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Showing posts from 2008

A Contradiction Among Right-Wingers Regarding Violence?

I apologize in advance, because this is really just barely coherent enough to even qualify as a blog post, but nonetheless something struck me when listening to news coverage of the Israeli bombing campaign. The reporter said that 300-and-change people had reportedly died, and then quoted a Bush Administration official who said something like, "It is ultimately the Hamas terrorists who are responsible for this regrettable bloodshed. There will be no peace in the Gaza Strip so long as rocket attacks continue hitting Israeli territory."

It struck me that this type of excuse for the admitted killing of innocent people, is very similar to the Black Pantheresque claim that there will be no peace without justice.

And in response to that, what does the average Rush Limbaugh fan say? Why, he says something like, "I don't want to hear your excuses. Regardless of whatever injustices you may have suffered from racist cops, you can't riot and kill innocent people, you h…

Press Neutrality

Others have brought this up before, but the doctrine of "press neutrality" often effectively means "give the real story and some complete fabrication equal time." A good example, on an important matter, was when the press treated the Bush administration's farrago of lies about the "Mission Accomplished" banner as serious news. On a lighter note, but illustrating the same point, check out this story from the world of basketball. Somehow, Elena Delle Donne's clear, explicit, and quite plausible explanation that she was burned out is given equal weight with Geno Auriemma's idiotic statement that "we might never know why Delle Donne pushed basketball aside."

Auriemma committed a major recruiting gaffe, and now he's desperately trying to hide that fact. But "press neutrality" demands that reporters give his pathetic attempts to distract us from his mistake equal weight with the heart-felt statements of the 18-year-old girl in…

The Recovery Is Just Around the Corner

At a holiday6 party, someone said, "Well, housing prices are bound to recover sooner or later, aren't they?"

"Absolutely," I remarked, "when property values in Rome began to decline around 200 AD, all you had to do was hang on until 15 or 16 hundred and you easily would have gotten your money back."

A Common Libertarian Confusion?

By the way, I often think that libertarians may tend to get confused (of course not all libertarians, and of course not all the time) between defending the general concept of property rights and defending such rights as they are currently defined. Now, I think it's fine to have a default position of "Don't tamper with current rights on a lark," but there are times I think it would be a very good idea to tamper with them. For instance, I would have no problem criminalizing what these "Wow Gold" folks have been doing to this blog. I've got to be spending a half an hour per week deleting their comments and the e-mails they generate. I consider what they are doing no different them coming over to my house with megaphones and shouting about "Wow gold" at a cocktail party I'm throwing.

Wow! Gold!

OK, folks, Andy explained how these blog spammers are ingeniously getting past the word verification feature and spamming this blog anyway. (They get porn surfers to type in the key word for them.) So, does anyone know how to prevent this new maneuver?

Show Of Hands...

When Gene's photo first popped up and it wasn't obvious what those things were, did you think Gene was boasting?

Did you ever have one of those days...

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When you just knew that, after 5 1/2 hours on the road, you'd get home to find the toilet bowl full of drowned flying squirrels?




My First Book Is Lauded

at Barron's.

UPDATE: The article has driven EFRP to #21 in the "Economics -> Theory" category.

If they are "all steak"...

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Then in what sense are they a "pie"?




Do Not Disturb

I've always loved the French version of that sign for hotel room doors: 'Ne pas deranger'. I can't help translating it as 'Do not derange'.

Howie Has His Breakfast Pint

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At the Weatherspoons in Stokie:



Birmingham

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Apparently, you can purchase hot dogs embedded in molten uranium ore here:




As well as:






And I learned a remarkable thing about ostriches - all creatures lay ostrich eggs!



At the Cardiff School of European Studies

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Some loom like giants among men:




Senate Report Links Bush to War Crimes?

I'm no legal expert, but that certainly is the appearance Glenn Greenwald gives in this blog post.

I Just Saved the Universe From Annihilation

In my gmail account there was an ad that popped up on the margin that said something like, "LLC vs. S-Corp vs. C-Corp. What you'll never read on websites that offer incorporation services." Then it gave a link to a URL that seemed awfully like it would offer me incorporation services.

Concerned about the avoidance of paradox, I didn't click the link, nor am I offering here lest any of Gene's illogical fans click through.

What Shrub Should Have Said

Swansea

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Lala

If you want to explore new music, and you already spend a lot of time in front of the computer, you should check out the streaming audio on Lala. It's free, and every computer geek knows how to capture the cached audio data for repeat plays. The streams are of decent quality (they say at 128kbps, but many sound better and a few worse. I'm not an audiophile, I don't want to fetish on the purity of sound at the expense of the music.) and the libary is so vast you'd think this offering criminal. I like the service so much I've set up a separate PC to run the streams. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Does Anyone Really Believe Them?

Madoff’s sons, Andrew and Mark, turned him in to U.S. authorities on the night of Dec. 10 after his confession, according to Martin Flumbenbaum, an attorney for the brothers.

“Mark and Andrew Madoff are not involved in the firm’s asset management business, and neither had any knowledge of the fraud before their father informed them of it on Wednesday,” according to a statement by Flumenbaum of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aMfFYXi.JhQI&refer=home

My dad is running $15 billion plus, I work for his firm my whole life, everyone on the Street has been questioning how he makes his money without frontrunning for years (I heard more than once that people invested with Madoff because they believed he was actually frontrunning his broker-dealer order flow to make these returns), he was only carrying $1 Billion of open positions at the end of each quarter, making his fees only from trading commissions through …

Cardiff

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The main shopping street:



On a chilly December night, how do Cardiff girls dress?




That Pink Section of the US

I regularly receive academic job listings via e-mail. They arrive sorted by region, and I just noticed that the final region is titled 'Non-US or Canada.' So, if the job location is outside the US, or if it is in the huge frozen region of the northern US, they'll put the job listing in this section.

An Interesting Perspective on the Auto Bailout

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HT2 Sandy Ikeda.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

OK I can't stand seeing Gene's "Motion Debater Light" post still at the top of the blog, so here ya go:

I rent an office and a woman put in a hair salon in the two offices next to mine. (She knocked down the wall. Or rather, she hired someone to knock down the wall.) So I hear all kinds of funny stories if I leave my door ajar. (When is a door not a door? When it's a jar.)

I just heard a lady say, "So Jimmy said to his grandma, 'I'm gonna go home and play with my Wii.' And his grandma said, 'Don't you talk like that!'"

Motion Debater Light

I've got a "motion detector" floodlight over my porch door in Pennsylvania. What it actually does these days is either refuse to come on at all, or shine for a week straight, day or night.

I've decided it's Wabulon's fault. What I believed happened is this: Wabulon was sitting out on the porch reading Atomism and Its Critics, somewhere in the section on Zeno, Epicurus, Lucretius and so on debating motion. The light started reading along, and what it's doing lately is mulling over these positions. One week, it decides, "Parmenides is right! Motion is just an illusion. I refuse to turn on at all." The next week, he buys into Epicureanism and decides that everything is always in motion, and stays on all week.

Bring in the Clouds

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OK, folks, what is up with these clouds? Does anyone recognize them as an instance of some meteorological ideal type?






Brad DeLong Knows Thermodynamics Like He Knows Monetary Theory

After trashing Mises, Brad DeLong has a workplace accident. Be sure to note my wise aleck remark at Dec 6, 9:21 pm, and then someone talks a little Carnot* shop with DeLong at Dec 7, 9:20 am.

* I almost got caught bluffing. I had originally spelled it Cournot (like Cournot duopoly) but fortunately I googled it and realized the ideal heat engine was spelled Carnot. Heh heh damn I'm smooth.

The Members of the NYU Colloquium on Market Institutions

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gather for a photo before we discuss a new paper on Neo-Keynesian stimulus theory.

Pennslyvania Is Being Overrun

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By these strange orange-colored varmints:

Aaaaaah!

Apple seems to have implemented some across-the-company, strictly enforced, "keep the user completely in the dark" policy for their software engineers. I just received a message saying (I quote from memory), "An error occurred when Time Machine attempted to access the backup drive." (Time Machine is Apple's new backup software.)

Now, I was a software engineer for 18 years, and I was taught that a basic principle of error handling was to give the user as much information about the error that occurred as possible, to allow the user to attempt to fix the problem. And I know that the programmer writing the relevant bgit of code involved in this Time Machine error was checking for specific problems, such as the disk in question not having enough space available to store the contemplated backup, or the disk being off-line, etc, So why in the world is Apple not conveying what the problem is to the user? Does anyone have any idea why Apple is choosing to say nothing mor…

My Favorite Line of Realtor Doublespeak (for today, anyhow)

I called to enquire what my membership dues should be, without including payment for the Political Action Committee.

"Oh," I said, "the fees went up by about $54 this year." Realtor help desk person replied, "No, fees were exactly the same as last year." I objected, "Hey, I did the math, and it's $54 higher!"

"Your payment might appear higher this year because..." she spun thus: "your discount went down."

I need to go back to the dentist.

My Favorite Line

From the Tao Te Ching:
"Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish"

Dear John

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You say you are thinking of leaving me. Well, so be it; it really makes no difference to me one way or the other. In fact, the whole question is of as little import to me as would be the outcome of an election on some remote Pacific isle.
Serenely yours,
Mary



Where are letters like the above handled?


Here:



Q: Who Are These People?

John: Why, that's a marvelous bridge you've designed there!
Mary: Thank you. And your water works are most lovely!
John: It's very gracious of you to say that!
Mary: Not at all -- you are the epitome of professional behavior.

The Avenger

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OK, it's bad enough that I blew the engine in my car -- but did they have to give me a rental that I'm sure that John Steed will be jumping out of any second?


Blogroll Changes

Two changes on the sidebar:
1) Crash Landing welcomes the Collingwood/Oakeshott scholar Chris Rolliston to our blogroll with his blog A Single World of Ideas; and
2) We've dropped No Treason from the list, because they haven't posted nuttin' since September.

Do Bullets Keep Radiation at Bay?

If so, we're set: The government is transferring 20,000 troops to the homeland to protect against terrorist attacks.

What's Going On?

According to the Dux bed people, who apparently take of a very Leibnizian perspective on things, everything! I was listening to their ad on the radio this morning. The woman doing the pitch was talking about her grandmother having owned a Dux bed for 56 years now. "What was happening in 1952?" she asked. "Well, Alaska would not become a state for another seven years."

This presumably "happened" continually throughout the year, as the date of statehood became closer and closer. And, of course, the fall of the Roman Empire happened in 1952 as well, in terms of its date becoming more distant.

And so did every other event, past or future, all also happen in 1952. And every other year. History books are going to get really big. Or small, I'm not sure which.

Beth Hoffman, RIP

I just learned that Beth Hoffman of the Foundation for Economic Education died in her sleep last night. I did not know Beth well, but I did meet her a number of times at FEE events, and dealt with her frequently as both an author and proofreader for The Freeman. Beth always struck me as tirelessly devoted to FEE's mission -- as a "behind-the-scenes" persona, she certainly did not expect to receive either fame or fortune for her efforts, but, nevertheless, her efforts always went beyond the call of duty. She always made visiting scholars and authors feel at home at FEE headquarters, and was a constant presence there through several changes of management. I was about to write, "Beth, you will be missed," when I realized that what I really should write is, "Beth, you already are missed!"

Maimonides Thirteen Principles of Faith

In the 12th century, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides formulated his thirteen principles of the Hebrew faith. They are relevant to our recent discussion of "the Judaeo-Christian tradition" in relation to Islam, for several of them are explicitly directed at one of Judaism's "younger siblings." The principles, with my commentary:

1. The existence of God
Obviously common to all three.
2. God's unity
Against Christianity (the trinity) but not Islam.
3. God's spirituality and incorporeality
Common to all three.
4. God's eternity
Common to all three.
5. God alone should be the object of worship
Hmm, tough one -- Christians would say they agree, but Maimonides probably would have said their practice didn't, what with all those statues of Mary and shrines to the saints.
6. Revelation through God's prophets
Common to all three.
7. The preeminence of Moses among the prophets
Contra both Islam and Christianity.
8. God's law given on Moun…

The Consumer Society...

The Cat Monster

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OK, the basket you see is on top of a piece of furniture about five feet tall and very narrow. How the heck the cat got where you see it, we have no idea:

Milford Cemetery

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You'd think this would go without saying, but apparently not:

Perhaps they are forbidding the sort of hunting (for ghosts) my student Courtney engages in?

Call for Papers

0) We'll define this binary sequence in stages, punctuated by periods for clarity. (The periods are cosmetic; they are not part of the sequence.)

1) The first stage: 0.

2) The next stage: 1. So far: 0.1.

3) The next stage: a copy of all previous stages except the last: 0. So far: 0.1.0.

4) The next stage: same as for (3): 01. So far: 0.1.0.01.

5) Etc.: 0.1.0.01.010.01001.01001010.0100101001001. ...

6) Stripped of ".": 0100101001001010010100100101001001 ...

7) What, if anything, can you say about this sequence? This is not a "problem," I'd really like to know.

8) What, if any, reward in Heaven do you expect for your conscientious application to (7)?

Spicy Cranberry Sauce

1 pkg. fresh cranberries

3/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup sugar

1 Anaheim chili

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 pat butter

Melt butter in sauce pan. Finely chop chili and saute in the butter for 3 minutes. Add cranberries, orange juice, water, cinnamon, raisins, and sugar. Cook over low heat until the cranberries begin to break down -- about 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some questions

1) Is there a new language called "Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound"? Because I try to listen to movies in French these days (to help me learn it), so I'm always looking on the "Languages" section on the back of the video boxes at the store, and today, in the section, I found a video that claimed the dialogue was in the language, "Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound." Does anyone know where this is spoken?

2) Are these the worst lyrics ever written?
"Some beach
Somewhere
There's a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair
Palm trees are growin' and a warm breezes a blowing
I picture myself right there
On some beach, somewhere"

I just picture the guy, sitting around, trying to come up with the particular beach that would capture what he wanted, and finally going, "Screw it-- some beach, somewhere -- those dopey country fans will still eat it up."

3) Why didn't our parents (for those roughly my age) realize there was something w…

Explaining Change

In a recent post, I parenthetically asked "How and why did 'Moslem' change to 'Muslim'? One of our readers offered the explanation (I paraphrase) "Well, 'Muslim' is closer in sound to the original Arabic word than is 'Moslem.'"

I have no doubt s/he is correct about his linguistic facts. Nevertheless, the explanation can be immediately dismissed, without any need for empirical investigation. Why? It attempts to explain a change in one circumstance by citing another condition that did not change. The problem with our reader's explanation is that, true though his point about pronunciation may be, it was just as true during all those years that English speakers said "Moslem." Since it was constant during the duration of each of the conditions, the transformation of the first of which into the second we seek to explain, it cannot possibly be the reason for the change!

The underlying principle, which I would regard as almost to obvi…

The New FEE Blog

is here, by the way.

In the Current Issue of The Freeman...

I review Alan Greenspan's recent book. My conclusion? "The Age of Turbulence is a work of little substance, and its composition appears to have been driven by vanity and a doubtlessly alluring advance from the publisher. I was paid to endure it, but I see no reason for readers of The Freeman to suffer as I did."

New York's Most Obscure Subway Entrance

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I took this photo standing across the street from a major subway entrance in Brooklyn Heights:

Can you detect any signs of the entrance's proximity? (There are two.)

The Heat Is on For Georgian President Saakashvili

According to this Der Spiegel story, Western officials on both sides of the Atlantic are starting to doubt his version of events leading up to the Russian spanking. This is no surprise to LRC readers.

SEA IV

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Paul Lewis gives his autograph to David Harper:


Obama showed up for some Austrian advice:


While this guy just monkeyed around all conference:



You Thought the Stock Market Was Disturbing?

Then contemplate this score: Texas Tech 167 -- East Central 115. College basketball defense is dead.

FEE Summer 2008 Reunion at the SEAs

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Left to right, front row: Meg Patrick, Nick Snow, Liya Palagashvili, Peter Lewin, Bruce Caldwell, Steve Horwitz, Ivan Pongragic, Peter Leeson
Second row: Tony Carilli, Geoffrey Lea, Gene Callahan, Dan D'Amico, Peter Boettke, Chris Coyne.

Pete Boettke holds court

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SEAs

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Pete Leeson is pleased by the proceedings:




At the SEAs

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Mario Rizzo listens to Gerry O'Driscoll presnt:


Chris Coyne, Peter Lewin, and others listen to Steve Horwitz present:


Roger Koppl enjoys lunch:



Keep Your Customers Happy

I've heard that "the customer is always right," but I've never had customer service like I had today in the dentist's office. I went in for a cleaning and got 32 hits of hydrocodone (big 10s) for my trouble. The dentist said I need to come back every three months for a cleaning. I have insurance, and he has a deal!

Adam and I arrive in DC

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For the Southern Economic Association conference:








Bubblicious thinking

My wife (who works in finance) and I were discussing the terrible arrogance on display in the video I posted below, where the opponents of Peter Schiff's views just laughed in his face for claiming a crash was coming, and we decided that, perhaps that attitude is an integral part of bubbles. Those comitted to the view that "the good times will last forever" begin to sense that the rising market is like Tinkerbell--it will cease to exist if we don't believe in enough. Thus, someone like Schiff is not merely wrong, he is a traitor, and a danger to the people of faith (in the bubble).


Thoughts on Islam: I

For my course on Death and Dying, I have been undertaking an energetic effort to better understand the tenets and histories of the world's major religions, since the course is intended to offer a cross-cultural survey of attempts to comprehend the reality of our mortal condition. My most recent explorations have been directed towards bettering my knowledge of Islam, and I want to share some of my musings on the subject with Crash Landing readers.

The first surprise from my studies, given the frequency with which Islam is charged with oppressing women, was to learn that Mohammed, for his time and place, was somewhat of a radical feminist. His contemporary Arabian society regarded women as property; a husband owned his wive(s). Mohammed insisted that marriage be regarded as a contractual rather than proprietary relationship. He made it easier for women to divorce, and demanded that their right to own property be respected. He banned the (apparently common) practice of female infantic…

Reincarnation

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All of Gene's mysticism has opened my mind to the possibility of reincarnation. And while doing some research I came across a photo of a famous Italian dictator. Is it just me, or does he look awfully familiar?



EIB

(That's Evil in Broadcasting, by the way.) For a few months now I have taken to the extremely unhealthy* habit of eating my lunch in my car, listening to Rush Limbaugh. I do find him entertaining, but it's also "work," because I give a bunch of interviews myself to the vast right-wing conspiracy and so I need to stay on the cutting edge of societal evolution.

Anyway, the other day Rush was talking about plans to close Gitmo, and how incredibly stupid it would be. And I kid you not, his entire argument was, "OK we bring these people to the States and give them trials with lawyers and the whole nine yards. What is the prosecution gonna do, call in the CIA and ask them, 'Can you please explain why you arrested these people?' Can you possibly imagine the CIA coming in and testifying? So these people are going to be acquitted, and then what are we supposed to do with them? Turn them loose? You can't ship them back to their countries, they don't…

Abstract Art

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Below are photos of some artwork outside my office (done by students at NCC). What is interesting about them, to me, is that they indicate where modern, abstract art has been going. At first, its job was just to break out of the realist box, and you'd get things like paint splotches on a canvas. But eventually, free of realist constraints, it acquired the task of creating new aesthetic forms of its own. And even at the student level, it is doing so:








The Inventor of LSD

I Know a Terrible Argument When I See One

And C.S. Lewis's argument for why it is impossible to consider Christ "just a great teacher" is a terrible argument.

Lewis says, basically, that it's coherent to consider Christ either divine, or a psycho nutjob, but nothing in between. Why? Here's Lewis:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not co…

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Some Quick Quickbooks Questions

I think that is the first phrase I have ever written involving three consecutive Q-words....

OK I recently decided that my PhD and Excel were no match for the accounting and regulatory demands of running a top-flight consultancy. At the advice of my CPA I broke down and bought Quickbooks (Pro 2009, if it matters).

I know some of you are also instigators of creative destruction, and so I turn to you entrepreneurial, computer savvy geeks to rescue me from my overeager key stroking:

I came back from a business trip and first entered in all of my receipts as Bills like a good little boy. Then I went to Pay Bills and selected all of them, then hit Pay (or whatever). I thought it was going to take me to another screen, but instead it processed all of them as if I wanted to pay by printed check, and now is waiting for me to print them.

However, a few of these "bills" were actually my taxi fares, for which I used cash that had been withdrawn from my personal checking account. And th…

Tyler Cowen Wonders How We Can Limit Corporatism...

...four posts after he explains that he doesn't regret his endorsement of the Paulson bailout. As I said over at my blog:

Over at MR, Tyler Cowen refers to the latest issue of Cato Unbound, where Matt Yglesias chides libertarians for claiming to oppose corporatism while not taking real practical steps to limit it. Tyler says:

In my view at the margin it would be better to have both less corporate privilege and less labor union privilege. Maybe we have no good theory (much less a strategy) for how to get there, but surely some marginal improvements are possible and who knows maybe more.

In the comments I offered this helpful remark:

Here's a suggestion on strategy: When the former CEO of Goldman Sachs asks for $700 billion to dish out as he pleases, in light of an alleged disaster that he had no idea was coming just two months prior to the request, then all libertarians say "HECK NO!"

Seriously, I guess I can understand why some libertarians--especially those with "…

What Holds Back Tyrants?

The fear that they may wind up looking like George Bush!

Did You Know?

About .5% of the world's population is descended from Genghis Khan?

This Is Unbelievable

Some chump over at some "advice" blog links to video of a series of "esteemed" commentators basically laughing in Peter Schiff's face as he predicts the financial future to a tee! I think everyone who reads this should write Ben Stein a letter and ask what he thinks of his call that Merrill Lynch was being "given away" at $76 now that the stock is at $14. The man should never comment on anything other than eye drops again in his life.

Dramatic Announcement Below

I warned you this was coming. For some damned reason, I'm being allowed to participate in the best blog in economics.

A Gaffe?

I went to a "publishing party" at my youngest son's school this morning. The idea is that the kids put out a piece of writing on their desks along with a comment sheet, and the parents circulate through the room, reading stories and writing comments. The teacher instructed us to restrict ourselves to positive comments. At that time, I thought I had done OK, but, in retrospect, I grow worried that "What the fvck was that all about?" may not qualify as a positive comment.

Thoughts?

I Offer to Rep You!

Drug Facts

Before they drug you!

Glenn Greenwald Dishes Out Blame for the Last 8 Years

GG is getting a bit shrill lately for my taste, but he still manages to hit the nail on the head in this recent column:

As the Bush administration comes to a close, one overarching question is this: how were the transgressions and abuses of the last eight years allowed to be unleashed with so little backlash and resistance? Just consider -- with no hyperbole -- what our Government, our country, has done. We systematically tortured people in our custody using techniques approved at the highest levels, many of whom died as a result. We created secret prisons -- "black site" gulags -- beyond the reach of international monitoring groups. We abducted and imprisoned even U.S. citizens and legal residents without any trial, holding them incommunicado and without even the right to access lawyers for years, while we tortured them to the point of insanity. We disappeared innocent people off the streets, sent them to countries where we knew they'd be tortured, and then closed o…

A Setback in Race Relations?

It just occurred to me that the American people did not pick the first black president. Rather, they picked the first black president-elect.

Consumers Don't Cause Recessions

I explain over at Mises.org. Incidentally, this is an article of medium length, but I really tried to bury the notion that we just need to boost "spending" to fix recessions. Free market geeks should thoroughly enjoy.

What's Become of Obama Supporters?

Song in Honor Of Obama's Victory

We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the foe, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the next war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at t…

IIB

(That's idiocy in broadcasting, by the way.) So, on my drive to class, I sometimes put on talk radio. And there, I hear Rush "Stupidity on Loan from God" Limbaugh telling listeners "If only the Democrats had passed the tax cut Bush had recommended last spring, this whole financial crisis could have been avoided."

I see. In the midst of record government deficits, and a bursting bubble caused by too much debt, the fix was... more debt!

Yes, Rush, and if only the Democrats had stuck their heads as far up GWB's rectum as you have yours, then the current economic situation wouldn't stink!

Sweet Home Alabama

To those that say race played a small role in this presidential election, put it here.

"Here in Alabama, where Mr. McCain won 60.4 percent of the vote in his best Southern showing, he had the support of nearly 9 in 10 whites, according to exit polls, a figure comparable to other Southern states."

I live in what is considered the deep south, and I'm keeping my Obama stickers on the car. This is my answer to those who kept their W or Bush/Cheney stickers adorning pickup trucks down here. I still see them every day.

Rednecks suck.

The Day's Snap Question

Hi there! What search string receives 2,730,000,000 hits on Google?

I'll bet...

...that you didn't know that there is a chemical compound called melon.

Use In A Dishwasher?

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I haven't paid much attention to the inner parts of my coffee maker, until today when I made a mess because I failed to close the door to the fiter basket during operation. After owning this machine for nearly six months I noticed that one of the fixed parts warns: "NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN DISHWASHER." (My apologies for the glare in the photo.)

Has anyone here tried preparing coffee in a dishwasher? Is there an advantage to preparing coffee this way?

Robin Hanson Shakes Me to My Very Core

In a post praised by Tyler Cowen, Robin Hanson argues that

We feel a deep pleasure from realizing that we believe something in common with our friends, and different from most people. We feel an even deeper pleasure letting everyone know of this fact. This feeling is EVIL. Learn to see it in yourself, and then learn to be horrified by how thoroughly it can poison your mind. Yes evidence may at times force you to disagree with a majority, and your friends may have correlated exposure to that evidence, but take no pleasure when you and your associates disagree with others; that is the road to rationality ruin.

Besides him telling me that one of my secret pleasures is "EVIL," Hanson's post disturbed me because I think it is totally wrong. Isn't the whole point of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty that we should nurture dissent, so as not to become slaves to our own prejudices? I go out of my way to disagree when there is a "consensus" on something, and I t…

You Know Who Is Really, Really Annoying...

and not very funny? Jon Stewart. Just carefully study the contrived little hand-over-the-mouth gesture in this skit -- it's a classic example of the "Hey, I don't think it's funny, but it seems to work with these dopes I pander to" school of comedy.

We Go Now to Our Pakistani Correspondent...

I saw the most effed-up news story Friday morning. The network anchor (I think it was CNN) explained that there were reports of CIA missile attacks in Pakistan. They interviewed some Pakistani people talking about it, and then they interviewed the guy who coined the term "shock and awe." Some thoughts:

(1) Does it freak out anybody else that American media have to interview the alleged recipients of US firepower to try to determine whether our government is in the process of bombing foreigners? I kid you not, I don't think CNN even said, "The US government declined to comment on this story." I didn't hear them even mention what the US government had to say about all this, though I was in a hotel food area eating my continental breakfast, so maybe I just missed it.

(2) Does it freak out anybody else that it is the CIA who is allegedly launching missile strikes on terrorists? Isn't the CIA supposed to gather intelligence? What is the purpose of thi…

One Good Thing About the Election

is that the conservative pundits are likely to get better. (Well, nothing could make gasbags like Hannity or Limbaugh bearable, but some will get better...) Note how critical Steyn is of McCain in this piece.

The Rednecks Is PISSED

I know a lot of people are upset that Obama won because they think he'll raise their taxes, be soft on terrorism, (further) socialize medicine, etc., etc. But there's also a goodly contingent who are fuming about the president being a God-damned jigaboo. I stopped to get some beer today near Bushkill, PA, and was immediately "tested" with a wave of Obama "jokes." (This, by the way, was done by two dirty looking, unshaven men, sitting bleary eyed, drinking beer at midday.)

"Did you hear Obama is going to plant watermelons on the White House lawn?"

"Yeah, I heard he's going to replace the Oval Office with a basketball court."

"He's already moved to replace the eagle as the national symbol by the fried chicken wing."

Now, if this pair had as many IQ points as Obama between the two of them, I'd be shocked. (And I know the duo has fewer total teeth than he does.) But somehow, they're still damned certain that they're…

The President Who Must Not Be Named

Last night at National Review's "The Corner", Katheryn Jean Lopez was so perturbed at the thought of an Obama victory that she could not name the event:
"If what everyone thinks may happen happens tonight..."

Who Da Pundit, Who Da Pundit?

At 6 AM yesterday morning,I called the electoral college 364-174. And if NC and MO hold as they are now, the final tally will be... 364-174.

How did I get my total? Well, I went around one of those interactive electoral maps and picked every single state correctly. CNN? Fox News? BBC? Hiring in 2012?

A Nail Biter (in the Popular Vote)

It really amazes me how close this thing is, in terms of the popular vote. As of this writing, it is Obama 50% and McCain 49%.

Do you think "they" do it this way on purpose? Just like the people running the NFL, NBA, etc. try to make sure that it's always competitive, to keep the fans interested?

And if so, what is the purpose? To keep us divided, and always fearful of "those evil #$()# Repuplicans/Democrats" staging a comeback in two years?

Why I Don't Vote

In a nutshell, because it's silly to engage in a morally dubious practice that won't even yield any pragmatic benefits. If that hasn't convinced you, read the full post.

You can vote for None of the Above, but you'd be a fool to waste your time at the poll

Make your predictions on the US Presidential race here:

I say Obama 306 McCain 232. I hope I'm being conservative, and that it's an Obama landslide.

(I'm not including apportioned results)

Remember, You Can Vote for Neither McCain Nor Obama

For those who like Obama because he is so peaceful, here's an odd video. I confess I don't know the context, but does it really matter? (HT2EPJ)

Welfare Benefits

At school, picking up my kids, I see a poster proclaiming "Win aTrip for Two to the Probowl in Hawaii!" How can you win this?By signing up for welfare benefits! (Free school meals for your kids.)

10/10/08

was market capitulation day! (That's when the new bull market starts.)

I've Unconsciously Decided This Is Rubbish

From New Scientist:

"BARACK OBAMA or John McCain? Floating voters in the upcoming US election may already have made up their minds - they just don't know it yet.

"Bertram Gawronski, a social psychologist at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and his colleagues asked 129 residents of Vicenza, Italy, whether they would support a controversial proposal to enlarge the city's US military base. To measure subconscious biases, the team used an "implicit association" test to record, for example, whether volunteers associated pictures of the base with positive words such as "joy" or negative ones such as "pain".

"When polled a week later, many who were undecided about the base in the first poll had resolved to support or oppose it - and the team found that their decision could be predicted by their responses on the association test (Science, vol 321, p 1100)."

Hmm, people's decisions are affected by what things they th…

How Could Anyone Be Undecided?

I see this question asked on bulletin boards. Its grounding is something like, "These two candidates are miles apart! How could anyone not be able choose between them?"

Well, I really don't think they are so many miles apart, but, in any case, that distance is totally irrelevant to the issue: Place an anarcho-capitalist and a communist running against each other. Now place a hypothetical voter squarely in the European-style social democrat camp. He's about halfway between them, and may have a hard time choosing. These "How can you be undecided?" folks have confused difficulty reaching a preference for one candidate with an inability to distinguish them, as if the customer in a restaurant who is debating between having pasta and steak can't tell them apart!

Clearly

Soma things are clear to some, not to others:

"Clearly, the sun that shines up there is a horse sacrifice..." -- Brhadaranyaka Upanisad

God Poem

Prayer

O solitary God,
So don't be lonely.
Destroy the fog,
Driving the presence
Of Your angels
Into the Land of Nod,
Where we are waiting.


050312 Sat 0940, Oakland, CA

Copyright © 2005 by Walter Bloch, all rights reserved.

This Is Why I Hesitate to Complain at Restaurants

I will spare you a Rocky Road reference.

Lew Rockwell Interview With Naomi Wolf

I am not exaggerating, this is quite possibly the best interview I have ever heard in my life. (Just click on the link and then play it from within your browser.) During the show itself, Naomi Wolf comes to see why libertarians are so opposed to the IRS and the Department of Education. She (at least twice) says, "Oh my God, you are so right." Hint: it's not because we hate poor people.

The Wrong Way to Prevent Jingle Mail

If this is the way to stop the profligate from mailing in their keys, the old Wall Street adage rings true on Main Street: "Bulls make money, Bears make money, but Pigs make more money than anyone."

"The Federal Housing Administration began Hope for Homeowners on Oct. 1, aimed at making as many as 400,000 mortgages affordable. Under the program, lenders will refinance loans to 90 percent of a house’s current value, automatically giving the owner 10 percent equity.
The loans will be insured by the government, which will take a share of any gain when the house is sold. If a sale occurs in the first year, the government takes it all. The second year, it takes 90 percent; and so on down a sliding scale. After five years, it takes half the gain."


WTF? I don't have a problem with helping people manage their bad bets if that's going to stabilize the housing market. But why give away the upside?

Would not a better plan be to create a personal recourse lien on the re…

Rush Limbaugh Is a Big, Slim Idiot

Last week -- it's late now, I'm about to go to bed, and too tired to hunt up the link -- Limbaugh posted the idea that the big market drop of day X was due to businessmen being in touch with reality, and realizing that the high likelihood of an Obama win spelled disaster for American businesses. Now, the first piece of rubbish here is that the mountain of bushit contends, in many other posts, that there is NO likelihood of an Obama win, and that the race is neck-and-neck. But the second can only be seen in retrospect, when this week, as the Dow scored its second highest gain ever, Limnuts failed to make a post saying, "Oh, gee, I guess business has decided Obama is fine after all!"

That's a sign of pure partisan hackery -- EVERY sort of evidence "supports" you're position.

Meditation upon the Epistemology of Circumstance

God had just created Adam and Eve. "Welcome to the World," He said. "I have a birthday present for each of you. You get to choose who gets what."

"What are they, huh, what are they?" said Adam.

"Well," God said, "One is, I give you a little hose to pee through, so you can pee standing up."

"Oboyoboy," said Adam, "Pee standing up--I want that one!"

"OK, you got it," said God. "Eve gets the multiple orgasms."

Demon Poem

> Sneaking It Past the Demon
>
> I live with a demon most terrible.
> She shits blood in the night.
> It drips up through the ceiling.
>
> Her eyes encircle her head, and she never sleeps.
> The first day I slipped it under my coat.
> The circlet of eyes never blinked, but she knew.
>
> The first week I tried mailing it,
> Rolling it in a rug, giving it a fake ID,
> But always she knew.
>
> I would have sold my soul.
> I bargained, but to no avail.
> She wanted it all.
>
> The pet store delivered a snake.
> "Bon appetit," said I,
> And later released the snake.
>
> She purged it.
> It isn't natural, you see:
> Demons were made before nature.
>
>
> 050203 Thu 1430-1545
> 050211 Fri 2000 stanzas
>
> Hey, a first for Boy Scout me: a poem about infidelity!
>
>
> (c) 2005 by Walter Bloch, all rights reserved.

What Will Disappoint Me from Obama?

If he don't stop that mojo shit he be directing at McCain and Palin!

(Hat tip to Henley.)

Our Nobel Ideate

Paul Krugman writes in the NY Times:

"What’s happening, I suspect, is that the Bush administration’s anti-government ideology still stands in the way of effective action. Events have forced Mr. Paulson into a partial nationalization of the financial system — but he refuses to use the power that comes with ownership."

"Whatever the reasons for the continuing weakness of policy, the situation is manifestly not coming under control. Things continue to fall apart."

Uh, Paul:
1) An administration with an "anti-government ideology" does not engage in "a partial nationalization of the financial system".
2) An administration with an "anti-government ideology" does not increase the size and scope of government faster than any administration in my life.
3) Your preferred policies are failing. Time to admit it.

(Hat tip to Elen.)

Obama Is Good for Crash Landing

Yesterday traffic to Crash Landing was 732% higher than the previous day. I assume this has something to do with Andrew Sullivan's link (HT2 Ralph Raico) to my "How could Obama disappoint you?" thread. Woody, let's start another argument!

Little Balls

A friend of mine who plays go a lot found this on her go server. Mathematicians post stuff there, she said, and, being mathematicians, they post problems, not answers.

"You have a collection of 11 balls with the property that if you remove any one of the balls, the other 10 can be split into two groups of 5 that have the same weight. If you assume that all the balls have rational weight, there is a cute proof that they all must weigh the same. Can you find a proof? Can you find a way to extend the result to the general case where the balls have real weights?"

Solving the implied system of 11 equations in 11 unknowns is fairly trivial and gives a proof, but it isn’t “cute” by any stretch. I have been unable to come up with either a cute proof, or a proof, cute or otherwise, which depends on the unknowns being rational.

Does anyone see what I missed?

You Have More Than Two Choices

Both in the Crash Landing thread and the spin-off on Unqualified Offerings, some people seem to be misunderstanding my challenge. To repeat, I want pro-Obama people to list some concrete things that a President Obama could do, that would make them admit (at that time) they were foolish for having supported him now.

As I said, several people are misunderstanding. They say stuff like, "Even if Obama did horrible thing X, my support would only be a mistake if we assume McCain wouldn't have done horrible thing X, or even worse thing Y. And I have no reason to think that."

But that's not what I'm asking; we all know you have weighed the evidence, and right now you expect Obama will be better than McCain. Regardless of who wins, we will never know the answer to that question, since history will go down one path and not the other.

To return to my own example: I am not sure what John Kerry would have done, had he been in office during the financial panic. Maybe he wou…

Things Have Gotten So Bad