Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Media again?

I liked the apology from Harper's regarding the piece by Lewis Lapham in which he responded to the speeches at the Republican convention...before they actually occurred. It's nice to know he was keeping an open mind.

Speaking of the ongoing discussion about objectivity in journalism (or the lack thereof) here is an excerpt from an article available at JSTOR.

"There is a widespread prejudice against the newspapers, based on the belief that they cannot be trusted to report truly the current events in the world's life on account of incompetence or venality. But in spite of this distrust we are almost altogether dependent on them for our knowledge of widely interesting events....The function of the newspaper in a well-ordered society is to control the state through the authority of facts, not to drive nations and social classes headlong into war through the power of passion and prejudice." -Delos Wilcox, 1900
The American Newspaper: A Study in Social Psychology

(Thanks to MR for finding the article)

Then there is this story which made me want to bang my head into a desk. The portion of the article that talks about the "gun" controversy is especially ridiculous, however the thing that I found really absurd was this bit: "Carmakers in the U.K. often come to the attention of regulators for their portrayal of speed in ads, which the advertising code says must not ``encourage or condone fast or irresponsible driving.'' Ford's Land Rover division did not immediately comment on the ban. " Can I just say ugh?

Speaking of head banging moments...I was watching C-SPAN the other evening (yes I know how depressing that sounds) and they spoke to a protestor from a gay and lesbian alliance group who was giving the usual attacks on the Republicans and Bush in particular. All was normal...and then I heard something that I have heard repeatedly many times but in this instance it struck me as particularly absurd. She made a reference to the fact that Bush is not even a "legitimate" president. Believe it or not I am not going to argue on that point (though I could). She referenced the notion that Bush lost the popular vote. I'm not going to argue that (though once again I could). What I am going to ask...and I mean this seriously...is how can any member of a minority, especially one that has been oppressed by the will of the majority, make an argument based upon popular opinion? I might also add that I think it is completely disingenuous to bring it up since I can't imagine that if she believed he did win the popular vote and even if the whole Florida thing hadn't happened, that she would somehow support him and his decisions (nor would I expect her to). The will of the majority is not something to be looked upon in some noble light...if you have the will of the majority it can often (though not always) mean simply that you have sacrificed just enough minority groups to placate the masses but not quite enough to make the collective minority the majority. As many of you know, I am not a fan of democracy. Democracy for its own sake is nothing to be applauded. I may post more on this later, but I need to get home. I want to see what Arnold has to say tonight.


Sunday, August 29, 2004


Just a personal update...nothing important to see here

I'm having another Emily day...then again what day isn't? Every time I close my eyes I see her sweet face and I want to cry...god damn I'm a pussy. Sorry for the profanity if there are any youngins out there...

In other news, my mother called today. She asked me if my life wouldn't be easier if she were "gone?" Sadly even this couldn't get my mind off of Emily. That is probably because my mother has been suicidal since I was a child and that may be where I got my suicidal tendencies from back when I was suicidal. I no longer am, in case any one is actually worried. Quite a bit back I figured out that the source of pain and misery is the mind and that if there is an afterlife that all it would do is remove the physical distractions of the flesh and leave nothing but my mind to torment me for all eternity...not a pleasant thought to rush towards...so anyway I am no longer a threat to myself much to the chagrin of my beloved Emily I'm sure, but nonetheless there it is. So anyway,

I went into the office and filled out some simple paperwork and worked on some misclassified write-ups which are generally fairly quick and easy but in this case ended up taking forever. I also prepped for my appointment tomorrow. I realized recently that with my new sample I am running out of appointments out of state for my current run, which is probably a good thing with the winter coming on. I also talked to Kelly Ann (in case you are reading this I know I spelled it wrong) out in California and they are eager for me to transfer back. The more I think about it the more I think I will transfer back to Southern California after I get my GS-12. The weather is nice, I can try to distract myself from Emily by going and drooling over Sarah (who also won't go out with me, but at least talks to me), and there is lots to do out there...So Cal is so much nicer than Northern California which is why I didn't take the position in San Francisco...

Okay...enough of that...I have to go work on my return email to Meg and Aerin...Meg finished Atlas Shrugged and is working on Fountainhead. I know Aerin fell madly in love with the protaganist in Fountainhead so I am curious to see if Meg is similarly drawn. Hopefully no one will try to charge me with corrupting the youth of America for convincing the two girls to read these books. If I have my way they will soon be reading Hayek and Hume (they have read some Hume, but I don't believe they have read any Hayek yet). I miss them...yet another reason to work my way back to CA, though by then I'm sure they will both be in college in some other state...though I know Aerin is partial to San Francisco so she may very well end up there. Anyway...Good night Ms. Ockmonic (spelling please?) wherever you are.



So I went to "the club" last night. Dear god it is such a depressing experience. Invariably I spend the entire evening at the bar surveying the crowd to find a woman attractive enough to approach. Every once in awhile (maybe once per hour) I will key in on someone across the way who looks like they are a plausible candidate so I will make my way from the bar across the floor and be summarily disappointed by how they look a little bit closer up. Nonetheless, I will have made the trek and they are still better looking than everyone else in the place so I will try to initiate contact and I will be rejected out of hand. It is amazing. From my vantage point at the bar I see what appears to be a lot of guys meeting women and getting somewhere with them. Yet I am incapable of meeting a woman who wishes to acknowledge my existence. I suppose it isn't much of a loss as long as I'm not completely blown away by them, but if I can't get anywhere with women who I am even remotely attracted to, how am I going to get anywhere with a woman who causes my heart to stop? I guess I have evidence showing that I don't get anywhere with them either (Emily and Sarah).

So anyway...there was this ultra drunk guy who was quite a bit like I imagine one of my coworkers would be in a crowded bar when drunk. He decided to take residence right next to me and his arm kept hitting into me. I ignored him. He kept screaming, but the place was loud anyway so I ignored him. He threw stuff behind the bar and I imagined that a bouncer would soon find their way over to take care of this guy. I was wrong. He tried to touch a complete strangers breasts and his friends finally stepped in and he almost got into a fight with one of them, but by this point I figured his friends would get him out of there and take him home. Once again I was wrong. He gave the bartender a hard time one more time and I had more or less lost it. I leaned in close to him and told him "you know you are drunk right?" His response was a simple "What's it to you?" I looked him in the eye and said "sooner or later you are going to piss someone off and they won't have to kick your ass because the first swing you take you will end up on your ass." I don't know what reaction I was going for, but the reaction I got was priceless...he tried to take a swing at me while sitting on the bar stool and he fell off the bar stool onto the floor. He bounced back up acting like I was the one who kicked him off. I was certain I was going to have to fight at this point which was ironic because those of you who know me would know that despite the fact that I was at the bar, I was only drinking coke (I don't drink). The sober guy would be the one to get into a fight. Alas, his friends ended up grabbing him finally and pulling him away. After the fact I couldn't help but think about Jason and Matt since we had a conversation recently about how despite the fact that I have been in several fights over my life, I had never been in a bar fight. I don't think this would actually count since I didn't get to throw a punch, but if I were to get in a bar fight, I would have to say I wouldn't be even remotely remorseful of kicking this guys ass.

I left at closing time 2am and left the bartender a large tip since she had put up with this guys crap for some time. I thought about making a move on her as a last ditch effort, but decided against it since she wasn't blonde. I went home and got up just about an hour ago...now I am on my way into the office to get some work done...

But I have to mention that as this guy was behaving as a jerk next to me, the entire time my days discussing game theory in college came screaming back to me. It was a variant of the game involving hawk nations and dove nations. He was a hawk and he was going on being a jerk and a hassle for some time because he kept ending up dealing with doves. Sooner or later though it was evident that he was going to mess with another hawk and the two of them would "go to town" as it were. The question that I was asking is "am I a hawk?" That question lead me to a simpler question, "why hadn't he already encountered a hawk?" or "why are there so few hawks?" Being a hawk is obviously costly because it does not imply that you will necessarily win, but merely that you are willing to fight and fighting is costly...dental work, possible jail time, civil suits, etc. Still, being a hawk is a beneficial strategy until you run into another hawk because you get your way and get to do what you want until that happens.

Here is the key point that doesn't get quite enough discussion...being a hawk doesn't necessarily make you a bully, it just means you are willing to fight. There are lots of good reasons to fight, despite the insanity that "fighting never solved anything." In fact, someone who is a hawk but doesn't instigate fights, only responds to other hawks, provides a public good. All of the doves are made better off because this hawk is willing to stand up for them but they don't have to incur the costs. This lead me to what I think is an important insight, "we should expect there to be an inefficient number of hawks (at least of the public good variety)." The doves are being free riders. As with any public good suffering from a free rider problem we should expect provision below the optimal level. The irony may be that we do not have enough people willing to go to a fight as a result. Just my little economic extrapolation for the day.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


I got an email from Meg! Good way to end the evening.

Those who know me know how much I adore my California twins who are intelligent beyond their years and humorous beyond any reasonable expectation. This is how Meg ended the email that I received from her tonight: "Sleep well lil Josh. Dont let the Anne-Rice-Vampire-wanna-be's bite! They dont usually draw blood, but those plastic fangs leave a nasty bruise!" I really need to start a collection of the unique and enchanting ways that she ends her emails. Sadly, I am far from being as clever and thus my emails invariably end with some line that I have stolen and gotten wrong in the process. Not nearly as impressive.

Anyway...I spent the evening with Matt and Jason and made them watch Jesus' Son. I wasn't lynched for the act so I take that as a good sign. Sadly I'm too tired to write a semi decent email back to Meg, so instead I decided to write this brief blog posting just saying to the world how much I appreciate that she still takes the time to talk to me even though I am across the country and me.

Anyway...Night everyone...oh yeah...what Meg said.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Here ya go

This post is for Marie with regard to one of our discussions earlier this evening. This link, looks at some of the misrepresentations of the Moore documentary regarding 9/11. I might add that the article is by Bryan Nyhan, coauthor of the book "All the President's Spin" attacking the misrepresentations of George W Bush, so it is extremely doubtful one could make the argument that he is a Republican hack.


A few random things

Alice cooper on the rock musicians doing concerts for Kerry:

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."

In other news, I am so buying this book. I will give a review when it comes out. It is Hardball, and this line from the economist article sums it up: "Popular business books urge managers to hug their customers or find the “leader within”. Nobody focuses on what really matters in business, they argue: the profits and pleasure that come from making competitors suffer."

My sneaking suspician is that some of the strategies will be good for consumers and still get a bad rap and that others will just be economically infeasible (selling below cost for extended duration) and get latched onto by people as proof that companies are doing "evil" things that they always thought they were doing. Of course the point of the book is that companies aren't doing the evil things that they should be doing so there you go.

I also liked this line from an article in the economist on work related stress:

"The advantages of having happy and productive workers are likely to push other companies the same way. Given the vagaries of stress, preventing it by regulation is as impractical as trying to legislate against tiredness or, for that matter, boredom."

One other thing for the night, I'm going to recommend this CBO paper entitled "Effective Federal Tax Rates Under Current Law 2001 - 2014." Boy, us government bureaucracies sure know how to title papers don't we?

As usual, the Democrats and the Republicans have both decided to ignore what it says and just keep saying what they were saying all along. Here is Spinsanity's take on it.

Okay...I have to get out of the office...Catch ya all on the flip side.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


A few movie/tv quotes to get you through the night

Archie Bunker: I didn't swear. GD. The first word is God. How can that be a swear word? It's the most popular word in the bible. The second word, damn, that's a perfectly good word, you hear it all the time, like they dam the river to keep it from flooding it. And you read in the Bible that some guy was damned for cheating or stealing or having sex in the family. And who damned him? Who else? God. God damned him. Edith, beautiful words right out of the Bible.

Boondock Saints:
Connor : Now you will receive us.
Murphy : We do not ask for your poor, or your hungry.
Connor : We do not want your tired and sick.
Murphy : It is your corrupt we claim.
Connor : It is your evil that will be sought by us.
Murphy : With every breath, we shall hunt them down.
Connor : Each day we will spill their blood, 'til it rains down from the skies.
Murphy : Do not kill. Do not rape. Do not steal. These are principles which every man of every faith can embrace.
Connor : These are not polite suggestions, these are codes of behavior, and those of you that ignore them will pay the dearest cost.
Murphy : There are varying degrees of evil. We urge you lesser forms of filth, not to push the bounds and cross over, in to true corruption, into our domain.
Connor : For if you do, one day you will look behind you and you will see we three, and on that day you will reap it.
Murphy : And we will send you to whatever god you wish.

Finally, from Shaun of the Dead, which I am desperate to see:

[Shaun is channel hopping]
[Channel 4 News]
Krishnan Guru-Murthy : Though no-one official is prepared to comment, religious groups are calling it Judgement Day. There's...
[VH1, playing "Panic" by The Smiths]
Morrissey : Panic on the streets of London...
[ITV News]
Newsreader: As an increasing number of reports of...
Commentator: Serious attacks on...
[Five News]
Newsreader: People, who are being...
[Nature documentary, leopards eating a gazelle]
Narrator: Eaten alive...
[Sky News]
Jeremy Thompson : But witness reports are sketchy. One unifying detail seems to be that the attackers in many instances appear to be...
Vernon Kaye: Dead excited to have with us here a sensational chart topping...

Family Guy

Lois Griffin : Peter. You're bribing your daughter with a car?
Peter Griffin : Ah, c'mon, Lois, isn't "bribe" just another word for "love"?

Lois Griffin : You should spend some time with our kids, Peter. And with me.
Peter Griffin : Uh, what could me and you do together? [Lois giggles]
Peter Griffin : Lois. You've got a sick mind.
Lois Griffin : Peter, I'm talking about making love.
Peter Griffin : Oh. I thought you wanted us to murder the children and harvest their organs for beer money.

Oh yeah...be prepared...I'm thinking up another list of movies to demand that everyone on the planet see...I have to pull up my first set of movies first though and make sure I don't duplicate...

Night all



Okay, I decided not to just change my post below because I like to let people see that my opinion can change, even if only slightly. The not using cell phones aspect of the boycott (see below) may not be such a bad idea. If the real purpose of the boycott is just to show that there are many gay and lesbian people in a measurable form then this has some merit. The other aspects still don't make sense...ironically the site lists several guidelines attributed to Ghandi for boycotts, one of which is "Keep the focus of the event narrow." I think they might want to take that guideline down since they clearly aren't following it.

I also think everyone should check out the site because the number of stereotypes that are included on the webpage originally made me think I had gotten the wrong webpage (a joke parody). Examples: "Imagine if Broadway shut down for the day. Imagine if brides could not find florists for their weddings for those days. Imagine if people could not get appointments to get their hair cut that day. "

'Kay, I'm really done ranting now.


Boycott for Equality

Okay, so I'm driving home from an appointment today and NPR does this story on the "boycott for equality." This is a national boycott attempting to garner support by the homosexual community consisting of three parts; no work, no purchases, no cell phones.

Now I'm totally confused by this. First of all, a one day boycott is inconsequential no matter how vast reaching it is. If people do the work they didn't on the day they were out on the next day and purchase the stuff they didn't on the next day and make the calls they didn't on the next day...how is anyone hurt other than the homosexual population which becomes inconvenienced for one day (more if it takes them weeks to get caught up on the work that they were supposed to do on that day)? Also, let's say every homosexual does engage in the boycott and lets say it did have an economic impact. Then why would you chose to harm all companies equally? Are all companies anti-homosexual? I understand boycotting a specific product or company, but why in the hell would you boycott a country (and to what effect)? Further, if you are going to boycott a country...Boycott the country damnit...Have everyone go to Mexico or Canada for a day. (I understand that logistically there are problems for people in the central states to make this trek without undue burden, but having just the people in the Border states engage in a "walk-out" would surely have a much greater impact than what this organization is attempting to do.)

I also must point out, that a true national boycott is likely to be incredibly dull and boring for those participating. The site doesn't even realize how impossible it is to have a true national boycott without leaving the country. If you eat food you bought in this country (even on some other day) you are essentially just shifting the purchase pattern but not changing the revenue the companies receive. If you watch TV you are purchasing a good through paying the advertisers by watching commercials. The same would apply if you listen to the radio. If you read a book, that makes one more book you will need to buy at some other date to fill your reading time. Basically, the only way to have a true national boycott without leaving the country is to lay in bed doing nothing, fasting, in the dark (lest you consume electricity) for the entire day. Some people will argue that I am just taking things to an absurd conclusion, and this is true, but my argument is that they have no choice but to either take it to the absurd conclusion if they want it to work, or they have to simply understand that it isn't going to work.

I might also add that small business owners, many of whom are homosexual, have a hard enough time keeping their businesses afloat without ceasing operations for a day and sacrificing potential customers to their competitors as this movement would have homosexual store owners do.

The entire notion seems so ill conceived to me that I feel I must be missing something. There has to be some fraction of a way that this makes sense that has completely escaped me. But then it wouldn't be the first time...

I remember not too long ago that many homosexual groups and organizations were outing homosexuals who were supporting the constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Now I have to mention before I continue that I believe that as long as the state is involved in marriage at all, homosexuals should be able to get married and enjoy all of the same rights and protections. So as you might expect, I disagree with the homosexuals who were for this amendment, as well as the heterosexuals. This movement toward outing them caught me off guard though. It made no sense. To begin with, and this is a minor point compared with the rest of the argument but, they were not hypocrites as was often touted. A hypocrite is someone who puts on a false appearance of virtue or someone who proclaims one thing for society and another for themselves. Neither of these was the case. These people were not secretly getting married and telling others that they couldn't. Nor could you believe that they were putting on a false appearance of virtue unless you believed that being homosexual was non-virtuous. (Sorry, couldn't figure out what word to use there). So that charge just strikes me as odd. To analogize just a bit, we wouldn't consider a priest who states that priests should not be allowed to marry a hypocrite would we? Of course not. Nor would it somehow discredit him if we were to find out that he were a priest. This leads me to the larger point about the whole outing business. What did these organizations think they were accomplishing by outing these people? Clearly it wasn't helping their case. Outing them only allowed those against homosexual marriage to point and say, "look, there are even gays and lesbians who don't think they should be allowed to be married." Sadly, the entire affair was clearly just a means at coercing people into silence. The outing was a means of threatening people who disagreed with their point of view and saying "if you disagree with us and you are gay then we are going to come after you so watch out." To me it was incredibly depressing and sad. The saddest part about it was that the arguments for gay marriage are so much stronger than those against it (I can't even understand the arguments against it myself) and yet some of these groups still felt the need to engage in such malicious behavior.

I hope I didn't offend anyone with this long rant, but as I said above, I just don't get it. I don't understand it, and maybe it is me...Maybe I'm missing something, but it all seems so self defeating.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


News and an Ice Cream rant

Okay, news stories...

Via the ever popular geek press, online gamers are outsourcing the boring stuff which leads me to wonder why they play the games in the first place if they are so boring...as a corollary, why do the game designers make them so "boring?"

As usual, Glen over at Agorophilia has an interesting analysis on the olympic medals controversy (one of them).

The economist has an interesting article on what the stock market may hold in terms of returns over the next decade. This isn't the first article to say that returns would be lower than we have grown accustomed. Of course we shouldn't expect returns to be 10% regardless of what the history of the market has been. If a well diversified portfolio isn't really all that risky (as we are continually told) then we should not expect an above average return on investment. There are many theories and explanations for why the market has enjoyed such a long run at providing above average returns, but explaining the above average returns and expecting them to continue are two seperate things. I have never believed that privatizing social security should be argued based upon "look how much more they could be getting," precisely because I think it is ridiculous to assume future returns of the same rate, especially if more people enter the stock market driving down the premium earned. There are other reasons to argue for privatizing (though I secretly hope that it will occur just as I'm about to retire so I can cash out on a massive high). Anyway, the article is there for your perusal.

Nothing else right now...

except a question that has been rattling round in my head for awhile. Jason will probably think its nuts that I haven't let this go yet, but I am still trying to explain why when I go to an ice cream store I don't get charged different amounts depending on the type of ice cream I am buying. The cost of producing vanilla is different than producing Cherries Jubilee or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The demand is most certainly different. As Jason and I discussed, it seems likely that it is a product which has a high degree of substitution. How many times have you been stuck behind someone in line while they try to decide what type of ice cream to buy? But I still find that answer highly unsatisfactory. I'm not saying the price should be wildly different for the different types of ice cream, I'm just questioning the idea that the equilibrium price is identical for all flavors of ice cream. It may just be a question of transaction costs of dealing with 30 different prices x all of the different sizes available. That doesn't explain ice cream at the grocery store though. It doesn't explain that ice cream being the same price. I don't get charged the same price for my healthy choice meat loaf as I do for my healthy choice chicken picata.

I'm sure it is probably a mixture of these explanations plus other variables I haven't even considered yet. Still, it makes me a bit uneasy. What makes me most uneasy is when I get to the ice cream store late at night and they are out of my particular flavor and I curse them for not charging more so that I could have my flavor.



Monday, August 23, 2004


My weekend and Costco Selling coffins

Okay, so I'm sure everyone is desperate to know how my weekend went...well, Jason and Matt claimed to like my new haircut (they are nefarious folk trying to get me to have a decent opinion of myself, but luckily common sense prevents me from falling for such chicanery).

On Sunday night we went and saw Garden State (hence no Hooters for me). The three of us all seemed to enjoy it, though it did lead Matt to resort to a quote that I have some problems with, "The unexamined life is a life not worth living." In college I wrote a philosophy paper arguing that the unexamined life was the only life worth living. Still, it was a good time. They also let me eat some of their homecooked meatloaf which was good and I am constantly amazed that they are able to have me at the dinner table without either a) driving a steak knife through my heart or b) vomitting.

I was beginning to wonder if anyone read my blog except for them actually, but Kerry commented on a post earlier so she has at least looked at it once. Hopefully I'm reading too much into the notion that she would be scared that I would be going to the same school as her.

What else did I do with my weekend? I looked at a couple of places to move to. Royal Oak here I come (hopefully). I also worked. I got 6 schedules done this weekend which is Hella Good.

Okay, now for me to comment on some news, which I haven't done in awhile (forgive me all).

Costco is going to carry coffins. I'm sure everyone has heard this story by now. I find it interesting because I had a bit of an interest in college in Necroeconomics as one textbook I ran across referred to it. At one time I even considered being a funeral director...creepy Adams family music please. The big companies were moving in though and causing the high paying jobs to shift away from the day to day labor to the conference rooms where MBA's and marketing gurus had the big salaries, so it didn't seem worth it. Plus, I imagine I don't come off as very sympathetic with my cold heartless libertarian ways. It is amazing though what power the funeral industry has been able to excert in the U.S. It also leads to some interesting questions about how such power was able to be utilized in the U.S. but not in other countries.

Consider the fact that in Austria (and many other countries) graves are not purchased, they are rented. Multiple members of a family can be buried in the same grave, there are no vaults or concrete grave liners so the simplistic and inornate coffins soon decompose and become part of the earth. Graves are rented in 10 year blocks.

Last time I checked, which admittedly was several years ago, there were only approximately 60 recognized funeral director vocational/academic programs in the country. Further, every state has their own licensing requirements. One immediately begins to see how these two elements help to limit supply by causing transferability between areas to be difficults. Continuing education credit requirements and a vast array of other requirements help to insulate the workers in the industry from an influx of potential workers. Not to mention all of the "health" requirements that the funeral industry has managed to get passed into law in order to lessen competition.

Anyway, I jokes about Costco selling sets of 50 coffins aside, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

There were many more stories I wanted to get to, including "The Scream" but I have to get up early tomorrow so I am going to call it an evening. You shall all hear from me tomorrow I'm sure...


Sunday, August 22, 2004


Mix CD suggestions?

Okay, I can't sleep...arghhh...
So I'm working on this mix CD for my wrestling girl out in California. I'm horrible at doing mix tapes though. I have no sense of composition or structure when it comes to these kinds of things. I've been shuffling stuff around for some time and I'm not getting anywhere. I want to give her something she can listen to when she is down and it will make her feel better...not necessarily because it is uplifting because she is smart enough to see through that right away, but because it keys into something she can identify with. She likes the Smiths which is what started me in making her a mix CD. I had mentioned she should listen to them and she said she loved them and then said she wanted to hear "Even Hitler had a Girlfriend." Right now I have this list

1. Laid --Matt Nathanson
2. Schadenfreude --Avenue Q (Jason...I saw the soundtrack on sale so I picked it up if you want to borrow it)
3. There's a Fine Fine Line --Avenue Q
4. Common People -- Pulp
5. Razzmatazz --Pulp
6. Hurt --Johnny Cash
7. Simple Man --Shinedown (Cover version...I was thinking about bookending the CD and starting with the original Lynyrd Skynyrd version and ending with the Shinedown version)
8. Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend --Mr. T Experience
9. Reason to Believe --Rod Stewart
10. Sunday Morning Coming Down --Kris Kristofferson
11. Shipwrecked in the Eighties --Kris Kristofferson
12. Wishing on Someone Else's Star --Brian White
13. Dan Treacy --Mr. T Experience
14. Hackensack --Fountains of Wayne
15. No Better Place -- Fountains of Wayne

I still need 5 more. I know alot of you are already complaining. Why do I have so many sets of twos for artists...well I'll be honest...much of my musical collection is still in CA, and also, I tend to own a relatively large number of CDs by a relatively small number of artists, hence much repeating...though some of the dupes are from one CD, such as the Fountains of Wayne ones. What can I say? It is a really good CD.

I figure I have to put a Dwight Yoakum number on there...I just don't know which one yet. Also maybe a Willie Nelson number. The Ramones would be an obvious choice, but I think I am going to hold off on them for another time...I have my reasons as deep and mysterious as they can be. "Feed Jake" might make it on there, by Pirates of the Mississippi. There is something about the chorus mixed with the social commentary that I'm sure she would appreciate.

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
pray the lord my soul to keep,
and if i should die before I wake
Feed jake...
He's been a good dog
my best friend
right through it all
if I die before I wake
Feed Jake"

Oh god...I just realized that I have to include "Vincent" on the CD...Don McClean (I don't think I spelled that right) Most people know the song as "Starry Starry Night" It has got to go on there, but unfortuneatly I don't think I have it on CD out here...I might have it on cassette...damn...gotta go digging tomorrow. Maybe "Crossroads" too, as long as I'm doing two by some artists.

I guess that will about do it...I also want to introduce her to "Lords of Acid" but I figure its best to wait until she turns 18 and I can't be charged with corrupting a minor or some junk charge like that. Any suggestions or criticisms would be appreciated...as I said when I started this post...I'm horrible at making mix CDs and I'd hate for her impression of me to be forever scarred as she thinks to herself "this guy either doesn't care at all or is just incompetent."

Okay, I'm going to try and get some sleep.

Night again.


Almost Forgot

For those of you who would like to get some humor and intelligence today...let me direct you to a recent post of Kerry's. Interesting side note...Kerry goes to NIU, which is the same school that Emily got her undergrad degree at. For those of you who were wondering, that is why I have a link on the left to the NIU paper...



Just an update...uninteresting and self indulgent

Here I am again...same as it ever was...same as it ever was...where are my Talking Heads CDs?

I couldn't find my Pulp collection earlier so I went to Borders and got the "Hits." I needed "Common People" for a mix CD I'm working on. Borders was a mistake. I ended up also getting the soundtrack for American Wedding and the first season of Kids in the Hall. I am watching it now at almost 2 o'clock in the morning and wondering why I'm not either long ago asleep with my arms wrapped around a woman whose sweet scent makes me dream dreams that angels would long to have or why I'm not having incredible sweat drenching sex with that same woman.

I went and checked out one of my potential new houses today. This was nice, in a good area and good rent. I would be renting out a room over a garage that noone uses. I also just submitted two more schedules for review for work. I need me a woman to keep me from doing work at these ungodly hours, or on Sunday like I'm going to do tomorrow. I need Emily...

As a side note...the Men's Wearhouse doesn't have a sign indicating their hours...I find this totally confusing and I can't imagine a sound economic reason for this bizarre behavior.

Anyway, Night all

Friday, August 20, 2004


Outsourcing article via Geekpress

Before I forget...this article on people deliberately outsourcing their own jobs is not only interesting and funny, but is also another challenge to the arguments that people make against outsourcing. Thanks to geekpress for the link. For those of you who don't click on the links, here is an excerpt:

About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my job. I pay him $12,000 out of the $67,000 I get. He's happy to have the work. I'm happy that I have to work only 90 minutes a day just supervising the code. My employer thinks I'm telecommuting. Now I'm considering getting a second job and doing the same thing.


What's up this weekend?

Well, I got some work down today in the office, and I'm on track to get a decent amount done this weekend. I have set up a few easy ones for tomorrow and then Sunday I will go into the office and do a few harder ones. Tonight I went and got my hair cut. I told the woman to do something to make me look younger. For those of you who don't know, I tried to ask a girl out not too long ago and was rejected because I was too old for her. I'm only 24...plus I lied and said I was 22 so that was extra insulting. In any case, I have somewhat spikey hair now. Let's see how that works. If I were a betting man I would say it isn't going to help me get a woman...as I left the mall not one teenage girl turned her head to admire the new young hottie walking by.

Tomorrow, after I write up a few schedules I am going to the Men's Wearhouse to buy a couple of shirts since I'm out until Monday night when I can pick up my dry cleaning. Then I go and check out a room in a house that I might end up renting. Saturday night I might make the dreaded trip to the local club to be thoroughly ignored by women who I generally don't even find attractive anyway. I sometimes wonder if I suffer from some genetic trait that causing me to remain alone. Sunday I will work in the office and barring anything coming up, I will go to Hooters for Dinner and try to find a girl there and then go check out Garden State at the theater which I have been dying to see for months now.

I've been doing my usual pining for Emily most nights. I can still hear her sweet voice from time to time, but invariably it isn't saying anything good to me. I don't know what to do...I don't even know where she is, just that she doesn't want anything to do with me. I have to wonder if I'm the horrible person that she thinks of me as. I have to wonder if I'm so unstable that she is right not to want to be near me. Professionally I'm about as stable as stable can be, but emotionally I suffer from a stability worse than I ever could have imagined. My steadfast anchor, the rock that I am tied to is my longing for my sweet angel. Stability isn't all that its cracked up to be...of course, that probably isn't the type of instability I would be accused of, but it's a nice way to get around dealing with the question.

For anyone curious...my recommendation of the week is Willie Nelson's "Greatest Hits; and some that will be." "I'd have to be crazy" comes to mind.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


A few Papers

Hi again everyone. I have some papers I would like to direct some readers too. Be forewarned, they will probably only be of interest to the econ set. Also note, I am not prepared at this time to offer any substantive critique of the papers. I have given them only a cursory read and while I would like to sit down and deal with them in a more thoughtful manner, I doubt it will be anytime in the near future as I am still getting things under control at work. As a result, I figure it is best to just go ahead and direct others to the papers so they can draw their own conclusion.

The first is on what actually is a bad reputation?

Abstract: In traditional reputation theory, reputation is good for the long-run player. In "Bad Reputation," Ely and Valimaki give an example in which reputation is unambiguously bad. This paper characterizes a more general class of games in which that insight holds, and presents some examples to illustrate when the bad reputation effect does and does not play a role. The key properties are that participation is optional for the short-run players, and that every action of the long-run player that makes the short-run players want to participate has a chance of being interpreted as a signal that the long-run player is "bad." We also broaden the set of commitment types, allowing many types, including the "Stackelberg type" used to prove positive results on reputation. Although reputation need not be bad if the probability of the Stackelberg type is too high, the relative probability of the Stackelberg type can be high when all commitment types are unlikely.

Next, working for the government I found this paper interesting, and it puts the government Bureaucrat in a more favorable light than is usually the case.

Here is a paper on the economics of bottle deposits. I had to deal with this issue recently so I found it interesting, though I'm not sure if the2nd best allocation isn't better than the alternative proposed. This is one of those that requires deeper consideration.

"Selling Reputation when going out of business" suggests that reputation is really a tradeable commodity. On a related note, I have often viewed friends as a signaling mechanism, and thus what I would like to see is a paper on reputation as a transitive trait.

Okay, it is extremely late and I have to work hard tomorrow, technically today, so I will type some more later.



Posner Rocks

Hey all.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am I a big fan of Judge Posner and that I would readily nominate him for the Supreme Court if given the chance. Thus far, virtually everything he has written has turned out to be an enjoyable read that makes you think in a nonemotional and logical way. This has been one of the more absurd criticisms of his work I might add, one that my roommate once threw at me when I tried to get her to read a chapter from "Sex and Reason," "he just writes too logically...you look at issues like that intellectually." I banged my head into a table for nearly an hour on that argument.

In any case, I would like to thank "How Appealing" for the link to this recent court decision written by Judge Posner. I think it was a remarkably interesting argument, but what I find even more interesting is how logically and simply Posner (along with I am sure the other judges) was able to deal with the argument).

On another note...I promised I would put a link to this from Tax Watch. Courtesy of one of the authors over at Idea Shop. It is on "Making Sense of the Presidential Tax Plans." Please note on page 4 that it was Peter the Great, not Alexander the Great as I had stated that had a beard tax.

Sorry I don't have more to post right now, but I have to run out of the office and get my dry cleaning in so that I don't run out of clothes damnit...I really need to get a dry cleaner in my work building.

Monday, August 16, 2004


New York Times Biased? Never.

This interview defies description. The NYT should note that any interviewer that begins a question "It saddens me" has lost their objective status. They have brought themselves into the interview. Not only that, but they have tainted the question. The question is set up as a statement about something which is "sad." What if it isn't sad?

Thanks to Newmark's Door for the link.


The Dangers of Blogging

Oh my god...anyone out there who reads blogs or writes them has got to read this story from the Washington Post. Does anyone question why I'm not entirely comfortable getting too personal on my blog?

I'll try to pull some excerpts out later when I have a chance for those of you who don't want to go through the entire article (even though you really should).

Sunday, August 15, 2004


Attributing Sources

Oh, almost forgot. I figured out how I got the link to the "things my girlfriend and I argue about" page. It was via the ever entertaining Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey. Her blog link will be added to the left after I get done with work, (is it obvious I'm getting distracted today?) In the meantime, here is a link to a recent post on one of her nightmares. I wish I could be that intelligent in my dreams.


Another brief entry on oil

Hi all, another Sunday at work. I have a very definite goal today though, 6 schedules and then I leave. I'm thinking Hooters and SummerSlam over at the Imagine theater on the huge movie theater screen. I'm not really that into wrestling, but my friends in California will be exceedingly envious once they find out the mega experience I may be able to enjoy.

Anyway, before I hit the grindstone, I wanted to post a link to Asymmetrical Information and the latest post on the reduction of oil use and why "we are the world" should not be taken too seriously. I believe it was Glen over at Agorophilia who once pointed out (though I don't know if he posted it or not) that reduced use of oil in the U.S. would cause the facilities with the highest cost of production to shut down first (assuming it were to have any effect at all) which would be the facilities in the U.S. This would make us more, not less, dependent upon foreign oil.

I might also direct you to this entry from Prof Sproul's online textbook on the economics of exhaustible resources.

Carry on.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Hanging out with Economists

I had to comment on this. Apparently Bryan Caplan over at Marginal Revolution has an all economist D&D game. I am so envious. Can you get any better than that?

"I throw my bag of sunk costs over the monster and it disappears."
I'm sure there are better one liners, but this was the first one I thought of. I am soliciting best D&D economics one liners from the masses.

I have to say, hanging out with economists in traditionally non economic environments is one of the most entertaining things to do with an evening (probably the most annoying for the people we were around). Often, after finals I would go to the bar with my fellow econ students (and sometimes professors) and we would engage in great economic debates (and sometimes drunken economic debates). I remember one particular waitress giving us strange looks as we tried to understand why she was not taking what we thought was the most efficient route to servicing the tables. She obviously hadn't thought much about it, but us with our napkins full of geometric shapes had concluded that there was a much more efficient route. Of course, we couldn't leave it at that...we then assumed that we were missing some piece of information that she had that explained why she was not taking this route. We began the interogation. My thought was that she was maximizing the exposure of her "ass"ets to the tables that were likely to be the largest tippers. She never shared the important missing link to explain her somewhat odd behavior. It is a mystery that still keeps me up some nights.

Friday, August 13, 2004


Okay, I'm running out of Titles already...Arghhhh

Get ready for nonstop hilarity. "Things my girlfriend and I have argued about" is highly recommended by none other than me, which may not mean much, but I showed Jason a few entries and he seemed to think it was funny too so hopefully that will provide an adequate endorsement. Incidentally, I'm sure I was directed to this site by someone else, but I can't remember who so I would like to give credit to this unnamed soul and apologize for not remembering who it was that had better internet mining skills than myself.

In other news, my database problem has been fixed, though my printer problem has remained remarkably unfunny. At this point they have given up even pretending that it will ever be fixed and it was recommended that I have other people do my printing for me (I am not making that up) or that I use my portable printer with its own direct port. My portable printer gets approximately 15 pages per printing cartridge so I think this solution is perfect as long as I stop working entirely. That is unlikely to happen though. I have lots of work for this weekend, but next week is going to be tough. I have two appointments set up for next week, but nothing set up for after that week so I have to get some appointments on the board.

I will work from home this weekend though, since it is way too hot in the office on weekends. Anyway I'm out of the office at a reasonable hour tonight to "hang out" and "go bowling." (Wait a sec...I don't think the bowling thing needed to be in quotes, but I'm sure everyone can come up with a way that it is a dirty euphemism.)

This leads me to one last point before I take off tonight. I am torn about typing about my personal life. On the one hand, who would care? On the other hand, who would care? I haven't written anything that I would be concerned about if someone I knew came across it, but part of me wants to be able to if I needed to. I almost went out of my way today to avoid telling a coworker that I have a blog for fear that I might someday need to vent about said coworker and that this would cause him to kick himself in a nonhumorous fashion. I'm still debating.

That being said, there are certain personal issues I feel increasing that I need to write about. I am incapable of going any significant length of time, for example, without lamenting on my long lost love, Emily. Last night I had yet another dream about her and it actually started off somewhat decently. I was walking randomly on some street and she and another girl I didn't recognize were walking on the street too. Emily looked back at me and commented matter of factly that I was following her (which in the dream I didn't think I was) and asked how long it had been? I lost alot of details when I woke up, but somehow I started talking to her and she told me that she doesn't hate me which is perhaps the best I have ever gotten from her in a dream. She then stabbed me. There was a conversation in between about her father and the letter that I sent to her. (In May I sent a letter to her trying to start a dialogue, but since I didn't know where she was, I sent the letter to her parents' house. She had her father call me to tell me "that she would appreciate it if I stopped trying to contact her.") In any case, despite the stabbing, I think it was the best dream I've had in a long time and I actually felt pretty good this morning about it. Then there was the drive to my appointment and the drive in to work. My memories were scattershot around all of the moments that I should have done things differently or that I should have taken advantage of the situation, but didn't. I'm coping better with her absence every day, but it also gets harder as time goes on. It has been eight years now since she erased me from her life, but no matter what I do I can't erase her from mine. I keep looking for someone who might be able to make me think about her a little less (forgetting her is pretty much impossible) but inevitably I can't help but compare the woman to my sweet little pyromaniac. The comparison is always devastating for whoever must stand next to Emily. It isn't fair to compare to different people, but I've never been accused of playing fair. I am looking for someone though. I have been attracted to women other than Emily (though never as completely attracted as I am with her). The most notable was Sarah, out in California. The problem is that the women that I am attracted to are invariably out of my league. It isn't that I'm saying anything disparaging about myself really, but rather just how amazing they are.

Jason asked me the other day about what I am looking for in a woman. My answer was an unqualified "everything." It is unrealistic, but there it is. Perfect body, perfect face, funny, intelligent, kinky nymphomaniac, playful, etc. etc. etc. I had a professor in college who did alot of work with satiating preferences and he thought my standards would shift over time. As of yet, they haven't. One can only hope.

Since I don't want to leave my few (very few) readers on such a depressing note this evening, I thought I would direct everyone to today's post on Kerry's blog, which is much funnier and more entertaining than mine.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


One more post today before i go home

I had to send in this update. If people thought the 2000 election was a muddled mess, check out this post on possibilities for the 2004 election.

Also, here is a ridiculous policy. State repeals tax on gasoline and threatens 3rd degree felony charges on gas stations that don't pass it on to consumers. It makes me cringe to think that anyone would even consider this to be a sound economic policy.

Okay, that is it for tonight. Time for me to head home for the evening. Argh it was a long day, and so now I will head home, stop by the Men's Wearhouse to buy some socks (I'm wearing my last clean pair and undoubtedly will not feel like doing something so simple as the laundry tonight) and maybe watch Celebrity Poker. I really need to get a girlfriend (not to take care of my socks, but rather to give me something to do that is more enticing in getting me out of the office than Celebrity Poker). Incidentally, for those of you keeping track, I believe that with the inclusion of Sunday nights Celebrity Poker games on the Travel channel that now makes 4 nights a week that a new poker game is on each week. Tuesdays has ESPN with back to back tournaments. For those of you who are looking to see how games other than Texas Hold'em are played, check out the 2nd tournament of the night. It is usually some less popular game. I think I would be good at Razz in which the worst hand is the winner. Wednesday nights have the Travel Channel game. Thursdays are Celebrity Poker on Bravo. Now, Sunday might have actually Poker on against itself as the Travel Channel has started its version of Celebrity Poker and Fox Sports is also dipping its foot into the well on Sunday night. It is kind of disturbing. We either need to get some better television programming on tv (please come back Joss) or I need a girlfriend. Preferably both though. Anyway, night.


Some random links

Okay, I am really getting tired of having computer problems. I can't print using my work computer and they can't fix it. My boss also warned me against inputing too much data while I am still having database problems in case their is a problem and it all gets erased. This is not a good way for me to be productive. One can only hope that it all gets resolved soon...

I'm a little bit off because of my technical problems though, so I'm not going to do any of my useless commentary today, just a few links to stories that you might or might not find interesting.

Here is an article on the formula for the perfect scary movie. It is apparently The Shining. Jason, my intelligent and funny coworker who will eventually realize he shouldn't be talking to people like me, was quick to realize how absurd this formula is. It looks like it is ultimately just a means of generating publicity for the Halloween movies soon to come out.

I appreciated this post by Tom Bell on one of my favorite blogs Agorophilia. Professor Whitman constantly has something interesting to say as well. This post in response to a policy paper on the health care industry makes some good points.

Apparently names change your sex appeal. Article here. Courtesy of Geekpress, also MR mentioned this one.

Also from geekpress is an interesting article on our ability to be detected and to detect alien lifeforms.

As promised to Jason, an article on Australia paying people to have kids.

One of my favorites, procrastination may be genetic.

Hacker cracks Apples Streaming technology. I especially like the name of the website; "So Sue Me."

Stolen programs are supposed to phone home, but malfunctioned.

Is the U.S. the source of most of the world's spam?

Okay, that about does it. I do want to point out that yesterday I heard a cover of "Simple Man" done by Shinedown that was excellent. Simple Man is an amazing song and it helped me feel better about today's technical problems as I listened to the new version that I went out and bought. Be careful though, the album is Leave a Whisper, but there are two versions of the album, one with 3 extras songs including Simple Man.

Okay, I'm done for today...Peace Out. (Does anyone really think this is working for me?)

Saturday, August 07, 2004


CSI effect and why innocent men should go to jail

Thanks to Geekpress for this link to an article on the "CSI effect" in trials. The basic idea is that television shows like CSI have skewed the perceptions of jurors as to what is reasonable to expect from a real life trial.

The article is interesting, but it got me to thinking about one of the common arguments that I run into with people about criminal trials. I often hear the adage, "it is better for a hundred guilty men to go free, than for one innocent man to go to prison." My response is pretty much the same every time; "Really?" How about a thousand guilty men or a million? No, at some point people will concede that it may be better to wrongfully convict some proportion of people to prevent too many guilty men from going free. So that leads to the question of what the proper proportion of innocent to guilty men should be. Of course, trying to tell what is actually happening is rather difficult since if we knew for a fact that the person in jail were innocent, then presumably they wouldn't be in jail. (Note that is not the same thing as assuming that just because they are in jail that they are guilty.) But if we could know the figure, what would we want it to be? Part of it depends on the type of crime and the danger of the person comitting the crime again. If the person being accused was in a unique scenerio that is unlikely to repeat, then we should expect the degree of evidence required to increase. After all, even if he is guilty and is set free, it is unlikely that the crime would occur again anyway. But what if it is a crime that for whatever reason we expect that if the person is guilty then they are more likely to repeat the crime. Let's say armed robbery is the crime. Well now, the standards start to go down a little bit since the danger of letting a guilty man go free increases. Now I can imagine some people are probably already outraged by my attempt to change the burden of proof depending on the type of crime, but I will be willing to bet that most of those same people do it already. I am thinking specifically of rape. I can not tell you how many women I have met that are outraged by defense attempts to show that a woman was promiscuous in order to show that she probably consented to the sexual activity. They claim that women wouldn't lie about that sort of thing, even though we know that some number of women do lie about having been raped. We know this because there have been prominant cases where (I'm thinking of one particular one involving Mr. Sharpton) it has come to light that the story was fabricated. Is it likely? No. Depending on which statistics you go by, the percentage of false reports range from 2 - 8%. 2% would put the number of false charges in line with the percent of false charges for all other major crimes. There is a very real danger, however, of letting a guilty person go free, because rape is a crime where if he is guilty he is more likely to repeat the crime if set free. (I am not advocating that we assume the man is guilty however, which seems increasingly to be the position of many of my "feminist" friends.) I am merely suggesting that to some extent it is logical that we should not demand as much proof just to avoid ruining an innocent man's life in such situations. The very real effect of letting some number of guilty men go free to avoid that innocent man going to jail is that even more innocent people will be raped, murdered, have their property stolen, etc.

We must be vigilant against government corruption and if the police frame someone and are caught, the punishments should be as extreme as any the society hands out, but if honest mistakes are made, why should we be particularly outraged? In the end, there may be no ideal ratio, but we have to get it out of our heads that there needs to be some "absolute" proof of a persons guilt before they go to jail. The law has recognized this for some time. The standard is not, as is often stated, beyond any doubt. The standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. There are crimes that have incredibly high standards innumerated in the law. The constitution, for example, states that you need two witnesses to the same act of treason in order to convict someone of treason. How impossible would that be to prove today? They could have made this the standard for all crimes...two witnesses to the same crime is the standard to convict. What kind of society would we have today if that was the standard though?

Just my rant for the day...Night



Anyone should now be able to comment. Just a heads up. That is all for now, you may go back about your business.

Friday, August 06, 2004


On my way Out

I'm on my way out to an appointment, but I had to post a link to this open letter to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney regarding the history of gay marriage. It is from back in December but thanks to Corner Solution I didn't miss it forever. Have a good day everyone.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


More on Voting

Thanks to Dr. Frank of MTX fame, I was directed to this article. I'm posting the link here for my left-wing friends because while I don't agree with the entire article I think the point that Klein is making is important. I make Bush jokes, but I sometimes feel bad about it because everyone does it. I don't particularly want to defend Bush, but I often find myself having to because of the one dimensional attacks that are so commonplace. Klein also makes a good point about how little difference there is between Kerry and Bush. Please don't let anyone think that I am wholeheartedly agreeing with Klein. Even in this article there are multiple occasions where I smack my head in wonderment (is that a word?). Still, I think that the right's main advantage in the coming political tussle is the left. Maybe trite one-liners taking shots at the intelligence of the opposition will make those already supporting Kerry laugh at their foe, but will it really help get new votes? Attacking Bush might be enough to get people not to vote for him, but I can't imagine it will get people to the voting booths to vote for Kerry.

What will, unfortunately, get Kerry votes is his manipulation of figures. See my earlier post. I am not voting for Bush, but I get driven insane when people blame Bush for the job loss in this country. Kerry has been fond of pointing out how much worse things are then when a Democrat was in the white house. I am not one of those people who think that Clinton was the great Socialist Satan, but I also don't see how anyone can attribute the growth of the 90's to him or even his administration. Even if we did attribute the growth to his administration though, the economy was already going south when Bush took office. One might also add, that unemployment rates are not particularly high. They are .1% higher than they were at this time of year in 1996 when Clinton was running for reelection. The deficit as a percent of GDP is not at "historic highs" as I keep hearing. (Hopefully noone will take this statement to mean I support the deficit. Actually, I couldn't care less about the deficit, what I care about is the spending. That is a distinction that some people will question me on, but that is best left for another time.) I'm definitely not saying that Bush has been good for the economy, but sadly the things I complain most about in terms of his economic policies are policies that Kerry would continue to follow, or go even further. Tariffs and trade restrictions have been the order of the day for Bush and with all of Kerry's talk about how horrible outsourcing is, we can't expect better from him. There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Bush, but the ones that Kerry keeps bringing up are manufactured. Why doesn't Kerry go after Bush for things like this idiotic proposal for an amendment to the constitution defining marriage? (Yes, I realize he has alluded to this issue, but unless I missed it he has yet to vocally denounce it specifically.) Why not go after Bush on the many problems with the Patriot Act (although there are definitely some Democratic Congressmen who he would have to throw to the wolves too)? Why not go after Bush for limiting stem cell research? I could go on and on...I'm not mentioning the hundreds of economic issues I would call attention to mainly because, as I said before, Kerry would do the same thing for most of them if not worse.

Can I get off topic yet again? Why is it not racist or at least ethnocentric to say that Americans deserve jobs but people in other countries don't? (Landsburg has been the most influential in arguing this point of view in his book Fair Play: What Your Child Can Teach You About Economics, Values, and the Meaning of Life, relevant excerpt here)

Okay, I'm sure I was going somewhere here but the TV caught my eye and I'm tired so I am calling it quits for tonight. I'm thinking of making "Peace Out" my signature line. I'l mull that over later.


Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Voting for President

Is it really possible that 70% of computer infections worldwide in 2004 were due to one 18 year old? Thanks to geekpress for the link.

I am reminded of an article by Landsburg in slate about why we should consider executing people like this. I think this would be the case to start with.

Courtesy of Prof Whitman, this article on the Holmes-Moriarty Problem is very interesting for game theory fiends. The I know that you know that I know scenario leads to migraines, but it is one of the more common problems in determining behavior.

Here is an commentary piece from ABC news on some mathematical aspects of affirmative action.

Also, an academic article on Eugenics in the "Progressive Era."

On another note...I have been debating for some time whether to vote for the libertarian candidate for president or to vote for Kerry. Now, to begin with, the Libertarian party has a history of getting candidates who are just plain nuts and I'm not entirely sure why. This years candidate is no exception. An excerpt from the article:

"He proposed that convicted felons serve the first month of their sentence in bed so that their muscles would atrophy and they'd be less trouble for prison guards and to blow up the U.N. building on the eighth day of his administration, after giving the building's occupants a chance to evacuate. In one especially picturesque proposal, he wrote:

I would announce a special one-week session of Congress where all 535 members would be required to sit through a special version of my Constitution class. Once I was convinced that every member of Congress understood my interpretation of their very limited powers, I would insist that they restate their oath of office while being videotaped.

One assumes, although one cannot prove, that none of this is an exercise in irony. At any rate, these opinions were removed from the website shortly after he won the nomination, and they didn't come up when he visited state party conventions. Nor did his refusal to file tax returns, thereby risking federal indictment and felony arrest. While many of his closest supporters were aware of these issues, they were unknown to most LP members."

Here is my point, the Libertarian candidate has no chance of winning (even if he wasn't off kilter) so I'm not terribly concerned about how some of his more extreme positions might affect us. What I am concerned with is signaling my intentions for future elections in the hopes that someday a Libertarian candidate might be viable (and hopefully sane). That being said, I am not happy with the current President on many matters, but I do not believe that Kerry would be substantively better. Voting for the LP candidate takes a vote away from Bush, and helps Kerry without saying that I agree with Kerry's policies and opinions. Voting for Kerry might send the wrong idea that his ideas are being supported and voted for. (This is the exact reason that I am not fond, though not dismissive of the argument that I often hear that people will vote for anyone but Bush. If enough people vote for the same "anyone" then it will appear that his ideas are supported by the people which could lead to big problems in the political sphere if they are not truly supported.) That being said, if you dislike the guy in office so much that you want to tip the scales toward anyone else by a wider margin than voting for a third party, then you may be left with no choice but to vote for Kerry. (Essentially giving a 2 point preference by voting for a viable candidate instead of a 1 point preference by voting for the third party.)

The counter to my argument came a few weeks ago and I have been mulling it over for some time. The strongest reason to vote for Kerry is to vote for gridlock. Even though I don't like Kerry's views on alot of issues, as long as the Congress goes for the Republicans we might be able to hope for absolutely nothing to happen over the next 4 years, which would be fine by me. At this point rolling back bad policies seems so far out of sight that I would settle for not making any more bad ones.

So who am I voting for? Still don't know. Sadly, I'm one of the undecided voters that is driving those pollsters nuts.

Monday, August 02, 2004



Well, I have lots of stuff that I would like to rant about today. In particular, there is an article in the NYT about the drug companies settling a suit filed by the government. The great irony of the article is that the journalist is dead on in the facts and still gets the story wrong. The article is supposed to be about how evil the drug companies are. A more thorough reading reveals that the government went in and prosecuted the drug companies for...wait for it...lowering their prices due to competition. Dear god...the sky is falling. I want to go on a long tirade once again about one of my favorite little obsessions, which is that I think it is insane that Price Theory is not a required course for journalism students. How can anyone report on the news if they can't even understand what they are looking at? Arghh...I am actually going to discuss this at some point, but the truth is that I am not going to be discussing it right now...for right now you can check out the NYT article. I am tired right now. I was working today, but I didn't really accomplish anything. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little bit more obviously productive.

I've been listening to some punk rock today. One of my favorite bands is The Mr. T Experience. They are a local band out of Berkley, CA. The band's slogan is simple. "Songs about girls." Granted, MTX isn't hardcore punk, it is more of bubble gum punk, but it is damn sweet. The lyrics are wickedly interesting and the insight is often just a little deeper than you first grasp when you are bopping your head and laughing at a play on words. To give you an example of what their songs are like, my absolute favorite song of theirs is "Even Hitler had a Girlfriend." It is not even really done in punk style. It was originally done merely as a solo guitar acoustic type of thing and it was the song that I heard at 3am one night driving along the coast that made me seek out this band I had yet to truly know.

The lyrics:

I still haven't found a girlfriend,
Though i've tried a lot.
So, can you help me please,
It's tougher than i thought.

The odds are pretty good,
but the goods are pretty odd.
Though at this point,
I'll take anything you've got.

I see this all the time,
Nice girls in love with jerks,
What could they be thinking?
Tell me how it works.

If i got some problems,
Well i wouldn't be the first.
But the ones I have in mind are even worse.
And even Hitler had a girlfriend,
Who he could always call,
That would always be there for him
In spite of all his faults
He was the worst guy ever.
reviled and despised,
Even Hitler had a girlfriend
So why can't I?
Why can't I?

Life is full of contradictions
Hard to understand
And for every happy woman,
There's a lonely man

Nixon had his puppy.
Charles Manson had his clan
God forbid that i get a girlfriend.

Even Hitler had a girlfriend
Who he could call his own,
To sweeten days of bitterness,
and feeling all aloneI'm not as bad as Hitler,
But that doesn't mean a thing,
Since they'd rather be with Hitler,
more than meI don't see,
why they'd rather be with Hitler,
more than me."

I highly recommend everyone go online and buy their records (you are unlikely to find the CD's in record stores out here as I had a hella hard time finding them in stores in California too.)

Other songs that are interesting include "History of the Concept of the Soul." It is possibly the only song you will ever hear that has footnotes. It is also under 2 minutes long, in the classic punk tradition. Dr. Frank definitely wanted to make sure his years studying philosophy at UC Berkley didn't go to waste.

I haven't heard this one played yet, but these lyrics might be enough to bring a few people into the fold:

Institutionalized Misogyny

I'm not complaining,
I'm just figuring out
how everything left us behind
I got my problems,
I'm aware of them
I'll take care of them,
never you mind

you're still repeating pre-recorded things
they used to say in universities
and books on left wing politics and law
about underlying structures
that so far as they mean anything
still won't support the personal connections that you draw
Institutionalized misogyny
that's all that stands between my baby and me

now science tells us I'm hard-wired to,
I'm required to
do it with you
'cause I'm a man,
and you're a woman
and that's what those kind of people do
I stole that line from Woody Allen
isn't it amusing?
I wish I could make you understand
what Woody Allen meant.
If there's no such thing as objective reality
why can't we quit our jobs and just imagine
we won't have to pay the rent
Institutionalized misogyny
that's why they're charging rent
to my baby and me
Michelle, ma belle: ton beau, Michel Foucaulta
Foucault dependent is always ready to go
I think we're aloneI might have known
she's got Chomsky on the phone
Institutionalized misogyny
that's all that stands between my baby and me."

If you are new to MTX and would like someplace to get started, I would recommend going for a 2-pack. "Revenge is sweet, and so are you." I tried giving that CD to a girl I liked and she gave me a weird look, but it is a good CD with songs like, "Weather is here, wish you were beautiful," "Hell of Dumb," and "Here She Comes." The other CD I would start off with is "Our Bodies, Ourselves." It has the Hitler Track above, it also has songs like "More than Toast" and "Swallow Everything" which are a little bit harder for you hardcore punks. To be honest though, so far I can't think of a single CD where there weren't at least a couple of songs that I played incessantly for weeks after getting it.

One that I have to mention is "The Miracle of Shame." For those of you who were into TV Personalities, you will love the song "Dan Treacy." One line from that song will resonate with me for the rest of my life. "I still think of him, whenever I am feeling vaguely suicidal, which is nearly all the time." Also, the song "Spy vs. Spy" has more cold war references than any love song ever written so kudos for that. Additional props for being the only song I've ever heard to use the term conflagration. Much of this album may not strickly speaking be classified as punk, but that leads me to another tangent about what defines the punk genre. It is hard to say, but even as MTX and Dr. Frank specifically move away from "punk" the songs are still unquestionably good.

Do I sound like a super obsessed fan yet? I'm not exactly, but I'm working on it. Sometime I will have to try to turn any readers on to the techno side of me with "Lords of Acid."

Okay, do I have anything else to say? Answering that question would imply that any of what I just said was worth saying. I'm getting a headache. Arghh...

In another note...I went digging around again and I have some econ quotes and jokes to randomly share.

A Few Quotes

There are plenty of good five-cent cigars in the country. The trouble is they cost a quarter. What this country needs is a good five-cent nickel. --Franklin P Adams

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. --Milton Friedman

The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward. --John Maynard Keynes

I hate this "crime doesn't pay" stuff. Crime in the U.S. is perhaps one of the biggest businesses in the world today. --Paul Kirk

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream -- the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, 'The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.' --Ronald Reagan

A few jokes (hopefully)

"Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things." Specifically, Myrdal and Hayek shared one.

from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams, Chapter 16.
Arthur awoke to the sound of argument and went to the bridge. Ford was waving his arms about. "You're crazy Zaphod," he was saying, "Magrathea is a myth a fairy story, it's what parents tell their kids about at night if they want them to grow up to be economists, it's..."

A woman hears from her doctor that she has only half a year to live. The doctor advises her to marry an economist and to live in South Dakota. The woman asks: will this cure my illness? Answer of the doctor: No, but the half year will seem pretty long.

This is a true story:
Back in the mid-1970s, I attended an ASSA/AEA convention in Dallas. During the third day of the convention, one of the bellhops at the convention hotel asked me who the people attending the convention were and what we did for a living. "We're economists," I replied. "Why do you ask?" "I don't know..... no women, no drugs, just booze, booze, booze."
John Palmer

Okay...that does it for today...Peace Out.

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