Txt messaging

Yesterday morning I got a text message from someone completely unknown:
678****** "How much are the step show tickets going to be?"

I do a little bit of research. 678 is Atlanta and I definitely don't know anyone there.

Me "expensive. $100 and it has to be cash."

678******* "O word?"

At this point, I was wondering why the person hadn't caught on to the fact that I wasn't the person who the guy thought he was txting.

Me "Word! Where you at?"

678******* "In the honors suite shooting the breeze"

Me "Good times, I'm just hanging in my office"

678******* "So true."

WTF! I mean, at this point my officemate and I are laughing our asses off. Time to figure out who this person is and where they actually are. The question is just how to make the question vague enough that it could be someone that the guy knows.

Me "What's your email again, I got something to send you"

I should have asked for a credit card number.

678******* "*****@yahoo.com"

Now, a truth about the internet. It's really easy to search for an email address and find out a lot about. So, the guy is a student at one of the local predominantly black colleges and is a representative to the state college board thing. I decide to back away.

Me "Oh, I think you got the wrong number"

Maybe you had to be here, but I think it's kind of funny.


Trust the market

The house voted down the bill that would bale out the investment banks today resulting in a record drop for the Dow. It's actually pretty amazing that something like 5% of the money in the country just disappeared.

Despite the fact that my retirement account is now significantly smaller, I have to somewhat agree with Congress that a $700 billion baleout isn't the way to go. There should have been more regulation during the real estate buildup of the late 1990s and 2000s to ensure that people weren't taking on loans that they wouldn't be able to afford and limit the degree to which lenders could leverage themselves. (Seriously, 30- and 40-to-one ratios in lending? Who thought that was a good idea?)

It seems to me that a large part of the baleout was designed just to save face and cover up the stupid assumption made by the banks that housing prices will always rise. (Show me something where there actually is infinite demand.) If you try to run a business based on ideas like that, you pretty much deserve to fail.

That said, this is going to result in a lot of companies going out of business, a lot of people losing jobs, and general unhappiness for a few years. Hopefully though, it'll result in something positive like a more transparent and rational banking system. In the meantime, no one is going to lose the money they have in the bank. (Money in the market is another matter.)

It's going to be very interesting to see how everything pans out.


I hate office hours!

I'm teaching again this semester and I'm giving a test tomorrow so I decided I should come in and do some extra office hours.

Of course, it's turning out to be extremely boring. I had one student right when I got to my office and then [so far] an hour of nothing. To make things worse, I promised one student that I'd stay here until six (which is an hour from now) to answer his questions.

So, I'm stuck here twiddling my thumbs for another hour.

This post definitely falls under "bitching".


Abortion Rates Down

There's some good news in the news today, abortion rates are at record lows. Although, of course, they're lower for whites than for hispanics and blacks, a fact that Planned Parenthood ties to the fact that whites are more likely to have health insurance and contraceptive services available.

Yahoo News Story

You have to love the quote at the end of the article from the "Concerned Women for America" an organization that "strives to bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy."

In talking with women who have had abortions, we find that there are many reasons for abortions, other than the 'oops' factor," she said. "Many women felt that they were coerced into it -- they may have wanted the baby, but they were pressured into an abortion by other people -- boyfriend, husband, parents, jobs, universities or such."

Yup, because universities are really pushing women to have abortions. I know that Harvard has a quota where they try to have at least 1 in 10 students get an abortion every year. Dartmouth is behind, they really need to try catching up!

I'm definitely not pro-abortion. It's an absolute last resort, but I do think it's an important option to have open to women. Since it is a last resort though, I think it's also incredibly important to get people information and contraceptive drugs and supplies. People are never going to stop having sex, so you have to help protect them in other ways.

Oh, and I'm a little bit upset about the sexism inherent in stories about abortion! Why do then never mention the statistics for men?


Power to the Electorate!

I just read an interesting news story saying that as much as 12% of the electorate in November is made up of "non-college-educated white women" and that these women are lining up behind McCain because of Sarah Palin.

We all know my opinion on Ms. Pain... I think she has no experience, has political views that directly contradict scientific truth, and doesn't even understand the platform that she's running on. I like to think though my my opinion is somewhat reasoned and thought out and the result of the fact that I believe pretty much the exact opposite of what she does. I'd also be completely willing to vote for a Republican... assuming they were willing to stand on a platform of rational government spending and distanced themselves from the religious right. (Note: communism is great in theory too, you just can never find anyone to implement it without becoming hugely corrupted.)

The thing that really amazes me though is the Palin gamble is somewhat working. The economy is truly melting down as a result of 8 years of the SEC looking the other way and yet you hear quotes like "I hear that Obama's a Muslim. If he is a Muslim, that would be a problem, because the terrorists already attacked us." First, wrap you head around how many ignorant errors there are in that quote. Then think about how small of a side-issue that Obama's religion is to the running of the country.

Then realize that issues are like that are the ones that will decide the election.

We really are in an idiocracy.