Archive for the ‘Sexual politics’ Category

The new round of climate talks

December 1st, 2014 Comments off


Are women better decision makers? Forget the glass ceiling – think about the glass cliff.

October 20th, 2014 Comments off
  • Are Women Better Decision Makers? – “Credit Suisse examined almost 2,400 global corporations from 2005 to 2011 — including the years directly preceding and following the financial crisis — and found that large-cap companies with at least one woman on their boards outperformed comparable companies with all-male boards by 26 percent. … From 2005 to 2007, Credit Suisse also found, the stock performance of companies with women on their boards essentially matched performance of companies with all-male boards. Nothing lost, but much gained. If we want our organizations to make the best decisions, we need to notice who is deciding and how tightly they’re gritting their teeth.Unfortunately, what often happens is that women are asked to lead only during periods of intense stress. It’s called the glass cliff …”
  • No Consensus at Vatican as Synod Ends – “A closely watched Vatican assembly on the family ended on Saturday without consensus among the bishops in attendance on what to say about gays, and whether to give communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. … Pope Francis addressed the bishops in the final session, issuing a double-barreled warning against “hostile rigidity” by “so-called traditionalists,” but also cautioning “progressives” who would “bandage a wound before treating it.” The bishops responded with a four-minute standing ovation in the closed-door meeting, Vatican spokesmen said afterward.”
  • The Ebola Conspiracy Theories – “The spread of Ebola from western Africa to suburban Texas has brought with it another strain of contagion: conspiracy theories.”
  • Why Germany is so much better at training its workers

2014-10-20_clive james

  • Clive James: ‘I’d be lost without poetry’ – “Writer and broadcaster Clive James, who suffers from leukaemia and emphysema, has just had a new volume of essays published, called Poetry Notebook. In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, he explains why the book means so much to him and how it is hard to have a serious literary reputation if you are on television regularly.”
  • This Age of Derp – “derp … is a determined belief in some economic doctrine that is completely unmovable by evidence.”
  • Inflation Derp Abides
  • “Inflation derps” are people from the concrete steppes
  • Regret and economic decision-making – “Regret can shape preferences and thus is an important part of the decision-making process. This column presents new findings on the theoretical and behavioural implications of regret. Anticipated regret can act like a surrogate for risk aversion and could deter investment. However, once people have invested, they become attached to their investment. This commitment is higher with better past performance.”
Figure 1 plots a simple transformation of the value of the unemployment rate, measured on the left axis, and the real value of the S&P, measured on the right axis, in log units. This graph shows a clear correlation between these series and a more careful investigation reveals that this correlation is causal in the sense in which Clive Granger defined that term: there is information in the stock market that helps to predict the future unemployment rate.

Figure 1 plots a simple transformation of the value of the unemployment rate, measured on the left axis, and the real value of the S&P, measured on the right axis, in log units. This graph shows a clear correlation between these series and a more careful investigation reveals that this correlation is causal in the sense in which Clive Granger defined that term: there is information in the stock market that helps to predict the future unemployment rate.

  • Don’t Panic — Yet! – “Volatility has returned to the stock market and most of the gains of 2014 were wiped out in the last week. Is it time to panic? Not yet! … For a market panic to have real effects on Main Street it must be sustained for at least three months. And there is no sign that that is happening: Yet.”

How much of Africa punishes sodomy and other news and views for Thursday 9 October

October 9th, 2014 Comments off


  • The Closeted Continent – “38 out of 55 African nations have laws punishing sodomy. And things may get worse before they get better.”
  • It’s time to vote for a party that promises to step back and do nothing at all – “In the lead up to next year’s NSW state election, where both sides will offer slight variations on the same theme, it’s time to question the role of state government. … Paul Keating once famously said never stand between a state premier and a bucket of money, but that’s precisely what we need to do. We like to think that Australians have an anti-authoritarian character, yet baulk at putting brakes on power. While it is counterintuitive to the culture of promises, it’s worth considering: would you vote for a party that promises less?”
  • Three Election Trends That Could End in 2014 – “I’m not certain how long a trend has to exist before it earns the status of an immutable political “law,” but three longtime truths are threatened this election cycle. Will all of them fall in November?”
  • The free-will fix – “New brain implants can restore autonomy to damaged minds, but can they settle the question of whether free will exists?”
  • Lawsuit Testing Personhood Of Chimps Gets Its Day At An Appeals Court

Banking on someone else to sleep your bank to the top

April 24th, 2014 Comments off

Ah, the morality of bankers knows no bounds.

News out of China put ever so delicately by the Financial Times:

China Resources, the state-owned conglomerate whose chairman was detained last week by anti-corruption investigators, has allocated many of its investment banking deals over the past five years to institutions employing the chairman’s alleged mistress.

From 2009 until 2012, Credit Suisse was one of the most prominent advisers on acquisitions and capital market activity carried out by China Resources and its numerous subsidiaries, according to data from Dealogic financial services information. This period coincides with the employment of Yang Lijuan, who also goes by the name Helen Yang and who is alleged to have been the mistress of the disgraced China Resources chairman Song Lin.

And, surprise, surprise, when Ms Yang left Credit Suisse for UBS the business stopped for Credit Suisse while UBS became the joint bookrunner on two large bond sales and a key adviser on the two largest public acquisitions ever involving China Resources.

I suppose we could call it banking on someone else to sleep your bank to the top.

Categories: Sexual politics, Ticket clippers Tags:

Oh do shut up dear! The public voice of women and other news and views for Tuesday 25 March

March 25th, 2014 Comments off


  • The Public Voice of Women – A London Review of Books lecture at the British Museum by Mary Beard – ” I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to ‘shut up’; telling her that her voice was not to be heard in public.”
  • For our most powerful and hypocritical leaders, crimes are those that others commit – “Is there a better case study in brazen hypocrisy than the ongoing crisis in Crimea? Not just on the part of the loathsome Vladimir Putin, who defends Syria’s sovereignty while happily violating Ukraine’s, but on the part of western governments, too.”
  • Ukraine and the Crisis of International Law – “As frightening as the Ukraine crisis is, the more general disregard of international law in recent years must not be overlooked. Without diminishing the seriousness of Russia’s recent actions, we should note that they come in the context of repeated violations of international law by the US, the EU, and NATO. Every such violation undermines the fragile edifice of international law, and risks throwing the world into a lawless war of all against all.”
  • How to use a bank tax to make the financial system safer – “The current approach to taxing banks is perverse. It encourages precisely the kind of behaviour that supervisory authorities are trying to curb. Bank regulation requires banks to keep their equity above a specified level. Yet corporate taxation encourages the banks to use more debt and less equity. This perversity comes from the fact that corporate tax is levied on the banks’ profits. When a bank borrows money to finance its balance sheet, it incurs interest expenses that can be deducted against profits for tax purposes. The greater a bank’s borrowings, the larger the interest payments and the lower its tax bill. Tax bank liabilities instead of profits, and you will disadvantage liabilities more and bank capital less. Making that change would encourage banks to be better capitalised and stronger.
  • The Doctor and the Saint – Arundhati Roy on Ambedkar, Gandhi and the battle against caste.

Gay rights and Guinness produce the headline of the day

March 17th, 2014 Comments off

17-03-2014 draughtdodge

17-03-2014 gay

Categories: American media, Media, Sexual politics Tags:

Creating three parent babies? A new ethical debate

February 27th, 2014 Comments off

An advisory committee of the US Food and Drug Administration has just concluded two days of meetings to consider whether to make legal a proposal that scientists be allowed to try to make babies using eggs that have been genetically altered to include DNA from another woman. The committee decided not to vote to determine a recommendation to the FDA after some panellists worried that not enough research has been done to know whether the experiments would be safe. “I think there was a sense of the committee that at this particular point in time, there was probably not enough data either in animals or in vitro to conclusively move on to human trials . . . without answering a few additional questions,” Dr. Evan Snyder of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., who chaired the 25-member committee, told National Public Radio.

During the hearing, the panel heard from researchers at the New York Stem Cell Foundation, the Oregon Health & Science University and Newcastle University in England who have conducted prelminary research in animals and want to try the procedure in humans.

They argue it would help women with diseases caused by problems with a type of DNA known as mitochondrial DNA to have healthy babies. These conditions can be devastating, even sometimes fatal. The approach could also be used to help treat women suffering from infertility.

“We have developed a technique that would allow a woman to have a child that is not affected by this disease, and yet the child would be related to her genetically,” Dieter Egli of the New York Stem Cell Foundation told NPR in October.

Several critics of the proposal told the panel that they feared the technique could introduce errors into the human gene pool, or even open the door to creating “designer babies” by letting parents to pick the traits of their babies.

At the end of the hearing, the FDA panel outlined what steps researchers might have to go through before they could do a clinical trial. That would include making sure the process was safe, ethical and would produce useful results. The FDA has not said when the agency might make a decision.


In a New York Times report earlier this week the attempt to produce genetically modified human beings was  called “a dangerous step.”  The techniques would change every cell in the bodies of children born as a result of their use, and these alterations would be passed down to future generations.

The F.D.A. calls them mitochondrial manipulation technologies. The procedures involve removing the nuclear material either from the egg or embryo of a woman with inheritable mitochondrial disease and inserting it into a healthy egg or embryo of a donor whose own nuclear material has been discarded. Any offspring would carry genetic material from three people — the nuclear DNA of the mother and father, and the mitochondrial DNA of the donor.

If the subject interests you there is a wealth of further information about Inheritable Genetic Modification on the website of the Center for Genetics and Society.

Categories: Sexual politics Tags:

A right for businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians

February 26th, 2014 Comments off

It is front page news in Arizona but a bill passed by the state’s legislature that would allow business owners in the state to deny service to gays and lesbians is arousing controversy throughout the United States. Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer is being pressured to veto the bill under which to deny service, the business owner has to have sincerely held religious beliefs.



National Public Radio reports that the legislation’s wording has become so controversial that even some lawmakers who voted for it are now regretting it.

Jay Michaelson, who studies religious freedom for the progressive Political Research Associates told NPR a number of other states considered and rejected laws similar to Arizona’s. The Arizona law would allow business owners to refuse service to gays and lesbians if the owner’s religion says homosexuality is wrong. But Jay Michaelson says the bill could affect virtually anyone who deals with a business owner claiming religious protection.

MICHAELSON: And, in fact, this law was so broad that it could cover anybody. So if I’m a fundamentalist Christian who holds Jews responsible for the death of Jesus Christ, I could put a sign saying no Jews allowed in my hotel or my restaurant or my sports stadium for that matter.

Doug Napier of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is trying to get similar bills passed across the country, sees things quite differently.

DOUG NAPIER: This is a human dignity bill. It’s a human rights bill. It’s an anti-discrimination bill, so people of faith have a safe place in Arizona. That’s all it is.

The inspiration for the Arizona bill was a court decision in neighboring New Mexico last year. That state’s Supreme Court ruled that an Albuquerque photographer could not refuse to take pictures of a gay couple. The Arizona law was intended to protect business owners from similar lawsuits but what may have begun as a religious rights issue has quickly become a civil rights issue. Both U.S. senators from Arizona, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have come out against the new bill. “This is going to hurt the state of Arizona’s economy and frankly our image,” Sen. McCain told CNN.