Friday, July 24, 2009

My Interview with Paul Babiak Garners Praise

My July 23 article in the AI-CPA Career Insider has received positive feedback, according to the editor, Sukanya Mitra.

Sukanya writes:

>"I have received several reader ratings today raving about your article in yesterday’s ENL. Here’s a reader comment that I thought you’d appreciate...Thank you again for the great articles."

>>"This article was amazing, I am a safety director, who has a manager of a department that fits so perfectly into this article. This will help me deal with him.


The article begins:

>"Dr. Paul Babiak is president of HRBackOffice and co-author with Dr. Robert D. Hare of Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, an important book about psychopaths in the workplace. Within the last ten years, two series of scandals have wracked American industry. In 2001, Enron, Arthur Andersen and a familiar, contemporaneous litany led to passage of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Only seven years later Wall Street has been immersed in wave of derivatives-related failures. Although the scandals and failures have several causes, ethical lapses that may be addressed through improved human resource management play a role.

I interviewed Dr. Babiak via telephone at his upstate New York office.

ML: Dr. Babiak, how do you define the term psychopath?

Babiak: When one first meets psychopaths they are likeable, verbally fluent and charming. They easily build rapport and people trust them. But, underneath this façade, they’re manipulative liars. They can create multiple masks or personas that they use to maintain relationships with their victims. They are opportunistic, parasitic predators. Their opportunism has a number of motivations: money, sex and power, for example.

Read the whole thing here.

Reader Complains of Obama Bots Sabotaging This Blog

Famed blogger Doug Ross recommends:

>Probably an Internet Explorer issue. Would recommend the Firefox browser for that person...

With all due respect to Bill Gates, I have been using Mozilla Firefox (download for free here) because Facebook loads much, much better with it. It is a difference of an order of magnitude. Microsoft is going to have to work hard to catch up.

Does anyone have a similar problem?

>Mr. Langbert,
I've been closely following the Obama ineligibility issue for quite awhile and I'm now finally writing to inform you -- although you may be aware of it already -- that your blog is often (frustratingly) inaccessible.

What happens is that I click on your blogspot in my Favorites list and am taken to it. However, after a mere few seconds a small window then pops up stating that the web page is not accessible. I then literally have to click OK, then close the entire window and open a fresh window to keep surfing the web. If I try to just open a new tab I am unable to do so; as mentioned, I have to close the window with your front page and then open a fresh new window.

A moment ago I was able to access your blog and this didn't happen (it does happen more times than not) and so took the opportunity to search for your email address so that I could inform you of this situation.

Has anyone else written to you about this? The exact same thing, I believe, used to happen when I would access Orly Taitz's old website (but no longer occurs with her new website.)

Take care and please continue your efforts in trying to get to the truth about Obama.

Town of Olive Republican Committee

I got myself appointed to the Town of Olive Republican Committee. Chet Scofield, the Town chairman, leads a group of about 10 or 12 committee members. The meetings are held at Chet's bar, Snyder's, which is on NY 28A in between Watson Hollow Road and NY 28. I thought the committee has great potential and there are quite a few great Republicans in the Town of Olive. Robin Yess, who ran for state assembly in our district last year, was at the meeting in June. I was added to the committee and carried my own petition along with several others to voters in the Olivebridge district. I live in a different district, West Shokan, but Town residents are allowed to cross over.

Here are some things I learned:

1. Olivebridge and the Town of Olive constitute an incredibly beautiful district. I have petitioned in New York City and I must say, it is a pleasure to drive around a place as beautiful as the Ashokan Reservoir, Route 213, Brown Station, Beaverkill Rd. Driving around there is like being on vacation.

2. The Olivebridge Republicans are a rather contrary group. I think some of them aren't sure if they're Republicans and I had to pull teeth to get 20 signatures. In part the difficulty is the distance. When New York City gutted the Town of Olive and submerged about three quarters of it in the Ashokan Reservoir, they left scattered streets and roads which now constitute the Olivebridge district. It is a disjoint place. It was probably among the first instances of a community utterly devastated by modern urban planning. New York City still pays the County of Ulster a fee for the use of the reservoir land, and Olive does not get its fair share. Recently, a "large parcel" tax bill removed the payment for Olive to the County, and the good people of Olive are justifiably annoyed.

3. There are a lot of very concerned people here, many of whom are quite unhappy with the nation's socialist direction and the incompetent Democratic leadership in Washington.

4. I think the Republican Committee in Olive and everywhere else has a great opportunity. The Democratic Party advocates a stupid, failed ideology, social democracy. The sorry excuse for American politics that we have seen under Bush and Obama poses opportunities.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Do People Still Watch Television News?

My good friend Sharad Karkhanis e-mailed me about a news broadcast on one of the social democratic propaganda outlets. Likewise, blog impressario Larwyn has been up in arms about "media" bias.

If you haven't read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire or read about the history of ancient Persia or studied advanced calculus, why on earth are you watching news on television? There are many productive ways to spend your time.

Television news is not news. The people who broadcast it are entertainers and lack the education to determine what's important enough to be called news. Not enough people watch it to use the explanation that "it's important to hear what people are thinking". Nor is watching it a good way to refute the Democrats. A better way is to carry petitions for the Republicans.

The country is full of lazy bones who sit around listening to Rush Limbaugh, cuss at their radio and accomplish absolute zero. Sharad isn't one of those people, and he's devoted a huge amount of his resources to uncovering fraud in the reactionary CUNY faculty union and sending around tens of thousands of copies of his newsletter "Patriot Returns" at his own expense.

Sitting around cussing at some bozo on one of the cable news channels accomplishes nothing. Stop watching them. Carry petitions. Call your friends. Go to a tea party like the courageous Phil Orenstein.

TV news is an anachronism, a thing of the past. It is almost as antediluvian as print newspapers. If you want to see what people are thinking do this:

1. Play "Mafia Wars" on Facebook
2. Read "The Star"
3. Watch Oprah

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sarah Lawrence College Says No to US News Rankings

I am working on a project involving college presidents' pay with my colleague Marc Fox at Brooklyn College. While going through data on the presidents' backgrounds I noticed that my alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, stopped requiring the SAT test and, at the same time, told US News that it would not participate in their rankings. Thus, the college appears as "unranked" in the all-important US News ranking system.

Sarah Lawrence is left wing and I haven't always agreed with their political correctness. I loved it there because of the high degree of autonomy they afforded me and the cool students. While I was there ('73-'75) I took two years of classical Greek, one year of German, two years of philosophy and a course in "legal studies" where I wrote papers on the history of slavery and the Dred Scott decision. The teaching was fine (as was the teaching at SUNY Binghamton, where I spent my first two years of college) and the breadth of the professors, their willingness to be outrageous and think outside the box, and intensely individualized instruction made it among the best academic experiences I ever had. In each course we were required to meet individually with the professor and to write a paper based on our own ideas.

Although I disagree with the ideologies of most university professors, and especially with those at Sarah Lawrence College, I concur with their decision to reject the US News rankings but not the SATs. I think that SATs are a useful measure of potential. IQ tests predict performance. But the US News rankings are ridiculous.

About two years ago I visited my old high school, the Bronx High School of Science. I was supposed to be giving career and college advice, but I realized that the students cared only about getting into a name college, not in developing a great life or a great career. Getting into college and developing a fruitful life and calling are barely related. The fixation on SATs and obsession with admittance to this or that college is a tragic social waste. The SATs should not be a fixation, and the fact that students do study for them and do raise their scores is an imperfection. However, I do not believe that there is no such thing as "G" or general intelligence. Naturally, different people have different strengths and weaknesses, but an approximate measure, while imperfect, correlates with ability.

I give two cheers to Sarah Lawrence College for having the intestinal fortitude to say "no" to the US News rankings. I disagree with their dropping the SAT scores. But I give them three cheers for taking risks and thinking outside the box. It was there that I first thought of becoming a Republican. I wrote a paper on "achievement" in my philosophy class, and although my professor disagreed with it, I am still thinking about that topic today. Although my professors were mostly "liberal" it was the encouragement to think in original ways that helped me reject the left wing ideology.

If you are a conservative and need advice about selecting a college, I would refer you to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which has an excellent college guide for conservatives. US News and World Report is a terrible magazine and its ranking system is a joke.

Barack Obama: America's Foreign President

I have been busy with my academic research in recent weeks so I was somewhat surprised to receive hate mail from one of Barack Obama's supporters. I have stopped watching television news and reading newspapers, but I gather that Mr. Obama has proposed a scheme to diminish the American health care system. His followers now scan the Internet to vilify any who disagree with their anti-American views. This one accused me of disloyalty to America because I disagree with Mr. Obama. I fear, my friends, that the traitor is in the White House, not on this blog.

The birth certificate issue has not disappeared. I have not pursued it since November. The ever-perceptive Cortes De Russy, for one, argued that it was but a political harassment tactic, an "Alinsky" tactic, if you will. Likewise, the famed David Horowitz argued that the issue was pointless.

But Larwyn, the renowned coordinator of the conservative, libertarian, Jacksonian and anti-Federalist blogs (I can't make up my mind if I'm a Jacksonian or an anti-Federalist) has forwarded an e-mail indicating that the Obama birth certificate issue, which has been carried forward by the courageous Dr. Orly Taitz, is now being covered on a social democratic disinformation outlet, CNN, by the announcer Lou Dobbs. I am not familiar with CNN, but I would reckon that if it is questioning the birth certificate then all sides are.

I missed the segment but Larwyn reports:

"Lou is with us in why won't he show the certif. It was short segment but he put the only one trying to spin it in RACISM in her place. All three on panel have radio shows..."

Moreover, the courageous Sharad Karkhanis, who is being sued by an official of the CUNY faculty union, "Sue" O'Malley, for disagreeing with the union's social democratic foreign and domestic policies, forwarded the above video of a voter questioning her Congressman about the birth certificate. The Congressman, Mike Castle, asserts a position without factual support. He reminds me of the Federal Reserve Bank's board of governors and its open market committee. We have to believe! I guess Castle didn't read the transcript!

I picked up the ball fairly early in the birth certificate story in response to wonderful work by Pamela Geller and Texas Darlin'. I am fascinated that the story is beginning revivify and to pan out, thanks to Taitz, et al.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scriptural Quotation for Today

"There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 14:12

I got this verse from the website of MidAmerica Nazarene University. A few years ago I co-authored with my departmental chair a couple of articles on the leadership qualities of Abraham and leadership theories of ancient Judaism and the Sanhedrin.

Proverbs states that man's reason is limited or bounded. This is the major theme of Austrian economics and the organization theory of Herbert Simon. Humbleness before the Creator was also a theme of the classical Greeks, who feared "hubris". The assumption of social democracy and liberalism is that human reason is sufficient to plan and dominate the economy. They have been wrong every time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Supermarkets of the Catskills--How the Little Guys Compete with Wal-Mart

One of many gripes about Wal-Mart is that it supposedly eliminates competition. Here in the Catskill Mountains in the hamlet of West Shokan in the Town of Olive in the County of Ulster in the declining and falling Empire State I have a few options as to where to go to the supermarket--and it frequently is not Wal-Mart, although I respect its low prices and do take advantage of them with glee.

On the same highway as the Kingston, NY Wal-Mart, which is about 20-25 miles from West Shokan, there is a store called Adams Fairacre Farms and another supermarket called Hannaford's. Both of these stores are successful in competing with Wal-Mart because of their quality. Hannaford's, for example, has a fresh butcher shop and a fresh fish counter. They have a display with a huge assortment of feta cheese and a wide assortment of Greek Olives, not quite as extensive as a deli I remember in my childhood neighborhood of Astoria, Queens but pretty darn good. Their fresh bagels are near-H&H Bagel (of Manhattan's upper west side) quality. Adams is a local chain with excellent quality as well, and its parking lot is always nearly full.

Given this stiff competition, Wal-Mart at the low price end, Adams and Hannaford's at the higher price end, how might an IGA supermarket in Boiceville compete, especially if prices in Boiceville are high because of extra travel and delivery costs and low volume?

The quality of the deli in the Boiceville IGA is the best I have seen anywhere. It is better than what I used to get at Broadway Farm on 84th and Broadway. Their store-cooked roast beef is the freshest deli roast beef I have ever had. Zabars's isn't as good. Plus, until recently they had a daily sushi display, and it was very good. Unfortunately, their sushi chef quit. But their store-prepared hamburger patties are better than Hannaford's butcher (and Hannford's ain't bad). In fact, there is often a line at the deli. In a hamlet like Boiceville, that's an achievement. Sushi in Boiceville? When I was a child, you were happy to get a Slim Jim at the Sawkill Snack Bar not far from here. Now, the good people of Boiceville don't even need to go to Woodstock to have first rate Sushi. Who worries about gasoline prices? You never need to leave town!

But that's not all. There is an even smaller store that outcompetes Boiceville, Hannaford's, Adams' and Wal-Mart. It is called "Smoked Fish and Honey" and it's on Mt. Tremper Road just east of the Mt. Tremper stop sign going toward Woodstock. Smoked Fish and Honey is amazing.

I went there on Friday because I was told that honey comb is good for allergies and I thought I'd give it a try. "Smoked Fish and Honey" is owned by a guy named Lenny. The sign in the front looks like a private homeowner is selling Smoked Fish and Honey, but when you turn into the driveway there's an electric sign in the back and it looks like a regular store, but you can't see it from the road. The driveway is very cool, and there's a car with an imploded roof sitting there because a tree fell on it. Lenny, the bee keeper and trout smoker, wasn't in but his mother is an amazing Latvian grandma with a delightful sense of humor and wonderful old world charm. She regaled us with her insights about life. She mentioned that the tennis star from the 1970s and 1980s, Vitas Gerulaitis was her nephew (I suppose Lenny's cousin). They have a Time or Newsweek cover with him on it hanging in the store. (Tragically Gerulaitis died in a freak accident in the 1990s.)

Now here's the rub. The smoked trout at Smoked Fish and Honey is the best smoked fish I have ever had. Lenny raises much of the trout he uses himself, so it is very fresh. They hot smoke it with a special recipe. It is excellent. Likewise, the ultra-fresh honey is wonderful. I bought a jar and am floored. Unfortunately, a weasel broke into their chicken coop and ate their fresh eggs, but I am looking to buy those next time. (I have to come back to pick up the honey comb on special order.)

Now, can Wal-Mart compete with Smoked Fish and Honey? I think not. No way.