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Decision Fatigue, Why Music Matters, Immigrants Under Siege: The Live Wire

| August 20, 2011

Montana ruin.

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Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links

Facebook and Twitter: I Give Up

From Gapingvoid: “Earlier today I told everybody on Twitter and Facebook, that I’m leaving Twitter and Facebook. Why? Because Facebook and Twitter are too easy. Keeping up a decent blog that people actually want to take the time to read, that’s much harder. And it’s the hard stuff that pays off in the end. Besides, even if they’re very good at hiding the fact, over on Twitter and Facebook, it’s not your content, it’s their content. The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important. And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly. […] And I think a lot of people have lost that idea. Instead or writing about something that’s ACTUALLY important to them, they’re telling al their zillions of Foursquare friends what food trucks they just visited. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but…” The full post.

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Immigrants Under Siege

From The Guardian: “In Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, new laws have been signed that represent the toughest crackdown on illegal immigrants – the vast majority of whom are Hispanics – in America. They give the police sweeping new powers and require them, and employers, to check people’s immigration status. In Alabama, they even make helping illegal immigrants, by giving them a lift in a car or shelter in a home, into a serious crime. For many, the laws echo the deep south’s painful history of segregation, sending out a message to people of a different colour: you are not wanted here. “That is exactly right,” said Andrew Turner, a lawyer with the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre. “We view it within the context of the history of the deep south. It is using the law to push out and marginalise an ethnic minority.” […] From construction to agriculture, to restaurants to gardening, to childrearing, hotels and home help, illegal immigrants are a major driver of the US economy. They may have no papers, but that does not stop them paying taxes, buying homes and raising children who, if born in the US, are American citizens. It has also – as happened during the civil rights era – put these southern states in direct conflict with the federal government. Last week, the White House moved to suspend many deportations of illegal immigrants without criminal records, putting it at odds with the new, harsher state laws. […] From an economic standpoint, passing such stringent laws has been a dramatic own goal. Recently a violent tornado tore through the Alabama city of Tuscaloosa, wreaking havoc and devastation. But the exodus of Hispanics from Alabama has been so great that building firms say they will struggle to employ enough people for rebuilding. Indeed, Tuscaloosa’s Hispanic soccer league saw a third of its teams disbanded in a week. This is the paradox: the political backlash has come as Hispanics, and illegals, have become an integral economic and demographic part of the south. The region, outside Florida, has traditionally had only a small Hispanic community but now – fuelled by illegal immigration – it is rapidly growing. The Pew Hispanic Centre estimated that Georgia had an illegal population of some 425,000, most from Hispanic countries. The same study showed Alabama had a population of 125,000 illegal immigrants and has seen its Hispanic population jump 145% in a decade. That is a major ethnic shift in a region whose very history is riven with struggles over race, economic exploitation and southern identity.” The full story.

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Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

From The Times Magazine: “Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain. You start to resist any change, any potentially risky move — like releasing a prisoner who might commit a crime. So the fatigued judge on a parole board takes the easy way out, and the prisoner keeps doing time. Decision fatigue is the newest discovery involving a phenomenon called ego depletion, a term coined by the social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister in homage to a Freudian hypothesis. Freud speculated that the self, or ego, depended on mental activities involving the transfer of energy. He was vague about the details, though, and quite wrong about some of them (like his idea that artists “sublimate” sexual energy into their work, which would imply that adultery should be especially rare at artists’ colonies). Freud’s energy model of the self was generally ignored until the end of the century, when Baumeister began studying mental discipline in a series of experiments, first at Case Western and then at Florida State University.” The full article.

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The Bad News of Bad News

From Pew: “Negative views of economic news have risen sharply since last month and now stand at their highest level in well more than two years. Fully 67% say they are hearing “mostly bad” news about the economy, up 18 points in the last month alone and more than 40 points since the start of 2011. The public’s current views of economic news are now as bleak as they were shortly before Barack Obama took office in January 2009. At that time, 67% also said they were hearing mostly bad news about the economy, but that number fell sharply during the first few months of Obama’s presidency. The latest weekly News Interest Index, conducted Aug. 4-7 among 1,001 adults by the Pew Research for the People & the Press, finds increasingly downbeat views of news about individual economic sectors – from the financial markets to jobs to real estate. Nearly three-quarters (74%) say they are hearing mostly bad news about the job situation, while more than six-in-ten say they are hearing mostly bad news about financial markets (69%), gas prices (66%), real estate values (63%) and the prices of food and consumer goods (62%). […] Since July, negative impressions of news about the job situation have increased far more among Democrats (up 22 points) and independents (up 25 points) than among Republicans (seven points), who expressed more negative views in previous surveys.

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St. Augustine Seawall Gets Money

From the Record: “U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has given final approval to $4.7 million for the St. Augustine Seawall project. This federal and community initiative will better protect historic features of the City of St. Augustine against future storms. “After a number of required reviews because of the historical nature of the project, it was my hope that the seawall reconstruction would be under way well before St. Augustine’s 450th Celebration, and it looks like this will indeed be the case,” said Mica. “This project will make a significant impact in protecting our historic waterfront and will finalize an important initiative for the community.” The FEMA grant will help with the building a new seawall along the historic district waterfront, which will provide storm surge and flood protection to the existing historic seawall, properties listed on the National Register of Historical Places and other homes and businesses.” The full story.

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The Beatles: Why Music Matters in Two Minutes

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Rick Perry Special: Unemployment Across the OECD

Most European countries are doing better than Texas. Maybe Rick Perry should vote Socialist.

oecd unemployment chart

Irving Kristol on Neo-Conservatism

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Burger King Fires the “King”

The creepy king.

From Slate: “The King is dead. Well, at least if we’re talking about that rather creepy, big-headed mascot that has been at the center of Burger King’s recent marketing campaign. On Friday, the fast food chain announced that it was parting ways with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the edgy ad agency that created the current incarnation of the Burger King mascot. USA Today reports that the end of the King’s reign is a done deal and will likely be made official sometime soon, possibly later Friday. The move is the first of many steps Burger King will likely take over the next year to recast itself in a more health-conscious image.” The full post.

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Facebook Diary

A tale from Josette Lopez of Edgewater:

I was in the public toilet – I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice in the other stall: “Hi, how are you?”……..
Me: embarrassed, “Doin’ fine!”
Stall: “So what are you up to?”…….
Me: “Uhhh, I’m like you, just sitting here.”
…Stall:… “Can I come over?” ………
Me: (attitude) “No, I’m a little busy right now!!”
Stall: “Listen, I’ll have to call you back. There’s an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!!

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A Few Good Links

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10 Responses for “Decision Fatigue, Why Music Matters, Immigrants Under Siege: The Live Wire”

  1. Liana G says:

    Thanks FlaglerLive! Facebook Diary was really funny after reading Decision Fatigue in its entirety. I read a similar article that found that free will is a matter of economics and that the poor have less free will than the wealthy because of the many trade-offs they are forced to make. This excerpt from ‘Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue’ touches on it.

    …”Shopping can be especially tiring for the poor, who have to struggle continually with trade-offs…. Spears and other researchers argue that this sort of decision fatigue is a major — and hitherto ignored — factor in trapping people in poverty. Because their financial situation forces them to make so many trade-offs, they have less willpower to devote to school, work and other activities that might get them into the middle class. It’s hard to know exactly how important this factor is, but there’s no doubt that willpower is a special problem for poor people.

    Study after study has shown that low self-control correlates with low income as well as with a host of other problems, including poor achievement in school, divorce, crime, alcoholism and poor health. Lapses in self-control have led to the notion of the “undeserving poor” — epitomized by the image of the welfare mom using food stamps to buy junk food — but Spears urges sympathy for someone who makes decisions all day on a tight budget. In one study, he found that when the poor and the rich go shopping, the poor are much more likely to eat during the shopping trip. This might seem like confirmation of their weak character — after all, they could presumably save money and improve their nutrition by eating meals at home instead of buying ready-to-eat snacks like Cinnabons, which contribute to the higher rate of obesity among the poor.

    But if a trip to the supermarket induces more decision fatigue in the poor than in the rich — because each purchase requires more mental trade-offs — by the time they reach the cash register, they’ll have less willpower left to resist the Mars bars and Skittles. Not for nothing are these items called impulse purchases.”…

  2. Michael Murphy says:

    It always makes me laugh when I read liberal accounts of the poor Illegals trying to make a living in the fields.Construction had always been a good honest way for a middle class man to make a living, he would never get rich but could support his family.Along comes the Illegal now that job that should pay $15-$20 per hour goes down to $5 and a bowl of rice.Please keep in mind there is no savings passed on to the person paying to have the house built, just more profit for the builder.Every indrestry the Illegals get into the pay rate goes way down, Building,meat packing, and the list goes on.Lets talk about paying taxes and health care,ever go by Wal-Mart on fri. what you will see at the western union booth is how they pay their taxes, sending their money HOME so in a few years when they go home their loaded with cash (by their standards).Health care how many Illegals do you think pay hostipal bills, my guess is none we Americans pay for it with our taxes.Next time you hear a liberal talking about the poor Illegal give him a light wake up slap. Thank You thats my rant of the week………

  3. Devrie says:


    These partisan bashes are not solution-based. These “poor illegals” are human. Whoever’s illegally hiring them for bullcrap wages while threatening to call immigration… that’s the problem. Those “poor illegals” are an issue. You’re right. It’s a problem. We need to solve it, but the politicians are using smoke and mirrors to persuade us that they are trying to fix the problem, when all they are doing is enabling folks to hire them with more fear.

    We liberals and you conservatives believe in the same problems, we just see different ways to solve them (although, I don’t always agree with Democrats nor Republicans).

  4. NortonSmitty says:

    Every month during the Building Boom in Lake County, the developers sent an old school bus to Texas to bring back 60 more illegal workers to take some jobs away from local construction workers. But even if you kept your job, this tactic suppressed wages to third world levels. A certified Journeyman Electrician earned $8.25 an hour after five years with the same company. $300 a week take home. $16k a year to raise a family.

    The next time you here some Teabagging Republican spouting about Illegals, ask why hiring dozens of known Aliens and destroying communities full of families with their greed isn’t a felony on the level of say one of their workers having two beers to cry in and driving home.

  5. Liana G says:

    I will agree that cheap labor lower wages. I remember paying $8.00 for a pint of strawberries during an off season. So let’s reduce the influx of cheap labor and happily pay $8.00 per pint for in season strawberries, tomatoes, onions, and other fruits and vegetables. $10.00 per pound for meat, more for chicken breast and other selected parts. I am all for this especially since cost for goods and services have been steadily increasing but wages have been stagnant.

    There is a report floating around on the internet that revealed how corporations actually pay for immigrants to be smuggled into this country with empty promises of great pay with benefits, great working conditions and free room and board. When these immigrants do arrive, it’s the complete opposite, they are paid pennies compared to the minimum wage, room and board is not free, there are no benefits and working conditions are very terrible. In California, room and board is a sleeping spot under a tent in the woods, hidden away from the public/society.

    Those wanting to go back are told they have to work off to repay the $3,000 / $5,000 their employer paid to bring them here. Those willing to do so are then faced with a new hurdle of having to also pay their way back and make their way back on their own because employers do take on the expense of returning them to their country. Faced with these obstacles, very little money, no understanding of English, and scared of the unknown, they stay on – abused, exploited and hated by a society ignorant of the real stories of these folks.

    A society that only knows what they are told by the corporate controlled media and politicians pandering to their owners/partners. The very people that spew the illegal immigrant rhetoric are the ones who carry out these practices which force illegal immigrants further into the underground thus making them cheaper labor targets. Or worst yet, having our privately run prisons eagerly round them up, at another cost to taxpayers, and get them to perform free labor while they await deportation hearings.

    So yes! Please let us send them home right away without long stays in prison which. Then maybe we will be able to focus on the real problems affecting this country – Big profits tied to reckless, abusive and exploitive policies by corporations and their shills and detrimental to the well being of all people, here and all around the world.

    Hispanics / Mexicans in America = foreigners in their own land.

  6. Michael – $5.00 and a bowl of rice? Really? Would it be rice and beans, curry or does it depend on which particular group of people you feel like dehumanizing at the moment?
    I guess nobody cares what it is these people make per hour in Alabama at least. Seems more honest to call it what it is – help when you need it and disposable human waste when you don’t.

  7. Kevin says:

    Norton: The fact is that people on the other side of the table, especially the elite liberal/progressives, are just as much a part of hiring illegals just as much as ridiculous correlations to good-natured, honest, hardworking, average, well educated, tea party members.

  8. notasenior says:

    Michael – why is it right wingers like you invoke God and that we must keep “one nation under God” in the Pledge of allegience. However, when it comes to upholding God’s laws you take a hike. Borders were created by men and it was God that orders us to treat all people as we would like to be treated. When you say the Lord’s Prayer listen to the words and don’t just say them.
    BTW could someone explain to be how a PERSON can be illegal? Acts are illegal. Inanimate objects can be illegal. But people?

  9. Brad says:

    “Facebook and Twitter: I Give Up” is a great example of someone who does not “get it” when it comes to the benefits and effective uses of online social networking and media. The line “it’s too easy” and then referring to a personal blog being “harder” makes little or no sense. It’s like saying, “I’m going to start a business and not promote it in the place that has the most viewer because that’s too easy.” Who would do that?

    Each type of online service offers different benefits. Blogs are the content. The exist to provide a means for others to share their expertise, insight, thoughts, so forth and so on. They are meant in most case to encourage a conversation. Yes, they are very difficult to gain readership and especially to get returning visitors. It’s takes providing relevant content that others find beneficial or entertaining and then getting that out in front of the right people.

    This brings us to the social networks and social media. The internet is “social”. It is about “sharing”. It is one’s content such as a blog that we look to share and the owner should want to be shared. I noticed this morning a blog post of mine was reshared on Twitter by someone in Nepal. How great is that? Someone all the way across the world thought my post was interesting/important enough to share with others. That’s what it’s about.

    The arguments against great and powerful services such as Twitter or Facebook are often very misguided such as the case we see here. Can’t wait for the follow up from this person when he rejoins Twitter and Facebook.

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