Saturday, July 02, 2011

Legalize it?

DSK Fail

Wow. There are two stories.

HE SAYS: The maid was in the room. He didn't know it. He walked out of the shower, all nekkid and pasty white 62 year old dough boy. The maid, seeing him, was overwhelmed by his physical beauty, and demanded that they couple, immediately, on the nearest available horizontal surface.

SHE SAYS: He came out of the shower, she didn't know he was in the room. She tried to ignore him. He pursued her, caught her, and raped her, in spite of her protests and resistance.

WHAT IS KNOWN FOR SURE: They were both in the room. Sex was had, because there is ... let's call it "DNA" ... from DSK. And it was all up in the part of the woman where "DNA" would be if they had sex.

THE VERDICT: These are two implausible stories. His is just silly. But it turns out that the maid has a history of lying and associating with very sketchy characters. Since both stories are implausible, we look to the presumption. In a criminal case, the strong presumption is innocence on the part of the accused.

DUKE LACROSSE: Not even close. There, no sex was had. Except with six other (non-lacrosse, non-Duke) guys, before and after. (EWWWWW!) But there was never any evidence that any of the students had sex with CM. None. Zero. In the DSK case, he DEFINITELY DID have sex with the woman, according to his own story and the DNA evidence. The question is whether it was consensual. Sounds like DSK walks.

STILL: The lacrosse players at Duke were innocent. DSK is "not guilty." There's a big difference.

I got your evil empire right here, bud.

Closer to home, Hugo Chavez and his Axis of Anklebiters are descending towards farce. The economic success of Chile and Brazil cuts the ground out from under the "Bolivarean" caudillos. They may strut and prance on the stage, appear with Fidel on TV and draw a crowd by attacking the Yanquis, but the dream of uniting South America into a great anticapitalist, anti-U.S. bloc is as dead as Che Guevara

--Walter Russell

Friday, July 01, 2011

Duke Lacrosse Redux?


According to the NY Times, the criminal case against DSK may be falling apart over "major holes in the credibility of the housekeeper who charged that he attacked her in his Manhattan hotel suite in May"

"Prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself."

"Mr. Strauss-Kahn could be released on his own recognizance, and freed from house arrest, reflecting the likelihood that the serious charges against him will not be sustained."

If this is true, it's really horrible. Though at least prosecuters in NY are not trying to pull a Nifong.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Better than having a shoe thrown at you....

N. Sarkozy gets grabbed by some random idiot.

There is a silly myth, in the U.S. at least, that French troops / police are cowards. The fact is that the French upper level officer corps was corrupt and cowardly, for a few decades of the previous century. But if you try to mess with any enlisted level French troops, or elite police unit, this will be a cause of considerable regret to you. They are fearless and brutal. The grab-man may be in for a difficult hour or so.

Nod to Anonyman

Amorous in Amarillo

more info is here.

Hat tip to RKG!

The Broken Window Fallacy

The Whitest Man on Earth talks about the Broken Window Fallacy.

The Bastiat text being referred to is here....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Born That Way

An old country preacher had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young Men his age, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it. One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects.

1. A Bible.....
2. A silver dollar.....
3. A bottle of whiskey.....
4. And a Playboy magazine.....

"I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself. "When he comes home from school today, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be!

If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a business man, and that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunken bum, and Lord, what a shame that would be.

And worst of all if he picks up that magazine he's going to be a skirt-chasing womanizer."

The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's foot-steps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room..

The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table...With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink, while he admired this month's centerfold.

"Lord ha' mercy, that's terrible." the old preacher disgustedly whispered. "He's gonna run for Congress."

(Nod to the LMM)

Calculation Debate

Markets on a (Computer) Chip? New Perspectives on Economic Calculation

Mark Jablonowski, Science & Society, July 2011, Pages 400-418

Abstract: Is it possible to implement an efficient economic alternative to market capitalism using economic planning? The debate, which has blown both hot and cold over the last 80 years, has turned on the feasibility of calculating solutions to what amounts to a vast quantity of economic equations. More recently, issues of respecting the uncertainty and preserving the information content inherent in "real world" economic transactions have surfaced. The question may ultimately be decided not on how much computing power is needed to solve complex economic problems, but rather on how well new solutions are articulated. New developments in computer "chip level" computation, including the rebirth of electronic analogs and the incor-poration of the fuzzy set formalism for computing in complex systems, may impart a greater feasibility to the idea of deliberate public planning that integrates the benefits of the market process for the achievement of social objectives. These developments have implications for establishing workable alternatives to capitalism.

(Nod to Kevin Lewis)

Delta Dawn, What's That Airplane I Got On?

A remarkably bad experience with Delta.

As background, I am a Gold Medallion member. That means I get treated better than the average flyer, by a fair amount. Not saying I deserve it, just saying that if this happened to me, with GM status, then the little people get...yikes!

Get to Memphis, on a Salt Lake to Raleigh trip, for layover. Plane supposed to leave at 7:05. Go to gate. Told gate is changed, flight is now 8:05.

Go to new gate. Told gate is changed, different terminal. Flight is now 8:40.

All facilities, and I mean ALL facilities, except bathrooms, close at 7:30. No way to buy anything to drink or eat. Not even vending machines. I've never seen anything like it. The airport was full of people, but every service facility, drinks food, news stores, everything: locked up. People were still in line, and the "service" folks were pulling the metal cage doors shut.

New gate announcement: other end of terminal. Flight is now 9:05. We all walk over. Arrive at gate, told that was a mistake. Wait, maybe it was NOT a mistake. Yes, a mistake. Go back to gate next to gate where we just were all sitting.

Announcement at new/old gate: "The flight is now expected to depart at 10:21 pm. That is a rough estimate, though." Bitter laughter. The mood is growing ugly.

Plane arrives, passengers deplane. Immediately, gate person says, "Now boarding, all rows, all passengers!" Now, one reason I value Gold Medallion status is that I get to board first. I have an LCD projector that is large and very fragile, and I need a minute to get it settled into the overhead. It will be damaged if I have to put it underfoot, and they are supposed to give zone 1 passengers an extra minute or two. But, not this time. By the time I get to my seat, there is no overhead space. I have to push the projector under the seat. Hear cracking sounds. Worried about it, but no choice. Keep pushing.

Stewardess gets on intercom, explains delay. Turns out that this plane (Delta #4271, Lubbock, TX to Memphis, TN to Raleigh, NC) had been stuck in Lubbock for 3.5 hours was TOO HOT. Turns out that this plane cannot be operated in hot places like Lubbock, TX. Which led me to want to ask, "Why the $^%$#$ did you have this plane in Lubbock scheduled for a late afternoon take-off!? It is always hot in Lubbock in late June!" (To be fair, it hit 110 degrees F in Lubbock on Sunday. That's warm...)

Stewardess goes on to tell us the following happy news:

1. Our arrival into RDU would be 1:15 am (scheduled arrival: 10:05 pm)
2. Because they had had to pull the sweaty passengers off the plane three times in Lubbock (once after the cabin filled with smoke!), and the passengers had spent nearly six hours on the plane, the plane was trashed. But....there was no crew on hand to clean the plane. (Everyone who works for Delta in Memphis goes home at 7:30 pm, see above). So, though there was trash and stickyness everywhere....we should just go screw ourselves. Fly or don't.
3. There was also no crew to provision the plane. So, no drinks or snacks. She implied we were lucky to be flying at all, given the heroic efforts of the flight crew to fly a plane that was not really allowed to fly out of hot Lubbock in the first maggots should be GRATEFUL!

Got home, at 1:15 am. And you know what? She was RIGHT. I was very grateful... that I did not have to fly on Delta any more for a while.

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Economy Produces Goods for Consumers, Not "Jobs"

From my talk today at the Locke Foundation. (Big props to my man, Mitch Kokai)

UPDATE: And here is the entire talk, 40 minutes worth, if you are a streamer.


He Jumped the Surfer

So, "he jumped the shark" means to go way, WAY too far in the direction of doing something stupid, for a show or activity that has long outlived its "dispose by" date.

Well...this shark jumped the surfer. Yes, he did, in this very video.

And since a lot of people have never heard of the Happy Days origin of the phrase "jumped the shark," I give you: Fonzie.

Libertarians Rising?

Article about libertarian identification rising.

Article about comments
on article about libertarian identification rising.

(Nod to Erik C and Anonyman)

Magic Fed dust

"There is still a sufficiently low real interest rate that would produce recovery, but it’s a rate that’s hard to achieve."

The accuracy of this quote depends on the definition of the word "hard" (sorry to go all Bill Clinton on you people).

Despite all the recent talk of unconventional monetary policy, the Fed really only has one bullet, manipulating bank reserves. They can shoot that bullet at the nominal interest rate, or at the inflation rate, but not at both.

Suppose the real interest rate required to "produce recovery" was -10%. There is no way the Fed can both hold the nominal rate near zero and create 10% inflation. They might be able to hit -10% fleetingly at a positive and rising nominal rate with a rapidly accelerating inflation rate, but we have seen in the 1970s that such conditions are not conducive to growth.

The Fed simply can't produce stable negative rates on financial instruments relevant for investment or financing consumer durables.

So if "hard" means "impossible to pull off in any sort of constructive way", then I agree with the quote.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

All your jets are belong to us

I am not an airplane snob. I've flown Rwanda Air Express, MadAir (the national airline of Madagascar), along with bush planes in Guatemala, Mexico, Tanzania, Costa Rica, and Peru (when our charter pilot in Peru went out of business between our outbound and inbound flight we got a ride from the Peruvian air force!).

But this is a bit too much (from the Economist):

"Running Air Zimbabwe is not easy. When President Robert Mugabe wants to go somewhere, he simply kicks the passengers off one of your jets and takes it. This is not good for customer relations, or profits."

Maybe Air Zim could join up with Delta & KLM!

NYT and Bubbles

I was pleased to see that the NYT actually had reverted, if briefly, to being a newspaper instead of a hack mouthpiece for the Obama regime.

They had this very plausible story about the "green energy bubble." And it's true: many of the companies that were recently photo ops for some grinning Obama regime rep (including Mr. Obama himself) have gone belly up. They only were created to suck down subsidies from idiots. A classic bubble. The Green she go boom. Pop go a bunch of weasels.

But then I looked more closely. Far from focusing on the actual bubble, the one in green energy, the one that has already burst, the Green Lady of News is actually forecasting a bubble in...natural gas. The discovery of enormous new reserves of cheap, clean-burning fuel is very annoying to the Green Energy Gods, the apparatchiks of the regime who want to use public money to pay off their pals. And for the "peak idiocy" bunch....fugeddaboudit. Natural gas is a disaster for the authoritarians who want us all to return to sad stone age lives perched in caves and contemplating the sins of "late" capitalism.

Amazing. Just when you think the NYTimes can't sink any lower, they submerge into the muck.

(Nod to the Blonde)

7 million new jobs in 7 paragraphs

Man Robert Frank is ON FIRE in his Economic View column. The whole thing is 16 paragraphs, but in grafs 6-12 Bob lays out how we can get "more than 7 million" new jobs by the end of 2012.

I can boil his 7 grafs into 3 words:

payroll tax holiday

Yessirree Bob; it's just that easy. Cut the employee rate to zero and cut the employer's rate to zero for all new hires from now to the end of 2012.

I am in favor of cutting the payroll tax permanently, not just for 18 months, or so regardless of how many jobs it creates, but I am amazed that (a) Bob Frank is advocating this policy, and (b) that he is so sure that the resulting employment gains would be so strong.