There’s a bit of a firestorm on campus, with an official letter of clarification sent out to faculty by SUU’s new president after coverage on the local radio turned … hmmm … misinformative.
Here’s the straight story:
Harry Reid is a 1959 graduate of SUU’s former incarnation as the 2-year College of Southern Utah.
SUU’s last president was a pretty good fundraiser.
Under SUU’s last president, a number of campus “engagement centers” were created. These were in name only; they aren’t supported much in the way of line items in the budget, and are intended to attract external funding.
One of these was named after Harry Reid. There was a pretty obvious notion that supporters of Reid would contribute money to support the new center. I don’t think anyone had any illusions that they’d most likely have to be supporters from outside of Utah.
Basically no money came in to support the Harry Reid Center and it never opened in an official sense (whatever “opened” means when you use bureaucratic-speak about whatever the heck an engagement center actually is).
The Harry Reid Center was later merged with another center which had low, albeit better, support.
The Harry Reid name was retained on the merged center, again, thinking he’d have some supporters that would contribute money.
There was confusion because there is no basis in public knowledge for attaching Harry Reid’s name to an “Outdoor Engagement” center. Management of the Outdoor Engagement Center pointed out that the name was not benefitting them.
The concept of outdoor engagement continues to attract some external funding, while the Harry Reid name brings in nothing to SUU.
So administration split the centers again. SUU retains a Harry Reid center (feel free to donate to support it).
The current SUU president stated explicitly that donations for outdoor engagement that were contingent on removing Harry Reid’s name from that center were declined.
You can make what you want of that. I report, you decide.
As a business professor, I will note that this sounds like a typical problem in brand management that probably does not deserve a firestorm. Executive decisions about weak brands are often messy.
The really big implication here is that Harry Reid is not a brand that’s successful: nationally, Democrats ought to think long and hard about what it means to have a Senate majority leader whose brand even they don’t support.
And heck … as an economist, I’ll point out that if you’re a Democrat the marginal benefit of donating money on behalf of a Harry Reid center would be highest if that center was located in one of the reddest states.
Finally, would it be cynical or realistic of me to point out that this is prima facie evidence that perhaps the contemporary Democratic party really doesn’t care much about the red states?
FWIW: I quipped in the office that if SUU wanted to name something after Harry Reid that was relevant to his time here, perhaps it should be the general studies or associates degree programs … since we were a 2-year school when he was here.
I especially liked the first section. In this a middle-aged radio reporter interviews a good friend, who had been a mean girl that tormented him twenty years before in middle school.
And it's really something when he sends his nerd friends out to interview her older sister, who was even meaner. Those middle-aged men report back that she's still intimidating in middle age.
I found this all fascinating. I was friends with a lot of mean girls in school (but not mean boys). I must've got the message though, because I didn't pursue them for relationships when we got older.
FWIW: I can't be sure how I'd act in person, but I found the voices of the two sisters interviewed in the first section to be alluring over the radio. I wonder if there's something in their voices, rather than their meanness?
In it you’ll hear about the recent translation of a cuneiform tablet, several hundred years older than extant tablets or the first versions of the Book of Genesis, detailing the Babylonian flood legend.
This is a quote from 1950!!! I’ve broken it into pieces:
The serious fact is that the bulk of the really important things that economics has to teach are things that people would see for themselves if they were willing to see. And it is hard to believe in the utility of trying to teach what men refuse to learn or even seriously listen to.
I think the above is the central problem of teaching principles of macroeconomics.
Then there’s trade:
What point is there in propagating sound economic principles if the electorate is set to have the country run on the principle that the objective in trade is to get rid of as much as possible and get as little as possible in return, if they will not see that imports are either paid for by exports, as a method of purchasing the imported goods more efficiently, or else are received for nothing …
The simple and effective truth that you export your own time to your employer is easy to get across to people. The implication that exports are not desirable in and of themselves is not.
Or how about employment?
… Or if they hold that economy consists in having as many workers as possible assigned to a given task instead of the fewest who are able to perform it?
All of these examples show us something that may be worse than the obvious point that sometimes a majority can be tyrannical:
It reflects a state of mind, a mode of reasoning, even more discouraging than blindness through self-interest.
That’s good. The bugbear of economics — that it’s all about blind self-interest — isn’t quite as bad as the notion that some peoples’ thinking is so muddied that they are biased against things that may even be in their self-interest.
Hubert Duprat noted that some insects build a carapace — not really a cocoon, but more of a shelter — out of found materials. So he put them in an environment where they find flakes of gold, and bits of pearl. Here’s what he got:
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