Friday, March 31, 2006

Hey Mom, Can You Do the Wash?

So now a third of all men 22-34 are living at home with little motivation to do much of anything (thanks to the reader who emailed me this story).

This phenomenon cuts across all demographics. You'll find it in families both rich and poor; black, white, Asian and Hispanic; urban, suburban and rural. According to the Census Bureau, fully one-third of young men ages 22 to 34 are still living at home with their parents -- a roughly 100 percent increase in the past 20 years. No such change has occurred with regard to young women. Why?

Maybe this is what happens when you motivate boys and men by telling them that they are the cause of the world's problems.

Update: The Boys Project that is mentioned in the Washington Post article actually looks like it addresses some salient issues for boys such as suicide and the negative messages boys hear about their sex.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Aussie Dave at Israelly Cool has a podcast with Glenn and me talking about blogging, podcasting and ourselves. Aussie Dave also discusses the Israeli elections. You can listen to it here.

Heading Towards Geekdom

Okay, so I took this quiz in Newsweek asking How Geeky Are You? My results showed I was headed towards Geekdom. In celebration of my new found status, I went out and bought an iPod Nano from Apple yesterday. Since Glenn posted on his site that I had cracked and bought this little device, some readers have emailed to ask me what I like about this little bitty iPod. The answer is: a lot.

First of all, it's really little. I love that. I am the kind of person who hates lugging stuff around. If I go on a trip, I will arrive with one bag, regardless of if I have a two week stay somewhere, just because I dislike keeping track of things (yes, I usually end up bumming off others or buying items I left at home, but at least I did not have to lug a heavy bag with me.) The Nano iPod is very tiny and light and fits in the palm of your hand. It would easily fit on an armband to wear to the gym but my favorite place to use it so far has been in the car--which I will discuss in a minute.

Once I got the iPod home, I went to iTunes to register and downloaded songs and podcasts, of course, which was fairly painless--even for the technically challenged such as myself. I won't tell you what songs I downloaded--after hearing the jeers from commenters about reading People Magazine and the Star, it is best you not know. I downloaded my own podcasts, of course, as I have never really listened to them (do you ever really want to hear the sound of your own voice on anything?) But I figured I could check the audio quality for those listeners who use their iPod in their car. I also downloaded Ricky Gervais's podcasts (the free ones, not my cup of tea, really), and James Lilek's "The Diner" Podcasts and Powerline's podcasts.

On the way to work today, I plugged the iPod into the cigarrette lighter of my car without assistance (yes, again, I can be that technologically illiterate) and it was easy. The second thing I really love about this particular iPod is the excellent screen display. Despite the tiny iPod, the screen is very easy to read and is user friendly. The playlists are easy to use and organize all of your favorite music, podcasts etc. If you love listening to all of your favorite songs and original material from podcasts, the iPod is mandatory.

Finally, I found the sound quality of the iPod to be very good---I was especially surprised how crisp and clear it sounded coming through the FM radio in the car (after plugging it in--you just tune it to the station that lights up). However, there did seem to be some interference at times that left me trying to adjust while driving. However, it was easily corrected. I also had a bit of trouble getting the iPod to start playing but it seemed to just take a moment and then it would play. If you have not tried listening to podcasts in the car, do so, it makes for a fun commute to work.

Overall, I found the Apple iPod Nano easy to use and a good purchase, especially for those of us who feel technically challenged. But then again, I am heading towards Geekdom and fairly soon will be an old pro.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Safe" Schools for Libertarians and Conservatives?

David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy has an interesting college thread on "safe" schools for libertarians and conservatives:

I get occasional emails and personal inquiries regarding which, if any, elite colleges are "safe" for politically active and or outspoken conservatives and libertarian students in the sense that students and faculty will generally treat them respectfully, even if they are a small minority, and that they won't need to worry about being hauled before disciplinary committees because they said something politically incorrect that allegedly offended someone. Unfortunately, my knowledge of college life is almost twenty years out of date, but I'm sure VC readers have some ideas. Please comment below, and in the future I'll refer my inquiries to these comments.

Read the comments. (I find many of Volokh's commenters obnoxious and annoying, but some actually have a lot to say).

Does Rioting Create Jobs?

In a recent podcast with Claire Berlinski, I recall her saying that the French like to riot--apparently they do:

"At least 1 million people marched in French cities and unions staged a one-day national strike on Tuesday, urging the government to scrap a youth jobs law in one of France’s biggest protests in decades."

The French may think that rioting is the answer to getting what they want (which should be more jobs) but unfortunately, if their protests work, the result could be fewer jobs, not more, for youth--particularly for the poor immigrant youths who are currently unemployed.

Buisiness Week Online takes a look at the problem:

The Mar. 28 general strike in France over a controversial new labor law has once again focused attention on the nation's rigid employment laws and their effect on the French economy. The new law, known as the First Job Contract (the Contrat Premiere Embauche, or CPE), is much loathed by the many students and labor unions that have noisily demonstrated against it.

The CPE would essentially give employers powers currently unheard of in France -- the ability to fire, at will and with no financial consideration, new hires under the age of 26 during their first two years on the job.

"This contract could have a role in making it easier to adjust the labor force as needed," says Standard & Poor's economist Jean-Michel Six. "It might especially prove helpful for small and midsize businesses, where many owners are extremely reluctant to hire new workers." ....

Yet French Prime Minister Dominique De Villepin, who circumvented traditional political processes to bring the law into effect, maintains that it will induce small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) to take a chance on hiring more young people -- especially from among the thousands of alienated young immigrants and first-generation French who rioted for weeks last fall in the suburbs of Paris and elsewhere.

It seems to me that giving employers more incentives to hire young people, not fewer, would be a start in helping the French economy. And certainly rioting for cradle to grave job security is not the answer to the job crisis in France.

Tax Hell

I have been in the middle of tax hell, you know, where you are collecting receipts, trying to find out the cost basis of stocks, and cursing yourself for not being even more organized. In the middle of all of this, I get a notice from the IRS about problems with my 2004 taxes--luckily I got that resolved. However, between that notice, 2005 taxes being due in a little over two weeks, and estimated payments for being self-employed due--it's rather stressful. Don't you just love tax season? Does anyone out there have any tips on how to stay sane while preparing your taxes? I would especially love to hear from others who are self-employed (with all of the estimated payments, extra social security etc. that we enjoy).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling

The 13th week of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up at the Why Homeschool blog. I found this post on debunking homeschooling fallacies interesting just because I often hear the argument that kids should attend public schools to learn to deal with unpleasant and painful experiences and homeschooling may not give them this "opportunity." One would think this would be a positive reason for homeschooling, not a negative one.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Menace in Europe

Right Wing News has an interview with author, Claire Berlinski, on her book, Menace in Europe : Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too. It is an interesting interview. If you want to hear more from Claire, check out our podcast with her here.