Kids Prefer Cheese
Credibly promising to be irresponsible...since 2004!
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
The end of a bromance
My favorite basketball player for a long time was Shaquille O'Neil. Then I read this blogpost (which I got from Shaq's twitter account) on "10 Fun Facts about Shaquille."
Consider #4: "My best NBA moment was scoring 61 points in a game against the LA Clippers."
This from a man with 3 rings and 2 finals MVPs? Really? Going Barry Switzer on the Clips is the highlight of your career? Not winning a title in Miami after getting run out of LA?
It also appears that one of us does not know what Top Ramen is.
Midterm Election Rock
Do Three Rights Make a Left?
KPC friend Shirley R writes from cold Rhode Island, on voting day:
Well up and dressed. waiting for more light to go on my way to vote. Middle school, 3 rights to get there and a right to get home. Made for me.
Um...what? Then I remembered: Shirley does NOT like to turn left.
Fortunately, the "three rights" maneuver, going the long way around the block, got her safely to the voting place. Thirty minutes later, this update:
That was easy and quick. All rights get me there and home... It was [quite] cold!
Get out there and vote, people, or else get out there and gloat about NOT voting! Either way, it's a big day...
Der Spiegel article on US
Hello people. Election days always make me melancholy. People get so worked up and excited about who is going to "take power" and "govern us". People get so worked up about ballot initiatives telling other people what they can and cannot do.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Will Supreme Court Grant Cert in Manhattan Eminent Domain Case? (Story) (Nod to J-Wo)
What did the Porkulus actually "multiply"? (Story) (Nod to Angry Alex)
The Dems think no one appreciates them. The Dems are right. (Story) (Again, thx to Angry Alex)
So you think the little fishies are cooperating? Not so much... It's actually a straightforward PD problem: If all the little fish would scatter at the same moment, most would escape, because there are so many and the predators are few. But if I expect YOU to take off, I should stay in the ball. One or two fish trying to escape will be caught. And if I expect you to stay in the ball...I should STILL stay in the ball.
(Nod to E-New)
Okies out in front of the curve
From the LA Times:
As the country grapples with its worst economic downturn in decades and persistent unemployment, voters in Oklahoma next week will take up another issue — whether they should pass a constitutional amendment outlawing Sharia, or Islamic law.
Supporters of the initiative acknowledge that they do not know of a single case of Sharia being used in Oklahoma, which has only 15,000 Muslims.
"Oklahoma does not have that problem yet," said Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan, the author of the ballot measure, who says supporters in more than a dozen states are ready to place similar initiatives before voters in 2012. "But why wait until it's in the courts?"
Are my fellow Okies so unconfident in the power of their religions that they foresee an imminent Islamic takeover? Will Sooner football games soon be stopped for mass prayers at the appointed hours? Will Van's Pig Stand shutter its succulent doors forever?
Or is the Oklahoma State Legislature just bats*&#t crazy?
"Nudge" and the university
The University of Missouri-KC has an *awesome* idea for getting more candidates for University committee slots: Put everyone on electronic ballots unless they go on line and opt out!
"According to Daniel P. Hopkins, an associate professor of geosciences and the previous chairman, "The faculty is extremely busy and stressed," and unwilling to spend time on administrative duties like deciding each major's academic requirements and reviewing the college's budget. "The idea that someone should be asked to run for an office that they don't want is, on the face of it, crazy," he says, but it was the only way to fill the posts.
Since 2009, faculty members have been expected to log on to see which positions they were eligible for and, if they chose, to remove their names from consideration. Professors who logged on to the Web site but did not remove their names were assumed to be willing to serve. Those who did not log on at all were also listed, but voters were warned that the candidates' willingness to serve was uncertain."
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The other side of the white board: Dr. Goolsbee, call your office.
(Nod to Angry Alex)
Labels: economic growth
Joshua Bell, Free and Clear
An interesting story. And the Snopes commentary is also interesting.
For my own part, I know I can tell the difference between a $3 bottle of wine and a $10 bottle of wine, but I have very little chance of distinguishing a $15 bottle of wine from a $70 bottle of wine.
And I usually stop to listen to musicians in the subway, and leave a buck. Perhaps because I can't tell the difference.
(Nod to the LMM)
The Culture that is France
Tea Party Article, and Stewart/Colbert Article
My man Sheldon called, and we had a nice talk. And then he wrote it up in the newspaper...
And then my man David called, and we had a nice talk. And then he wrote it up in his newspaper chain, McClatchy.
You want to know anything, just ask. We can have a nice talk!
Incentives in universities
Nick Rowe has a great post on the woes of the central planner in university settings.
You should definitely read the whole thing, but here's my favorite bit:
"It's not enough (in some cases) to put the carrot in front of the donkey. You have to point to the carrot, tell the donkey it is a carrot, and that he can eat it. And work out marginal revenue and marginal cost for the donkey too. And repeat this several times".
One interesting take on university incentives comes from the school where Mrs. Angus and I worked in Mexico City, CIDE.
Everyone started with the same (fairly low) base salary and the requirement to teach one class. There were then extra payments for teaching more classes (subject to demand). There were also payments based on one's overall academic reputation from SNI which came in three levels if you qualified. They also paid piecework on articles. A payment for each working paper and then an additional payment for publication on a scale related to the quality of the journal. Finally there were semi-annual productivity bonuses that could be as large as two months base salary.
I found this to be a great system. We got a ton of work done there.
Friday, October 29, 2010
My Dinner with Angus (and the Lovely Ms. Angus)
So Angus put together a first rate supper here at House d'Angus. Afterwards, the sitting / tea drinking / storytelling began.
Angus and I, affected by the decaf tea no doubt, began to bare our innermost souls. Each of us confessed our deepest, most intimate fear, which interestingly happen to be identical.
Ticks we can deal with, broken bones, fire, all fine. But no freakin' leeches, please. Gives us nightmares.
So...Ms. Angus immediately tells a story of a missionary she had heard about, in Africa. A large leech apparently crawled onto him.
And into his eye.
It latched, and managed to get to the back of his eye. "Like it was going to go into his brain," she said.
Angus and I are staring at her. We have bared our manly vulnerabilities, and she is going to go THERE?
Immersed in her story, she continued: "They had to pour hot sauce into his eye. Hot pepper sauce. He was screaming and thrashing around, and they had to tie him down. They kept putting more pepper sauce into his eye, and he was screaming. But they were afraid the leech would go into his brain."
Angus and I are holding onto each other and making little whimpering sounds.
She goes on. "Finally, the leech couldn't stand it, and the pepper sauce was burning it. So it came out." Seeing us staring at her, she said, "What? What did I say? Did I mention it was going to go into his brain?"
I am going to dream me some tremulous dreams, I'm afraid. Ms. Angus won this round.
He came, he saw, he conquered!
So, I am visiting at House d'Angus, and got to see the early morning walk wear of the lovely Ms. Angus (to be fair, it was COLD this morn, so she had every reason to wear gloves). We walked Mr. Tootie, and then Angus and I headed to the office.
O Daily had this article about my talk last night. (I already wrote them about the misspelling in the title!)
Voters may be dumb, but they are smarter than Taegan Goddard
On his Political Wire, Goddard says:
A Bloomberg National Poll finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won't be recovered.
The facts: The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, has overseen an economy that has grown for the past four quarters and expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks.
Umm, Taegs old pal, the economy HAS shrunk! real GDP peaked in the 4th quarter of 2007 and we have not yet reached that level. Now the economy is not still shrinking, but that's a different story.
While I'm at it, taxes HAVE gone up. Our deficit has exploded and (repeat after me cheese lovers) DEFICITS ARE FUTURE TAXES!
Finally, while banks are paying back TARP money with interest, taxpayers are losing billions on the TARP funds that were used to bail out GM.
Does it matter if the Republicans take the House?
Some see a zombie apocalypse. I don't see much really.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tonight's the Night
Bruce Berry and Mungowitz were/are both working men, and while Bruce is gone, you can see Mungo tonight at 7:00 at OU (181 Hester Hall)!
Be sure to introduce yourself to he or I as a KPC reader!
Here's the ad one more time, just because it's so cool:
Observations from the Thunder's opening night
Derrick Rose really likes to shoot the basketball (31 shots in 31 minutes).
Thabo Sefolosha is a ferocious defender.
The Thunder really miss Nick Collison. He's their "glue" guy, especially on interior defense.
"DJ Boom" is not actually a DJ at all!
Thunder still are not good at halftime entertainment.
Wayne Coyne is extremely skinny.
I am ready for the Daequan Cook era to be over.
Kyle Korver's new teammates don't seem to like him very much.
Thunder won the game by finally playing some good D in the last half of the fourth quarter, which featured some spectacular dunks by Durant and Westbrook. Right now though, they don't look like a better team than last year.
Do (ex) leaders matter? Another data point
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
So You Want to Be a Political Scientist?
My favorite is #19.
...and when I die, I'll be Sooner dead!
My university's fight song has some very strange words.
"Well, I'd like to say thank you to my family for being here, and all of my friends. Boomer Sooner."
By way of context, Jeffrey got into trouble in AZ after escaping from prison in OK.
The scariest phrase I read this morning
Things that make my life more difficult than it could be
Labels: that's gonna leave a mark
Dems at Defcon 1
Interesting article (read the update, too!).
The gist is that most early voters are registered Dems, which I have heard also, and thought strange. BUT.... Dem Party internal polls show that these early voting "Dems" are overwhelmingly voting Republican, in some cases nearly straight ticket Republican.
Hence, DemCon 1.
(Nod to the Blonde)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
El Mercurio article
On the leftiness of Obama redux
To summarize where we are, I've come to realize that a lot of Obama's foreign and social policies are both (a) wrong and (b) conservative.
Since then I've been dealing with a lot of "epistemic closure" from the left as they argue that there is no evidence at all of Obama being left or liberal. I presented a lighthearted list, the first 6 of which I think are genuine evidence.
In an attempt to bring some at least semi-objective data to bear on the issue, I propose that his voting record as a Senator is relevant for judging his ideological bent (i.e. his inner leftiness).
Here is some information on that record:
The National Journal magazine, in its annual vote rating, said Obama moved left last year to the "most liberal senator" rating "after ranking as the 16th and 10th most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate."
Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal activist group, and the American Conservative Union, the conservative activist group, also rate Congress members on their votes. Their findings describe Obama as one of, but not the most liberal U.S. senator.
The ADA gave Obama a 75 percent liberal score in 2007, 95 percent in 2006 and 100 percent in 2005. Other Democratic senators received 100 percent during those years. David Card, ADA communications director, said Obama's score was lower last year because he missed certain votes.
Obama has a lifetime ADA average of 90 percent. Other senators - such as Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and others - have higher lifetime ADA ratings. Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, was ranked as the most liberal senator by the National Journal in 2003.
"He is one of the most liberal senators," Card said, referring to Obama.
The ACU, which customarily places conservative Republicans on the top of its list and liberal Democrats at the bottom, has given Obama a lifetime ranking of just 7.67, according to the figures on the group's Web site.
It says Obama scored 8 percent in 2005, 8 percent in 2006 and 7 percent in 2007. Other Democratic senators in the ACU rankings have had lower yearly and lifetime scores, the site shows.
"He's one of the most liberal," said Larry Hart, the ACU director of government relations.
What do econ bloggers think about government and the economy
Every quarter the Kaufman foundation polls a group of "leading economics bloggers" (which means, not Angus!) on a bunch of questions.
***update*** the above sentence should say only 9% identified themselves as registered Republicans!
Monday, October 25, 2010
Small Business Myth
Veronique dR does a nice of abusing a silly myth.
Small businesses do create the most jobs. And destroy. It's like saying I have lost 600 pounds in the last year; true. But I have gained 860 pounds, and I still weigh 260. You need to worry about the NET change.
And government policies not only do not help small business produce more jobs, but those policies actually hurt. Veronique does a nice job of making it understandable.
Fisk, Fisk, Fisk
A version of "Jay-walking" on the U of Colorado campus.
Many fine moments.
But my favorite is when they ask one kid, "How many judges on the US Supreme Court?"
Silence. Then a hint: "It's an odd number!"
Kid responds: "Oh, eighteen." We are so screwed.
(Nod to Anonyman, who visited Chez Mungowitz with the lovely Ms. Anon this past weekend. Very nice time)
Top 10 signs Obama is a lefty
In an earlier post, I became aware that our president, at least on foreign policy and many social issues actually is acting in quite a conservative manner. Unfortunately, he is also totally wrong on these issues just as the previous "conservative" administration was.
Macro and the non-economist
After playing tennis with a non-economist friend yesterday, he asked me how can macro have two completely different schools of thought which seem to differ even on the basics. I told him that, at the op-ed level, macro had a lot of ideology and politics in it and there were more than two schools of thought!
All We Are Saying....
...is give "No Prez" a chance!
Labels: a change is gonna come democracy
Saturday, October 23, 2010
one reality, many interpretations?
The progressive drumbeat that the Dems are in trouble because Obama was too conservative continues.
It's hard for me to understand this sentence coming from a person (i.e. Mark) who I like and respect. From my perspective, Obama is pretty far left and uncompromising.
Friday, October 22, 2010
The Froggy apocalypse continues
More rolling strikes and national days of action are planned as the country waits for its Senate to vote on the bill to raise the retirement age by two years.
Let's get a message from the French street:
"I am 44 and I don't want to work until I am 62 or 67," teacher Odile Jaquet told the Associated Press news agency. "I am still young: I still have to work for another 18 years, and in my industry, I don't think that I will be able to work much longer."
First, let me point out to Odile that by saving and investing, one can build one's own (this would be worded less awkwardly if I had any idea what gender the name Odile connotes) financial assets and choose one's own retirement age. Waiting for the state's permission is not the only possible option. I don't want to work until I'm 67 either and have taken a series of steps to try and insure that I won't have to, whatever Uncle Sam may do to his official "retirement age".
Second, being a 52 year old teacher, I wonder what it is about our industry that would cause a 44 year old teacher to say "I don't think I will be able to work much longer". Maybe Odile just got done grading a bunch of mid-terms, that often makes me think the end is near.
Third, is this action being phased in over time or does it just hit everyone at once? If I was 59.5 and planning to retire, I'd be seriously pissed. At age 44, Odile still has a chance to make financial decisions that would allow retirement at 60 instead of 62 (or 65 instead of 67).
Fourth, I would reckon that this small raising of the retirement age is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the eventual retrenchment of the French welfare state. I wonder what kind of protests will occur when the big stuff starts to come down?
Quotes entirely relevant for this election season
"Politics is a ridiculous profession populated by ridiculous people. Maybe if we elect increasingly clownish candidates, the public will eventually come to realize this, and finally realize that it’s probably not a good idea to put larger and larger portions of our lives and livelihoods in the hands of people who have achieved success in a field that rewards character traits you spend your entire tenure as a parent trying to teach out of your kids."
Stealing From the Children
Senator Boxer: "I worked SO hard..."
quotes entirely relevant for explaining why I live in Oklahoma
Phone call for Mikhail Prokhorov!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Take These Words, and Make a Title
JoPa is on the right track
American football has a big problem. The accumulation of huge hits seems to be causing severe neurological problems. The NFL has responded by adopting a more strict concussion protocol and now looks to be adopting or enforcing more rules against helmet-to-helmet contact.
NCAA legend Joe Paterno says that the league should remove the face mask from the helmet.
I say they should remove the entire helmet!
Really. You can't have helmet to helmet hits without a helmet! Maybe receivers and quarterbacks get helmets but no one else does.
It is not a huge stretch to argue that better helmets make for more vicious hitting and more injuries.
Maybe, a la Gordon Tullock, backs and receivers could wear a headband of metal spikes while defensive players go bareheaded.
If football doesn't solve this problem, it may not exist in anything like its current form in another 20 years.
Then poor Oklahoma won't be first in anything!
Quotes entirely relevant for these troubled times
Politics and Baby Mamas
Mothers are somewhat more conservative than women overall. Does becoming a mother change a woman's political attitudes? Or do relatively more conservative women become mothers at a higher rate?
Soccer Moms, Hockey Moms and the Question of “Transformative” Motherhood
Jill Greenlee, Politics & Gender, September 2010, Pages 405-431
Abstract: From Dwight Eisenhower to John McCain, presidential candidates have appealed to female voters by highlighting motherhood in their campaigns. The most recent example of this has been the “hockey mom” trope introduced by the first hockey mom to earn a slot on the GOP presidential ticket, Governor Sarah Palin. These appeals, while motivated by political gamesmanship, imply that mothers see the political world a bit differently from other women. They suggest that women with children have different political priorities and concerns and, at times, different positions on political issues. This article takes this proposition seriously, and asks the question: Does becoming a mother have a transformative effect on women's political attitudes? Using longitudinal data from the four-wave 1965–97 Political Socialization Panel Study, I track the movement of women's political attitudes on partisan identification, ideological identification, and policy issues. I find that the effects of motherhood on women's political attitudes, while not uniform in nature, do push some women to adopt more conservative political attitudes. Thus, these results suggest that while motherhood does not transform women's political attitudes, for some women motherhood does promote interesting attitudinal shifts.
Nod to Kevin Lewis...
Labels: articles to read
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
In the Land of Real Sucking, Those Who Only Kind of Suck Will Win
Let's not forget, the Republicans do in fact suck. But they only kind of suck, so they will win big in November.
Nod to Angry ALex
Tyler's a comin'!
Some Constitutional Links
10th Amendment Case: what should the feds do? (Nod to Neanderbill)
Miss O'Donnell is powned, by asking what she thinks is a "gotcha" question: "Where is this 'separation of church and state' in the Constitution?" Remember, she was a "Constitutional Scholar" at Claremont. I was open-mouthed watching the video. This debate was at a LAW SCHOOL. That's why the laughter. O'Donnell actually looks around and grins, certain that they are laughing at her clever gotcha question. (Nod to Anonyman)
UPDATE: From the National Review..... And, sorry Ms. Trinko, but that is a fail. There are two parts to the guarantee of the separation of church and state in the 1st Amendment. The first is the restriction on establishment. The second is the restriction on free exercise. BOTH of those together, where the government cannot choose one sect, and ALSO cannot restrict what individuals practice, together constitute the separation of church and state. So, the defense that "free exercise" somehow requires the teaching of intelligent design in schools is just nonsense. It DOES mean that the state cannot prevent it from being taught in church, and that's all. Ms. O'Donnell is an idiot, but at least she is an idiot in the first instance. Ms. Trinko, in defending this nonsense, is a derivative idiot in the second instance.
Federal judge hears case on Obamacare. This has already gone further than I expected.
This is what yesterday was like for me
Labels: that's gonna leave a mark
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Foot in mouth disease, ecclesiastical edition
Regarding AIDS, the head of the Catholic church in Belgium recently said:
"I would not at all think in such terms. I do not see this illness as a punishment, at most a sort of inherent justice, a bit like how we are presented with the bill for what we do to the environment."
Regarding Gentiles/Goyim (aka non-Jews) the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator recently said:
"Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,”
“Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.
That is why gentiles were created,”
Thank you gentlemen, for clearing up a few mysteries for us.
Obama explains the upcoming election, take 2
I guess the "blame it on the Supremes" balloon wasn't flying, because now the President is blaming the upcoming election results on evolutionary biology!
"People out there are still hurting very badly, and they are still scared. And so part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared," Obama said at a Democratic fundraiser Saturday in Boston. "And the country is scared, and they have good reason to be."
Monday, October 18, 2010
Oh brave new world that has such people in it
Taking a stand that appeals to no one
This is pretty much what President Obama has done. He's making vague noises about the "government tightening its belt", which has made Delong, Krugman and Mark Thoma go ballistic.
Of course, contingency plans for a possible 5% cut that might involve not filling vacancies is not going to do anything to placate deficit hawks and Tea Party Peeps.
Sure the President is in a rough spot. The incumbent party generally loses seats in a mid-term election, and voters tend to punish incumbents for poor economic performance, but Obama seems to have gone totally tone deaf, appealing to neither the left or the right.
Perhaps the most disconnected part of his remarks are where he blames the upcoming electoral debacle on the Supreme Court:
Obama linked the Republican momentum to a Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to spend freely on elections.
"I would feel very confident about our position right now if it weren't for the fact that these third-party independent groups, funded by corporate special interests and run by Republican operatives, without disclosing where that money is coming from, are outspending our candidates in some cases 5 to 1, 10 to 1.. . . And it's the direct result of a Supreme Court opinion called Citizens United."
He called the opinion "a profoundly faulty Supreme Court decision [that] has opened the floodgates to special interest money, undisclosed, and having a significant impact on the election."
It is hard to know how to react to this.
First of all, it's a waste of perfectly good bacon.
Second, it is, as my Duke colleague D. Schanzer notes, "intolerance." (He also says that intolerance is in "plentiful abundance," which must be different from regular abundance, I guess...)
I can see that someone might think it was funny (in a not very funny, drunk redneck yelling "FREE BIRD!!!!" kind of way). But I can also see, and moreso, how an already beleaguered minority would perceive this as a threat. If you want to have ham on Easter, to show you are not Muslim (or Jewish), then go for it. But why do you have to go defile someone else's church?
The KKK does not represent mainstream Christianity. Al Qaeda does not represent mainstream Islam. Lay off other peoples' churches.
(Nod to Angry Alex)
The Culture that is Oklahoma
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Quotes entirely relevant for this election season
The (mono) Culture that is Germany
Ah yes, Germany. Where people still want a "pure" country and 10% dream of a new Fuehrer.
Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, CSU, told the same party meeting Friday that the two Union parties were "committed to a dominant German culture and opposed to a multicultural one.
I don't know what you think of when you hear the phrase "a dominant German culture", but it does not produce a pleasant image of unicorns and rainbows in my head.
Around the same number (35.6 percent) think Germany is being "over-run by foreigners" and more than one in 10 called for a "Fuehrer" to run the country "with a strong hand".
Thirty-two percent of people said they agreed with the statement: "Foreigners should be sent home when jobs are scarce."
Far-right attitudes are found not only at the extremes of German society, but "to a worrying degree at the centre of society," the report noted.
More than half (58.4 percent) of the 2,411 people polled thought the around four million Muslims in Germany should have their religious practices "significantly curbed."
The integration of Muslims has been a hot button issue since August when a member of Germany's central bank sparked outrage by saying the country was being made "more stupid" by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants with headscarves.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
LeBron James is a metrosexual!
China loves Federer
Let me just let Roger tell it:
"It's very different, to be honest. Not everywhere do I get such nice and creative gifts. I always need to pack in the extra suitcase to take all the gifts back. That's the only small problem, but it's a good problem to have, so I'm happy about it.”
Friday, October 15, 2010
My old Macro professor goes Medieval on Modern Macro
My views would be considered outrageous in the academic community, but I feel very strongly about them. Those models are a diversion. They haven’t been helpful at all at understanding anything that would be relevant to a monetary policymaker or fiscal policymaker. So we’d better come back to, and begin with as our base, these classic macro-econometric models. We don’t need a revolution. We know the basic stories of optimizing behavior and consumers and businesses that are embedded in these models. We need to go back to the founding fathers, appreciate how smart they were, and build on that."
Full interview is here.
Obviously many Central Bankers disagree with Larry as the Fed and the ECB and the Central Bank of Canada are heavily invested in DSGE modeling.
Won't you help us?
Us Okies are phlegmatic about tornadoes but we are terrified of snow, and now I've discovered we are terrified of earthquakes too. People were going absolutely nuts over our mini-quake (people I was on the third floor and it didn't even knock me off my foam roller) even though it basically did zero damage.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Mrs. Angus and I are going to see Blonde Redhead in Dallas next month. I googled the opening act,Ólöf Arnalds, and holy moly, she/they are tremendous!
Here is a video:
Here is another:
Here is the myspace page.
It's like if Justin Vernon were a woman!
Why is it so hard to stay a good guy?
Or, why is it so hard to give up power.
Look at the Castro Brothers, they were once heroes of the revolution (I mean that sincerely) and now they are just the worst.
Look at Robert Mugabe, hero of Zimbabwe's independence, now reduced to destroying his own country to stay in power well into his 80s.
Look at Chavez. It's hard to remember now that he too was a hero.
In Africa, Museveni of Uganda helped depose Amin but has stayed in power now for 24 years and counting.
Sadly, Paul Kagame appears to be the latest case. He was a post-genocide hero, but most recently won re-election with 93% of the vote after vigorously suppressing opposition parties. Now the NY Times reports that Rwanda's leading opposition figure was just arrested today. Of course Paul has a long way to go to reach Mugabe longevity; he's only got 10+ years on the job at this point.
Are these all manifestations of the same personality type? Does fighting for a cause somehow delude you into thinking you are indispensable?
I find these cases simultaneously baffling and heartbreaking.
Pity poor Connecticut
There is an old joke in economics:
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Is Macroeconomics just looking under the streetlamp?
A fascinating new paper by Ricardo Caballero basically says yes:
"In this paper I argue that the current core of macroeconomics—by which I mainly mean the so-called dynamic stochastic general equilibrium approach—has become so mesmerized with its own internal logic that it has begun to confuse the precision it has achieved about its own world with the precision that it has about the real one. This is dangerous for both methodological and policy reasons. On the methodology front, macroeconomic research has been in “fine-tuning” mode within the local-maximum of the dynamic stochastic general equilibrium world, when we should be in “broad-exploration” mode. We are too far from absolute truth to be so specialized and to make the kind of confident quantitative claims that often emerge from the core. On the policy front, this confused precision creates the illusion that a minor adjustment in the standard policy framework will prevent future crises, and by doing so it leaves us overly exposed to the new and unexpected."
The piece is well worth reading both for its own arguments and the list of interesting "periphery" papers mentioned and cited.
A touching homecoming
It would have been Agent Zero's first game back in DC since he got popped for packing heat in the Wizards' locker room.
He celebrated by faking an injury, sitting out the whole game, and then telling people he had done so after the game was over.
Washington should keep him so far away from John Wall. If they can't get anything at all for him in a trade, they should just cut him.
Ball Don't Lie has more.
My third earthquake!
People, Oklahoma gots earthquakes! I've been in tornadoes in Ohio (Xenia 1973), earthquakes in Pasadena and Mexico City, repeatedly threatened by hurricanes in New Orleans and now experienced a smallish (4.5 on the Richter scale) earthquake in Normatopia while doing Pilates (really)!
What is going on in North Carolina?
The locals here in Angusland are buzzing over how Portfolio.com has ranked OKC as the 7th best area in some index of income growth out of 100 ranked areas.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The men were here to get your Belgian things
This is a great story (hat tip to Interfluidity).
From Euro Intelligence (I know, I know):
"The political situation in Belgium is becoming increasingly dramatic. After negotiations have broke down twice, the king asked for a new round of consultations to find a compromise over institutional reforms, possibly the last chance before organising new elections. Many expect that new elections would nothing but radicalise the positions, Le Monde reports. According to polls, the separatist NVA would get more than 30% of the votes in Flanders. French-speaking socialists now evoked a plan B, where Wallonia and Brussels would form a new Belgium. The Flemish response was that if they want to keep the heritage they can also keep the whole of the Belgian debt."
So Bolivia has managed to hold together but Belgium might not?
How fast could Evo learn Flemish?
Equal time: Breastfeeding Leave for Men
Men get to take "breast-feeding" leave, after baby is born.
Even if the mother of the baby is not employed, and is staying home.
No, really. In Spain.
Why is it that these arguments about equity seem to be most powerful when some bunch of whiny MEN think they have been denied something? I mean, it's true that if the man were staying home, and the woman were working, the woman would get an hour paid leave to go breastfeed. But, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, there is a difference in equipment we're talking about here. (And, vive la difference, by the way!)
And how long is it before Europe just closes completely? These people are batshit crazy.
(UPDATE: Could this be a way of subsidizing babies? Spain's birth native born birth rate is very low, 1.32 children per woman, only Greece is lower...That would be clever, right? ....Nah, can't be)
(Nod to the Ward Boss)
Flight of the Bumblebee
DC police cordoned off a street so that "Transformers 3" could be filmed. LOTS of cash paid for this service.
But then DC police let a DC police car come through the set, during filming. And the cop car causes Bumblebee to have an accident.
They cover the Bumblebee to keep people from taking pix. But, too late.
Thank goodness the DC police are around to protect us all. Idiots.
(Nod to Anonyman)
France is Closed
Riots by French "workers."
Bastiat described the French state perfectly: "The State is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
All those jumpin' Frogs want to have free retirement. Let someone else pay! I've worked hard for fifteen years...or something like that.
But I have to ask...how do you tell if a French worker is retired? I can't imagine anyone doing less work than they do when they are "working." I guess it means they can do nothing sitting on their ass at home smokin' cigs instead of sitting on their ass at some fake job smokin' cigs.
You better watch out for the police...
So far so good, Dean, I'm totally with you. We are far away from the Nutbush city limits. Not sure who exactly denies this identity but....
This brings us to the next part of the story: where trade deficits come from. At a given level of GDP, the main determinant of the trade deficit is the value of the dollar in international currency markets. This is very basic supply and demand. If the dollar is higher in value relative to other currencies then our exports will cost more to people living in Germany, Japan and China.
If a car sells for $20,000 in the United States then the price of this car to people living in other countries will depend on how much of their own currency (euros, yen, or yuan) they must pay to get a dollar. The higher the dollar relative to these other currencies, the more expensive the car is to foreigners. And, the more expensive it is to foreigners, the fewer U.S.-made cars they will buy. This means our exports will fall.
The story works in reverse on the import side. If the dollar is high and therefore buys lots of foreign currency, then imports are cheap. This means that we will buy lots of imports.
Hold on there partner. Not so fast. It is far from clear that the "main determinant" of trade deficits is the nominal exchange rate. There are a lot of countries whose currency is cheap in dollar terms with which we don't have large deficits. Further, the correct measure would be the real exchange rate and there are a bunch of other factors involved as well. Also not too sure what this has to do with accounting identities.
This brings us back to the budget deficit part of the story. If the United States has a large trade deficit, then it means that net national savings are negative. That is definitional. For net national savings to be negative then we must have either negative private savings or negative public savings (i.e. a budget deficit).
The budget deficit follows from the fact that we have a trade deficit, which is in turn the result of the overvalued dollar. This brings us to the strangely paradoxical behavior of the Washington policy elite.
Ok, now I see what you did there. You made a u-turn, floored the accelerator, and flew right into downtown Nutbush.
Rather than abusing an identity, Dean is abusing logic and economics.
People, there is a huge theoretical and empirical literature about the so called "twin deficits", and the bottom line is there is little consistent empirical evidence that trade deficits cause budget deficits and certainly it is in no way inevitable that they will.
In fact, in the literature I mention above, most authors argue that it's our budget deficit that is causing the trade deficit, and not as Dean Baker is arguing here with no evidence anywhere in sight that the trade deficit causes the budget deficit!
"if one wants to get the budget deficit down, then it is necessary to reduce the trade deficit."
This is way beyond Nutbush and just plain ridiculous.
If we cut spending and increased taxes we could balance the budget next year no matter how large the trade deficit might be. It just wouldn't be a factor.
The bottom line, people, is that contra Dean, the value of the dollar has been falling as our budget deficit has been rising. Here's a graph from Mark Perry on the dollar; I don't guess you need a graph to know what's happened to the budget deficit over that same period.
Yuan Me, We Gotta Talk....
Interesting article by Israel O., at Heritage, on yuan kerfuffle.
Woods on the Non-Depression of 1920
I did not much like "Meltdown." It's just too tendentious and selective in its use of evidence, though I agree with many of its conclusions.
But this T. Woods talk is pretty entertaining. Earlier he had written this, which is interesting and useful. (Hard to believe that this 50 minute talk followed a dinner, though. That's a long after dinner talk. Yikes.)
Monday, October 11, 2010
Just in case you were wondering how awesome the 2010 Nobel Peace is
Breaking down the Econ Nobel
Overall, I like the choices. Search theory and unemployment. My personal choice was Paul Romer and will be until he gets it, but this is a deserving group.
As usual, LeBron is all over this story and has done it better than I ever could.
Here are his post on Mortensen, on Pissarides, on Diamond, and his personal take on the relevance and meaning of this year's prize.
Kudos to Tyler for excellent and incredibly rapid coverage of this year's economics Nobel. Given that these guys were far from the front-runners, he must have produced all of this on the run this morning.
Power and People Who Suck
Markets in Everything: Tex-Mex fusion edition
Fiction Writer P-Kroog
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Mystery of the Disappearing Streetcar
Why Was YouTube Invented?
Born in the USA
On my scorecard there is one justified and awesome China bash and one confused and unjustified China bash.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
A Decade of Sucking for Cards
St Loo Cards are a proud franchise. Yankees have 27 WS titles, Cards are second in all of MLB with 10. Next NL team is the Dodgers, with 6. Nobody else is really close. Cards are clearly the class of the NL.
But there is bad news. Here is the number of Cards post season appearances by decade, with World Series titles in parens:
1920s: 2 (1)
1930s: 3 (2)
1940s: 4 (3)
1950s: ZERO (0)
1960s: 3 (2)
1970s: ZERO (0)
1980s: 3 (1)
1990s: 1 (0)
2000s: 7 (1)
2010s: ZERO (0)
Total post-season appearances in even decades: 19
Total WS titles in even decades: 8
Total post-season appearances in odd decades: 4
Total WS titles in odd decades: 2
I think I'll become a TB Ray fan. I know all the players, because I have watched them at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for a decade, and have known some of them when they came up from AAA.
A shame.... when Holliday tried to catch that line drive, the last out of the game, with his man parts, that that game was the Cards' last post-season experience for a decade...
Labels: el beisbol
Unfair, but funny
Nothing fair about this, since the various physical and political miscues are unrelated. But it is both funny and effective...
(Nod to the Blonde)
Labels: public choice videos
Killing with kindness
Here's LeBron James on Kevin Durant:
"He's great because he's humble," James said of Durant. "He accepts the challenge, but he's a very humble kid. He doesn't let it get to his head too much. He's been probably one of the best players since he was growing up. I mean, he was the freshman player of the year at Texas. He's gotten a lot of exposure and he knows how to handle it."
"You just appreciate great talent," James said. "He's just one of those guys, one of those kids, man, who's just going to continue to work hard and try to be one of the greats. For me, I admire stuff like that because I know how hard it is to work. I know how hard it is to get to that level where you feel like you're one of the superstars in this league. He's great. He's an unbelievable talent.
"He loves the game of basketball. He's a student of the game and he has a knack for knowing how to win and knowing how to put the ball in the hole."
Full article is here.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Rat Brain in a Jar Runs Robot
This is happening
I have nothing to add to this:
"Postal Union Election Delayed After Ballots Lost in the Mail"
(Nod to Angry Alex)
Labels: union thuggery
I came, I saw, I bailed out
I am deviating from the Angus-Mungowitz investment optimism, at least in the short run.
On August 3, Angus did a dangerous thing, making a prediction...about the future. I went along, and in fact had been buying stocks for a bit.
But I'm out, as soon as the trades can be executed. Almost totally out.
1. Since August 3, stocks have risen a bit, total. Not a lot, from about 10680 to 10950, with a drop and recovery in between, but if you had bought on the advice o'Angus on August 3 you would already have made 2.5% in 2 months. Don't be greedy.
2. It's October. Sure, I know that this is like believing in goat entrails or tea leaves, but some bad stuff has happened in October. You may enjoy this, especially the "ripe pumpkin theory."
3. There's an election. I know 'cause it's in all the papers. And no one knows what is going to happen. Not knowing means volatility and lots of it.
I parked almost everything in money market and real estate. (TIAA-CREF's real estate account is up 8% this year, btw). Bonds may be bubbling, 'cause any change in inflation expectations will hammer them. Bonds aren't usually this risky, though they are always riskier than many people seem to believe. And stocks scare me until after the election. That means zero out stocks, and zero out bonds, for a month.
So, depending on what happens on the first Tues after the first Mon in November, I may go back to stocks. But now I am officially on the sideline.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
There are no pan-asian supermarkets down in hell
Just Legalize It
Psychology: Enemy of 1st Amendment?
Peruvian Political Potboilers
As Tyler has reported Vargas-Llosa has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
A Cautionary tale
I loved this mini-story / blog post by John Scalzi. It's titled When the Yogurt took Over" and is self recommending!!
A week later, during breakfast, the yogurt used the granola she had mixed with it to spell out the message WE HAVE SOLVED FUSION. TAKE US TO YOUR LEADERS.
It's not just me anymore
The latest progressive meme is that the government should run like a business and any business in the government's situation would rationally and profitably borrow a lot of money and invest it right now. Mark Thoma and P. Krugman have made arguments like this and Ezra K. has a recent plaintive one in the WaPo.
The problems with this line of reasoning are many. For example, (1) the government ISN'T a business. Profit (or even ROI) is not its bottom line. (2) If the government were a business, its shareholders (i.e. us) wouldn't have to wait til November to boot our current management team. (3) In most businesses that I am aware of, management cannot vote to help themselves to more money from their shareholders.
People, it's not just me anymore; the "American street" simply doesn't trust the government to do things right.
At least Ezra does recognize that our government doesn't "do" infrastructure in a business-like manner:
The problem is that the way we choose our infrastructure projects is an embarrassment. About 10 percent of infrastructure spending comes from politicians securing earmarks. Most of the rest depends on a formula in which the government just hands money over to the states. There's no requirement for cost-benefit analysis or rate-of-return calculations. The decisions are horribly politicized.
Nice, but then he just hand-waves it away by saying we need to tie further massive borrowing to vague "reforms".
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Never play soccer with a politician
Ignominy, thy name is Ginepri
Markets in Everything: Mexican Century Bonds Edition
This is a pretty amazing turn of events. Mexico is selling 100 year government bonds and the expected yield is around 6%!
I admit that I am impressed with Mexico's macro management over the last 10 years, but a 6%, 100 year bond?? I don't think I'd be that bullish on Mexico.
I would suggest to our own government though that borrowing long now, rather than short is a good idea.
Republicans "Minor Party" in Colorado?
There's a lot to like about this...
If nothing else, it means we will hear a lot about "Gov. Hickenlooper." I like that.
But I really like the fact that the idiot Republicans are going to get hammered with the barriers to entry that they built up against "minor parties," so called.
(Nod to Sparktatstic Dave)
Donald Duck and Glenn Beck
Monday, October 04, 2010
Non-markets in some things: South Korean Edition
People: there's a Kimchi Crisis in South Korea. Prices for 2.5 kilos of Napa cabbage (the preferred base ingredient) have risen from 2,500 won a month ago to 11,500 won.