Implied Dissent

Monday, January 26, 2009


Best customer complaint letter ever.


Krugman Watch

Mr. Krugman writes today in his column about bad-faith arguments against the stimulus plan. Fair enough, there are some bad and even dishonest arguments going around against it. However, he tells us that we should " as a dishonest flack" any person who compares the multi-year cost of the program and the one year estimated jobs effect. Very interesting, since that is exactly what he did back when he was arguing against the Bush tax cuts.

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A Good Start

I'm a hopeful skeptic on the new administration. While the actions taken in Pakistan make me nervous, I do have to give Obama a lot credit for doing something quite unusual, reducing his own power. Combined with the moves to close Gitmo and to increase transparency, I like it a lot.

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BSG Blogging

Yglesias takes on Dirk Benedict, aka Starbuck from the original Battlestar Galactica. As someone who is currently in the middle of season 3 of the new series and just finished watching all of the episodes from the original, I feel I can add a couple of things here. First off, the original wasn't "cheesy crap", it was a mixture of cheesy crap and cheesy excellence. Big difference. My two biggest surprises in watching the original are how little of it I remembered, and how much of it made it's way into the new series. Secondly, Yglesias declares the new Starbuck great. Clearly I've vastly overestimated the man's intelligence, or he has recently suffered a headwound. In my opinion, Starbuck/Stardoe is one of the worst parts of the new show; she's too derivative of the original, too gimmicky, and only played okay. I do acknowledge that the character and playing of the character have improved over the course of the series, at least to the point that I'm at with it.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Yet Again

Not content with merely leaving readers with the mistaken impression that Hoover cut spending, Mr. Krugman now outright lies about it in his Op-Ed from yesterday. Check the real numbers here. This is a key part of his defense of Keynesian economics and the idea that increasing government spending increases prosperity, and it is unequivocally untrue. The man has lost all credibility with me. Can they take back his Nobel?

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Thursday, January 22, 2009


Holy crap! Qaddafi writes a column in the NY Times about Israel that actually makes a lot of sense! Who knew?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Last Day!

This is it! Last day of the Bush presidency! Yeah! And, let me just say, I still think Congress should impeach him, even if there's a single minute left in his time as president.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK Day (observed)

Thought I'd keep it simple, and quote parts of his Loving Your Enemies speech:

[Y]ou love your enemies by beginning with a look at self.

For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful.

If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends.

Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Playoffs, Week 3

Last week I went 1-3, bringing me to 4-4 (both ways). Hmm. I do have to say, though, that some people are acting like the entire weekend was shocking, when I'd say that 2 of those 'upsets' were not shocking at all. Not what I expected, but easy to understand and not shocking. The Cards blowing out the Panthers in Carolina? Yes, that was shocking, but not the Eagles or Ravens winning.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals, Eagles favored by 1.5. The questions we have to ask are, are the Cards really this good? And can we trust the Eagles to not let up? Looking at the win in Carolina, I think the conclusion is more that the Panthers handed them the game than that Arizona won, though they did play well. However, I also think the Eagles won as much because of issues the Giants were having as because they played all that well. Looking at the whole season, the Cards did play quite well at home, while the Eagles' only quality road wins have been against Plaxless Giants and Tavaris Jackson. Hmm. If Boldin is effective I like this pick even more, but even without him I'm going with the Cards. Cardinals 23, Eagles 20.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers favored by 2. I like the Ravens. They have the best defense in the NFL, a QB who avoids mistakes (though he did get lucky a couple times last time), and excellent coaching. However, the Steelers D is nearly as good, their coaching is about equal and its QB is decidedly better. The key seems to me to be that the Ravens are based on power and are about average speed-wise, while the Steelers are decent power-wise but very fast. As such field conditions seem paramount, and the forecast is for cold and snow. As long as the snow is light the cold should make the footing good, favoring the hosts. Steelers 17, Ravens 13.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recommended reading

Mostly from or at Really a great site.
Raimondo (whom I was remiss in reading for a long stretch; what was I thinking?) had a good one Friday. I especially liked the counterfactual history thought-provoker.
Jimmy Carter's column on the current Gaza...mess.
Ron Paul's statement on the House floor.
And a UC Hastings professor on the question of war crimes.
I think a very important point to keep in mind here (by no means exonerating what the Gazans have done and are doing) is that Israel embargoed Gaza even through the truce period, and that is very much an act of war. I wish I could support either side of this conflict, but I really can't, the more I learn, the more I dislike both sides.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Playoffs, Week 2

Forgot to review my track record last time.
2008: 6-5 picking winners, 3-7-1 against the spread
2007: 7-4, 6-5
2006: 5-6, 5-6
2005: 8-3, 7-4
2004: 5-6, 2-8-1
2003: 8-3, 4-7
Totals: 39-27 picking winners (59%), 27-37-2 against the spread (42%).
Last week I went 3-1 both ways. Stupid Colts.
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans, Titans favored by 1. Flacco played decently last week (considering), and if he does it again I'm a believer. However, the Titans D is much better than Miami's, plus they're rested, and Baltimore is on short rest. Titans 20, Ravens 10.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, Panthers favored by 5.5. The Cardinals are a poor road team, especially when it has to travel, and Boldin is questionable. I look for Smith and Williams to have excellent games for the Cats. Panthers 27, Cardinals 14.
Philadelphia Eagles at NJ Giants, Giants favored by 1.5. Hardest call of the weekend. I believe that, at full strength, the Giants are a bit better. However, taking out Burress is a big deal, bigger than Westbrook being banged up. I still think the NJ Giants win, what with home field and the extra rest, but I could see a blowout either way. Giants 20, Eagles 17.
San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers favored by 2.5. Roethlisberger's health is the big question mark for this one. If he's fine, the Steelers will win easily. If not, and they take them too long to replace him, I could see the Chargers winning by a healthy margin. My best guess is he's fine, or fine enough, and the Steelers' D shuts down the Chargers offense, as Sproles finally finds a D he can't run around. Steelers 20, Chargers 13.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Legit Phobia

Looks like I was wrong, The Secret can actually make a huge difference in your life. Live and learn.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Econ Videos

You know how The Simpsons sometimes has fake old timey films that are really silly? Well, this pro-inflation propaganda old timey film is just like them. It's pretty awesome (other than being almost completely wrong) (via Cafe Hayek).
Also via CH, please watch this excellent 7 minute short on why Keynesianism is a canard.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Playoff Picks

The playoffs start today. Here are my (use at your own risk) picks:
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals, Falcons favored by 2. Like every other game this weekend, this one is a tossup. However, I think that people are somewhat underrating the Cardinals. They certainly aren't great, but they are good, especially at home. Throw in a rookie QB for the opposition, and I'm taking them. If I'm wrong, it'll likely be because of Atlanta's running game advantage, or because Matt Ryan continues to outperform reasonable expectations, but I think 'Zona's passing attack will carry the day. Cardinals 27, Falcons 20.
Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers, Colts favored by 3. A lot of people are really impressed by how the Chargers ended the regular season, but I think how their opponents played had as much to do with it as how the Chargers did. It is true that they generally play the Colts very well, and that the Colts great win streak included a lot of easy games, but they are also definitively playing very well. Manning's MVP award was well deserved. Add in LDT's injuries, and Norv Turner as San Diego's head coach, and I'm taking the Colts. Colts 27, Chargers 21.
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins, Ravens favored by 2.5. I think this is the toughest call. I'd say that Miami is the weakest team in the playoffs, but I like their QB, both RBs, the coaching and the rest of the team is solid. The Ravens have a pretty good offense, but it is lead by a rookie QB, and only decent RBs. If they could lean on the RBs more, they might get away with Flacco at the helm, but I suspect he'll follow in the footsteps of nearly every other rookie QB on the road in the playoffs and be shaky. Fortunately for Baltimore, that's probably just enough to pull it out, given their stellar defense. Ravens 16, Dolphins 13.
Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings, Eagles favored by 3. The Vikings are hampered by a terrible QB, but have a tremendous running game. Unfortunately, Philly has an excellent run defense, which I suspect will contain Peterson and Taylor (enough). On the other side, Minnesota's defense will also excel against the run, but Philly can take advantage of it through the air. I can't say I'd be shocked if Philly shits a brick, but I don't think it will happen. Eagles 27, Vikings 17.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Records Review

Happy New Year!
Going over my NFL predictions for this season, I see some excellent ones, and some terrible ones. First off, on average I was off by 2.75 wins per team. I consider a prediction that is off by 2 as being reasonably good and by 3 as poor, so I guess my average pick was mediocre. Best picks? Tampa Bay and Buffalo, both exactly right. Worst pick? Atlanta, off by 7 wins. Here I massively underestimated how good Matt Ryan would be and how much the improved coaching situation and generally improved organizational stability would help. Of course, most people made the same mistakes, so I don't feel too bad about it. Looking at all of my very bad picks (off by 5+ wins), I'd say that 5 were very defendable, and the other 2 were somewhat so. Out of all 32 calls, 14 times I had the direction correct (more or less wins in 2008), 4 times wrong, the rest I either predicted no change or there wasn't any (or both). For the playoffs, I picked 6 out of 12 correctly. Notably, both of my Super Bowl teams missed the payoffs, though I also note that Dallas missed by 1 win, and that my Pats tied the record for most victories without making the playoffs. Bottom line? I'm not very good at this, but I'm still going to do it. Playoff picks upcoming.

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