Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'll be headed down to OK for Grandma's funeral tomorrow

But I felt I had to point out this incredibly important thing my daughter drew my attention to tonight:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Can any good thing come out of Superior?

First Bud Grant, now this.

Oliver E. Williamson, US citizen. Born in 1932 in Superior, WI, USA. Ph.D. in Economics in 1963 from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics and Law and Professor of the Graduate School, both at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Oliver Williamson has argued that markets and hierarchical organizations, such as firms, represent alternative governance structures which differ in their approaches to resolving conflicts of interest. The drawback of markets is that they often entail haggling and disagreement. The drawback of firms is that authority, which mitigates contention, can be abused. Competitive markets work relatively well because buyers and sellers can turn to other trading partners in case of dissent. But when market competition is limited, firms are better suited for conflict resolution than markets. A key prediction of Williamson's theory, which has also been supported empirically, is therefore that the propensity of economic agents to conduct their transactions inside the boundaries of a firm increases along with the relationship-specific features of their assets.

I like the co-winner better, really.

Whattaya expect from Souptown?

Friday, October 16, 2009

My daughter just made up a word.

"Contrarium." (She meant to say 'aquarium.' I think the word needs a definition.

Monday, October 12, 2009

In my continual effort to cause trouble,

I thought I'd present you all with a little more Lloyd deMause, from The Emotional Life of Nations:

War, then, is a sacrificial ritual designed to defend against fears of individuation and maternal engulfment by restaging our early traumas upon scapegoats. This theory is the exact opposite of the "social stress" theories of all other social scientists, since it is usually successes, freedom and new challenges that are experienced as triggers for wars, not economic distress or political stresses. The war ritual is the final chapter of the rehearsing of early traumas that we all experience as we grow up, from the 18,000 murders the average child sees on TV to the bullying of scapegoats [that] children practice on school playgrounds and the sports we play in which we rehearse the mental mechanisms necessary to dominate other groups and turn them into "enemies" (the truth reflected in the saying that "British wars are won on the Rugby fields").

That war is sacrifical, not utilitarian, and aims at reducing progress and prosperity is shown by the finding that major wars almost always occur after a sustained economic upswing. Not only are there many more wars after periods of prosperity, but they are much longer and bigger, "six to twenty times bigger as indicated by battle fatalities."178 Wars sacrifice youth-symbols of our potency and hopefulness because it is our striving, youthful, independent selves that we blame for getting us into trouble in the first place. Wars are always preemptive attacks on enemies we create-enemies we must find "out there" to relieve the paranoia of having enemies "inside our heads" who resent our good fortunes. Most wars start "for the sake of peace" because we really believe we can have inner peace if we stop our progress and individuation, if we sacrifice our striving self. Only if we can stop growing can we protect ourselves from our most horrible fear-the repetition of our earliest tragedies.

I gotta tell ya, though, getting to those two paragraphs in that book - all of which is online, btw - is like reliving the birth experience.

Next day: let me tack this, from chapter five, on here:
Massive denial of the origin of humanity's problems in the traumatic abuse of children is, then, one and the same as the massive denial of the psychological origins of social behavior. They are two sides of the same historical coin. Both are rooted in the fact that our deepest fears are stored in a separate brain system that remains largely unexplored by science and that is the source of the restaging of these early traumas in social events. Only when the contents and psychodynamics of these dissociated traumatic memories are made fully conscious can we understand the waking nightmare that we call history.

While I'm editing, let me put in the commas that I think are missing from the previous quote. Actually one comma and one '[that]'.

One more thing (which also needs punctuation help):
Revictimization is actually the central cause of anti-social behavior, and addiction to trauma is at its core.104 It is not surprising that prison psychiatrists find violent criminals invariably repeat in their crime the emotional traumas, abuse and humiliation of their childhood,105 or that women who have been sexually abused in childhood are more than twice as likely as others to be raped when they become adults.106 As one prostitute who had been sexually victimized as a child said, "When I do it, I'm in control. I can control them through sex."107 What Freud was puzzled by108 when he coined the term "the repetition compulsion" - puzzled because it violated the pleasure principle - is actually a self-protective device, protective against being helpless against the overwhelming anxiety of unexpected trauma. Traumas are therefore restaged as a defense, with the persecutory self as the stage director.109 Restaging as a defense against dissociated trauma is the crucial flaw in the evolution of the human mind, understandable from the viewpoint of the individual as a way of maintaining sanity, but tragic in its effects upon society, since it means that early traumas will be magnified onto the historical stage into war, domination and self-destructive social behavior. And because we also restage by inflicting our childhood terrors upon our children, generation after generation, our addiction to the slaughterbench of history has been relentless.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

That's what I said

No, really! I did say that!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What the heck is this?

Kissing Hank's @ss. Right at the moment, I'm somewhere where I can't view it, but it sounds interesting.

Happy Birthday to two old friends and a cousin

October tenth was always rather a festive occasion in my gradeschool class. I remember it fondly.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Check out what those crazy muslims are capable of.

I got it here. Just wanderin' around, lookin' at s**t.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Well, I suppose I could spill the beans

on the big "secret mission." I had jury duty for two weeks. Got the boot from both the juries I was in selection for. Actually, the one case settled before they finished jury selection. I didn't hear how. I think the defendant just collapsed under the torture of watching us answer inane questions for hours on end.

The good thing about that deal was, the judge told us to come in at 9:15 the next day, and when we did, we sat around waiting for fifteen minutes until the clerk came out and told us they were negotiating something and we should come back in an hour. So, we wandered around downtown Mpls for a while, came back and they told us to come back again at 2:00. So, I walked from the courthouse to the Barnes & Noble, then I walked down to Loring Park reading the book I mentioned (about a mile and a half from the courthouse).

Pretty nice flower gardens there. In fact, if you walk down Nicollet Mall there are an awful lot of beautiful flower gardens. Something worth doing when they're in bloom and the fountains are all running. I recommend it.

North of the courthouse, there's a sculpture garden with all these funny, cartoony guys doing odd things. That's due north, so a block up and a block over, kitty-corner from the cop-shop. The cop-shop is rather a marvelous old gothic structure that's worth examining inside and out all by itself. I walked up the stairs on either side of the atrium examining the stained-glass windows and all the marble work. The statue out front, that looks for all the world like Vladimir Lenin, is actually supposed to be Hubert Humphrey.

The reason I didn't want to say anything about all that was that I was nervous about ending up on a jury for some mob guy or gangster. I wouldn't want that to be known. Other than the whole public record thing, but that wouldn't be opened until after the trial. Then I'd be screwed.

So, other than that, the kids are back to school, the wife's got a part time teaching job, and big changes are afoot at Super Mega Corp. Life's just lovely.