Gillette versus Dorco Shaving Test 1

The controversy over Gillette’s recent “toxic masculinity” ad campaign got me curious about the state of the art in razor blades.

Test 1:

  • three days of growth
  • no shower beforehand
  • warm water applied with cloth
  • Edge shaving gel
  • Dorco Pace 7 on right side of face
  • latest and greatest Gillette Fusion 5 ProShield with FlexBall on left side of face
  • brand new cartridges in both handles


  • Dorco: slight pulling/grabbing sensation at times, no trouble shaving under nose despite lack of single blade in the back, no nicks
  • Gillette: less resistance, one nick

Winner: Draw. Equal smoothness of face on both sides.

[Separately, from Friday:

Costco cashier assistant (looking at roses in cart): “What’d you do?”

Me: “If you’ve seen the Gillette ads, then you know that simply existing as a man is reason enough for apologizing.”

Assistant (in her 60s): “Aw. That’s not true. We need men.”

Cashier (in her 30s): “I’m doing fine without. The only thing that I miss is the dual income.”


Readers: How much better could Dorco do in the U.S. if they didn’t market their flagship under the name “Dorco”?


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New Year’s Wish: National and Global Unity via more cruise ships

A wealthy (through marriage) and virtuous (through Trump-hatred) friend posted while on a $1,000+/day luxury vacation on Grand Cayman:

I mentioned the fundamental lack of sustainability of any economic ecosystem involving cruise ships filled with passengers interested in snorkeling coral reefs and visiting white sandy beaches. How the destruction of mangrove forests for the sake of resort development will only increase the damage done by future hurricanes, and that it was my hope that tourists not want to visit places with gross wealth disparity between themselves and the local population: the simile is an invasive species that devours resources to (the resources’) extinction before moving on.

This is consistent with a lot of what I’ve seen and heard from elite Americans. They say that they’re upset by inequality. They also say that they hate cruises and they mock cruise ship passengers as obese, uneducated, undiscriminating, and uncouth.

My response:

If you dislike wealth disparity you should welcome cruise ships. They are the cheapest form of vacation. A week on a cruise ship that visits St. Bart’s is cheaper than one night of hotel on that island. (Currently on a Royal Caribbean ship where the cost per person per day is less than $100/day including food, entertainment, and transportation to all of the ports visited.)

Let me devote New Year’s Day, then, to celebrating the cruise concept, which enables people of many different income levels and nationalities to come together and experience the world. Empress of the Seas is the smallest vessel in the Royal Caribbean fleet, but we still had crew from 59 countries and passengers from 39 countries on board. The cost of visiting Cuba via this ship was less than half of the cheapest land-based “person-to-person” tours that I’d ever seen. Roughly 20 percent of the Americans on board were African Americans. Due to the policy of mixing up passengers at tables for eight, I saw more mixed white/black groups in a week on the ship than in a year of dining out in Boston. Retired government workers (loyal Democrats!) conversed politely with working small business owners.

Here I am with a new friend:

(my Facebook friends posted some similar images, minus the golden halo, after each had found one African American friend to join for Black Panther)

One block of cabins on our ship was occupied by graduates of a Taiwanese engineering college enjoying their 60th reunion(!).

Who else, other than Purell sales reps, will be brave enough to join me in hoping that 2019 sees further growth in what has already been a spectacular growth story and a force for national and global unity?

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What if Planned Parenthood offered free abortions to employees?

“Planned Parenthood Is Accused of Mistreating Pregnant Employees” (nytimes) is about an employer that prefers non-pregnant to pregnant employees:

Discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers remains widespread in the American workplace. It is so pervasive that even organizations that define themselves as champions of women are struggling with the problem.

That includes Planned Parenthood, which has been accused of sidelining, ousting or otherwise handicapping pregnant employees, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.

What would happen if the managers at Planned Parenthood admitted their bias and offered free on-site abortions to employees?


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Thankful we don’t have lynch mobs anymore

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

After listening to The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us, by Douglas Linder, a professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law, I’m thankful that we don’t have lynch mobs anymore.

The course covers United States v. Shipp, a criminal contempt case tried by the U.S. Supreme Court that grew out of the almost-surely-wrongful conviction and then lynching of Ed Johnson, a man whom multiple witnesses placed at his place of work when a woman was raped. From the course notes:

The first witness for the defense was Ed Johnson. Johnson spoke in what observers call “a strange voice” and grabbed the arms of his chair with both hands. He denied having attacked Nevada Taylor. Johnson testified that he spent the evening in question working as a poolroom  porter at the Last Chance Saloon. He said he had arrived around 4:30 pm and stayed until approximately 10:00 pm, which would have made it impossible for him to rape Nevada Taylor at 6:00 pm. Thirteen witnesses followed Johnson to the stand. Each one swore that he had seen Johnson at the saloon during the time Johnson claimed to be there.

The defense moved on to attack the credibility of Will Hixson. One defense witness testified that two days after the rape, Will Hixson had asked him the name of a black man doing some roofing work at a church. When he told Hixson the roofer’s name was Ed Johnson, Hixson asked him for a physical description—an odd thing to ask about someone Hixson would then identify as the suspect.

The most dramatic event of the Johnson trial occurred on its third and final day. At the request of jurors, Nevada Taylor was recalled to the witness stand. During questioning, a juror rose and asked, “Miss Taylor, can you state positively that this Negro is the one who assaulted you?” Taylor answered, “I will not swear he is the man, but I believe he is the Negro who assaulted me.”

The juror was not satisfied. He asked again: “In God’s name, Miss Taylor, tell us positively—is that the guilty Negro? Can you say it? Can you swear it?” Tears streamed down Taylor’s face. She answered in a quivering voice: “Listen to me. I would not take the life of an innocent man. But before God, I believe this is the guilty Negro.”

The U.S. Supreme Court grants an appeal. The Chattanooga sheriff responds by sending all but one jail guards home for the night, a prearrangement with the mob leaders. The mob then breaks into the jail and drags Johnson out to be lynched off a bridge over the Tennessee River. Johnson died in an almost saintly manner:

Johnson’s last words were: “I am ready to die. But I never done it. I am going to tell the truth. I am not guilty. I have said all the time that I did not do it and it is true. I was not there … God bless you all. I am innocent.” When Johnson was dead, a leader of the mob pinned a note to his body: “To Justice Harlan. Come and get your [n-word] now.”

(Lawyers tend to be more plainspoken than laypeople. The professor actually uses the n-word both in the audio (bleeped out) and in the notes! He did not get the memo about Jonathan Friedland!)

The guys who faciliated the lynching and/or perpetrated it were sentenced to either 60 or 90 days in jail and then returned home to hero’s welcomes (a crowd of 10,000 welcomed Sheriff Joseph Shipp, for example).

So… this year I’m thankful that our society has moved beyond real-world lynch mobs, even if Facebook and Twitter can now facilitate virtual ones.

(The whole lecture series is worth buying, in my opinion just for this one lecture.)

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How many adult New Yorkers can live off a gay black youth?

Some of my Facebook friends posted in outrage over a synagogue in New York City being defaced with graffiti by a guy named “James Polite” (you can’t make this stuff up!). To them this was further proof of Donald Trump’s unfitness for the office of President. The Democrat-for-most-of-his-life and native New Yorker has been generating a tidal wave of Jew-hatred (especially bad because it takes away energy from the more important task of Israel-hatred to which many of these Trump opponents are devoted?) and plainly this graffiti incident was Trump-inspired.

The discussion motivated checking out “After Years in Foster Care, Intern ‘Adopted’ by City Hall Catches a Break” (nytimes, Dec 14, 2017):

In 2008, at a gay pride rally for Mr. Obama, Mr. Polite met Christine C. Quinn, then the City Council speaker.

Ms. Quinn still remembers their introduction on the steps of City Hall. “James was telling me his story,” she recalled recently in an interview. “And I said, ‘Do you have an internship?’ And he said ‘No.’ And I said, ‘Well, you do now.’”

He interned with Ms. Quinn, a Manhattan Democrat, for several years, working on initiatives to combat hate crime, sexual assault and domestic violence. He also took part in her re-election campaign in 2009 and returned to help with her unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2013.

He was placed with a foster family in Queens. His mother regained custody of him when he was in the third grade.

But he felt pressure mounting as he neared his 21st birthday, which would mark the end of foster care services, including money for room and board.

Months before that birthday, a Brooklyn couple learned about the possibility of fostering him. The couple, Josh Waletzky and Jenny Levison, said they had wanted to foster an “L.G.B.T.Q. youth” on the brink of aging out of the system.

(in others, the expert on fighting hate crime is now accused of perpetrating one).

The article carries a fun correction:

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article referred incompletely to the type of youth whom Josh Waletzky and Jenny Levison sought to foster. It was an “L.G.B.T.Q. youth” on the brink of aging out of the system, not merely a gay youth.

Based on just this one article, let’s see how many adult New Yorkers were mining the resources of a black gay (or “LGBTQ”) youth:

  • the mother (no father is mentioned and, depending on the income of their former sex partner, “single mothers” usually receive either welfare benefits, such as free housing, health care, and food, or child support cash under New York family law)
  • bureaucrats in the New York foster care industry
  • various foster parents, each of whom would be getting paid (table of rates by state)
  • employees of the Children’s Aid non-profit org
  • Christine C. Qunn, who got positive political spin from employing this guy
  • the final foster parents who snagged the laurels associated with an “LGBTQ youth” only “months” before his 21st birthday.

I’m wondering if this shows a path to boost one’s social standing among Manhattanites. Foster a “child” from a fashionable victim group two days before the child turns 21. Then spin the tale of being a foster parent to an LGBTQ youth or South Sudanese refugee or former child soldier at cocktail parties, neglecting to mention that the foster arangement lasted only two days.


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Michael Bloomberg exacerbates income inequality with donation to Hopkins for financial aid

“Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Giving $1.8 Billion for College Financial Aid” (nytimes):

Let’s eliminate money problems from the admissions equation for qualified students.

America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook. Denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity. It perpetuates intergenerational poverty. And it strikes at the heart of the American dream: the idea that every person, from every community, has the chance to rise based on merit.

… I am donating an additional $1.8 billion to Hopkins that will be used for financial aid for qualified low- and middle-income students.

Here’s a simple idea I bet most Americans agree with: No qualified high school student should ever be barred entrance to a college based on his or her family’s bank account. Yet it happens all the time.

Let’s ignore the obvious solution for the Hopkins administrators: raise headline tuition prices by $1.8 billion over the next 10 years, charge families exactly what they were being charged before, but say that “financial aid” has been increased by $1.8 billion. (See “Credit Supply and the Rise in College Tuition: Evidence from the Expansion in Federal Student Aid Programs”, a 2015 paper from the New York Fed; 60 percent of subsidized student loans were captured by increased tuition rates and provided no relief to the purported beneficiaries.)

Suppose that the Bloomberg program works as advertised and therefore that lower income families will actually pay $1.8 billion less over the forthcoming years.

Won’t this exacerbate the inequality that Bloomberg himself was decrying as recently as May 2018 (see “Inaction on inequality could lead to uprising”)? People born fortunate (high academic potential in an economy that rewards cognitive skills) will now go to college for free instead of taking out loans and paying them back from their high earnings. So they will pull yet farther ahead of Americans with low academic ability.

Instead of the rich-in-genetics person with an IQ of 140 paying back student loans that enabled attendance at an elite university, the rich-in-genetics person will now get to use a full 50-60 percent of income (assume 40-50 percent total tax rate in California, New York, and other typical destinations for elite Americans) on consumption and retirement savings. The smart Hopkins grad who came from a lower-income family will essentially get a gift from Michael Bloomberg of luxury clothing and automobiles that will make median-IQ, median-income Americans sick with envy.

In “Protests against Charles Murray inadvertently prove the points he made in The Bell Curve?” I asked “If you like to fret about inequality, the sidelining of less-than-brilliant workers in favor of robots, etc., why wouldn’t you love Charles Murray?”

See also “The Bell Curve revisited,” my 2004 post on the book. Excerpts:

The Bell Curve starts out by talking about how we live in an era where people get sorted by cognitive ability into socioeconomic classes. In 14th century England if you were a peasant with a high IQ or a noble with a low IQ it didn’t affect your life, reproductive potential, or income very much. In our more meritocratic and vastly more sophisticated economy a smart kid from a lower middle class might make it to the top of a big company (cf. Jack Welch, who paid himself $680 million as CEO of GE) or at least into a $300,000/year job as a radiologist. For the authors of the Bell Curve the increasing disparity in income in the U.S. is primarly due to the fact that employees with high IQs are worth a lot more than employees with low IQs. They note that we have an incredibly complex legal system and criminal justice system. So you’d expect people with poor cognitive ability to fail to figure out what is a crime, which crimes are actually likely to be punished, etc., and end up in jail. (A Google search brought up a report on juvenile justice in North Carolina; the average offender had an IQ of 79.) If they stay out of jail through dumb (literally) luck, there is no way that they are ever going to be able to start a small business; the legal and administrative hoops through which one must jump in order to employ even one other person are impenetrable obstacles to those with below-average intelligence.

… For us oldsters, one unexpected piece of cheerful news from this book is that younger Americans are getting genetically dumber every year. Even if you ignore the racial and immigrant angles of the book that created so much controversy back in 1994 it is hard to argue with the authors’ assertion that smart women tend to choose higher education and careers rather than cranking out lots of babies. …  Our population is predicted to reach 450 million or so [by 2050], i.e., the same as India had back when we were kids and our mothers told us about this starving and overpopulated country. An individual person’s labor in India has negligible economic value … It would seem that no enterprise would need an old guy’s skills in a country of 450 million; why bother when there are so many energetic young people around? And how would we be able to afford a house or apartment if there are 450 million smart young people out there earning big bucks and putting pressure on real estate prices? But if the book is right most of those young people will be dumb as bricks.

Whenever anyone talks about “financial aid,” I love to respond with “United Airlines gives more than 95 percent of customers financial aid since the official maximum ticket price is much higher than the typical price paid. Economists call charging each customer according to his or her ability to pay price discrimination, but it sounds better if you say ‘we’re giving these poor souls financial aid.'” (Note that price discrimination is possible
only in markets dominated by monopolies or oligopolies. McDonald’s can’t do this because Burger King is right across the street.)

Readers: Is it logically inconsistent for Michael Bloomberg to say that he wants to reduce income inequality and then give $1.8 billion to reduce college expenses for those Americans who are best set up to earn high incomes after graduation?

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White women keep getting into trouble around blackface

2015 at Yale (nytimes):

The debate over Halloween costumes began late last month when the university’s Intercultural Affairs Committee sent an email to the student body asking students to avoid wearing “culturally unaware and insensitive” costumes that could offend minority students. It specifically advised them to steer clear of outfits that included elements like feathered headdresses, turbans or blackface.

In response, Erika Christakis, a faculty member and an administrator at a student residence, wrote an email to students living in her residence hall on behalf of those she described as “frustrated” by the official advice on Halloween costumes. Students should be able to wear whatever they want, she wrote, even if they end up offending people.

(Christakis was eventually forced to resign)

2018 at NBC (nytimes):

The decision to air a rerun of “Megyn Kelly Today” came two days after the host suggested, during an on-air round-table discussion, that it was appropriate for white people to dress in blackface as part of their Halloween costumes.

Ms. Kelly apologized in an email to her NBC colleagues hours after making those remarks. On Wednesday, she delivered an on-air apology in the opening minute of her 9 a.m. show — “I’m Megyn Kelly, and I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry.”

But her demonstrations of contrition did little, it seemed, to improve her standing with her colleagues or superiors at the network. At a midday meeting of NBC News staff members on Wednesday, Andrew Lack, the chairman of the news division, did not mention her apologies and said, “There is no other way to put this, but I condemn those remarks.”

Now that DNA testing has proven Elizabeth Warren’s heritage as a Native American, would Yale consider relaxing its prohibition against “feathered headdresses”? What’s wrong with a student celebrating the achievements of Elizabeth Warren via a costume?



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Okay for Harvard to violate the 14th Amendment if they do it gently?

I was chatting with a friend who is a Harvard graduate and a tenured professor at a big American research university. He asked for my opinion of the Harvard admissions race discrimination trial. I said that “As long as they are availing themselves of the river of Federal cash subsidies from the Department of Education, I think they have to comply with the Fourteenth Amendment. If they want to throw a race-based party then they need to do it without collecting tuition from students who are getting Federal student loans and grants.”

His response was to ask whether administrators shouldn’t fight against the nearly-all-Asian university that a purely merit-based admissions policy might produce. I said “Taking the long view, Chinese civilization is probably the world’s most successful and the Chinese intellectual tradition the strongest. Chinese universities have been more or less all-Asian. So if Harvard’s mission is academic excellence, what’s wrong with mostly Asian students?”

His personal view was that administrators should engage in racial discrimination, but that they should do so “gently.” He described a “non-gentle” year in his own (rather technical) department in which three sought-after non-white non-Asian women were accepted to graduate school. A dean had come down on the unlucky faculty and taken them to task for their non-diverse cluster of nerds. Despite special treatment, including an expensive investment in tutoring, two out of the three favored minorities failed out within two years. The experience of watching these students struggle and fail did not sour my friend on the idea of race-based discrimination, apparently contrary to the Constitution. Instead, he wanted the dials turned down slightly so that people admitted on the basis of their race or sex were less likely to fail.

I’m kind of surprised that few Americans seem to take the Fourteenth Amendment seriously. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for example, faced no media criticism for talking about how proud he was that all of his law clerks were female. Why did people accept the idea of a federal official, part of whose job was enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment, being happy that all of his employees were of one race or sex?

  • “What Is Harvard Trying to Hide?” (Politico): Harvard’s documents also showed that while applications from “Chicano,” “Puerto Rican,” “Native American” and “Black” applicants were directed to readers from those groups, the other entry on that list was framed differently: “Blue Collar Asian. Harvard officials said the sole Asian-American admissions officer at the time, Susie Chao, sought to read all the applications from Asian-Americans whose parents had a blue-collar background and many of those from wealthier families. Applicants from other ethnic minorities generally got a minority reader regardless of the family’s background, the records showed.
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Hang out on Saturday with white people who like to talk about racial justice

An email from the town think-gooders:

Hello Lincoln Families,

We invite you to join with others who are committed to racial justice, equity, and inclusion at the AROS Metro West Symposium – Saturday, October 27, 2018 at the Regis College Fine Arts Center in Weston, MA, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Learn about structural racism, share strategies about anti-racist campaigns, and strengthen local anti-racism organizing efforts.

The Symposium is co-sponsored by Community Change, Inc. and The Center for Inclusive Excellence at Regis College.

The keynote speaker will be Debby Irving, a racial justice educator and author of Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race. Debby will share her personal struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, and offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners and tolerance.

Workshops include:

· Criminal Law Reform and Ending Mass Incarceration

· Eliminating Harmful Native American Stereotypes [led by Elizabeth Warren?]

· White People Challenging Racism

· METCO Building Bridges [poor suburban taxpayers subsidizing rich foreign owners of Boston skyscrapers; see ]

(Lincoln and Weston are two of the whitest towns in the United States.)

Maybe some local readers will go and tell us how it was…


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