Implied Dissent

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Meet Vernon

The first blog from death row is up and running.

Bad idea

Boston may introduce a fee for entering the city by car, aka a cover charge. If the money raised were truly used to improve transportation options it might not be an awful idea, but that's the best-case scenario. First off, it would require a pass for people entering the city, discouraging infrequent visitors for whom the cost and hassle aren't worth it. It wouldn't differentiate between people who drive in for an hour or so and people who are here all day long, people who come in for a short visit are much less of a problem parking-wise and are probably spending money, so are among the people we want here, and would probably respond more than others to the program. There would be a boom in parking just outside the city limits (not sure if this is bad, but just mentioning it). The cameras to enforce the program are ominous, a bit Orwellian if you ask me (or even if you don't). London's program is used as a positive example, but, unless I'm misunderstanding the stats, the drop in people driving in dwarfed the increase in people using public transportation/commuting, which is not what we want to improve the city's economic performance. All-in-all, this is a poor idea at best, potentially a wretched one.

A nice surprise

The entire time I was reading this post I thought DeLong was poking fun at Reagan, that he wasn't getting the point of what Ronnie was saying. Turns out his conclusion is similar to mine.

Monday, March 28, 2005

What the French have learned

Limiting someone's productivity limits their employability.

Jabbing the Fake Maestro

Wanniski on Ransom on Greenspan. It's a good piece for for economics geeks like me, and, I think, for econ neophytes too.


Apparently there's a great need to protect people from their bad habits when they're indulging in vice.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

My gift to fans of his work, a site collecting scripts to all of Cusack's movies (via Newmark), though they only have a handful right now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

One-sided trade

People sometimes worry that we're buying stuff from the rest of the world, but the rest of the world isn't buying from us. I've tried explaining to people before, one person seemed to get it, others not so much. However, no matter my previous lack of oratory skill in this area, this possibility isn't a problem. We import from Japan, we get the car, they get the dollars. Now what? Either they spend the dollars on American goods, invest the money in America (or trade with someone who does one of these things), or the dollars never come back to America. In the first two cases it all balances out. In the last case, we've received a great windfall; we have the car and it only cost us some green pieces of paper, or maybe even only some 1's and 0's. Not exporting is a good thing if you can get away with it.


Kling on myths abut US healthcare (via MR). He leaves out one thing a Canadian told me last summer, which is that how Canada accounts for administrative costs is misleading, making their spending look lower than it really is, but it's a great essay.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


A profile of Roland Fryer, a most interesting man looking at racial differences, how to account for them, and how to ameliorate the situation.


Paul Graham on what you can't say. I'm really enjoying reading through the essays on his site, there's a lot of good stuff in there for everyone. He writes largely about software, but not exclusively, and much of his writing is applicable to a wide range of topics.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Devaluing words

There's a website that lets employers and employees bid on jobs. So, of course, a German official likens it to slavery. Dummkopf.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Why VCs suck

Because they have to (via Makeoutcity).


It wasn't until 1991 that a plurality of Americans approved of interracial marriage. Damn.

No clue

I didn't realize just how awesome St. Patrick was. I may need to celebrate his day again tonight to make up for it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Make your home holy, with His Essence (via Balko).


Wolfowitz is well on his way to heading the World Bank, and Matt Yglesias takes a naive view of it. I believe in not prejudging a person or situation, but no benefit of the doubt can be granted here. The WB is not a good organization, and putting that turkey in charge is a perfect fit.

How will it play in Peoria?

Long tail software economics, or How Google got Huge (via Newmark).

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Bush wants to do it, most of Congress wants to do it, Israel wants it done, the Palestinians want it done, JCPA wants it done, but AIPAC is holding up aid to Palestinians that should curb terrorism. Nice.

If only

If I'd been the oldest rather than fourth, apparently I'd be a supergenius.

The future of radio

Not in satellites, apparently.

Monday, March 14, 2005


The 14 Principles of Jewish Buddhism.


Best pickup line ever. Or maybe the worst. Yeah, I guess it's the worst. Well, second worst, after the time my freshman year some guy told a friend she looked like his mom, numerous times. The first time she shuddered wasn't enough?

Sunday, March 13, 2005


The Hobbit will be made. Not particularly soon, but 3 or 4 years isn't too, too long.

Yes (I think and kind of)

Boudreaux links to a Landsburg column comparing trade restrictions to racism, and saying they violate rights. I agree that they are often like racism, and I agree they violate rights, I'm just not sure if they violate the rights of foreigners. If the guv were to stop me from trading with the business down the street, that would violate both of our rights. Stopping me from trading with Mexicans violates my rights, but do Mexicans have a right vis-a-vis the US government to trade with me? Maybe, but I'm not sure. Comparing protectionism to invading a country and stealing their property isn't really useful, Steven. I realize it's a relative short column so he can't develop a complete argument, but still, I'm a little disappointed.
Via the Balko, Adrienne grammatical pet peeve, the incorrect use of 'literally.' My problem with her post is the same one I have with most people who have this pet peeve, the solution is incorrect. Saying 'figuratively' instead wouldn't yield the intended meaning. Yes, people are using whatever term they're using figuratively and not literally, but what they mean is something along the lines of "I'm not exaggerating" or "no lie". Saying "Peyton Manning is figuratively shredding this defense" would be accurate but stupid (I realize this wouldn't be a big change for most sportscasters). To avoid awkward sentences, perhaps we should allow the word 'literally' to be used figuratively....

More breaking news

Europe's economy...not so hot (via the BlogFather). I do think the dude misunderstands the data a little, but the general idea is right.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hypocrits in politics???

Sager looks at the campaign finance reform racket. I'm shocked, shocked, by what he uncovers!

Content is king

I've been reading Brad DeLong's and Mark Cuban's blogs recently. Once I got over the constant reminders that they are douches, I've come to enjoy them. Look past the annoying parts and they are good people to read. Sometimes you'll agree and sometimes you won't, but they are often stimulating. And then there's Dave Barry, who I've somehow forgotten to put into my link list until now. The man is f'ing brilliant.


Putting the smack down on Peter Singer's baby killing musings.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Framing Schmaming

Jesse Taylor takes issue with Factcheck over Social Security. He probably has a point. I wouldn't call them shills, but they were not useful, or worse, on the issue. Reading through his comments section tho I found myself quite exasperated. I mean, who cares if we call it a cut in benefits, or a cut in the growth rate, or putting it on firm footing, or whatever else someone wants to say? Is the plan a good one, or is it a bad one? Framing can be useful, but let's not obsess on stupid shit. One of my teachers in grad school told us about the administration asking him about whether calling him a x professor or a y professer (don't remember what x and y were, but it's irrelevant to the story) was better, and he responded he didn't care if they called him a little girl professor if they paid him more. I probably wouldn't go that far, but let's keep focused on what matters.

The New McCarthy

Spitzer makes more waves.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Ohio's guv wants to regulate the wrong people. Not that it would be a good regulation if targeted well, just not ass-backward.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Yesterday on Meet the Press, Joe Klein said,"I talked to Saudi dissidents and Syrian dissidents who said that they were thrilled to hear an American president say that 60 years of policy in that area was wrong." Can anyone find a clip or transcript to support this? If he actually said this I'd be pretty impressed. You can justify a lot of what the guv did during the Cold War, but a lot of it you can't. If Bush had said something along these lines prior to invading Iraq, speaking of cleaning up the mess we left during a different national security situation, I could have respected that. Still probably would have opposed, but not as vehemently. Anyway, I'd like to see the evidence he actually said this.

I think I get it

I never really got the urge to climb Everest. I didn't think about it much, so it didn't confound me, but I never saw the appeal. I think I understand. Being able to look out over this view and know that you worked for it, earned it, has to be pretty damn satisfying.

Dissing the Maestro

I find it very amusing to see all the criticism that Alan Greenspan has directed his way recently. I have criticisms of my own for the pseudo-Maestro, but people are calling him a hack, which is ridiculous. Does he have his own opinions about what the best policies are, what the best goals for our policies are? Absolutely. Sometimes what he thinks tends to favor Democrats, sometimes Republicans. More often Republicans. That doesn't make him a hack. If he were to lie about or distort what he thinks is best for the country for the benefit of a party, then he'd be a hack. When he opposes something you support, or supports something you oppose, he merely has a different opinion. Perhaps he's wrong, perhaps he's right, but all indications are that he is a man of integrity. Let's not treat as a god as some have, but he is due some respect for what he's accomplished.

Media bias I can get behind

Somehow I doubt these pictures are respresentative, but I can live with that.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Bork comes out in favor of "institutionalized murder, torture, mind-control, and impoverishment (over) Sunday shopping, rap music, sit-coms". Even being charitable about what he meant, this is awful. Boudreaux's right, whether or not the tactics and motivation for blocking his nomination were good, I'm very glad he was blocked.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


I still don't know what exactly are the conditions on the draft pick that the Celtics gave up, but there are some, and that's enough. Given that they've resigned Payton, I now love the trade's possibilities for this year. I also have rethought my concern about how the trade will affect the young players development, as a month and a half of somewhat less playing time shouldn't hurt them too much, and watching and practicing and playing with the vets should benefit them, plus a playoff run would be good for them, even if they mostly sit on the bench during it. If I had known how likely this sequence of events was, I'd have supported the trade originally, but when someone mentioned the possibility it seem so far-fetched that Payton would come back that I dismissed it. With him back they no longer have questions at the point guard spot and Antoine's presence helps the backup PGs play without being overwhelmed. Then there's the energy that Antoine has brought with him. Wow. I knew he could be a catalyst, but I didn't realize it would be like this. If he keeps concentrating on low post play, rebounding, and defense to complement the athletes and perimeter players they have, this team can beat anyone in the East in a 7 game series. They probably can't beat the Spurs if they both make it to the Finals, but anyone else in the league is beatable. My guess is the Celtics will win one series and lose a good battle in the second round, as the Pistons and Heat are still better, but the potential for more is definitely there.


Testt you'r noleg of the inglish langwidg (via Noodlefood). I scorrd a 100% Beginner, 86% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 77% Expert. Though the site seems to not understand percentiles, as it says I outscored 100% of people in my age range in all four categories. It probably means 0% outscored me, as I'm not a supergenius. Or are I?


Stopping Coase in action, or protecting their poorer students? The argument against class squatting does seem good to me, but I'm pretty sympathetic to the markets in everything idea.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Econ 101

Productivity rose 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2004, prompting some hand-wringing in DB's comment section. Here is (are?) my two cents, let me know if it's helpful or incoherent:

Imagine aliens come to Earth. Their technology, industrious and ingenuity are all vastly superior to ours (i.e., they are far more productive), and so are vastly richer than we are. Anything we can produce they can produce far more cheaply. They are benevolent and want to trade with us to mutual advantage, but because they are so productive, we have nothing to offer them. Will all of our industries close shop, leaving everyone unemployed? No, we will go on doing what we’ve always done and continue making all of the things we’ve made. We won't wind up trading with the aliens, so we just live our economic lives like before. (Economists: I know comparative advantage would mean we’d benefit from the situation, but I’m keeping it simple for non-economists, comparative advantage is a lesson for another day). This is what I think of when people complain about free trade or rising productivity. As long as we don't start a war or something like that, the worst case scenario is that we don’t gain anything.


Blurbs for sale (via the Door). Fave: Makes other bibles look like fucking horseshit. - $2.50

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Un be fucking lievable.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Numbers bad?

Well, not bad, but overly relied on, to the detriment of good economics.


You know that US companies treat foreign workers poorly when they violently strike. For more hours.

Things aren't as bad as you think

they're better. I loved the exchange with Dobbs where he declared that a business should close it needs to outsource some of its work overseas. You know, because he wants to save jobs.

Things aren't as bad as you think

they're worse (go through his links).

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Probably not the intent...

but I actually think this might be a good way to reduce the number of suicide bombers. The 'people' who commit these crimes don't care about their victims, at least not much, but they probably do care about their families. Show the consequences that their actions have on the people they care about. I'm not saying it would have a huge impact, but perhaps some. Of course, I don't know if the people committing the crimes watch much tv, but some do, right?

Tangled history

The Globe has a pretty interesting (to me anyway) piece on disputed contributions to Nobel Prize winning chemistry.