Saturday, March 02, 2013

Pimps are Sex Offenders?

Holy simoly.  An amazing piece of legislation.  The NC General Assembly is considering a bill to make pimpin' an offense that would require registration as a (wait for it) Sex Offender!  People convicted of "sex trafficking" would be required to have their names added to the sex offender registry.  It appears that Dan Blue is the only guy in the legislature with any sense.

A state Senate committee Thursday approved a local senator's bill that would require those convicted of human trafficking, or pimps, to register as sex offenders. 

But approval came after considerable debate over the scope of the sex offender registry. Several senators expressed concern about adding the crime to the registry because it places offenders not convicted of sex crimes on the list. 

"Sex offenses are unique," said Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake. "We need to keep them separate as much as possible.

 Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, filed his Sex Trafficking/Sex Offender Registration bill last week. Goolsby said he understood Blue's concern, and he was open to creating a separate registry but wasn't sure if that was possible. 

Sen. Dan Soucek, R-Watauga, was concerned that creating a separate registry might be more problematic. "We don't want to create a loophole that is an exception," Soucek said. Goolsby argued during Thursday's committee meeting said he'd rather err on the side of victims. 

"This is the only registry we have," Goolsby said. "If someone enslaves another human being, we still want those people registered."

More after the jump...

Friday, March 01, 2013

Hashtag o' the Day

People, it's #obamascifiquotes.


Let Them Eat S**t

Wow.  Some pretty darned arrogant government officials.Yes, I realize that is like saying water is wet.

1.  Savers should stop whining, and just start spending.  Thrift is selfish.  Or so say the British overlords of money.

2.  You'll take the sequester, and you'll LIKE it, says Congress.  After all, "It's not like anybody is cutting OUR pay, so it's all good!" according to the US Senate.

3.  University professor forced to apologize for questioning whether "taste in pictures" is cause for going to jail.  He might have gone to jail himself, just for expressing this view.  Full disclosure:  Flanagan is a friend of mine, and a Duke grad.  But it is my identification with him as a fellow academic that is relevant here.  For background, here is Chris A.'s interview with Flanagan.  It MUST be okay to question whether expressive acts are criminal, or else ALL expressive acts can be criminal, and then there is no academic freedom.  I'm not saying child porn should be legal.  I'm saying it has to be legal to question whether child porn should be illegal.  (Especially cartoon images, where no child is actually present, or exploited directly).  My own view is that I am confused about this.  I tend to think that cartoons can show pretty much anything.  I don't have to watch it.

Nod to Stephen W. and Chris A.

Maxine Waters Wins!

Our politicians, on both sides of aisle, have been having a contest to see who can say the dumbest and most outrageously exaggerated thing about the "dangers" of sequestration.

But Maxine Waters, Democrat from Venus, clearly wins.

It may be worth pointing out that the total number of employed people in the U.S. is just south of 135 million.  So for 170 million people to lose their jobs would indeed be catastrophic.  100% of the US labor force would have to lose its job (including Ms. Waters, which is not a bad idea, now that I think of it).  And then another 35 million people who aren't even employed would have to find jobs, and then lose them, all in the same instant.

No WONDER we are afraid of sequestration.

Ms. Waters' mouthpiece says that was an "obvious slip of the tongue."  Really?  So from now on when someone says something that is clearly wrong, Ms. Waters is going to say, "Don't criticize that poor fella; it was an obvious slip of the tongue!"  Somehow, when Mitt Romney said, "Binders full of women," it was a big deal.  Clearly a slip of the tongue.  Sauce for the goose, Ms. Waters.

UPDATE:  This is a remarkable statement.  Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is worried about bad people, "nameless, faceless bureaucrats," paradoxically the very same people Rep. DWS thinks should run everyone's lives.  Are these bureaucrats really smart, or not, Debbie?  And then, she suggests that the Republicans should go "to see the wizard."  It's hard to know what that even might mean.  I recognize that the Congressional Democrats believe in magic, but "the wizard"?

My Talk to the Bastiat Society of Charlotte

On Wednesday, Feb 20 I gave a talk to the Bastiat Society of Charlotte.

Here is the video.  Long, not easy to see, but you can see the slides and hear the audio quite well.

Thanks to Eric Rowell and the folks in Charlotte!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Great Titles in Social Science

Lawyers as Agents of the Devil in a Prisoner's Dilemma Game: Evidence from Long Run Play 

Orley Ashenfelter, David Bloom & Gordon Dahl NBER Working Paper, February 2013 

Abstract: Do the parties in a typical dispute face incentives similar to those in the classic prisoner’s dilemma game? In this paper, we explore whether the costs and benefits of legal representation are such that each party seeks legal representation in the hope of exploiting the other party, while knowing full well that failing to do so will open up the possibility of being exploited. The paper first shows how it is possible to test for the presence of such an incentive structure in a typical dispute resolution system. It then reports estimates of the incentives for the parties to obtain legal representation in wage disputes that were settled by final-offer arbitration in New Jersey. The paper also reports briefly on similar studies of data from discharge grievances, court-annexed disputes in Pittsburgh, and child custody disputes in California. In each case, the data provide evidence that the parties face strong individual incentives to obtain legal representation which makes the parties jointly worse off. Using our New Jersey data, we find that expert agents may well have played a productive role in moderating the biases of their clients, but only early on in the history of the system. Over time, the parties slowly evolved to a non-cooperative equilibrium where the use of lawyers becomes nearly universal, despite the fact that agreeing not to hire lawyers is cheaper and does not appear to alter arbitration outcomes. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis


The Dub-MOE killin' it with "Why Are Gas Prices So High?"

Angus-ish Video?

Not sure why, but this video makes me think of dinner Chez Angus.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let's just say the jury is still out on this one

Wow, Elba Esther Gordillo, aka "La Maestra" esta detenida!

The long time head of the Mexican Teachers Union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación) has been a powerful retrograde force in Mexican politics, consistently blocking education reform and long rumored to be corrupt.

At least one Mexican "expert" loves the move:

This new development destroys those doubts about the seriousness of the Pena Nieto government to take on the union, and to mobilize the sovereign power of the state against vested interests.

But this is Mexico, where criminalizing political differences is an art form.

La Maestra burned new President Enrique Peña Nieto during the campaign by pulling her political party (the PANAL)out of an alliance with his party (the PRI). And all she wanted to stay in was for multiple family members to be Senators!

So it's far from clear whether this arrest marks a bold move against impunity and a step forward against corruption and toward rule of law, or just the same old "payback's a bitch" political culture at work.

Things That May Be Fake for $500, Alex!

The Crony Index

Which companies are the biggest rent-seekers?  Or, is it which companies are the BEST rent-seekers?

Either way....the Crony Index!

With a nod to Zachary B.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sequester this!

The sequester doesn't actually cut federal spending, episode 113.

This one comes from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

(clic the pic for an even more savage image)

The full document is available here.

Outlays/Spending are recorded in the second line of the table, and yes this includes the sequester!

Federal Spending is expected to be flat between 2012 and 2013 at around $3.55 trillion before beginning to rise again. It rises each and every year of the sequester.

Spending hits $4,000,000,000,000 in 2016, $5,000,000,000,000 in 2020 and flirts with $6,000,000,000,000 in 2023

People, these are the "savage cuts" that are going to wreck havoc on the American economy. This is Paul Krugman's "doomsday machine".

They are not actual cuts at all, but simply a lowering of the planned growth in Federal spending.

If this level of "cutting" is not politically possible, then we are all doomed.

Too legit to quit

First Yoweri Museveni, dictator of Uganda, informs us that he is "too experienced" to step down from power.

Then, sensing a challenge to his crown as king of African absurdity, Bobby Mugabe ups the ante by telling us he has a "divine mission" to rule Zimbabwe.

Museveni: 27 years and counting.

Mugabe: 33 years and counting.

Uganda has never had a peaceful transfer of political power.

Zimbabwe has never had ANY kind of transfer of political power.

Anyone want to tell me again how great it is to have been a British colony?

Grey Poupon: The Lost Footage, Plus Jon Lovette Catches It Hard

One of those "how could it end that way?" stories.

What happened after one rich guy took the other rich guy's Grey Poupon.

We need more of this sort of thing.  Like "The Lost Ending of It's 'A Wonderful Life'".  Jon Lovett as the evil Mr. Potter, and Dana Carvey killing it as the Jimmy Stewart character, with the bonus of an intro from William Shatner.

What other commercials or movies would YOU like to see the "real" ending for?

Gringo Style

Brazilian Gringo Style!  With the Dub-MOE as "Crazy Garage Dancer Guy" at about 1:40.  And, then, later...well, you have to see it.  But it doesn't end when you think it does.  None of the best things in life do.

A New Mandatory "Option": An Interlock System for Alcohol

From Big Brother motors!  You'll like it.  And if you don't like it, you'll have to buy it anyway.  Even though the touchscreen monitor you ALSO have as an option is more of a danger.

Statute of Limitations on Dying From Gunshot?

Okay, so there is no statute of limitations on murder, I get that.  Fair enough.

But is there some limit on our notion of "cause" when it comes to murder?

This fellow died of complications from a gunshot wound.... 36 years after he was shot.

Sacramento Police are investigating the murder of a 62-year-old man who died Monday, but say the trigger was pulled in 1977. 

 Walter Johnson, 62, was paralyzed by the shooting 36 years ago, and died from medical complications from that. Police say Johnson was driving to his parents’ home April 9, 1977, when three men blocked the roadway with their car on San Carlos Way. The three men walked up to Johnson, who was still in his car, investigators say. Johnson was shot in the upper body after a brief struggle, police say. He was then robbed and the three men fled in their red or brown Ford Pinto. 

They were never caught. Because Johnson died from complications stemming from the shooting, his death is considered a homicide. 

At some point you have to factor in the chances that the guy would have died from some other cause if he had NOT been shot.  The guy was 26.  The life expectancy of a 26 year old male, in that meighborhood, is (I'm guessing) 46 additional years, or a total age of 72.  Since 62 is less than that, is this murder?  Suppose it had been 46 years ago.  Or 66 years ago, and the guy died "of complications from the gunshot wound" at the age of 92.  Would that still be murder?  How about 86 years and the guy died at the age of 112.  Would THAT be murder?

I understand the quality of life issue, and that is both an aggravating factor in the assault, and a factor that would increase the size of civil liability in a lawsuit for damages.  No question the gunshot wound made his life worse.  But did it plausibly "cause" his death, in a legal sense?  And if so, at what age would this presumption of cause become rebuttable, if ever?

This sounds like a job for Dr Bellemare!  Or perhaps for Dr. Taylor! Or, on the tort side, for Prof. Hasnas. 

Nod to Angry Alex

Monday, February 25, 2013

Guilt is Like a Heavy Backpack

You think I'm making this up? I'm not making this up.

The Burden of Guilt: Heavy Backpacks, Light Snacks, and Enhanced Morality 

 Maryam Kouchaki, Francesca Gino & Ata Jami 

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming 

Abstract: Drawing on the embodied simulation account of emotional information processing, we argue that the physical experience of weight is associated with the emotional experience of guilt and thus that weight intensifies the experience of guilt. Across 4 studies, we found that participants who wore a heavy backpack experienced higher levels of guilt compared to those who wore a light backpack. Additionally, wearing a heavy backpack affected participants' behavior. Specifically, it led them to be more likely to choose healthy snacks over guilt-inducing ones and boring tasks over fun ones. It also led participants to cheat less. Importantly, self-reported guilt mediated the effect of wearing a heavy backpack on these behaviors. Our studies also examined the mechanism behind these effects and demonstrated that participants processed guilty stimuli more fluently when experiencing physical weight.

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  A rather remarkable class action restraint on free speech.  The man was part of a group certified to constitute a class.  But he did not give his consent to be part of the class.  And he wanted to protest the settlement.  The judge not only said he could NOT protest the settlement (bad enough), but that also he had to promote, without comment, the very settlement he intended to protest.  An interesting problem for the "residence means consent" crowd who insist that just being privileged to live in the U.S. implies that the state actually owns all your property.  Does the state own your religious conscience, and your website, too?

2.  Firefox will allow users to block third party cookies.  Interesting.

3.  A tent city for fun...and profit.  NYTimes story about K-ville, and money in sports in colleges.

4.  Vote buying in Mexico.  Wall Street Journal version.   Monkey Cage version One and version Two 

5.  Arizona court rules, bizarrely, that "DUI" for marijuana only requires that the driver has smoked or ingested the drug within the last two weeks.  No evidence of actual "influence"is required.  Just "driving" is the offense.  The driver can be completely sober and functional.  This is truly odd, when you think about it.  If I find that you have traces of MJ in your blood, I cannot charge you possession or use.  Even though it is plausible to think that you used (at least, that is what the evidence appears to mean*).  But I can charge you with driving unsafely because you were high at the time you were driving.  Even though there is exactly zero evidence to support that claim.

*If the blood test does NOT reveal that you used, how could we conclude you were under the influence?  The test is either reliable or it is not.

6.  The rule about extra-marital affairs exposing operatives to blackmail should be scrapped?

Nod to Angry Alex, WH, Kevin Lewis, and Sam B

Not the Onion?

I really thought this had to be a hoax.  A tribe of sanctimonious Germans who believe that their unwillingness to behave responsibly creates obligations for others to take care of them.  Okay, wait, that is basically ALL Greeks, I understand.

But in this case it's Germans, and it's literally true.  These folks say they are "on strike."  From consuming.

The cool part is that they do in fact consume.  They are just "on strike" when it comes to paying for what they consume.

Oh, and while they refuse to WORK, they are happy to take--and USE--the "free" money that the government gives to them.

There's more!  Please do share your favorite quote, GG style.

with a grateful nod to Tal, who sent it to  J.C.  J.C. thought I would like it.  I like it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

(Day) Trippin' with Tyler

Mrs. Angus and I carted Tyler out to the heartland yesterday. To Meers, OK and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

We ate lunch here:

Burgers were very good.

We then hit the wildlife refuge:

(clic the pics for even more aromatic images of the American Bison)

A good time was had by all.

Then we headed back to (relative) civilization in order to make our dinner reservation here:

Dry-aged rib-eyes and brussel sprouts with bacon.