Law Professor Michael McCann has an intriguing post in his sports law blog on age and arrest among basketball players. David Stern and others claim that teen draftees might get into more trouble than well-seasoned college kids. Based on his sample of 84 arrested NBA players, McCann concludes: (1) non-college players are no more likely to be arrested than other players; and, (2) basketball players get into just as much trouble mid-career (or end-career) as they do at the beginning. Comparing college guy JR Ryder with high-schooler Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, the first conclusion doesn't surprise me at all. The second one, however, conflicts with most of what we know about age and crime. So I grabbed his data and plotted some curves.
By the time they get to the NBA, most players are already past their peak offending years. Still, the NBA peak comes relatively early: 23 versus 19 for US men overall. This made me think about age and selection into pro ball. Sadly, there are a lot more 23-year-olds than 41- year-olds in the NBA these days. So what we really need are age-adjusted rates. Here's what happens when we standardize by the number of players in each age group (using 2003 roster data).
From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Police Chief Bill McManus backed off on a plan to require panhandlers to register annually with the city and display a photo ID while they beg. Begging without a license could have resulted in arrest and misdemeanor charges.
Any advice? I hoped for something like this graffiti image but it probably isn't practical. Jeff's daughter Zoey also drew a wonderful cover for us, but it turns out that adults actually draw most art that looks like kids' work.
I'll leave it to the experts, but I know that something too heavy-handed, or a bad cover in general, won't help sales.
Well, should we go with stripes, orange, or discouragement?
The Minnesota Center for Photography opens its Musicapolis show tonight. Judging from the shots in the Strib, they unearthed some killer stuff. There are revealing glimpses of international (Dylan, Beatles), local (Curtiss A., Suburbs) , and in-between (Babes in Toyland, Replacements) acts. The promo materials remind me of Seattle's Experience Music Project, mixing big-name iconography and fun local flavor. The poster image (above) was an inspired choice (forget the stage, check out those guys on the floor). In Greg Helgeson's shot of Prince in 1979, you can imagine him finding his stage legs at his first "professional" show.
I spent the last few days at the National Institute of Justice's annual research and evaluation conference, "Evidence-Based Policies and Practices." The idea is to connect policymakers and practitioners to a broad class of "researchers" studying crime and justice. Sociologists, even (or especially) public sociologists, tend to be cynical about applied/policy research, but this is one cool conference. A highlight for me was Del Elliott's plenary address on his "Blueprints" model programs for violence prevention. In some ways, his presentation brought to mind James Coleman's controversial "Rational Reconstruction of Society" 1992 ASA presidential address, or at least one example of the fruits of Coleman's programmatic challenge.
I love public broadcasting, though sometimes NPR moves me to smash the kitchen radio into tiny plastic shards. It isn't the politics -- Sean Hannity or Janeane Garofalo don't even register on my smash-o-meter -- but the relentless elitism and pretentiousness of the public airwaves. Whenever they go slumming into low art or mass culture, NPR always harrumphs and winks and nudges. They can praise the pie in a place like Bismarck, North Dakota, but will do so in a condescending timbre that distances both broadcaster and audience from the locals who produce and consume it. As academics, of course, we need NPR, which celebrates the whole idea of being an intellectual. Witness this exchange between the (clearly very talented) Terry Gross and the (also very talented, and an icon to boot) Iggy Pop:
Iggy Pop: "I was interested in all that, yeah." Terry Gross: "So I mean did you know that part of what you were doing was actually very avant–garde?"
Iggy Pop: "Yeah-"
Terry Gross: "And that there was a long kind of like classical avant-garde, you know, intellectual tradition of the kind of thing that you were translating into punk?"
Iggy Pop: "Being a young American I didn’t know the long version, I knew the short version. So I was aware of Harry Partch. I was aware of John Cage… a little Buddha, a little Satan, a little… Who’s around, you know? A little Balinese gamelan, a little medicine song, also a little [sings] nah-nah-nah-nah-nah by Cannibal and the Headhunters. So, you know, I was aware."
Is it just me, or was Ms. Gross actually grilling Iggy Pop on his credentials to be Iggy Pop? "You know, Mr. Pop, your little squawks and gyrations may bear some remote connection to actual art!" To be sure, his ability to drop names like Partch and Cage was an important validating credential for listeners (and, of course, sold a few more anthology CDs to the aged balsamic vinegar and Times Book Review set). More personally, I went to sleep with the horrifying realization that I probably sound exactly like that when talking to normal smart people who didn't bother with advanced degrees. I got a couple hours sleep, but was awakened from a nightmare in which I was Chris Gross-Uggen (now there's a mellifluous hyphenated surname), conducting an interview at the old Stillwater prison.
Gross-Uggen: "So, So, So, So, you were really just like interested in, ummm, I mean its what the structural Marxists would call like crimes of accommodation and resistance, you know, just like the individualistic reaction to false consciousness… ummm…"
Bob the Prisoner: "I was interested in all that, yeah."
Gross-Uggen: "So, I mean, did you know that part of what you were doing was actually very avant–garde?"
Gross-Uggen: "And that there was a long, kind of like, classical avant-garde, you know, intellectual tradition of the kind of thing that you were translating into first-degree aggravated robbery?"
Spooky, huh? Another fine reason to keep those transcripts under lock and key.
The crimprof blog cites the LA Times on ex-offender job fairs. Such fairs are being organized all over the country, with mixed results. In this case and in some others I've seen, few employers or ex-offenders even showed up. Those who did attend, got good news (employers could get tax credits for hiring someone with a criminal record) and bad (many ex-offenders are ineligible for expungement). Such job fairs seem to be most successful in tight labor markets (e.g., 1999-2000 in most areas). On the employee side, turnout might improve by targeting current probationers or parolees, rather than former offenders who are "off-paper" and more difficult to mobilize. Mobilizing employers is more difficult, unless they face a labor shortage or former felons (potential "sponsors") have a good track record in the firm or establishment. There are books and videos available for ex-offenders and organizations such as Chicago's Safer Foundation have a long history of successful job development and placement for this group. Still, I tend to agree with Richard Freeman -- the best jobs program is probably a full-employment economy.
Several blogs offer thoughtful comments on a chronicle of higher education piece that discourages blogging among academic jobseekers. To paraphrase, "Ivan Tribble" maintains that blogs quickly reveal negative information about candidates that would otherwise never come to light. Sad, but probably true. The safest course of action is to avoid posting to blogs, to do so anonymously, or perhaps to craft a narrowly specialized blog that stays "on-topic" in one's area of expertise.
I spoke about work and crime today at HIRED, an organization providing employment and training services to a client base that includes former felons. I initially expected an informal break-room discussion with a few staff members, but I was given two hours and an audience of 40-50 smart professionals. In principle I relish this sort of public sociology opportunity. In practice, however, it can be daunting. I once worked in a small employment and training nonprofit in Madison (the Dane County Private Industry Council). In preparing, I thought how I would have reacted to some university pointy-head telling me how to do my job at a mandatory two-hour training session (even if said pointy-head does bring cool slides). I tried to hit some key ideas and empirical findings from the good research literature, but offered as many caveats (e.g., would experimental results from the 1970s and 1980s hold today?) as generalizations. It is always a challenge to summarize oceans of research without glossing over important details, or putting an overly optimistic or pessimistic spin on the findings. Fortunately, I had copies of a short review piece that Jer Staff and I had written for corrections administrators so I could at least provide citations when needed.
On Sunday, I ran up to the Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, MN. I immediately feel inspired when I see the artists and interns throwing fire and metal around, listening to loud music, and enjoying the sunshine. Well, first I just feel jealous, then I feel inspired. This trip, I stared at Mark Guilbeau's "An Analytical Living Environment"(below) until it started to feel like home.
I always thought drummer jokes were unfair and stereotypical. Funny, but unfair and stereotypical.
What do you call someone who hangs around musicians? A drummer.I finally read Jacob Slichter's So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star. "Jake" was the drummer in Semisonic, who had a huge hit in the late-1990s with the ubiquitous "Closing Time."
Did you hear about the guitar player who locked his keys in the car? He had to break a window to get the drummer out!Slichter graduated from Harvard, where he first met singer/guitarist (and Minneapolis music hero) Dan Wilson. He writes as an outsider, almost as a participant-observer. Even as he's explaining what's it like to be commodified, he's reveling in the rock star coolness of it all.
"Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a drummer." His mother scoffs and replies... "Well, you can't do both."Still, Slichter writes with no bitterness (despite the silly subtitle: "How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer's Life") . He enjoys and appreciates many of the musicians he meets, and speaks well of those closest to the band. On good nights, Slichter feels like "lord of the pocket" building the "groove into a wave," gliding along the top, before sending it crashing down on the audience and stilling the waters (p. 197). Even the mix tape of cool drum parts he listens to before shows is revealing and instructive.
Q: What's the difference between a drum machine and a drummer? A: You only have to punch the information into the drum machine once!I initially thought that Slichter must have been a sociologist, but he's too hilariously self-deprecating and star-struck for that. Until a soc Ph.D. writes a rock and roll travelogue, however, So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star may provide the best "nerd's-eye view" of the music industry.
After widely publicized concern that anti-anxiety benzodiazepines such as Xanax would be excluded under new Medicare guidelines, the federal government appears to be reversing course. The stigma associated with medication and mental illness can be measured, in part, by reaction to Tom Cruise's diatribe on the medicalization of postpartum depression and Brooke Shields' response in a New York Times op-ed:
My sense is that postpartum depression is less stigmatizing than plain vanilla depression, perhaps because the body changes so much with childbirth that a speedy return to "normal" is anticipated:
There is a large research literature on stigmatization of mental illness. This case suggests to me that mental illness may be less stigmatizing when it is (1) acute rather than chronic; (2) demonstrably linked to changes in physical health or biochemical shifts; and, (3) associated with a social good (such as motherhood) rather than a social bad (such as illicit drug use). I notice that Shields' editorial uses the term "postpartum depression" eight times and the generic "depression" only once. Do people still subscribe to the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" theory (or Cruise's novel prescription of "diet and exercise") for other forms of depression?