Thursday, October 29, 2009

why dogs don't like halloween

This is a great link:

FW: Why Dogs Don't Like Halloween - Urlesque

Too many pictures to post here, so please click the link above.

economic systems explained

This list has been around forever
-- with maybe a couple of new ones

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

VIRTUAL ECONOMY: You have two avatars. You screw up and one is destroyed. You are the government. You hit reset button.

(Original source unknown . . . this version expanded by SJ. Last one by RB)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

i'm voting hoffman but like scozzafava

The race in NYS’s 23rd CD is getting a bit nasty. Outsiders really do not understand this race. The media pundits really are quite silly.

Why did the GOP nominate Dede Scozzafava, a liberal, to run? Was this Big-Tent Republicanism?

Nah, don’t be silly. Dede got the nomination because it was her turn.

She’d been in the NYS Assembly a while and she had seniority among North Country politicians. She was the popular mayor of a small town and ran unopposed for the Assembly. Her husband is a union official so she’d have union support. This is a very conservative district with a big Republican edge in voter registrations. She was viewed as a shoo-in against any Democrat.

There was no strategy considering ideology. That is giving the GOP leadership far too much credit. It was her turn if she wanted it. That is the way they do things around here. That is all there was to it.

Everybody likes her. She is very upfront and candid about her liberal views. I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about her as a person. Some have tried to make a big deal about her involvement with a troubled business started by her brother. Of course, she supported him. Hey, he’s her brother!

A reporter from DC’s Weekly Standard gave her a hard time so they called the cops. Hey, the guy was obnoxious. That may be ok downstate but up here, reporter or no reporter, he was being a jerk. Actually, he’s lucky they called the cops. The alternative would be for Dede to take him out behind the building and teach him some manners. Instead, she took pity on the chump.

Remember: Dede is from Gouverneur. So the guy got off easy. Real easy.

Then along came Doug Hoffman, a political newcomer. He had no chance for the Republican nomination. It had nothing to do with ideology or positions on the issues. No one paid any serious attention to him.

It wasn’t his turn.

The Conservative Party nominated Doug. A lot of money came in, voters have found they have a choice to vote for a conservative in New York’s most conservative district. Now he will beat Dede in the election.

Doug Hoffman might even win the whole thing.

This is not too complicated. If the national media and their pundits want to over analyze this race, that is their right.

It is all rather silly though.

Be blessed!

this happens every day in hepburn hall

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

take back the party

Doug Hoffman on Doug Hoffman in today's New York Post:

The 23rd Congressional District in upstate New York is locked in an election battle that echoes far beyond Watertown. When the local Republican party nominated Assembly member Dede Scozzafava, some conservatives balked, objecting that her positions (on gay marriage, abortion and spending) are too liberal. Local businessman Doug Hoffman decided to run as the Conservative Party candidate to oppose both the Democrat, Bill Owens, and Scozzafava in the November election. Hoffman tells The Post why the Republican Party needs to return to its base.

At this time, three months ago, I was wrestling with a decision. A decision as to whether or not to run in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the new secretary of the Army, John McHugh. If you had told me 90 days later I would be penning an op-ed piece for the New York Post, I would have laughed in disbelief. I would have laughed even louder had you told me that I would be receiving endorsement and support from political leaders like Fred Thompson, former Majority Leader Dick Armey, or Sarah Palin. Or appearing on broadcast media with national audiences, as their hosts peppered me with questions about the future of the GOP and our nation.

You see I’m not a professional politician; I’ve never sought elected office. I grew up poor in Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondacks. My siblings and I were raised in a single-parent household by our mother. We worked to help her pay the mortgage. But, like so many others in this great land, I worked hard, got a good education, did a six-year stint in the military, married, landed a good job with a “big eight” accounting firm and started living the American dream.

It’s funny what can happen in America, when you are able to dream and have the courage to follow your dreams. At 27 I was hired as controller of the organizing committee for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Three years later I bought the accounting firm that employed my mother. Now I have six offices spread across the northern reaches of New York and a dozen other small businesses in the Adirondacks that employ my wife, children and hopefully someday, my grandchildren. I am living the American Dream.

The reason I’m running for office is to ensure that others share the same opportunities.

Sadly, that dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. Unemployment grows, our economy is in crisis, and our elected officials seem out of touch with reality. Government in Albany is a disgrace; it’s the most dysfunctional in the nation. New York has six statewide elected officials, only two of them have been elected by the people. Three of the remaining four hold office as a result of the scandals, sexual and financial, that forced a governor and a comptroller to resign.

It’s just as bad in Washington. The Obama administration suffers from the illusion that the way you solve problems, both social and economic, is to throw money at them.In the meantime, Congress fiddles while our economy burns. They lack common sense.

They don’t seem to get it that increased spending leads to higher taxes and fuels a projected $9 trillion deficit. That earmarks and pork-barrel spending might be beneficial to their political careers, but are devastating to the taxpayers who foot the bill. They are oblivious to the fact that tort reform, cutting of waste, and the introduction of free-market solutions are the ways to lower the cost of health care. That Obama-care will only lead us down the slippery slope to socialized medicine.

They are addicted to spending. When they run low on funds they simply create a new tax or raise an old one.

Taxes, the deficit, red tape and regulation are breaking the back of the nation, mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren.

Americans have had enough and are vocalizing their anger in town hall meetings and on the streets of Washington. They are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!

That’s why I am running. I am one of them!

Freedom is what Americans want. Economic freedom to reap the rewards of the free enterprise system, personal freedom from the intrusion of big government in our lives, freedom from the nanny state that is being forced upon us.

I’m a lifelong Republican running as the nominee of the New York State Conservative Party. I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the party left me. The GOP bosses in New York and Washington felt the candidate needed to be as liberal as possible. They picked a professional politician, with a voting record more liberal than 46 Democrats in the New York state legislature. They threw principles out the window. Their candidate has voted for increased spending, higher taxes, gay marriage and abortion. She supports “Card Check” (EFCA) and is supported by trial lawyers, gay activists and Big Labor. In 2008 she ran on the line of the radical left Working Families Party, ACORN’s political party in New York.

The battle I wage is not a lonely one. Like-minded citizens in the district, the state and the nation have joined me in this fight.

It is a battle that has been joined by current and former elected Republican officials, conservative activists and members of the ever-growing Tea Party and 9/12 movements. And if the GOP picks liberal candidates for the midterm congressional elections next year, they may find that there are a lot more people out there like me who won’t go along. We are not going to win by becoming more like the Democrats. We’re going to win by standing up for our beliefs.

It’s principle over party.

It’s a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. It’s a fight for fiscal responsibility and the return of common sense to those who govern us.

This is a fight for our children’s future. It’s a fight for America.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

indian firms shift focus to the poor -

Please read the article but also check out the interactive graphics tab.
Indian Firms Shift Focus to the Poor -

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

willie gone wild reminder

The American Shakespeare Center on tour will be performing the
following plays in Eben Holden Center

Monday, October 26, ROMEO AND JULIET, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 27, ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 28, THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 29th - No Performances

Friday, October 30, ROMEO AND JULIET, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 30, THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, Midnight

Saturday, October 31, ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 1, Children's Matinee ROMEO AND JULIET, 1:30 p.m.

Tickets now on sale at the Brewer Bookstore
the Sullivan Student Center
Ticket price: $5.00 each

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

knowledge you can live without

Nokia products say "Made in China" on the back. Chinese-made Nokia-knockoffs say "Made in Finland"
[ht Tyler Cowen].

Odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot? You are 21 times more likely to be attacked by a shark during the next year than playing the lottery one time and winning.

Like low taxes? Federal government revenues, as a share of GDP, are at the lowest level since 1950 [ht them].

Nothing like a good recession to get the government off our backs.

Someday this knowledge may be important: I realized a couple of weeks ago that zombies cannot whistle.

RB: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party.

Friday, October 16, 2009

ny's 23rd cd: let's go with plan c

Today's front page of the Wall Street Journal had an article featuring New York's 23rd Congressional District race. The only Congressional race to be decided this November 3rd.

The Republican party is spending a quarter of a million dollars for ads labeling Democrat candidate Bill Owens as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's "gift" to upstate New York.

The problem is that Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava is upstate New York's gift to Nancy Pelosi.

Scozzafava's votes in the NYS Assembly earned her a Conservative Party rating of only 15, the most liberal rating of any Assembly Republican -- even more liberal than the average Assembly Democrat in a very liberal state. She supports gay marriage, is very pro-abortion, and supported the Pelosi-Obama fiscal stimulus package. (To her credit, Scozzafava has always been quite open about her views.) She never voted against a Democrat-designed NYS budget until this year. That was only after she started running for Congress.

So the Republicans nominated their most liberal state legislator to run for Congress in New York's most conservative district.

For voters in the 23rd who do not want a Pelosi supporter representing them in Congress, there is a third option, Plan C: Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. Some claim a third party candidate can't win and could spoil Scozzafava's chances -- as if that is really much of a downside risk.

The photo I found above happens to have the candidates in my order of my preference: Conservative Doug Hoffman, Democrat Bill Owens, and Republican Dede Scozzafava.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

obama shocked not to get nobel in economics

From: MarketWatch First Take

Oct. 12, 2009, 8:47 a.m. EDT

Obama fails to win Nobel prize in economics
Commentary: Michael Moore, Timothy Geithner also passed over

By MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- In a decision as shocking as Friday's surprise peace prize win, President Obama failed to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Monday.

While few observers think Obama has done anything for world peace in the nearly nine months he's been in office, the same clearly can't be said for economics.

The president has worked tirelessly since even before his inauguration to wrest control of the U.S. economy from failed free markets, and the evil CEOs who profit from them, and to turn it over to wise, fair and benevolent bureaucrats.

From his $787 billion stimulus package, to the cap-and-trade bill, to the seizures of General Motors and Chrysler, to the undead health-care "reform" act, Obama has dominated the U.S., and therefore the global, economy as few figures have in recent years.

Yet the Nobel panel chose instead to award the prize to two obscure academics -- Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson -- one noted for her work on managing collective resources, and the other for his work on transaction costs.

Other surprise losers include celebrity noneconomist and filmmaker Michael Moore; U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; and Larry Summers, head of the U.S. national economic council.

It is unclear whether the president will now refuse his peace prize in protest against the obvious slight to his real achievements this year.

-- Tom Bemis, assistant managing editor

nobel update

A non-technical explanation of Ostrom's and Williamson's scholarly work.

nobel in economics -- a surprise but deserved

Elinor Ostrom (her bio) and Oliver Williamson (his bio) shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics. This is a bit of a surprise since both were 50-1 long shots. Actually I was not at all surprised at Williamson getting it but I never really thought of Ostrom as being in the running. Her sharing the prize with Williamson really was a bit of a shocker since I never really saw their work as being connected.

Elinor and her husband Vincent, both political scientists, were early leaders in the development of Public Choice, an interdisciplinary field that looks at non-market decision making. It basically takes the methods of economics and applies them to the topics of political science. (BTW, I studied at Public Choice Center, then at Virginia Tech. Two of the founders of Public Choice, James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, were on my dissertation committee. Buchanan won the 1986 Nobel Prize for pioneering Public Choice.)

What is probably my best publication, an article on the Maasai, was built upon a number of Elinor Ostrom's works from the late 1980's and early 1990's concerning the tragedy of the commons.

From this morning's

Ostrom, Williamson Win Nobel Prize for Economics

Two American economists, Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson, who study the way decisions are made outside the markets on which many other economists focus, were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics Monday.

Ms. Ostrom, who teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ill., is the first woman to win the prize, which, before Monday, had been awarded to 62 men since it was launched in 1969 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Swedish bank. The judges cited "her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons," the way in which natural resources are managed as shared resources. It is an area of research that she said was relevant to questions surrounding global warming, and suggests that decisions by individuals can help solve the problem even as governments work to reach an international agreement.

Ms. Ostrom "challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized," the Nobel judges said. "Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins, [Ms.] Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories. She observes that resource users frequently develop sophisticated mechanisms for decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts of interest, and she characterizes the rules that promote successful outcomes."

Ms. Ostrom, who was interviewed by phone during the announcement press conference in Stockholm, described the prize as "an immense surprise," and said, "I'm still a little bit in shock."

Her Ph.D. is in political science, but she said she considers herself a political economist.

Mr. Williamson, who is at the University of California at Berkeley, was cited for "for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm" -- the reason some economic decisions are made at arm's length in markets and others are made inside a corporation.

"The drawback of markets is that they often entail haggling and disagreement," the judges said. "The drawback of firms is that authority, which mitigates contention, can be abused. Competitive markets work relatively well because buyers and sellers can turn to other trading partners in case of dissent. But when market competition is limited, firms are better suited for conflict resolution than markets. A key prediction of [Mr.] Williamson's theory, which has also been supported empirically, is therefore that the propensity of economic agents to conduct their transactions inside the boundaries of a firm increases along with the relationship-specific features of their assets."

The economics prize is the only one of the six Nobel prizes not created in Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel's 1896 will, and is officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

The two economists will share a 10 million kronor prize (about $1.4 million). Ms. Ostrom said she hopes to devote the proceeds to supporting research and graduate students.

OCTOBER 12, 2009, 8:20 A.M. ET

why rb studies development economics

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

odds for monday's nobel in economics

Monday, October 12th is not only Columbus Day for Americans and Thanksgiving Day for Canadians, but more importantly for economists, Monday is the day they announce the 2009 Nobel Prize for Economics. Here are the betting odds courtesy of Ladbrokes (BTW, Romer is my pick):

Eugene Fama 2/1
Paul Romer 4/1
Ernst Fehr 6/1
Kenneth R. French 6/1
William Nordhaus 6/1
Robert Barro 7/1
Bengt R Holmstrom 8/1
Matthew J Rabin 8/1
Jean Tirole 9/1
Martin Weitzman 9/1
Robert Schiller 9/1
Chris Pissarides 10/1
Dale T Mortensen 10/1
Xavier Sala-i-Martin 10/1
Avinash Dixit 14/1
Jagdish N. Bhagwati 14/1
William Baumol 16/1
Gene M Grossman 20/1
Martin S. Feldstein 20/1
Oliver Hart 20/1
Andrei Shoeiser 25/1
Christopher Sims 25/1
Lars P. Hansen 25/1
Nancy Stokey 25/1
Peter A Diamond 25/1
Thomas J. Sargent 25/1
Dale Jorgenson 33/1
Paul Milgrom 33/1
Elhanan Helpman 50/1
Ellinor Ostrom 50/1
Gordon Brown 50/1
Karl-Goran Maler 50/1
Oliver Williamson 50/1
Robert B Wilson 50/1

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

willie gone wild with the lights on

Tickets for the American Shakespeare Center's

Rough, Rude and Boisterous Tour

are currently on sale at SLU's Brewer Bookstore and
the Information Desk in the Sullivan Student Center
Ticket price: $5:00 each
Performance venue: Eben Holden Center

Schedule of Performances

Monday, October 26, ROMEO AND JULIET, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 27, ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 28, THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, 7:30 p.m.
No performance on Thursday, the 29th
Friday, October 30, ROMEO AND JULIET, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 30, THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, Midnight
Saturday, October 31, ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 1, ROMEO AND JULIET, 1:30 p.m. (children's matinee)

too busy to be original: everything is wonderful

Everything is Wonderful

My face in the mirror
Isn't wrinkled or drawn.
My house isn't dirty,
The cobwebs are gone.

My garden looks lovely
And so does my lawn.
I think I might never
Put my glasses back on.

(ht: gcfl)

Friday, October 2, 2009