Who’s more honest — Congresspeople or salespeople?

According to Gallup, the verdict is mixed. In a December poll, the venerable research company found that the only people held in lower ethical esteem than members of Congress were sellers of cars. But insurance salespeople managed to trump both Senators and ad executives. Read more here.


Obama and Romney in a word

In a survey last week, the Pew Research Center asked a question whose form I’ve come to find interesting and useful: “What one word best describes Barack Obama/Mitt Romney/Joe Biden/Paul Ryan?” (As it happens, in my upcoming book, I use this type of question to show what people really think of sales.) The answers to these […]


State of the Union address as an eye exam chart

Can a Presidential speech ever be a work of art? Not usually. But R. Luke Dubois is doing his best. As part of the “Mulitplicity” exhibit now showing at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which I had a chance to see last weekend, Dubois reconfigured all the State of the Union addresses in an interesting way. In […]


Tomorrow’s classroom excuse: SOPA ate my homework

In case you haven’t heard, several large websites have blacked themselves out today to protest two pieces of anti-piracy legislation now before the U.S. Congress. Leaving aside the merits of their arguments, which I think outweigh the merits of the legislation’s advocates’ arguments, I’ve got two questions. 1. Will Wikipedia’s 24-hour disappearance have a material […]


Death to Pennies!

For the last maybe 20 years, I’ve been complaining about pennies. At first I was impressed by the spontaneous order in solutions like the “Have one, leave one. Need one, take one” dish. Then I realized that such accommodations only propped up an evil regime — and I griped to anyone who would listen that […]


Will we now hear two phrases from the past?

History doesn’t repeat itself, but people do. And since people use language, I wonder if post-Bin Laden, Americans will be hearing two phrases from recent history that now have new relevance. 1. Peace dividend. Remember 20 years ago when the Cold War ended? Now that that Soviet Union had been vanquished, all that money we […]


Idea of the day: A Taxpayer Receipt

Every once in awhile, you hear of an idea so blindingly obvious and inarguably wise that you wonder why in God’s name it’s still a notion and not a reality. That happened to me this morning when I heard about the Taxpayer Receipt, the brainchild of the folks at Third Way. In a brief and […]


Acronym of the day: PIIGS

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that some bearish international investors have coined a new term for the countries that they believe are the weak links of the euro zone: PIIGS — which stands for Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. That follows on the heels of the oft-used term for the most important emerging markets […]


Factoid (and peeve) of the day

During last year’s presidential campaign, both McCain and Obama endlessly broadcast ads that promised “good middle class jobs.” And whenever an ad intoned that phrase, up popped an image like the one below, which comes from an Obama campaign stop: burly, 50-something (mostly white) guys wearing dirty uniforms.What drove me crazy about these ads is […]


The Beer Summit gone awry

(Via the always brilliant xkcd)