Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Lord grant us honesty, but not just yet!

Great NY Times article on Mexico with the headline, Mexico's Government is blocking its own Anti-Corruption Drive"!

This of course is the ultimate dog bites man story, especially under the current EPN government. Mexico has long been a country with beautiful laws that are not worth the paper they are printed on, and EPN is notorious for announcing major reforms to great fanfare that go nowhere.

But on to the specifics. How is the government blocking the corruption commission, you ask?


None of the 18 judges who are supposed to oversee anti-corruption cases have been appointed by lawmakers. The prosecutor empowered under the new system to pursue investigations independently has not been named. And members of the citizen commission say they have been routinely shut out of discussions about big corruption cases.

“It is a bad joke,” said Luis Manuel Perez de Acha, a tax lawyer on the commission. “I was naïve when the system launched. I believed and had hope that it would work.”

“I know now that they are trying to sabotage everything we do,” he added.


Here's a good summary. The guy gets it in the end. The system isn't broken, it's working exactly how the government intended.


“The Mexican government feeds us placebos and we believe they will cure us,” said Juan Pardinas, the president of the Mexico Institute for Competitiveness and one of the chief architects of the anti-corruption system. “I drank the Kool-Aid and I passed the jar to a lot of people, believing it was a path to change.”

Mr. Pardinas has been one of the most prominent public voices fighting corruption, its corrosive effect on democratic institutions, and the lives it sometimes claims. He ultimately became a target of the spying technology purchased by the Mexican government to surveil criminals and terrorists.

“I killed myself for three years to achieve this, and it’s basically broken,” he said of the anti-corruption effort. “Well, maybe the system isn’t broken. It’s actually working perfectly to allow impunity.”




Monday, December 04, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!



1.  Trumpy Bear. Don't miss the video.

2.  Or maybe Trump makes you sad. If so, there are always... Garbage Pantz!  Those make everyone sad.

3.  If you want to excel, you can't use Excel.

4.  It's important to understand the Nazi next door. Or, is it?  The embarrassing thing is that "postcards from flyover country" is being done with such breathless naivete. Or is it?

5. Save the internet, and keep it safe for one, or another, set of powerful interest groups.

6.  This is hilarious in many ways. On this blog, Brendan Nyhan as been identified as being so nice that he has his own label, "Stuff you won't find at BrendanNyhan.com." I have, in fact, called him "painfully earnest." And yet David Frum (another famously earnest guy) blocked him.  Excellent.

7.  Why tell fibs that can be so obviously called out? Have we all just given up?

8.  This story seems silly. The actual story is a bit more nuanced. The "story" of math does emphasize the achievements of white Western thinkers. That may be entirely accurate, but it also may not be. It is true that work of the high Islamic scholars is not often credited. Still, to the extent that the prof's message can even be MISinterpreted as "don't learn math, it's white" there is a problem. I don't think she said that, exactly, but that is what is coming across.

9. Nice piece by KPC friend SR, on the Indian judiciary. The less you use discretion, the more you have.

10. Michael Munger (not me) put this up. It is a pretty good commercial, in terms of weirdness.

11. So proud of Florida. If you are in the position of having to deny fake-humping a female mannequin with an ice-penis, you may already have lost.

12. Invoking a right or committing a crime?

13. Garrison Keillor is scornful of the idea that men should be held responsible for sexual harrassment. And now we know why.

14. Cows and chickens have beef.

15.  Will the music "business" find a new model? It would be ironic if the digital revolution moves the business model back to live performances in excludable settings, where ticket sales are the only way to get paid.

16. Bitcoin 10k.

17. On Venditio...

18. Drunk as a ....possum?

19.  Art Carden and sharing.

20. The great baby bust of 2017.

21. On Gordon Tullock.

The Grand Lagniappe:






Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Her Husband's Name, or Her Father's Name?


Does a Woman's Marital Surname Choice Influence Perceptions of Her Husband? An Analysis Focusing on Gender-Typed Traits and Relationship Power Dynamics 

Rachael Robnett, Marielle Wertheimer & Harriet Tenenbaum, Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract: Within Western cultures, most women in heterosexual relationships adopt their husbands' surnames after marriage. In attempting to explain the enduring nature of this practice, researchers have noted that women tend to encounter stereotypes when they break with tradition by retaining their own surnames after marriage. A complementary possibility is that stereotypes are also directed toward men whose wives violate the surname tradition. The current research provides initial insight into this possibility through three studies that were conducted in the United States and United Kingdom with undergraduate and community samples (total N = 355; 254 women and 101 men). Study 1 revealed that participants predominantly referenced expressive traits when describing a man whose wife retained her surname. Study 2 built on these findings with an experimental design. Relative to a man whose wife adhered to the surname tradition, a man whose wife retained her surname was rated as less instrumental, more expressive, and as holding less power in the relationship. In Study 3, participants high in hostile sexism were particularly likely to rate a man as lower in power when his wife retained her surname. Collectively, findings provide insight into attitudes that may help to explain the longevity of the marital surname tradition. Findings also join with prior research in revealing links between commonplace marriage traditions and gendered power dynamics.

(With a nod to Kevin Lewis)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!



1. My prediction is that net neutrality will rise again. But for now...

2.  I gotta give @paulkrugman credit. Titling piece "Lies, Rage, & Incoherence on Tax Cuts" is a GREAT move. He can go back & retitle his earlier stuff "Lies, Rage, & Incoherence on Stimulus," "L,R, & I on _____." Accurately describes ALL his work in the past decade.

3.  Updated assessment and catalog of the problems with Democracy in Chains.

4. Idiots at Fox News "reveal" dark truth about defense attorneys: sometimes their clients are "bad people." It would seem that providing legal defense in a system of law is a good thing.

5.  An interesting test case for beliefs about "freedom": Should it be legal to do this? If not, what specifically should be illegal in the actions of this man?

6.  Mr. Un, tear up that ditch.

7.  Directly causal, or spurious, or just nonsense?  Wife's happiness directly correlated with difference in husband height - wife height.

8.  Bread and circuses.

9. Should profs allow laptops in classrooms?  A "no" answer.   And another "no" answer.

10. "Ima get that car!" "No, no you ain't gonna!" And so on.

11.  Reducing transactions costs increases effective excess capacity.

12. Legally, the state has no obligation to protect anything or anyone except the state. As in here. And now here.

13. We're all multicultural now...

14. The end of jobs?

15. A sensible leftist journalist recognizes the value of playing against the first team.  Handy that this would come out in the Tucson

16. Hole-y mole-y. Interesting story about moles and mole catchers.

17. You had ONE JOB.

18. On academic precarity.

19. Has-been angry troll is angry that reigning champion angry troll ignored his angry trolling.

20. Kids have never been safer. And it's not because parents are paranoid.  Parental paranoia is actually the chief danger, now that real dangers are mostly gone.

21. Honey, I found the car.  "It wasn't a perfect reunion..."

22. J. Oliver Conroy thought this.  And that made Lee Jussim and Akeela Careem think this. Matt Welch thought this. What do you think?

23.  "I'm against Net Neutrality! And here's an argument FOR Net Neutrality, as proof!"  Or something.  Tim Wu is against being against Net Neutrality. Because of course he is.

24.  Swiss Army considering conscription, or paying people, or some measures that are not the universal "reserves" model they have used.

25. Look, she's just singin', yo. If you want to say her songs are superficial and self-involved, that seems right. But none of that makes Taylor Swift an emissary for Trumpism.

26. I'd want to think more about the causal claim (though it's plausible; the problem is that MANY things are plausible...) Still, it appears that the availability of erotic services on Craigslist has reduced the number of sex workers killed or injured. 

27. McDonalds:  Nice save, actually.

28. How voluntary exchange saved the Pilgrims. A thanksgiving weekend special....

29. Might this actually be a moment where we later look back and say "Then....THAT's when it happened."

30.  The nationalist's delusion.Which can be well served by the protectionist presumption.

Grand lagniappe:  A black Friday "how to" poster:





Saturday, November 25, 2017

Libertarian Gullibility

Libertarianism is so obscure that "we" are often proud even to be mocked.  And so we encourage posting click-bait, by saying "Isn't this terrible? Click on this!" thereby perpetuating the practice of Lib'n-baiting.

So, this--done by some master-baiter--recently made the rounds:


But in fact that's just a (not especially clever) photo-shopping of what was actually done by TGI Fridays.



More on this still-developing non-story.

.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Slowdive, biches

Sitting in the Tampa airport waiting to get back to the sorghum fields of west Texas, I got to thinking about my relationship with music and specifically concerts that gave me an intense, ecstatic, transcendent, experience like what Kerry Howley describes in her great book, “Thrown”.

Here’s a semi-chronological list:

Luxuria,  Hollywood bowl, LA CA
Neil Young, / Wolf Trap
Luna, Knitting Factory, NYC
Morphine, Tipitinas, NOLA
The National,  Austin TX
Built to Spill, multiple occasions
Car Seat Headrest, Opolis, Norman, OK
Slowdive, Tampa FL


I can sometimes get this at home on the stereo, I’ve built / curated over the last 20 years but only with quieter music, like:

Sufjan Stevens
Pernice Brothers
Palace Music
Bon Iver
Mazzy Star
Sparklehorse

Most all music sounds great on my stereo, but this type can get me super close to the out of body type experience I got at the concerts listed above.


At this point in my life, I am pretty much willing to chase this feeling anywhere I think I might be able to find it. Suggestions welcome!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!



1. At LEAST 90% of bike accidents could be prevented if riders simply bought a car like a normal person, instead of this crazy sanctimonious virtue signalling.

2.  I have noticed this problem more and more.  Many people have told me that Prof. MacLean has "refuted" all of the evidence that she just made stuff up. No. In fact, all she did was rebut it, and that only by saying things like, "My critics are bullies."

3.  Third Eye Fine. Or so the beetles say.

4.  Truthiness, 10 years after.

5.  Introduction to emergent order. And then It's a Wonderful Loaf.

6.  Malls with husband pods.  And everybody is a little happier.

7.  This has got to be the Onion.  Though, the guy looks pretty tired, and I can see why.

8. Sam Harris did a podcast with Yale's Nicholas Christakis.  And Prof. Christakis brought up the research of Kevin M. Munger, the "NYU Grad student" mentioned.  The paper discussed in the podcast is here.  Here is some discussion in the Atlantic.

9. LuckyToken Lottery. Da blockchain rulz.

10. Our favorite headlines. Hard to beat that one. Perhaps had been listening to that Shooter Jennings' "Manifesto #1": "Get out of that skirt. But leave them high heels on..."

11. Okay, so YOU guys pretend to be cops, and YOU guys pretend to be drug dealers. It'll be great, because apparently there is not enough REAL crime to keep us busy. In one of the least safe places in the U.S.

12. My Duke colleague Peter Feaver is a voice of reason. First he was a voice of reason at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Then on Trevor Noah's show. (Fixed. thanks, commenter!)

13. GOOGLE should change it's motto to "Do no stupid," and then follow that motto. But, no.

14.  On Ken Burns' "Vietnam."

15.  Williams College and its craven administration are leading the way toward the American Cultural Revolution. Shameful.

16.  "No more research is necessary. We know everything." It was wrong when they said that to Copernicus. It's wrong to say that now to Swedish universities.

17. A discussion of the work and contributions of Gordon Tullock.  Boettke, Levy, Kurrild-Klitgaard, Munger.

18. Why is there corn in our gas tanks?

19. Sweden once again shows that libertarian DIRECTION is the right policy.

20.  But....but.... but, Gorsuch!

21. WalMart Nation?

22. Trump and the "Regulatory State."

23. Pumpkin Spicer not really finding a job.

24/ Brendan Nyhan on informal rules. David Hume through Douglass North.


The grand lagniappe: a (the?) vintage Fluffer-nutter commercial. Why do we even HAVE a government, if stuff like this can happen? With thanks to all those who found it funny that I had not heard of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches growing up. But especially to David Pinto, who sent me this damned earworm.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Simba has two dads


People, did you know that animals can be gay? Well Ezekiel Mutua didn't and he's not happy about it.

Yes, Mr. Mutua, there are gay lions.


I just love Zeke's stated possible reasons for this phenomena:


1. Gay tourists were doing it in the bush and the lions learned from them. (big if true. those would be some badass gay tourists for sure). People, I have been privileged to see lions in the wild. Believe me, getting out of the land rover and getting busy did not cross my mind.

2. Demonic possession.


Zeke is adamant about one other thing: They lions didn't learn it from the movies!

Really? Was that the common assumption of everyone else? Two lions strolled into downtown Nairobi and went to the movies? And saw Brokeback Mountain?

Would the movie thing make more sense if I told you Zeke was the president of the Kenya Film Classification Board?

Amazing that he thinks he has to cover his ass from being blamed for the gay lions. I really hope Mr. Mutua and his ignorant, biased attitudes, have no future in Kenyan public life.






Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links



1.  Republican baptism.  Seriously, self-consciously atheistic, secular baptism, for a fee, from the priests of the state.  Guess what country? Yep. France.

2.  News? Best-selling gun is popular.  New scientific study: most people think water is wet.

3.  A serious question:
Consider A to be the number of people who can correctly define the Streisand Effect.
Consider B to be the number of people who can identify Barbara Streisand.
What is the "over/under" year when A>B?  I say 2025.

4.  Police: We need to know. But you don't need to know we know.  Or even that we know. Trust us, because we know what's best.

5. Ilya Somin on the MID.

6.  Signs of the apocalypse: Not just McDonalds. But you are so lazy you can't even stop off at the drive-through. You want that giant burger and large fries BROUGHT to your fat ass, so you can keep binge-watching "2 Broke Girls."

7. It's a new game: Rand Paul, fan of Ayn Rand, was attacked over lawn clippings and trimming of hedges. So, what do we call this incident?  Some suggestions:  "Who is John Assault?" "Atlas Shrubbed." "The Hedge Row."  See? Isn't that fun?

8. Bitcoin costs a lot....of electricity.

9.  Dan Drezner on "The Tax on Women in National Security."

10.  Okay, but is it art? Not if it is demolished. Who owns it?

11.  Money and Cryptocurrency....

12. HA! No wonder the LMM looks so young and lovely. 

13. Ranch dressing. A KEG of ranch dressing. That is all. Well, actually, that is NOT all. Save room for the PieCaken.

14. Mike Pence on the "Year of Accomplishments" by the Trump Administration.  Really.

15. Hedy Lamarr was better than I am at EVERYTHING. Happy Birthday, Hedy Lamarr.

16. Was John Locke the first "modern" economist? (8 minute video)

17.  Have you ever wondered about the strange, messed up play the Indy Colts ran in 2015?  I had wondered. The play. The explanation. Another explanation.

18. Miles Davis did an interview with 60 Minutes in 1988.  Miles Davis does not appear to be from Earth. But he was remarkable. An electrifying presence.

19. This level of misunderstanding of what libertarianism is can only be willful. Because Elie Mystal can't be THAT confused. Right?

20. Virgil Storr and some weak free-rider have some interesting things to say about the Bolshevik revolution.

21.  The state desperately wants to regulate food trucks, to make sure no one can get inexpensive meals conveniently. You should have to go to a sit down restaurant, or else get fried salty fat in a bag by standing around at McD's. But it's hard to hold the lid on. Because....Uber Eats.

22. Can you imagine overlooking such a mistake in the headline?  On the other hand, they ARE "bi"valves, so maybe it was on purpose...

23. I wrote this nearly three years ago. But it has never been more true.

24. For Radley Balko:  Well done, sir.  If you haven't read his book, I'd recommend it. If you have read it, I'd still recommend it.

Grand Lagniappe: A very interesting story of the "general equilibrium" nature of ....well....of nature. In just 22 years, large changes. Pretty powerful example of comparative statics.













Monday, November 06, 2017

Monday's Child



1.  This Bitcoin thing....what IS it?

2.  "Orange Man Killed in Domestic Dispute."  At first I thought that must mean that Melania had had and put ol' Pumpkin Spice in that great spice rack in the sky.  But no; they mean Orange County, FL.  Still:  Florida!

3.  On the other hand:  Ohio! An orange bucket head.

4.  Dracula was a blood sucker. But because he was a ruler, not because he was a vampire.

5.  Defending diversity visas....

6. Oh, man. They've apparently recruited the duplicitous ghost of Robert MacNamara to write the SIGAR reports now.

7.  My review-extension of Brennan-Jaworski book, and here's the book.

8. A cute Twitter account. I have often thought of doing this. Glad someone is doing it so I can enjoy it.

9. Actually, Tucker Carlson, I can think of several. Being force to "immigrate" as slaves should be pretty high on the list.

10. This is not some Fox News bimbette. This was written by Donna Brazile. Good God.

11.  The counterrevolution of conscience at Reedatopia.

12.  I am a dues-paying, card-carrying member of the ACLU. I don't agree with everything they do. But overall they are a force for good. As here.

13. Why do we say "soccer" in the U.S.? Because the Brits did a bait and switch on us!

14. To paraphrase Mr. Bumble, the HMRC is an ass.

15. If you don't know Mr. Bumble, it's from Oliver Twist:  “It was all Mrs. Bumble. She would do it," urged Mr. Bumble; first looking round, to ascertain that his partner had left the room.

"That is no excuse," returned Mr. Brownlow. "You were present on the occasion of the destruction of these trinkets, and, indeed, are the more guilty of the two, in the eye of the law; for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction."

"If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass — a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.”

16.  We are on the verge of an American version of the Cultural Revolution.

17. The power of socialism: It can take a wealthy, developed country and bankrupt it in just ten years. Viva Madurismo!

18. To be fair, Americans don't know much about communism/socialism. It's not inevitable that communism disappears. 

19.  Our favorite headlines!  Man Shoots Self in Penis While Trying to Rob Hot Dog Stand....

20. Podcast with David Mayhew: "Can Congress Govern?"

21. Our favorite headlines. Florida Woman!

22.  A serious incident of WTF? Someone went to some trouble to film this.  Whatever that "one store" is, Ima not be stopping there.

23:  The (questionable) economics of foreign aid.  




Lagniappe:  Who knew that there was even a record to break? But now there is.  The LMM and I were way out in front of the curve, as always: