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.

Burned 40 lbs of 'Maters

We got two boxes, 20 lbs each, of lovely Roma tomatoes.

I cored them, scalded them, let them cool, skinned them, and mashed them up a bit in a giant stock pot.

Seasoned with fresh basil, fresh thyme, some oregano, and garlic.

Covered with glass top, went up to bed to make sauce in the morning.

'Cept I left the burner on.

6 a.m.: Smoke, stink, LMM pretty mad at me for almost setting fire to house. And I wasted three hours and 40 lbs of good 'maters. What an idiot.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Here it is, the OKC weather forecast!

Basil Marcaeux v. Mungowitz: A Slapdown

Basil Marceaux: The Video

The Web Site

Oh, no, Basil has achieved self-awareness, of a sort.

Stephen Colbert takes it up.

Of course, if you saw this, you already know.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Republican Gubernatorial Primary Battle Watch '010 - Tennessee
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Now, one could point out that this is all just sour grapes, since Basil Marceaux is likely to get a higher percentage of the vote than I did, in 2008.

Okay, well, bring it on. I got 2.8% in 2008. If Basil Marceaux beats that today, in the primary...let me ask you, the KPC reader. What should I have to do, what public embarrassment should I suffer, if after making fun of my man Basil he actually does BETTER than I did?

The polls in Tennessee close in 5 hours. Democracy hangs in the balance. Can Mungowitz 2008 beat Marceaux 2010? The voters of Tennessee will decide.

UPDATE: Tennsns must be less sarcastic than I had feared. Basil M got less than 1,000 votes, or about 0.3%. WHEW! I do still think that I will introduce myself as "", so that my website can be

UPDATE II: Oh, no! Basil M came on strong late, in those western precincts. He ended up with 3,500 votes, or 0.5%. Still, that is as nothing compared with my manly 2.8%. WOOT!

practice makes perfect

In an interesting new NBER working paper (here, but gated, I can't find an ungated version), Victor Lavy present evidence that increased instructional time raises standardized test scores, especially in developed countries, and "countries that implemented school accountability measures, and in countries that give schools autonomy in hiring and firing teachers."

As Lavy points out, more hours in the classroom is a goal of our current administrattion's educational policy.

Facebook Described

NOT Work Safe

Nod to Angry Alex

Lock up your husbands

First this from July 29:

Then this from August 4th:

This is how we roll in the greatest country on earth.

Hat tip to Norman & Jessie

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Colorado Public Radio: Libertarian Party

In which I offer many important and witty insights. Just press "listen" on this page.

Okay, no, I said nothing important or witty, but it WAS an intresting interview. Here is the link for just the MP3

Here is the state party page, for LP-Colorado

I killed the party again

People! A new Jens Lekman song!

Stream it here.

Download it here.



People, VV Chari has 'em!

Check out his recent testimony at the sausage factory.

Here's the punch line:

"I would argue that the United States devotes shamefully little to economic research. For example, the NSF's budget for economics is a pitiful $27 million out of which $2.6 million goes to the worthwhile activity of supporting the Panel Study on Income Dynamics.

Twenty five million dollars for an activity that is deemed fundamentally important by the people of the United States?

Out of that 25 million dollars, my best estimate is that only about 10 per cent goes to macroeconomics. Compare $2.5 million to an overall NSF budget of $6 billion or to the federal government support of basic research of roughly $30 billion.

I should emphasize that, in my judgment, the NSF's peer review process in economics is exceptionally fair and thoughtful. Expanding resources to the NSF's economics program will surely result in much better economic research and will result in very little waste."

Wow, only 27 million "pitiful" dollars for an activity that the "people of the United States" consider to be "fundamentally important", i.e. DSGE modeling!

The horror!

People, he's basically using the crisis to argue in favor of more summer money!

If you look up onions in the dictionary, all that should be there is this:

Man's Best Friend

Dog bites man's infected toe.


(One of the commenters sympathizes with the dog, says dog needs antibiotics. Another wishes the man had been suffering from impotence. Tough crowd)

(Nod to the Blond)

Music News

1. Wayne Coyne tweets!

2. Versus is back (really!) with a new album.

3. New No Age drops September 28th.

4. Tennis anyone?

Mormon Haircuts

Okay, I'll stop with the local commercials (all made by the same two guys). gotta watch this. Haircuts $2. OR, for a pre-mission special for our Mormon customers: 2 haircuts for $4. And, guaranteed to last two years!

UPDATE: Holy cow! The backstory

Paul Teller

A terrific profile piece in the WaPo on my friend (and Duke alum) Paul Teller.

"Maybe it's the hair gel." You gotta like that.

I feel terrible about this

I feel terrible about this.

But I laughed at the headline, and again at the story. I'm pretty sure that means I'm a bad person.

(Nod to Anonyman)

We Had a Guard Dog....

Right here in NC. I am so proud.

Or you could buy a mobile home from this guy, in Alabama. A great American.

(Nod to Angry Alex)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Grand Game: Internet Gambling

Lots of good stuff here. Two Words: Barney. Frank.


(Nod to the Chelsea, who is tall, lovely, and smart. Okay, she's not tall.)

The Lovely Agnes: Flamethrower v. Fire Extinguisher

The talented and lovely Agnes posts this video:

Dancing Pigeons - Ritalin from Blink on Vimeo.

The guy with the extinguisher looks familiar. I think we are kin somehow.

quit whining and go buy some stocks!

Great post from some guy calling himself "Baruch" on the awesomeness of equities.

Some blurbs:

Equities...are the asset class of the future. This anti-equities movement, led by jealous journalists and winking, cackling bond apologists with axes to grind, needs to be nipped in the bud, as it is dead wrong.


Right now, equity investors are being offered a win:don’t lose very much proposition. A double dip, the great fear of the equity markets, is at least partially priced in here, and the upside if we don’t double dip looks very good indeed. It’s a great moment for stocks.

Me and Mungo differ here. As I understand it, he's out of the market, while I am still buying.

Two cheers for "death panels"

aka end of life counseling in Atul Gawande's brutal but eloquent essay in the New Yorker.

Here's an excerpt:

"In 2008, the national Coping with Cancer project published a study showing that terminally ill cancer patients who were put on a mechanical ventilator, given electrical defibrillation or chest compressions, or admitted, near death, to intensive care had a substantially worse quality of life in their last week than those who received no such interventions. And, six months after their death, their caregivers were three times as likely to suffer major depression. Spending one’s final days in an I.C.U. because of terminal illness is for most people a kind of failure. You lie on a ventilator, your every organ shutting down, your mind teetering on delirium and permanently beyond realizing that you will never leave this borrowed, fluorescent place. The end comes with no chance for you to have said goodbye or “It’s O.K.” or “I’m sorry” or “I love you.”
People have concerns besides simply prolonging their lives. Surveys of patients with terminal illness find that their top priorities include, in addition to avoiding suffering, being with family, having the touch of others, being mentally aware, and not becoming a burden to others. Our system of technological medical care has utterly failed to meet these needs, and the cost of this failure is measured in far more than dollars. The hard question we face, then, is not how we can afford this system’s expense. It is how we can build a health-care system that will actually help dying patients achieve what’s most important to them at the end of their lives."

Ghost Busters!

Christopher Hitchens has a great post on Hugo Chavez's unseemly man crush on the cadaver of Simon Bolivar.

Money quote:

"Chavez, in other words, is very close to the climactic moment when he will announce that he is a poached egg and that he requires a very large piece of buttered toast so that he can lie down and take a soothing nap."

Monday, August 02, 2010

European vacation?

Apparently, Shaq does not want to take a "reasonable" salary to play on a decent NBA team and is threatening to take his immense talents to Europe!

Would a European team pay $10 million for his services? Would he last out the season? Are contracts guaranteed in European leagues? What about pairing up with Starbury in China?

The big money-grubber!

Thank you Jeebus

No vuvuzelas at the FIBA world championships!

"We want fans to enjoy themselves and make lots of noise but not at the risk of spoiling it for others," FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann said in a statement. "The vuvuzela is simply not appropriate in a confined space such as a basketball arena. It's a very loud instrument and some medical experts believe the decibel level and frequency can be harmful to hearing."

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Grand Game--Miami Nanny Style

This is almost unbelievable. I won't even cherry pick. Y'all go ahead.

But let me point this out.
1. The number of child abuse cases has been falling lately, fairly rapidly.
2. If you take out the child abuse committed by Catholic priests and family members, the number is falling VERY rapidly.

This new policy is messed up. Grandma and Grandpa can't go to the museum. Pretty soon, I won't be able to go to see "Toy Story 6" without a kid. Hey, EYM, hurry up and reproduce so I have a cover story for why I want to go to kids movies.

(Nod to the Blonde)

Kevin Durant is a good basketball player

Ben Keith, RIP

People, the man who made me like the pedal steel guitar has passed away at 73 years of age.

I never knew that Ben Keith was not his full real name, and I didn't know that he'd produced Jewel's big selling debut album.

But I do know that he played on and contributed to some fantastic music and will be missed.