Monthly Archives: June 2009


These are excerpts from two longer statements written by Ida Thomas, an older Black woman who only completed the ninth grade and considers herself uneducated. She and I are members of the same racial disparities task force. She has a son who has been in prison. She wrote up her ideas because she wanted me […]

the scatterplot effect

E-mail lists are dying. So says the Chronicle (thanks for the heads up, Dana!). Why? Because of blogs. I personally welcome fewer emails. Then again, I think it’s kinda fresh that I pretend like unwanted emails take up oh-so-much-time and therefore complain about them when, really, keeping up on blogs is far more time-consuming. As […]

proposition 8 would have changed my life

Prop 8 was a 1978 statewide ballot initiative that proposed to ban gay men and lesbians (as well as their supporters) from being employed as teachers in public schools. I didn’t learn about the proposition, which was defeated, until I was all grown up. But way back in 1978, I was in a California elementary […]

hey! where have you been? the san bruno library

I’m in sunny (and hot!) California, visiting my mom for a few days, and whenever I visit my mom, I get a chance to watch a LOT of television. All kinds: true crime, animals attacking people, court television, all at maximum volume. Imagine my surprise when I see this gem of a local commercial: I […]

correlation, or causality (a: the latter)

From SLACer John’s blog: I haven’t reviewed many papers, so I am hoping that I have just had bad luck so far, but it seems that every time I agree to review a paper it has serious flaws. This is not a matter of luck. Papers that a priori seem likely to suck are disproportionately […]

reference puzzle

The last two times I have been asked to provide a telephone reference for someone, the person asking for the telephone reference began the conversation by informing me that they had decided to make X an offer (and, indeed, at least in one case X already been informed of this decision). I suspect that this […]

no hiring freezes here.

Given the depressing “What is your school doing?” post, I thought this would be a good place to get the word out. There will be at least one job in the employment bulletin job bank this fall. We’ve got a tenure-track, open rank, faculty position that we’ll be hiring for. The catch?

in all seriousness

Dear Jeremy – In your newfound position of power, how about you make folks publish log files for every paper published by an ASA journal? This could be done on-line somewhere. I’m no stats wiz, but I’ve had a tough time reproducing results before (and so as not to throw everyone else under the bus, […]

campaign promises

Congratulations to Jeremy Freese, who was elected to the ASA Committee on Publications. Jeremy campaigned on an anti-torture platform that included ending both waterboarding and including publisher cities in bibliographic citations. I hope he can also straighten out that problem with Contemporary Sociology going back to 1972 sociology categories for its book reviews (who cares […]

what is your school doing?

The Times has a story about universities making cuts to save money. I am actually one of those believers in the “education bubble” which has yet to burst (particularly for private schools). Here at Columbia we have things like no salary increases, and stopping with planned renovations. The school has also gotten rid of a […]

great moments in student course evaluations

“His elitism shines through, like the sweat stains under his arms.”

il bambino

Shamus claims to like my “art” post, although as far as I can tell, the Scatterplot readers are not larded with art history majors. Neverthless, I’ll give you one more art history tidbit I have picked up wandering Italian churches and museuems. I have seen zillions of pictures of Madonna e il Bambino: Mary and […]

obama’s relationship with lgbt movement

I checked the NYTimes today to see a leak from his office that he would be announcing benefits for federal employees. The details weren’t clear – and it was pretty clear that health insurance would not be included. But still, I got a warm fuzzy feeling. Then I received a note from HRC about Obama’s […]

what happens when i forsake automation

Final grades were posted yesterday at 3pm. Within an hour I had an e-mail from a student who received an e-mail saying I gave her a B-minus when she should have gotten an A. She was right. For this class with 120 students, I had a portion of grading that was based on taking the […]

they say elephants never forget. the same can be said of trolls.

So, I get back to the office after my trip to the English countryside and there is a mysterious envelope in my inbox for me.  Postmarked “Louisville, KY” and with no return address, even though I don’t know anyone in Louisville.  I open it up and the only thing inside is a single sheet of […]


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