Chris Uggen's Blog: June 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007

midyear 2006 incarceration


the bureau of justice statistics just released incarceration numbers for midyear 2006. a total of 2,245,189 people were incarcerated in state prisons (1,290,200), federal prisons (188,979), and local jails (766,010) as of june 30, 2006. this represents a 2.8 percent increase over the previous year and the biggest jump since 2000, so it is probably time for criminologists to stop talking about a "leveling off" in u.s. incarceration.

i'm more concerned with rates than numbers, so my figure above standardizes by population to show the long-term trend in prison incarceration. the 2006 rate was 497 per 100,000 u.s. residents, or 750 per 100,000 counting jail inmates.

most people know that incarceration rates are highest for african american males, but it is sometimes tough to get one's head around the magnitude of group differences in punishment. in 2006, about 4.8 percent of all african american men and about 11.7 percent of african american men in their twenties were incarcerated. as the figure below shows, the incarceration rate for african american men is currently fifty times higher than the incarceration rate for white women (4,789/94 = 50.9).



the disparities are much greater, of course, when age is thrown into the mix. the rate for african american men in their twenties is about 1,300 times higher than the incarceration rate for white women aged 55 and over. white guys my age have a rate of 1,419 per 100,000, which is significantly higher than any of the female rates (which top out at 999 for african american women in their late thirties), but significantly lower than the rates for latino or african american men in all but the oldest age group.

finally, there is great state-to-state variation, with louisiana (835 per 100,000 residents), texas (687), and oklahoma (658) leading the nation in punishment. the lowest incarceration rates were in maine (141 per 100,000 residents), minnesota (189) and rhode island (195).

the hunted became the huntress

my car stereo got a stress test on the way to the office today, courtesy of conquest!, a new white stripes release from the aptly-named icky thump.

the song is the very definition of an "inspired cover." jack and meg unearthed a ferocious patti page original, added a sweeping over-the-top vocal, mixed the trumpets waaaaay up, and propelled it all with their signature bottom-heavy fuzz n' drums. i'm not sure how conquest will hold up to repeated listening, but i can't think of a more crankable roadsong for this week's holiday motoring.

conquest only reached #18 on the charts back in '52, but maybe it was just ahead of its time.

And then in the strange way things happen,
The roles were reversed from that day,
The hunted became the huntress,
The hunter became the prey.

unsafe at any volume

i still recall my excitement upon encountering david bowie's instructions on his ziggy stardust album:


nice. some music just sounds better loud. really loud -- like pushing-air-across-the-room loud.

Q's feature on the 20 LOUDEST albums illustrates, once again, the fine line between clever and stupid. i vote for clever. yes, once a piece of music has been suitably commodified, listeners can play it at whatever volume they desire. nevertheless, some music has been recorded, mixed, and mastered with one bleeding ear cocked toward creating an all-encompassing, mind-blowing, face-melting transcendant listening experience.

what makes an album loud? it can be a sludgy bass drone, an absurdly punchy midrange, or even a piercing high-end screech. distortion and feedback certainly have something to do with it, as does pain tolerance and willingness to sacrifice a lifetime of aural health for a moment spent drowning in decibels. i played loud music as an adolescent, occasionally placing my head inside george's bass drum and cozying up alongside danny's ampeg stack. this has already cost me, of course, as my usual response to student questions is "what? did you say something?" moreover, i can no longer watch television or movies with other normal-eared humans.

still, it is a nice list, complete with appropriate video links. i particularly like the inclusion of Sunn0))), but that's just me.

20. Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat (Verve, 1967)
19. AC/DC - Back In Black (Columbia, 1980)
18. Sunn0))) - White (Southern Lord, 2006)
17. Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced? (Track, 1967)
16. Aphex Twin - I Care Because You Do (Warp, 1995)
15. Black Flag - Damaged (SST, 1981)
14. The Birthday Party - Prayers On Fire (4AD, 1981)
13. Motorhead - No Sleep Til Hammersmith (Bronze, 1981)
12. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (Atlantic, 1969)
11. Neil Young – Arc Weld (Reprise, 1991)
10. Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks (Virgin, 1977)
09. Atari Teenage Riot – The Future Of War (DHR, 1997)
08. My Bloody Valentine - Isn’t Anything (Creation, 1988)
07. Napalm Death - Scum (Earache, 1987)
06. The Who - Live At Leeds (Track, 1970)
05. Big Black - Songs About Fucking (Touch And Go, 1987)
04. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Psychocandy (Blanco Y Negro, 1986)
03. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (Def Jam, 1988)
02. Slayer - Reign In Blood (Def Jam, 1986)
01. The Stooges - Funhouse (Elektra, 1970)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

all the young dudes, carry the booze

ever heard the term shoulder tapping? today's strib describes a new minnversity study in which young-looking research assistants offered liquor store patrons money to buy them beer.

epidemiologist traci toomey finds that young males are significantly more likely to respond favorably to such requests: 19 percent agreed to purchase the beer, relative to about 8 percent in the general population.

this is an intriguing finding, i suppose, and consistent with the general tendency toward greater delinquency among young men relative to other demographic groups. the study used 4 female research assistants and 1 male RA, however, so i'm a bit concerned that chivalry or some sort of ican'tbelievethiscutegirlisactuallytalkingtome phenomenon might have something to do with the propensity of young dudes to violate the law and respond favorably to the request.

i can't imagine a scenario in which i'd buy booze for minors, partly because i'm afraid they'd drink themselves to death (well, i did see a bit of this while attending college in madison) and partly because i'd assumed one would be severely punished for such an offense. in case you'd consider making such purchases for your undergrads, here's the formal deterrent:

St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh said they have charged individuals with providing alcohol to a minor, a gross misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, for buying in such circumstances.

if someone taps you on the shoulder, just say no.

photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii , Star Tribune

bold campaign song choices

as others await the debates, i'm eagerly anticipating the songs. sadly, most candidates make safe-as-nondairy-creamer choices. where's the inspiration? the sense of urgency? where's the next happy days are here again?

here are my suggestions for candidates eager to capitalize on their strengths and truly inspire the voters. in my view, each candidate requires both an instrumental campaign song, which can't get them into any real trouble, and a boomer-friendly song with ennobling lyrics and inspirational vocals.

let's start with the republicans

fred thompson

senator thompson is the shaq-daddy of the field, sitting out the regular season. he'll need a badass theme song as he hunkers down in the low post.

instrumental: link wray, rumble
vocal: right said fred, i'm too sexy or john hiatt's tennessee plates

john mccain

senator mccain, on the other hand, has been campaigning for president since about 1982. he needs a song that will bring out the soldier/hero/tough guy/raising arizona vote.

instrumental: ennio morricone, for a few dollars more or wall of voodoo, on interstate 15
vocal: black sabbath, supernaut or eric burdon's sky pilot


rudy giuliani

there's just no way that the 2001 time person of the year will shake his urban hero new yorkitude in the cornfields of iowa, so he might as well just embrace the persona. but trust me on this, mr. giuliani, sinatra is played out. we midwesterners would prefer something cheesy from the lost ace frehley solo album or at least a soaring instrumental, such as theme for great cities.

instrumental: simple minds, theme for great cities
vocal: kiss, new york groove


mitt romney

tough call. he's a massachusetts governor and a practicing member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. i'd recommend that he hit the whole massachusetts-mormon-with-a-wild-side thing head-on.

instrumental: mountain, nantucket sleighride or air, la femme d'argent
vocal: the osmonds, crazy horses


the democrats

ah, the democrats. i'm assuming that they'll take fewer chances, opting for more "electable" campaign songs from fleetwood mac's rumours album. i'll offer a few alternatives:

hillary clinton

the frontrunner should signal that she's got the big money locked up, so i'd opt for the "in crowd" instrumental. for the vocal, let's try something nostalgic, happy, and irreverent from the big-tent brady bunch.

instrumental: ramsey lewis, the in crowd
vocal: brady bunch, do the hustle

al gore

like senator thompson, vice president gore is sauntering sloooowly to the podium, so i've gotta pick a well-paced ventures instrumental. i'd like to see the ex-veep wear his wonkitude on his sleeve and let his geek flag fly, so how 'bout a little blinded me with science?

instrumental: the ventures, walk don't run
vocal: thomas dolby, she blinded me with science

barack obama

i've been saving green onions, the all-time instrumental bumper music classic, for senator obama. i toyed with have a little faith in me for the vocal, but it just doesn't rock like what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

instrumental: booker t. and the m.g.s, green onions
vocal: elvis costello, what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

dennis kucinich

i can't decide whether representative kucinich should go weenie or play against type as a tough guy. let's try 'em both.

instrumental: joe satriani, surfing with the alien
vocal: killdozer,
la grange or wall of voodoo, tse-tse fly or the flaming lips' yoshimi

john edwards

i'm looking for something smooth, southern, accessible, and electable for john edwards. that's why duane eddy and dicky betts' sweet allman brothers classic seem perfect (though almost cut my hair would be more fun).

instrumental: duane eddy, rebel rouser
vocal: allman brothers, blue sky or bon jovi, livin' on a prayer


the independent: michael bloomberg

hmmm. an independent(ly wealthy) business leader flirting with mounting a serious run. for now, i'd suggest a flirty instrumental and some non-committal songs from the dressed-for-business-class robert palmer.

instrumental: the meters, cissy strut or ursula 1000: kinda kinky
vocal: robert palmer,
simply irresistable or i didn't mean to turn you on.

someday, one of the candidates will play it straight and hit us with alice cooper's elected. a song like that would be perfect for governor schwarzenegger, and it might just rocket joe biden or tommy thompson into double digits in the polls.

Monday, June 25, 2007

nice to know the line will continue

the kids are staying up later now that school is out, which is more blessing than curse for a dad who works late most nights.

i've long shared some sort of wavelength with esperanza, which shows itself whenever we're together. while watching teevee tonight, for example, we simultaneously blurted, "that's a modest mouse video" at a burger king commercial and, seconds later, "niiiiiiice suit" upon encountering paul shaffer's summer whites.

i'm sure this sort of thing happens all the time to college roommates, but it can be a bit jarring from either end of the age/gender generational divide. predictably, perhaps, sharing a perspective on the world around us doesn't seem to make father/daughter relationships any easier. but it is kind of cool.

to die unsung would really bring you down

the bureau of justice statistics just released a report with data from the first national census of medical examiners' and coroners' offices.

recordkeeping practices appear to vary greatly across jurisdictions, but the report lists a total of 13,486 unidentified human decedents currently on record -- with more than one-fourth of the total in new york city alone. here are the top five offices, which account for about 54% of the unidentified human remains on record nationally:

New York NY 26.8%
Cleveland OH 16.2%
Los Angeles CA 5.9%
Houston TX 3.0%
San Bernardino CA 2.3%

Sunday, June 24, 2007

pride (in the name of love (story))

bob mould was back in town this weekend for a solo acoustic show at the uptown glbt pride block party. thinking about mr. mould in this setting brings to mind a sophomoric observation. more precisely, it reminds me how something i observed as a sophomore forever changed my thinking.

as an angsty teenager, certain love songs by mr. mould and grant hart of husker du seemed to capture my own intense and confused and intensely confused feelings: girl who lives on heaven hill, green eyes, sorry somehow, standing in the rain, 2541, and -- my all-time favorite -- keep hanging on.

when i say "love song," i'm not talking about treacly lyrics. i'm talking about the sound of a flying-v chainsaw tearing into a heart-shaped cake on valentine's day. the simple heart-on-the-sleeve imagery, the visceral power-trio cacophony, the sweet melodies, and the urgent, masculine delivery all spoke to me like nothing i've heard before or since.

well, i was about 19 when i learned that mr. mould and mr. hart were probably not singing about girls in my favorite songs. nobody would have considered me homophobic at the time, but i think that part of me still believed there was some fundamental difference between straight love and queer love. by this time, gore vidal and others had told me that love=love, but i'm not sure i really believed it.

the crazygood love songs of husker du, however, proved conclusively to me that their love struck exactly the same emotional notes as my love. from that day forward, i just knew it in my bones. and the bones, of course, are where real prejudice lies. here's the strange part: several of my close high school friends had already come out by then; my emotional connection with the music had some sort of marginal effect on my attitudes, over and above that of my personal relationships.

cultural sociologists have given much more serious thought to issues of art and attitudes, but i can offer a few sophomoric observations based on this experience. while i'd like to think my experiences could be generalized, i'm skeptical about prospects for doing so -- at least in any sort of conscious way. first, my experience was fundamentally different than, say, watching a good spike lee movie that was designed to break through old prejudices. the goals of mr. mould and mr. hart were purely expressive -- changing sophomores' stereotypes about sexual preference was undoubtedly the very last thing on their minds. for any transformative experience to occur, the art must first move the audience, right? so moved, such transformations can occur organically.

second, individual reactions to art are notoriously idiosyncratic. for every husker du obsessive like me and those dudes in the posies, there are thousands who prefer, say, james taylor or justin timberlake. the process would seem to hinge on personal appreciation of the art and identification with the artist. finally, many folks don't even believe in love songs. or love. or songs. he's a million miles from husker du, but maybe mccartney was right after all.

Friday, June 22, 2007

art must be served

we're outfitting the minnesota contexts offices this summer with those sleek-looking bright-white big-monitored macs favored by the creative class.

the new macs sure make my old dell gear look stodgy. relative to jake von slatt's strapping steampunk rig, however, those macs look like fisher-price babygear. the artist even uses dell innards for the monitor:

The Steampunk Keyboard looked terribly anachronistic sitting in front of my Dell 1907FP flat panel monitor and while I hesitated to tear open a $300 monitor that was still under warantee, art must be served.

beautiful sentiment, jake. the monitor, keyboard, and mouse projects would take me years to finish, but dang would they look cool in this chair's office.

a hard day

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

and so the student becomes the master*

nice moment today. i'm in the office with an undergrad who interned with me recently and a grad student. i'd asked the grad to critique a paper that i'd like to send off for review (like, NOW!) and s/he gave me a sound thrashing on some key points.

i was happy to get the constructive feedback, since a sound thrashing is waaaaay better from one of my students than from an anonymous reviewer. the undergrad, who probably figured that i knew a lot more than i actually know, seemed impressed but not intimidated by the grad student. all this made me appreciate (a) the quality of my students; (b) the advantages of being tenured and (relatively, of course) secure about my place within the discipline; and, (c) the potential upside of benevolent leadership.

*for those who know the picture, i understand that jhoon rhee was not technically master to bruce lee's student, but he did teach young mr. lee some pretty cool tae-kwon-do kicks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

wrestling with summer schedules

my construction-delayed commute is serving notice that summer has finally arrived in minnesota. though professors' schedules often loosen up with the warm weather, their kids' routines can get waaaaay more variable and challenging. by august, most parents i know are counting the days until school resumes. now that they are 13 and 16, however, things seem to be settling down a bit for esperanza and tor.

for the past few years, esperanza has double-booked herself throughout the summer. this year, however, she's pared herself back to an old-school camp with friends, some babysitting gigs, and a month in the dramaturgical arts. i'm sure she'll soon pick up a new play or a band or something unexpected, however, just to ratchet up the activity level.

the lad is hauling his bass around to play with a new band too (a QOTSA variant, perhaps?), though this week he's doing augsburg college's team wrestling camp (inspirational motto: only camp to wash your laundry every day). since augsburg is a mere two blocks from my office, i've been beating back the urge to check up on the (semi-)enormous nonconformist and his fun-loving mustang buds.


i'm already looking past fall football and looking forward to esperanza's hoops and tor's wrestling this winter. seeing the team together sunday, i was reminded that the lads lost some great senior leadership. last year's captains -- james guy, graydon finn, and andrew janssen -- all graduated in may. good dudes. this video captures a few of their epic battles, but i'll most remember how their complementary leadership styles kept a young team together through a state tournament run. by way of illustration, the picture above shows the 152-pound janssen -- with utter disregard for his back or personal safety -- actually lifting the sophomore heavyweight after a big victory. summer's great, of course, but part of me can't wait for winter.

Monday, June 18, 2007

from constantinople to china

christopher shad, a fine minnversity undergraduate, is blogging his summer travel adventures.

chris is a senior sociology/global studies major and birkelo scholarship recipient. he's also a fine writer, so he'll likely keep his travelblogue fresh. his tentative visa-dependent route is shown at left.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

indecent recordings

i personally discovered obscene recordings back in elementary school. a friend had somehow obtained comedy albums by cheech and chong, richard pryor, george carlin, and redd foxx on one of those "get 14 records for a penny!" record club promotions. the sexual references surely sailed over our heads, but we knew this stuff had to be funny and guffawed accordingly.

now i learn that obscene recordings have been with us since, well, any kind of recordings. yesterday's npr's weekend edition featured a new collection of lewd victorian-era recordings titled Actionable Offenses: Indecent Phonograph Recordings from the 1890s. the feature replayed clips from the original wax cylinders, showing that there's nothing terribly novel about lewd, crude, and immature humor.

in light of the rapid pornographication of any new medium today, it really shouldn't surprise us to learn that by the late-1890s one could hear, say, "The Whore's Union" or "Dennis Reilly at Maggie Murphy's Home after Nine O'Clock." nevertheless, the clips are still a bit jarring to modern ears. they might not be funny" but they are certainly obscene, as evidenced by the bleeping necessary to get them on the airwaves in 2007.

i can imagine that this sort of phenomenon is old news to social historians, who could likely point out ancient (e.g., socrates' whoopee cushion) or far nastier attempts at humor over the course of human history. i'm personally fascinated by the social control aspects of the story -- some of the actors heard on the recordings were actually incarcerated -- and will likely order the CD for my sociology of deviance class. i'm guessing that enforcement under the comstock act must have been somewhat effective at policing such vice, for precious few of these recordings exist today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

peer review needs a logo...

i spent the day in deecee with doug e. fresh at a wiley-blackwell executive publishing seminar. thoughts were provoked and connections were made, so it was a cool way to help gear up for the contexts transition.

in one of the sessions, self-identified propellorhead geoff bilder of CrossRef offered a fun(damental) insight about scientific publishing: "peer review needs a logo." hmmm. i think he's right. mr. bilder offered a clean "PR" in a red circle, but i've created my own version above. you're welcome to slap it onto any reprints that have somehow survived the PR wringer...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

collect 'em all!

via glyphjockey: punk baseball cards.

this one beats peanut butter cups, naked bowling, and the electric 6, for combining two much-beloved tastes. collect 'em all! lydon, yorke, iggy, byrne...

here's hoping some wildly creative grad student with photoshop skills will do a sociologist series someday. what sort of stats would you put on the back? cite counts? articles? teaching evals?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

curfews

with schools closing up shop for the summer, the subject of curfews has drawn renewed attention in the local news. when high-profile crimes involving juvenile victims and perpetrators occur after midnight, of course, calls for enforcing the curfews intensify.

the chart above is taken from Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report, which shows the time of occurrence for the violent crimes of murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. the data are taken from the National Incident-Based Reporting System for 2000-2001. curfews can be part of a useful strategy to reduce juvenile crime and victimization, though it almost looks as though curfews might be more effective among adults.

in minneapolis, the curfew rules are a bit complicated:
• Under 12: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
• 12-14: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
• 15-17: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 12: 01 a.m to 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.


i didn't even know the curfew rules in my hometown, so i looked them up this morning. esperanza, and anyone age 15 and younger, must be home by 10 p.m. tor, and others age 16-17, must be home by midnight in our town. regardless of the juvenile crime clock and the formal rules, however, i try to get my kids home as early as possible.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

he was turned to steel, in the great magnetic fields

i enjoyed a rugby banquet with the lad tonight, though the venue was a sports bar rather than the more picturesque mermaid. the enormous nonconformist and his ruddy mates had a fine season, and he took home the team's coveted 2007 iron man award.

the award recognizes all sorts of virtuous qualities -- qualities not always visible in every aspect of the recipient's life, i should add. nevertheless, i was quite happy to quit nagging and gravy train off his accomplishments tonight. when i saw "2007 Iron Man Award" on the hardware, however, i just couldn't resist serenading him in the parking lot:

dah dah, dah dah dah
dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-n-dah
dah! dah! dah!

then, more annoyingly, i thrashed it out (iommi-style) on air guitar:

------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------
----7--7/9-9--12\11-12\11-12\11--7-7/9-9--
-9--5--5/7-7--10\9--10\9--10\9---5-5/7-7--
-7----------------------------------------


the iron man pretended that he wasn't amused.

Monday, June 11, 2007

crafty

conrad defiebre offers a nice story on crafty inmate quilters in monday's strib.

i've known female prisoners to take great pride in such work, particularly when their products are donated for a good cause. nevertheless, this is the first i've heard about male participants. one young st. cloud inmate explains the attraction:

it's quiet, it's mellow, and the stuff is donated to some people who need it.

hallelujah. and nobody's stolen any scissors or needles yet, either. the registration-required site offers a fine slideshow with audio.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

insidious or beguiling? really clever law enforcement

let's say that you don't happen to share my affection for the fine art of concert flyers. how would you stop "rogue promoters" from papering the halls, walls, and buses of your fair city with gig posters? in glasgow, the city council cleverly started slapping CANCELLED stickers over the offending posters. the result?

... some rogue promoters ... have been inundated with complaints from music fans.
People who have bought tickets to some of this summer'
s big gigs have complained, thinking that an event, rather than the advert, had been cancelled.
The source said: "If people start phoning concert promoters complaining that they thought the gig had been cancelled, then the promoters have no-one but themselves to blame for having the posters put up in the first place."


i give them 10 out 10 for style, 10 out of 10 for creativity, and maybe 3 out of 9 zillion for enforcement priorities. but dang that's clever.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

paris hilton sent home early

as i'm sure you've heard, paris has left the building.

ms. paris hilton was reassigned to home confinement, 3 days into a 23-day jail sentence. a few observations from a sociological criminologist:

1. yes, in my experience, this sort of thing is pretty unusual.

2. indeed, people are going to be very pissed about the whole equal-justice-is-a-sham aspects of this case.

3. i believe that the los angeles county sheriff's office must have anticipated the outrage that this move would spark. based on the remarks by sheriff baca's spokesperson steve whitmore, the office appears to be medicalizing and, hence, normalizing ms. hilton's treatment. they seem to be suggesting that sending inmates home for medical reasons is standard operating procedure in the l.a. county jail.

4. i'm not so cynical that i dismiss the possibility that ms. hilton was reassigned based on legitimate medical or humanitarian grounds, rather than (or in addition to) naked discrimination based on her race, gender, celebrity, or wealth. trust me, any young inmate's first couple days behind bars are rough. about half of all jail suicides occur during the inmate's first week in custody, with the highest suicide rate among inmates under the age of 18.

5. of course, thousands of poor and anonymous inmates, many with debilitating mental health problems, will also be struggling to survive this night in jail. and few of them will be sent home or reassigned to house arrest.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

legion of rock stars to sweep 2008 grammies

via stereogum: Legion of Rock Stars plays along to original recordings of yer favorite songs while wearing 30db noise-blocking headsets, then uploads videos of the ensuing butchery.

they've posted dozens of others, from pearl jam to the beatles to a very special version of the beach boys' barbara ann.

pure magic, though best in small doses.

new IPUMs international data

i just got word that the minnesota population center has expanded their international offerings.

the latest expansion includes 17 new samples for Argentina, Hungary, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Portugal, and Rwanda. the data series now contains 202 million person records from 80 censuses in 26 countries.

though i haven't used any of mpc's international data, i've found their U.S. IPUMS data to be extraordinarily useful in my work.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

ceo compensation and the sting of public disdain

we've all read how the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay has risen in recent years. in minnesota, compensation for executives from northwest airlines and united healthcare spark frequent editorials of the "oh, come on! you cannot be serious" variety.

big-time CEOs such as warren buffet have also decried such compensation packages, railing "that a mediocre-or-worse CEO – aided by his handpicked VP of human relations and a consultant from the ever-accommodating firm of Ratchet, Ratchet and Bingo – all too often receives gobs of money from an ill-designed compensation arrangement."

but it really takes charles denny, the respected former chair and CEO of ADC telecommunications, to show us how bad things have gotten for former executives. this week, mr. denny slipped an astonishing parenthetical admisson into his fine strib piece on CEO compensation:

Public opinion is turning against business leaders. Poll after poll reflects growing public distrust in executives. The Harris Poll showed a drop in public confidence in major business leaders from 28 percent approval in 2000 to 13 percent today. Only organized labor, Congress and lawyers received lower rankings.

(As a former CEO, I feel the sting of public disdain. When my grandchildren ask me what I did at work, I tell them I was the company librarian.)

nice. what do you think they're paying the ADC librarians these days?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

summer songs 2007

lunching at the (sub)urban harvest today, i savored the season's first arnie palmer and talked music with esperanza. all in all, it seems like an ideal sunday to make a new list of summer songs. this year i've even added some youtube links where available.

although nothing in 2006 moved me like 2005's catch my disease, 2007 has gotten off to a more promising start. i'm still aiming for catchy songs that actually garner commercial radio airplay, but catchiness and popularity alone do not guarantee inclusion. for example, avril lavigne's chant-y new girlfriend will be inescapable this summer. nevertheless, esperanza has blacklisted ms. lavigne for betraying her true artistic self (those of my generation might recognize such sentiments as the liz phair phenomenon). aside from such personal betrayals, however, there are no "guilty" pleasures when it comes to summer songs. just relax and enjoy 'em -- and let me know what i'm missing!

2007. Rehab, by Amy Winehouse [i won't go, go, go]
2007. New Shoes, by Paulo Nutini [slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine]
2007. Time after Time, by *Quietdrive [i will be waaay-ting]
2006. Dani California, by Red Hot Chili Peppers [robbin' on a bank in the state of indiana]
2006. Crazy, by Gnarls Barkley [who do you, who do you think you are?]
2006. Hips don't Lie, by Shakira w/ Wyclef Jean [feel the conga]
2005. Feel Good, Inc., by Gorillaz [Laughing gas these hazmats]
2005.
Catch my Disease, by Ben Lee [I was backstage in Pomona...]
2005.
Mr. Brightside, by The Killers [She's touching his ... chest]
2005. Beverly Hills, by Weezer [wah-wah-wah-wah, wawawawa]

E-------------------------------------------------
B6--------------6------6B~r--6--------------------
G--8--------------8------------8------------------
D----10-8-8986------10-----------10-8-8986-8-8-6-- x2
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------
2005. B.Y.O.B., by System of a Down [Dancing in the desert, Blowing up the sunshine]
2005.
Sugar, We're Goin' Down, by Fall Out Boy [But you're just a line in a song].
2004:
Jerk it Out, by Caesars [Swedepop: it's easy once you know how it's done]
2004: Hey-Ya, by Outkast [lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor]
2004:
I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by The Darkness [ooh! guitar!]
2003:
Swing Swing, by All-American Rejects [swing, swing from the tangles of]
2003: Where is the Love? by Black-Eyed Peas [addicted to the drama]
2003: Heavy Metal Drummer, by Wilco [
playing KISS covers, beautiful and]
2003: Ocean Avenue, by Yellowcard [sleeping all day, staying up all ni-ight]
2002: Days go By, by Dirty Vegas [you are still a whisper on my lips]
2001: Put a Little Love in It, by Ike Reilly [
before it brings you down]
2001: Lady Marmalade, by Aguilera, Pink, Lil Kim, and Mya [voulez vous coucher]
2000: California Stars, by Wilco [beneath a bed of California stars]
1999: Singing in my Sleep, by Semisonic [singing up to a Capulet]
1999: Nineteen, by Old '97s [finish up with high school, headed for a state school]
1998: Flagpole Sitta, by Harvey Danger [i'm not sick but i'm not well]
1998: La Femme D'Argent, by Air [
beautiful bassline]
1998: Sex and Candy, by *Marcy Playground [like disco lemonade]
1997: Impression that I Get, by Mighty Mighty Bosstones [never been tested]
1997: MMMbop, by Hanson [mmmbop, ba duba dop ba do bop]
1996: What I Got, by Sublime [i
don't get angry at the bills I have to pay]
1994: Fantastic Voyage, by Coolio [slide, slide, slippity-slide]
1994: Loser, by Beck [gettin' crazy with the cheese-whiz]
1993: Insane in the Brain, by Cypress Hill [insane in the membrane]
1992: Give it Away, by Red Hot Chili Peppers [lucky me swimmin' in my ability]
1992: Teen Angst, by Cracker [what the world needs now]
1992: Dyslexic Heart, by Paul Westerberg [thanks for the book, now my table is steady]
1991: Shiny, Happy, People, by REM [shiny happy people holding hands]
1991: Unbelievable, by EMF [
say to me i don't talk enough but when I do I'm a fool]
1991: Around the Way Girl, by LL Cool J. [i need that around the way girl]
1990: Groove is in the Heart, by Deee-Lite [dance and have some fun, dig]
1989: Mayor of Simpleton, by XTC [never been near a university]
1988: Sweet Child O' Mine, by Guns N' Roses [she's got eyes of the bluest skies]
1987: Just Like Heaven, by The Cure [kissed her face and kissed her head]
1985: Raspberry Beret, by *Prince [something about the clouds and her mixed]
1984: Love is the Law, by *The Suburbs [written on the wall, for everyone to see]
1983: Blister in the Sun, by The Violent Femmes [let me go wild]
1983: Atomic Dog, by George Clinton [
bow-wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippie-yeah]
1982: Mexican Radio, by Wall of Voodoo [eating barbecued iguana]
1982: We got the Beat, by The Go-Gos [jump BA-yack!]
1981: Don't You Want Me? by The Human League [a waitress in a cocktail bar]
1981:
Upper Mississippi Shakedown, by *Lamont Cranston [got my car runnin']
1980: Crazy Little Thing Called Love, by Queen [ready Freddie]
1979: Cruel to be Kind, by Nick Lowe [love is bona fide, but that don't coincide]
1978: I Wanna be Sedated, by The Ramones [can't control my toes]
1978: Le Freak, by Chic [Nile Rodgers' chicka-chicka rhythm guitar]
1977: Car Wash, by Rose Royce [keep those rags and machines humming]
1976: Summer, by War [eight track playin' all your favorite sounds]
1976: Do Ya, by ELO [just to get a look to feel to touch her long black hair]
1975: Love Rollercoaster, by Ohio Players [say what?]
1974: Fox on the Run, by Sweet [O.K.! (O.K. O.K.) - you think you got a pretty face]
1972: Go all the Way, by The Raspberries [hold me close, don't ever let me go]
1972: Summer Breeze, by Seals & Crofts [blowin through jasmine in my mi-i-ind]
1972:
School's Out, by Alice Cooper [we got no class, and we got no princi-pals]
1971: Bang a Gong, by T-Rex [you've got the teeth of a hydra upon you]
1970: Venus, by The Shocking Blue [on mountain top, burning like a silver flame]
1970: Hawaii 5-0, by The Ventures [the drums, the guitars, and Jack Lord's hair]
1969: Hot Fun in the Summertime, by Sly and the Family Stone [Them summer days, those summer days]
1969: Cinnamon Girl, by Neil Young [i could be happy the rest of my life]
1968: Chain of Fools, by Aretha Franklin [chain-chain-chain...]

1967: Sweet Soul Music, by Arthur Conley [
do ya like good music?]
1967: Little Bit o' Soul, by Music Explosion [lot more kick with a little bit o soul]
1966: Pushin' too Hard, Seeds/Psychotic Reaction, Count 5/Dirty Water, Standells
1966:
Sunny Afternoon, by the Kinks [can’t sail my yacht- taken everything I got]
1965:
Dancing in the Streets, by Martha & Vandellas [swaying, record playing]
1965: Mr. Tambourine Man, by The Byrds [my boot heels to be wanderin']
1964: Surfin' Bird, *The Trashmen [pa pa ooh mow mow]
1964: Remember (Walking in the Sand), The Shangri-Las [oh no, oh no, oh no no no no no]
1963:
Wipeout, by the Surfaris and, more definitively, the Ventures
1962: Liar, Liar, by *The Castaways [make a little effort, try to be true]
1961: Runaway, by Del Shannon [I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder]
1960: Summer Wind, by Frank Sinatra [it lingered there... to touch your hair]
1960: Walk Don't Run, by The Ventures [the original]
1960: Theme from A Summer Place, by Percy Faith [out of the elevator and into your ears]
1959: La Bamba, by Ritchie Valens [una poca de gracia, arriba y arriba]
1959: C'mon Everybody, by *Eddie Cochran [house is empty and folks are gone]
1958: Summertime Blues, by *Eddie Cochran [gonna raise a fuss, and i'm gonna raise a holler]

Saturday, June 02, 2007

missing dee

when i meet my new mcnair scholars this week, i'll be missing the program's former advisor, dee sanford. every summer for more than a decade, i've worked with dee in the minnversity's mcnair program, which prepares low-income and first-generation college students for graduate study. dee had also been a student in my 1999 crim seminar and a mcnair student herself.

dee loved "her kids" in the program and looked after them with great care, so our conversations often involved updates of mcnair grads who worked with me on research projects long ago. she'd also ask about my kids, tor and esperanza, offering up some enormously helpful parenting advice over the years.

dee passed away on may 14 of pancreatic cancer. i wish i had a picture to share, because dee had the warmest and loveliest smile. marni ginther of the daily offered a nice profile on dee this week, that rightly touched on her compassion, service to others, and generosity of spirit.

in talks this year, i've argued that clients of the criminal justice system need more and better models for building a rich and rewarding life after prison. dee built such a life for herself by spreading love and compassion in myriad settings. she offered succor to those in the throes of addiction and support to the high achievers at mcnair. regardless of where she went, however, dee demonstrated that the world is alive with kindness, humanity, and possibility.