Friday, January 31, 2014

Real Emails I Get

So, I got this email, an obvious "Phishing" email (sorry, Tofe, that's what Phish means to most people, sucking, in this case information, but also musically):

(click for even more asinine image)

Then,  I realized that this is really a kind of performance art.  The misspelled title.  The "nobody" as the name on the return email address.  The only necessary misspelling is the "" in the URL.  The others have to be intentional.

So...I approve.  Anyone who gives up their info to something this lousy needs to be moved somewhere OTHER than being in front of a computer.  Like a really soft room.  Play on.

Jogaphy game

All of the following photos are from the same US state. Do you know which one? Tell me in the comments.

Hat tip to Michael Busch

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oklahoma? OKLAHOMA?

The obvious solution to the "we hate gay marriage" "problem" (if you think it's a problem) is to get the idiotic state OUT of the process completely.

The notion of marriage "licenses" really took hold as a way preventing miscegenation (mixing purty white blood with all those yucky black people, so, bigotry, in other words) and then eugenics (making sure that even white people were fully up to the standards of Aryan ubermenschen, so, white supremacy, in other words).

Get the state out of the picture.  This is a private contract, the state has no business promoting, allowing, licensing, or prohibiting contracts, including marriage, as long as the two parties are competent to enter into the contract by the usual common law standards of competency.

What state is leading us toward this libertarian pipe dream, this utopian notion of unfettered private contracts?

As you can guess from the title, the answer is:  OKLAHOMA!  Where the wind comes sweeping out of churches!

In 2012, when NC was convulsing itself about this question, I constantly advocated for this.  And now, someone is seriously considering it.  And NO ONE is more serious than an OK Baptist (I'm trying to get a witness here from Angus)

The Ping Pong

Terrific with a Zesty Awesomesauce!

I, Red Party Cup.

Along the lines of "I, Pencil."  Sort of.   The video:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

They might be psycho killers but tonight I really don't care

In honor of the snow-ravaged south and Mungo's recent postings, I give you Jens Lekman's immortal Black Cab (you're welcome)!

Policy Uncertainty

Why Has U.S. Policy Uncertainty Risen Since 1960? 

Scott Baker et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract: There appears to be a strong upward drift in policy-related economic uncertainty after 1960. We consider two classes of explanations for this rise. The first stresses growth in government spending, taxes, and regulation. A second stresses increased political polarization and its implications for the policy-making process and policy choices. While the evidence is inconclusive, it suggests that both factors play a role in driving the secular increase in policy uncertainty over the last half century.

Silent Treatment

The premise and execution are pretty good. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Epstein University

Interesting, and useful.

For all things Epstein.  Richard really is a remarkable talent, in every way.  Worth checking out.

Morality and Markets

James Stoner and I had an interchange on Witherspoon's PUBLIC DISCOURSE that you might find of interest.   The "Richmond" example, in particular, is of some consequence, I think.



Snow Ball Slingshot

In honor of what is happening later NC at least.

Thanks to SdM.  And one wishes for a cat screech after he shoots the snow ball "fah."

UPDATE:  Apropos of absolutely nothing...Super Bowl version of Funny Bad Lip Reading.  

University life in this year of the Tucks Medicated Pad (i.e. 2014)

Two actual emails that I received today from actual administrators at my university. People, I know I have a sweet gig and shouldn't complain, but these are pretty amazing.

The first was to inform faculty of "University Policy Regarding Search Warrants" (I am not making this up). We were instructed to ask for a copy of the warrant, inform law enforcement that the University is "represented by Counsel" and then call the University counsel and then provide the Office of the Counsel with a copy of the warrant and any other "supporting materials".

This memo comes with zero context, background, rationale or anything, just boom. I wonder how many employee or consultant hours and dollars went into crafting this piece of shit?

The second relates to the fake "shots fired" emergency we had last week. It informed us that in light of "last week's incident" we need to be made aware of what "shelter in place" means.

Turns out it means lock the door, cover the windows, turn out the lights, silence electronic devices, and remain quiet and "vigilant". That would have made for a great job seminar if we had all hid quietly together underneath our conference table for an hour because some Architecture professors can't tell the difference between a backhoe and an AK-47!

I would say that in the light of last week's "incident" all faculty should be required to put in say, 10 hours at a shooting range in order for them to become more familiar with what gunfire actually sounds like, so that their false alarms don't lock up the rest of the campus and put us all under tables in the dark.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  Interesting, though highly circumstantial, pictures on minimum wage.  It is striking.

2.  North Carolina proves that those economistic haters like Dennis Coates actually know what they are talking about.

3.  Wow!  No more PAT?  If they go straight to commercial after a TD, there won't be any instant replays.  Not sure this works.

4.  Interesting and not terribly flattering snapshot of BHO.   I think most politicians end up feeling sorry for themselves, because they don't get much respect.  GW Bush could never feel sorry for himself this way, however, because he wasn't poor and he isn't black.  BHO really is convinced people dislike him for illegitimate reasons; he can't face the fact that he is an unusually incompetent leader and a truly awful manager.  He just likes to read vague speeches from a teleprompter and then go watch football.  Why is everybody so MAD at him?  Ooh, look, a touchdown.

5.  Which is a greater infringement on my rights and human dignity:  Having to show an ID before I vote, or having to pass a program of state indoctrination before I am allowed to marry?  Apparently, the program of state indoctrination thing is just fine, at least in Colorado.


Saturday, January 25, 2014


I got an email listing quite a few interesting emails for undergrads.  If you want more information, please feel free to call

Program Manager, Higher Education
Charles Koch Foundation
1515 N. Courthouse Road, Suite 200 
Arlington, VA, 22201, US 
PH: 202.215.7491 

Koch Internship Program - Charles Koch Institute - Application deadline 3/1/2014 (Washington, DC area)
Koch Summer Fellow Program - Charles Koch Institute - Application deadline 03/1/14 (Nationwide)
Summer Internship - Philanthropy Roundtable (Washington, DC)
Summer Internship - Heritage Foundation - Application deadline 2/1/2014 (Washington, DC)
Summer Internship - Cato Institute - Application deadline 03/01/14 (Washington, DC)
Summer Internship - American Council of Trustees and Alumni - Application deadline 03/30/14 (Washington, DC)
Summer Internship - Tax Foundation - Application deadline 04/01/14 (Washington, DC)
Summer Internship - Competitive Enterprise Institute - Application deadline 04/15/14 (Washington, DC)
Summer Internship - Center for Competitive Politics (Alexandria, VA)
Summer Internship - American Legislative Exchange Council (Washington, DC)
Summer Clerkship - Institute for Justice (Arlington, VA)
Web Development/Communications Intern - E21 (Washington, DC)
Strategic Research Internship - Institute for Justice (Arlington, VA)
Internship - The Center for Individual Freedom (Alexandria, VA)
Academic Programs Internship - Institute for Humane Studies (Arlington, VA)
Learn Liberty Internship - Institute for Humane Studies (Arlington, VA)
Development Internship - Institute for Humane Studies (Arlington, VA)
Internship - Bill of Rights Institute (Arlington, VA)
Outreach and Operations Intern - Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity (Alexandria, VA)

NPR does that thing that NPR does. Again.

 An NPR reporter makes all the usual mistakes in describing "price gouging" in taxi rides.  It's as if the case is prima facie:  "The price went up, someone is evil."  Not "I was able to get a taxi ride for a price less than infinity in a snowstorm; it's a miracle!"

I particularly like the "When a $65 cab ride costs $192."  Interesting that God decreed that taxi rides are $65.  Not true for corn, or hog bellies, or oil, whose prices change all the time.

In fact, the Feds actually commanded housing prices to rise, or there would be a market failure.  So it must be okay for some prices to rise compared the-price-yesterday-that-came-from-God.

Why would it be true that a service that sometimes costs one price should always cost that price?  And why pick the low price?  Why is it not, "In slack times, cab ride that really costs $192 is discounted to $65!"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gimmie Shelter (in Place)

Such siren, much kevlar, so SWATTY, Wow!

On the heels of the Purdue shooting, we had a report of shots fired on the OU campus yesterday. Let me not bury the lede and say right up front that it was a false alarm.

But the campus was put on lockdown, or as we more gently say these days, we "sheltered in place".

We were in our conference room. Having a job seminar. We are right across the street from the alleged shooting site.

Did I mention that our conference room has a wall of windows?

The speaker was so dialed in and focussed that he didn't miss a beat (gave a fantastic talk).

This has happened at OU before. On the heels of the Blacksburg tragedy, we got reports of a person on campus with a rifle.

That time the rife turned out to be a yoga mat! (not making this up)

This time the shots fired most likely was just noise from the construction equipment operating right outside the buildings where the report came.

All ended well, even for us, as by the time the seminar was over, we had been cleared to leave our building and a group took our guest to lunch off campus with no incident.

People, recruiting is hard enough without SWAT teams dropping in during the campus visit!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Through the Looking Glass

I just received this email.  Really, I did.

Dear Duke Employee, 

We are graduate students in the Nicholas School of the Environment working on our masters' project. The project is focused on analyzing the bicycle manufacturing process and using the results of our analysis to drive change in the bicycling industry. As part of the project, we are also conducting a survey of the Duke community to gauge consumer demand for sustainably produced bicycles. You are receiving this email because your department was randomly selected. We would greatly appreciate your help with our project! Every individual who takes the survey will increase the success of our project and the impact on the cycling community. Please note that you may skip any question you do not wish to answer and we guarantee that your answers will be kept strictly confidential. Thank you very much for your time and assistance!, highly educated young people are spending time and money trying to save the environment by making BICYCLES more environmentally friendly.  Think of all the margins on which we might work to reduce our environmental impact (suppose you care about that.  You may not, but suppose for the sake of argument you do...)

How far down the list of "biggest problems" would you have to go to find "improve bicycle manufacturing process"?  You skip over coal-fired power plants, efficiency of aircraft engines, incentives for burning / clear-cutting forests in developing nations. 

 And get all upset about those nasty, polluting bicycles.  Amazingly, this is actually a thing.


Some interesting videos on "downsizing" specific parts of the federal government.  From my man Caleb Brown....





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On being a REAL Libertarian

There's an old joke about Libertarians and their desire for purity.

Conservative guy is berating Libertarian:  "Why, if you had your way, there would be six-year-old kids working as prostitutes and shooting up heroin in public parks!"

Libertarian, instead of objecting that that's stupid, says, "Hey!  HEY!  What the $%^&*! do you MEAN, 'public' parks?"

I have a piece in the most recent print version of FREEMAN (the article).  The piece contains the following paragraph:

We are for a libertarian society, where a couple wakes up, in their own home, on land that they control, on property that they can defend with the help of their neighbors. This couple formed a bond, by mutual consent, without needing the license or endorsement of any outside agency. They send their children to schools that they have chosen, whose curriculum they endorse. When they go out to their car, they don’t take an I.D. It’s no one’s business who they are, or where they are, so long as they initiate no violence and break no laws. They work in jobs they have trained for, and they enjoy the full fruits of that labor. They contribute to charities or work for causes they believe, and are not forced at gunpoint to support causes they loathe. (emphasis added; you'll see why)

To be fair, several people have said they like this sentiment, and agree with it.

But. this morning (and I am absolutely NOT making this up), I got an outraged email that called me names and said, "Hey!  HEY!  What the $%^&*! do you MEAN, 'laws'?"

Sir, people like you are the reason that the Libertarian Party flounders when it tries to participate in politics.  If you don't concede that some sort of state--necessary or not--is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, why are you attending meetings of a political party whose avowed goal is to elect people to public office?  

Two Cheers for The Bernank

Bernanke's days are numbered and Janet Yellen is primed and ready to take over the Fed.

People, she has big shoes to fill.

Bernanke did exactly what he told Milton Friedman the Fed would do in the next crisis. He remembered the lessons from the Great Depression and made sure the Fed would not make the same mistakes.

Bernanke threw the kitchen sink at the problem in 2008 and it worked. The money supply did not fall, the banking system did not fail, we made it through.

And the extraordinary/unconventional policy actions of the Fed did not unleash the inflationary genies we were warned would follow.

As the recovery "progressed" in its halting and unsatisfactory manner, Bernanke undertook additional unconventional policy actions. Three round of quantitative easing. Time based forward guidance. Outcome based forward guidance. And while these policies produced no great stimulative effects for GDP or employment, neither did they create inflation.

The worst we can say is that maybe all the QE has helped to spark bubbles in asset markets here and abroad, but really is anyone unhappy that the Dow is over 16,000? I for one am not. And if we were seriously worried about the developing world, our immigration, trade and farm policies would be diametrically different than they currently are.

I know that it is hard to think of Bernanke as even mediocre, let alone exceptional, because of the massive strident criticism he's faced from an array of monetary cranks all convinced that they have the magic bullet to achieve prosperity and only Bernanke's stupidity or cowardice kept him from firing it.

If only he'd target nominal GDP! If only he'd raise the inflation target to 4%, If only he'd promise to keep inflation above its 2% target for years after the economy has fully recovered.

It is true ladies and gentlemen that if the Bernank had wheels, he'd be a bicycle. But he's not a bike, he's an economist and the Fed is not so powerful as to be able to fix our economy with a new nominal target or a new promise.

People take as given that monetary policy can hit any output target it wants to and use the failure of the economy to perform satisfactorily as prima facie evidence of Fed incompetence.

But it's just not true. It's a bureaucracy, not a bicycle! The illusion that the Fed can finely control the economy was borne from the "great moderation" a tiny blip on the time scale that managed to validate the Fed's awesome powers at the expense of all the rest of its history.

The Fed can avoid screw ups. It can prevent rampant inflation and it can stand as a supplier of liquidity and a lender of last resort in a crisis. But the notion that monetary policy can hit any desired output target in normal times or abnormal times is a foolish and dangerous notion, sadly often promulgated by macroeconomists in the Fed's employ.

So as you leave Great Bernank, I salute you for a job well done. Your biggest mistake was allowing your minions to over-promise what the Fed can actually do.

Monday, January 20, 2014

They run from your love!

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. everybody:

Monday's Child

1.  I did not realize that "4-20" was connected with smoking of the weed.  Some truths, and not truths, about what it "means."  But it's widely enough known among the REAL hipsters that people have been stealing the 420 mile sign in Colorado.  So they changed it to 419.99.  To me, THAT is a cooler sign, anyway.  I'd steal it.

2.  You should, on the other hand, talk to Bill Murray.  He may be the most interesting man in the world.

3.  O, Davidson!  Some of the earliest experiments in the Americas using X-Rays.   Long history of this sort of night-time thing at Davidson.  In my case, it was attaching the male parts of a bull (Yes, a butcher will sell you this) to the office door of an administrator in January 1979, about 2:00 am.  Very scientific.  Now, I'm sure there are security cameras.  I don't remember why the administrator had offended us, but I'm sure it was a very good reason.

4.  Pretty amusing, tho very NSFW.  A video/song, about PBR, from Scuzz Twittly.  Not sure that country stars wear a "budgie smuggler" like that tho.   If you want to see budgie smugglers in action, here is...I'm not sure what this is.

5.  This was interesting, because I was sure someone was going to get hurt.  But no one did.  And that truck is pretty strong.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tullock Mentioned in ASR? Wow.

By the extraordinary G. Rossman, the world's last sensible sociologist.

 His article "Close, But No Cigar: The Bimodal Rewards to Prize-Seeking," actually by Gabriel Rossman and Oliver Schilkea. A link if it lasts. Gated link if it doesn't. Wow!  In the ASR.  Much respect.  The word "Tullock" in the ASR?  The force is strong in this one...


This article examines the economic effects of prizes with implications for the diversity of market positions, especially in cultural fields. Many prizes have three notable features that together yield an emergent reward structure: (1) consumers treat prizes as judgment devices when making purchase decisions, (2) prizes introduce sharp discontinuities between winners and also-rans, and (3) appealing to prize juries requires costly sacrifices of mass audience appeal. When all three conditions obtain, winning a prize is valuable, but seeking it is costly, so trying and failing yields the worst outcome—a logic we characterize as a Tullock lottery. We test the model with analyses of Oscar nominations and Hollywood films from 1985 through 2009. We create an innovative measure of prize-seeking, or “Oscar appeal,” on the basis of similarity to recent nominees in terms of such things as genre, plot keywords, and release date. We then show that Oscar appeal has no effect on profitability. However, this zero-order relationship conceals that returns to strong Oscar appeals are bimodal, with super-normal returns for nominees and large losses for snubs. We then argue that the effect of judgment devices on fields depends on how they structure and refract information.  

Light Causes Heat

A study of interest to the LMM:

Incandescent Affect: Turning On The Hot Emotional System With Bright Light 

Alison Jing Xu & Aparna Labroo 
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming 

Abstract: We propose turning on the light can turn on the hot emotional system. Across six studies we show that ambient brightness makes people feel warmer, which increases intensity of affective response, including sensation seeking from spicy-hot foods, perception of aggression and sexiness (“hotness”) in others, and generating more extreme affective reactions toward positive and negative words and drinks. We suggest these effects arise because light underlies perception of heat, and perception of heat can trigger the hot emotional system. Thus, turning down the light, effortless and unassuming as it may seem, can reduce emotionality in everyday decisions, most of which take place under bright light.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Debt Held by the Public, and the Fed

This is interesting (source article) (Thanks to Danny D, @dandrezner )

But what about this?  (Here is the source article for the second graph).

A lot LESS debt is held by the public than was projected back when there was going to be a debt apocalypse.  So that's good.  But the government has been buying up its own debt with printed money on a truly gigantic scale, OVER THE SAME TIME PERIOD, which may be a somewhat less "good" explanation for the first graph.

Nonetheless, as Danny D notes, the first is "a significant graph."  I'm just saying the second graph is significant, also.

Anonyman: From Law and Order to Disgusted

Anonyman sends this link...

And this email:

1) your program clearly isn't serving the needs of the poor if they are doing this
2) if you put a 77 year old in jail, you've really lost the war on poverty 

After being a law- talking guy for a while, I've come to realize that most of our justice system is really a war on the poor, not poverty. 

Preach, brother.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ironies, or Fibs?

Fast food restaurants have to be "transparent," and post calories. Even though there is no evidence that this helps.  It's just expensive.  But members of Congress don't have to allow anyone to read legislation before it's passed.  Let's pass this thing, so we can find out what's in it!

And there are no pre-existing conditions or upcharges in ACA.  No one can be denied.  Except that there are, and you can.  And anyone who is upcharged will just not finish the application.  So we are manufacturing a giant adverse selection problem.

I don't think "the state" has a real collective consciousness capable of appreciating irony.  These are just fibs that serve to protect the corrupt individuals who are yelling "Pay no attention to the politicians behind the curtain!"  Nancy Pelosi is NOT a very bad woman.  She's just a very bad leader in a democracy that values transparency.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Next Time, Pick Up a Newspaper

Wow.  Once you have lost the late night comics, you've lost.  This is hilarious, until you realized it's very sad.  People seemed to think that since Obama was a good man and said he cared about them the policies must be good. 

Kimmel gives as a good a public choice explanation of the problem as I've ever seen.
1.  Rational ignorance
2.  Interest groups
3.  Concentrated benefits, diffuse costs.

C'mon honey, let's go check out that Levitra!

Nod to WH

Zombie Ants

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This week's sign of the apocalypse

Self explanatory. I think we can go straight to the tagline:

 People, if crap like this can happen, why do we even have a government at all?


Maybe our immigration laws ARE too lax!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Answer To An Important Question

So, somebody calls, and asks if you want to talk to Aasif Mandvi

Answer:  No.  No, you don't.  Why do people do this?  Do they think they are God's special snowflake, and the smirking, and the editing, are not going to HAMMER THE EVER-LOVING BEJESUS out of them?

Nothing against Mandvi, or the Daily Show.  At this point, these are not ambush interviews, because it's obvious what is going to happen.  If cannibals ask:  "Can you come to dinner?" it means YOU are going to be cooked.  If Aasif Mandvi asks if you want to do an interview, it means YOU are going to be smoked and hung out to dry.

No.  I do not want to do an interview with Aasif Mandvi.  Here are some folks who should have read this blog post.  (And, on the merits, a pretty good point about the insurance.  The DS mostly nails smug idiots.  Smug idiots are nailed here.)

Bad Idea List

On the really bad idea list, this is fairly near the top.  Not sure it's real, of course, but if it is it's a bad idea.

Nod to Atila A.

Spirits, Colonels, and the art of the deal.

From the NY Times comes word that the NBA may finally be buying out their agreement with the Silna brothers dating back to the sphinctering of the  Spirits  of St. Louis when the NBA and (part of) the ABA merged.
As we recently chronicled, the Silnas have earned around $300 million from their revenue sharing agreement. 

Now the League is proposing to buy them out for another $500 million.

Kudos to you Silnas! Well played.

To see how well, consider that there was another ABA franchise in a similar position also negotiating with the NBA about being frozen out of the merger. They were the Kentucky Colonels. Their owner, the allegedly wily John Y. Brown masterfully negotiated a $3 million dollar lump sum payment.

John Y. no good. Just ask Phillis George.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  This explains a great deal.  Every time I think the U.S. is nuts, someone from Canada gives me some perspective.  Those people are NUTS.  The "Nordic Blonde Nuns" sound like they could be a lot of fun, however.

2.  Okie days.  This is sad.  I feel bad that I laughed.  But I did.

3.  So, this is what Christie and Co. had in mind, right, Daniel Strunk?  Apparently Dan thinks it's okay for now, like the rest of you Republican weasels.

4.  Mandatory recycling separation is a violation of the separation of church and state, simply a form of religious worship without a valid environmental justification.

5.  Megan McA on vile comments.  I generally don't read comments, and I'm happier for it.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

When You Love the Earth, You Have to Spend Huge Resources to Show It.

My freude just overfloweth with schaden.  A bunch of self-congratulating tree-huggers used up a huge amount of resources to show how much they love the earth and go on a fake "research" tour to see how fast the ice is retreating.  Now, that might be happening in the austral climes, since it's SUMMER there.

(Tree hugging now scientifically validated....)

But it's too cold, there is a BLIZZARD, the ice freezes up, and now a gigantic amount of carbon is going to be put into the atmosphere to rescue them.  And, the cherry on top is that the hated U.S. and all its wasteful technology is the only country that actually CAN rescue them.  Makes me want to go out and drive my BMW at really high speed for no particular reason, just to celebrate. (UPDATE:  The wind shifted, and they got out without the Polar Star.  And now the whole thing is an example of international cooperation, instead of an embarrassment).  You can book a berth on the next voyage, if you want to show how much you care about the Earth!  (See what I did there?  Book a berth, save the Earth).

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oh, Kentucky....

Oh, Kentucky.  A state that exists to make Mississippi feel better about itself.  Guy escapes from prison.  But it's really cold.  So he turns himself in.  The best part?  The high tech system they have for mug shots, so you know the guy's prisoner number.   What font is that?  Some kind of sans-serif...  No.  For your mug shot, they stand you in front of an old sheet, with a hand-written card.

More "Kentucky Pride" here.  A legislator and clown (but I repeat myself) claims that he could "fill the committee room" with people who died from weed.  You could fill several stadiums with the people killed by the war on, and over, weed.  And many of the people he wants to fill his committee room would actually be in my stadium.  Cops would not be killed by guys with AK-47s over weed if it were LEGAL.

Stoned & Starvin'

Chicago Shorts

You've heard of Bermuda Shorts?  Well, that has nothing to do with this (though the thought of Angus wearing Bermuda shorts is going to give me the willies for a while).

Chicago Shorts is an ebook series.  It's pretty cheap ($3.00), and the "shorts" are ...well, not very long.  They are condensations.

The reason I bring this up is that my Duke colleague Bruce Caldwell has a "short" on Hayek's Road to Serfdom.  It's a very nice way to make the "book" available for class, and Bruce's intro is well done.

The problem with the "Shorts" is that they are either epub or prc format, which doesn't work on Kindle.  But it's easy to convert them using calibre or something like that.

I stopped using RtS in my big UG class, because there is just too much there.  This is a nice option.

(If it matters, I was not compensated to write this.  Sometimes people ask.  You might want to get a life...)

The real problem with Obamacare

Tyler linked to this piece yesterday, but he left out the money quote:

The problem with Obamacare is it’s product driven and not market driven. They didn’t ask the customer what they wanted. And I think that’s the fundamental problem with Obamacare. It meets the needs of very poor people because you’re giving them health insurance for free. But it doesn’t really meet the needs of healthy people and middle-class people.

And of course, without enough healthy, middle class people in the system, eventually the system won't work.

Headline Meme

Both the meme and the mystery:  Man Crashes into Conn. Gas Station, Steals Banana.

Good example of the meme because once you have read the headline you are pretty much finished with the story.

EXCEPT for the mystery.  If the guy was high...a banana?  If I needed munchies bad enough to crash my car into a gas station, I'd be going for the Ho-Hos, Snickers, and Doritos.  If he was just really drunk...why stick around, rather than panic?  And if he was a marathon runner, lost on his way to the start...Actually, that explains it, never mind.

Nod to the LMM.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Bias in El Beisbol

The Connection Between Race and Called Strikes and Balls 
 Jeff Hamrick & John Rasp
 Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract: We investigate potential racial bias by Major League Baseball umpires. We do so in the context of the subjective decision as to whether a pitch is called a strike or a ball, using data from the 1989-2010 seasons. We find limited, and sometimes contradictory, evidence that umpires unduly favor or unjustly discriminate against players based on their race. Potential mitigating variables such as attendance, terminal pitch, the absolute score differential, and the presence of monitoring systems do not consistently interact with umpire/pitcher and umpire/hitter racial combinations. Most evidence that would first appear to support racially connected behaviors by umpires appears to vanish in three-way interaction models. Overall, our findings fall well short of convincing evidence for racial bias.


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Live by the State, Die by the State

Ah yes, Oklahoma, the buckle of the bible belt. Would it surprise any of you to know there is a large-ish "monument" with the 10 commandments written on them on the grounds of the State Capitol (there's also an oil well on the grounds and those two sum up most of our state perfectly)?

Well there is:

Well, as Art Carden Tweeted, "live by the state, die by the state".

Now the Church of the flying Spaghetti Monster, a Hindu group, and a Satanist group all have proposed monuments to their deity (or one of their deities) for the Capitol grounds.

I especially like the proposed 7 foot tall Satan sculpture:

Whatever your religious beliefs are, Christianity is not the official religion of Oklahoma and a state sponsored monument to it, is an open door to state sponsored monuments to any and all religions, no?

One local legislator, Rep. Earl Seals from Bartlesville, shows the spectacular level of imbecility that also can be encountered on the capitol grounds:

"I do not see Satanism as a religion, and they have no place at the state Capitol," said Sears.

Well, Earl my friend here's a couple of things to consider.

1. You are not the arbiter of what is or is not a religion

2. Your implied premise that if you saw it as a religion it would then be OK to be on the Capitol Grounds is actually a bit too sad to be funny

Fox Wash, Donkey Rinse

So, I saw this article, "Wal-Mart Recalls Donkey Meat in China," and I assumed that people were complaining that Wal-Mart was selling donkey meat as if it were pork.  The problem is that Wal-Mart is selling fox meat as if it were donkey meat.  Selling donkey meat is fine. "Damn,  Xiùyīng, this tastes like ass!  Where did you get this?"

"Wal-Mart, isn't it great?"

"It sure is!  Can I have some more?"

And so I had to go to Warren Zevon for a title.  Sometimes it's the only way.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  The parachuting dogs of WWII.

2.  CvD, you gots nothin' on Chuck Norris.  Because, HE's Chuck Norris!  After all, ghosts sit around the campfire and scare their kids with stories of Chuck Norris.  You'd better RECOGNIZE, "Cloud."  Your little split was namby pamby by comparison.

3. Amazon calls in a delivery specialist.

4.  The future is NOW.  Not safe for work, but it will change your life.   And, no, you will NOT find this link on

5.  I'm not sure what to make of this.  Surely there is something in between.


Friday, January 03, 2014

Comments Policy

I'm not sure we have ever stated a "comments policy."

Angus and I each police our own posts.  We delete comments that are spam.  Examples include links to URLs that are commercial (drugs, male enhancement, etc) and have no relation to the subject of the post.

Other than that, we use our judgment.  I don't think I have ever deleted a comment just because the person was offensive, because by that standard I'd have to delete most of my own posts.

But the "policy" is that this is our blog.  If we feel like deleting a comment, for any reason or for no reason at all, we can do that, without explanation.  If that's a problem, you can post whatever you want on YOUR blog.

Angus, anything to add?

UPDATE:  In response to a suggestion in a comment (ironically), the policy statement is amended to "It's our blog and we'll delete comments if we want to.  You would have, too, if it happened to you." Since the policy is intended to be legalistic, and lawsuits about comments have been specifically mentioned, I'm not sure why sounding "lawyerly" is a drawback.  But, fair enough.  This one is much more perky.