Monday, July 07, 2008

New Podcast

Hey, you podcastrians!

It's a new installment of the Russ and Mike show.

For which, I should add, I was paid my full market wage.

We talked about the Transantiago cluster fig. And talking to Russ is always fun.

A boy and his racket

Wow, for those few of us who still love tennis, what a great weekend! Venus and Serena finally played a good match against each other and Rafa and Roger's showdown fully deserves the overused adjective "epic".

Still, for me, the highlight of Wimbledon was the return of Marat Safin, both for beating that punk Djokovic and for his entertaining press conferences. Here is Safin on racket abuse:

"You can destroy one racket. You can destroy a chair. But you can't destroy a racket and a chair in the same match. There has to be a limit. Otherwise this is the tennis of a sick person."

This is apparently kind of a special Russian thing. Here's another interesting quote:

"You know, some rackets just like it rough," said Dmitry Tursunov, a Californian-based Russian. "Afterwards, you feel a bit sorry that you've done it, and you're like, 'Yeah, I'll make it up to you darling, my little racket'. But the racket is broken and you know that it's never going to be the same again."

(Here is the article where I found these quotes)

Of course, sometimes the racket wins (and look, it's another Russian in the tussle!)

Thanks, and thanks, and THANKS!

Lots of folks helped with the Money Grenade, and with getting word out about the difficulties I have been having even getting access to the normal assets of campaigning.

I can't cite them all. So, for those I have missed: a blanket thank you, and a heartfelt one. In addition to the net postings I have missed, I want to thank Joy Elliott, Paul Elledge, Linda Ellis, Susan Hogarth, Barbara Howe, Tom Howe, Phillip Rhodes, Rob Rose, Rusty Sheridan, John Szamosi, and Richard Schilhavy. (Again, I'm sorry if I left you out, but it's 6:30 am, and I am at the beach celebrating my anniversary with my wife, and I have to get back to the room; there's marital work to do...)

As I noted, there were lots of internet mentions, and I appreciate them. But there are some I have to mention specifically.

Bill Anderson, on LR's site.

Art Carden, with a nice thought piece. Very nice.

Ed Cone helped out. Thanks, Ed!

Greg Dirasian has his little boxer shorts all twisted up in knots.

Last Free Voice posted the announement; thanks!

Scottille News came up big, too.

Third Party Watch posted the info on the Money Grenade. A BIG help; we 'pree-shayt it, man!

BUT: The main prize, the above and beyond, the hardest working man in the Blogosphere for the Munger campaign, has got to be.... Steve Newton! This post clearly brought in quite a few contributions, and I appreciate it!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

We gotta call our NBA team the "Noodlers"!!

From the Sunday Oklahoman:

I think a noodler should have been on our state quarter.

Thanks to the now legendary "Okie Noodling” film and the tournament it spawned, noodling for flathead catfish is part of the Oklahoma lore as much as cowboys and Indians, the Dust Bowl and football.

A reader of The Oklahoman recently suggested that the newspaper stop using the word "kin” in stories and instead use "relatives.” The word "kin,” he said, created a perception of backward country folk and made people think of banjos and "Deliverance.”

I can't imagine what this guy must think of noodling.

And here's the quote of the week:

Mark Murray, 36, a game warden in Oklahoma County, has been a noodler for almost 20 years.

"When a big fish grabs you, it doesn't matter how many times it's happened to you in your life, it's a huge adrenalin rush when a fish bites your hand,” he said. "It never gets old.

I can't help thinking that in actuality, for me at least, it would get real old real fast.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy July 4th from KPC!

Halfway: Tick, Tick!

The July 3-4 Money Grenade is halfway home!

We got 150 contributions yesterday, for just over $5,000. That's a huge help, folks; thanks!

But if you are so nerdy that you are reading this site on a HOLIDAY, fercrissakes, GET THE WORD OUT.

Today is the last day. Post the web site somewhere, and let people know.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

A tribute to Yakov Smirnov

In America, people are suspicious of the food.
In Communist China, the food is suspicious of you!

(big ups to commenter Sudo on

The Grenade is Going Off!

We’re doing pretty well on the growth of the Grenade Brigade!

As of noon today:

–60 contributions
–nearly $2,600

If you haven’t given yet….please go to the web site, and click on donate!

Name that Team!!

So OKC has got another NBA franchise, this time (maybe) for keeps! We are pretty happy here at Chez Angus. The owners have even said they will start by offering season tickets to folks who had Hornets season tickets (i.e. me!). Some possible bad news though, is that given how much $$$ has been forked already in the process, these tickets may be a tad pricey (Maybe Mungowitz will share his mailing list with me and we can have an Angus season ticket money bomb???).

Among the various pounds of Okie flesh extracted in the settlement is that the name "SuperSonics" stays in Seattle. Whatever, dudes. But it raises a fun question; what to call the new team?

Boomers? Noodlers? Tribe? Tornadoes?

Any of these strike your fancy? Any alternative suggestions?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Uribe to Farc: "I'm in ur base, freein' the hostages!!"

Wow, wow wow! Huge ups to Uribe and the Colombian military for tricking the FARCsters and freeing Ingrid Betencourt, 3 Americans and 11 Colombians without firing a shot!!

From the AP:

military intelligence agents infiltrated the guerrilla ranks and led the local commander in charge of the hostages, alias Cesar, to believe they were going to take them to Alfonso Cano, the guerrillas' supreme leader.

The hostages, who had been divided in three groups, were taken to a rendezvous where two disguised helicopters piloted by Colombian military agents were waiting. Betancourt said her hands and feet were bound, which she called "humiliating."

The pilots, she said, were posing as members of a relief organization, but "they were dressed like clowns," wearing Che Guevara shirts, so she assumed they were rebels.

But when they were airborne, she looked behind her and saw Cesar, who had treated her so cruelly for so many years, lying on the floor blindfolded.

"The chief of the operation said, `We're the national army. You're free,'" she said. "The helicopter almost fell from the sky because we were jumping up and down, yelling, crying, hugging one another. We couldn't believe it."

The operation, Santos said, "will go into history for its audacity and effectiveness."

"We wanted to have it happen as it did today," added armed forces chief Gen. Freddy Padilla. "Without a single shot. Without anyone wounded. Absolutely safe and sound, without a scratch."

This is huge, people. Now more than ever, I think Uribe's government can by and large eliminate the FARC!

First Lady Mary Easley Gets Big Pay Raise

WRAL has this story to tell:

First Lady Mary Easley said Wednesday that she wasn't bothered by criticism of a new contract she has with North Carolina State University that almost doubles her annual salary.

"Negative stories and exaggerations and partial stories go with the territory, and that's part of public life," she said in an interview with WRAL.

Easley has been an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer at N.C. State for the past three years, developing a speakers program and teaching a graduate course in public administration and courses in the Administrative Officers Management Program, which provides leadership training to law enforcement officers.

Her previous salary was $90,300 a year, but that increased Tuesday to $170,000 a year – an 88 percent increase – as part of a five-year contract.

Let's this a negative story, an exaggeration, or a partial story?

1. Negative story: some attack on an action that misrepresents, or distorts.
2. Exaggeration: a claim that (for example) the salary is $170k, when in fact it is only $125k
3. Partial story: a claim that, while true, leaves out important relevant details.

Well, no details are supplied by the First Lady, so it can't be partial. No corrections are offered, so it can't be an exaggeration. I suppose it is a negative that the taxpayers of NC found out how much money Queen Mary is being paid.

But only from Queen Mary's perspective. From my perspective, it is NEWS.

And it is news because of this:

Gov. Mike Easley said Tuesday that high overseas travel bills are unfortunate but necessary if North Carolina wants to attract business, tourists and blockbuster art exhibits.
Easley's public comments were his first about the cost of trips he and his wife, Mary Easley, have taken. In April, the Easleys participated in a business-recruiting and tourism-promoting trip to Italy that cost more than $170,000. Last year, Mary Easley went to France with two others at a cost of more than $53,000. And in May, she went to Estonia and Russia with five others at a cost of more than $56,000.

Easley said high bills are unavoidable.

"It costs what it costs," Easley said. "I wish it didn't cost that much, but you know, let's be honest about it. A cheeseburger and onion rings is $60 over there. The dollar is very, very weak now. And that is why we were over there, in order to get those euros coming to the United States for tourism."

Um....what is the deal with all the $170,000's? If Mary Easley buys a car, does THAT cost $170,000, like her salary and her trip? Is this a favorite number/numerology thing? (Like Nancy Reagan, perhaps? Mary Easley thinks $170,000 is her lucky number?)

And, well...the mechanism escapes me. If I send my wife to Russia, and spend money taken at gunpoint from taxpayers, that means Euros come to the U.S.? And, not just the U.S., but to North Carolina?

That would be remarkable indeed. Since Russia is not part of the European Union, they would have to borrow Euros to send them over. Even if they enjoyed their lunches with Mary Easley a LOT, I don't think that would happen.

A Favor, Seriously. I Need Your Help!

Dear Friends:

As you know, I have been working to run for Governor of North Carolina, as a Libertarian, for the past two years. Well, we got the 105,000 signatures, and we got on the ballot.

But then things got…weird. I was invited to the final debate, in October, at Queens College in Charlotte. But then that debate got cancelled, and ANOTHER debate, only without the Libertarians in it, got scheduled instead.

The state of NC is really dragging its feet in getting out new forms, so Libertarians can register. The state Board of Elections will barely meet with us, and the county Boards of Elections won't accept checks for filing fees for our candidates. I put up more than $1,000 worth of yard signs, and the state took them all down, because (get this) there is "no election going on at this time"! Ouch.

The only thing that can change this is participation at the grassroots.

And the only kind of participation that matters is….small contributions, from lots of folks!

That's why we are running a small money bomb tomorrow. It's so small, it's really just a money grenade.

Won't you join the Munger "Grenade Brigade"? Here's what you do, ANYTIME ON JULY 3 or JULY 4. Yes, ANYTIME:

1. Go to

2. Click on "contribute"

3. Give $25, or less (the amount doesn't matter as much as the fact you show your support for democracy and free choice in politics!)

That's it. That's all I need. Well, that and GET THE WORD OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE!

Please help! Even if you have already given, PLEASE just give something. It isn't the money, as much as it is the message that lots of folks care.

Mike Munger

A suitcase with legs

First Guido Wilson got caught hauling it to Argentina (see previous KPC coverage here and here). Then in Miami, some Venezuelans got caught on tape alternatively bribing and threatening Mr. Wilson to take responsibility for its contents. Now in the trial of Franklin Duran (the only threatener who didn't take a plea), Hugo Chavez has, for the first time, been directly linked to the case:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was personally involved in covering up his nation's role in an Argentine election scandal, according to an FBI statement by a Venezuelan witness who may testify at a criminal trial in Miami.ranklin Duran faces trial on U.S. charges he acted as an unregistered agent of Chavez's government. Duran conspired to silence a Florida businessman who toted $800,000 in a suitcase from Caracas to Buenos Aires, according to U.S. prosecutors. The Justice Department alleged the cash, seized Aug. 4, was intended for the campaign of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was elected Argentina's president Oct. 28.

Duran, 40, was arrested Dec. 11 with two other Venezuelans, Carlos Kauffmann and Moises Maionica. Kauffmann and Maionica pleaded guilty and said in court that their country's intelligence agency, known as DISIP, played a central role in the cover-up of the payment.

In papers filed June 27, Duran said Kauffmann's FBI statement implicated Chavez. Kauffmann told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that ``Maionica told him and others that President Chavez was involved in the matter and had put DISIP Director Rangel Silva in charge, and that Rangel told him that President Chavez personally was involved in the matter,'' according to the motion in federal court in Miami.

Previous court filings didn't directly implicate Chavez in the case, known as the ``suitcase scandal'' in Argentina. U.S. prosecutors have filed court papers saying that DISIP and the office of Venezuela's vice president oversaw the plot.

While this is fun, I don't expect it to actually hurt Chavez at home in Venezuela. What amazes me a bit is how the Kirchners have so successfully dodged this bullet back in Argentina!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama was right about bitter white guys!

From the Telegraph:

Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama's victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support...The Telegraph has learned that the former president's rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence. A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support. The Democrat told the Telegraph: "He's been angry for a while. But everyone thought he would get over it. He hasn't. I've spoken to a couple of people who he's been in contact with and he is mad as hell."He's saying he's not going to reach out, that Obama has to come to him. One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support."You can't talk like that about Obama - he's the nominee of your party, not some house boy you can order around."Hillary's just getting on with it and so should Bill."

As a public service, KPC has decided to run a picture of Bill Clinton's ass, so BO can decide whether or not he wants to pucker up!

Holy Crap! Robert Shiller strikes again

In Sunday's NY Times, Shiller continues his streak of surrealistically bad editorials. This one advocates a second tax rebate because the effects of the first one are "not going to mean the difference between prosperity and recession", and a "dreaded serious recession still seems very much a possibility"

How does he know?

Consider the Fair simulation model (, a free Web site that embodies much of Keynes’s theory and is offered by Professor Ray C. Fair of Yale. With the “U.S. Model” on this site, I increased transfers from government to households (“TRGH”) by $100 billion in the second quarter of 2008. The results showed a $59 billion increase in 2008 gross domestic product. That is less than half of 1 percent of G.D.P.

The simulation also showed that this year’s rebates would have further repercussions in 2009, bolstering G.D.P. by $36 billion that year. After 2009, the effects of this stimulus will just sputter out.

All I can say is LOL! and WTF?? I too went to Fair's site this morning and found the following at the top of the page:

Latest Update: April 30, 2008: The US model has been updated through 2008:1. NO RECESSION PREDICTED---see Forecast Memo. The latest version of the multicountry model is the MCC model. See below.

People, I am not making this up. Plus in the FAQs about the model I found the following statement:

The United States model was developed by Ray Fair in 1974-1976, and it has been used since then for research, forecasting, policy analysis, and teaching. It has been available for use on personal computers since 1983 and was the first such model to be so.

Now I am not knocking Fair; he is upfront about what this thing is (i.e. a dinosaur). I am knocking Shiller for writing, and the editors of the Times for publishing, lazy crap like this.