Morris Goldpepper rides again

by Henry Farrell on July 21, 2010

Scammers with a little bit of a sense of humor. Found in our spam filter this morning when doing the usual clean-up of crap that has accumulated overnight (asterisks added by me)…

bq. HELP! I’m currently being held prisoner by the Russian mafia x***z p**s enlargement xyzrxyz and being forced to post spam comments on blogs! If you don’t approve this they will kill me. x***z p***s enlargement x***z They’re coming back now. Please send help!

Bonus points for anyone (other than Cosma Shalizi and Nielsen Haydens) who can identify the reference in the title without looking it up.

BS explanation for rising inequality?

by Chris Bertram on July 21, 2010

Chicago economist Raghuram Rajan offers the following explanation for the long-term stagnant real incomes of Americans at the 50th percentile of the income distribution (compared to their compatriots at the 90th):

bq. A number of factors are responsible for the growth in the 90/50 differential. Perhaps the most important is that technological progress in the US requires the labor force to have ever greater skills. A high school diploma was sufficient for office workers 40 years ago, whereas an undergraduate degree is barely sufficient today. But the education system has been unable to provide enough of the labor force with the necessary education. The reasons range from indifferent nutrition, socialization, and early-childhood learning to dysfunctional primary and secondary schools that leave too many Americans unprepared for college.

I really find this difficult to believe. My guess is that, in terms of the real skills objectively needed to do the job, a high school diploma is more than adequate for most office work. Of course, it may be that, because of competition for those jobs, you need a higher level of qualification to get one. But that’s a different story.