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.