charts.

  3. Sometimes you have to ask how did we get here and why is it an issue now?

    It started as a personal attack by the conservatives on Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi has been in congress for many years and she and her husband are rich and own lots of stock so she must have trading on insider information thus Nancy Pelosi is corrupt and unethical.

    Thing is they lost control of it. The liberals instead of rushing to defend Nancy Pelosi said instead “You know, you are right, members of congress should not be allowed to trade stock”.

    I am sure there are a few conservative republics on that chart who are kicking themselves for starting the whole thing.

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