The Environment

August 13th, 2011 → 7:01 am

“How hard it is to hide the sparks of Nature!” – Cymbeline

A few weeks ago I did an interview for HEC-TV on the environment, and the letter I sent to the EPA with Natalie Portman.  Well, here it is!  I’ve gotten a few emails from followers asking why I haven’t blogged about the environment yet, as I am an environmental economist in my day job, and I have no real excuse for the delay…  I will promise that this won’t be my last entry on environmental issues, and I’ll repeat it as many times as anyone will listen: we need to put a price on carbon already!!

Filed under: Blog & Other


August 11th, 2011 → 7:15 am

Henry:  “What treasure, uncle?”

Exeter:  “Tennis-balls, my liege.”  – King Henry V

My husband has woken up at crazy hours all this week to either play golf, or go flying.  He’s trying to get the fun in before the weather gets too hot by mid-afternoon, which I understand, but it’s amazing how on a non-sports day I can’t get him out of bed before noon.  Boys and their games!

Filed under: Blog & Other


August 10th, 2011 → 6:59 am

“Man’s life is cheap as beast’s.” – King Lear

My heart goes out to the families of the soldiers who were killed in the Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 6.  It has been reported to be “the deadliest single incident in the history of the war.”  There is no way to say it except that, well, war is terrible.

Filed under: Blog & Other

S&P’s Downgrading of U.S. Debt

August 9th, 2011 → 6:52 am

“He that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.”  – Othello

Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. debt from AAA to AA+.  At least they admitted that the call was motivated primarily by political calculations, not economic ones.  Still, I think they are just trying to make up for giving such loose ratings before the crash.  Basically, I think they are a rather poor rating agency and I wouldn’t put much stock in their opinion.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money


August 7th, 2011 → 9:01 am

“Play fast and loose with faith.” – King John

This is my favorite quote of Shakespeare’s, with respect to religion.  I identify myself as Jewish, but I do not take it that seriously.  And I have found over the years that I do not like anyone who takes religion that seriously.  It tends to lead to intransigence, closed-mindedness, and false feelings of superiority.  I bring this up because I find Rick Perry’s prayer rally fascinating, and totally unintelligible.

Filed under: Blog & Other & Stupid/Evil People

Balanced Budget Amendment

August 6th, 2011 → 7:09 am

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” – Hamlet

I’m afraid the time has come for me to disagree with Shakespeare.  The notion that a person, or even a government, should never borrow or lend is financially ludicrous.  Smoothing consumption patterns over time (through borrowing and lending) is much more optimal than living paycheck to paycheck, with unpredictable booms and busts always chasing your heels.  The same is true for governments; they should spend more in recessions to prop up living standards, and less in good times to cool the economy and save up for future recessionary spending.  The balanced budget amendment Republicans in Congress are proposing is just bad economics, plain and simple.

(Note that if you read the rest of Shakespeare’s quote, it begins to have more validity.  The full quote is: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”  This human component of personal relationships and productive incentives holds more truth than the simplified borrowing/lending quote you usually hear bandied about.)

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money & Politics/Politicians


August 5th, 2011 → 7:13 am

“To know the cause why music was ordain’d!  Was it not to refresh the mind of man after his studies or his usual pain?” – The Taming of the Shrew

Recently I was given an H2O audio for my iPod shuffle.  It lets you listen to music underwater while you swim.  I notice the reviews of the product are hit or miss – some people give it a 5 star, some a 1 star, few a moderate rating in-between – but my H2O audio is great.  Listening to music (or, sometimes, podcasts) somehow makes swimming laps lighter, faster, and easier.  What is the magic of music that makes this happen?

Filed under: Blog & Other & Self/My Life

Minority Youth Program

August 4th, 2011 → 7:02 am

“Was not that nobly done?  Ay, and wisely too.” – Macbeth

I read this morning that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is using $30 million of his own fortune to prop up a plan to aid minority youth in New York.  I am so impressed.  I teach at an urban university, and one of the things I notice, every single semester that I teach, is the relative lack  of minorities (men, in particular, which the program targets) in the classroom.  Where are all the beautiful black and Latino boys?  It really sticks out, their absence.  Programs to improve opportunities for minorities at an early age, like the program Bloomberg is supporting, are extremely important.  After all the negative news about budget deals, murdering mothers, and Mideast dictators, it was nice to read such a positive story this morning.

Filed under: Blog & Other


August 3rd, 2011 → 6:50 am

“O curse of marriage!” – Othello

It’s not as bad as all that, but my husband and I did have one of our rare, big fights last night.  Sigh.  Sometimes the one you love most is also the one who aggravates you the most.  Why is that???

Filed under: Blog & Self/My Life

President Obama

August 1st, 2011 → 7:24 am

“What an alteration of honour has desp’rate want made!” – Timon of Athens

I was always afraid of Barack Obama’s relative lack of experience when he made it to the White House.  And increasingly I feel confirmed in my fears.  He is a nice man, a smart man, but he isn’t a leader.  He has not led since he got to Washington, and he has consistently underestimated his opposition and been out-flanked by them.  He really gave everything away in the budget deal just announced – he lost his honor just to make any sort of desperate deal possible.  We needed a leader in 2008 who was a little less idealistic and balanced, and one who understood the dirty fights of actual politics; too bad we didn’t elect one.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians