Tuesday, December 27, 2016

KPC year in review

2016 is almost in the books. Here's a look at what tickled your fancy this year in KPC.


1. Brexit this: where I declaim that Brexit is no big deal and ask everyone to chill.

2. Spanish Pipedream: The inspiring tale of Katie Ledecky and the community pool that spurned her

3. The problem with Macro in one blog post: the theory is whack and the data don't fit.

4.  Thank You Donald Trump: support for the Donald blows up my belief that America is woke.

5. My Dog is a Democrat: Mungowitz has a funny!

6. 30th Anniversary: Mungowitz chronicles his anniversary preparations

7. The Wisdom of Paul Krugman: People, can you believe it? PK got something wrong!

8. Hasta el Papel Higenico Siempre: The EYM goes to Cuba

9. Angus's Hateful 8 Review: Walton Goggins rocks!

10.  Dumping on Anti-Dumping: when I solve for the equilibrium, no one has a job.


KPC: Politics, Macro, Culture, all dished out by two friends who have never managed to grow up.

Together, let's make 2017 the year of the Cheese!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Skippy Has A Christmas Pudding!

Every year we have a pretty big party for the birthday of the EYM.  This year 14 people showed up.

I made boiled shrimp with a spicy cocktail sauce, homemade mozzeralla cheese with crackers and kalamata olives, and a variety of other appetizers.

Then, dinner was marinated grilled octopus, meatballs, baked whiting, Mekong swai with a pretzel crust, melanzane parmagiana, pasta with a beef/sausage meat tomato sauce, zucchini/mushroom/broccoli sauteed vegetables,  honey dill carrots, and garlic bread. 

For afterwards the LMM had made a variety of cookies.And I had made a Brit-styled boiled pudding.  The fruit marinated in brandy for a week, and then spices and bread crumbs and little flour.  Rigged up a boiler, boiled it for six hours.


Skippy Squirrelbane was hanging out under the table, growing increasingly upset at his inability to share in this bounty. You could tell he was thinking "I have the stupidest humans on the planet.  Why can't they see I want a meatball?"

There were lots of leftovers.  Skippy felt he deserved something, I guess.  So we put almost everything away.  We did not put away the pudding, though.  It is completely soaked in brandy, I mean soaked, and I had put too much allspice and cloves in it.  The fresh ground spices were just overwhelming.  It tasted good, sort of, but one or two bites were all you could handle, because of the over-spiced taste.

When we came down in the morning, we saw this. This is the plate that had had the pudding on it. Leftover pudding must have weighed three pounds, it was soaked in brandy, and almost inedible, remember. Or, not entirely inedible, perhaps, as it turns out.

The serving spatula was on the floor, in the middle of a big sticky spot.



Skippy is usually pretty bouncy in the morning.  Today he seems to be taking the "Mannequin Challenge":


If you said, "Skippy!  Hello, Skippy!  How are you?"  you get this dirty look.



Skippy had him some puddin'.  Now there may be some difficulties.  Does boiled pudding overly restrict, or overly facilitate, the passage of....well, time?  We'll keep you posted.

And have a great holiday!


Chrixmix Mixtape



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Don Van Vliet, Tom Waits, Mark E. Smith, James Chance, The Ramones, and of course your old pals Angus and Mungowitz. Only 7 more days for the SMOD to give us sweet release!






















Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"The people have spoken....the bastards"

People, I just don't like Trump or many of his proposed appointees. I wish he wasn't president elect.

But the reactions I see from so many folks also concern me:

First, we must have a recount (in the places we want only). Then, convince electors to be faithless. Then, get rid of the electoral college. Then postpone the inauguration until after an "investigation".
None of those things are going to happen, nor should they happen. If we are going to change the rules, it has to happen ex ante. We cannot try to change the rules to reverse an outcome we don't like.

This isn't just about Pumpkin Spice taking office, it's about the future of the rule of law and the electoral institutions of the country.

So many criticized Trump pre-election for claiming the election was rigged and hinting that he might not accept the results. And now many of those people are doing the same thing!

I strongly believe our Republic will survive President Pumpkin Spice. After all, we've been governed by liars, promise breakers, opportunists, and flip-floppers for 250 years or so already.

And there's only 2 years til you can send him a message by changing Congress and another 2 after that til you can vote him out. And if the Republican majority in Congress keeps growing, I guess a lot more people will come to understand why some of us really don't like democracy all that much.

As for now, contact your representatives and tell them how you feel and what you don't want to see happen in the next 2 years.

For my part, I will speak out strongly against discrimination, deportation, torture, and militarization as has been my custom. And I welcome and support anyone choosing to use their freedom of speech to protest Trump's actions and choices in office. But I won't speak out against Trump taking office. He won under the system we have. Full Stop.

As the incredibly named Dick Tuck once said, "The people have spoken....the bastards"





Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Wisdom of Paul H. Krugman

Feast your eyes people:


"It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.

Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never."

Oh my. Looks like Paul caught a bad case of Wolfers-itis.


Oh, or maybe Paul, the opposite of never, like when the exchanges opened Wednesday morning?


As of 3:30 EST Dow is up 1.5%.

Up!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

We MUST Do SOMETHING!

Sometimes, all that matters is that you say you will do something.  Found this out in 2008, running for office.  And wrote about it here, for Learn Liberty Blog.

Of course, things can get a little meta.  As here. 


I understand that "environmentalists" will donate money and contribute outrage even if the non-profits swindling them make empty promises.  But c'mon:  You have to pretend to try.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

No Causal Connection Between Sugar-Sodas, Fast Food, Candy, and Obesity

For almost everyone, there is no relationship between access to fast food and candy, and obesity.

Fast food, soft drink and candy intake is unrelated to body mass index for 95% of American adults

David Just & Brian Wansink
Obesity Science & Practice,
December 2015, Pages 126–130

Methods: Using 2007–2008 Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the consumption incidence of targeted foods on two non-continuous days was examined across discrete ranges of BMI. Data were analysed in 2011. Results: After excluding the clinically underweight and morbidly obese, consumption incidence of fast food, soft drinks or candy was not positively correlated with measures of BMI. This was true for sweet snacks (r = 0.005, p  l.t.e. 0.001) and salty snacks (r = 0.001, p = 0.040). No significant variation was found between BMI subcategories in weekly consumption frequency of fast food meals.

Conclusions: For 95% of this study's sample, the association between the intake frequency of fast food, soft drinks and candy and BMI was negative. This result suggests that a strategy that focuses solely on these problem foods may be ineffective in reducing weight. Reducing the total calories of food eaten at home and the frequency of snacking may be more successful dieting advice for the majority of individuals.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Capitalism and Objectivification

Wow!  Even by the amazing low standards of Sociology, this is bad.  

Socialism and communism literally objectify the individual, who exists only as a means of advancing the interests of the state.  There is no individual, and no valid reason for people to have rights, separate from their membership in and contributions to the state.  Capitalism, according to Marx, objectifies LABOR, but in a voluntary exchange the only way to get labor is to pay the person.  The labor, and in fact the bodies, of citizens are entirely owned by the state under collectivism.

So, as usual, the goofballs of the left have it backwards:  Capitalism celebrates the individual, and collectivism destroys the individual.


The love of money results in objectification
Xijing Wang & Eva Krumhuber
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract: Objectification, which refers to the treatment of others as objectlike things, has long been observed in capitalism. While the negative impact of money on interpersonal harmony has been well documented, the social cognitive processes that underlie them are relatively unknown. Across four studies, we explored whether the love of money leads to objectification, while controlling for social power and status. In Study 1, the love and importance attached to money positively predicted the tendency to construe social relationships based on instrumentality. In Study 2, the likelihood to favour a target of instrumental use was increased by momentarily activating an affective state of being rich. Temporarily heightening the motivation for money further resulted in deprivation of mental capacities of irrelevant others, including humans (Study 3) and animals (Study 4). This lack of perceived mental states partially mediated the effects of money on subsequent immoral behaviour (Study 4). The findings are the first to reveal the role of objectification as a potential social cognitive mechanism for explaining why money often harms interpersonal harmony.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Help us Divided Government; You're our only hope!

People, one thing I know for sure is that I really really don't want either of the two leading fools running for president to have any chance to enact their policy agenda.

It's currently popular to argue that voters are ignorant and biased, but hell, so are the candidates!

So as my title indicates, I'm making a plea for our good friend Divided Government to save us yet again.

If you are so messed up that you are gonna vote for HRC, then please please please vote Republican in your congressional race(s) (House and maybe Senate).

If you are so moronic that you are gonna vote for Trump, then it's kind of your moral duty to vote Democrat in the congressional races.

My own preference would be for HRC to be prez but the republicans continue to hold both legislative branches. Her brand of lawlessness I think is more amenable to congressional checks than the Trumpster's.

If you vote for Gary Johnson (and if I vote, that's who I'll vote for), please please please vote for the party that you think is going to lose the presidency when you vote for congress!

So that's it. Pretty simple. You don't need a lot of information. If you somehow conquer your gag reflex and make it to the polls, split your ballot.


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Can I get an APAP?


People, I am 5'8" and 140 lbs. But yet I have sleep apnea. Robin begged/dragged me to going to a doc and getting an APAP machine (automatic positive airway pressure). I was very skeptical.

But man! It really works. I am sleeping deeper, and for longer continuous periods of time. I am waking up more refreshed. I rarely need a nap during the day anymore.

Before I would wake up like 5 or 6 times during the night, either choking from the apnea or from Robin waking me to say my snoring was driving her nuts. Even when I was sleeping, if Robin got up to use the bathroom, I'd usually wake up because I wasn't sleeping deeply.

Now I'm routinely sleeping 6 or 7 straight hours without waking up.

Amazing.

So big ups to Mrs. Angus for getting me to try this solution.


ps. I'm pretty sure Mungo uses a CPAP machine. Maybe he will share his testimony.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Spanish Pipedream


People, this is the most DC thing ever. From the Wall St. Journal comes the heart-rending story of the Maryland swim club that wouldn't let Katie Ledecky join!


The Little Falls Swim club membership is capped at 377 families. Joining via waiting list can take 7 years! Points toward membership are awarded by how close you live to the pool (in a 10 zone system). If you live more that 4000 feet (yes you read that right FEET) from the pool, they won't even accept your application!

Government created artificial scarcity combined with a price ceiling provoking a frenzied but meaningless status competition that seemingly consumes peoples' lives?

Oh, yes please!

Zoning makes building another damn pool nearby unlikely. Just being Maryland makes letting prices clear the market impossible.

The Ledecky family long ago joined a different pool and swim team (the impeccably named Palisades Porpoises) and the rest is history.

I guess you could say they all found Jesus on their own.






Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dumping on (anti-)Dumping


US anti-dumping laws transfer income from American consumers to American producers. Of course it's rarely stated that way. Generally it's alleged to protect American jobs.  At least one of our current presidential candidates is pushing tariffs as job-savers.

The WSJ gives a great example, the case of the US wooden furniture manufacturers. They sued China for dumping in 2002 and in 2004 they won, receiving both hundreds of millions of dollars in payments from China (thanks Byrd Amendment!!) and tariff relief.

Wow, isn't that great for American workers?

Well.......

Stanley Furniture Co., in High Point, N.C., received the biggest payout, $83.5 million, and says it used the money to invest heavily in a new line of domestically produced children’ furniture. But made-in-America wasn’t enough of a draw, said Stanley’s chief executive, Glenn Prillaman, who shut down the line in 2014. In 2015, Stanley’s U.S. employment fell to 71, down from 2,600 in 2005.

“The money allowed us to fight that fight on the scale that we fought for as long as we did,” he said. But “the consumer wasn’t willing to look past short-term gains of getting something for less” and continued to prefer imports.


In other words even with the tariff protection and $83.5 million of cash, the company continued to be so inefficient that they more or less went under.

Then there's the case of the company who spearheaded the suit:

As for Mr. Bassett, he says the $54.4 million in Byrd amendment money his Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. received financed factory modernization. Now, the outlook for the Galax, Va., firm “has never been brighter in 15 years,” said Mr. Bassett, the firm’s chairman. In part that’s because Vaughan-Bassett is making solid wood furniture, which is becoming increasingly trendy.

Even so, he said, Vaughan-Bassett’s employment of 560 is down by about half from 1,200 in 2005 when the company started receiving Byrd amendment money. Employment is even down from 700 workers in 2009, during the depth of the housing collapse. The new computerized machinery Vaughn-Bassett bought requires fewer workers, he said.

In other words, he took his dumping money and automated production while dumping his workers!

Now Bassett was smart and Stanley was dumb, so kudos to Bassett for making a smart business move.  But should US consumers have to pay for Stanley to automate their production?

So if price protection and millions of dollars won't protect American jobs either because of a poorly run company or a decision to automate, what to do?

My own view is to acknowledge that the unintended consequences of anti-dumping make it impractical as a job protection device.

If the Chinese government wants to subsidize Americans' purchases of furniture, so be it.

 Let's use something like a Universal Basic Income to deal with job displacement. Let's subsidize worker mobility so that furniture workers out of a job can move to a more dynamic sector of the economy possibly in another area of the country. Let's stop subsidizing home ownership, which when prices fall (which they will do again people!), people aren't "stuck" in a jobless geographic area.

But handing US taxpayer money to manufacturers who are going to squander it or do things the government doesn't want is a bad option. Maybe the government should also mandate what the companies getting relief must do with the money? Yes, that's the ticket. What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

30th Anniversary....

On the morning of July 5 (our 30th wedding anniversary, with thanks to John Cappleman, Kevin Grier, Randy Hutter, Brian Roberts, and Andrew Rosen for attending way back when...), I got up early to go to the grocery store.  Not many people there at 7:00 am.

I got to the checkout aisle, and the young lady (25 years old, not at all unattractive) gave me a big smile.  I'm thinking, "Oh, yeah, I've still got it."

Then she started actively laughing.  I looked down at the cart, and saw these three things:


That's right:  Roses, a sparkly anniversary card, and men's hair coloring. 

She apologized for laughing, but kept bursting into giggles as she tried to get the stuff charged.  She was still laughing, and telling the other store workers, about my cart contents, as I slunk off to my car.  I do NOT "still got it."  Fortunately, I'm married, so I don't really need it.

Happy Anniversary, Donna Gingerella!  I love you!

"Blue Devils": Ever Wondered?

You may have wondered how Duke chose the "Blue Devils" as their mascot.  (You also may not have wondered, I realize...)

If you DID wonder...wonder no more.  A five minute documentary, pretty well done.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Independence Day Rodent Action

Have you ever wondered how an American would act, if he were a small rodent? I think I have the answer.

We noticed some mouse droppings, and our dog-sitter claimed to hear "scritching" sounds (her word, not mine). So I put out some traps, baited with chocolate peanut butter.  Figured that would be irresistible.

Next day...found this (click for an even more Independent image):


Two things are noteworthy.

  • First, the trigger is licked completely clean.  This was extremely dense, sticky chocolate peanut butter.  Any jiggling and WHAP.  But no.  Licked it clean. Trap is still set, unsprung.  Balls.
     
  • Second, and even more American:  note the two small objects in the left foreground.  Yes, those are what you think they are.  The mouse, after eating all the bait, took a dump on the trap.

And that, dear ones, is the sort of spirit that makes America great.  A happy Independence Day to you!

Economic Freeedom and Racism

Tolerance in the United States: Does economic freedom transform racial, religious, political and sexual attitudes?

Niclas Berggren & Therese Nilsson
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Tolerance is a distinguishing feature of Western culture. Still, it varies between and within countries, as well as over time, and irrespective of whether one values it for its own sake or for its beneficial consequences, it becomes important to identify its determinants. In this study, we investigate whether the character of economic policy plays a role, by looking at the effect of changes in economic freedom (i.e., lower government expenditures, lower and more general taxes and more modest regulation) on tolerance in one of the most market-oriented countries, the United States. In comparing U.S. states, we find that an increase in the willingness to let atheists, homosexuals and communists speak, keep books in libraries and teach college students is, overall, positively related to preceding increases in economic freedom, more specifically in the form of more general taxes. We suggest, as one explanation, that a discriminatory tax system, which is susceptible to the influence of special interests and which treats people differently, gives rise to feelings of tension and conflict. In contrast, the positive association for tolerance towards racists only applies to speech and books, not to teaching, which may indicate that when it comes to educating the young, (in)tolerant attitudes towards racists are more fixed.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Bee Wilson hits the BREXIT rock bottom

OK people. This has got to be the absolute worst of all apocalyptic BREXIT punditry.

Here is the line that set my toes on fire:


"For the first time since the Second World War, Britain’s ability to feed itself is in question."


WTFF???!!!?????

First of all, exiting the EU doesn't force the UK to put tariffs on EU imports to the UK. They can just leave them at zero.

Second, I'm pretty sure that obesity, not food insecurity is the bigger problem in the contemporary UK.

There are plenty of countries with no FTA with the EU and they can all "feed themselves". If not, the EU FTA would not be the magic bullet to full bellies.

Here's some more rank stupidity:


"As a country that produces only around fifty-four per cent of what it eats, Britain starts to look vulnerable to fluctuating markets."

An FTA with the EU does NOT "protect" any country from "fluctuating markets". If the global coffee crop fails, prices will rise dramatically everything, trade agreements not withstanding. If a government does not let the price rise, then a shortage will arise instead.

And let's just finish off this dumpster fire with this gem:

Food is one of the unequivocal successes of the European Union.

Sweet Fancy Moses.

Actually I might partly agree with this one. Compared to the mess the EU has made of monetary policy, fiscal policy, dealing with its southern members' issues and dealing with the refugee crisis, the hideous CAP of the EU is not as bad as it otherwise might seem. After all, its cost has fallen from over 70% of the EU budget in 1984 to only 39% in 2013!

Zapatero, a tus zapatos!












Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit THIS!

People, I am really getting tired of all the hand-wringing, apocalyptic post-Brexit posts.  Please try to take a deep breath and chill.

It's not that big of a deal. Yes I know stock markets are down. They will come back up.

Yes the pound is down. Who give a $%#$%#$? So what?

If the UK actually exits (for me this is p = .75), economically it will be fine. The US doesn't have zero tariffs with the EU, but we still manage to survive.

This whole thing is much closer to a non-event than the earth-shaking mistake it's taken to be.

Some specific things that really bug me.

1. Claiming that the result was not democratic. Rogoff and Gowder, you both know better.  This is just ludicrous.  There is nothing more democratic than a referendum. Full stop. This was pure democracy in action. Many people who claim to love democracy but dislike this outcome are tying themselves in knots trying to avoid the implication that in this instance at least they are anti-democracy ( welcome to the club, let me show you the secret handshake).

People, the US is not a democracy! We are a Republic. We have tons of checks on democracy. Deciding everything by a simple majority referendum would be a disaster in the US. But it would be a decidedly democratic disaster.


2. Claiming that some voters have a greater right to decide than others and shouting that they were "robbed". It turns out that the youngest voters went for remain while older voters chose leave. And of course this means that the old are robbing the young and the vote is somehow illegitimate because..... old people suck? Because 18-24 year olds have so much more economic and political savvy than do 60 year olds?

I do like the idea that the shorter is your remaining life span, the less your vote should count. I wonder if the folks who are screaming about the pernicious old voters in Brexit would be willing to apply this principle to US elections?


3. Blaming Reagan. Oh Neoliberalism, is there nothing bad that you didn't do? This one is a howler of the highest order. Brexit has nothing to do with what the people who decided it said was important and was caused by Ronnie and Margie Thatcher!  Whatever you are mad about, just trot out the old shibboleths and invoke the ritual incantations. Why hasn't Naomi Klein pinned Brexit on Milton Friedman yet?

Did something happen you don't like? Look back in history,  find the first other thing that you really don't like. There's your cause.

Brexit apocalypse punditry has been some of the stupidest and laziest punditry I've had the misfortune to endure.

We will all survive Brexit with little lasting damage. This will be clear within 6 months.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Magnetism....


Animal Magnetism: Metaphoric Cues Alter Perceptions of Romantic Partners and Relationships

Andrew Christy, Kelly Hirsch & Rebecca Schlegel
PLoS ONE, May 2016

Abstract: The psychological state of love is difficult to define, and we often rely on metaphors to communicate about this state and its constituent experiences. Commonly, these metaphors liken love to a physical force - it sweeps us off our feet, causes sparks to fly, and ignites flames of passion. Even the use of "attraction" to refer to romantic interest, commonplace in both popular and scholarly discourse, implies a force propelling two objects together. The present research examined the effects of exposing participants to a physical force (magnetism) on subsequent judgments of romantic outcomes. Across two studies, participants exposed to magnets reported greater levels of satisfaction, attraction, intimacy, and commitment.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Recycling Industrial Complex

A common theme of opportunity cost:  if you use more resources to "save" something than it takes to throw it away, that's not saving.

In the North State Journal, my piece claiming that mandatory recycling is a violation of the separation of church and state....here.  It's gated, but you can register for free.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Unloading the Dishwasher is Foreplay


The Gendered Division of Housework and Couples' Sexual Relationships: A Reexamination 

Daniel Carlson et al.
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract: Although contemporary couples increasingly express preferences for egalitarian unions, previous research has suggested that sexual intimacy decreases when routine housework is shared. Yet this research was conducted on data that are decades old. To update this work, the authors compared data from the 2006 Marital and Relationship Survey (MARS) and Wave 2 of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH2), collected in 1992–1994. The results indicated change in the association between housework arrangements and sexual intimacy across surveys. Although egalitarian arrangements were associated with lower sexual frequency compared to conventional arrangements in the NSFH2, no such difference was found in the MARS. In fact, reported sexual frequency increased across surveys among egalitarian couples only. In addition, how housework was arranged mattered more for sexual satisfaction among MARS couples than NSFH2 couples. These changes appear to result from the increasing role of perceived equity as a mechanism linking the division of housework to sex.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Sunday, June 05, 2016

David French: Can He Actually WIN?

Surprisingly, yes..

Sure, it's a long shot.  But more possible than you might think.

Or, so I claim, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer...

Excerpt:

...if the race is close, and the "third" candidate manages to take a couple of states, it's possible nobody wins a majority. The 12th Amendment would then send the election to the House of Representatives, where voting is one-state, one-vote, and the possible candidates would be restricted to the top three Electoral College vote-getters. Up until now, we have been focused on a brokered convention. But if an outsider catches fire, there might be a brokered election. Remember: The Republicans control 32 House delegations outright. If David French wins just two or three states, he could still wind up as president.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Selfie Regard


Selfie Indulgence: Self-Favoring Biases in Perceptions of Selfies 

 Daniel Re et al. 
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming 

Abstract: People often perceive themselves as more attractive and likable than others do. Here, we examined how these self-favoring biases manifest in a highly popular novel context that is particularly self-focused - selfies. Specifically, we analyzed selfie-takers' and non-selfie-takers' perceptions of their selfies versus photos taken by others and compared these to the judgments of external perceivers. Although selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers reported equal levels of narcissism, we found that the selfie-takers perceived themselves as more attractive and likable in their selfies than in others' photos, but that non-selfie-takers viewed both photos similarly. Furthermore, external judges rated the targets as less attractive, less likable, and more narcissistic in their selfies than in the photos taken by others. Thus, self-enhancing misperceptions may support selfie-takers' positive evaluations of their selfies, revealing notable biases in self-perception. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis



Friday, April 22, 2016

The Problem with Macro in one blogpost


Apparently, Nick Rowe slipped up and wrote something about Macro in plain English. David Andalfatto was understandably quite upset and tried to fix things by adding "a bit of formalism".

Then away he goes:


There is a representative agent (this is not necessary, but makes things easy) with additively-separable log preferences defined over consumption sequences {c(t), t = 0,1,...,∞}, with discount factor β. Let R(t) denote the gross real rate of interest (risk-free) earned on a bond held from date t to date t+1. Assume that all individuals can borrow/lend freely at the risk-free rate.

and then this:

Let me consider an endowment economy where each individual is endowed with a deterministic sequence {y(t), t = 0,1,...,∞}.


OK, everybody got that. Representative agent? check. Perfect capital markets? check, lifetime income fixed and known with certainty? check. Time-separable preferences? check.

AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!

People, it would be one thing if models like this fit the data, but they don't.

The consumption CAPM is not an accurate predictor of asset prices, The degree of risk aversion required to make the numbers work in the equity premium puzzle is something on the order of 25 or above, the literature is littered with papers rejecting PIH.

So we are being harangued by a model that is unrealistic in the theory and inaccurate to the extreme in its predictions.

And that's pretty much modern macro in a freakin' nutshell.

Mamba out.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Headline Meme: Florida Memorial Edition


People, eating Floridians is tough work. Just ask the tiger referred to in this classic headline:


Tiger recovering after killing Florida zoo worker


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Angus 3:16: Careful with that Ax, Eugene!

I see that "improve your WB ease of doing business score" policy advice has cropped up again on the interwebs (I'm lookin' at you, Alex T.).

In my own special bombastic way, I've had a lot to say on this topic so I thought I'd collect much of it here and expand on the issue/problem.


1. To the extent there is a correlation between the "doing business" index and per-capita GDP, it is a very loose relationship whereby countries with very similar scores have very different outcomes.

Sadly, this is true of almost all institutional indicators, as Hausmann, Pritchett and Rodrik showed us lo these many years ago.


2. Even though there may be a historical correlation between "doing business" and incomes, it is far from clear that it is either causal or exploitable. The exploitability point is kind of a Lucas Critique point. If we see such a reduced form relationship in historical data, treating it as exploitable (i.e. targeting index improvements as a path to higher incomes) is pretty risky. Incredibly, some countries are making improving their scores a policy goal. Ricardo Hausmann has a nice piece on why this can be problematic. And, Matt Andrews has written a book about how countries are adopting "good looking" but not actually good, governance.


3. As Dreimeier & Pritchett show, it is often the case that the outcomes reported by the index, which is compiled by surveying "experts"  are not really related to the actual experience of business people in the country under study. This is the usual de facto vs. de jure issue that plagues many expert compiled indices.

People, we know that North Korea is poor and South Korea is rich. We know that East Germany was poor when West Germany was rich. But we really do not know in any reliable way, what macro policy advice will ensure development success. Really and truly. "Adopt the observed policies and forms of the rich countries" has been offered as advice by the IFIs for decades with very uneven results. Measures of institutions across countries are converging, but per-capita output across countries is not.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Hey Trump and Sanders: Manufacturing's share of total employment peaked in 1943!!!

I got these data series from Fred, but I am too dumb to get Fred to graph the ratio so I put them into Excel, created the ratio, graphed it and exported to this blogpost. Lost the horizontal axis somewhere along the way but it runs from January 1939 to March 2016. The exact variables are listed below the graph.

People, Manufacturing share of Total non farm employment peaked in November of 1943 (the great war!!) and has by and large been falling ever since. 

It's hard for me, given the historical trend, to put too much blame for the relative shrinking of manufacturing employment on the rise of China, or NAFTA, because it was happening in the 1960s and 1970s well before either of these things happened.



Saturday, April 02, 2016

What if it had been Kremer, Miguel & Trump?

Then last year, things might have gone down a bit like this:



"Some guy is saying a reanalysis of a key study argued that there was no clear evidence for improvement in either school attendance or examination performance when using year-stratified cluster-summary analysis. First of all. Just so you understand, this guy is a total loser. He begged me to be his peer reviewer, I said "NO THANKS." Pathetic!

Second, I never said that about the year-stratified cluster-summary analysis. Never said it! Here's the thing. I use the year-stratified regression models and you know what? It works, it just works. I'm winning, my p-values are so much lower than his, this guy's a joke. And he says the cluster summary! Liar, you can't listen to him, this guy's a degenerate and I don't even need to tell you what he did with the standard errors. I mean, there are things about this guy that I don’t want to talk about. You can look. But I’m not going to talk about them. Very bad guy! Our study, it's terrific. No one else will tell it like it is, but we're telling it like it is. We're going to beat those worms. Terrific!"

hat tip to @Zettel314

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Unfairness, Emotion, and Performance


When unfair treatment helps performance 
 Jordan Axt & Shigehiro Oishi
Motivation and Emotion, April 2016, Pages 243-257

Abstract: Human beings are responsive to fairness violations. People reject unfair offers and go out of their way to punish those who behave unfairly. However, little is known regarding when unfair treatment can either help or harm performance. We found that basketball players were more likely to make free throws after being awarded a foul specific to unfair treatment (Study 1). Similarly, hockey players were more likely to score during a penalty shot compared to a shootout (Study 2). A laboratory experiment showed that participants were more accurate at golf putting after a previous attempt had been unfairly nullified (Study 3). However, a final experiment revealed that when the task was more demanding, unfair treatment resulted in worse performance (Study 4). Moreover, this effect was mediated by feelings of anger and frustration. These results suggest that performance is sensitive to perceptions of fairness and justice.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

We have to ACT as if we have free will

We MUST act as if we have free will, we have no choice.

(Man, I crack myself up).

But there is a reason why...

Believing there is no free will corrupts intuitive cooperation 

John Protzko, Brett Ouimette & Jonathan Schooler
Cognition, June 2016, Pages 6–9

Abstract: Regardless of whether free will exists, believing that it does affects one’s behavior. When an individual’s belief in free will is challenged, one can become more likely to act in an uncooperative manner. The mechanism behind the relationship between one’s belief in free will and behavior is still debated. The current study uses an economic contribution game under varying time constraints to elucidate whether reducing belief in free will allows one to justify negative behavior or if the effects occur at a more intuitive level of processing. Here we show that although people are intuitively cooperative, challenging their belief in free will corrupts this behavior, leading to impulsive selfishness. If given time to think, however, people are able to override the initial inclination toward self-interest induced by discouraging a belief in free will.

Friday, March 25, 2016

In Holland, even the boondoggles are adorable!


News out of Holland that a pedestrian bridge costing 150,000 euros has only been used 5 times in two years.

By red squirrels.

For realz.

On reflection, I'm not even sure this is a boondoggle. Lets say 3 squirrels a year use the bridge and it lasts for 30 years with no maintenance.

That's 90 fuzzy lives saved for a lousy 150,000 Euros, or a smidge over 1,500 euros per squirrel.

So tell me again what the problem is.

Rock on Low Countries. Rock on.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Plucky Brits Break Biscuit Blockade!

People it was touch and go, but relief has come to South Yorkshire in the form of 2 Emirates 777 cargo planes loaded with lovely biscuits!

Now the Yorkies can again say Ich bin ein Bourbon Cream!

Of course, as always, I am not making this up.

Sadly, the article raises more questions than it answers. An airport spokesman says only,

"In the mean time we’ve been delighted to welcome two flights from Emirates full of the nation’s favourite biscuits.”

Did an enterprising Brit just raid the duty free shops in Dubai and send the haul back to Yorkshire?

Is this ODA from the UAE?

Is British biscuit madness actually quite overstated so that biscuit arbitrage like this is generally unprofitable? Is that why it is not happening more widely/frequently?

What would YOU do for a .........



Hat tip to Yana C. !!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Thank you Donald Trump

People, I believe that Donald Trump is teaching many of us a valuable lesson. He's performing an important public service, and I for one am grateful.

I'm one of those guys who thought, hey we really don't need affirmative action anymore, women are treated with respect and dignity now, facism is a relic of a bygone age.

But Trump is showing me/us that a large chunk of US adults (what like 25-30% or so?) are racist, sexist, xenophobic, economically illiterate morons.

I guess even in a red state like Oklahoma, living in a University town helps to insulate you from the "common man" (thank god).

But Trump's campaign has made it clear to me that we still have serious human rights / equality / logical reasoning issues in our country.

So I say to all you SJWs out there, live long and prosper. You have a lot of work left to do.

And to my libertarian friends I say, continued affirmative action and gender equity programs are needed and important.

We still have a very long way to go in this country. Trump is showing me/us just how far.



Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Happy Place


Local Happiness and Firm Behavior: Do Firms in Happy Places Invest More? 

Tuugi Chuluun & Carol Graham 
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization
May 2016, Pages 41–56 

Abstract: We examine a previously unexplored relationship between local happiness and firm investment. We looked at investment in general and R&D intensity in particular, as the relatively intangible nature of the latter may make it more subject to the effects of sentiment and affect. We find that average local happiness is positively correlated with both R&D intensity and firm investment, after controlling for firm and local area characteristics. This positive relationship may be due to the optimism and longer term perspectives that are typically associated with higher levels of life satisfaction/happiness. We also look at inequality in happiness levels and find that the effect of local happiness is stronger in places with more equal happiness distributions. Younger firms’ investment behavior is also more strongly correlated with local happiness levels. The results remain robust to a battery of robustness tests including the use of residual and hedonic measures of happiness, analysis of a sample of relocated firms, and a test for reverse causality.


Thursday, March 03, 2016

The Drum is dead. Long live the Drum

He don't have shit
He's learned to live with it
The drum's in debt
You owe me, don't forget
That 20 bucks
Interest and moral support
And if you don't I swear


Monday, February 29, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why I am on Facebook

Sure the cat vs. cucumber videos are awesome, but check out my Facebook feed this morning.





Epic and wonderful. Thanks Dan and Jason (and WW too!).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

That's a lovely biscuit, gov'ner

OMG. The biscuit people are running out of bloody biscuits.

If you don't believe me, check out this apocalyptic headline from Leister:


Britain facing disastrous biscuit shortage


(Pro-tip: In England, biscuits are basically shitty cookies).


The article claims the shortage is coming from a flood last year that closed down United Biscuit!

Which is awesome, but doesn't really explain anything.

Was there a biscuit monopoly in the UK?

Has Big Biscuit blocked the importation of foreign biscuits (let them eat Oreos!!)?

Has Big Biscuit's biscuit advertising been so powerful that the English are brainwashed into only eating United Biscuit biscuits?

Has the British biscuit regulator stepped in and imposed biscuit price controls so the biscuit market is no longer clearing?

I guess the only thing we know for sure is that it's sticky wickets for lovely biscuits in Albion!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pots, Kettles, & Unicorns

People this is awesome. 4 former CEA chairs have written a letter lambasting Bernie Sanders (and all Republicans ever) for their pie in the sky policy projections.

The letter includes the phrase: "the Democratic party has rightfully earned a reputation for responsibly estimating the effects of economic policies."

Gee, guys. Hope you didn't hurt your shoulders patting yourselves on the back so heartily.

So I know what you are thinking, wow, good thing Christina Romer wasn't one of the people who signed the letter.

oooops??

Oh no she didn't!

Oh yes she did!

Here is an example of Prof. C. Romer's responsible estimation of the effects of economic policies.



Meanwhile, Paul Krugman is attacking Bernie and promoting Hillary based on the notion that Hillary's unicorns are less unrealistic than Bernie's unicorns.  For Realz!

It's Mungo's world now. We are just living in it and giving thanks.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Can This Be True?

A quiz:  Is the following letter real, or is it a fictional mock-up based on Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED?


Dear [pobrecito chingado]

I am writing to request that your company voluntarily divest from any investments it may have in thermal coal. 

Specifically, I am asking that you refrain from making any new investments, refrain from renewing any existing investments, and to sell or withdraw from existing investments, in any company that generates thirty-percent or more of its revenue from the mining or use of thermal coal. 

 My decision to ask you to divest from thermal coal arises from my statutory responsibility to make sure that insurance companies address potential financial risks in the reserves they hold to pay future claims. As utilities decrease their use of coal and other carbon fuel sources, as states like California limit the ability of the private sector to use burn coal and other carbon fuels for power generation and require their pension funds to divest from coal, as states like California and the United States impose more stringent air quality requirements which limit the ability to burn coal and other carbon fuels, and as nations across the world begin to implement the commitments they made to reduce their use of carbon at the recent United Nations COP21 Climate Summit in Paris, investments in coal and the carbon economy run the risk of becoming a "stranded asset" of diminishing value. 

The movement away from coal and the rest of the carbon economy poses a potential financial risk to insurance companies investing in coal and the carbon economy. The potential risk of continuing such investments is that they lose value over time or that they lose value quickly. In either case, such investments pose a potential financial risk to those who invest in them. At some point nations and states may dramatically restrict the burning of carbon. At that point, investments in coal mines, in oil and gas wells, in companies that extract coal, oil or natural gas, in companies that transport coal, oil and gas, in utilities that rely on coal, oil or gas, among others, could drop dramatically in value. 

Before that happens it is important for insurance companies and insurance regulators to understand the scope of these investments by insurance companies and to take steps to mitigate potential financial risks. Divestment from thermal coal in particular will help protect insurance companies from holding an investment currently dropping in value, and which is likely to suffer substantial additional decline in value during a transition to a reduced carbon economy, and run the risk of becoming a "stranded asset." California is decarbonizing its economy and transitioning to clean, pollution free energy resources. Utilities have been required by law to dramatically reduce their reliance on carbon. California's cap and trade program also results in raising the cost of carbon and reducing its use. Two of the world's largest pension funds - CalSTRS and CalPERS - have been required by the state legislature to divest their thermal coal investments by July 2017. 

A number of insurance companies have already recognized the risks of continued investment in thermal coal. Allianz announced that it would decrease investments in companies using coal and boost funding in those focused on wind power. Similarly, Axa announced last year that it will remove from its portfolio, and refrain from future investment in, companies that derive more than half of their income from coal mining, including electrical utilities that derive more than half of their energy from thermal coal plants. I appreciate your consideration of my request that you, and all insurance companies licensed to write insurance in California, divest from thermal coal investments. 

Your response to this request would be appreciated by February, 24, 2016. Please respond by email or letter to me, sent to Shannon Heinzer at Shannon.Heinzer@insurance.ca.gov to indicate whether you will be complying with my request. The Department of Insurance will make public the names of those companies who commit to voluntarily divest from thermal coal and those which do not. I recognize that it may be challenging to immediately eliminate all of your existing thermal coal investments, but I strongly encourage you to make a commitment to move in this direction. If you have any questions about this request, please contact my Deputy Commissioner & Special Counsel, Geoffrey Margolis, at 300 Capitol Mall, 17th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814, Geoff.Margolis@insurance.ca.gov (916) 492-3574. 

Sincerely, DAVE JONES Insurance Commissioner 

Nope, wrong.  It's a real letter.  Wow.  A requirement that they "voluntarily" divest.  Orwell is smiling grimly, somewhere.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Phone Call for Senate GOP: Bad Deal May Be Better Than No Deal. Or, Not.


Agreement Attraction and Impasse Aversion: Reasons for Selecting a Poor Deal Over No Deal at All

Ece Tuncel et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract: In the present studies, we examined the positive value of agreement and the negative value of impasse. Participants chose to give up real value and sacrifice economic efficiency in order to attain an agreement outcome and avoid an impasse outcome. A personally disadvantageous option was selected significantly more often when it was labeled "Agreement" rather than "Option A," and a personally advantageous option was avoided significantly more often when it was labeled "Impasse" rather than "Option B." In a face-to-face negotiation, a substantial proportion of individuals reached an agreement that was inferior to their best alternative to agreement. We showed that the appeal of agreement and the aversion to impasse both contribute to this effect, yet the aversion to impasse is the stronger of the two motivations. These findings have important implications for negotiators.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Economists endorse Unicorn World Bank

Two of my favorite Michaels (right behind Mungo of course!), Clemens and Kremer, have a new paper arguing that even though the access to financing mission of the World Bank is no longer relevant, we still need it for poverty reduction and knowledge dissemination.


There's just two problems with that viewpoint.

1. Most of the global poverty reduction we've seen has come from the simple adoption of capitalism (China and others), not World Bank projects or initiatives. And, in my view, the Bank is more anti-capitalism now that it has ever been.

2. The World Bank's "knowledge" has been consistently off base for at least the past 50 years.  We've gone from the financing gap to education to institutions to you name it. Countries have spent real scarce resources following the advice and by and large it hasn't worked. Take the great universal primary enrollment goal (please). Whoever would have thought that governments would end up creating Potemkin schools where learning is often absent.

Phone call for Bill Easterly. Paging Lant Pritchett!

Even old, bad, discredited advice never seems to die out at the Bank as evidenced by this tweet:


Note the date. 2016!! Not 1955. Apparently the Harrod-Domar model and the financing gap still live in the executive suites of the bank.

The tweeter is Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions at the Bank.

Now Clemens and Kremer are both way smarter and more successful than me. I had been thinking about a post like this but only decided to write it after seeing that incredible tweet this morning.

But Clemens and Kremer are committing the Mungowitz Unicorn fallacy.

They are conjuring up an idealized World Bank that has never existed and claiming we still need that unicorn Bank, rather than evaluating the desirability of the World Bank we actual have.

If we think about the actual World Bank, it's not so obvious that the cost-benefit calculation comes out positive.

Levothyroxine

It appears I am hypothyroid, in terms of blood tests for TSH.

The doctor prescribed the (common) drug Levothyroxine.

There are many possible side effects.  But two of the more prominently mentioned are:
  • Change of consciousness
  • False or unusual sense of well-being 
I don't want to reveal anything embarrassing.  But Angus and I really could have used some of this stuff in 1981.  Because what we were using to change our consciousness and produce a false or unusual sense of well-being was more expensive and harder to get.

Hard to imagine going to the doctor and complaining, if that is the profile of side-effects to expect...

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Florida Man

If the headline starts with "Florida Man," even after a colon, it's going to be good.

Assault With a Deadly Weapon: Florida Man Charged with Trowing Live Alligator into Wendys

Pure gold:


The driver, wearing a backwards baseball hat, arrived at the drive-through window to receive a large drink just before 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 11, according to the report’s summary of surveillance footage.

“While the attendant has her back to the window and is at her register, the male driver reaches across the inside of his vehicle in the passenger area and throws an alligator from his vehicle into the drive through window,” the report reads.  
"Wearing a backwards baseball hat."  The redneck version of "He was wearing a hoodie."

If you like "Florida Man," well, then....

Monday, February 08, 2016

Don't Stand, Don't Stand So Close to Me


Where does one stand: A biological account of preferred interpersonal distance 

 Anat Perry, Nikolay Nichiporuk & Robert Knight
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience,
February 2016, Pages 317-326

Abstract: What determines how close you choose to stand to someone? Why do some people prefer farther distances than others? We hypothesized that an important factor is one’s sensory sensitivity level, i.e. how sensitive one is to nearby visual stimulation, noise, touch or smell. This study characterizes the behavioral, hormonal and electrophysiological metrics of interpersonal distance (IPD) preferences in relation to levels of sensory sensitivity. Using both an ecologically realistic task and electroencephalogram (EEG), we found that sensory sensitivity levels predicted IPD preferences, such that the more sensitive one is the farther distance they prefer. Furthermore, electrophysiological evidence revealed that individuals with higher sensory sensitivity show more alpha suppression for approaching stimuli, strengthening the notion that early sensory cortical excitability is involved in one’s social decision of how close to stand to another. The results provide evidence that a core human metric of social interaction is influenced by individual levels of sensory sensitivity.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Kanamara Matsuri

I had not heard of the Kanamara Maturi festival in Kawasaki, Japan.

But now I have.  The Wikipedia page tells you at least as much as, and possibly more than, you wanted to know.

Some things do occur to me (having listened to Ellen's description).

1.  This is a festival that Tommy the Tenured Brit could really get behind.  Or, in front of.  As it were.
2.  If the parade lasts more than four hours, do they need to call a physician?
3.  What if it sees its shadow?
4.   But mostly, WTF?  As Wikipedia notes, the festival started out quite small, but it "keeps getting bigger and bigger."  Wikipedia, folks, for the win.


Monday, January 25, 2016

The Church of Munger

People, when you share an office for 3 or 4 years with a person who can burp out the pledge of allegiance or the alphabet almost on demand, you become well acquainted with the eructatory arts.


So without further ado, I give you the Church of Munger!



How so? Well it is a nominally Catholic church in Chiapas Mexico that uses burping almost as a sacrament! It is sometimes called the coca-cola church.


Here's one account:

Chamulans believe that burping cleanses the body of evil spirits. And since the carbonation in soda makes you burp, well you get the picture. So inside this white, blue, and green exterior are walls lined with bottles of this drink for cleansing purposes.


and here's another:

It is not just spitting that Chamulan’s believe rid one of evil spirits but also burping. What I didn’t mention is that every ritual that we saw at the church involved Coca-Cola. Every group involved in ritual practice had glass bottles of Coke with them. Generally we saw people drink it in shot glasses, almost as if they were taking a medicine.


They are just waiting for their high priest, Rev. Mungowitz, to arrive.

Hat tip to the never burpy Mrs. Angus.






Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hasta El Papel Higienico Siempre?

So, the EYM just returned from two weeks in Cuba.  There were apparently some difficulties.

But there were some remarkable observations, also.  Here is the picture of the iconic image of Che Guevera.  Haven't exactly had the "victoria siempre" yet:


Here is the graph of membership in the CDR, the Castros' house brown-shirts: "en cada barrio," indeed:


And here is the ladies' room at the CDE headquarters/museum (the men's room was hors de combat).  I should note that the phone book with the pages torn out mean exactly what you think that means.


Now, think about that.  This is the museum and headquarters of the CDR.  And THEY don't have toilet paper in the ladies' room. (EDIT:  As commenter Joe Biby notes, "At least you can't leave the seat up."  Because there IS no seat.  Nice.)

Just like in Venezuela.  Socialism:  The cure for toilet paper...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Obama's Revenge

Wow. President Obama must be really mad that Joe Biden didn't run for President and stop his rivals the Clintons from returning to power.

I mean really really mad.

Here's my proof:


“Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer,” Obama said, before noting that Biden has worked with Congress to add resources for the National Institutes of Health. “Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”


That graf appears below the headline, "President Obama Puts Joe Biden in Charge of Curing Cancer".


Poor Joe. Now he's responsible for every single person that dies of cancer from here on out? Hasn't this man suffered enough? Just because he wouldn't run you pin this albatross on him?

Thanks, Obama!

PS: regarding the moon-shot analogy. What if there were over 100 different moons? What if these moons could change and actively try to avoid you landing on them? Other than that the analogy is pretty good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Angus' Revenant Review

Alls I can say is that this is pretty intense.

Ok, here's a bit more:

The French are from hell, Alejandro González Iñárritu really hates Leo, Family is very important.

The two stars of the movie are (a) nature, the film is brutally gorgeous and (b) Tom Hardy, he is amazing. If I had to pick a third star, I'd go with fire.

The Hateful 8 was more fun, but The Revenant is a better film.


Friday, January 08, 2016

Angus' belated 2015 music review

People I almost didn't do this at all. Work my butt off and get no page views. But then I read Pitchfork's top 50 and knew I couldn't remain silent. What a sack of crap that was.


Here are my top 10 releases from 2015


The first, by far, is Tom Carter, Long Time Underground. This is the dude from Charalambides come back from the dead with a stunning solo guitar album. This is mesmerizingly great.

My next favorite two are

Peacers self-titled album and Adult Mom's "Momentary Lapse of Happily"

Peacers is what Mike Donovan (Sic Alps) is calling himself nowadays and it's absolutely a slacker/psych/garage/retro monster of an album.

Adult Mom is Steph Knipe and her song "Survival" is my favorite pop song of the year. Little bit of Kimya Dawson, little bit of Liz Phair, and a lot of awesome.


There are actually 2 releases in Pitchfork's top 50 that are really good (type I error I guess)!


Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

This young woman is the real deal. This reminds of the Kinks! Great energy, tunes, just a great feel to this band.

Sufjan Stevens: Carrie and Lowell 

My prayers were finally answered and Suffy dropped the pretense and went back to his roots. The result is stunning. All is forgiven. I'm sorry I doubted you.

My next 3 releases are in no particular order:

Speedy Ortiz, Foil Deer

Reminds me or Deerhoof or Miu Miu, great time changes, love the singer.

Royal Headache, High

They are supposed to be punky, but the singer is so damn soulful!

Car Seat Headrest, Teens of style

Look for more from CRH, but this year they gave me my second favorite pop song "The Drum".


And to round out a top 10 list, If you stuck a gun to my head and made me buy two more off Pitchfork's list I'd buy......

Kurt Vile, B'lieve I'm goin down

Joanna Newsom, Divers

Both of these records are really really good, but both of these artists are just coasting (downhill).

Looking back over this list I notice that (a) 40% of my picks are women or bands fronted by women (I really wanted Waxahatchee in here but their new record is just not so good), and (b) every single one is available as an LP (or double LP).




Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Angus' Hateful 8 review

I really enjoyed the film.  Never got bored, looked at my watch, checked my phone, nothing.

To me this was at heart a comedy. I found it quite funny. Laugh out loud funny. The violence is cartoonish.

To be a bit more specific, it is kind of two different buddy comedies mashed into one. The first part is Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in "The Road to Red Rock". The second part is "I love you man" as directed by Herschel Gordon Lewis.

Damien Bichir and Jennifer Jason Leigh are hilarious and excellent.  Walton Goggins turns Boyd Crowder up a notch and to me is the star of the film.

If you squint real hard, the film also speaks about the possibility of better race relations, especially in the South.

I enjoyed it more than Django Unchained.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Cream Puffs



Cream Puffs: Why Do Elite College Football Programs Schedule Games Against Vastly Inferior Opponents? 

Daniel Simundza
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract: This article provides a novel answer to the question of why elite college football programs schedule so-called “cream puff” games against vastly inferior out-of-conference opponents. Using data on college football games from 2002 to 2010, I find that a team’s chances of winning are 5.3–15.6% greater in the game following their victory over a cream puff. In my preferred estimation, this “cream puff effect” is roughly half as large as the estimated home field advantage. I also show that the U.S. Today/Sagarin rating system, which I use to control for team abilities, penalizes teams for playing vastly inferior opponents. I devise two empirical strategies that deal with this potential problem and show that the cream puff effect is not simply an artifact of the rating system. These results contribute to the literature on dynamic contests by showing that not only does the timing of one’s efforts within a contest matter but so does the schedule of one’s opponents.