Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Wage Gap: a lack of common cents?

The Wisconsin Women's Council released a study on April 22 (Earth Day) called "Mind the Gap! Women, Wages and the Pay Gap in Wisconsin." It alleges that women make about 77 cents for every dollar made by a man. The report's evidence lies in the median wages earned by men and women.

At first glance, it's easy to get into a lather about it ... to the point of, say, standing on street corners with placards touting "equal pay" legislation.

But there's a glaring omission from the WWC's "report," an accounting for the types of jobs surveyed. I checked with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found men to grossly outnumber women in higher-paying fields, and conversely women to grossly outnumber men in lower-paying, support- or service-oriented fields (p. 8). I'm no mathematician, but it wouldn't seem hard to come up with this 77-cent disparity if one were to simply gloss over the job titles.

In fact, the WWC is missing an important point on this. Despite the report's willful ignorance, this alleged "wage gap" has shrunk a great deal over the past 30-plus years; from about 62 percent to near 80 today. While women do predominantly populate lower-paying jobs, this closing gap would mean there are far more women in higher-paying fields. The Feministas should be CELEBRATING THAT instead of crying about this manufactured outrage.
Secondly, even the BLS' own report on women and earnings shows that men are punished far more severely, in terms of relationship to median wage, than are women (p. 5).

Monday, April 14, 2008

The NBA's ghetto culture

Either Amy Lawrence is an idiot, or ESPN is really as liberal as I've long feared.

There is a case to be made for the latter, as many of the TV and radio "personalities" seem to espouse such views. But there certainly could be a case made for the former as well.

Last weekend, I caught some of Lawrence's act on our local ESPN affiliate, 1230 AM WXCO. She was prattling on about the NBA, so I was only half-listening anyway. But then I heard her opine on why she felt the NBA spiraled into such decline since the retirement of Michael Jordan. She described the thuggish perception that many folks have of the NBA as being embodied by an "aggressive" style that's "in your face." She was close, but she missed the bigger mark.

The NBA's ghetto culture.

As a white guy from northern Wisconsin, I probably know as much about the ghetto as I do, say, uranium enrichment. But what I do know is what's espoused and glorified on TV. The "hip hop culture," as Bill O'Reilly calls it, deifies materialism and misogyny. My guess is it's an effort to show how The Man ain't keeping you down. This entails a lack of respect for anything other than oneself, embodied in the "look at me" SportsCenter highlights from most basketball games. There's more glory in a dunk, it seems, than an assist.

And it's the tattoos and baggy drawers that, IMO, is turning White America away from the game.

It's possible - and likely - that Lawrence never would've gotten away with saying it was the NBA's ghetto culture that has turned away a largely white fan base. And I found myself thinking the NBA simply needs a white superstar to bridge that gap. But I realized that perennial MVP candidate Steve Nash, and '07 MVP Dirk Nowitzki, are the closest things to the next Larry Bird that we're likely to see for a long time. So the NBA has its stars; all it needs now is an audience.

Thoughts on how the NBA can generate fan interest

The NBA has seen its postseason ratings decline precipitously over the years, and it's not hard to see why. They stretch a seven-game series out to nearly two weeks, and that's after allowing half the league into the postseason.

Commissioner David Stern needs to take a page from two events in recent years that should've taught him something already: One, the lockout of 1998, which delayed the start of the NBA season to January and shortened the season to I think 54 games. Every game mattered a lot more, and it's a lot easier to relate to a sport when its season fall within one calendar year. (The NFL is an exception, as the vast majority of its seasons fall within one calendar year, and I think it makes a big difference when a season is referred to as 2007 vs. 2007-08.)
Two, the NBA needs to recognize how popularity March Madness is at the collegiate level and whittle its seven-game series (at least in the playoffs) to best-of-three. I understand why they wouldn't want to go with a single-elimination tournament after an 82-game season, but a best-of-three would put heightened emphasis on that first game. Suddenly, Game 2 is an elimination game. And the better team should still be able to shine through.

And I have to believe that the revenue the NBA would be sacrificing from its gates would be more than made up in TV ad revenue for these newly important - and relevant - games.

Gas today: $3.39/.49/.59/D $4.09

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I officially live in a snowglobe, amid the winter that wouldn't end.
After a couple of weeks of temperatures well into the 40s, enough to melt most of our snow except for the piles on the north faces of buildings, I'm sitting here listening to pellets of ... something being pelted off my windows by a wind that must gusting at 40 to 50 THOUSAND miles per hour.
But that's not the best part; I'm also sitting amid flashes of lightning and gentle peals of thunder. That's twice this winter (once a few weeks ago earlier in March) that we've had thundersnow.

It's enough to make me think bears, bats, squirrels and the European Hedgehog have the right idea.