A fool’s game

From Drudge:

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee sent out talking points this morning titled: “Judge ‘Scalito’ Has Long History Of States Rights, Anti-Civil Rights, And Anti-Immigrant Rulings.” More from the DNC’s anti-Italian American talkers: “Alito is often referred to as ‘Judge Scalito’ because of his adherence to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s right-wing judicial philosophy.”

One outraged Republican strategist claimed, “If Alito were a liberal there would be no way Democrats and Washington’s media elite would use such a ethnically insensitive nickname. Italian-Americans should not have to face these types of derogatory racial slurs in 21st century America.”

What, we’re supposed to expect consistency from a maleducated gang of moral relativists who subjectively redefine good and evil according to their momentary whims? Given my own use of colorful ethnic appellations, I’d have to be given to a similar hypocrisy if I were to object to the characterization of President Bush’s new Supreme Court nominee.

Scalito actually appears to be very fitting nickname, and Republicans will fortunate indeed if it proves to be an accurate one. I have my doubts, to be sure, but this sort of rote outrage only bores me. I mean, they’re Democrats, what do you expect them to do? If they were capable of intellectual consistency and had a handle on basic logic, they wouldn’t be Democrats in the first place.

Never bet on the NFL

It is not overstating the case to assert that I am a respectable prophet of NFL results. At 76-39, my record this year is better than any of Yahoo’s four so-called experts, and even surpasses what TMQ describes as the Wisdom of the Crowds at 74-41. I feel quite confident that tonight will see a Steeler’s victory and provide me with a 12-2 record for the second time in three weeks.

That being said, I somehow managed to lose two of the three games of which I felt most certain this weekend. Tampa was upset by San Francisco and St. Louis beat Jacksonville despite being on the road and missing their head coach, starting quarterback and their top two wide receivers.

Never bet on the NFL. Never.

Discuss amongst yourselves

The feminist’s dilemma

Maureen Dowd finally admits to herself that men truly do prefer Pamela Anderson to Harriet Miers:

He had hit on a primal fear of single successful women: that the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality….

Women moving up still strive to marry up. Men moving up still tend to marry down. The two sexes’ going in opposite directions has led to an epidemic of professional women missing out on husbands and kids.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the author of “Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children,” a book published in 2002, conducted a survey and found that 55 percent of 35-year-old career women were childless. And among corporate executives who earn $100,000 or more, she said, 49 percent of the women did not have children, compared with only 19 percent of the men.

Hewlett quantified, yet again, that men have an unfair advantage. “Nowadays,” she said, “the rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child. For men, the reverse is true.”

A 2005 report by researchers at four British universities indicated that a high I.Q. hampers a woman’s chance to marry, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.

I find it rather amusing that when I point out exactly the same phenomenon as Miss Dowd, so many women leap on their high horses. But sometimes one can’t hear the message for the messenger. One must commend Ms Dowd for being so brutally open about what is clearly a major societal disappointment for her and overlook the vaguely aggrieved tone that leaves one with the impression that she thinks this has somehow got to be men’s fault for not wanting what some women think they should want. After all, what is unfair about experiencing the logical consequences of your choices?

I quite like intelligent women. I’ve dated them and I married one. But there’s no question that they are more difficult, more complex and generally less happy in life than the dumb ones. I speak from experience; the girl I dated throughout high school and college scored in the sixth percentile on her SAT and she remains to this day one of the best and nicest people I have ever known. Girls may be made of sugar and spice, but there’s no question that men prefer sugar.

Perhaps the biggest mistake that women make is thinking that men want to be challenged in their relationships. But life is full of challenges, some of which men embrace with enthusiasm, some of which we take on only if we must. An ability to pose a challenge is not on the normal man’s list of desirable attributes, far more preferable is someone you know is on your team, someone you trust to get your back when your friends aren’t around to do it.

Space Bunny is not my equal and I am not hers. We compliment each other, we are not interchangeable.

NFL Week 8

Last week: 9-5. Season: 65-37, .637. Fantasy 5-2.

L-Tampa Bay Buccaneers over San Francisco 49ers
Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens
L-Jacksonville Jaguars over St. Louis Rams
W-Cincinnati Bengals over Green Bay Packers
W-Dallas Cowboys over Arizona Cardinals
W-Carolina Panthers over Minnesota Vikings
W-Oakland Raiders over Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots over Buffalo Bills
W-San Diego Chargers over Kansas City Chiefs
W-Chicago Bears over Detroit Lions
W-New York Giants over Washington Redskins
W-Houston Texans over Cleveland Browns
W-Miami Dolphins over New Orleans Saints
W-Denver Broncos over Philadelphia Eagles

The big question this week was starting Dominick Davis or one of Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo. Since I’ve started precisely the wrong Steeler the last three weeks in a row – twice it didn’t matter, but it cost me the game against the league-leading Wallabies when Fast Willie failed to score a single point – I’m going with Mr. Davis going against the Brownies.

Dallas is my big concern. Mr. Bledsoe and Mr. Glenn have me off to a solid start despite my usual horrendous early drafting, but they performed poorly last week. Arizona should be the cure, but with Atlanta on the bye week I had to pick up the Dallas DEF as well, so one bad game in Texas could sink me.

It’s too bad it’s not a playoff game. In that case, I’d be completely confident with Denny Green on the other sideline.

Mailvox: Since you missed it the first time

Chuck demands to know where the carriers were:

There were, on 7 December, only three [carriers] in the Pacific. USS Enterprise, USS Lexington (CV-2), and USS Saratoga (CV-3). While USS Ranger (CV-4), USS Wasp (CV-7), and the recently commissioned USS Hornet (CV-8) remained in the Atlantic, Yorktown departed Norfolk on 16 December 1941 and sailed for the Pacific, her secondary gun galleries studded with new 20-millimeter Oerlikon machine guns. She reached San Diego, Calif., on 30 December 1941 and soon became flagship for Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher’s newly formed Task Force (TF) 17. The carrier’s first mission in her new theater was to escort a convoy carrying Marine reinforcements to American Samoa. Departing San Diego on 6 January 1942, Yorktown and her consorts covered the movement of marines to Tutuila and Pago Pago to augment the garrison already there.

Having safely covered that troop movement, Yorktown , in company with sistership Enterprise, departed Samoan waters on 25 January. Six days later, TF 8 built around Enterprise, and TF 17, built around Yorktown , parted company. The former headed for the Marshall Islands, the latter for the Gilberts — each bound to take part in the first American offensive of the war, the Marshalls-Gilberts raids.

I note that I have already posted this information before.

Internment Order: February 19, 1942

Total carriers in the Atlantic: Nine – Wasp, Hornet, Ranger, Long Island, Charger, Archer, Biter, Avenger, Dasher.

Total carriers in the Pacific: Four – Yorktown, Enterprise, Lexington and Saratoga.

Total carriers assigned to protect the West Coast and Hawaii: Zero.

Clearly the admirals were terrified of invasion…. of New York. Please remember that Michelle Malkin is on record as asserting that there were ZERO carriers in the Atlantic at this time. The Japanese invasion theory is silly and betrays a remarkable ignorance of military history.

Mailvox: affirmative action for the incompetent

DH faces a dilemma:

I don’t have a college degree, and yet I am responsible for narrowing and selecting a pool of programmers when my company needs a new programmer (I’m the Senior Programmer). I used to have a programming in three parts test which asked applicants to write pseudo code to solve common problems. After receiving an application or resume I e-mail the first part of the test, and if they do well, they get another part with more difficult questions. After that an applicant would be granted an interview and be asked to do the third part of the test verbally and on a whiteboard.

Word came down from “upper management” that my interviwing procedures were unfair, and so, HR has implemented a standard hiring procedure that grades people “fairly” on 15 criteria. My programming test was eliminated.

Needless to say “my” last 4 hires have been CS degree packing incompetents who actually make more work for me. So I decided last year to simply not fill open positions. Half my department is empty now – 3 out of 6 slots – and I need to fill in the gap before the new year.

Any tips on how to weed out the losers knowing that 100% of them will have college degrees?

You need to attack this problem in two ways. First, I assume that you have documented the incompetence of the people that HR has forced you to hire. You need to find an internal champion at the executive level and use that information to lay your case against HR with him. Remember, many executives are competent and intelligent individuals whose access to accurate information is extremely limited by the managers immediately below them. They often make terrible decisions because their data is bad, not because they are stupid, malicious or solely focused on their personal gain. If you can find an executive who actually cares about corporate performance, you may well have found someone who will cheerfully take a chainsaw to that HR department. Many execs don’t think a whole lot of HR and see them as barely competent necessary evils anyhow.

Second, you should refine your interview questions to weed out the tools. Remember that a college degree isn’t necessarily an indication of incompetence, it just isn’t necessarily an indication of competence either. When I had to weed the tools out, I would ask an interviewee what their favorite game was. If they told me “Doom” or any other obvious game, I immediately asked them why it was their favorite and ask detailed questions about obscure things on difficult levels, the sort of thing that any aficionado could easily answer off the top of his head, but would catch a tool off guard.

Ask what industry magazines they subscribe to, or better yet, what web sites and mailing lists they follow regularly. Ask them seemingly innocuous questions about their familiarity with Linux and smartphone hacks, and other things of the sort that every college programmer worth his salt finds irresistable. A veteran programmer like you should be able to size up a genuine hacker from a classroom pretender without having to see them code; the trick is to trust your instincts.

Third, take the time to build up a pool of potential applicants that you’d like to hire even when you’re not hiring. When you have an opening, there should be a few people you can call right away to see if they are available or might be interested in changing jobs.

Finally, if you get it wrong, don’t hesitate to get rid of the zeros immediately. If HR demands to know why, you simply tell them that the zero couldn’t do his job and you have important deadlines to meet that don’t permit the carrying of dead weight. Ask them if they want to explain to upper management why project X isn’t getting done on time. Remember, they are usually cowards and busybodies who are used to being unaccountable for anything important, so directing a little pressure in their direction will tend to go a long way.

It can be so tempting to just let things go and look the other way when you’ve got an underperformer, but that is the hallmark of the weak and ultimately unsuccessful manager, even if it could work to your advantage in the short run. If you are careful to always pick office battles where you have the overwhelming advantage of the facts being on your side, sooner or later, the political types in other departments will learn to leave you alone and let you do your job. If you consistently ratchet up the pain each time they stick their nose in inappropriately, they’ll eventually knock it off.