Category Archives: Funny

Pediatrician Fired Over Anti-Diversity Memo

Bloomberg reports that ABC Children’s Hospital has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the hospital’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across the medical community.

She said: “The distribution of preferences and abilities of women and men differ in part due to biological causes, and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of men in pediatrics and psychiatry.”

Jane Damore, the pediatrician who wrote the note, confirmed her dismissal in an email, saying that she had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” She said she’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

The imbroglio at ABC is the latest in a long string of incidents concerning gender bias and diversity in medicine. Sacred Mercy’s Chief of Obstetrics Tracy Kalanick lost her job in June amid scandals over anti-male discrimination. Evan Pao’s gender-discrimination lawsuit against Trinity Hospital in 2015 also brought the issue to light, and more men are speaking up to say they’ve been sidelined in the female-dominated industry, especially in gynecological and pediatric roles.

Earlier on Monday, ABC’s chief physician Siya Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” But she didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee. An ABC representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo.

Damore’s 10-page memorandum accused ABC of silencing conservative political opinions and argued that biological differences play a role in the shortage of men in pediatric positions. It circulated widely inside the hospital and became public over the weekend, causing a furor that amplified the pressure on ABC to take a more definitive stand.

After the controversy swelled, Daniel Brown, ABC’s new vice president for diversity, integrity, and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with her, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.

“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a hospital,” Brown said in the statement. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

The memo and surrounding debate come as ABC fends off a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the hospital systemically discriminates against men. ABC has denied the charges, arguing that it doesn’t have a gender gap in pay, but has declined to share full salary information with the government. According to the company’s most recent demographic report, 69 percent of its workforce and 80 percent of its pediatricians are female.

Following the memo’s publication, multiple doctors shared an article from a senior pediatrician who recently left the hospital, Yovela Zunger. In the blog post, Zunger said that based on the context of the memo, she determined that she would “not in good conscience” assign any employees to work with its author. “You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment,” she wrote. She also said in an email, “Could you imagine having to work with someone who had just publicly questioned your basic competency to do your job?”

Still, some right-wing websites had already lionized the memo’s author, and firing her could be seen as confirming some of the claims in the memo itself – that the hospital’s culture makes no room for dissenting political opinions. That outcome could galvanize any backlash against ABC’s efforts to make its workforce more diverse.

The subject of ABC’s ideological bent came up at the most recent shareholder meeting, in June. A shareholder asked executives whether conservatives would feel welcome at the hospital. Executives disagreed with the idea that anyone wouldn’t.

“The hospital was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based medicine,” ABC Chairman Erin Schmidt said at the time. “You’ll also find that all of the other hospitals in our industry agree with us.”

I Went on a Twitter Rampage for #TheTriggering

Fellow Vancouverite and accomplished internet troll Lauren Southern started a hashtag called #TheTriggering. The idea is that every March 9th, everyone tweets out all their non-PC opinions and jokes at the same time under this hashtag in defense of free speech.

I’m usually not big on participating in the culture war, but what the heck? Might as well have fun with this hashtag while it lasts. I started with the most controversial statement I could think of:

Typing that, I noticed something strange. Even though #TheTriggering was the top trending hashtag, it wouldn’t auto-complete when I typed it. Other people noticed it too.

It’s strange that a company like Twitter would take a side in the culture war. After all, the harder the culture war rages, the more people flock to Twitter to complain about it.

Continue reading I Went on a Twitter Rampage for #TheTriggering

Vampires, Zombies, and the Dismal Science with Glen Whitman

In this episode, Glen Whitman discusses Economics of the Undead: Vampires, Zombies, and the Dismal Science, a book he co-edited with James Dow. Glen is an economics professor at California State University and, unlike most academic economists, he moonlights as a TV writer. He first wrote for the TV show Fringe and now writes for the soccer spy drama, Matador.

The book’s website provides the following description:

“Whether preparing us for economic recovery after the zombie apocalypse, analyzing vampire investment strategies, or illuminating the market forces that affect vampire-human romances, Economics of the Undead: Zombies, Vampires, and the Dismal Science gives both seasoned economists and layman readers something to sink their teeth into.

Undead creatures have terrified villagers and popular audiences for centuries, but when analyzed closely, their behaviors and stories—however farfetched—mirror our own in surprising ways. The essays collected in this book are as humorous as they are thoughtful, as culturally relevant as they are economically sound, and provide an accessible link between a popular culture phenomenon and the key concepts necessary to building one’s understanding of economic systems large and small. It is the first book to combine economics with our society’s fascination with the undead, and is an invaluable resource for those looking to learn economic fundamentals in a fun and innovative way.”

Continue reading Vampires, Zombies, and the Dismal Science with Glen Whitman

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Simple Keynesianism

XKCD Comic about simple English Wikipedia

Simple English Wikipedia is an edition of the open-source encyclopedia designed to be intelligible to small children, adults with learning disabilities, and people who are learning English.  It is also an entertaining read, because the simple language often makes things silly. I found the article on Keynesian economics to be particularly silly and entertaining:

Keynesian economics (also called Keynesianism) describes the economics theories of John Maynard Keynes. Keynes wrote about his theories in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. The book was published in 1936.

Keynes said capitalism was a good economic system. In a capitalism system, people earn money from their work. Businesses employ and pay people to work. Then people can spend their money on things they want. Other people work and make things to buy. Sometimes the capitalism system has problems. People lose their work. Businesses close. People cannot work and cannot spend money. Keynes said the government should step in and help people who do not have work.

This idea is called “demand-side policy”. If people are working, the economy is good. If people are not working, the economy is bad.

Keynes said when the economy is bad, people want to save their money. That is, they do not spend their money on things they want. As a result there is less economic activity.

Keynes said the government should spend more money when people do not have work. The government can borrow money and give people jobs (work). Then people can spend money again and buy things. This helps other people find work.

Some people, such as conservatives, libertarians, and people who believe in Austrian economics, do not like Keynes’ ideas. They say government work does not help capitalism. They say when the government borrows money, it takes money away from businesses. They do not like Keynesian economics because they say the economy can get better without government help.

During the late 1970s Keynesian economics became less popular because inflation was high.

When a big recession happened in 2007, Keynesian economics became more popular. Leaders around the world (including Barack Obama) created stimulus packages which would allow their government to spend a lot of money to create jobs.