Kids Prefer Cheese
Credibly promising to be irresponsible...since 2004!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Anatomy of unemployment over the last four years, by county.
Kobe Bean Bryant: I owe it all to Michael...JACKSON??
What a fantastic column by Adrian Wojnorowski.
Here's the highlight:
Out of nowhere one afternoon, Michael Jackson made a call to the irrepressible and isolated Kobe Bryant, and so much changed for him. From a distance, the King of Pop could sense so much of his own obsessive genius within the prodigy. Bryant was the 18-year-old wonder for the Los Angeles Lakers, and no one knew what to make of a restlessness borne of a desperate desire for greatness.
“He noticed I was getting a lot of [expletive] for being different,” Bryant said.
They would talk for hours and hours, visiting at Neverland Ranch, and Bryant has long been fortified by the lessons Jackson instilled about the burden of honoring true talent, about the ways to open your mind to be smarter, sharper and insatiable in the chase.
“It sounds weird, I guess, but it’s true: I was really mentored by the preparation of Michael Jackson,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports.
Bryant isn’t much for nostalgia and sentimentality, but it hung in the air as he cut into his steak over dinner recently in the fourth-floor restaurant at the Graves Hotel. Jackson is gone, but Bryant is going on 15 years with the Lakers.
“We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts,” Bryant said. “He would teach me what he did: How to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did – and how he did it – was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown.
“That’s the mentality that I have – it’s not an athletic one. It’s not from [Michael] Jordan. It’s not from other athletes.
“It’s from Michael Jackson.”
I don't think I'll be able to get the smile this gave me off my face all day.
Advice to Grad students: get Hitched!
Interesting paper from Cornell. Here's the abstract:
Using data on 11,000 graduate students from 100 departments over a 20
year period, I test whether graduate student outcomes (graduation rates, time to degree, publication success, and initial job placement) differ based on a student’s gender and marital status. I find that married men have better outcomes across every measure than single men. Married women do no worse than single women on any measure and actually have more publishing success and complete their degree in less time. The outcomes of cohabiting students generally fall between those of single and married students.
Markets in everything: Holiday gift card edition
TSA will kill three planeloads of Americans in next few years
TSA is killing us. Yes, I recognize that the post-9/11 driving craze was because planes were not safe ENOUGH.
But let me put it this way: Instead of looking for bombs, we should be looking for terrorists.
The underwear bomber had a bomb in his underwear. And we had information, from the guy's own DAD, that the kid was a terrorist.
So our conclusion is that we should do a little profiling, and focus on people who have spent time in Yemen, and who are FAR more likely to be terrorists?
No. Our conclusion is that we will assume, as a matter of policy, that all people are equally likely to be terrorists, and put all our effort into looking for bombs.
At a minimum, it seems to me that you want to equate the marginal safety productivity of the two types of investment. This podcast gives good evidence we are failing the basic "equate at the margin" condition for Pareto optimality.
The point being: I don't object to security at airports. But we are overinvesting in airport security, and underinvesting in intelligence. Ditch the scanners, and spend that $20 billion on intelligence. And, yes, profiling.
The problem is that air safety is a constraint, not the objective function. We want to minimize cost of air travel, and maximize convenience, choice, and comfort, subject to the constraint that there are no bombs or terrorists on board. So we should be arguing about the trade-offs between cost and comfort/convenience. Instead these Niskanen-esque bureau-bozos are frantically trying to MAXIMIZE air safety, so they can increase their budgets. It's public choice 101.
UPDATE: George Will makes the right points.... "What the TSA is doing is mostly security theater, a pageant to reassure passengers that flying is safe. Reassurance is necessary if commerce is going to flourish and if we are going to get to grandma's house on Thursday to give thanks for the Pilgrims and for freedom. If grandma is coming to our house, she may be wanded while barefoot at the airport because democracy - or the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment; anyway, something - requires the amiable nonsense of pretending that no one has the foggiest idea what an actual potential terrorist might look like...The average American has regular contact with the federal government at three points - the IRS, the post office and the TSA. Start with that fact if you are formulating a unified field theory to explain the public's current political mood."
Labels: air travel
Big ups to Mungo
Monday, November 22, 2010
Two wrongs don't make a right
I agree with Tyler that the TSA's obsession with American genitals is not the worst thing our government is doing in the war on terror.
HP Printer: It doesn't work, he doesn't pay
So, his HP "All in one" printer didn't.
Print, that is. So he asked HP for some assistance. But HP insisted he should have to pay for tech service, even though should still have been under warranty.
So, he went all Mungowitz on its ass!
(Two people sent me this video. Can't imagine why...)
Article on "Security"
Nice article on TSA "security" checks.
It's the costly signal thing, as I have argued elsewhere. There is no actual content to the searches.
I was trying to explain it to a kid at Duke. I think it's like Nyquil. Nyquil tastes bad on PURPOSE. Given two identical (save for taste) cough medicines, people choose the one that is tastes bad, assuming it must be stronger. Nyquil has secured a niche by tasting like battery acid, ON PURPOSE.
And now TSA is trying to win us over the same gentle way. You gotta be cruel to be kind. Some fun ideas for messing with the man. MARCO!
(Nod to @lauraleslie for the 2008 article)
Grand Game: NYT Ed Page
This is a remarkable piece of innuendo.
Let's play the Grand Game! What is the most nonsensical, unsupported assertion here in the op-ed?
For me, it's the claim that "Wall Street" and "Republicans" are on the same side. If you look at the contributions to Obama, and the contributions for the past decade to Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, that is a LOL miscue. And that is just what was disclosed: Goldman basically bought its own bailout, by paying off Obama and his boys.
Even Michael Moore got THAT part right (I was screaming and laughing during the movie, because the smackdown on Dodd and Frank was so brutal!)
Sufjan Stevens has lost his marbles!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
People: Do NOT eat Wheaties!!
Because from what I learned today, they make you very, very, very dumb.
Perhaps it isn't a coincidence that so many of the people whinnying the loudest are prominent members of the financial community, the sector that has had the most to do with hollowing out our manufacturing base....
People, you just know that this bizarre claim is submitted without any evidence or proof! It's a real head-scratcher. The Goldman-Sachs destroyed our manufacturing sector? Really? How? This is nuts.
Here's more Klein:
There is, for example, Glenn Hubbard, who was featured on the New York Times op-ed page recently in defense of the deficit commission, describing the problem this way: "We have designed entitlements for a welfare state we cannot afford." This is the same Glenn Hubbard who served as George W. Bush's chief economic adviser when Dick Cheney was saying that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." One imagines that if Hubbard was so concerned about deficits, he might have resigned in protest from an Administration dedicated to creating them.
Wow. First, one can easily and logically consistently believe both of the following: (A) Our entitlement programs are unaffordable and (B) deficits don't matter.
I just picked out Mungowitz's Xmas present!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Answering your questions about thesis defenses
Yes, people, they really do involve snakes. Please read the whole thing, but here is one crucial part:
Q: Would someone who wrote a bad thesis and defeated a large snake get the same grade as someone who wrote a good thesis and defeated a small snake?
Is Tyler Cowen an Exhibitionist?
Judge for yourselves people:
I would encourage people to start by calculating the "p" that, twenty years from now, the major airlines get nationalized. Work backwards from there and compute the liberty-maximizing policy."
I, on the other hand, would encourage people to calculate the "p" that, twenty years from now we all have microchips implanted in our body that allow the Feds to track all our movements and conversations. Working backwards from there and computing the liberty-maximizing policy might lead to a differing conclusion than does Tyler's thought experiment!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Don't Blame the Police
This is really dumb.
But don't blame the police: it is the LAW. Cops don't get to pick which laws to enforce. I have argued this before...
So the lady in the article who says cops are wrong, is wrong.
And the lady who says, "Get rid of the chess tables" is an even bigger doofus. How is society made better off by destroying existing chess tables that are heavily used?
The problem is the stupid law. You can't even run on the grass, in the park, unless accompanied by a minor.
The thing is that the freqeuncy of child molestation or abduction by strangers has plummeted. It is NOT, simply not, an actual problem. This paper, in 2004, debunks a number of myths. And stranger abductions have gone DOWN since then.
The problem is nanny-fascist city council members, all over the country, who give in to pressure to make up ridiculous new laws.
(Nod to Anonyman)
Carville defiant on Obama comment By: CNN Political Unit
Washington (CNN) – Democratic strategist James Carville compared President Barack Obama to his Democratic primary rival and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday, implying in rather lewd terms that Obama needs to toughen-up.
And he's not sorry for it.
"If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he'd have two," Carville said at a "Christian Science Monitor" breakfast discussion. His comment was a response to whether Obama is taking strong enough stands on taxes and repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy. Carville made a similar comment to "Newsweek" during the 2008 campaign season when he compared Clinton and Obama's toughness.
"If she gave him one of her cojones, they'd both have two," he said.
He reacted to the comment on CNN's "John King, USA" Thursday.
"If I offended anybody, I am not sorry and I do not apologize," Carville told CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King.
But he also said he intended the comment to be a joke. "Of all the things people say about the president, I think this is fairly mild," Carville said. "I repeated a joke I made in the campaign."
(Nod to the Blonde)
Labels: political theatre
Piling On: Leave the Beast Alone
This is unfair. I am happy to enjoy making fun of President Obama for doing stupid s**t, but how can we blame him for taking security seriously? The tone of this story is just out of line. The "symbol" of riding around in little roller skate cars is not the point of the summit. The press is wrong, here. (And I say this as an experienced limo driver myself...)
However, it does reflect that President Obama has become our new Jimmy Carter. Just a joke, a clown. Not entirely his fault, by any means. Even Charles Krauthammer is saying that the press is "silly and vindictive," for heaven's sake.
Can you believe that just a year ago the slobbering Euro-weenies were giving this guy the Nobel Peace Prize? Now they hate him because he doesn't ride in SmartCar. Oh, you fickle Euro-weenies!
Assault rifle: Good ; Nail clippers: Not so fast
It's a meme now: TSA is crazy. May or not be true, but the meme is fully viral.
Like this... Nail clippers? One guy with nail clippers is going to take over a plane also occupied by 200 veteran infantry troops? An M-16, even without bullets, is plenty of club to face down a vicious nail clipper wielder.
(nod to the Blonde, who said she laughed so hard she snorted)
Labels: air travel
Even Canada Thinks We are Hilarious
Markets in everything: Canned goods edition
Thursday, November 18, 2010
"Has the Ben Bernank ever run in an election?"
Fail Contest:: Biggest Fail?
Who is the biggest fail? The keeper or the forward?
To me, this is an allegory. The keeper is the Republicans, failing to make even a cursory effort to protect budget stability.
And the idiot striker who strikes out is the Pelosi-Reid congress, missing the open goal and just doing stupid stuff.
Appropriations Committees: Nein, danke
Wow! People are turning down Appropriations Committee assignments? That's pretty amazing....
(Nod to @tofias)
KPC solves your problems
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
You sunk my battleship!
Wow! KPC friend Will Wilkinson scores a bulls eye. Please read the whole thing but here's a teaser to get you going:
How to evaluate the Fed
My friends Larry White, George Selgin and Bill Lastrapes have a new paper claiming the Fed has been a failure. They look mainly at US macroeconomic performance to make this claim.
A novel idea
Wow! The NY Times had an epiphany and announced that economic growth might actually serve some useful purpose; it could reduce the deficit!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Motes vs. Beams
People, Dean Baker is quite a piece of work. He goes after people hard with what I will charitably describe as less than a fully correct analysis.
The other reason why inflation would be desirable is that it would allow homeowners to get out from under their debt burdens. If wages rose 3.0-4.0 percent annually in step with inflation, the burden of a fixed mortgage debt would be eroded through time. Also, if house prices rose in step with inflation, consumers would gain equity in their homes.
I don't think there should be laws against anti-gay hate speech, or bullying. A teacher is obliged to protect ALL students from abuse and threats. A classroom has to be safe, and to feel safe. Singling out gay students for special protections will make the problem worse.
This video is impressive. The kid is quite a speaker.
But the article raises some questions, to me. First, no Confederate flags? Really? In my high school, that would have meant sending about half the kids home. Even the women. Yes, it would have. There were lots more Confederate flags than U.S. flags on jackets, pockets, and so on.
Second, "the" home of the KKK? Nice that we have those dangerous maniacs segregated off into one small town in Michigan, but my impression was that the problem was somewhat more widespread, frankly. It's hard to prove a negative, but it appears that the headquarters of the Michigan KKK was near Howell, emphasizing the "WAS." If you are really worried about hate speech, perhaps you shouldn't go making up blatantly false stuff about Howell, MI.
Finally, what is the procedure for expelling a kid? I don't see why the teacher would be a hero for just telling the bully / problem kid to "get out of my classroom." Sure, it's a hassle to follow the rules. But the 14 year old kid who was told to "get out" is in school because the law forces him to be there. You can't just let him wander the halls. If the teacher was suspended for ignoring the rules on suspensions, then I have to say the suspension is consistent with standard practice.
So, two cheers for the teacher. And three cheers for the kid in the vid; good advocacy, and well done standing up to bullies that way.
(Nod to Anonyman)
Monday, November 15, 2010
This is quite disturbing, in several ways. Read the comments, on YouTube.
I can't imagine what good these people think can come from murdering police officers. Their job is to enforce the law. Some of the laws are good, some of the laws are bad. Cops don't get to decide which are which.
Labels: vintage violence
Going to Go Blind....
I have to have cataract surgery, in December. Not a big deal, and with the new lens my eyesight should be dramatically improved. No more glasses. Yippee!
Anyway, while we were driving, the LMM asked what the recovery would be like. I jokingly said that the doctor had said it would really help my eyesight if I had a lot of sex.
She stared out the window, and then said, "Well I guess you are going to go blind then, one way or another!"
Yikes... I must be a bad influence.
Airport Security: Excessive or Just a Hard Problem?
A disturbing little video about a very upset little girl.
I had been wondering about the comparison to Israeli security on El Al. They have never had a hijacking. And there are some folks who wish the Israelis harm, so ... aren't those procedures better? No shoe taking off, no groping, no x-ray porn?
Maybe not. A sensible response from the V-Consp. Three hours? I guess it's not so simple.
(Nod to Angry Alex)
what goes around comes around
Alan Blinder is up in arms at the audacity of foreign leaders calling QE2 "currency manipulation". So is President Obama, Paul Krugman, and a host of other luminaries.
I have been teaching at Duke since 1997.
But I hate, just detest, Duke basketball. I respect, even very much admire, our coach, think the players are all great kids, it's all good. But I cannot abide the team, the cause, the self-love.
Watch this, and tell me I'm wrong.
Let Me Help You Pack!
KPC friend Veronique de Rugy tells a fine Gov. Christie Story.
The Blonde suggests that this be the bumper sticker for 2012: "Let's all help them pack!"
Ban on Dying
Sunday, November 14, 2010
It's so EZ to save the country
The NY Times set out a challenge: YOU fix the Budget! So I tried and it was easy. You can see my plan from this link.
My idea of Hell
"ACADEMICS at one Australian university have to fill in 14 forms for a PhD student to get from pre-admission to graduation. Those 14 compulsory forms demand 270 separate pieces of information. Each of those items of information has to be supplied, on average, 2.7 times. For each PhD student, academics lose 580 minutes of precious time on form-filling, according to a conservative estimate."
What's in a name?
In the recent Brazilian elections, 6 candidates registered themselves as "Barack Obama" (they all lost). One candidate ran as "Chico Bin Laden" (and lost). Over 200 candidates registered their names as some riff on outgoing president Lula's name. There is much more here and here.
People, we have met the enemy, and he is us. Only in the wonderland world of Democratic party politics can a President visit a country with which we ALREADY HAVE A SIGNED FTA and come out saying that he failed to reach a trade deal!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Here he is people: the stupidest man alive
Well hello Thunder...
it's so nice to have you back where you belong.
Friday, November 12, 2010
My old Macro professor goes off on QE backlash
An altogether excellent (and self-admitted) rant by Larry Meyer.
What about the Asian economies, including China, which complain that the Fed is contributing to asset bubbles around the world?
The real question we have to ask is why FOMC policy is affecting asset prices abroad: The answer is that the Asian economies competitively intervene in their exchange markets to manipulate the value of their currencies! As a result, they cannot have independent central banks. They are, therefore, importing U.S. monetary policy. Is that policy right for them? Hell no!
How should the FOMC respond to these countries? The Committee should say: You have no one to blame but yourselves. Hasn’t the U.S. government already advised you to float your currencies and not intervene? With respect to China, by the way, wouldn’t an appreciation of the renminbi be just what the doctor ordered? Isn’t just what’s needed to restrain inflation and aggregate demand?
Pay no attention to that Okie behind the curtain!
Over at New Geography, Joel Kotkin writes about 10 cities best poised to do well post great recession. Interestingly Mungo-land (Raleigh-Durham) and Angus-topia (OKC) are on the list.
During the Great Depression, it was Oklahomans who moved to California to escape the Dust Bowl. Now there are considerably more people moving from California to Oklahoma than the other way around....And Oklahoma City—which enjoys low unemployment as a result of its steadily growing energy and aerospace sectors—has been ranked among the best job markets for young people, ahead of Dallas, Seattle, and even New York (having Kevin Durant lead the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder for the foreseeable future can only improve the buzz).
Of course, none of the cities in our list competes right now with New York, Chicago, or L.A. in terms of art, culture, and urban amenities, which tend to get noticed by journalists and casual travelers. But once upon a time, all those great cities were also seen as cultural backwaters. And in the coming decades, as more people move in and open restaurants, museums, and sports arenas, who’s to say Oklahoma City can’t be Oz?
Who indeed, people, who indeed?
No Mungo, just don't have kids
In a similar vein to Mungo's post below, a new paper from the Center for Global Development (downloadable here) reckons that the most cost effective way to reduce carbon emissions in developing countries is to have there be less people in developing countries!
They don't quite put it like that; they say the policies of "family planning and female education" are the biggest bang per buck, but both common sense and a reading of the paper show that what these policies do to reduce emissions is reduce the number of people.
People, don't get me wrong; I'm fully in favor of female education for reasons completely unrelated to carbon emissions!
As far as family planning goes, most countries undergo an endogenous demographic transition as they get richer. I am not sure that posters and free condoms can significantly speed up that transition.
While I in no way wish to impugn the motives of the study, a policy of poor country population control as a method of reducing carbon emissions makes me very uncomfortable.
Homesick TSA Blues
KPC BFF Will Wilkinson writes a useful article on the idiot docility of the American public: the government says it needs to rub its hands on our tingly bits, so it must be necessary, line up, don't make trouble!
Some time ago, I tried to come up with the best explanation I could think of on the positive side: costly signals.
But that doesn't really explain our long term acceptance of this pointless abuse. Especially since a guy can get on a plane after his dad calls to warn authorities, and then all they want to do is "interview" him after the plane lands.
Here's one I don't get: I was waiting to pick up Tyler C., at the RDU airport. I was told I could not leave the car for even 30 seconds. I could wait in the parked car for three minutes, and then I had to circle the airport and come back. I did that three times. May I ask you: Why? There has never, ever been an attack on an airport, from the outside. Is the reasoning that there were some attacks during flights, flights imply airplanes, airplanes land at airports, and my car was parked at an airport? The drop-off lane where I was meeting Tyler was empty, no people around except me and the cop; no terrorist would pick that place for bomb attack. As we know, it is easy to drive a truck full of explosives to Times Square, or some other densely populated area, yet there is no security there at all. (Nor should there be, given the odds of an attack are still pretty much zero).
So why do the airport cops outside, and the TSA inside, make us jump and dance and obey? Because they can, folks. Because they can. And we all just say, "Please! Sir! May I have another!"
(Nod to @MsCourt)
Labels: air travel
Just Kill Yourself
Newsweek has advice about how to save the Earth.
Boiled down: Kill yourself, or at least live in a way that makes you wish you COULD kill yourself. Problem is those greenhouse gases when you fire that bullet into the roof of your mouth: bad for the environment.
(Nod to the Blonde)
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Any Idiot Can Make Linear Projections...
And this particular idiot is making linear projections about chocolate prices.
(Nod to the LMM, who frightened me with the image of female choc-zombies stalking the earth in search of the their next meal of 70%+)
Labels: economics is hard
Don Boudreaux Comes Up Big....
The Only "Conservative" In the last 30 years was....
And I have to second Angus' "Shrub=FAIL" post. Check this graph, of Debt as % of GDP:
(click for more bodacious image!)
We have had exactly ONE fiscally conservative prez in the last 30 years, and his name was...CLINTON. Sorry, Repubs: you all suck!
(Debt=publicly held debt + intergovernmental debt; no way do you get to ignore T-bonds that happen to be held by the Soc Sec Trust Fund. If SSTF gets to count the bond as an asset, then that is a big honking debt on the government balance sheet. And I got the pic by taking a Nat Post graph and making it a ppt slide, so I could add the notations)
Big 'Uns Eat FREE!
The Shrub is STILL full of it
It's good to know that some things never change.
(click on pic for a more glorious image)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Got this in an email. Interesting...
35 STATES FILE LAWSUIT
Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention. This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on. This is an idea that we should address.
For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that passed... in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.
If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ."
Actors need to learn how to stay grounded, apparently.
Poor guy. Does this happen a lot, to giraffes? I never thought of that.
(Nod to Anonyman)
The Edmund Fitzgerald
It was today, in 1975.
I feel weird when I link to blogs far more popular than KPC. Most of our readers probably already follow Tyler and Interfluidity. But they both have excellent posts up about our current economic situation and the policy options we face. You people should read these posts so I am linking to them here.
Still, QEII may do some good. Money matters, even if we don't always understand how or why, and excessively tight money has never done market-oriented economics any favors. Think of QEII as a make-up for some earlier monetary policy mistakes. Some of the relevant alternatives include a trade war with China or direct government employment of the unemployed and with what endgame? QEII is not some terrifying burst of potential hyperinflation.
But the thing is, human affairs are a morality play, and economics, if it is to be useful at all, must be an account of human affairs. I have my share of disagreements with both Krugman and DeLong, but on balance I view them as smart, well-meaning people who would do more good than harm if they had greater influence over policy. But they won’t, and they can’t, and they shouldn’t, if they exempt themselves from the moral fray. One of the stereotyped insults economists throw at one another is that a piece of analysis is “partial equilibrium”. The phrase is shorthand for coming to a conclusion based on assumptions that could not survive the circumstances under which the conclusion would obtain. I don’t want to single out Krugman and DeLong, but technocratic economists in general engage in partial equilibrium social science when they ignore moral concerns and the constraints “legitimacy” places on feasible policy.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
One tough Okie
Oklahoma State University student Kasey Cook was shot in the leg last night in Stillwater. Here is a news report. And here is the awesome, amazing, report from the OSU student newspaper.
"He (Cook) had blood running down his leg and he asked me if I just saw a guy running and I said 'Ya' and he was like 'He just shot me,'" Schram said. "I asked him if he needed to sit down and he said 'No, it didn't burn as bad as I thought it would' and I was like, 'Dude you just got shot and he sat down and made a joke and said 'At least it didn't hit my balls.'"
Pretty funny. Just walk through the D.
I wonder if the kid plays poker?
A more traditional version, where the QB takes the snap through the legs of the center.
Now, I thought a snap HAD to be between the legs to be legal, in high school and higher. But...no. Any continuous movement of the ball, including handing it to the QB, is legal.
Good One By Ken
The Krugman gambit
Paul seems to only have one card these days, but he does play it very, very well.
Monday, November 08, 2010
All Hail John Covil
For he is the winner of the KPC reader appreciation new tagline contest. His entry now sits astride the KPC masthead like a colossus.
Buy More Better Cars, and Other Stuff
BHO writes an op-ed. (Okay, some ghost wrote it, but BHO read it and suggested some edits)
Here it is, in the state-sponsored mouthpiece of the administration...
He seems to believe, or at least he says he believes, that Chinese people didn't buy General Motors cars because of protectionism. I believe that that is not right.
Here are the four finalists for the KPC tagline reader appreciation contest. These are actual verbatim entries from actual KPC readers!
Monday's Child is full of links
Guy writing book on pessimism. Has pinched nerve. Turns out it was a tumor. On Jon Stewart. (Nod to Angry Alex)
The Monster from Jekyll Island: It was Neanderbill! He was there! (This time, I mean; he went to the conference). And he got quoted in the NYTimes. I carpool with a famous person. You can tell other people you know me. (Nod to Anonyman)
Due Process: "Tenure" means you can't just fire them. Or so says the arbitrator at FSU.
New GOP Majorities say, "Hey States! We Gots yer budgets RIGHT HERE!"
Distance learning, at home. Recruit Chinese students, save high school? (Nod to Kevin Lewis)
California is the Lindsay Lohan of states...
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Uncle Sam: Part Pusher, Part Preacher
The front page of today's NY Times sings a new verse to a familiar tune. The Federal government actively helps market extra fatty pizza (Uncle Sam the Cheese Pusher) while at the same time putting out publications warning people against eating pizza.
Self experimentation and unintended consequences
People, I am no spring chicken. But I am moderately active. I play tennis, practice a fairly active version of yoga, "do" Pilates, and take daily walks with my pack.
Eric Posner on Roman Constitution
Saturday, November 06, 2010
The best new song I've heard in quite a while
Where's the FDA when you really need them?
Finally a reason to go to a Celtics game!
Optimal number of wives: <=1. Cedric the Entertainer shows why:
But there's a new "reality" show, perhaps patterned after "Big Love" fictional success. (Success is real, story is fiction).
Nod to Angry Alex...
UPDATE: Yes, of course the optimal number of husbands is zero, for a woman. Thank goodness the LMM failed to optimize, and accepted me.
Friday, November 05, 2010
K-Olbermann Favors Dems over Repubs! Who Knew?
This is garbage. You can watch Olbermann, or not watch him. But why in the world should he be prevented from making small, fully disclosed contributions well within the law? MSNBC donates millions of dollars in free air time to shill for Dems, just as Fox donates tens of millions of dollars in free air time for Repubs.
As Angus and I might have said in college....why can't we just all get a baung?
K-Wine on T-Cow
Oklahoma is OK!
Some pix from my visit to OK for the KPC Summit meeting.
First, U of OK Prez David Boren wants to be sure he is not forgotten, even before he is gone. So he claimed a prime niche for his little statue (circled) on the admin building. Beautiful building, though.
Then, the main library reading room. This pic doesn't do it justice. It's breathtaking, "prairie Gothic."
Very nice campus, terrific little "college town" strip of restaurants and bars within easy walking distance. Great place.
Labels: Okie horn blowing
Tagline contest update
People, we've received 10s of entries, many of them excellent. We'll accept entries through the weekend, with a winner announced on Monday. I have designed and ordered a custom Starbucks gift card that goes to the winner.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
The best column I've read this week
Jeffrey Goldberg chronicles his battles with the "dick-measuring device".
You really must read the whole thing, but here is a teaser:
"Yes, but starting tomorrow, we're going to start searching your crotchal area" -- this is the word he used, "crotchal" -- and you're not going to like it."
"What am I not going to like?" I asked.
"We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance," he explained.
"Resistance?" I asked.
"Your testicles," he explained.
'That's funny," I said, "because 'The Resistance' is the actual name I've given to my testicles."
Finally the TSA has done something useful; provided fodder for an awesome article.
Obama = Keynesian
I had heard about this, but had not actually seen it.
And then yesterday @kohenari got all pissy on Twitter about how the political left is not anti-intellectual. Maybe, but some of you people sure are dumb, Ari. Also, check the guy in the Hitler outfit. Nice.
(Nod to Angry Alex)
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Many Analysts, All of Them Wrong
A number of us opined about what happened in NC in the election.
But I don't buy the explanation given by my colleagues. The fact is that 7 out of 8 incumbent Dems at the US House level won their races. But there was huge turnover in the state house and senate races, AND Richard Burr won reelection by a country mile.
So how do you get an explanation that says national swing, huge Republican tide, corrupt state legislature....except for pretty much all the Democratic members of Congress won, most of them by 5% or more.
Doesn't make sense. I think my colleagues should just admit they have no freakin' clue, which is what I did. Because my ego strong, like bull, can admit when wrong, predict better next time, that sort of thing...
In Counting There Is Strength
Cool. The Dems still control the state apparatus here in NC, and they are going to try to steal the Ethridge seat. And who's to stop them? After all, in counting there is strength...
(Click for more bodacious image)
It will be Al Franken "winning" Wisconsin in 2008 all over again.
David Zetland, after 40 months in the wilderness (longer, actually) finally crosses the Public Choice Jordan and reaches the promised land.
Well done, lad! It's a pleasure to work with you!
No habla Sharia
I will sleep much easier now knowing that my fellow Okies have seen fit to amend our state constitution to (1) make English the official state language, and (2) outlaw the practice of Sharia law inside our borders.
The Culture that is Singapore
The Boston Globe breaks it down for us:
"More than 80% of Singapore's population lives in public housing, in buildings designed to government specifications. And Singapore's government ensures that every apartment building mirrors the country's ethnic mix, with Chinese, Malays, and Indians living as neighbors in proportion to their share of the population - 77%, 14%, and 8% respectively."
Culture and Humor: Guest Post by Richard Fulmer
A guest post....
Alas, Poor Yorick: The Jester in the Dock
by Richard W. Fulmer
In his short but thought provoking book, Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged, British philosopher Roger Scruton offers a critique of multiculturalism. He begins his analysis by asserting that a culture is largely a bundle of judgments – subjective beliefs about what is beautiful, what is art, what is appropriate or inappropriate, and what is or is not funny. Scruton goes on to explore the value of such cultural judgments by examining laughter.
To illustrate his arguments, I offer a thought experiment. First, imagine someone attempting to amuse his friends with the old “Why did the chicken cross the road?” riddle. Very likely the attempt will fall flat, and the stale punch line will not elicit even a groan.
Now suppose that we give the riddle a twist, answering it as a person from history might. For example, Adam Smith: “It was moved as if by an invisible hand.” Thomas Jefferson: “It was in the course of chicken events.” Sigmund Freud: “The chicken witnessed the sex act as an egg.” Likely, the revised versions will receive more positive responses.
Finally, let’s change the riddle again, this time replacing the word “chicken” with a derogatory epithet for a member of an ethnic, religious, or racial minority, and basing the punch line on a negative stereotype of the targeted group. What response could the joke teller expect? Well, if he were a participant in a Ku Klux Klan rally, the reaction might be quite positive. On the other hand, if he were a Harvard professor regaling his peers in the faculty lounge, the response might very well be shocked silence, frozen faces, and demands for his resignation. (I base the latter prediction on the response Larry Summers received for uttering - not a politically incorrect joke - but a politically incorrect fact, namely that that men tend to do better on standardized math tests than do women.)
Why should these three sets of jokes fare so differently? If we believe, as multiculturalism demands, that all cultures are equally valid, the response to each joke should be precisely the same. Each should be greeted with appreciative laughter based on the sympathetic understanding that the teller is trying to entertain us with a joke that is, according to his culture, amusing. One cannot react negatively without insinuating that he judges his own culture superior to that of the teller.
Yet the Harvard professors’ predicted response, if accurate, would seem to suggest that they do consider the Harvard culture to be superior to the Klan’s. This, despite the fact that a majority of the Harvard faculty almost certainly believes in multiculturalism’s fundamental tenet that all cultures are created equal. Their belief, however, would not stop them from attempting to ruin a fellow faculty member’s career for offending their own subjective cultural judgments (as it did not stop them in Larry Summers’ case).
In defense of Harvard professors, might we believe it possible that there may actually be objective standards by which jokes can be judged? Might we muster the courage to assert that a joke that demeans others is objectively inferior to one that merely amuses? Having conceded so much, might we even go so far as to venture that a culture based on love of knowledge and wisdom is superior to one based on hatred and coercive repression of minorities?
I only pose these as questions, of course, lest I be thought judgmental....
Labels: We get letters
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.