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May 16, 2014

what you should talk about when you talk about chipotle

You may have noticed a lot of Chipotle in your social media feeds lately.  I think it's because they're publishing essays on their soda cups or something?  I know, but there's a limited amount of novelty out there, and the people need something to yammer about.

But lost in this mundanity was this story about the compensation of the co-CEOs of the company.  The two men, the founder of the chain and a college chum, made $25 million and $24 million last year, respectively.

That may not sound like a lot — we are after all inured to large numbers, particularly where money is concerned.  But, even separately, that is is the very high end of corporate compensation, and together, we're approaching hedge fund levels.  The really alarming thing is that, if you look at Chipotle's financials, you see that for 2013 they booked $327 million in net income.

The co-CEOs are paying themselves roughly fifteen percent of their net income.  Or, to look at it as a prospective investor, if the co-CEOs paid themselves something reasonable, say a million apiece, Chipotle's net income would increase by fifteen percent.

That's crazy.

But in the good news, yesterday shareholders rejected the co-CEOs' compensation package.  So it's back to the drawing board for them.

Obviously, that little bit of investor activism isn't going to solve income inequality in a flash, but any chip in the wall of the New Gilded Age will make me happy for at least five minutes.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:31 AM

May 14, 2014

segmented sleep

This is a new-ish thing for me, but in the past, oh, six months or so, I've developed a bit of a sleeping problem.  It's weird; most of all, because I am old and I thought that this would be too late in life to be developing odd syndromes.  Not to mention that I've always been a relatively good sleeper: quick to go down, no problem getting up, no problem subsisting on six and a half or seven hours.

But now!  Well, about half the nights are problem nights, and the problem nights are split between can't-get-to-sleep insomnia (which is really more like a mild anxiety attack than anything else) and the can't-get-back-to-sleep insomnia, which is a lot less anxious, but a lot more debilitating, waking at 3a and staring at the ceiling/out the window until 6a, and then dozing for 15 minutes until time to get up!  That is some rough shit.

Why do I bring this up?  Well, I would like all of your pity of course.  But in the meantime, I found this bit of anthropology on the NYT's op-ed page fascinating.  It's about sleep, and how we're doing it wrong.  And the most useful (to me?) bit was this, on what the author, T.M. Luhrmann, calls "segmented sleep":

This obsession with eight hours of continuous sleep is largely a creation of the electrified age. Back when night fell for, on average, half of each 24 hours, people slept in phases. In "At Day's Close," a remarkable history of night in the early modern West, Roger Ekirch writes that people fell asleep not long after dark for the "first sleep." Then they awoke, somnolent but not asleep, often around midnight, when for a few hours they talked, read, prayed, had sex, brewed beer or burgled. Then they went back to sleep for a shorter period. Mr. Ekirch concludes, "There is every reason to believe that segmented sleep, such as many wild animals exhibit, had long been the natural pattern of our slumber before the modern age, with a provenance as old as humankind."

Actually now that I think of it, considering that Luhrmann is an anthropologist, maybe it's not so much that she coined that term as much as she is citing it.  Whatever.  But I would like to give it a try, as what she's talking about is a liminal state in which the chocolate of your waking state gets into the peanut butter of your dreamlife.  Which to me, sounds pretty damn snazzy.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:38 AM

May 13, 2014

and we done passed it

I used to think that Bobby Jindal was the most hapless, sad-sack potential GOP presidential candidate of them all — someone clearly underqualified in both stature and skill, yet utterly convinced of his own imminence.  It's fun to have these kinds of fellows around during the silly political season.  Takes some of the edge off.

Oh hey look Marco Rubio!

ABC's Jonathan Karl pressed Rubio on his belief that humans don't have anything to do with global warming.

"But let me get this straight, you do not think that human activity, its production of CO2, has caused warming to our planet?" Karl asked.

"I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.

Now you and I think that's bonkers, actively advertising one's own stupidity.  But of course that's also the same thing that he has to at least signal if he wants the Cato Institute and Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers in general to return his phone calls.

But there's a big difference between signaling and saying it out loud.  "I disagree with scientists."  Yeah, that won't ever bite him in the ass.

But what is even more hapless is that yesterday, the day that Rubio hoped would be at least devoted to the story of Rubio winking at making the run (and in which he is just D-U-M dum about climate science), is also the day that the news broke that when it comes to the melting of the Antarctic ice shelf, there is such a thing as a tipping point and we done passed it.

The title of this Mother Jones piece is "This is what a holy shit moment for global warming looks like."  And, might I add, a fitting response to the sentiments of Senator Rubio.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:13 AM