Thursday, April 28, 2005

Some one's got to post something of substance

So you all may have heard of the coordinated strike that went on here at Columbia and at Yale last week. I've tended not to side with the graduate students forming a union on 2 major grounds. First of all, I think that graduate students are students and not workers. Second, I felt that the quality of academic work overall might suffer from collective bargaining agreements (I'm pretty sure it would make it more expensive for the University to fund us, thereby decreasing the number of graduate students as well as Columbia's ability to compete with other top research universities) and that we could wrangle concessions from the University (dental insurance, child care . . . ) through striking without being affiliated with the UAW.

A number of students I know who are ambivalent about the union went on strike out of solidarity. I was still sustpect since it lent support ot a cause I'm not sure I or they agreed with.

However, a lot of us were recently galvanized when someone in the administration leaked this memo regarding punitive action that could be taken against graduate students.

I'm not sure how I can let this letter piss me off without being a hippocrite, but I'm open to ideas.

That all being said, I still think coal miners, steel workers, auto workers, administrators, custodians, etc . . . have a right to unionize.

I also still think that teachers' unions are extremely harmful and that teacher's rights should be protected through legislation rather than by interest groups that have an interest in maximizing pay and minimizing effort.

Now for something really important


Well, looks like in June I'm going to go visit the Mario Kart champion of Fall '98. Should be fun. It was too bad the guy left after only a semester--although I guess it's clear that he made the right decision, what with their getting married and all.

I've seen Gabe in Chicago a couple of times since graduation. He's out in LA now, trying to break into filmmaking.

I expect that when I go back to school, it will be closer to most of you guys (alas, Chuck) and there will be visiting.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I punched Saddam in the mouth

There is a large article this week in Riverfront Times ( that tells the story of a Iraqi guy living in St. Louis who served in Iraq as an interpreter attached to the unit that found Saddam. He was a civilian contractor and was the guy who actually pulled Saddam out of the bunker (after punching him in the mouth). He is telling his story in response to the article that came out recently calling into question the Pentagon line, which we earlier discussed. He's got photographs that were taken shortly after he and some of the soldiers beat Saddam. Anyway, it's a pretty interesting story I thought might be of interest.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Joke from a law professor

Q: How many University of Chicago economists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Zero. The market will take care of it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Updating our Debate on Acadmic Diversity

Krugman has an interesting twist on conservatives being so sparse on academic campuses.

In case our current career paths don't work out

there are, apparently, alternatives . . .

Akira Yoshizawa, 94, Modern Origami Master, Dies

Friday, April 01, 2005