Get a Sack
From Betsy's Page: the ugliest bride I have ever seen.
Credibly promising to be irresponsible...since 2004!
From Betsy's Page: the ugliest bride I have ever seen.
Hookers for Paul: An odd endorsement...Who can come up with the best joke about this?
The Putincrats are gearing up for a big big vote this Sunday for his party United Russia.
In the push to get out the vote, the absentee ballot has become a popular new tool.
A teacher insaid the school administration told staff members to get absentee ballots from their neighborhood polling stations ahead of the election. They are to vote together Sunday at a polling station at the school.
"They didn't tell us necessarily to vote for United Russia, but you can read between the lines," said the teacher, who was willing to give only her first name, Yelena, out of fear of being fired.
Similar accounts have been given by teachers, doctors, factory workers and others around the country. Some have said they were warned they would lose their jobs if they did not comply.
Hundreds of people have called an election hot line to complain about the use of absentee ballots, the Central Elections Commission said in a summary of the complaints posted on its Web site.
Some complaints came from hospital patients, who said they had been threatened with early discharge if they did not produce absentee ballots.
"It is unbelievable. The use of bureaucracy is on an unprecedented scale," said Marina Dashenkova of Golos, an election-monitoring group. "People are complaining that their bosses are forcing them to take absentee ballots and vote for whom they say."
The use of absentee ballots in this way is new, she said, and kills two birds with one stone for the: By getting absentee ballots, people are registered as voting even if the votes are never cast, boosting turnout; and when they vote under the supervision of bosses they are likely to vote "correctly."
People also have complained of being required to round up a certain number of votes for United
Almost a year ago, a Penn econ prof Rafael Robb's wife was beaten to death in their home. A month later, the professor was charged with the murder and his attorney said he would be pleading not guilty.
I just realized that the gubmint has been pulling the wool over my eyes. Found out in the New York Times of all places, where Stephanie Coontz asks why the State is in the marriage business. And that is a very good question indeed; sad that I never questioned it before.
The American colonies officially required marriages to be registered, but until the mid-19th century, state supreme courts routinely ruled that public cohabitation was sufficient evidence of a valid marriage. By the later part of that century, however, the United States began to nullify common-law marriages and exert more control over who was allowed to marry.
By the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, “mulattos,” Japanese, Chinese, Indians, “Mongolians,” “Malays” or Filipinos. Twelve states would not issue a marriage license if one partner was a drunk, an addict or a “mental defect.” Eighteen states set barriers to remarriage after divorce.
and now it's all about control; you can't get your "benefits" if you don't have the government papers.
As Nancy Polikoff, an American University law professor, argues, the marriage license no longer draws reasonable dividing lines regarding which adult obligations and rights merit state protection. A woman married to a man for just nine months gets Social Security survivor’s benefits when he dies. But a woman living for 19 years with a man to whom she isn’t married is left without government support, even if her presence helped him hold down a full-time job and pay Social Security taxes. A newly married wife or husband can take leave from work to care for a spouse, or sue for a partner’s wrongful death. But unmarried couples typically cannot, no matter how long they have pooled their resources and how faithfully they have kept their commitments.
One of the cool things about knowing a lot of lawyers is that one realizes that "the law" is a silly concept. No such thing, no way.
Duke put out a "news tip" this afternoon, on Trent Lott's possible retirement.
Duke fires head coach Ted Roof.
It's All about Me: Narcissistic Chief Executive Officers and Their Effects
"Does Mad Money make the market go mad?"
At the start of Black Friday, we posted a gift guide and sent our readers out with instructions to "disappoint (uberbear) Nouriel Roubini". Well the results are in and retailers racked up sales of around $10.3 billion (which is 8.3% higher than last year, almost double the expected growth rate).
The United States also said it was "deeply troubled" by the government of Sudan's "foot-dragging and obstruction" on the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.
But diplomats say several Western countries able to provide hardware such as helicopters are reluctant to do so because of a lack of confidence in the command and control structure for the joint force.However, all their worries are over now because they have the magnificent fighting camels of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF), right? Well not so fast.
The BSF in India also warned that any deployment of trained camels to transport foot soldiers in Darfur may be some time away.
"All our camels are engaged in border-guarding duties and this whole process could take a long time," said BSF spokesman, adding the agency could currently spare up to 60 of its 700-plus battle-ready animals for .
Took the Younger Younger Munger down to the property today, to answer some questions that needed answering.
An email from KPC friend RL, in Toronto:
From THE DAILY MULL:
Ok, it's the busiest shopping day of the year, but what the heck should you buy?? Fret no more, here's the scoop.
Labels: peak consumption
"A major part of John Rawls' theory of justice, justice as fairness, is the difference principle. The difference principle requires that 'social and economic inequalities be arranged so that they are...to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged.' According to Rawls, in a just society, deviations from social and economic equalities are permitted only provided that such deviations maximize the social and economic goods received by the typical person in the least advantaged class in society...The paradox is that by Rawls' own empirical premises - the very premises he uses to argue for the difference principle - in the long run, directly aiming to satisfy the difference principle would almost inevitably prevent the principle from being satisfied...Directly aiming at something is no guarantee of achieving it. For example, in the familiar paradox of hedonism, the act of aiming for pleasure is what prevents the agent from getting pleasure...Rawls' argument for the difference principle crucially relies upon certain premises about economics and incentives. The reason that deviations from strict economic equality are justified, Rawls thinks, is that it is necessary in order to improve everyone's economic condition. Permitting inequalities generates incentives to those with better capabilities and greater ambition, who then turn the wheels of economic growth. Rawls himself states that attempting to satisfy the difference principle (or any other egalitarian principle) lowers incentives and interferes with efficient market allocations, such that economies that are more egalitarian will not grow as quickly as 'unfair' economies...It is difficult to classify western nations under Rawls' categories of social systems...For example, current imperialistic American military institutions seem to belong to an archaic mercantilist rather than a capitalist system." [Jason Brennan, Constitutional Political Economy, December 2007]
Seems like it's easier to find a Hummer than a drumstick in Hugolandia:
The lines for basic foods at subsidized prices are paradoxical for an oil-rich nation that in many ways is a land of plenty. Shopping malls are bustling, new car sales are booming and privately owned supermarkets are stocked with American potato chips, French wines and Swiss Gruyere cheese.
Yet other foods covered by price controls — eggs, chicken — periodically are hard to find in supermarkets. Fresh milk has become a luxury, and even baby formula is scarcer nowadays.
To which I can only add: DUH!
This is Peanut.
According to the WSJ, there's something rotten in Oklahomee (the article is gated but reproduced in part here). Three members of a group leading a signature drive to get a TABOR (tax payers bill of rights) proposition on the ballot are in legal trouble. The group used non-residents to collect signatures which is illegal in Oklahoma and the signatures collected were tossed out in court on that grounds. In what does appear to be an egregious case of piling on, the three leaders of the initiative drive have been indicted for employing the out of state signature collectors.
A savage, savage restaurant review from the NYT.
University officials agree that the use of nontraditional faculty is soaring. But some contest the professors association’s calculation, saying that definitions of part-time and full-time professors vary, and that it is not possible to determine how many courses, on average, each category of professor actually teaches.
An interview, in which I talk for 40 minutes to the nicest guy in the world.
Both the FT and Mark Thoma have noted the apparent disconnect between Fed personnel pronouncements and the expectations/desires of "the markets" regarding next month's Fed funds rate decision.
“Capital punishment may well save lives. Those who object to capital punishment, and who do so in the name of protecting life, must come to terms with the possibility that the failure to inflict capital punishment will fail to protect life.”
“If I was allowed 1,000 executions and 1,000 exonerations, and I was allowed to do it in a random, focused way,” he said, “I could probably give you an answer.”ummm, ok Justin, thanks. We'll have to get back to you on that. In the meantime, why not write it up as an NSF proposal?
MIA collaborator Afrikan Boy tosses out this excellent remix of Soulja Boy. Very very nice!
Earlier this week we reported on Isiah and the Knicks continued woes. Now Marbury has returned to the team and is playing despite the other players' unanimous vote to have him not return and play.
Roach Bots ride.
"Jurors heard opening arguments on Tuesday in the trial of a bird-watching
In today's WSJ, Robert Frank and his Wealth Report breaks down the water bills of rich people in Palm Beach FL. Really. Some dude has a 14 acre lot and used 21 million gallons last year while the average use for a single family home is 54,000 gallons per year. Don't he know there's a drought? The pig! The swine! The bastard!
Did you know that Toyota has reduced the energy required to manufacture one of its vehicles by more than 24% in the last 5 years? Or that Frito-Lay has reduced its water use by 38 percent, natural gas by 27 percent and electricity by 21 percent since 1999 for a savings of $55 million a year in utility bills? Me neither. The best part of this info though is that I found it in the NY Times!
So says Albert Kiedel of the Carnegie Endowment in the FT:
For China, the correction needs to be made back to the 1980s and 1990s, when instead of World Bank estimates of roughly 300m people below the dollar-a-day poverty line, the number was more likely more than 500m. China has made enormous strides in lifting its population out of poverty - but the task was perhaps more gargantuan than most people thought and progress has been overstated by bank estimates.Hat Tip to Jonathan Dingell
Labels: economic growth
This is a good one people. As you may remember, I predicted the Heat would go winless 'til D-Wade came back, but Sunday they beat the Knicks in the Ga-den 75-72 (no, the fourth quarter was not canceled).
A story about discrimination.
Japan is climbing out of the pit.
The managing operations director of the World Bank just flew in from Bhutan. He sez we all could learn a lot from and should even emulate Bhutan. Why is Bhutan so sexy? Well they don't want to talk about GNP but rather GNH (gross national happiness). AAARGH. Bhutan ranks very near the bottom of the HDI (human development index) which is an attempt at a not completely GDP based development metric (it uses GDP, Life expectancy and Literacy). Bhutan came in 135th in 2004.
At least compared to Jovana Sarver who made this cool video to one of my favorite Joanna Newsom songs while a high school student in Harrisburg PA.
This is real real good.
Labels: The Arts
Are you a Democrat, Republican or Texan? Here is a little test that
Ladies and Gentleman, without further ado I give you The Islamic Car!!!!
Proposed by Iran, the collaboration would include installing features in automobiles such as a compass to determine the direction of Mecca for prayers, and compartments for storing the Quran and headscarves, Proton's Managing Director Syed Zainal Abidin told national news agency Bernama."What they (Iran) want to do is to call that an Islamic car," he was quoted as saying while on a visit in Iran. "The car will have all the Islamic features and should be meant for export purposes. We will identify a car that we can develop to be produced in Malaysia, Iran or Turkey."
Labels: people and places
It is commonly asserted that gold is at or near its previous all time high set in 1980. But lost in these statements is the fact that despite our lionization of P. Volcker and A. Greenspan, the general price level has risen a lot in the last 27 years. Any inter-temporal comparison thus needs to be done in real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) terms.
Gold made headlines last week by flirting with its 1980 peak price, but the precious metal remains far short of its inflation-adjusted record -- and probably won't see it soon.
On Friday, gold traded in the cash market at $831.50 a troy ounce, nearing the $850-an-ounce record that 27 years ago was briefly touched (too briefly to be captured by the monthly chart at right). Adjusted for inflation, the 1980 price translates to $2,250 now.
College football is big money. In 2005 the big boys generated 1.8 billion in revenues with several schools (Notre Dame, Texas, & Ohio State) racking up over 50 million each.
This is maybe the oddest aspect of the college football business. Everyone associated with it is getting rich except the people whose labor creates the value. At this moment there are thousands of big-time college football players, many of whom are black and poor. They perform for the intense pleasure of millions of rabid college football fans, many of whom are rich and white. The world’s most enthusiastic racially integrated marketplace is waiting to happen.
But between buyer and seller sits the National Collegiate Athletic Association, to ensure that the universities it polices keep all the money for themselves — to make sure that the rich white folk do not slip so much as a free chicken sandwich under the table to the poor black kids. The poor black kids put up with it because they find it all but impossible to pursue N.F.L. careers unless they play at least three years in college. Less than one percent actually sign professional football contracts and, of those, an infinitesimal fraction ever make serious money. But their hope is eternal, and their ignorance exploitable.
Put that way the arrangement sounds like simple theft; but up close, inside the university, it apparently feels like high principle. That principle, as stated by the N.C.A.A., is that college sports should never be commercialized. But it’s too late for that. College football already is commercialized, for everyone except the people who play it. Were they businesses, several dozen of America’s best-known universities would be snapped up by private equity tycoons, who would spin off just about everything but the football team. (The fraternities they might keep.)
The bottom line is this: Big time college athletes need to be paid. It's way, way, way, past time for that to happen
Victory or Repudiation? The Probability of the Southern Confederacy Winning
Old doges can teach modern political scientists new tricks, according to a
The Filter Strikes Back.
Over at MR, an ebullient Tyler reports that he and resident CATO pretty boy Will Wilkinson opened up a big can of whoopass on Jeff Sachs and Betsey Stevenson last night in NYC.
Here is a verbatim translated text of the Ibero-American Summit:
Monetary Economist Axel Leijonhufvud (who wrote one of the funniest pieces about economics ever) is not enthralled with inflation targeting. Here is a tidbit:
Labels: economic policy
This is what makes blogging so great. Alex over at MR posts about Cheatneutral, a "company" that provides infidelity offsets (that is actually a satire of carbon offsets). Then a bunch of his commenters go crazy complaining that carbon offsets are not a joke. I, thinking they are a joke, google the phrase "Al Gore Carbon Offset Fraud" and then in the muck and the mire I find this old but fascinating (to me anyway) information:
Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.
A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.
No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.
This is President George W. Bush's "Texas White House" outside the small town of Crawford.
Holy Crap! Maybe Al can buy the carbon offsets he needs for his oversized, 20 room, $30k annually in electricity and gas bills, home from the SHRUB!!!
The NBA roll of shame is still long: Seattle, Golden State, Miami, Washington, and Minnesota. In the NFL, the wannabes have dropped away and the winless now include only Miami and St. Louis. Alone atop the confluence of these rosters of woe stands the city of Miami like a colossus! Congratulations to Miamians for living in the worst sports city in America right now.
Labels: The Arts
The best way I could describe the problems that we face here in this country, as well as the problem the Federal Reserve faces, is that we are indeed between a rock and a hard place because we have a serious problem but we don't talk about how we got here. We talk about how we're going to "patch it up". The bubble has been burst - we saw what happened after the Nasdaq bubble burst and we don't ask how it was created and then we had a housing bubble and it's deflating and it's spreading.
President Bush, regarding President Musharraf: "You can't be the president
I am a free trader. I understand that multilateral agreements are probably the better way to go over bilaterals, but I generally like the bilateral ones as well, though it always troubles me that the text of a "free trade" agreement can be more than 2 or 3 sentences long (NAFTA runs into the thousands of pages I believe).
If approved by the House, the pact could revive the administration’s trade agenda and propel faltering trade deals with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, all of which are awaiting Congressional approval.
Nearly all 200 Republicans are expected to support the Peru deal, making it possible for the measure to pass with only a small number of Democrats. Some put the number of Democratic votes in favor at 75, and it could go higher. A favorable Senate vote is considered likely.What do other prominent Democrats think, you ask?
Specifically, labor productivity grew by 4.9% in the 3rd quarter.
Both outcomes were far better than had been expected and should relieve some of the concerns that a remarkable surge in productivity that began in the mid-1990s was in danger of being reversed.
The slight drop in wage pressures was especially welcome after hefty increases over the past four quarters. Rising wages are good for workers but if they are not accompanied by strong productivity gains, they raise concerns among Fed policymakers about inflation.
The 0.2 percent decline in unit labor costs in the third quarter followed a 2.2 percent increase in labor costs in the second quarter and even bigger jumps of 5.2 percent in the first quarter and 10.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
The article even gives its own punchline!!
Wall Street was not impressed with the big rise in productivity and slowdown in wage pressures, preferring to worry about the weakness of the dollar against other currencies. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 240 points in afternoon trading.
Labels: economic growth
Labels: The Arts
I really like Lupe Fiasco. My favorite song of his right now is "dumb it down". I am only putting a link to the video rather than embedding it so that you can read the following before viewing: This is a rap video. It has many bad words in it (not from Lupe, but from his discontented Greek Chorus). That said, it's very very good.
Labels: The Arts
"Some stopped at the barricades to snap images of the picketers but were
"Why the unskilled are unaware: Further explorations of (absent) self-insight