The House Health Care Bill fully explained in a single picture
"Phone call for Nancy Pelosi!!"
Credibly promising to be irresponsible...since 2004!
Willem Buiter breaks down the plusses and minuses of three potential candidates to be the new Fed Chair:
"The race for the top job at the Fed thus far appears to have three runners: the incumbent, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, the current director of the NEC and Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco . Both Bernanke and Yellen are qualified for the job. Summers is not.
There are several reasons why Summers would be an inappropriate choice as chairman of the Fed. Let’s start with Fed-relevant knowledge and expertise. Summers is not a monetary economist or macroeconomist. He has never shown any serious interest in researching and understanding the workings of the kind of complex, interdependent dynamic systems that represent the environment a central bank operates in. He is the arch-typical quick and dirty partial equilibrium man, full of clever isolated micro-insights, but incapable of grasping the whole. His macroeconomics stalled at the Keynesian cross. As a monetary economist he has never seen a Federal Funds rate target so low he did not want it just a bit lower.....
Summers remains cognitively captured by old Wall Street and a prisoner of its culture and views....
Once the immediate crisis is over, the highest priority should be attached to designing and creating institutional arrangements and incentive structures that will minimize the likelihood and severity of future systemic crises. Summers has never shown any interest in creating institutions that enable policy makers (in the Fed, in the Treasury and in the regulatory agencies) to make credible, long-term commitments. He invariable favours opportunistic discretion over rule-bound flexibility. The last thing the US needs today is a chairman of the Fed with the long-term perspective and attention span of a fruit fly.
Janet Yellen is an outstanding monetary and macroeconomist. I have known this for a long time, because when I came to Yale as a PhD student in 1971, we all passed our Comprehensive Examinations (Comps) in macroeconomics thanks to the ‘Yellen notes’, the wonderful collection of ‘augmented’ lecture notes from James Tobin’s lectures, created by Janet Yellen as Tobin’s teaching assistant. She was a professor at Berkeley for many years, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1994 to 1997 and chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors from 1997 till 1999. Her abilities as a regulator and supervisor have not, as far as I know, been tested. These are, of course, at least as important for a chairman of the Fed as his or her command of the conventional monetary policy tools. Her ability to stand up to the populists in the Congress and the relentless lobbying efforts of Wall Street and the rest of the financial establishment are also unknown. But at least we can hope.
With Ben Bernanke we know what we would get. An eminent monetary economist with a pretty good record managing interest rates, quantitative easing and credit easing from the perspective of mitigating the immediate financial crisis and the contraction that followed it; a dreadful regulator/supervisor who ‘did not see it coming’ at all; a fully-signed up contributor to the biggest explosion of moral hazard in US financial history; and the man who allowed the Fed to be turned into an off-budget, off-balance sheet subsidiary of the US Treasury.
In the field of regulation and supervision, I prefer untried and untested to tried, tested and failed."Holy Crap! "The attention span of a fruit fly?" That was a good 'un! Maybe President O should invite Willem and Larry over for some beers and sponsor a good old fashioned hug-it-out.
Wow, I didn't think that President O was really serious about his "lets talk about it over a few beers" offer to Gates & Crowley, but apparently that is actually happening today.
Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams, decried "the foreign domination of something so basic and important to our culture as beer."
Genesee Brewery, Rochester, N.Y., released a statement congratulating the president for having beer at the meeting but adding: "We just hope the next time the President has a beer, he chooses an American beer, made by American workers, and an American-owned brewery like Genesee."
Parting is such sweet sorrow...
So, fairly often you can watch a "Chart Show" on German TV.
Fortunately, even on rainy days, there are one or two things to do in Vienna.
When I visited GameBill in Vienna, on the first night we feasted on pork. Schweizerhaus Stelze, in fact. Grilled pig leg. A big hit. To your arteries.
In his vapid and wandering editorial, "Is There a Right to Health Care?", "Theodore Dalrymple" pens an amazing paragraph:
When I then ask my interlocutor whether he can think of any reason why people should not be left to die in the street, other than that they have a right to health care, he is generally reduced to silence. He cannot think of one."
So every single Brit gives exactly the same answer? And my oh my "Theodore", what a devastating reply you have. Except that IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE OR HAVE ANY RELEVANCE TO YOUR ALLEGED POINT!!
Let me put this in terms simple enough that even a pretentious British physician with a ridiculous pen name might be able to understand:
Anecdotes about failures (or successes) of socialize medicine can never prove anything, one way or the other, about the existence of a right to health care.
This is so cool. Built to Spill and Dinosaur Jr. are on tour together and THEY ARE COMING TO OKC!
Who would have thought so many idiots banded together could be wrong?
"State officials in Hawaii on Monday said they have once again checked and confirmed that President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen, and therefore meets a key constitutional requirement for being president.
They hoped to stem a recent surge in the number of inquiries about Obama's birthplace.
"I ... have seen the original vital records maintained on file by theHawaii State Department of Health verifying was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen," Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a brief statement. "I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago."
So-called "birthers" — who claim Obama is ineligible to be president because, they argue, he was actually born outside the United States — have grown more vocal recently on blogs and television news shows.
Fukino issued a similar press release Oct. 31, but was prompted to speak out again because of the renewed attention on Obama's beginnings. Hawaii's Health Department has been flooded in recent weeks with questions from individuals and several national TV news networks asking for proof that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii.
"They just keep asking over and over and over again," Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.
The Constitution states that a person must be a "natural-born citizen" to be eligible for the presidency. Birthers contend that Obama's birth certificate is a fake, and many say he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland. They've challenged his citizenship in court."
Granted that this whole flapdoodle is more about President O's ethnicity than his place of birth, it still provides an interesting challenge to those who unquestioningly revere our founding fathers and our constitution, viz. WTF is up with this "born in the USA" requirement to be president?
It makes no sense. If people wanted Neil Young to be prez and Neil would lower himself enough to accept, what possible relevance could his place of birth have on this contract?
Are we afraid that a foreign born president would immediately "sell us out" to his/her country of origin? Would Neil make us all start eating circles of ham and forcing us to call it bacon?
Labels: public service announcements
The constitution of Honduras has a bullet proof no reelection clause. Its president, Mel Zelaya, wanted to be re-elected, so he commenced trying to get around the obstacle. Honduras' Congress and Judiciary rejected Mel's moves, but Mel just kept on keeping on, and in the end, the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant.
I have been trying and trying to wrap my head around PK's blog post on why markets can't do health care. Tyler has already discussed some aspects of this in his very gentlemanly way, but I want to focus on something different. In the middle of the post, PK says:
This is a truly brilliant little piece, from the Daily Show.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Reuters Berlin, how I love you. You give me what I need:
The German arm of Thomas Cook, Europe's second largest travel company, has been deluged with inquiries since announcing that holidaymakers at nine hotels in Turkey, Egypt and the Canary Islands can book recliners in advance for a fee.
Germans are famous around Europe for rising early to reserve recliners near the pool with their towels, and then going back to bed or eating a lengthy breakfast.
This often annoys tourists from other nations, but they will be unable to take advantage of the new service -- it is valid only for tourists booking their trips from Germany, Mathias Brandes, head of communications at Thomas Cook in Germany, said."
To quote Mungowitz's students: "ooh, nein!"
I guess I lead a sheltered life but, who in the world goes on holiday to camp out at the hotel pool all day? That said, given that one really wanted to camp out at the hotel pool, who in the world would let an obviously unattended towel deter them from doing so? People, just take Franz's towel, put it in the towel hamper, move "his" chair to a different area of the pool and enjoy the good life!!
1. Hillary Clinton, by North Korea: “We cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady, as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community,” the North Korean statement said. “Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.”
So, we finally had the "American BBQ" party, tuesday night. Weather was great, we cooked a ton of hot dogs and chicken, had potato salad, some really first rate salsa (thanks to der Geist!), and two big and quite tasty wassermelon. Oh, and we had 30 liters of Steinbachbrau in a big wooden keg, and a lot of bottles. Plenty to do. Party lasted until 1:15 am, and then I had to set my alarm for 5:00 am to come back and clean up, before the owners of the property saw all the cigarette butts and beer bottles. On the way home at 1:15 am, I realized that one does not know how much beer one has had until one tries to ride home in total darkness at 1:15 am. (I had torn off my bike generator somehow, trying to set it against the wheel).
1. American Shaolin. I really enjoyed this book, as did Mrs. Angus. A first person account of a skinny Princeton religion major going to China and training with the Monks of Shaolin Temple. Funny and insightful.
Labels: The Arts
I have been avoiding posting on anything serious lately because I promised Mrs. A after seeing all the jaguars we did in Brazil that I would be in a good mood for 6 months!
One great new trend this summer is the celebrity life coach.
Labels: we are so screwed
Wow. This guy is either a crazed, protectionist demagogue,or an idiot.
I am having a hard time believing that this one is real:
Authorities believe the pair tricked around 40 people in two German states driving around in a car with British number plates, convincing them to hand over cash for the electronic hardware but giving them spuds instead.
A shopowner in Hildesheim near Hanover telephoned the police on Friday after becoming suspicious -- he had read in the paper about swindlers in a right-hand-drive car -- but the two men left the scene.
Later the same day in the same town the two men were attempting to sell laptops to a group of people that included, unfortunately for them, someone who had come across them before and who then also rang the police.
"The police were quickly at the scene but the two suspected con men fled ... They sped down Kaiserstrasse in their metallic green Opel, going through several red lights and endangering other road users," police said.
The 32-year-old man was arrested after the chase ended but the second man, aged 20 and whom the police have since identified, was able to flee on foot despite being trailed by a police helicopter. They believe he may be armed."
All this seems impossible but the article says "around 40 people" were tricked. Which leads me to wonder: Do laptops in Germany usually come in bags? Are they ovoid and lumpy? Are German mobile phones 4-5 inches thick and do they smell like dirt? Who buys a "bag of mobile phones" without looking in the bag first? What about a reverse scam, where you sell people "bags of potatoes" that actually only contain mobile phones?
The story continues to develop. The one about the prison therapist and the guy that she shot, I mean. Her name is Rider; his is Friend.
So, I do get some chances to read. Quite a few, in fact. The last five books I have read are kind of a mixed group, no theme I can think of. In alpha order of last name of author:
So, the story gets betters. I mentioned before that the prison psychiatrist, after taking an inmate as a lover, ended up shooting him.
Two thumbs up, way up, for Wien.
I was thinking about callin this post either, "I'm in love with you honey, but not that much!", or "Susanne Klatten is my ATM!". Here is the story from Reuters, and it's a good 'un.
Munich state prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch said the trio had been arrested last week by police in the northern town of Duisburg on suspicion of trying to extort 800,000 euros and a BMW luxury SUV from Klatten, heiress to the BMW empire.
"They sent a letter to her threatening to give the sex video they claimed to have to Italian media if she did not give them 800,000 euros and a BMW," Steinkraus-Koch told Reuters, adding that Klatten immediately forwarded the letter to police.
"We assume the story about the video was contrived. At least we have found no evidence of any such video after searching their apartments and computers. There is nothing to suggest they ever were in possession of such a sex video."
The three men aged 33 to 46 -- including one German and one Serb -- were contacted by a police officer posing as an acquaintance of Klatten, he said. They set up a contact phone number for the blackmailers and that led to their arrest.
Klatten, a member of the-- the leading shareholders in carmaker BMW -- went public last year with the story of how her Swiss lover secretly shot intimate footage and later demanded tens of million of euros not to reveal it.
Helg Sgarbi, a former Swiss investment banker, was sentenced to six years in jail by a Munich court after he admitted he had seduced Klatten and three other wealthy women. He persuaded them to pay him nearly 10 million euros under various false pretexts.
Sgarbi, a Swiss army lieutenant, won over Klatten, a 46-year-old married mother of three, at a health centre.
She later handed him a cardboard box containing 7 million euros in 500 euro notes, believing he had paralysed a child in a traffic accident in America and was in need of the money.
Klatten ended the relationship after Sgarbi, 44, demanded more money. He responded by threatening to send photos and tapes of their hotel-room rendezvous to colleagues, family and media unless she gave him 49 million euros. She then went to police.
Klatten's wealth is estimated by Forbes magazine at almost $10 billion (6.1 billion pounds), making her the 68th richest person in the world.
The Quandt dynasty had close ties to the Nazi party and built its fortune supplying German army and railway worker uniforms. The first wife of Klatten's grandfather went on to marry Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
In March, a truck driver from Bochum tried to blackmail Klatten with a similar claim. He was seeking 75,000 euros and is now on trial in Munich for attempted blackmail."So the actual sex tape dude ends up going to prison for extorting more money from Ms. Klatten and this inspires multiple other people to also try and extort money from her? I think they somehow took the wrong moral from the original story!
“It’s annoying when people complain about the money,” the Vermont-based counselor Dr. Michele Hernandez, said. “I’m at the top of my field. Do people economize when they have a brain tumor and are looking for a neurosurgeon? If you want to go with someone cheaper, or chance it, don’t hire me.”
And what field is that you ask? Well it's college admissions counseling, for lack of a better term:
"Dr. Hernandez, a former Dartmouth admissions officer, says she counsels as many as 25 students in each high school grade each year. She also offers four-day “boot camps” every August in a Boston hotel, charging 40 incoming high school seniors as much as $14,000 each."
This is from an uproariously funny NYT article on the independent college counselor market, where people can pay "upwards of $40,000" for advice on how to get their kids into the college of their dreams.
There are three things I think are really funny here.
The first is that there is actually a market for this. College admissions involves filling out forms! These people are I guess life coaches (another occupation that astounds me by its existence) for 14 - 17 year olds, telling them exactly what to do so they will be able to write the proper magical things on the admissions forms.
The second thing funny thing to me is how bent out of shape people get about what college their kids go to. While it is true that certain colleges give one a leg up in the "real world", it is actually possible to go to almost any college and do well for oneself. I went to Cedarville College in rural Ohio, ended up at Washington University in St. Louis for grad school (by way of Miami of Ohio, my grandparents could never figure out what state I was actually living in) and have a career and life far beyond anything I'd imagined as a kid. And I am no big deal in any sense of the word.
Mungowitz went to Davidson in rural NC, then Wash U and is now Chair of Duke's polysci dept. John List went to Wisconsin Stevens-Point, got his PhD from the University of Wyoming, took his first job at Central Florida and became a full professor in Chicago's economics department within 10 years of getting his doctorate. Nathan Nunn went to Simon Fraser, then grad school at the University of Toronto, first job at the University of British Columbia and is now an assistant professor at Harvard!
If you raise your kids to think independently and love learning, where they go to college just isn't such a big deal.
The third funny thing to me is people who insist on being called "Doctor". In the opening quote it's always Dr. Hernandez. Angus' law of titles is "the more bogus the degree, the more people insist on being addressed by the title", so I assumed hers was either honorary or in education (which is kind of a distinction without a difference). Sure enough, I looked her up and she has a "doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University". Sweet!!!!
Labels: get that weak stuff outta here
After a night out drinking with friends, squeezing into the locker had seemed like an amusing idea to the man, police in the southwestern city of Ludwigshafen said Friday.
But the laughter faded when he started to run out of oxygen and his companions couldn't open the locker. Police broke open the door and dragged the groggy man to safety."
I guess this just points out the fabulous quality of German public lockers: totally airtight!!
This exchange, on PSJR, caused me to shoot coffee out my nose.
No one has come out of the Sotomayor hearing looking like anything but an idiot.
All right, KPC fans, who is this fine fellow? He is a senior marketing manager at Avaya.
"[AUDIENCE QUESTION:] Can you please let the staff use an alternative web browser called Firefox? I just - (applause) - I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn't use this browser. It was approved for the entire intelligence community, so I don't understand why State can't use it. It's a much safer program. Thank you. (Applause.)
Did an "interview" with old friend, student, and colleague Don Taylor. He posted it on his (relatively) new blog, FREEFORALL (that's a health care joke, get it, Free For All?). Anyway, here is the interview....
I have fooled around a little in print, and on podcast, with ticket re-selling.
Terrific article in the Christian Science Monitor.
Labels: academic politics
on Waxman-Markey and the implications of climate change for rich and poor countries.
I had scheduled a Bastille Day celebration, a mid-summer American style bbq to share the celebration of our French bretheren and sisteren. Had obtained, with help from the intrepid Hajo, a huge quantity of Hähnchenschenkel, weiners, kartoffelsalat, and a 30 liter wooden keg of Steinbach-Bräu (that was with the help of the lovely Eva, I should note, a sturdy lass when it comes to helping out with the beer and mugs.)