Saturday, June 25, 2011

In case you were wondering

You know that God damned road seemed like it went forever
Exhausted fumes made our eyes turn red and swell
With our clothes stuck to the seats and to our bodies
It was a stinking summer trip through southern hell

--David Bromberg

Friday, June 24, 2011

say what?

Here is a picture of Michelle Obama, who according to the AP is "participating in youth activities raising awareness for HIV prevention". Sadly, no further details were given.

Are she and Bishop Tutu promoting pushups as an alternative to unprotected sex? Is the idea that one should work out until they are too tired to engage in unprotected sex? What exactly is the link between pushups and HIV prevention awareness?

PS: I like Michelle's tribute to Michael Jordan!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Retail politics

Ignacio, a loyal KPC reader from Chile, passed me a great article about politics in Argentina, which I will loosely translate here:

On the same day she announced her bid for re-election, President Kirchner also announced a new government program "TVs for Everyone" (televisores para todos). Initially there will be 200,000, 32 inch hi def sets available. People can finance them over 60 payments at 15% interest. Kirchner announced the program will start by offering the TVs to retirees because "they have the most time available to watch TV".

Oh Crissy, could it also be because old people vote more frequently than any other group?

If you think that 15% interest is a bad deal, consider that the actual inflation rate in the country right now is thought to be between 25 and 30%!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cholera is a small price to pay for Liberty!

Anti-thug bias?

I am often skeptical of claims of racial bias when someone is obviously being a jerk.

But in this instance....well, what do you think?

This man was told he could not fly, because he had his pants drooping, exposing his boxer shorts. (A video; comments are interesting)

This man was told...yikes! Anyway, this man was told he could fly, even though "his" underwear was fully exposed.

(Nod to the Blonde, who has a white sweater just like that)

Thank you, homie

The revolution might not be televised, but the hostage-taking will be Facebooked!

The perpetrator posted pics of himself and his hostage, received info about the location of police officers, and added a dozen new friends all on Facebook during a 16 hour hostage standoff in Utah.

Why don't I just let him tell it: "I'm currently in a standoff ... kinda ugly, but ready for whatever," "I love u guyz and if I don't make it out of here alive that I'm in a better place and u were all great friends."

who couldn't "like" a status update like that?


An astute commenter has found the perp's Facebook page. Here's a link to his wall, the posts from him about the situation are a few pages back from the current front page.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The best paragraph I've read this month

"what if Poland had agreed in 1939 to join Germany in an invasion of the Soviet Union, as Hitler wanted? If Poland had allied with Germany rather than resisting, Britain and France would not have issued territorial guarantees to Poland, and would not have had their casus belli in September 1939. It is hard to imagine that Britain and France would have declared war on Germany and Poland in order to save the Soviet Union. If Poland’s armies had joined with Germany’s, the starting line for the invasion would have been farther east than it was in June 1941, and Japan might have joined in, which would have forced some of the Red Army divisions that defended Moscow to remain in the Far East. Moscow might have been attained. In this scenario, there is no Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and thus no alienation of Japan from Germany. In that case, no Pearl Harbor, and no American involvement. What World War II becomes is a German-Polish-Japanese victory over the Soviet Union. That, by the way, was precisely the scenario that Stalin feared."

Thanks to Tyler, Andrew Roberts and Timothy Snyder for coaching me up. More here.


Several people have guessed they might have been a lucky winner.

But not so far. One frequent reader was 1,000,002, and proclaimed himself the lamest man on earth.

Here are the winners. If you are one of them, fill in the ##s and send me your physical address!

Visit 1,000,001
Address 71.107.##.##
Country : United States
State : California
City : Long Beach

Visit 1,000,000
IP Address 69.245.###.#
Country : United States
State : Indiana
City : Fort Wayne

Visit 999,999
IP Address 66.69.##.#
Country : United States
State : Texas
City : San Antonio

Podcast on Euvoluntary Exchange

The 20th time (here's the whole list) Russ Roberts has been kind enough to let me jabber. I really enjoyed this one, a very interesting discussion about my idea of "Euvoluntary Exchange." (The paper has finally come out... Here is the gated version. Happy to share if you email me.)

I hope you like it!

Don't cry for me Greco-tina

People, we've seen this movie before. Greece is Argentina II.

The parallels are uncanny. Insolvency was mistaken for illiquidity. Devaluation was shunned. A big loan package was created with conditions. Conditions weren't met, but installments of the loan were still given (this has only been announced for Greece, it hasn't actually happened yet), and now a "second last chance" loan is being prepared.

All the while the economy and institutions of the country continue relentlessly downward.

The only ones getting bailed out here are the banks who have big exposure to Greek debt. Greece itself is not getting bailed out, it is getting deeper and deeper in debt!

I understand that a currency union is harder to get out of than a currency board, but the combination of fiscal irresponsibility and a fixed exchange rate is just lethal in our era of capital mobility.

Greece needs the ghost of Nestor Kirchner to swim over and give them the onions to simply default.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Millions and Millions Sold

Well, a million at least.

I have the IP addresses and physical addresses of numbers 999,999, 1,000,000, and 1,000,001.

Just send me an email identifying your location, and give me your physical address, and you'll get a "Public Choice, Fool: You Better Represent!" t-shirt with that creepy "Gordon and James in the woods with pocket protectors" photo!

Wow, things are worse than I thought

The "Keil Institute for the World Economy" gave its "Global Economy Prize" this year to......

I can only conclude that either (a) The Onion has hacked the WSJ or (b) the world economy is in very very very bad shape indeed.

JCT splains exactly what he's done to earn the prize:

"We have thereby been safeguarding the euro's purchasing power," Mr. Trichet said in Kiel. The ECB will continue to do what is necessary to deliver price stability, Mr. Trichet said. "There is no moment of complacency," he added. "We have to deliver price stability."

Previous winners of this prestigious prize include Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, Gordon Gono, Andrew Mellon and Georg Friedrich Knapp.