Saturday, September 24, 2011


I have no idea what this study purports to show.

Positive emotion word use and longevity in famous deceased psychologists

Sarah Pressman & Sheldon Cohen
Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: This study examined whether specific types of positive and negative emotional words used in the autobiographies of well-known deceased psychologists were associated with longevity.

Methods: For each of the 88 psychologists, the percent of emotional words used in writing was calculated and categorized by valence (positive or negative) and arousal (activated [e.g., lively, anxious] or not activated [e.g., calm, drowsy]) based on existing emotion scales and models of emotion categorization.

Results: After controlling for sex, year of publication, health (based on disclosed illness in autobiography), native language, and year of birth, the use of more activated positive emotional words (e.g., lively, vigorous, attentive, humorous) was associated with increased longevity. Negative terms (e.g., angry, afraid, drowsy, sluggish) and unactivated positive terms (e.g., peaceful, calm) were not related to longevity. The association of activated positive emotions with longevity was also independent of words indicative of social integration, optimism, and the other affect/activation categories.

Conclusions: Results indicate that in writing, not every type of emotion correlates with longevity and that there may be value to considering different categories beyond emotional valence in health relevant outcomes.

(Nod to Kevin Lewis, who is never drowsy, afraid, sluggish)

Back in Black

Records are back. They are so back that even The Economist has taken note:

One innovation that has helped vinyl sales is that albums often now come with codes that let you download a MP3 version of the music (occasionally, they come with FLAC downloads, but not often enough for nuts like me who sometimes buy both the LP and the CD(to get a high quality download)).

Apparently at lot of the young 'uns buy LPs and never play them.

Here's Dom from one of my new favorite bands (Dom):

“The reason we sell vinyl is that there will always be a market for it...people probably already downloaded the music anyway, and they’ll buy the record because of the big artwork and because it’s something you can hold on to.”

At Chez Angus, we have ditched the CD player. We have 800+ albums stored in lossless files and a cabinet full of LPs.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Government by waiver

The Obama administration has really gotten into a groove with selective non-enforcement of unpopular laws. First Ms. Sebelius got the ball rolling with hundreds of waivers from the provisions of Obamacare. Now Arne Duncan gets his chance with the announcement that the Dept. of Education will selectively grant waivers from the consequences of not hitting the educational targets in NCLB.


They are giving waivers now for targets that come due in 2014!

Of course, "comply or face the consequences" is totally out of the question. Just ask Matt Yglesias:

"Simply refusing to grant waivers would be an unworkable non-starter. The issue is whether to just hand the waivers out, or to impose conditionality."

Anybody still think we can pass a bill now that actually would lock in long-term deficit reduction?



The laws of health care

1. Everyone Dies!

2. No amount of taxation can reverse #1.

3. Much of our health care spending is wasteful

1 and 2 are golden. need more good ones though.

Thanks and apologies (but no blame) to Dan Diamond, Austin Frakt, & Don Taylor.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I don't even need to make any remarks about this any more.

Just read the WaPo about Sol-Gate. That's WaPo, not WaTimes, btw.

Solyndra was not Teapot Dome, but it's heading that way. Really, really bad stuff for Obamanoids.

(Nod to Anonyman)

My Dog Owns My House? I don't think so...

If I need security, I get a dog. If a group of us need security, we might sign a contract and get a really big, strong dog. Let's call it...I don't know... GOVERNMENT. It's big, stupid, poops in places it shouldn't and wastes a lot of time sleeping and licking its "Representative Wiener", because it can.

But, suppose that big smelly dog also does a reasonably good job protecting my house, and yours. We build factories, we create wealth, we do a lot of useful things.

And it's true that we needed the dog, for security, so we could concentrate on things that idiotic, lazy dogs can't do.

For some reason, Elizabeth Warren concludes from all this that our dog...OWNS OUR HOUSE! That is just a non sequitur. It's a DOG. But here is what she says.

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody! You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

Actually, you didn't pay for them, ma'am, the factory owner did. Why would my dog own my house?

The full, surprisingly idiotic video...

(Not sure where I first heard the "why should your dog own your house?" formulation, but my good friend Tony de Jasay is a likely source)

Why Lie?

As Mr. Overwater aptly asks, in a comment on a different post, "Why lie?"

My question, specifically, is "Why would Al Gore tell an obvious, easily disconfirmed lie about the number of people who watched his public masturbation on the environment?" Because he did lie, egregiously. The only way you can get to Al's numbers is if you count people who watched for five seconds, and then replicate them so that each five seconds counts as a new viewer, over the whole period. If you don't do that, you get this.

The answer, I'm afraid, is not very complicated. Al Gore has become the Jimmy Swaggart, the Pat Robertson, and the Billy Sunday of the Enviro Movement. Of course, quite a few people in the Enviro movement are too smart to fall for this Al A-Gorey.

"Oh, HELP me, Jeebus! Send money right away, to save the world from global warming! Send money! We accept all major credit cards. And I accept $100,000* per speaking engagement so I can maintain my 20,000** square foot home with gaslight lanterns on the driveway! Carbon offsets for you, massive hypocrisy for me!"

For video fans: A feast for the eyes...24 hours of ManBearPig.

NOTES: *--not an exaggeration. **--an exaggeration, or a "lie" if you will. This whole post is a satire, not a documentary. I don't think Al Gore says "Jeebus;" he says "Gaia," the Earth Mother. Oh, and I should note that Al Gore never claimed to invent the internet. He also didn't invent the religious scam. But he used the internet to make money off his enviro-religion scam very effectively.

(Nod to the Blonde)

Sentiments entirely appropriate to these troubled times

Hat tip to David C.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Did Al Gore Invent the Interwebs?

I can answer the question "why did Al Gore invent the interwebs?" pretty easily.

It is so we can share with you this cri de couer from Ryan Theriot. Money quote: "When I was playing shortstop," he said, serving as his era's tragic spokesman, "we were in first place. I know that. It is what it is."

The point is that Netflix collapsed, and waterparks are empty, and in many cases closed, because of that little f**k Furcal. It is, indeed, what it is. And nothing less.

A giant appreciation to Kindred. This is pure comedy gold.

A pic of Ryan in happier days, at Wrigley.

Something Funny This Way Comes

Notice anything odd about this "restaurant review"? Check it out.

That's right.... they never mention food, service, those things.

Apparently they think that many people will make their dining choices based on how many wasteful public subsidies for inefficient alternative energy technologies the owners have sucked down.

"Oooooh, look, honey, solar panels on the roof! I can see them by the moonlight! Let's stop and have a romantic candlelight dinner, since there is no electricity."

"I don't know; what kind of food do they have?"

"Who cares? All that matters is that we are seen entering such a politically correct establishment. Make sure you leave the lights on from the car. No one will recognize me in those 1.5 watt LEDs."

(Nod to the Blonde)

Mr. Green Jobs

This sensitive person is yowling about green jobs. That's fine, that's what sensitive people do.

But in this context asking the question, "Why is the US losing the Green Race?" is a strange thing to say. If ol' A-Mad means, "Why are we losing the wasteful pointless spending race to two countries with much more centralized governments?" then I think the answer is easy. The real question is why do you think you want to WIN a race that goes not to the swift, but to the dumb.

What I enjoyed, and what is hard to convey with links to individual articles, is that this cry for massive subsidies is on the same page, the SAME PHYSICAL PAGE, as this article that describes what happens when you pour money down Solyndrical rat holes.

(Nod to Anonyman)

Raleigh: America's Best City?

Raleigh is America's best city?

I happen to agree, mind you. Considering all the factors, I can't imagine a better place to live.

Neither Here Nor There

The Blonde sends this link to a story about maps of underwater internet connections.

I had never thought about this. Interesting.

Corollary to Sutton's Law

Willie Sutton is reputed to have answered the question, "Why do you rob banks?" with a dismissive, "That's where they keep the money."

The new corollary is "Why send the police to state legislatures?", with the answer being "that's where the criminals are!" An example from Rhode Island....

This is hardly isolated, though. All too often, lawmakers are lawbreakers, because they think they are above the law.

(Nod to Kindred)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lawson EFW

Bob Lawson does a "teaser video."

And some other good info, also.

What If the Professor Died, and Nobody Noticed?

In my opinion, the University of Pennsylvania has the widest disparity in the country between the Econ Dept (one of ten best in the world) and the Poli Sci Dept (not one of the ten best in the Philadelphia SMSA).

But....don't you think that if a professor DIES, someone would notice? The UPenn Poli Sci Dept is so badly run they never even bothered to cancel the class.

Dorothy Parker, when told in analogous situation some dreary boor had died, asked, "How could they tell?" I guess they could NOT tell, since ol' HT is still listed as being alive on the web site.

(UPDATE: I have it on good authority that Prof. Teune was in fact a fine man, and a good man. So, the above is clearly unfair to him. My Prof. Teune. The DoPS can screw.)


Here at KPC we sometimes go a little overboard on being critical. So how about some stuff I actually admire? Extremely quirky but in a really good way?

1. Anticlimacus, especially for picking up this.

2. Liquidity Preference, and this.

3. Token Libertarian Girl clears up some misconceptions.

4. Kindred Winecoff on why the problem with economics is economists.

Meesa lyka dees.

James Surowiecki has occupational dyslexia

In his latest column in the New Yorker, he calls me a political scientist and Doug Hibbs an economist!


Here is the article that I believe he's referencing, from the Journal of Law & Economics. We show that if you define electoral performance by incumbent return rates instead of party vote share, a wide range of economic conditions (inflation, unemployment, and income growth) affect House elections, and at least some of the effects are independent of whether or not the incumbent is of the same political party as the president.

It's one of my favorite papers (I mean of ones I've written or co-written). My co-author, Joe McGarrity did a ton of work on it, as we got a very daunting R&R offer from the journal and Joe really did the job on making the referees and Editor happy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Flip The Bird

Libertarian bird movement growing!

No Banking Crisis, Eh?

Why Didn't Canada Have A Banking Crisis in 2008 (or in 1930, or 1907, or ...)?

NBER Working Paper, August 2011

Abstract: The financial crisis of 2008 engulfed the banking system of the United States and many large European countries. Canada was a notable exception. In this paper we argue that the structure of financial systems is path dependent. The relative stability of the Canadian banks in the recent crisis compared to the United States in our view reflected the original institutional foundations laid in place in the early 19th century in the two countries. The Canadian concentrated banking system that had evolved by the end of the twentieth century had absorbed the key sources of systemic risk—the mortgage market and investment banking—and was tightly regulated by one overarching regulator. In contrast the relatively weak, fragmented, and crisis prone U.S. banking system that had evolved since the early nineteenth century, led to the rise of securities markets, investment banks and money market mutual funds (the shadow banking system) combined with multiple competing regulatory authorities. The consequence was that the systemic risk that led to the crisis of 2008 was not contained.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Fortune cookies entirely appropriate for these troubled times

Economists Answer the Call

Long term research agenda forecasts. Interesting.

Sol-gate: It just gets better!

Anonyman sends this link. It just keeps getting better and better. Robbing Peter and Paul to pay for a pure solar scam.

The problem may not be the bad loans, but rather the fibbing and the covering up, as always.

Brendan Nyhan said it was 'bout time for BHO to have a scandal. Good call, Brendan!

Classical Liberal Reading Group

Okay, CL fans, I need your help.

An extremely earnest and enthusiastic student just wrote to me, and asked about starting a reading group in Classical Liberalism. This student wants the movement to spread, and wants the readings to be good. And s/he also wants Progressive counterpoint.

So, let me ask the smartest people I know, the readers of KPC!

In comments, please give the BEST (most important, but also most readable) books or articles for these categories (these are my correspondent's categories, btw). And NO MORE THAN THREE per category, please. Have at you!

Classical Liberal authors of history: _____

Classical Liberal authors of the contemporary period: ____

And Progressive authors of history: _____

And Progressive authors of the contemporary period: _____


Overseas Trade and the Decline of Privateering

Henning Hillmann & Christina Gathmann
Journal of Economic History, September 2011, Pages 730-761

Abstract: Using a novel data set on 2,483 British privateering cruises, we show that state-licensed raiding of commercial vessels was a popular and flourishing business among merchants that took a serious toll on enemy trade from 1689 to 1815. Why, then, did privateering merchants gradually turn away from these profitable endeavors? We show that the expansion of overseas trade increased the opportunity costs for merchants and resulted in the decline of privateering. Our findings document that the decline of privateering had as much to do with an expanding maritime economy as with the rising naval power of the British state.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Barack Obama comes out of the closet

Wow. President O is planning to ask for $1.5 Trillion in new tax revenues with no changes to Social Security and perhaps no changes to Medicare either.

Finally the bullsh*t is over and the cards are on the table.

You know, if this doesn't kick-start the economy, I don't know what will!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Outside Money With Ideological Strings FINE, if it's lefty!

Southern Methodist University has decided that it will offer space for the ideological vision of a leftist donor. Here is the description of the program of bizarre indoctrination that students will receive as a poor substitute for an education.

Now, I do object to the fraudulent claim that this is a "major." It is an extended year round summer camp for kids who are too ideology-addled and lazy even to enroll in SMU's famously easy disciplinary majors. But, okay, caveat emptor. If you want to offer a crap major like that, and rich kids want to take it so they feel less guilty about their pointless trust-fund guided lives, fair enough.

What twists up my boxers into a slip-knot is the idea that all the media and other colleges are just fine with a "donor" buying a major at a university to serve that donor's own narrow ideological world-view. When the Kochs give money for legitimate courses, with legitimate instructors, it's time to cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of "Whore! You took money from the Kochs!"

But when lefties do it, it's all good. (Shakes head slowly, mystified).

You'll Wonder Where the Green Jobs Went, When You Learn What "Poison River" Meant!

How are those Green Jobs working out for ya, China?

If there is one consistent theme here at KPC, it is that we should be very, very happy to let the Chinese spend themselves into bankruptcy developing alternative energy technology which we will be able either to buy, or to use. Besides, we are doing a lot, more than we should be perhaps, already.

I wish no ill to the Chinese people. But one of the side effects of China's choice to develop "green" technology is that they are killing their environment.

(Nod to Anonyman, who is en fuego, producing lots of carbon)

Jersey Sure

This article is a bit funny. I have never seen the show "Jersey Shore" (or is that the "show" Jersey Shore ?), but I am assured that it is entertaining in a not-very-demanding way.

The disturbing thing is the comments. "Natale," obviously educated in the NJ public school system, thinks she has a smackdown argument.

Sorry NYMag, but this is a shitty article. The tax credit is based on only what the entire production SPENT in New Jersey.. camera rental, lodging, food, transportation.. all during filming that specific season.. the production is entitled to a 20% rebate based on locally hired crew and monies actually spent solely in NJ AND only if reviewed by a qualified CPA and then approved by the NJ Film Office.. they usually use it towards satisfying the NJ corporate business state tax. If the total refund was only $420,000, that means MTV spent $2.1 Million dollars ALONE in NJ (that counts as revenue for local businesses as well as job creation!!) .. do your homework.

So, the reason that it is okay to rebate a large chunk back to this horrible show is that it creates a lot of the tax dollars that are being rebated.

Um...Natale, how about this: lower the taxes in the first place. Then you wouldn't have to tax the companies that create jobs (and that is what ALL companies do, Natale, not just "Jersey Sore), and you would have more jobs.

(Nod to Anonyman, who has started referring to his ass as "The Distribution")