Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winning An Argument

How I'll be spending spring break

This is very recent video from the Silver Bank off the north coast of the Dominican Republic, where we are headed. Can't wait!!

Men's Brains and Women's Brains

"Every one of those little blue balls is a thought about something
That needs to be done, a decision or a problem that needs to be solved.

A man has only 2 balls and they take up all his thoughts."

(Nod to the LMM)

Friday, February 18, 2011

the element "woman"

(click for more readable, and of course glorious, image)

(Nod to the LMM)

Don't park illegally in England

Not even if you have a pretty good excuse....(note action in circle on left)

This is Kind of Whack...

This is not the Onion, really: Blacks in Wax.

(Nod to Anonyman)

Markets in everything: non-surgical sterilization

Levi's is actually marketing and selling what they call "ex-girlfriend jeans" to men.

Here's their pitch:

Remember the girlfriend with the great style? Here's a tribute to her -- a fit that's super-snug allover, an update of the five-pocket classic that's as skinny as it gets.

Here's a pic:

I can totally see this fad sweeping through the membership of the American Economic Association, can't you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Full Press on Guttenberg!

Wow, this would be embarrassing enough. And to be named....Guttenberg.

But then another paper put this up. Yes, it's in Deutsche. But you can click on the graphic (INTERAKTIV), and see the plagiarized parts. Well played!

(Nod to Flo H)

Feaver v. Munger: The Grid

Pretty self-explanatory, a feature of the Duke Chronicle

Feaver v. Munger on the Grid

Andrew Sullivan Making Sense

For years Andrew Sullivan was one of my favorite writers.

Then, he appeared to have lost his mind

But, as Anonyman notes quite rightly, this is good stuff.

Grand Game: CPAC Edition

Wow. This guy Kevin McCullough is a piece of work. Were being a prick the same as wisdom, ol' McCull would indeed be the wisest of men (as he appears to believe). Really a fantastic article. Enjoy, and do share your thoughts.

Check McCullough's web site; he is basically Taliban, in terms of his world-view.

As for me, just the fact that someone would write "Disrespectful Libertarians" is pretty hilarious, something I should refer to the Department of Redundancy Department.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Culture that is Korea: Economies of scope in the Korean banking industry

In the R.O.K., banks will pay you a higher interest rate on your deposits, the more weight you lose!


SEOUL (Reuters) – Park Keun-jun is determined to fulfill two resolutions this year: bulk up his bank account but slim down himself.

Enter South Korean banks, with plans to help with both.

"I'd like to bet my money on a bank's savings plan if the bank gives credits to me for not giving up on my New Year's resolutions," said Park, a 32-year-old car designer.

Hana Bank, the banking arm of Hana Financial Group, sells an installment savings product called "S-Line," a Korean word that means an hourglass figure -- just one reflection of the current Korean obsession with being slim and in shape.

The more calories a customer burns, the higher interest rate the bank gives. If a customer loses more than five percent of their weight within a year, or holds a gym membership, the bank grants special rates...For Park, who wants to save money for several years but fears burning a hole in his wallet by following his fitness resolution since many gym memberships in Seoul are expensive, such banks' plans give him guarded hope.

Now I am waiting for the gyms to retaliate by letting you use more or better equipment as you progressively dis-intermediate your funds.

Markets in Everything: Principles texts for under $250

I guess NGM didn't get the memo that his taxes were NOT going up, because he's charging $238.95 for the new edition of his principles text.

Amazon is offering it to me at 20% off plus free shipping! A mere $191.16.

The comparable edition of LeBron and Alex's book is "only" $168.95, which Amazon is willing to give me for $132.03, a 22% discount.

So at the Amazon prices, Lebron & Alex are 31% cheaper, but still pretty steep.

The previous edition of Mankiw's text did have a Kindle edition for $149, no word about whether the new edition will or if so, at what price. Surprisingly, LeBron and Alex do not have a Kindle edition (at least that I could find).

These days, given that you could make yourself a pretty good free principles text just by downloading relevant Wikipedia entries, I don't see how these rents can be sustained over the long run (I am aware that not all or perhaps not even a majority of the rents are going to the authors).

Monday, February 14, 2011

How Crazy?

How crazy is too crazy?

I myself think that Duke's "fans" are excessive. Having the noise be intimidating is fine. But the physical presence and the reaching out is a distraction.

They can say what they want. But that doesn't make it right.

Profs Gone Wild

Cornell prof goes nuts when kid yawns...

The remix...

The analysis...

(Nod to Sarah Straw)

Ron Paul Kicked Out of Popular Front for the Liberation of Judea....Splitters!

This is so unbelievable,

YAF kicks out Ron Paul

In the same story we learn that YAL is the "group of the future." Made me think of this...

In fact, for "real" conservatives, the relationship with Ron Paul was like the Sam Goldwyn bon mot: "I never liked you, and I always will!"

(Nod to Anonyman)

Quien anda lo mas despistado?

People, who is the most clueless, the NY Times or the WaPo?

Let's start with the Times, which has produced this gem:

Obama Budget Pivots From Stimulus to Deficit Cuts

WASHINGTON – President Obama, pivoting at midterm from costly economic stimulus measures to deficit reduction, on Monday released a fiscal year 2012 budget that projects an annual deficit of more than $1 trillion before government shortfalls decline to “sustainable” levels for the rest of the decade.

There is just not enough koolaid in the world to wash this kind of crap down. Obama is not pivoting from the stimulus; he's freezing spending at the stimulus levels. Plus his PLANNED deficit for 2011 is $1.65 Trillion and for 2012 it's $1.1 Trillion. After that, it's not clear he'll even BE IN OFFICE. It's incredibly brave of him to shrink the deficit in 2021!!

Not to be outdone, the WaPo fires back with this:

Obama administration studies recent revolutions for lessons applicable in Egypt

As the Obama administration works to shepherd the Egypt uprising toward a democratic government, it is drawing on the experiences of a half-dozen other nations whose revolutions have been the focus of internal White House study in recent weeks.

Oh yeah, I'm feeling all Psalmy up in here...

Obama is my shepherd, I am so screwed. He maketh me lie down with the Israelis, He leadeth me back to Camp David, He restoreth my subsidies. Yea though I walk through the valley of the Muslim Brotherhood, I shall fear no Islam, for Obama is with me.....

Journalists, please!

A horse is a horse...

...of course of course, but sometimes it turns out to be a Trojan horse. Like the stimulus bill.

Timely, targeted, and temporary?

We can debate the first two Ts, but the third one turns out to be false. The stimulus spending levels now apparently are permanent. I for one am shocked. President O has unveiled his "pain" budget of a mere $3.73 trillion, freezing spending in some areas at their 2010 levels.

Gee, thanks!

Of course even this bogus freeze does not apply to our President's favorite toys: choo-choos and windmills (and electric cars too!).

Did somehow progressive pundits and politicians just not get fun stuff to play with when they were kids? Is this nutty obsession just due their receiving Amy Chua parenting?

Yes, unemployment is still very high, people are still suffering. But we have already spent trillions and trillions with little to nothing to show for it!

Telegram for Dr. Obama: The leeches are not helping the patient!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The New Kirkpatrick Doctrine

The Myth of Mutant Ideologies...

in the Durham Herald,
by this correspondent.

Why didn't Fubarak resign sooner?

Two competing views.

First, this story says he was out of touch, isolated, surrounded by yes-men and advised by his genius son that he could still ride things out and stay in power.

Second, this story says he was buying time while he feverishly stashed his billions of wealth in untraceable places.

I guess both could have elements of the truth, but my money is on #2.

Gerry Gaus and David Schimdtz

Some pix of my good friends from Arizona, Gerry Gaus and David Schmidtz, two of the best philosophers around.

A picture of them hanging out, casually. (Gerry is the one with the long hair, btw.)

And another picture, all cleaned up and ready to step out.

Turn the Car OFF!

And take away the license. Hurry.

They are who we thought they were

In a fascinating new NBER working paper (ungated version here), Bertrand, Bombardini, & Trebbi try to sort out whether it's expertise or connections that make lobbyists valuable. Here's the bottom line (the extra emphasis is mine, not theirs):

"A pure issue expertise view of lobbying does not fit the data well. Instead, maintaining connections to politicians appears central to what lobbyists do. In particular, we find that whom lobbyists are connected to (through political campaign donations) directly affects what they work on. More importantly, lobbyists appear to systematically switch issues as the politicians they were previously connected to switch committee assignments, hence following people they know rather than sticking to issues. We also find evidence that lobbyists that have issue expertise earn a premium, but we uncover that such a premium for lobbyists that have connections to many politicians and Members of Congress is considerably larger."

Somehow, those results reminded me of this: