Saturday, July 06, 2013

Those Wacky French Folks

Some French are very upset about people choosing to marry a person of the same sex.

But they are quite OK, in the know-it-all sophisticated Euro way, with a woman marrying a giant block of concrete.  You can see for yourself...

Excerpt:  "An Australian woman has taken her desire for the ‘strong and silent’-type to a new extreme when she married a bridge. Jodi Rose married Le Pont du Diable Bridge in Céret, southern France after falling head over heels for the ‘sensual’ 14th century stone structure."

Conservatives can presumably be appeased by the fact that she at least took the bridge's name.

(Adapted from an email from the indispensable M.K.)

Friday, July 05, 2013

Hypocritical racist derp goes viral. Now it's David Brooks' turn before the lash

Man oh man. What is it with right-wingers and hypocritical racist derp? It's truly amazing. Fresh off of Bret Stephens' salvo in the WSJ comes copy-cat racist David Brooks in the NY Times:

"It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients."

People, this is what used to be said about African-Americans in the US. About women in the US as well. They didn't have the "mental capacity" or "mental ingredients" to be allowed to participate in self-governance.

It's pure bigoted, racist, right-wing derp.

Rupert Murdoch and Carlos Slim better get their shops in order.

Not only is this derpy and racist, but, as I noted in the Stephens case, highly hypocritical.

We underwrote and supported 30 years of Mubarak destroying civil society and opposition politics. We underwrote and supported the Egyptian military for longer than that.

Any problems Egypt is having with self-governance are partly our fault. And that part is not tiny.

The Economics of Slut-Shaming

An interesting and provocative piece. Excerpt:

The economic way of thinking prompts us to consider the preferences, endowments, and trade-offs that shape our decisions in the face of our unlimited wants and limited means. Decisions about sex—in all of its pleasure, danger, and emotion—are no less subject to these constraints. Although rarely framed as such, in many ways, the euvoluntary exchange of semen and security for womb space and childcare constitutes one of humanity’s earliest, and perhaps most essential, economic spheres. 

Sex is a female resource. While both genders certainly enjoy and depend on the act, natural constraints on female sexuality create scarcity—and value. The high costs of female fertility—in terms of time, mental and physical health, and opportunities forgone—impel women to act as suppliers in the sexual market. Male sexuality, on the other hand, is ubiquitous and cheap. What’s more, men tend to place a higher value on sexual gratification than do women. Men, therefore, comprise the demand for sex. 

ATSRTWT, with thanks to SL Wilson

Asked and Answered

So, LeBron asks (as always) a good question, in this post.  "How might democracy disappear?"

But I think there may be an answer, here, from my guy W.E. English.

What do YOU think?

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Fourth!

Click for an even more invasive image.  Nod to the LMM.

Best 4th of July song ever!

New MCM Home Page

I have for years taken (fully justified) abuse on how crappy my web site was. So, I found a guy (or rather he found me, saying, "Man, your web site is crappy!  Can I fix it for you?").

And now it's much, much better.  If you are interested:

And if you are interested in the web services of the maker, I want to give him some props:  His name is Mark Cunningham, and his portfolio of web sites is here....

It has been a real pleasure working with him.  And that silence you hear is the end of the giant sucking sound my old web site was making.

Grand Game: Libertarian Alamo Edition

This is a truly remarkable article.  Apparently Ami has not only never actually read anything written by a libertarian, he appears not even to be able to define the word.

In particular, it appears that he believes that Oklahoma is ideologically the apotheosis of libertarian thinking.  Oklahoma is many things, and I admire some of those things.  But Libertarian?  Ami, please.

Anyway, have a read, and then Grand Game it up, folks.

I See You!

The Ergonomics of Dishonesty: The Effect of Incidental Posture on Stealing, Cheating, and Traffic Violations 

Andy Yap et al. Psychological Science, forthcoming 

Abstract: Research in environmental sciences has found that the ergonomic design of human-made environments influences thought, feeling and action. Here, we examine the impact of physical environments on dishonest behavior. Four studies tested whether certain bodily configurations — or postures — incidentally imposed by our environment lead to increases in dishonest behavior. The first three experiments found that individuals who engaged in expansive postures (either explicitly or inadvertently) were more likely to steal money, cheat on a test, and commit traffic violations in a driving simulation. Results suggested that participants’ self-reported sense of power mediated the link between postural expansiveness and dishonesty. Study 4 revealed that automobiles with more expansive drivers’ seats were more likely to be illegally parked on New York City streets. Taken together, results suggest that: (1) environments that expand the body can inadvertently lead us to feel more powerful, and (2) these feelings of power can cause dishonest behavior. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A stealthy welfare system, where those with minor conditions feather their nests at expense of taxpayers and truly disabled veterans

"For a sense of how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is coping with an unprecedented number of disability claims, consider that nationwide nearly 900,000 disability claims are backlogged or sitting in the processing queue...[T]he biggest issue by far is how the current system defines 'disability.'...The reality is that the majority of veterans' disability claims are for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or minor physical conditions, including common age-related ailments such as hearing loss, lower-back pain and arthritis...By categorizing minor conditions as disabilities, the process threatens to become a kind of stealthy welfare system, where those with minor conditions might feather their nests at the expense of both taxpayers and truly disabled veterans trapped behind them in a line that stretches over the horizon." Daniel Gade, WSJ

As someone said, it's really hard to give away money.  Why would this cluster-firetruck surprise anyone?

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Liberty Matters! Bastiat!

I am fortunate to be included in the set of folks responding the interesting lead essay posted by Robert Leroux.

Here is the line-up:

The Debate Summary: Frédéric Bastiat’s intellectual legacy has been the subject of much debate since the mid-19th century. His thinking has given rise to the most divergent interpretations. We may say in general terms that his work has evoked two interpretations that are in constant conflict: The first treats Bastiat as a significant theorist, an instigator of new and original theories, with a well-earned place in the history of political economy; the other sees him primarily as simply a journalist or a polemicist. 

Robert Leroux argues that, in spite of resistance to his ideas and the neglect which he suffered in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bastiat was one of the most important liberal theorists of his time. He went far beyond what he was most famous for in his own day, namely campaigning for free trade in France, and made significant contributions to our understanding of the state, the law, freedom of the press and, more broadly yet, human nature. 

Lead Essay: Robert Leroux, "Bastiat and Political Economy"

Responses and Critiques
Response by Donald J. Boudreaux
Response by David M. Hart
Response by Michael C. Munger

Joe Bob says, "Check it out!"

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Magnets in Your Ears

I was trying to think if I knew anyone who would do this.  The answer is "Yes."

Nod to Angry Alex, who is one of the people who is now going to do it.

Ah, Fickleness, Thy Name Is Germany

So, back in 2007-9, think back (especially when Prez O won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Don't forget, BHO won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.")  They lined up to hear his genius, even before he was elected. 

The Germans loved the guy.  He gave great speeches, got 'em all riled up and ready to go fight somebody.  You'd think the Germans would have recognized that the whole "gives great speeches, gets us all riled up, makes us want to go fight somebody" thing is actually NOT the sort of leader they should admire, given their history.  But maybe it's just a cultural thing I don't understand.  That BHO-flavored Kool-Aid never tasted that great to me.

Anyway, now the Germans are hatin' on BHO, and seem to believe that they were the ones who invented the criticism.  The fact that anyone paying attention, even if you were once a supporter, has been criticizing BHO for at least three years has escaped German attention.  The indignation is impressive.  The only reason you should be indignant is that you actually once believed BHO's crap.  Why would you do that?

In any case, welcome (though belatedly) to the side of truth and justice, my German friends!  I'll get on my knees and pray, you don't get fooled again.  Just watch the Daily Show.  And be "happy."

 Nod to the LMM for the Daily Show clip!

More hypocritical racist derp from the WSJ

This time from Bret Stephens:

"For the rest of us, the lesson from Egypt is that democracy is a blessing for people capable of self-government, but it's a curse for those who are not. There is a reason that Egypt has been governed by pharaohs, caliphs, pashas, and strongmen for 6000 years."

As Mungo might say, Sweet Fancy Moses!

Hey Bret: what people were "self-governed" 6000 years ago? How about 1000 years ago? Heck how about 500 years ago?

Follow up question for Bret: When the age of self-governance took off, what did the great self-governing powers do? Oh, that's right, they ran Egypt as their colony.

One last question for Bret: Who allowed Hose-head Mubarak to "rule" Egypt for 30 years and destroy any and all civil institutions and civil society? Don't tell me, let me think, it's right on the tip of my tongue... Oh yeah! IT WAS US. THE GOOD OLD SELF-GOVERNED USA.

The WSJ: where racism, hypocrisy, and derp are not bugs, but rather features.

Rory Vs. The Machine

Via LeBron's twittering at @tylercowen

Monday, July 01, 2013

So Cool: When HOLLYWOOD even starts hatin' on you....

Even those squishy mooks in Hollywood have decided to start hating on the federal surveillance-industrial complex.  Nicely done.  Thanks to WH.

UPDATE: This is interesting.

Russ Roberts and I talk about sports "codes"

Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of formal rules and informal rules in sports. Many sports restrain violence and retaliation through formal rules while in others, protective equipment is used to reduce injury. In all sports, codes of conduct emerge to deal with violence and unobserved violations of formal rules. Munger explores the interaction of these forces across different sports and how they relate to insights of Coase and Hayek.  ATSRTWT!

UPDATE:  A.R. comments over at the podcast about the "greatest scandal in the history of cricket."  Just being able to type that phrase made my whole day.  "Cricket scandal" is an excellent start to any paragraph.  And then the scandal does in fact turn out to be extremely interesting.  Reading the first paragraph of this, I realized that I am painfully ignorant of cricket.  But this is a bit easier to understandThis is more serious.  And very interesting.  Thanks, Aswin!

UPDATE II:  Ghostbusters!  "More like a guideline than a rule..."  at 0:14.  WARNING:  NSFW!  Her request is rather indelicate.  (Nod to WH)

Monday's Child

1.  Nuclear power, arise?

2.  The first mass school shooting.  In Germany, no less. In 1913.

3.  Peak Oil is peak idiocy.  A good discussion of why.

4.  How social Darwinism made modern China...

5. Bill Gates on "giving up using the government."

MUCH more after the jump...