Kids Prefer Cheese
Credibly promising to be irresponsible...since 2004!
Friday, December 31, 2010
Don' mess wit dem Eagles, Gov!
Stupid is as Stupid Does
"The Fair Trade Challenge to Embedded Liberalism"
Sean Ehrlich, International Studies Quarterly, December 2010, Pages 1013-1033
Abstract: The embedded liberalism thesis, a major component of the trade policy literature in political science, argues that governments can build support for free trade by compensating economically those hurt by trade, usually with welfare or education policies. This strategy depends, though, on opposition to trade being driven by employment factors, such as job or income loss because of increased competition. The current fair trade movement raises many non-employment criticisms of trade such as concerns about the environment and labor standards but the literature tends to treat these concerns as traditional protectionism in disguise. This article argues, instead, that for many, these concerns are sincere and that this presents a growing challenge to the compromise of embedded liberalism. The article demonstrates this by examining survey data in the United States and showing that those who support fair trade tend to have characteristics that are opposite those who support economic protection.
A clear problem with democracy. Idiots who are racist or homophobic get to decide employment and marriage policy. And idiots who have no idea how an economy works get to regulate the economy. Democracy is overrated.
(Nod to Kevin Lewis)
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Old and retarded
I actually thought that Angus must be making up the thing about "old people should be ignored because they were retarded." After all, Arnold Kling is hardly a left-wing goober.
But the left-wing goobers are saying the same thing! Check this bon mot from the aggressively useless Ezra "History Begins With Me!" Klein:
He actually says that the reason no one should read the Constitution is that it is old, and no one can tell what it says.
To be fair, I'm sure he means that one has to read the "midrash" of Supreme Court decisions before you can know what the "torah" of the Constitution actually means. (At least, I hope he means that.)
But, consider the 2nd Amendment. Ten years ago I had lunch with a friend who teaches Con Law. I mentioned that the 2nd Amendment clearly creates a personal, individual right to have and bear arms. The only question is how much the state can regulate and limit the size and use of such weapons.
My "friend," with amazing condescension, suggested I should read some undergraduate books to learn what the Constitution really means. Clearly, given what the Court had said in Miller (for example) there is NO right to individual ownership. It doesn't really matter what I think the Constitution says, he told me in the patient tone of a parent lecturing a wayward and willfully ignorant child.
Well, my good friend Prof KM, given the recent decisions in Heller and in McDonald...HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW, SWEETIE! Maybe YOU should go read that old Constitution. It has some really cool parts.
Of course, some of it is very hard to understand, I admit. Take the first Amendment, where it says, "Congress shall make no law..." Opaque language, that, as Stephen Gutowski notes. Must mean that Congress can make pretty much any law it wants, right? As long as a majority approves, like in McCain-Feingold?
(Nod to Angry Alex)
Why I love the NBA
100 years ago, Ronald Coase was born. 20 years ago, I was privileged to write a book review of Ronald's book, THE FIRM, THE MARKET, AND THE LAW. Here is part of that review:
"The reason the collection works as a book is that Coase frankly recognizes that though his work (particularly "The Nature of the Firm" and "The Problem of Social Cost," Chapter Five) is often cited it is apparently little read or accepted. In fact, Coase seems frustrated at the misuse of his work, particularly regarding the apocryphal "Coase Theorem":
The world of zero transaction costs has often been described as a Coasian world. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the world of modern economic theory, one which I was hoping to persuade economists to leave . . . Economists [have] been engaged in an attempt to explain why there are divergences between private and social costs and what should be done about it, using a theory in which private and social costs were necessarily always equal. It is therefore hardly surprising that the conclusions reached were often incorrect.., their theoretical system did not take into account a factor which is essential of one wishes to analyze the effect of a change in the law on the allocation of resources. This missing factor is the existence of transactions costs. (pp. 174-175, red emphasis added.)
So Coase actually thought transactions costs could make social and private costs diverge. Does that mean Pigou was right? Well, yes, Pigou was certainly right, especially when he said:
It is not sufficient to contrast the imperfect adjustments of unfettered enterprise with the best adjustment that economists in their studies can imagine. For we cannot expect that any State authority will attain, or even wholeheartedly seek, that ideal. Such authorities are liable alike to ignorance, to sectional pressure, and to personal corruption by private interest. (1920; p. 296)
The point is that we should READ the classics, not just cite them. Especially when we cite them wrong. Both Coase and Pigou are much more subtle than the caricature they generally get in intermediate micro classes. Happy birthday, Dr. Coase.
(Lagniappe: I should note that a better review of Coase's contribution is Posner's. That is my favorite)
when people were shorter and lived by the water
I was browsing through Econlog this morning and found just the most amazing bit of analysis ever. I just had to share it with you all:
I focus a lot of my historical reading on the first World War and on the 1930s. I think that people were really stupid back then. I take the Flynn Effect seriously, which suggests that the average IQ several generations back was what today would be considered to be mentally retarded. In my view, this helps to explain how cheerfully the nations went to war in1914. Yes, the war turned out to be worse than what they expected. But how were their expectations not influenced by the Civil War or the Franco-Prussian war?
OMFG, people. World War I happened because world leaders 100 years or so ago were "mentally retarded"? Really?
So going back another 50 years or so, Abraham Lincoln must have been the intellectual equivalent of a spider monkey?
Go another 100 years back from that. The founding fathers were the mental equivalents of dung beatles?
Adam Smith had an IQ of 13?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Frogger: No Darwin Award, But Close
Roubini vs. Roubini
Or, saying things are bad has been very very good.
Best. Letter. Ever.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The EYM Speaks
Great Thread on PSJR
A great thread about "should you take a dog to your office?" for academics.
The Coase theorem, manners, and a variety of madcap exchanges like this:
A: I never liked having to maneuver around strange large dogs in tight offices in my suit
B: what was a dog doing in your suit?
I liked the whole thing. It's ALL good. Yes, I cheated to spend so much time on the computer. But I couldn't help it. I often took "Louis, King of Dogs" to the office in grad school. And Angus would get in some pretty good basketball-doghead-dribbling. Louie had a pretty solid upward head bounce, and was not smart enough to walk away.
Thomas Friedman finds a friend in politics
I can only hope PA governor Ed Rendell was trying to be funny when he had the following reaction to the postponement of an Eagles game (but I fear that he was serious):
"We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."
I will say this though. If the Communist party wanted the game to go on, it would go on and the people would walk there if ordered to and would do calculus, or even the hokey pokey on the way if ordered to.
KPC is officially "short" on Ed Rendell AND China for 2011.
New Regs Hurt the Poor
The Inefficiency of Refinancing: Why Prepayment Penalties Are Good for Risky Borrowers
Christopher Mayer, Tomasz Piskorski & Alexei Tchistyi
NBER Working Paper, December 2010
Abstract: This paper explores the practice of mortgage refinancing in a dynamic
competitive lending model with risky borrowers and costly default. We show that prepayment penalties improve welfare by ensuring longer-term lending contracts, which prevents the mortgage pools from becoming disproportionately composed of the riskiest borrowers over time. Mortgages with prepayment penalties allow lenders to lower mortgage rates and extend credit to the least creditworthy, with the largest benefits going to the riskiest borrowers, who have the most incentive to refinance in response to positive credit shocks. Empirical evidence from more than 21,000 non-agency securitized fixed rate mortgages is consistent with the key predictions of
our model. Our results suggest that regulations banning refinancing penalties might have the unintended consequence of restricting access to credit and raising rates for the least creditworthy borrowers.
It has been the maintained hypothesis here at KPC for some time that the PRIMARY burden of the new nanny regs on financial markets will be poor or risky borrowers. It's actually pretty obvious, when you think of it.
(Nod to Kevin Lewis)
Monday, December 27, 2010
I Heart FA Hayek
Grade Inflation? Not here! Well, maybe....
Competitive Markets Are the Enemy of Profits, So Wall Street Opposes Market Competition
Reputation, the SEC, and the requirements of SARBOX are extremely effective entry barriers. SARBOX doesn't apply to privately held companies, but no small company could hope to compete with the big companies.
"If Hertz sees much of its rental fleet lying idle, it will cut its prices to better compete with Avis and Enterprise. Chances are that Avis and Enterprise will respond in kind, and the result will be lower profits all around. On Wall Street, the price of various services has been fixed for decades. If Morgan Stanley issues stock in a new company, it charges the company a commission of around seven per cent. If Evercore or JPMorgan advises a corporation on making an acquisition, the standard fee is about two per cent of the purchase price. I asked TED why there is so little price competition. He concluded it was something of a mystery. 'It’s a commodity
business,' he said. 'I can do what Goldman Sachs does. You can do what I can do. Nobody has a proprietary edge. And if you do have a proprietary edge you’ll only have it for a few weeks before somebody reverse engineers it.' After thinking it over, the best explanation TED could come up with was based on a theory of relativity: investment-banking fees are small compared with the size of the over-all transaction. 'You are a client, and you are going to do a five-billion-dollar deal,' he said. 'It’s the biggest deal you’ve ever done. It’s going to determine your future, and the future of your firm. Are you really going to fight about whether a certain fee is 2.5 per cent or 3.3 per cent? No. The old cliché we rely on is this: When you need surgery, do you go to the discount surgeon or to the one you trust and
know, who charges more?'" [John Cassidy, New Yorker]
Now, you could say it would be hard for new firms to enter this market anyway. But our government makes it impossible.
(Nod to Kevin Lewis)
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Movin' on up
Congratulations to the Mexican drug cartels, who've had a very good 2010. They now allegedly control 75% of neighboring Guatemala (with the deployment of only 800 operatives), and have muscled out the Colombians for the European cocaine distribution routes.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Christmas is *awesome*!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Yestderday was day one of "Lie on your side and watch movies" week (10 days, according to Dr., no more than 15 mins of computer per day).
I watched the "Matrix" trilogy. Much better than I expected. Understood things that I had missed watching them piecemeal.
Today: The Sergo Leone "Spaghetti Western" trilogy--Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
Tomorrow: Lord of the Rings, all three extended versions.
Sunday: I will watch all six "Star Wars" movies back-to-back-to...etc., starting with 1 and ending with six. I may not survive.
Suggestions for next week? And do NOT suggest Croc Dundee, Grease, Shrek, or and so on. You know who you are.
Bizarro World: Pat Robertson Makes Good Sense
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Angus's 2010 Music Guide
I decided to go with a different kind of top ten list this year:
1. Great music not found on many year-end lists.
Big Troubles: “Worry” If I had to pick one work as “album of the year” this would be it. Simply fantastic. “Bite yr Tongue”, “Georgia” & “Freudian Slips” are my current favorite songs from this album, but it is an absolute monster! You can stream the whole thing here, and buy it here.
Harlem: “Hippies”. Harlem blew me away with their debut album “Free Drugs” and “Hippies” is even better. Here's a video from the album:
Dan Mangan / Wooden Birds
Deerhoof: “Deerhoof vs. Evil”
Earl Sweatshirt: “Earl Sweatshirt” All I can say about this is “wow”. Pretty amazing stuff.
Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips from right up the road in OKC. You should definitely follow him.
Christmas at Chez Angus
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Grandma got run over... by my final exam?
I have often joked that grandparents should strive to keep low achieving grandkids out of college because it can be very very bad for the grandparents' health, especially around exam times. I guess the poor seniors just can't take the stress of worrying about their progeny's academic progress.
Well, it turns out that the full extent of this insidious problem has been scientifically investigated, in a classic research paper entitled "The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society" (ungated version available here).
Here is one of the many "shout it from the rooftops" results:
"The FDR (family death rate) is climbing at an accelerating rate. Extrapolation of this curve suggests that 100 years from now the FDR will stand at 644/100 students/exam. At that rate only the largest families would survive even the first semester of a student's college career."
New Christmas tunes from Sufjan!!
People, the best Christmas music collection ever is Sufjan Stevens' 5 cd set, "Songs for Christmas".
Labels: look at that f-ing hipster
Monday, December 20, 2010
Larry King, guest blogger
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Thank you sir, may I have another?
People, it just never ends. Now a group in California is suing Mickey D's over their happy meals. It turns out that kids like them and get mad if mom says no. So mom is suing!!
And a Very Merry Xmas from Haus Der Mungowitz
(We like the reindeer outfit for the BMW. And before you ask, Tanzi was off camera rolling in something disgusting, so nobody wanted to grab her and get her to sit down)
Here's another tip for you all....
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The USA went straight to hell in 1975
Last minute Christmas deals!
Don Van Vliet, RIP
I have been trying to lay low. In fact, flat. MAG brought me over a massage table, which is like a sturdy cot, but with a frame with a hole in the middle so I can lie face down and read through the hole.
The first procedure was 8 days ago; the second procedure was Monday, 5 days ago. There is an enormous bubble in my left eye (well, a small bubble, but it's all I can see). The retina appears to have reattached in a physical sense. The problem is that the nerves all need to mate up again, and of course only some of them will. So vision from left eye will always be dim, wrinkled, and unfocused. At BEST.
The primary variable that affects the improvement of vision over the next month is lying face down and motionless. The larger the proportion of time I can do that, the more likely I get back at least some vision in the left eye. (Have always slept on stomach, so that's a help). Anyway, all I can do is look down. And dr says to stay off computer. Eye movements are too rapid, and too large.
So, I read. May I recommend:
Chernow's GEORGE WASHINGTON: A Life
Manchester's THE ARMS OF KRUPP
Strasser and Becklund's SWOOSH: The Story of Nike
Three huge books. Only the Chernow one is remotely new. But all well done. Finished GEORGE and SWOOSH, just started KRUPP. Read it years ago, but thought I would give it another go.
Labels: books to read
Friday, December 17, 2010
The bane of my existence
It's not the Fed, or my tax bill, or the lack of a local Whole Foods, it's grading. And right now, it's the grading time of the year.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
This is the last straw
As you people know, I've been a big advocate of increased immigration and, yes, of amnesty and a path to citizenship for our "illegals".
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Heads I win, tails you lose
I am a little bit confused about Fed policy evaluation 101. I seem to be flunking that course.
Hans Rosling's Chart is SERIOUSLY MISLEADING
"Then, over the last few decades, the social structure of the world changes. The Asian and Latin American countries begin to catch up. With the exception of the African nations, living standards start to converge. Now most countries are clumped toward the top end of the chart..."
Rahm Emanuel as Coriolanus" "The price is to ask it kindly"
A bizarre modern remake of Coriolanus was enacted in a basement hearing room in Chicago yesterday. (nod to Anonyman for the NTY link)
Listening to the questions, and the tone of the answers, reminded me of this speech by Coriolanus, after he agreed to submit to the questions of the idiot voters of Rome. Coriolanus has asked one voter what is the "price" of the office he seeks; the voter tartly responds that "the price is to ask it kindly."
Later, Coriolanus says this:
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
Their needless vouches?
Coriolanus thinks he deserves the office; how dare the voters make him beg for it? Sorry, Rahm, democracy sucks.
(An aside: I was surprised the article author called the Chicago train the "L", because I always thought it was the "El", short for "elevated train." But the city of Chicago itself has gone with "L" trains. Who knew?)
Nick "The Jacket" Gillespie Prepares Balanced Budget
This is cute, for several reasons.
First, the content is good, and the video works just based on the premise.
But for the cognescenti, all of whom know that Nick's "nickname" (sorry) is "The Jacket", the fact that he is wearing the leather jacket UNDER the apron is terrific. Nick is 90% in on the joke, but the fact is that he DOES always wear "the jacket."
Angry Alex asks whether Nick EVER takes off the jacket. My understanding is that, like the Bandit's hat, he takes it off for one thing, and one thing only.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
A paraphrase, from "Moulin Rouge," Lady Marmalade.
Perhaps we could call it "St Louis Rouge-Birds"
City come through with the money and the bases
We let 'em know we bout that cake straight up the case uh
We independent owners, some mistake us for whores
I'm sayin‘, why spend mine when I can spend yours
Disagree? Well that's you and I’m sorry
Imma keep playing these cats out like Atari
'Cause it turns out that the Cardinals are playing the city pretty hard.
And, indeed, why spend mine when I can spend yours? Both the owners and the politicians win, and only the taxpayers get it good and hard.
As in Mencken's delightful formulation: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
The point being that a lot of St. Louis citizens actually approve of being treated like this. If you want baseball, pay for it.
(Nod to the Bishop)
Ziggy Stardust & the Spider from Slazenger?
Mr. Tootie Has A Brother!
Angus's wunderhund, Pluto (aka Mr. Tootie, etc.) has a brother.
The brother is a bear, which is strange.
But if you watch this video, you will see EXACTLY how Mr. Tootie would react to something interesting left in the kitchen.
Right down to the facial expression. And the guy's voice even sounds a bit like Angus.
Video is pretty long. Watch first 15 seconds, then skip ahead to 1:50. And see what Mr. Tootie would do if he were a bear!
(nod to the Blonde)
Labels: animal stories
Monday, December 13, 2010
The Tao of Don
LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling is many things, slumlord, racist, sexual harasser, astute business man (he bought the Clips for 12.5 mil, now worth over 200 mil).
Sterling has expressed his displeasure about Davis’ play by taunting him from his courtside seat at Clippers’ home games, several sources told Yahoo! Sports. Among Sterling’s verbal barbs:
– “Why are you in the game?”
– “Why did you take that shot?”
– “You’re out of shape!”
While Sterling has also taunted other Clippers players since the middle of last season, none have received it worse than Davis, the sources said.
Sterling “started getting a lot more vocal during the second half of last season,” one team source said. “He never had done that before at games. Baron’s his pet project. He absolutely hates Baron. He wants to get his money back.”
Now it's true that B-Dizzle has been a big fizzle for the Clips, but heckling him during the game seems like a move designed to make sure he won't get any better.
Regulation Helps Established Firms....
New Flash: Regulation helps established firms, creates entry barriers, and protects profit.
Next: The sun rises in the east.
The only thing surprising about this is that you lefties think that THIS time, if we only elect the right people, things will be different.
(Nod to Angry Alex)
Appalling American Propadanda Video, With Donald Duck
Sunday, December 12, 2010
They know what boys like
Harry Reid and the Senate democrats think they know what President O and the Republicans evidently don't: how to lure the House Dems into supporting the tax deal.
The leaky lockbox
Of all the weird stuff surrounding the tax deal (Bill Clinton and President O, mortal enemies, now together??), I think the weirdest of all is the idea that cutting the payroll tax imperils Social Security.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
And with this purchase, I have finished my Christmas shopping!!!
I saved the best for last too:
Labels: building the perfect beast
Why Borrowing Money is NOT the Same as 'Free"
Kindred, you ignorant slut. Of course, I mean that in a loving way, because Mr. Winecoff has given me a chance to explain an objection that many people may have had.
I wrote this piece. Then I tried to explain, using this "joke" that wasn't funny.
Then Kindred had this (updated) response.
Consider three offers to sell a car.
A. You can buy this car for $10,000
B. You can buy this car for a 60% discount, or $4,000
C. You can buy this car for $4,000 down, and finance $6,000
My claim was that the Republican tax cuts pretended to offer us deal B (big free discount), but in fact offered us deal C (borrow part of price). Deal B is WAY better than Deal C, but it was fake. If someone offered you B, but your contract said C, that would be fraud.
Kindred's objection was that many people prefer Deal C (borrow part of price) to Deal A (pay full price). Um...yes. That's why it is, as he rightly notes, very common. But his objection is a non sequitur. (He's a smart guy, and knew this, I'm pretty sure.)
I never said A was better than C. I said it is a lie to offer B, and then get C.
And Kindred, one other thing: when you cite Wimpy on time preference, you really should cite Chapter 10 of my ANALYZING POLICY book. That is the primary source on Wimpy, I'm pretty sure. Check p. 323...
On the surgery: I can see a whole bunch of bubbles, and the giant red/blue disk of detached retina is getting less opaque, though not smaller. I type this looking straight down over my laptop. Can't use regular computer, or do much of anything else. We'll know by Monday if the surgery is going to work....
Whither the Euro?
Dani Rodrik nails the issues and the answer:
The Greek and Irish bailouts are only temporary palliatives: they do nothing to curtail indebtedness, and they have not stopped contagion. Moreover, the fiscal austerity they prescribe delays economic recovery. The idea that structural and labor-market reforms can deliver quick growth is nothing but a mirage. So the need for debt restructuring is an unavoidable reality.
Even if the Germans and other creditors acquiesce in a restructuring – not from 2013 on, as German Chancellor Angel Merkel has asked for, but now – there is the further problem of restoring competitiveness. This problem is shared by all deficit countries, but is acute in Southern Europe. Membership in the same monetary zone as Germany will condemn these countries to years of deflation, high unemployment, and domestic political turmoil. An exit from the eurozone may be at this point the only realistic option for recovery."
Friday, December 10, 2010
A Not Funny Joke as an Illustration
So, I came up with a joke to try to illustrate the problem with the "cut taxes, raise deficit" view of policy.
Guy walks onto a used car lot. Guy has a sweater on that says, "I <3 Republicans".*
Salesman sees guy looking at 2006 Ford, marked "$10,000"
Salesman says, "Since you are a Republican, I'll cut the price to $4,000. You'll save $6,000, a 60% cut!"
Republican boy says, "Wow! That's great. Let's do the paperwork."
Salesman writes it up: "$4,000 now, and you owe $6,000, plus accumulated interest, sometime in the future when we feel like charging you."
Buyer starts screaming, "That's not what we agreed on! You said you were cutting the price 60%!"
Salesman says, "Yeah, but somebody has to pay for the car. Besides, I thought you Republicans couldn't tell the difference."
I said it wasn't funny. But why, when we "cut" taxes by X%, adding that amount to the deficit, do we feel like we are getting a benefit from the government, when if a used car company did the same thing we'd have a fit?
Angus put it really well in his post today: We are just moving money around by "cutting" taxes, it is not a tax cut at all. Yet...we are all really happy. The used car salesmen in Washington are right: We DON'T know the difference.
*(For you old people, "<3" is "heart"; look at it)
Labels: deficits are future taxes
Angus vs. Angus
I recently posted (and firmly believe) that, without any spending cuts, the proposed set of "tax cuts" are not real, but rather just represent a temporal re-arrangement of when I will be paying taxes.
Broken Window Fallacy
If you hate taxes, cut spending!
Two articles... Op-ed about "end the DAFT!" in the south Florida Sun-Sentinel today.
Second, my friend Bill Lumaye bridled when I called him a "Keynesian" on air on WPTF Monday for supporting temporary extensions of the Bush tax cuts. Bill, if you won't believe me, maybe you'll believe that lefty Charles Krauthammer. Short-term, uncertain duration "tax cuts" are not tax cuts at all, but deficit-financed spending.
It's just a crackpot Keynesian stimulus policy! Don't be fooled that it's the "Republican Way." To have an effect on economic activity, tax cuts have to be credibly permanent.
As I say in the Sun-Sentinel article: If you hate taxes, cut spending.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
GIVE! ME! THAT! REMOTE!
Just the title itself is SO great!
Jonah by a storyteller
I Stood Up Like A Pheonix
This whole democracy thing is over-rated.
Kindergarten class votes autistic boy out of class. It was 14-2, so it's all fair and square, right? Story / video.
The mom said she "stood up like a pheonix." Not sure about the fire metaphor there. And she was very blonde three years ago, black hair now.
Still, the point is that the very idea of majorities acting morally is laughable. I laugh.
The Culture that is Sweden
Great amateur video of KPC fave Jen Lekman singing about stalking Kirsten Dunst in his hometown of Gothenburg.
At one point he sings that, "The VIP lines aren't at the clubs but at health care, apartments and jobs".
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
If you run for office....
Martin Comes Through
Free Market Song
Perhaps not soon to be heard on your local radio station.
But for a class project, not half bad.
Except for the dancing at 0:25, and 2:01. That's pretty bad. People from Utah may be the whitest people in the world. Not that THAT's a bad thing, mind you.
(Nod to the Bishop)
Labels: free market videos
Grand Game: Immigration Edition
In this case, the article itself (in WaPo) plays it straight. In fact, this is great, fair journalism.
The amazing stuff is the content of the article. I'm not sure the author, Andrew Becker, was going for this. But each successive revelation about how ICE "broke" the record is more preposterous and outrageous. Have we completely lost respect for the basic rule of law? And then to have these bureaucrats just LIE....Wow. I mean, the guy who outed the administration's fibs is the head of their own union. The admin lied about changing the rules, and artificially decreed that the year would be longer, on both ends. Good lord.
WaPo is hardly some right wing blogger. There actually appears to be something moving, where fair-minded people on the left are sick and tired of the Obama shenanigans.
Anyway... your favorite parts, highlighted in comments. Go!
(Nod to Anonyman)
From the bathroom of Procrustes
You complete me!
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
A Day Without Social Science....
I wonder if alcohol was involved in some way....
The Jacket Speaks
Nick "The Jacket" Gillespie and KPC friend Veronique de Rugy have a plan to balance the budget. It does not involve tax increases, but it does involve spending cuts. Here it is...
I do want to be clear on my opposition to "The Deal" out of Washington. It's fine with me to extend/preserve the tax cuts. But since we have a growing deficit, that just means we are failing to pay for our spending.
And as Angus said this morning, the total spending cuts in "The Deal" are....negative! The Deal increases spending.
Any deal that does not involve spending cuts is no deal at all. DAFT!
Dance band on the Titanic
So President O and the Congressional Republicans have displayed their latest arrangement of the deck chairs on the USS Titanic.
Grand Game: Poinsettias
The Grand Game, Xmas plant edition.
Here is the article. The internal bookmarks aren't set up right, so go here, and then go forward to pages (page 14, mnscrpt page 12) to the article on poinsettias.
The economic argument in the paper made me want to know more about Dr. Godfrey Ejimakor. If you share that want, go here.
Now, perhaps there are disagreements in Ag Econ I don't know about. But is the history of grower marketing agreements in Africa and here in the U.S. really so attractive?
Monday, December 06, 2010
Mel Hinich: In Memoriam
OMG. O. M. G. OMFG!
It starts bad. But then....the SONG.
Labels: the culture that is Japan
End the DAFT!
Our policy is daft. DAFT! Because *D*eficits *A*re *F*uture "T*axes. The DAFT Republicans want to borrow money to pay for tax cuts. And the DAFT Democrats want to borrow money to pay for unemployment benefit extension. It's DAFT! Deficits Are Future Taxes!
I'm going to get t-shirts made: "End the DAFT!"
Instead of "Hell no, I won't go!" we can try, "Like Hell I say, I won't pay!"
Labels: deficits are future taxes
Monday's Child is full of links
Anon is angry. (Nod to Alex, who KNOWS from Angry)
It's a temptation that, as we've seen from the class of '94, some of them can't withstand." EWWWW! Stop him before he schtoops again. (Nod to Kevin Lewis)
Joe Scarborough's Class of 2010 Survival Guide.
Class 2010 rapidly putting money in their g-strings. (Nod to Lord Kent)
Breaking up: easier some times than other times. (Nod to Kevin Lewis)
Partisan filters. (Nod to Kevin Lewis)
Good? Or good enough... (Nod to Kevin Lewis)
You're So Unbelievable
You are so unbelievable.
Nothing the "greedy" banks are doing is irrational. It makes perfect to gamble with house money.
The question is why the "house" puts up with it. And the answer is that the "house" (meaning the Fed) is playing with taxpayer money. Nobody who is deciding anything has any skin in the game.
Lordy. Lordy pie.
(Nod to Anonyman)
In defense of Greg Oden?
Over at MR, Tyler asks if we should value economists who are like Ronald Coase or those who are more like Nolan Ryan. (I am not making this up!). This is an instant classic Tyler post containing the sentence "Nobody calls him (Greg Oden) the Ronald Coase of rebounding."
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Why Bruce Bartlett is hopeless
I'm not sure what to make of this post from Bruce Bartlett, called "Why fixing the budget is hopeless"
Bang a gong
One of the only changes I've made to Mrs. Angus in our 16 years together was to institute a "no bangs" policy for her.
Why didn't I think of that?
In today's NY Times, Christy Romer solves our economic problems:
"The Federal Reserve, Congress and the president need to reaffirm that they will do whatever it takes to restore the economy to full health... They should follow up with powerful fiscal and monetary actions to create jobs — coupled with a concrete plan for tackling our long-run budget problems."
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Don't Forget to Say Happy Birthday to Jesus
According to the LMM, this is actually a documentary.
Nice Mug Shot, and Woman Trouble
Friday, December 03, 2010
Sell Everything. Quickly.
Thank goodness for sub-titles
So near but yet so far
Dean Baker gets a lot of stuff right early, but then heads off the rails again Ozzie-style:
While this displaces a large amount of domestic production, we can ensure that the displacement does not result in unemployment by simply shortening working weeks. If everyone's working week was shortened by 2.0% (the equivalent of one week per year of vacation), we could keep the workforce fully employed even in the case of reduced demand.
At present, China's trade policy primary hurts non-college-educated workers, since those with college and professional degrees are largely protected from the same sort of competition that manufacturing workers face. It is important to eliminate the barriers that protect doctors, lawyers and university professors from competition with their lower-paid counterparts in the developing world. This way, trade with China would put downward pressure on the wages of professionals, not just manufacturing workers.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
John Nye: Interesting Talk on North, and Economics
Take the skinheads bowling
One of my alltime favorite bands is Camper Van Beethoven. Turns out their front-man, David Lowery also has a head for business, as he was involved in the founding of Groupon which just sold itself to Google.
"In 2008 I was appointed to the board of advisors of a small web startup called www.the point.com. The site the brainchild of Andrew Mason was a " tipping point" mechanism, a social networking site that allowed people "commit" to take group action. In particular the hope was they would take group action for social change. The investors quietly noted there was not a clear way to monetize Andrew’s experiment. However they hoped that by watching the way users used the tipping point mechanism, a viable way to monetize this website would present itself.
I was asked to start a campaign on www.thepoint.com."To get a feel for it". Not being very socially conscious I decided that I wanted to use The Point for my own narrow self interests.
Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven have a festival, The Campout. It’s rather remote and since we produce the small festival ourselves we take considerable financial risk. While the previous years had been marginally successful we were worried about the rapidly deteriorating economy (I believe Bear Stearns had just gone bankrupt). So I started a campaign to get a "break even" amount of CVB and Cracker fans to commit to attend the festival. In this way our fan’s promises to attend would become a sort of promissory note. no pun intended. While you couldn’t exactly peg it’s value, these collective promises to attend at some point seemed to be worth enough to go ahead and book the flights, PA, lights, and port-o-potties.
Other successful "campaigns" on The Point also involved similar commitments for group purchasing. It wasn’t long before The Point became Groupon."
Economics is fun: Follow the money
He's just not that into you
Danny G is taking this whole LeBron breakup thing pretty hard:
"The Cleveland Cavaliers have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a high-powered Midwestern law firm to investigate their suspicions that the Miami Heat broke NBA tampering rules while pursuing LeBron James, and owner Dan Gilbert has privately vowed he won’t relent until he has a thick binder of findings to drop on the desk of the NBA commissioner, league sources told Yahoo! Sports."
Man, I know break-ups are tough, but this is nuts. Hiring a private dick to try and piece together whether your ex started cheating on you before the divorce? Does he think he'll get LeBron back?
I guess he just wants LeBron's new love to be hurting too. He should just sneak up on Pat Riley and sucker-punch him!
My Safety University
So, MSU played well, if getting CHILIPUNK'D by a freshman counts as playing well. Here is photographic evidence that the boys in green from My Safety University were actually there, in Cameron, doing whatever it is that they do.
Since I have been to games with Aaron, I know what they were doing. Aaron was saying some remarkably brazen things, during quiet moments, terrifying his "friends." In this case the friends stand out because they are wearing the "tools of ignorance" green shirts that come with being MSU fans.
Went to a Durham Bulls game with Aaron, in September. We were in the third row, directly behind the visitors dugout. You could throw a peanut and hit the on-deck batter in the backside, couldn't have been more than 15 feet.
During quiet moments, Aaron would go after the kid who was playing left field for the other team. The guy had missed a grounder, trying to hurry and make a throw to the plate. The ball had skipped under his glove, and gone to the fence. Two runs scored, man on third, instead of first and third, one run in.
So Aaron is going after this kid pretty hard, and it's often quiet in minor league ballparks. Not totally silent, but Aaron the Foghorn Voice could be heard in the far reaches. "In Little League...IN LITTLE LEAGUE! You learn you have to catch the ball before you can throw it! Hey, Todd! Why didn't you catch it before you threw it? That's Little League."
Aaron, between innings, finds out that the kid (Todd Frazier) DID play Little League. In fact, he played on the LL WORLD CHAMP TEAM! Played for Toms River, and went 4-4 in final game against Japan, one of the hits a homer.
Next at-bat for Todd: "Hey, Todd! You DID play Little League! You should have known. How did you miss that grounder?"
Todd keeps turning around, clearly has rabbit ears. Finally, Todd turns around and mouths, "You are fat! Lose weight!"
Now, Aaron is in heaven, of course. That is not a very good comeback. But more important Todd's head is up in the stands, not in the game. Aaron's work is done.
So he goes after another guy, with long shaggy hair. Looks up the guy's hometown, in the trusty game program. "Hey, Smith! Nice hair! By this time Saturday, you're going to be home in (guy's actual hometown), waking up late and getting your hair done! Does your wife have a favorite place for you to get your hair done! Hey, Smith!"
Then two more developments.
First, the mousey little guy ahead of us turns around and berates Aaron for being a loud-mouth goofball. Except he does it in the most whiny, "Why can't you be nice? We're just here to see the game. Don't be mean to people!" junior tree-hugging granola way. I mean, this weasel made @kohenari look macho. Photographic evidence of Mr. Mouse: To Aaron's credit, he backed off a bit. We were afriad Mouse Man might quiver himself to death or something.
Then, a guy up to our right, five rows over and five rows back, starts giving it HARD to the Bats in the N'awlins Old School fashion. This old guy looks like a Confederate cavalry officer, with white goatee and flowing white hair. Thick Loosiana accent. "Hey, battah! That bat too heavy, now. That bat doan got dat heavy, heavy gris-gris all ovah it. You cain't even pick dat bat, dat's a gris-gris bat! Who dat gawnna hit wit dat gris-gris bat? Not you, sawn, not you!"
We were rolling around in the aisles at this point. First, this guy had some great stuff. I can't remember most of it, but it was tremendous. Aaron was trying to take notes. (Since he went to MSU, he can't actually write, but he was trying). Second, the guy ahead of us, Mr. "Let's all get along and watch the game!" was staring straight ahead. No way he was going to mess with Colonel Jeb Stuart over there. Ol' Jeb would have brought dat hoodoo right down on that little leftie bed-wetter head of his.
But...oh, glory! The Bat's pitching coach, the COACH, comes up to the top step and starts bickering with ol' Jeb the Heckler. Coach yelled, "Hey, old man: You're an idiot!" Jeb nods happily: SCORE! Aaron, knowing he was in the presence of true heckling greatness, nodded and remembered. A rabbit-eared 22 year old....easy. A 55 year old veteran coach, who should know better...Practice, Aaron, practice.
So, anyway, though I was not at the Duke-MSU game last night, I am confident that there was invective and heckling taking place, right up to and perhaps slightly past the point where Aaron got physically threatened.
(UPDATE: My bad, photo credit to Chris DeSante, who clearly has ESPNHD and a TV nicer than most grad students can be expected to have)