Saturday, August 30, 2008

What's he got that I don't got?

Besides Mrs Angus and I, a third important person arrived at OU in 1999: Robert LeRoy Stoops. This week the three of us enter our 10th seasons here in Norman. So far though, the OKC newspaper has only seen fit to run a massive retrospective on one of us.

I've published 16 articles, garnered a few hundred citations and directed some dissertations.

Under Stoops-onomics, "the athletic budget has grown by average of $5.2 million a year and has turned a profit in every year. In 2007-08, the budget was at a record $69.4 million. Football brought in $30.5 million in direct revenues, mostly from ticket sales, while contributing only $15.2 million in expenses..... Since Stoops' arrival, (annual) advertising and sponsorship revenues have increased from $700,000 to $7 million. Licensing and trademark revenues have gone from $300,000 to $3.2 million."

Wow, no wonder he's the one getting the $3,000,000 bonus for staying 10 years.

Hat Tip to Skip Sauer

This Friday on FOX!!

8:00 pm Eastern, 7:00 Central

Friday, August 29, 2008

And then she goes and spoils it all..... taking bags of money from Mugabe.

Kirsty Coventry the Zimbabwean super-swimmer and erstwhile Auburn Tiger showed the true spirit of the Olympics when she appeared in public and on national TV with the country wrecking thug Bobby Mugabe and accepted a briefcase with $100,000 US dollars from him.

That's just about perfect.

McCain passes the ABR test

thats Anybody But Romney!!

Readers will know that I was pulling for Condi, but at least its not Mitt.

The Sabbatical from Hell

Daniel Hamermesh is an eminent scholar and a great guy. But holy crap people he's on the Sabbatical from Hell. He's in Bonn Germany for 5 months. Here's his bathroom/laundry room:

When that arrangement gives him a headache he can buy some aspirin for around $3 APIECE!

Plus he's in Bonn. Got to be the worst city in Europe. Geez, we could fix him up here in Norman with a huge house and cheap pills no problem. Next time Dan!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crazy things I told my class today

"Macroeconomists aren't very bright. It took us almost 40 years to realize the Solow model was about income differences rather than growth rate differences and almost the same amount of time to realize that the lack of absolute convergence was not evidence against the model."

Agree? Disagree? Think I should have my tenure stripped and be put out on the street?

Separate Can Never Be Equal

Let us begin with following poll result, just to establish the baseline. This is from Public Policy Polling, January 2008, just before the Debate televised by WRAL here in Raleigh.

Pat McCrory 18
Fred Smith 16
Bill Graham 13
Bob Orr 8
Elbie Powers 2

Did Bob Orr get invited to the Debate, on January 17? Yes, he did. Polling at 8%.

Now, the email that WRAL sends out, generically, to anyone who asks why I am not included in the Debate coming up:
Dear [NAME] -
Thank you for your feedback regarding the candidates participating in our gubernatorial Debate on September 9. At WRAL, we believe that issues are at the heart of our political process and we give careful consideration to all of our election coverage. Our threshold for inclusion in the debate is that a candidate should have 10% support among likely voters in a WRAL News poll or another poll conducted by an independent entity. Currently, Mr. Munger, the Libertarian candidate, does not meet that threshold and therefore, will not participate in the debate.

However, Mr. Munger will be invited to participate in other platforms which will give his views and positions exposure. He currently has a candidate profile on and he will be invited to record an issue-message for voters to view on demand on our website. Other coverage will be afforded as we draw closer to Election Day.
Best regards,
Leesa Moore Craigie

Now, the press release that went out as my response:

RALEIGH (Aug. 28) -- WRAL TV's exclusion of the Libertarian candidate for governor from their September 9 debate amounts to a "separate but equal" policy, said Dr. Mike Munger, Libertarian candidate for governor.

The station has refused to include Dr. Munger in the debate, citing their policy of only including candidates who poll at least 10 percent.

Further, on January 17 the station sponsored a gubernatorial primary debate in which one candidate, Robert Orr, was then polling at less than 10 percent.

"So, the policy is applied arbitrarily and is simply something concocted to restrict voter access to information," charged Dr. Munger.

WRAL did invite Dr. Munger to tape a half-hour interview, which they said might be made available on their web site, as a substitute for full participation in the televised debate.

In reply to the e-mail invitation from Ms. Leesa M. Craigie, WRAL operations manager, Dr. Munger cited a 1950 civil rights case, Sweatt v. Painter. Heman Sweatt, an African-American, applied to the University of Texas Law School, but was told a "separate accommodation" would be made for him.

"This was one room, over a pool hall, with some law books," said Dr. Munger. "The State of Texas cared so much about keeping blacks out of their school that they swore, under oath, that this one-room law school was just as good as the main UT Law School, one of the best in the nation."

Sweatt rejected the alternative. "There is now a gym named after him on the UT campus," Dr. Munger noted.

"You seem to think that you are doing me a favor by offering me the equivalent of one room over a pool hall, when by any standard my application for participation in the debate deserves your full consideration," Munger wrote to Craigie.

As a media company that affects to care about the public good, WRAL should not make decisions that clearly protect the entrenched interests of the political duopoly that controls this state, said Munger. "More than 100,000 North Carolinians signed petitions to ensure that they got to exercise a real choice in November. But you are denying it to them."

Dr. Munger has testified before the U.S. Senate, been the President of an international academic society, and director of the master of public administration program at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has been chair of political science department at Duke University for nearly a decade.

"I'll not be bought off by your insulting 'one-room-over-a-pool hall' offer," he said. "I am a qualified candidate. I should be in the debate."

UPDATE: Apparently one version of this release contained an error, saying that there were THREE candidates below 10%. Mea culpa. There was only one. I don't see how that makes much difference, but that has been the amusingly Jesuitical response from Jesse Helms' old TV home, WRAL.

Whine Economists?

No, the wine economists. Meetings are probably more fun....

Olivier Blanchard on the state of Macro

In a new NBER working paper, after 25 pages of making nice, Olivier gets down to business:

"A macroeconomic article today often follows strict, haiku-like, rules: It
starts from a general equilibrium structure, in which individuals maximize the
expected present value of utility, firms maximize their value, and markets clear.
Then, it introduces a twist, be it an imperfection or the closing of a particular set
of markets, and works out the general equilibrium implications. It then performs
a numerical simulation, based on calibration, showing that the model performs
well. It ends with a welfare assessment."

He suggests three ways to improve:

1. Go back to partial equilibrium models.

2. Have independent validation for any new twist being inserted in the DSGE model

3. I have to quote here because it's pretty weird: "the re-legalization of shortcuts and of simple models. "

I am fully on board with #2 as but #1 and #3 are strange at best.

I would replace his #1 and #3 with "estimate, don't calibrate" and "lay off the welfare stuff because in the real world agent are heterogeneous and welfare evaluations are intractable".

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let me guess: An exception will be made in THIS case

Interesting story from national LP....

Barr Only Presidential Candidate on Texas Ballot

Republicans, Democrats miss deadline to file presidential candidates in Texas

Atlanta, GA - Bob Barr is slated to be the only presidential candidate on the ballot in Texas after Republicans and Democrats missed the Aug. 26 deadline to file in the state.

"Unless the state of Texas violates their own election laws, Congressman Barr will be the only presidential candidate on the ballot," says Russell Verney, campaign manager for the Barr Campaign and the former campaign manager for Ross Perot. "Texas law makes no exceptions for missing deadlines."

The Texas Secretary of State Web site shows only Bob Barr as the official candidate for president in Texas.

"We know all about deadlines," says Verney. "We are up against them constantly in our fight to get on the ballot across the nation. When we miss deadlines, we get no second chances. This is a great example of how unreasonable deadlines chill democracy."

"Republicans and Democrats make certain that third party candidates are held to ballot access laws, no matter how absurd or unreasonable," says Verney. "Therefore, Republicans and Democrats should be held to the same standards."

Ezra's Unabated Man Crush

Wow, first there was this and now (via Lebron James) there is this:

"What the GOP realized was that Obama did come across different than the average American, but not so much because he was black as because he was effortless. The very set of supercharged talents and qualities that allowed Obama to levitate past the boundaries of race and class make him different than those who haven't rocketed upward on the strength of their intelligence and charisma and charm."

Holy Crap!!

People like this make it so hard to like Barack. Yea, he's alright, but he's not all that and a bag of chips. He's a freakin' politician. Get over it and grow up.

Classroom Chaos, or Angus at the motor pool

Tuesday was the first day of classes for Mrs. Angus and I. Usually I get assigned one of the two classrooms in our building, and if I don't I just commandeer the conference room for my class. This year though, our conference room is being "renovated" which so far has consisted of taking down the blackboard and white board and removing the chairs, thus rendering the room unusable. Ouch. So when I checked to see where I was scheduled to teach and saw it was the Armory, I was confused and somewhat worried.

When I arrived on the scene, holy crap! It was crazier than I'd expected. It really was an Armory (I'd never seen or heard tell of this building before in my 9 years as a Sooner)!! The double wide doors were wide open, people in fatigues were running around outside, there was a motor pool of Khaki vehicles in the back of the first floor. The classrooms were upstairs and the first thing I noticed was the lack of air conditioning (it was around 93 here yesterday). The second thing I noticed was that it was 11:57 and my room was still in use (the previous class should have ended at 11:45). So I stepped into the room. Immediately some desert storm looking dude behind a lectern barked out "Stand down a minute mister!!".


I cracked up laughing and backed out of the room, and called our department administrator. She got me an alternative room in the library that was closer to my office by around 50%, air conditioned, and empty! When all my students had arrived on the scene and we started to emigrate to the library it was 1:10 and the desert storm dude was still going strong in my erstwhile classroom.

So big ups to Tami K for saving the day and a warning to all terrorists: if you plan to invade OU, we're ready for you!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

got to keep a strong Pope hand!

big ups to punditkitchen commentater CGS for this post's title

By George I think he's got it!!

For those of you suffering from Olympic withdrawal pains, noted sportsman Fidel Castro provides us with a probably prescient preview of the 2012 London games:

"There will be European chauvinism, judge corruption, buying of brawn and brains, unpayable costs and a strong dose of racism,"

here is the original text in case you think I'm translating badly:

Allí habrá chovinismo europeo, corrupción arbitral, compra de músculos y cerebros, costo impagable y una fuerte dosis de racismo.

Can I get an Amen?

(an article in English, including Fidel defending the Cuban athlete who kicked a referee in the face is here)

Hat tip to Boz

Monday, August 25, 2008

KPC exclusive: Biden's acceptance speech

As bloggers continue to erode the feeble MSM, KPC is proud to exclusively disclose this advance copy of Joe Biden's speech accepting the VEEP nod:

"Thank you very much. I am so pleased to be on a ticket with the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. But you know I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to be nominated as VEEP? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I'm the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest? Actually it kind of is, because I am brilliant. In fact, I'd be delighted to sit down and compare my IQ to yours. I think I have a much higher IQ than you do. I'd like to take this opportunity to invite my running mate to come to Delaware and campaign with me. He'll need to be careful though because in Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking. By the way, what do you guys think about my running mate? Is he ready? I think he can be ready but right now, I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.
Come to think of it, our opponent is much more ready. You know what? I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off. In conclusion, I promise to leave no judge un-Borked, no policy space un-Czared, and to continue to promote my brilliant idea to partition Iraq. Always remember, Joe's right, Joe's right, Joe's right. After all, I didn't graduate in the top half of my law school class for nothing!

(sources for italicized material here, here, and here)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

They did the job

Fallacies within Fallacies

My former student (he took classes with me, I wasn't his adviser or anything) Steve Horowitz has a post over at The Austrian Economists that says in part:

"What is the fallacy of fact and fallacy of theory that the reasonably well-informed layperson believes about economics that are most in need of correction? That is, which ones do the most damage? Here's are my nominees: For "Fallacy of Fact": that the economic well-being of the average American is on the decline. For "Fallacy of Theory": that consumption (rather than savings/investment) is the source of economic growth. Both of these are utterly wrong"

Well I am basically sympathetic Steve, but I have to say that there is a fallacy in your second fallacy, viz. the fallacy that investment is the key to growth.

The whole point of the neoclassical growth model (NGM) is/was that investment is NOT the key to growth, but rather that technological progress is the key to growth. That's what got Bobby S. his prize. You have to be an AK guy (or gal) to think investment drives growth, and after Chad Jones showed for a number of countries that investment rates have risen a lot while growth rates have not, there aren't many AK folks still around.

Now, Mrs. Angus and I are on record as being extremely skeptical over the overall efficacy of the NGM, but the insight that investment does not drive growth is one thing that I think it does get right.