Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review

I thought about doing a "year in review" post.

But I couldn't have come close to doing it this well.

So, with props to KPC friend Prof. Dave Collum, the year in review!

RP's Xmas List

My guy T-Schall will likely not be on Ron Paul's Xmas list.

Article from Bal Sun here (reprinted pretty widely)

Now, full disclosure, T-Schall is my student, back from UNC-CH days. We have published together. So I am hardly neutral on this topic.

But it seems to me that Dr. Schaller has this right. The attraction of Dr. Paul has always escaped me. Yes, he is clearly right about several things. But he is wrong, and not just a little bit wrong, about a lot of important things.

Overall, I am grateful to Dr. Paul. He has been brave and consistent about advancing his views. But the people who come up to me and say, "Oh, you must like _________, he's a libertarian," only to have me stare at them in people are crazy.

Here is a partial list of people you goofballs think are libertarians. They can call themselves what they want, of course. But they are NOT libertarians.

Neil Boortz
Glen Beck
Ayn Rand
Ron Paul

So, when one of this group is discussed, or lauded, or is for some other reason in the news, please don't say, "Oh, you must be happy."

What DOES make me happy? Harry Browne's New Year's Day Resolutions. Harry Browne was a Libertarian.

Fearless Predictions

Here we go:


Obama re-elected

US unemployment rate no higher than 7.5% by the end of 2012, real GDP growth > 2.5% for 2012

Republicans keep House and barely get Senate

Heat defeat Thunder in NBA finals

Albert Pujols will be AL MVP


Putin ain't gonna be President of Russia for 12 more years

Assad Jr. gets the boot in 2012

The Euro zone makes it through 2012 intact

China's 2012 growth rate will be < 7.5%

Let me re-phrase

Thanks for your comments on my previous post. I am interested in being able to use the iPad for blogging when I travel to avoid having to lug a laptop around so I have been experimenting with it.

I have an external keyboard, so typing is not the problem.

I am finding that I can't put in hyper-links to other webpages or include images in my posts either when I log in to Blogger via safari on the iPad or when I use the Blogger iPhone app on the iPad.

It's hard for me to accept that there's not an app that makes blogging from the iPad as easy as using Blogger on a laptop.

But I guess that's what the universe is telling me?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Blogging on the iPad

So far it sucks. Any suggestions??

35 >> 25

Big fun last night in the OKC:

Some partial year end good news!

People, it looks like both the 45 cents / gallon subsidy for domestic ethanol AND the 54 cents / gallon tariff on imported ethanol are both dead as of January 1!

Amazing. I guess when the economics actually lines up with the political correctness, good things can actually happen.

Sadly though, the ethanol mandate (how many gallons of ethanol must be blended into gasoline each year) is still alive and well. At least it can be filled by cheaper and less environmentally wasteful Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol.

Maybe someday, we can just have a Pigouvian tax on carbon and drop the command and control BS. Not holding my breath though.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Education: yer doin it wrong

In this Times piece on young women leaving the labor force to increase their human capital, the author focuses in on one such person, getting an MA from the university of Denver.

The piece returns to her at the end and causally notes that, when added to her BA debt, the young lady will be $200,000 in the hole when she graduates!!

Given that her BA was from Wartburg College and her MA is in "strategic communications", I hope this person got a tremendous amount of enjoyment from going to school because as a financial investment, this stinks.

It's quite likely that she has consigned herself to an adult life lived out entirely behind the financial 8-ball.

Is the CIA giving Latin American leftists cancer?

Hugo Chavez says that he wouldn't doubt it one little bit.

He says he got the notion from Fidel:

"Fidel always told me, 'Chavez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat ... a little needle and they inject you with I don't know what,'"

It's easy to laugh at this but we actually did try to kill Castro, didn't we? And we helped kill Allende in Chile. And there was Guatemala in 1954, and the Contras in Nicaragua, and "Operation Fury" in Grenada. People, we occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934.

Hell we stole Panama from Colombia and huge chunks of Mexico too in the Mexican American War.

Basically the US has been a huge bully / PITA/ jerk to Latin America, at least since 1846.

It's not that hard to see where Hugo is coming from.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pour some (corn) sugar on me!

People, the nefarious corn growers want to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to "corn sugar".

Those bastards!

Luckily, we have a noble group mobilizing to stop the cornies' nefarious plan:

The sugar growers!

Yes, the Sugar Association is suing the Corn Refiners Association to stop the name change. If we could somehow get the Cotton Association in on this farce we'd have the trifecta of US agricultural policy stupidity.

It's all over now, baby blue?

Adjusting for inflation, real house prices are back to where they were in 2000. If we are not at the bottom, we have got to be pretty close, no? Could it possibly be a good time to buy?

(clic the pic for an even more vertiginous image)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Germany: Sorry, I gave at the State

The US is the number 1 most charitable nation in the world.

Germans like to see themselves as "giving," but of course when it comes to voluntary giving they actually suck. In fact, most of Europe "gives" by taking money from people at gunpoint. That would be "stealing," friends.

Germany is #26.

Of course, I suppose Germany could claim they gave at the Euro. Still, strong evidence that Tocqueville was right, and state action crowds out private initiative and personal moral responsibility. So, for all my German friends who jabber about how generous Germans are and how stingy American are... how do you like us now?

Germany and France Discuss the Future of the EU

Have been wanting to try to make a XtraNormal video.

This is my first effort. It's time consuming, but pretty fun.

Germany and France discuss the future of the EU in a closed door meeting, with a frank exchange of views...

Germany and France Discuss the EU
by: Michael_Munger

Roll over and see what you can do!

Recently saw this ad, on a site.

Not easy to read, but it says, "Menopause made intercourse dry and painful? Roll over to see what you can do!" And then, I shudder to think why, the picture of a doorknob.

However, to be fair, it made me look twice. Perhaps that is the real function of advertising, yes?

Warning: Contains Graphic Content

After this quite delightful little kerfuffle, Zach Wiener was kind enough to send me the original of this cartoon. Interesting Rorschach test: we learn something about YOU, from who you think is being mocked. This issue discussed at greater length here. (Hint: Zach always mocks everyone, including himself. He is not really a fan of false certitude, or ideologies. Check the crest here...)

Anyway, I got this for Christmas:

In the place of honor, right over the throne, so that men are obliged to stare it, and women will have plenty of time to look at it, too, while they are doing whatever it is that they do that takes 45 minutes in there. (Not very high quality, it's a cellphone pic, so if you want the original comic it's here...)

Way too early instant analysis of the Thunder

One game against a bad team (yes Orlando is a quite bad team) isn't much to go on, but here goes!

The Thunder had (at least) 4 questions going into the season.

1. Would Russell Westbrook take another step forward to becoming an efficient point guard?

2. Could Kendrick Perkins return to his pre-injury level of play?

3. Is James Harden the real deal?

4. Is Serge Ibaka the real deal?

Well, 50% fails most tests, but it does get you into the hall of fame in baseball.

Perkins was awesome. After a bit of a slow start, he did the job on Dwight Howard, ran around like a crazy man, and just generally was a badass. My favorite thing about Perk is how mad he gets when a TEAMMATE gets a rebound away from him.

Harden showed a lot more calmness and confidence. He knows what he can do and he looked ready to be a star.

Westbrook had 7 turnovers and shot 6-17. I have to say though that I am a huge Westbrook fan and I'm hoping for big improvements here. He probably needed training camp more than any other Thunder player.

Ibaka was a no-show. I don't know if he'd rather still be playing in Spain, but he was lost and totally ineffective out there. He was scary bad.

To switch gears, the Magic stink!

Hedo is done. He can't move. He and Anderson can hit wide open 3's when they don't have to move, but little else. If it wasn't for Ibaka's hideous defensive effort and the Thunders perverse penchant for fouling J.J. Redick, Orlando wouldn't have gotten 75 points!

The Magic have both Jason AND Quentin Richardson on their team! In the NBA we call that "two Richardsons too many".

I don't think they were both on the floor at the same time, but if that happens, basketball will never be the same.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Wisdom from LeBron

"good regulation should take account of our rather extreme ignorance. That means emphasizing the more general protections, as embodied in a ready supply of safe liquid assets, rather than obsessing over the regulatory micromanagement of particular bank activities."

More here.

Merry Christmas from Angus & Mungowitz