Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Sunday, November 23, 2008

MBA Lessons

Hey Kids!

Now that every other one of you is out of a job or soon to be out of one, your minds are naturally turning to that great socially-approved two year recess. So listen up and listen good to Uncle TR's Timely and Handy Tips for Surviving (And Thriving!) in Business School.

Lesson #1: Everyone around you is always spouting off. B-School does that to people. They're just like you inside, only, they've seen someone else spouting. But you wanna fit in, dontcha? So spout away!

Lesson #2: The correct answer always is "It depends". It's a good correct answer so make sure you use it well. Don't just leave it hanging out there like an exposed quarterback. Be careful to couch it in impressive MBA language such as Value, Option, Assessment, Optimize, Leverage, Put, Call, Chapter Eleven, and Touch Base. (PS. You have to learn to speak American now. 'Tailgate' is another useful word to know.)

Lesson #3 (which they don't tell you because the program lasts only 2 years): The correct response to the correct answer is: "On what?" Don't try this on someone who's been in the program for less than two years, unless you want to hear the entire MBA Lexicon churned up in Rank Order of Stochasticity.

Bonus lesson #4: If you ask Lesson #3 to someone in their first or second year, they will usually reply with some variant of "I haven't read the case". You should learn to say this too. It will make the two years go by much quicker.

That's all for now, folks. That will be 70,000 dollars (in Euros, please.) Yes, we accept Paypal, and as a special offer we're also accepting Citibank securities till Thanksgiving. (Or you may pledge to wash our car and fold our laundry after bringing it up from the basement -- that would be good too.) Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Palling around

Bill Ayers breaks his silence in a must-read article. Excerpts -- from the first section where he talks about the past few weeks:

Obama’s political rivals and enemies thought they saw an opportunity to deepen a dishonest perception that he is somehow un-American, alien, linked to radical ideas, a closet terrorist who sympathizes with extremism—and they pounced.

On the campaign trail, McCain immediately got on message. I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.

When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got hold of it, the attack went viral. At a now-famous Oct. 4 rally, she said Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists.” (I pictured us sharing a milkshake with two straws.)

The good news was that every time McCain or Palin mentioned my name, they lost a point or two in the polls. The cartoon invented to hurt Obama was now poking holes in the rapidly sinking McCain-Palin ship.

And where he talks about the deeper issues involved:

It was inevitable. McCain would bet the house on a dishonest and largely discredited vision of the ’60s, which was the defining decade for him. He built his political career on being a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The ’60s—as myth and symbol—is much abused: the downfall of civilization in one account, a time of defeat and humiliation in a second, and a perfect moment of righteous opposition, peace and love in a third.

The idea that the 2008 election may be the last time in American political life that the ’60s plays any role whatsoever is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, let’s get over the nostalgia and move on. On the other, the lessons we might have learned from the black freedom movement and from the resistance against the Vietnam War have never been learned. To achieve this would require that we face history fully and honestly, something this nation has never done.

And some profound, if undilutedly idealistic, concluding thoughts:

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy’s heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

History is always in the making. It’s up to us. It is up to me and to you. Nothing is predetermined. That makes our moment on this earth both hopeful and all the more urgent—we must find ways to become real actors, to become authentic subjects in our own history.

In this time of new beginnings and rising expectations, it is even more urgent that we figure out how to become the people we have been waiting to be.

All in all, how could you not love a piece titled: "What a long strange trip it's been"?!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Whew, he did

Now what?


MVPs of the season: Nate Silver and Tina Fey

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The best ad of the season

I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong

Original here.