Tuesday, August 31, 2010

old school is the best school

Thanks to Noel Campbell for reminding me of this!

Koch vs. Koch

In the spirit of the recent MR X vs. X posts, Koch Industries is both fighting the ACA and applying for subsidies from the ACA.

Say hello to my little friend

(as always, click the pic for a more glorious image)

In addition, Gallop polling shows a 10 point lead for Republicans in a "generic" congressional ballot (supposedly the largest such lead ever in a midterm campaign).

Just to be clear, the "friend" in my title is gridlock and NOT the Republicans. If there was a Republican Prez, I'd want a Dem Congress.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Racial Segregation Policy

It is amazing that someone had to explain why this was wrong. (Thanks to Ken!)

When paradigms collide

Nathan Kocherlakota certainly created a blogstastic firestorm with his statement that we need to raise interest rates to avoid deflation (Here is a good round up from Economist's View).

In a strange way, I think this can be related to Scott Sumner's multi-year hammering of the argument that money is indeed too tight.

Sumner favors the Fed targeting nominal GDP; it is not clear to me what Kocherlakota favors targeting.

If the Fed directly targeted a 5% inflation rate and did so successfully, two things would happen. First, we would avoid deflation. Second, interest rates would rise.

If the Fed directly targeted an 8% nominal GDP growth rate, the same two things would happen.

So, I can read Kocherlakota as making sense by interpreting him as calling for the Fed to change its operating procedures, something that he does not directly do in his statement.

The thing to remember is that the Fed has conditioned most people and most macro economists to believe that the setting of the Fed funds rate IS monetary policy. Thus, if the funds rate were zero, then monetary policy could not really be any looser. From that viewpoint, Kocherlakota's statement is, to say the least, counter-intuitive. Raising interest rates is by definition a tightening of policy.

But things don't have to be this way.

Raising an inflation target would be by definition a loosening of policy and would cause interest rates to rise.

People, the theoretical and intellectual foundations for having monetary policy be a Fed funds target set by some kind of secret type of Taylor rule are weak in general and super weak in our present circumstance.

I still strongly reject the plausibility of the "lets raise inflation to lower the real interest rate" meme that sometimes floats around (yes I'm talkin' to you LeBron), but could totally get on board the "let's target an inflation rate of 4-5% to avoid deflation" train.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quality of Spam is Declining

Just got this email:

from: Pardo, Natalia
to: "info@helena.org"

date: Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 3:01 PM
subject: Hello {Contact me via email:mrs-helena011@hotmail.com}‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏

I am Helena Ethan, a Christian. I have picked you for an inheritance of $8.4 million Dollar's. Please contact me for more details via this email: mrs-helena011@hotmail.com

These spammers today, I tell you. How lazy can you get? No Nigerian colonels, no secret lottery, nothing. And this bozo is from New Zealand. They speak English there (sort of). "$8.4 million Dollar's"?

The Culture that is Japan

Only in Japan could a zenophobic hate group be named "Citzen's Group That Will Not Forgive Special Privileges for Koreans in Japan".

Their actions aren't as obtuse as their name though:

The demonstrators appeared one day in December, just as children at an elementary school for ethnic Koreans were cleaning up for lunch. The group of about a dozen Japanese men gathered in front of the school gate, using bullhorns to call the students cockroaches and Korean spies.

Their reason?

Well their leader "defended the protests at the Korean school in Kyoto as justified to oppose the school’s use of a nearby public park, which he said rightfully belonged to Japanese children."

And would you like to see what this monster looks like?

Japan is a deeply weird place.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Animal links

Soy un perdedor

Strokes of genius

Raul Castro is a genius. He has figured out the key to development. People, it's condos and golf courses:

Cuba has begun allowing foreign investors to lease government land for up to 99 years, a step toward a future that could be filled with golf courses ringed by luxury villas, beachfront timeshares and vacation homes for well-heeled tourists....

The new law makes it clear Cuba is looking to boost profits, saying the step is necessary "for the sustainable development of the country and the international economy."

People, this move is all about generating $$$ for the Castro brothers and will not do much for actual Cuban people. I guess it may create "sustainable" custodial and landscaping jobs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

El Mercurio....

I missed this article in El Mercurio, in Santiago, about U.S. politics.

Nice to do the interview, in beautiful coffee shop right next to Santa Lucia and la Casa Royal, up on the big rock. Days like today, hot and muggy (though not like OK, I admit...) I miss Santiago a bit.

Transitive Verb: To Franken

Will Murkowski "Franken" Joe Miller?

Answer: Yes. The longer this stays close, the more votes she will "find."

(Yes, I realize that Franken is a Dem. There are criminals in both parties.)

(Nod to Anonyman)

A Parrot Getting Down

A bird dancing. Don't watch if you want anything more.

(Nod to Angry Alex, who dances just like that)

Soy Munger, su Gringo en Transantiago

An op ed in Que Pasa, a newsweekly in Chile.

The Cash Boat

When I hear Quantitative Easing 2, of course like many people I think "QE2." (Helicopter Ben will be giving a non-speech this afternoon, from Jackson Hole).

And like many people, QE2 sounds to me like the Queen Elizabeth 2, the Cunard Line cruise ship.

But that makes me think of the "Love Boat." (Only Angus and I would do this; we like to sing, badly and loudly).
So I sang "Cash....Exciting and new..." on the Takeaway radio show this morning.

KPC friend Mark Crain wrote and said he hoped that I had alternative employment lined up, since singing was not going to work out for me. And to warn him next time I was so moved, so that he could avoid that show. Thanks, Mark!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jane Mayer is an Idiot

Wow, Jane Mayer is an idiot. A nice dismemberment. Here is the original article.

I thought the point about Hayek is a good one. If you were going to dismiss him as a crackpot, the inconvenient Nobel Prize thing....a real reporter would mention it. Ms. Mayer did not.

(Nod to Virginia Postrel, on FB of all things)

Starbucks: Recycle no can do...

Jacob "Coffee Boy" Grier has an interesting piece on recycling.

If this stuff is so valuable, why do I have to pay so much to get it taken away? And if YOU think it's valuable then YOU *&%*%g take it.

Which reminds me of Dan's revised piece, also.

Why Vodka was invented

So that you wouldn't notice getting SHOT IN THE HEAD!

Hey, classes have started up; I'll have what he's having!

Tea Party: An Effect

Okay, so I have been saying for months that the Tea Party has yet to have had any noticeable effect. When I ask self-described TPers, they say want change, but then point to support for incumbents or the Republicans in Congress. That's not change.

But, okay, Tuesday we got change. Most noticeably, Joe Miller in Alaska. Dave Weigel asked, in a tweet, "Thinking of the 100 profiles of Alvin Greene that were written while Joe Miller was ignored."

Well, there was no way Joe Miller could win. Except that he did, it appears, though still very close.

I give you....Joe Miller. West Point grad, Yale law, masters in Econ. Considerable experience as a judge at both the federal and state levels. This guy is SO much better than that pirate from a pirate family Lisa Murkowski, in terms of qualifications. Sure, I disagree with him on most things, but there is no question that this is a Tea Party win. So, okay.

Besides, he has 8 kids with wife Kathleen. All the boys have names starting with J, all the girls have names starting with K. At least he didn't name them all "George."

UPDATE: Ha! Weigel is en fuego. I think that is going to leave a mark.

Oklahoma politics in a nutshell

I am pretty sure this is real. Hat tip to Keith G.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

tres coronas!

No one in the National League has won the triple crown since Ducky Medwick in 1937. This year two players have a legitimate shot. One is the incomparable 3 time MVP Albert Pujols, the other is some punk named Votto!

A-Poo is 1st in homers with 33 and 1st in RBI with 92. He's 3rd in batting average at .319.

Votto is 3rd in homers with 29 and 2nd in RBI with 86. He's 1st in batting average at .323.

I'm pulling for Albert, but it could go either way.

Wow, how cool would it be to have a triple crown winner in the NL?

What do you mean "we"?

Starbury strikes again!

What has happened to the FOMC?

I don't think the FOMC is a democracy. Despite the fact that they take majority rule votes, the Chair has a lot of influence and much more than 1/n of the power in the room.

That said, the current FOMC is totally bogus! The regional presidents are who they are, but let's consider the Board of Governors.

First, why have we appointed relatives to be on the board? I am referring of course to the Vacant twins.

Second, Daniel Tarullo is a lawyer and a lifelong bureaucrat. What in the world is he doing on the FOMC?

Third, and perhaps worst, consider Elizabeth "Betsy" Duke!! A Fine Arts major from UNC in 1974, she went from part time bank teller post graduation to chief financial officer of the Bank of Virginia Beach in 1978. She then got her MBA from Old Dominion in 1983, and now she's voting on US monetary policy?

That's a real Cinderella story, innit?

People, could we at least pretend to take things seriously and get some folks with training and track records in economics, finance, and business on the BOG?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Baruch knocks it out of the park again

As a follow-up to his great piece on the Awesomeness of Equities, Baruch now posts on the Bogosity of Bonds!

I love this part:

Reasonable but uncharitable people have concluded that bond investors must be either lazy or stupid, and this is backed up by observation. Get this: most of them don’t even do research into the bonds they buy. They can’t even be bothered to pay someone else to do it for them! Instead bond issuers pay analysts who work for organisations we are pleased to call “rating agencies” to do the research and say whether these bonds are Good or Bad. These ratings agencies almost always agree with each other. Amazingly, bond investors are happy to ignore the inherent conflicts of interest in this relationship and actually seem to believe the rating agency. They are flabbergasted and shocked when the analysts get it wrong and the “investment grade bonds” blow up on them! Rather than blaming themselves, the investors can now blame the ratings agency, who only have to lower the investment grade rating after it is finally obvious to everyone, including the issuer, that the bond is no longer investment grade. This is fine by the ratings agency, as they are protected from competition by the government, and no one can get rid of them! Ha ha ha. Imagine if someone suggested doing that with equities, with government-sanctioned, paid for research (paid for by the company issuing stock). They’d be laughed out of town. But it’s fine for bonds. Baruch is really not making this up.


An Insight Into The Mind of the Left

A nice, though frightening, insight into the mind of the left.

From a NYTimes editorial:

But many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.

Out of context? You be the judge....

In the period 1936 through 1938, the Roosevelt admin consciously targeted enforcement action on a variety of wealthy opponents, for taking tax deductions that were ENTIRELY LEGAL. Because the administration felt these measures were taken to reduce the amount of taxes owed. And some of these same loopholes were taken by Pres. Roosevelt himself. But in his case it was okay.

In other words, forget the law. We'll decide what's right, thanks very much. And we'll let you know, when armed thugs break your doors down and take your property.

I have no brief for Tom Delay. But I'm not sure you can accuse him of breaking laws that don't exist.

(Nod to Angry Alex)

Revenge of the Ladies: Baseball Face!

Revenge of the ladies! Here is some Yankees fan, yakking on his cell phone about whatever it is Yankees fan talk about, and ....he gets hit flush in the face!

And his female companion, with a glove, just watches. No glove movement at all. How's yer FACE, man?

(Nod to Dartman)

Podcastrians! Good News

Not great news, but good news, I hope. A new podcast, available on Econtalk or iTunes U.

In which I establish my credibility by mispronouncing the name of Chile's president at least twice. "PiñerO": Now I have to talk about President "Abamo" I suppose.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Cute. A little sick, but cute. Poland: "Dislike! Dislike! France, when are you coming over?" France: "Dude, I like, can't make it. I'm going to be late, hope that's okay! <:\

(Nod to Angry Alex)

This just in: Hipsters do sweat

Mrs A. and I headed out last night to the local Norman music club, the Opolis, to see the Wooden Birds (current band of Andrew Kenny who was the frontman of the late lamented American Analog Set).

The opening act was Dan Mangan. I assumed this would be a guy with a guitar, but it was a 4 piece band and they were great. Interesting tunes, funny lyrics, great energy and presence. It's not a total Jethro Tull situation though, the band's leader is a guy named Dan Mangan.

They kept saying how hot it was. No one had the heart to tell them that, for Norman in August, it was a cool night.

Wooden Birds were great, but they have the same problem live that the AAS did when I'd seen them. Their songs are all low key and mesmerizing which doesn't generate a lot of excitement in a club setting.

Plus, there were a max of 15 people there so that couldn't have been great from the musicians' point of view, though Dan Mangan was a ball of fire, coming out into the "crowd" to exhort us to sing along.

Both groups featured an excellent guitar player. I didn't get the name of the DM guy, but the Wooden Birds guitarist was Matt Pond.

Next month, Ariel Pink is playing here. It'll be interesting to see if anyone shows.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Bein' in love with your a** ain't cheap"

Another raunchy slice of heaven from Cee-Lo Green (rated M for language):

Epic Boyfriend Fail

The guy got the tickets. He knew it was tough spot. The young lady said, "I'm going to get hit." Candy-ass boy said, "No, honey, I'll catch it!"

Then the ball comes, and he not only ducks, he GETS UP AND RUNS. The ball hits her, hard.

And pussweiler boy is happy that "they" got a baseball. He's grinning. He tells the interviewer he "lost it in the lights." Oh, so THAT'S why he ran squealing, because he didn't see the ball. (Though he does now have a facebook page, with some very racy pictures of his girlfriend Sarah...)

If I did that to the LMM, my ass would be so fried for so long I might as well just kill myself.

I would HOPE I might have done it this way. This guy is a fine demonstration of how you act with a date at a baseball game.

1. Stand up, staying still, placing your body between ball and lady.
2. Lady hides behind you.
3. You catch ball.
4. You hand ball to lady; "Here, my love, I got this for you."

Now, there is another way to do it. Lady brings glove, lady defends self, that's all good. But there should be some agreement in advance. As in fact there was, with Bo the Bailer. He agreed he would be in charge of catching the ball.

(Nod to Angry Alex)

It's Win-Win-Win at Chez Angus

Our "putting the cd collection onto a hard drive while retaining great sound" project is going better than I expected. The MacBook - Iomega external drive combo is super quiet. It and our refurbished Wavelength Audio Brick USB dac actually sound notably better than my stand alone CD player ever did, so there's a Win for sound quality.

(Note to the haters out there, I am ripping my cds into AIFF, no compression of any kind. You can clearly hear the difference between Apple Lossless and AIFF on my stereo.)

Plus there is this fantastic iPhone ap called "rowmote" that lets you control iTunes from the phone. The only time I ever have to get up is to adjust the volume on my preamp (I turn all the iPhone and iTunes volume controls to their max and adjust the sound level with the much higher quality attenuators in my preamp). That's a huge win for convenience.

Finally, the ladder-style cd racks in our living room and den are thinning out and even disappearing as we rip the cds to the hard drive. Thats a win for de-cluttering.

I'd like to thank Gordon Rankin of Wavelength for his help and for making such a great product, and also the developer of the rowmote ap.

Now if I could only get Mr. 2T to learn how to rip our cds to the hard drive......

Libs are interesting to the press, so long as they don't win

Interesting piece by David W, on libertarians, Libertarians, the press, and the public.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tight fit...

A tight fit. The LMM has a hard time parking in our DRIVEWAY. Doubt that this garage would work.

The Sloth

Will W is drawing pictures and posting them on his blog.

And the picture (in a delicious "Art imitates life") is of a....sloth.

I think the Bible says "Blogfullness is next to slothfullness" or something like that. Right?

Of course, if I am going to make fun of Will the Sloth, I have to own up myself. This video suggests that, while Will is a sloth, I am a boob.

On Dr. Laura

On the subject of the well-deserved demise of Dr. Laura, Ezra blogged the needful things. So I'll second that.

Bankers v. Consultants

I'm not sure this is "good," but I laughed a lot. Lot's of inside jokes, you have to listen four or times to get them.

My prediction: Frequent commenter BR will give this two thumbs up.

Animal crackers

Actually, I don't think even the Marx brothers could have thought of this, the latest entry in the bad ideas for African development sweepstakes:

JUBA, Sudan – A city shaped like a giraffe? A rhino-shaped town? Even one that looks from above like a pineapple? Southern Sudan has unveiled ambitious plans to remake its capital cities in the shapes found on their state flags, and an official says the government is talking with investors to raise the $10 billion the fanciful communities would cost...

Juba — the capital of Southern Sudan — is to be reshaped into a compact rhino with two pointy horns. The new area will be called "Rhino City."

Officials said the plan would bring order to the city's chaotic layout.

"Juba is made up of slums," said Jemma Kumba, the minister of housing and physical planning.

Detailed architectural drawings of Rhino City show that Central Equatoria's police headquarters would be situated at the rhino's mouth, an amusement park at the ear, an industrial area along the back and residential housing throughout the four legs.

Hmmmm, well I think I know where to put the legislature!

The only good thing I can say about this is that at least it isn't being foisted on Sudan by aid agencies or western celebrities; it's homegrown stupidity for once.

Fahrenheit 69

It's no "Rock Me Amadeus," and it's NOT SAFE FOR WORK. But this young lady likes science fiction, and especially Ray Bradbury.

(Nod to Anonyman, who likes to read a little himself)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hey, Jerk, Can't You See I'm On My Break

A nice policy, if it works.

Chase Bank: Just Walk Away

(Nod to Anonyman, who would say, "Excuse me, EXCUSE ME, you left this note. Please throw it away!")


"It takes a heap of Harberger triangles to fill an Okun gap" -- James Tobin

Ignore Hayek at Your Peril!

Referencing a piece by Amar Bhide, Robert E writes:

The paper discusses specifically how we've moved away from decentralized home loan lending: "Home buyers would apply for loans from their local bank, with which they often had an existing relationship. A banker would review each application and make a judgment, taking into account what the banker knew about the applicant, the applicant’s employer, the property, and conditions in the local market. The banker would certainly consider history—what had happened to housing prices, and the track record of the borrower and other similarly situated individuals."

... towards a more centralized system: "The brokers’ role in the credit process is mainly to help applicants fill out forms. In fact, hardly anyone now makes case-by-case mortgage credit judgments. Mortgages are granted or denied (and new mortgage products like option ARMs are designed) using complex models that are conjured up by a small number of faraway rocket scientists and take little heed of the specific facts on the ground."

And the author argues that this centralization is in conflict with Hayek's thesis (It was the Hayek shout-out that kept me reading the piece):

"The great twentieth-century thinker Friedrich Hayek made the classic argument for decentralized choice in his essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” The stability of the economy depends on constant adjustments to small changes, he believed—“B stepping in at once when A fails to deliver.” No single individual has the knowledge to make those adjustments; rather, it is widely dispersed across many individuals. But information about “the circumstances of the fleeting moment” cannot be quickly and accurately communicated to a central planner. Therefore, individuals who have on-the-spot knowledge must be allowed to figure out what to do."

Anyway this idea of a non-coercive or autocratic centralization was a little new to me (I hear mostly of centralization by the state, or perhaps by the firm to lower transaction costs) and I wondered if there is merit to it. After all, the decision of Finance to resort to more models with simplifying assumptions at the expense of - perhaps costlier in the short run? - case-by-case and on-the-ground assessments by lenders was completely voluntary as far as I can tell.

Interesting. I had not seen that paper. Please discuss.


This is pretty good, though there is a debate about it's authenticity:

However, this one is, if anything, better and at least some of the shots appear to be real:

Don't worry, they probably aren't very interesting people!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wired Article: Apps, Not Browsers

The Web is Dead. Long live the Internet.

Two articles. Interesting. Google dies, in this world.

(Nod to Kesav)

George Washington: Libertarian

David Boaz has a nice essay on Washington.

Overtime Party: We lost your paperwork again!

We DO get letters....

From Anonyman:

I've been reading your postings on citizenship issues. And I think I've found a clear method to resolve the debate - have everyone who advocates repealing the 14th amendment go through the citizenship process at CIS (formerly INS).

My wife went to take the citizenship test this morning. After thousands of $s in fees (as this isn't supposed to cost the tax-payer anything) this is about the 25th trip we've made due to unreadable fingerprints (done on the computer, which by definition should be readable), lost forms, incorrect info printed on her green card, interviews, etc.

The first thing the clerk says is that he can give her the test, but canNOT make a determination on her citizenship as CIS has 3 files (for unexplained reasons) on her containing the thousands (literally!) of pages we've submitted to support her application BUT, they can't find any of them. Two are supposed to be in DC and one says it's in Nebraska. So if no one can find them in the next 30 days they'll be declared lost, and then he'll need to make a determination based on the very thin file in front of him.

We were prepared and brought copies of all the vital documents, but he said it would still take at least 30 days as he would need the files to be officially declared lost. I then asked how long would it take from that point for her to be sworn in, and he said they are behind on their processing stats and are starting to work overtime to meet their target by the end of the fiscal year (Oct. 1). So it should be before then, but may be on a Sat. as they are working 14 hour days 6 days a week. Not being able to shut up, I then ask how often this happens and he said last year he was able to buy a new car AND motorcycle based on his overtime for Sept. I was going to ask him if this happens every year, but my wife was shooting daggers and me through her eyes.

We thanked him and got up to leave, and he said he would let us know as soon as they do, or don't, find the three missing files. I then asked if our fees could be refunded if none are found, and he smiled and said no one had ever asked that before.

So, if people really won't to repeal the 14th amendment and have every single person in the US apply for citizenship, I think they process would change a lot of people's minds.

Two lost, one in Nebraska. Once again, for all you half-wits who jabber about the people who "try to do things right," we make it IM. POSS. IBLE. for people to do it right. What part of illegal don't I understand? What part of stupid f*****g law don't YOU understand? The goal of our policy is to make legal immigration hard, and illegal immigration easy, for the economic benefit of corporate interests and the political benefit of xenophobic demagogues. It is the Babtist and bootlegger coalition reborn.

Canada Celebrates Its Freedoms, Until Thugs Show Up

Multiple ironies, sad threats.

Now, I have been to the LSS before, myself. It is way out in the country. It is held on the grounds of a very large (40 acre) plot of land. The main structures on the plot are some outbuildings, and a legally zoned bed-and-breakfast.

No one parks on the street, and nothing is visible from the street.

Now, it is true that they have amplified speeches, and amplified music on Saturday night.

But the local gubmint thugs are after them for:

1. Health concerns. So they had the food professionally catered, instead of cooking it on bbq grills as in the past.

2. Sanitation concerns. So they had port-o-potties brought in, in the proper ratio for such an activity, with that many people.

3. Ex post giant d*ckhead concerns about this being a permanent commercial activity. Hard to predict the ex post part, to the tune of a $50k fine. This is already a commercially zoned property, by the way, because of the b-n-b. And the Institute for Liberal Studies is a registered non-profit. The LSS breaks even, every year. What makes it commercial? If five of us split the cost of some chicken, and cook it, would that be commercial? This was less than 75 people, one event per year, for two nights. Sure, if it was every weekend, that might be commercial.

But this is just thuggery. The local government is doing this because they can.

People who need people to the back of the bus!

It's been out for a while now, but I want to go on record as saying that "This is Happening" by LCD Soundsystem is an excellent recording. On a first listen, I didn't think maybe it was as good as "Sound of Silver", but after 5 listens, I think it is the best work James Murphy has done. Highly recommended.

Here's a bizarre video for the song "Drunk Girls":

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Poll Cats

Steven T makes an interesting point with polling data on opposition to the Cordoba Center in lower Manhattan.

What is this "sand" of which you speak?

Wow, this has got to be one of the "worst" good years ever. First Dustin Johnson melts down in the final round of the US Open at Pebble, then he takes a boneheaded penalty on the 18th whole at the PGA to miss out on a playoff.

Sir Dustin says, "Walking up there, it never once crossed my mind that I was in a sand trap,"

But as the video below shows, he was clearly and obviously in a sand trap! Of course so were a bunch of the spectators.

Danish realize extending unemployment benefits bad idea

Really, they did. Check the NYT story.

Money quote: "The cold fact is that the longer you are out of a job, the more difficult it is to get a job,” Claus Hjort Frederiksen, the Danish finance minister, said during an interview. “Four years of unemployment is a luxury we can no longer allow ourselves.”

Darned facts!

Lou Dobbs v. Tom Palmer


Matt Ridley: When Ideas Pitch Woo

Monday, August 16, 2010

P-Kroog Gets Schooled

Cato's Alan Reynolds reams P-Kroog a new one.

To get called on such obvious sophomore undergrad mistakes....well, P-Kroog would be embarrassed, if he had not long ago sold his soul to the goddess Fame.

What We Need is an IDIOT tax

In their effort to improve border security, the Obama admin / Dem Congress has seen fit to find new sources of funding.

So, to finance enforcement efforts against ILLEGAL aliens....

...these half-wits are going to tax LEGAL aliens.

Makes perfect sense, right? Well, except that:

1. These are people with PhDs, advanced skills, highly trained and motivated. In short, exactly the people that even the most xenophobic Americans would likely still admit into the country.
2. These are the people who are trying to do things LEGALLY. They are paying their fees, filling out their paperwork, and standing in line.
3. Could anyone actually believe that raising the cost, and extending the wait time, for legal immigration will discourage illegal immigration?

As always, we make it more difficult to immigrate legally, so that we can continue to encourage illegal immigration, thereby enslaving tens of thousands for the benefit of meat-packing, construction, and agricultural interests. The so-called "border enforcement" will have no impact, because the Dems have no interest in a border control policy.

An idiot tax, even a small one, would raise BILLIIONS, I tell you, BILLIONS. Taxing members of Congress alone would pay for a lot of new border guards.

Mr. Greene: Howl and Wail

Alvin Greene howls and wails during interview, upset over indictment.

Dave Weigel asks (on Twitter): "At this point, how is this different from making fun of the mentally disabled kid in junior high?"

Well, golly. This guy is the Dem nominee for US Senate. In the primary, no one in the media pointed out that he is a bit erratic, and he..... WON the primary.

At some point, don't you have to give a U.S. Senate candidate a chance to explain? The whole "he's too pathetic, leave him alone" thing would only work if he withdraws from the race. Until then, the man is fair game.

(And I thought it sounded more like singing than wailing. NOOOOOOOOO and GOOOOOOOOO. At least they rhyme).

The General Will in "Catch 22"

A letter from a "fan"

I nearly posted a sarcastic comment re: Rousseau on your blog but decided against it last minute....

"Too bad, I was just getting into this book I haven't read in awhile called "Analytical Politics" but the authors can't seem to stop talking about Rousseau beginning on page 7, so I guess I'll just toss it - since it must be an epic fail."

Sarcasm often doesn't translate well on the 'nets... so I decided against. Anyway, I haven't figured out your conclusions on the "majority will" so it might have made me look like an idiot anyway... and I doubt I'll find out in the very-near future since I'm reading catch-22 for the first time in a decade and i'm laughing so hard it hurts. some quotes on majority will, slightly different than Rousseau:

Yossarian: "I don't want to fly milk runs. I don't want to be in the war any more."
"Would you like to see our country lose?" Major Major asked.
"We won't lose. We've got more men, more money and more material. There are ten million men in uniform who could replace me. Some people are getting killed and a lot more are making money and having fun. Let somebody else get killed."
"But suppose everybody on our side felt that way."
"Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?" ch 9

and as for how to direct the general will (if it exists) :

Milo: "But how will I get the government to [buy all my Egyptian cotton]?"
"Bribe it," Yossarian said.
"Bribe it!" Milo was outraged and almost lost his balance and broke his neck again. "Shame on you!.... Bribery is against the law, and you know it. But it's not against the law to make a profit, is it? So it can't be against the law for me to bribe someone in order to make a fair profit, can it? No, of course not!"
"I wish you'd come with me," Milo remarked. "I won't feel safe among people who take bribes. They're no better than a bunch of crooks."
"You'll be all right," Yossarian assured him with confidence. "If you run into trouble, just tell everybody that the security of the country requires a strong domestic Egyptian-cotton speculating industry."
"It does," Milo informed him solemnly. "A strong Egyptian-cotton speculating industry means a much stronger America."
"Of course it does. And if that doesn't work, point out the great number of American families that depend on it for income."
"A great many American families do depend on it for income."
"You see?" said Yossarian. "You're much better at it than I am. You almost make it sound true.".....
"I wish you'd put your uniform on instead of going around naked that way," [Milo] confided pensively before he climbed back down again and hurried away. "You might start a trend, and then I'll never get rid of all this goldarned cotton." ch 24

(As the old saw goes: Countries that want to be ruled by the general will, will generally be ruled by the will of a general)

NYTimes Articles on the Academy

Tenure? Mandatory retirement? Surgically targeted airstrikes on the Soc dept?

An interesting set of articles

Big Country, Big Message

A gentleman writes a really big message.

Perhaps using a GPS tracker. Perhaps using a freehand white line in "paint."

Since there is no way to tell, I would have used the freehand white line, I think.

Anyway, here's why, according to the guy.

(Nod to Barb H., who drives quite a bit herself)

The culture that is Japan

Great article in Sunday's NY Times about how a lot of Japan's alleged centenarians are actually long dead. One 73 year old man claimed his father was out of town and that he was merely still collecting dad's pension "just in case" he came back!

Money quote:

“Living until 150 years old is impossible in the natural world,” said Akira Nemoto, director of the elderly services section of the Adachi ward office. “But it is not impossible in the world of Japanese public administration.”


I got your uncertainty right here!

In the blogoscopic debate about the importance of policy uncertainty for the weak recovery, not so much attention has been directed to monetary policy uncertainty.

In a great post over at Carpe Diem, Mark Perry shows that inflation has become much less predictable in the recent past. Here's a chart from his post:

GARCH is "generalized auto-regressive conditional heteroskedasticity". I can't tell from the graph though if MP is plotting the conditional variance or the conditional standard deviation.

In addition, I have written papers with Mark and others showing that inflation uncertainty lowers output growth.

Makes you think, no?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

He was only 5'2" but girls could not resist his stare

Great article featuring Kevin Durant in the NY Times.


“He’s 7 feet tall and maybe one of the best shooters in the world,” Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni said of Durant, listed at 6 feet 9 inches. “I don’t think they’ve invented a game of basketball yet that he wouldn’t be perfect for.”


It's a funny old world

Pundits on the left decry the evil "deficit hawks" and demand more stimulus. They however are in favor of raising taxes on "the rich" because somehow it won't hurt economic activity and hey, we gotta start on that deficit sometime, right?

Pundits on the right decry deficits but also oppose raising taxes on "the rich".

(I am sorry for the quotation marks but a two earner family of 4 or 5 whose parents' combined income is $250,001 is not really rich!!)

Intellectual consistency is apparently far too heavy of a burden to impose on our chattering classes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

me & 2T

Now just 2T:

Hasta Luego, Borrego!

Got up early this am and gathered up Mrs. A and Mr. 2T for a hike in the mountains north of Santa Fe. We did the Borrego / Bear Wallow loop.

For the first 3/4 of the trip, we only saw 3 or 4 other hikers, also with dogs. 2T had a blast playing with the dogs and wading in the creek that we hiked down to (Big Tesuque Creek). The last 1/4 we ran into a fair amount of folks getting a late start and doing the loop in the opposite direction that we did.

On the way back, which is pretty much uphill all the way, 2T kept looking up at me like I had totally lost my mind. He made it in good order though, which is awesome for an 11.5 year old flatlander from OK.

Hidey Ho!

We met an awesome sculptor from El Paso TX yesterday at the Tesuque flea market. His exhibit was titled "gods for future religions" and his name (I am not making this up) is Ho Baron.

It's like Mayan mixed with Balinese mixed with peyote. I love it, but Mrs. Angus is not so sure, so we will be coming back to Norman Ho-less.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Some links....

Some links....

Smart parking meters (Nod to Aussie Matt)

Your race card is maxed out! (Nod to Angry Alex)

Year of the Pitcher? Maybe not.... Maybe... Here was your YotP...

Hot. Not.

It's a burden to be a smokin' hot professor.

Not that I would know. Didn't make the top 50. Or 500, or 5,000.

My understanding is that Angus was #51, just barely out of the money.

Maybe I need to have a male version of this kind of website: "The Mungowitz Experience." I'll ask the LMM what she thinks.

(Anonyman asks whether the reason I went to Germany last year was to escape my many fans, because of my smokitude. Um...No...)

Reds Buried

This is where the Cincinnati Reds' pennant chances were buried.

RIP, Brandon Phillips.

Birthright Citizenship

I see the point of those who have argued against birthright citizenship. If you think "efficient government" is a good thing, then sure.

But we are talking past each other. Birthright citizenship is an important check on how badly people can be mistreated. The slavery claim is hyperbole but I stand by it.

WSJourn article

Jeff Miron

The Takeaway: It's 1936 Again in America

Got to talk with my BFFs John and Celeste at "The Takeaway" this morning. Meant I had to get up at 5 am to think about what I was going to say, but always fun to do that show. Here is the archive version....

Two thoughts on this problem:

1. One by Bruce Bartlett. I don't always agree with Bruce, but he makes some good points here. Bruce is always worth reading... (Lagniappe: Bruce B also wonders about my pal Tino Sanandaji, an interesting Iranian-Swedish grad student at UC's Harris School)

2. Another by Lawrence Reed. It was written in 1998, but it's truly prophetic, unfortunately.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Markets in everything: Sovereign barter edition

The North Koreans want to pay the Czechs back in ginseng!

I am not making this up.

For their part, the Czechs are holding out for Zinc.

Is sunburn really a worse problem than lack of sexual vigor in the Czech republic?

Live and learn.

Worst Book in the Last Five Years

Angus' use of the garbage chute for "Witz" suggests a question:

What is the WORST book you have read in the last five years?

And by "read" I mean spent at least an hour on. Concluding a book sucks immediately doesn't count, even if you are right.

My entry into the sweepstakes:

_Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy: Darkness on the Edge of Truth_

This howling stinker was "edited" (in the loosest possible sense) by two unemployed street people named Anderson and Auxier. (And by "unemployed" of course I mean "working as philosophy profs at SIU Carbondale")

Now, I can read almost anything about Bruuuuuuuuce. I have read Dave Marsh's worshipful _Glory Days_ at least three times. Sure, it's appalling, but it has a narrative, and the background story is well told.

"Darkness" starts bad, and gets worse. But it's such a train wreck you have to watch in horrified fascination. Some essays describe how much the author likes Bruuuuuce (I think; these are lit philosophy people, so it's hard to TELL what they are saying); others use Bruuuuuce's work as a springboard for rambling commentary on many topics.

The best (ie, worst) essay has to be the one that blames Bruuuuuce for having prevented the Marxist labor revolution from happening. Written by a political scientist at Sacred Heart U, this fellow actually writes "Probably the most prominent voice [on liberty] belongs to Karl Marx (1818-1883). The great error (and evil) of capitalism" is the alienation of the individual from the product of his labor. And then "On the other end of the spectru, we find Professor Max Weber...." That's right, chilluns, he takes on the FULL ideological spectrum, from Marx on the left to Weber on the right. I am not going to quote more, but I do assure you I am not cherry-picking; the essay is full of juicy nuggets of nut-job lefty wisdom from academics whose smooth soft hands have never held a welding torch or a shovel.

But I did it, I read the whole book. And you can, too! Here it is.

Now, YOUR turn, commenters. What is the worst book you have actually read?

What I've been reading

1. "Chronic City". I am a big fan of J. Lethem and I really enjoyed this book, though there is no plot to speak of, and good editing to make it 10% shorter would make it 24% better. "Motherless Brooklyn" remains my favorite Lethem novel, but I'd recommend CC for sure.

2. "Ilustrado". This is good, people. Ambitious, funny, out of control, absorbing. Some of the themes end up a bit cartoonish, but this is a great debut novel, up there with "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and "The Ecstatic".

3."The Lacuna". It starts so slowly that I almost quit, but patience is rewarded. The parts set in Mexico City are transcendent.

4. "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet". I adored the first part of the book and the unlikely hero DeZoet. The middle, DeZoet free, part dragged for me, too cartoony and lurid. Then Mitchell kind of pulls it together toward the end. What can I say, it's no "Cloud Atlas", but then again what is?

5. "Witz". After 15 minutes I physically deposited this POS into the garbage.

Elizabeth Warren: where are you when I need you?

People, how can you name a movie "The Kids are All Right" when (a) the kids are decidedly NOT all right and (b) YOU DON"T EVEN PLAY THE FREAKIN' SONG?

Despite some good performances, Mrs. A and I were not impressed with the movie. It wasn't really very funny and it didn't seem to me to have any real point, or if it did, it failed to make that point convincingly.

I can't tell if it was a badly done defense of same sex parenting or an attack on same sex parenting.

And the speech about marriage at the end was just lame.

On the positive side, I think I saw a trailer for a movie that supports charter schools! Can this be possible? Was that just a flashback from ancient indiscretions on my part? If real, that's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Angus does Canyon Road

The Santa Fe art scene is not all native american and spanish colonial. There is some excellent modern stuff here.

We saw two new to me artists' works that I really liked this morning. One is Hilario Gutierrez. Here's a sample:

The other is Ted Larson who works with scrap metal in a very painterly way:

Then there is one of my very favorite young painters, Nigel Conway, who I've blogged about before. I am making a fool out of myself lobbying Mrs. A over this piece:

Sadly, I am not making much progress.

Danny, We Hardly Knew Ye

Lord, Dan D. has some interesting answers for a question posed by Stefanie Carvin:

Now that Wyclef Jean may be Prez of Haiti, what other musical persons would we want for political office?

Dan rightly discounts Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, but warmly endorses Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg. Do we smell the bitter scent of sexism, where women who are nuts are disqualified, but nutso men are charming?

No, because Dan's #1 is Madonna. As he puts it, she has been in vogue for decades.

That's edgy, Dan. Who knew?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bought off, but NOT paid for

So another $26 billion goes out the door for teachers and police and fireman. But don't worry people, because it's all paid for and won't add to the deficit.

But, our government has an interesting way of paying for things. The spending happens ASAP, if not sooner.

The paying part? Oh yeah, we will let the increased level of food stamp payments from the stimulus bill expire in 2014. That's supposed to be almost half of the $26 billion "payment".

It's not really a cut, just a reversion to pre-stimulus levels. And of course the exchange isn't contemporaneous so Oliver Williamson applies with a vengeance.

Congress calls this "real spending cuts".

I call it BS.

OK, now I want to run for president!

Man did you see what President O did on his birthday?

He set up a hoop session with LeBron, D-Wade, Carmelo, and a bunch of other present and past NBA stars.


I told Mrs. A that I wanted something like that on my next birthday and she told me I needed to be president to get it. So.....

Angus for President in 2012!!


1. Top marginal tax rate of 25%
2. Big increase in Gas tax
3. Federal spending capped at 18% of GDP
4. Semi-open borders
5. Government out of the marriage business
6. Withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan at all deliberate speed
7. Big cuts in Defense budget
8. Repeal of the Patriot Act

People, I can't lose! Me and KD will be hoopin' it up at the White House in the summer of 2013! Plus I can probably get Venus and Serena to come and play doubles too.

Birthright Citizenship

Will Wilkinson is, as always, fair and clear.

Still.... I am likely one of the people he refers to as having an unreasoning opposition to a change in the policy, precisely because it is so symbolic of the elimination of slavery.

But I guess the kind of slavery I have in mind is the kind I saw in Germany, where Turks and other "guest workers" lived as second class citizens. They were not part of the society, but served it. They felt excluded from participation in nearly every part of civic life, but serve that civic life by cleaning toilets and picking up garbage. (I talked to a LOT of taxi drivers. They were pissed.)

Isn't that a kind of slavery, too? Sure, it's voluntary, 'cause they can go home, but what about their children? Does Germany want those native Germans as citizens? As the character Action sang in West Side Story, "They didn't wanna have me, but somehow I got had." [It turns out that it IS possible to acquire German citizenship, in fact, I was wrong about this, as Will W and a commenter point out. In fact, the commenter says that I am "ignorant," which clearly seems correct. Still it is interesting that Turks feel so disaffected, so unassimilated. On which, see C. Caldwell book below]

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm going to quote Rousseau (I know, I know...)

Social Contract, Book IV, Section 2:

There is but one law which, from its nature, needs unanimous consent. This is the social compact; for civil association is the most voluntary of all acts. Every man being born free and his own master, no one, under any pretext whatsoever, can make any man subject without his consent. To decide that the son of a slave is born a slave is to decide that he is not born a man.

If then there are opponents when the social compact is made, their opposition does not invalidate the contract, but merely prevents them from being included in it. They are foreigners among citizens. When the State is instituted, residence constitutes consent; to dwell within its territory is to submit to the Sovereign.

Birthright citizenship prevents slavery, even today. I would put it, "to decide that the son of a guest worker is born a guest worker is to decide that he is not born a man." And anyone born in the U.S. is not "a foreigner among citizens," but a citizen. Not a slave.

(My favorite book on immigration is Christopher Caldwell, _Reflections on the Revolution in Europe_, who treats birthright citizenship quite fairly, and largely thinks it is a bad idea for Europe, by the way. But the exclusion of guest worker children from citizenship is a big part of the creation of ethnic ghettoes and dangerous segregation in Europe. Since the kids can't be Europeans, by law, they decide to be REALLY REALLY not Europeans. To be fair, the differences, which Caldwell points out, may have to do with assimilation of Islam in Europe, and assimilation of Catholic Latinos in the U.S.)

RESPONSE FROM WILL W: I think the rule is that if you have to quote Rousseau, you lose! Mike did you know that since 2000 the German law has been this (from Wikipedia!):
"Children born on or after 1 January 2000 to non-German parents acquire German citizenship at birth if at least one parent: has a permanent residence permit (and has had this status for at least three years); and has been residing in Germany for at least eight years."

WOW! A double beat down. And I still say I am not gay, unless Will is. Then, I'd think about it.

4 things Angus wants you to know

1. Autotune is EVIL

2. There is no such thing as a "social security trust fund"

3. Lady Gaga is the reincarnation of Cher and Justin Beiber will be her Sonny.

4. The OKC Thunder will make it to the Western Conference finals this coming year

Monday, August 09, 2010

LTE: Thank Goodness for...CONGRESS?

This LTE appeared in the Wilmington Star-News. I reproduce it in its entirety.

The 7th District and Mike McIntyre

Published: Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 6:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 6:08 p.m.
The 7th District is so lucky to have Mike McIntyre.

My company in Moore County has been looking at sites in North Carolina to build a new manufacturing plant that will create 40 new jobs.
Mike McIntyre’s Economic Development Director, Tony McEwen, in Wilmington, has been like a hungry Bass chasing a spinner bait in his efforts to bring our plant to southeastern North Carolina. Tony, with his rolodex of contacts in the state and in Washington, DC, gained through years of assisting Mike, has opened doors we found blocked, bridged communication gaps when we heard busy signals, and short-cut red tape to help us speed the day when we will send out help-wanted ads, pay taxes to state and local governments, and improve the economic picture in the Southeast.
I have never met Mike McIntyre. I have never donated to Mike McIntyre. I do not live in the 7th District so I have never voted for Mike McIntyre.
Mike has risen to a position in Congress that allows him to keep the spotlight on the needs of the people in the 7th District. Mike’s experienced staff has the capability to push aside road blocks and solve issues at home that only comes with years of learning where to go first and who to call at EPA, Department of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, Corps of Engineers …the right call to the right people.
Yes, District 7, you are indeed lucky to have Mike McIntyre serving you in Congress. You just cannot replace that experience.
Jim Cummings
Wake County

Jim Cummings
Wake County

Oh. My. God. Why is a member of Congress even involved in creating an extension of an existing business, for 40 jobs? Answer: Mo "Better" Fiorina, and CONGRESS: THE KEYSTONE OF THE WASHINGTON ESTABLISHMENT. If you haven't read it, please do. It is going to be on the final.

The simple answer is that Congress creates the barriers, with bizarre laws and intractable agencies. And then Congress claims credit for "helping" us through the maze that it creted. Everybody wins! More jobs for bureaucrats, who vote Dem, and more reelections for members of Congress. People are actually grateful, as in the case of the LTE above.

Well, almost everyone wins. It sucks to be a taxpayer. Sorry....

(Nod to L. Smith, whose incredulity is intact)


Kosmos is up, in beta form, not yet ready for prime time. But they are interested in seeing whether you folks can break it. (Don't hack it, don't launch denial of service attacks, just check out the features...jeez).

Some interesting things:

1. A picture of Chris Coyne. Scary.

2. Discipline-specific blogs and a group for faculty.

3. A Calendar listing of events and conferences around the globe.

4. Opportunities, which includes job postings and calls for papers.

5. A Publications section for recent scholarship by classical liberal scholars – keep up with what others are working on or post your own.

Would you use it? What would you do with it? How can it be better? They would like to know. Feel free to comment on it, and be beta testers!

You Can Ring My Bell, CA

Craig N asks some good questions, and provides some amusing background, about Bell, CA.

The Court has Original Jurisdiction, But Not Exclusive O.J., In Arizona Immigration Case

There is this "I went and read the Constitution, and boy was I surprised!" meme running around the Interwebs for the past few days.

It goes like this:

1. Judge Bolton ruled against the State of Arizona

2. But the Constitution says (Article III):

Clause 2. In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be a Party, the Supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

3. Therefore, Judge Bolton had no jurisdiction, and the stay is invalid. For example...

The answer: Thanks for playing, but SORRY, you lose. I think Johnny has some FABULOUS prizes for you--on the way out.

Some problems with argument:

A. It was made by some Canadians. And some American Protestants. Like all Prot's, they have this "priesthood of all believers" hangup, where you read the Bible and you know as much as someone who speaks Greek and actually studied what the Bible means. You can't just go reading the thing. Same with the Constitution: the words have been interpreted by a community called the "courts" for 220 years.

B. There are explicit precedents that establish that the lower courts have "concurrent" original jurisdiction. That doesn't mean that the SC does NOT have original jurisdiction. It means that cases can be heard EITHER in the SC or the lower courts. Hard to get on the SC docket. Check this, for example. The simple version...

C. This was not a full-fledged trial, but rather a petition for a stay, pending Supreme Court ruling.

In short, the argument that Judge Bolton had no jurisdiction is simply absurd. It may be a shame that you can't read the Constitution without knowing the huge body of interpretations of its meaning, but you can't. "Discoveries" in the Constitution should always be discounted. Ask a lawyer before you make a fool of yourself.

Some sources: The SC's Original Jurisdiction

Adler in Volokh Consp.

Some precedents, on concurrent original jurisdiction:
Rhode Island v. Massachusetts, 37 U.S. (12 Pet.) 657 (1838); Bors v. Preston, 111 U.S. 252 (1884); Ames v. Kansas ex rel. Johnston, 111 U.S. 449 (1884).

(Interestingly, such suits could be brought and maintained in state courts as well, if all parties consent, so concurrent jurisdiction is even broader! Plaquemines Tropical Fruit Co. v. Henderson, 170 U.S. 511 (1898); Ohio ex rel. Poporici v. Alger, 280 U.S. 379 (1930).)

(Nod to the Blond, for asking cool questions)


In the WallStJ this a.m., this story.

A quote: Ms. Fisher's lawyer, Gloria Allred, said her client is a single mother, raising a young son, who had worked recently as the vice president of a commercial real estate company.

Really? Her 11 year old son worked as a VP at a real estate company? Impressive.

Have people completely forgotten how to write?

And, on the merits, what did Ms. Fisher THINK was going to happen? I have no sympathy for Hurd, if he acted badly he should be fired. But... if Ms. Fisher didn't want him to be fired, what DID she want? Furthermore, Hurd was NOT fired for harrassment, but rather for stealing money with doctored expenses (which he says he did not fill out, but acknowledges were inaccurate).

Lord, California, give it up.

ah would some power the gifter give us...

Great headline in Sunday's NY Times: "A Gift the Wealthy Don’t Need"

and people, you just know the "gift" in question is a chunk of their own money.

Then today PK takes up the same cudgel: "But isn’t keeping taxes for the affluent low also a form of stimulus? Not so you’d notice. When we save a schoolteacher’s job, that unambiguously aids employment; when we give millionaires more money instead, there’s a good chance that most of that money will just sit idle."

Let's break this BS down piece by piece, ok?

"When we save a schoolteacher's job that unambiguously aids employment".

It may well aid employment, but it's hard to be certain without knowing what the alternative use of the money might have been. It's also not the case that "we saved a job" means the policy was a correct policy. "At what cost" still remains relevant.

"when we give millionaires more money instead".

This is the real stunner. First, families earning $250,000 or more is not exactly the same thing as "millionaires".

Second, we "give" them?


I am pretty sure it's their money to begin with and "we" are talking about how much to take. There's no gift giving involved.

Here's another PK gem:

"In effect, a large part of our political class is showing its priorities: given the choice between asking the richest 2 percent or so of Americans to go back to paying the tax rates they paid during the Clinton-era boom, or allowing the nation’s foundations to crumble — literally in the case of roads, figuratively in the case of education — they’re choosing the latter."

People, the "gift to millionaires" we are debating is just not that much money compared to the kind of budget hole we face. PK elsewhere says the lost revenue would be "$700 billion over a decade", i.e. $70 billion a year.

That's not going to re pave America folks. It's kind of small potatoes (is that right or did I just go all Dan Quayle on the English language). We are going to need a lot more than that from the millionaires to achieve PK's vision.

Finally, I don't see how anyone can say with a straight face that the problem with our educational system is too little money is being spent!


California is One Odd Place

The locational rents of the physical beauty and nice weather in northern CA have made their political leaders a little crazy. Okay, no, totally bat-sh*t crazy.

1. No water bottles. NO WATER BOTTLES. You can sell them, but you can't have them at public events. Why not ban outright? And of course that will happen soon. They want people to reuse containers. Well, at my house we reuse.... water bottles!

2. They actually think that they are crazy, themselves. That's nuts!

3. They have "POPOS." Yes, they do. Because they can. If you want to build, you have to agree to "host" a POPOS, voluntarily.

4. A lot of Dems in CA are not very impressive. But honestly I think they are more impressive than the Repubs. Check this: she won the primary, but insists on still campaigning against the guy she beat....IN THE PRIMARY. You might want to focus on your actual opponent in the upcoming election, what? Whitman does, however, promise "Una Nueva California." She is running against Jerry Brown. Yes, THAT Jerry Brown, "Governor Moonbeam." This is a very interesting race, because Whitman and Brown together don't add up to one real candidate. Is this really the best the state-sponsored parties can do?

CA is doomed. Let's let them have their own currency, and deal with their debt on their own by inflating and devaluing their currency. Then we'll check back in ten years, and see if they can rejoin the U.S.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

This week's sign of the apocalypse

Behold your god!

Standing (firmly) on principle

Priorities are a wonderful thing, people:

The Milwaukee teachers union has asked a judge to order the school board to include Viagra in its taxpayer-funded health insurance plans.

The Associated Press says the filing by the union comes as the district faces layoffs of hundreds of its members.

It is the latest round in a unsuccessful two-year legal campaign charging that the board's policy of excluding erectile dysfunction drugs discriminates against male employees.

The union says such drugs are necessary treatment for "an exclusively gender-related condition," the AP reports.

I don't know what the fuss is all about. Here's how we handle this issue at OU:

Friday, August 06, 2010


Wow. Hard to know if this is serious.

Well, it's obviously not SERIOUS. But is it seriously not serious?

We report. You deride. If you want to sign up....

Jonathan Higbee is NOT amused.

(nod to "Mr. Fabulous" Anonyman)

Mark Nameroff

KPC's best, and our sympathies, to the family of Mark Nameroff. His blog has been on our blogroll for years. I didn't always agree with him, but I was always glad to have him on the side of liberty.

RIP, brother.

Separated at Birth?

UPDATE: OH MY GAAAAH! Dr. Romer was SO upset at being compared to Benny Hill that she is quitting the C of EAs. This summary pretty much....well... summarizes things. (nod to Angry Alex for the news tip)

Benny Hill

Christina Romer

(Nod to L. Smith)

Hey Dick: Benjamin Strong ain't walking through the door!

While killing Peter Diamond's nomination to the Fed's board of governors, one Richard Shelby (Moron, Alabama) said:

"I do not believe the current environment of uncertainty would benefit from monetary policy decisions made by board members who are learning on the job"

Wow. So Diamond, who has the seminal paper on bank runs and crises, is not qualified.

I would respectfully submit that Peter Diamond is a lot more qualified to be a Fed governor than Richard Shelby is to be a US senator!

From his quote, I assume Dick is holding out for Paul Volcker or Alan Greenspan?

It seems like the Fed has crossed a line and is now permanently going to be an overt political football in a way it rarely (never?) was before. I don't think this is a good thing.


As an astute commenter points out, I have the wrong Diamond. I humbly apologize for this error.

In my defense, if I was appointing an economist named Diamond to the Fed, I'd pick Douglas, the 57 year old finance expert and bank runs guy, not Peter, the 70 year old Social Security guy.

Maybe Shelby has a point? What does Peter Diamond bring to the table re monetary policy or bank regulation? He does have a paper on money illusion in the QJE from 1997, and a 1993 RESTUD on sticky prices and inflation, but he's not a monetary economist.