Thursday, June 30, 2005

Happy Birthday Dr. Sowell

Thomas Sowell, the columnist and economics professor is celebrating his 75th birthday today. I'll raise a beer for you tonight! I was going to anyway, now I have an excuse.

Silly Advice Column O' the Day

From Slate's Dear Prudence advice column (yes, I read it, for which I am eternally embarassed).

Dear Prudie,I go to a college that borders a small town. I get my hair cut at a local "mom and pop" barbershop, which not only does an excellent job but makes me feel like I am supporting the community. The alternative is a nearby city mall and chain store. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I've been told by a friend that the barber who cuts my hair is, or was, a member of the KKK, a group that I naturally despise. Apparently, my friend overheard him talking about it to someone else. I trust him, but it is possible that he misheard. I would like to avoid a confrontation with the barber, which would be ugly, no matter what. Should I cease my business relationship?
—Neatly trimmed

All I can say is, it is a good thing it is just his/her barber, and not someone important, like say, a United States Senator.

Semper Fi Midshipman!

An interesting story in the Washington Post on a plebe at the Naval Academy. Not your typical freshman class. Not your typical Freshman.

"Eyes straight ahead, all the time!" the upperclassman barked.

Were it not for the silver-dollar-size scar on the inside of his elbow, the legacy of an AK-47 round, Jeffery Walker would look like any other freshman trying to survive the wrenching induction into the U.S. Naval Academy.

The wiry 20-year-old from Conover, N.C., calmly complied, following the yellow line taped to the floor of Alumni Hall on Tuesday. It marked the path to his new uniforms, to doctors' needles, to instructions on a proper salute and, ultimately, to becoming an officer.

Walker knows that no matter how exacting the next four years may be, no one will be shooting at him. Nor will he watch his fellow Marines spill blood on the streets of Fallujah.
"It won't be Iraq," he said.

Walker is part of a small but growing demographic of incoming cadets and midshipmen at the nation's service academies: combat veterans. He has the scar and the Purple Heart to prove it.

Ward Watch

Ward Churchill is defending himself in the Denver Post against a recent speech he made in which he suggested fragging officers (something I take a bit personally). His defense is that he was not advocating such an act, merely "sparking discussion" Hat tip Michelle Malkin.

Controversial University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill says he does not advocate "fragging" U.S. military officers in spite of how recent comments he made have been portrayed.

Churchill, speaking at an anti- military forum in Portland, Ore., military remarks

"Conscientious objection removes a given piece of the cannon fodder from the fray," he said. "Fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect."

His remarks were posted Sunday on the Pirate Ballerina blog site, which carries mostly anti- Churchill content. On Wednesday, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly played a tape of the remarks.

Reached at his home in Boulder County on Wednesday night, Churchill said the comments were made merely to spark discussion and not to take a position on fragging, which is the killing or injuring of an officer in combat by a subordinate.

He said that his remarks were being taken out of context and sensationalized in an effort to drive him from his job as a CU professor.

"I neither advocated nor suggested to anyone, anything," Churchill said. "I asked them to think about where they stood on things."

While it may be true that he posed this sentence in the form of a question, is that really a defense? Remember, Larry Summers caused quite a stir, one could even say an uproar, for asking the question, of whether men and women have differences in their congnitive abilities. He didn't advocate that position, he merely asked the question. A better question is, why does Ward even think this is an issue that needs to be raised for discussion?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Back to the Krugman Bashing

After saying relatively nice things about him yesterday I must equal out the whole yin-yang thing. Marginal Revolution has a great post on the distinguished professor and his desertion of the principles of liberalism. It even includes more Adam Smith references. Although I can't believe I am linking to a post which praises Brad DeLong...

Supreme Court Karma

I can only avoid discussing the Kelo decision for so long. In my opinion (and apparently I am not the only one) it is probably the worst decision since Dred Scott. So it made this story rather amusing. I am not sure if anything will become of it, but we can always dream.

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

The Chief Manifesto

Since I have been posting on economic issues lately, I figured I would discuss some of my basic economic theories in more depth. So here is my list of principles, in the proud tradition of Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman and Karl Marx… OK, scratch that last guy.

1. Globalization is good… and inevitable. Like it or not the world is getting smaller (I will avoid using the term flatter as Thomas Friedman has already beaten that analogy to death). While this obviously causes a lot of dislocation in the workplace, it is a net good, both for providing cheaper goods and services to Americans, and spreading the benefits of both the industrial and post-industrial economy to the world. What this means in the short term for Americans is keep on your toes. I would aim for either a high end job, such as a doctor, lawyer, manager, something that is so indispensable that it can’t be outsourced, or some type of skilled laborer such as a carpenter or a plumber. Someone in Bangalore can’t fix your toilet. Whether you like it or not, there is no future in American industry putting together widgets for $5.25 an hour.

2. Corporations will profit. With globalization, efficiencies of scale and increasing productivity due to technology, large corporations will largely benefit. Yes, consumers will also benefit, but not as much as those who control the means of production (how Marxist of me). But this leads into point #3.

3. Capital is becoming democratized. One of the main flaws in Marxist theory is the assumption that classes are immutable, the bourgeoisie and proletariat will never meet. The fact is, in this day and age, the working class and investing class are becoming one and the same. At least they should be. Everyone now has access to cheap home financing (a very beneficial investment for most people), 401(K)’s, on-line brokerages, and mutual funds. The only things keeping them from engaging in these investment activities are education and foresight. As I mentioned previously, the corporations are going to be making more money, the best way for the average person to keep up is to become stockholders in these very corporations. The ultimate Marxist revenge if you ask me.

4. Government will get bigger. Be as libertarian as you like, but with increasing urbanization and population growth, the size of the government will inevitably get bigger. Who else is going to manage our increasingly complex infrastructure? It is up to us to put a check on this, to ensure it grows in the most efficient manner, and with the least intrusion into our rights as possible.

5. Natural resources will get more expensive. I am not one of those pessimists who are saying that in 20 years we will be out of oil in some sort of Mad Max post-apocalyptic wasteland, but the fact is this is the only planet we have. The allocation, use, and conservation of natural resources will become increasingly more important. We will only succeed through increasing innovation in applying knowledge, rather than the brute force of resources to the problem. Also included in this is real estate. They aren’t creating any more land. If you want a 4 bedroom house on a half acre within easy commuting distance of downtown, it is going to cost you, and keep costing you more. Deal with it.

More later, as flashes of brilliance hit me...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

I want to say first of all, as a veteran (still on reserve duty though) I believe our veterans deserve all the support they can get. I don't believe, however, that we should lie and distort statistics in order to get it. One thing I have noticed recently is the relentless attack on President Bush accusing him of "cutting veterans benefits". While certain programs may have been cut, on the whole this is not true, in fact it is a blatant lie. One good resource to go to on this is

Patty Murray recently added to this by her theatrical attempts to get VA benefits increased as part of an "emergency supplemental" bill. Now you might be able to make a case we need to increase benefits, but this is an ongoing cost, not an emergency. In an attempt to make her case Senator Murray makes the following statement.

When adjusted for inflation, the VA is spending 25 percent less per patient than it did in fiscal year 2000. This is having a big impact on patients – and on VA healthcare personnel.

Now this gives the impression that the VA is making massive cuts in patient care. 25% is a huge drop of course. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the OMB, since 2001 spending on VA benefits has increased 50%, from $45 billion to a projected $68 billion in 2006. So how is Senator Murray coming up with this 25% decrease? Because the number of patients being treated by the VA has increased dramatically! According to the VA themselves, an increase of 22% between 2001 and 2005. The administration has increased the number of benefits, so more veterans are using them, often for minor problems which weren't covered before, thus decreasing the average expenditure per patient. See the aforementioned article for more details. This is per patient mind you, not per veteran. The actual number of veterans has been going down for the last 30 years, as the 16 million veterans of WWII die off.

So incredibly Senator Murray is able to present a massive increase in veterans' benefits as a massive cut. A simply amazing abuse of statistics.

More Bad Economics in the NY Times

I noticed this Nicholas Kristof article on Economics Unbound, a blog by economist Michael Mandel of Businessweek, in which Kristof makes the following claim:

President Bush has excoriated the "death tax," as he calls the estate tax. But his profligacy will leave every American child facing a "birth tax" of about $150,000.

Mandel takes issue with the fact that this number is misleading, since Kristof is not taking into account the offsetting large income that this future child may earn, a legitimate argument, but I will leave that discussion to him. The problem I have with this claim is, where is he coming up with the "birth tax" of $150,000? The national debt per capita (he spends most of the article talking about the debt) is only about $25,000, a considerable number, but only 1/6 the amount he mentions (and less than half that of the equivilant Japanese baby).

So what accounts for the other $125,000? Is he just making it up? After an extensive Internet search I finally found a Democratic web site which talked about a $124,000 "birth tax". How did they come up with that number though? By adding in possible projected shortfalls in future programs such as social security and medicare!

Is this really the way he came up with this huge number, by adding in possible future liabilities? What a ridiculous leap of logic. By the same absurd logic you could argue that every child is born with a $400,000 debt, because they probably at some point of their life will purchase a home. Or that Bush has given every child in America a $200,000 birthday present, figuring in the benefits of his tax cuts over their lifespan. I don't know what this is, but it ain't economics.

CAFTA Roundup

I just find it amazing that neolib anti-globalists and their ultra-right nationalist counterparts are so terrified of the economic threat that Honduras poses to us, that they are opposed to free trade with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. I have been reading up on the subject, and here are some good places to start.

Cafe Hayek posts a tribute to a Larry "Adam Smith" Kudlow article. I am reading "The Wealth of Nations" right now, so I found this interesting. Only 1100 pages to go, long book...

Thomas Friedman, who has published two prominent books on globalization with "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" and "The World is Flat." adds his column "We Are All French Now?"

Ah, those French. How silly can they be? The European Union wants to consolidate its integration and France, trying to protect its own 35-hour workweek and other welfare benefits, rejects the E.U. constitution. What a bunch of antiglobalist Gaullist Luddites! Yo, Jacques, what world do you think you're livin' in, pal? Get with the program! It's called Anglo-American capitalism, mon ami.

And finally, one of the best pro-globalization articles written, by none other than Paul Krugman (yes, that Paul Krugman) "In Praise of Cheap Labor" is still available out there on the web. This was from the days before he gave into the dark side.

John Walton, WalMart heir, dead at 58

Wal*Mart has been getting a lot of criticism lately, some of it deserved, some of it not. Most people don't know anything about the Walton family though. John Walton, who died in a plane crash recently, was actually a Green Beret in Vietnam. Blackfive has a good summary. As he comments, don't tell Charlie Rangel.

Monday, June 27, 2005

National Debt vs GDP

I commented on this subject a while ago. Now Scrivener has a much more in-depth posting. What is with Japan anyway?

Kenny told a funny

Ken Schram now says he was joking when he said that conservatives were genetically inferior, and that conservatives have no sense of humor. Ha-ha-ha-ha, I just couldn't stop laughing. Maybe Ken can find some other great material, perhaps about how Jews are genetically inferior, or even how men and women may have difference in cognitive abilities? This is such a hilarious topic after all...

Stupid Krugmanism of the Day

I will let others deal with the subject of Krugman's latest rantings, Marginal Revolution has a good wrap-up, but I was struck by the pure idiocy of the last paragraph. I can read the words, but what the hell is he trying to say?

If it were up to me, I'd block the Chinese bid for Unocal. But it would be a lot easier to take that position if the United States weren't so dependent on China right now, not just to buy our I.O.U.'s, but to help us deal with North Korea now that our military is bogged down in Iraq.

Is he implying that if our military were not involved in Iraq, then they would be free to invade North Korea? Is that his proposed solution? If we were not in Iraq would we not need to deal with North Korea? What exactly is the connection? One has the feeling that he is just throwing random thoughts on the page hoping to include Iraq in here somewhere. Additionally, is the fact that we are getting China involved in resolving our troubles with North Korea a bad thing. I thought "unilateralism" was a bad thing. Now multilateralism apparently is. Pure drivel...

Friday, June 24, 2005

The National Review imitates me

Well, OK, I actually got the Nancy Pelosi part of the story from the Drudgereport, but we won't get into that right now... In any case James S. Robbins has a pretty good piece on the meat of this story. Not the fact that Pelosi said this, but why she said this.

"The war in Afghanistan is over." — Nancy Pelosi.

Thank goodness!

It's over, finally over. I can't believe it. We got through it. The war is over! Drink in the moment. Savor it. Call your friends, break out the champagne, plan the parades. The troops are coming home. The war is over!

Or wait — maybe not...

Read the rest here.

Foreign Minister Krugman Emotes

Military analyst, and part-time economist, Paul Krugman weighs in with another emotion filled essay on Iraq and the evil Bush empire. Once again, things are disastrous, full of lies, arrogance, abuses of power, moral quagmires, and military collapses. You were expecting a denunciation of the Kolo Decision?


In this former imperial capital, every square seems to contain a giant statue of a Habsburg on horseback, posing as a conquering hero.

America's founders knew all too well how war appeals to the vanity of rulers and their thirst for glory. That's why they took care to deny presidents the kingly privilege of making war at their own discretion.

Ooh, what a grand imagery filled entrance. Someone has been reading his Frommer's guide. It is a good thing he wasn't in Srebrenica where every square contains a monument to the cowardice of western democracies to stand up to evil... but that is an aside. I just wonder where Krugman was when Congress passed a resolution authorizing the use of military force against Saddam, as opposed to "the kingly privilege of his own discretion"? He must have been off at lunch with Maureen Dowd or something.

It would have been an unprecedented abuse of power even if the war hadn't turned into a military and moral quagmire. And we won't be able to get out of that quagmire until we face up to the reality of how we got in.

Quagmire is of course the left's second favorite cliche on Iraq, next to "another Vietnam". And even better here we get the two for one quagmire, both a military and moral one. I am not sure how Krugman could claim we are in a moral quagmire though, since he insists there is no moral basis to the war to begin with. By his reasoning the moral imperative should be clear, not the complex predicament that constitutes a quagmire.

The administration has prevented any official inquiry into whether it hyped the case for war. But there's plenty of circumstantial evidence that it did.

Did he miss the nearly 600 page report on WMD intelligence leading up to the war? The distinguished professor must be too busy grading papers at Princeton to watch CNN.

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam," says the memo, "through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and W.M.D. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." It doesn't get much clearer than that.

Actually it does get much clearer than that. For example, if Krugman would bother to explain that "fixed around" in British English means "bolted on", or "attached" not "altered" as an American would commonly understand it.

Then some asserted that it was "old news" that Mr. Bush wanted war in the summer of 2002, and that W.M.D. were just an excuse. No, it isn't. Media insiders may have suspected as much, but they didn't inform their readers, viewers and listeners.

Actually they did, as the National Review pointed out recently, the London Observer used language in a news report on the run up to the war, which was almost identical to that in the memo. And this was 3 years ago. Krugman is out to lunch once again.

On the other, they still have moderates and even liberals intimidated: anyone who suggests that the United States will have to settle for something that falls far short of victory is accused of being unpatriotic.

Ah, that famous rhetorical device, the strawman. Nobody is questioning your patriotism, just your judgment.

UPDATE: Don Luskin has the Krugman Fisk summary, including me. I see his point about being picky dealing with this, but hey, somebody has got to do the dirty work.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Nancy Pelosi loses touch with reality

So the war is over Ms. Pelosi?

On Tuesday, Mrs. Pelosi and three other top Democrats called for a commission to investigate reported abuses of detainees from the war on terror. Mrs. Pelosi said it is past time that the administration established a policy on determining the fates of the detainees at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arguing that most are from Afghanistan and that the conflict there has ended.

"I assume that the war in Afghanistan is over, or is the contention that you have that it continues?" she said to a reporter. A few moments later, she said: "This isn't about the duration of the war. The war in Afghanistan is over."

Washington Times, June 23rd, 2005

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces surrounded a rebel hide-out in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, and the number of insurgents killed from three days of fighting rose to 102, the defense ministry said.

The battle was one of the deadliest since the Taliban's ouster more than three years ago and was sure to add to growing anxiety that an Iraq-style conflict is developing here.

Associated Press, June 23rd, 2005

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Durbin was right

An interesting look at this controversy, from Jonah Goldberg.

So how is Dick Durbin partly right? It is true, as Durbin claimed, that if he were to read the allegations about depriving prisoners of food or forcing them to defecate on themselves, many Americans would be reminded of the Nazis. But that’s because vast swaths of the public and their opinion leaders prefer to live in historical and moral ignorance. (As for thinking of Pol Pot’s killing fields or the Gulag, it’s unlikely, as neither gets a fraction of the attention it deserves.) In the circles frequented by the likes of Durbin — where Howard Dean is a statesman and Michael Moore deserves the Nobel Prize — evil must automatically be associated with “Nazi.”

So it goes in our political culture, where Nazi has become so synonymous with “bad” that all bad things must be Nazi-like — particularly if these bad things have been (allegedly) committed by the United States. Durbin could have compared the alleged abuses to the behavior of the French in Algeria or even to the police in Chicago 20 years ago, and he would have been far closer to the truth. But that just wouldn’t have had the oomph he was looking for — and it would have left too many people scratching their heads.

Iraq lessons learned

I caught this great post via the Mudville Gazette. If (when?) I get sent to Iraq I am going to make all my soldiers read it.

The Enemy:

The enemy is ANYTHING that prevents us from coming home on our own power and intact.
IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) are the #1 killer of troops.

IEDs are not "incidents", but the primary means of contact. It is an "ambush", and whether a "far ambush" (blow it from a distance and run) or a "near ambush" (blow the shot and have small arms fire with close-quarters marksmanship needed), regardless, it is not a random event. The enemy is patient, plans their attack, goes through all the recon and planning we do, and then targets who they hit.

The #2 killer is TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS!!! Everyone must keep this in mind. The up-armored HUMVEES turn and brake way differently, and are prone to tipping. "COMBAT DRIVING" means know your vehicle, use it as a weapons platform AND a weapon as needed, and be able move and communicate at all times... it does NOT mean "drive like the Dukes of Hazzard". As the CSM of the Army said, "Drive like NASCAR"... know you vehicle, keep the distances and speeds YOU need to be safe, and if needed, get under the opposition and put them into the wall. NOTE TO ALL: It is a * bad* idea to put your most junior people in as drivers and gunners, at least to do it all the time. Train them. We all need to be proficient with driving AND being a gunner AND using all the comms available AND navigating using * MAPS* and GPS

The #3 Killer: Failure to execute proper and FAST first responder duties. The difference between life and death is measured in seconds if someone is bleeding out. As just one example, if you get a tourniquet on someone in time, they live. If not, they die. Again, EVERYONE has to know this... .the designated "combat life saver" may be the one hit. It used to be they barred officers from CLS courses as "if the officer is busy doing this, they aren't doing their primary job". That has changed. Standardize where the vehicle response bag is. Have recovery drills, mounted and dismounted. Have MEDEVAC plans, to include if you have to lay people flat. The time to figure out how to change a tire, how to open a vehicle and clear the people AND sensitive items, how to cross load people is NOT while RPG are criss-crossing your area.

Read on here

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ken Schram disproves the theory of evolution

I have heard Ken Schram say some stupid things over the years, but this takes the cake. Hat tip LGF.

SEATTLE - Okay. Now I get it.

And because I do, I now have a better understanding for the likes of President Bush, Pat Robertson - even John Carlson.

They can't help themselves.

According to a new study published in the American Political Science Review, being politically conservative is, in part, a matter or genetics.

I've long wondered how an otherwise seemingly rational person could adhere so strictly to stilted ideologies; how they could be so consistently willing to smother a sense of social well-being.

It's merely a matter of having been dumped in the shallow end of the gene pool.

They're sorta like the puppy who piddles in the middle of the floor: They just don't know any better.

It continues, but I do not wish to waste anymore space on my blog on this drivel. I sent him the following letter in response (his e-mail address is available at the link)

Greetings from the shallow end of the gene pool

Dear Ken,

I am a software engineer from Bellevue. I am also a college graduate, future MBA student, and a National Guard officer who has served 2 overseas tours recently. Yes, I am a also a conservative. This is not the result of some genetic accident. I am proud to be a conservative. I am proud to take responsibility for myself, and not pawn my problems off on the government. I am proud to believe in traditional values, and even go to church without feeling ashamed for being old fashioned and superstitious. And I am proud to give up years of my life, and potentially put my life at risk, so that others may be free. I understand as a liberal you may not understand that, we all mock that which we cannot understand. But I do not hate you, I understand that your arrogance and simplemindedness are not your fault. You were just born that way.


PS I am posting a copy of this letter at my blog If you would like to post an apology. Come visit, you might learn something.

Don't let Homer find out about this

Enron was one thing, but now the corporate scandals are reaching into the very heart of America. Is nothing sacred?

Doughnut giant Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (KKD) Tuesday said six officers have left the company under pressure from a special board committee that is looking into accounting practices and other matters that are the subject of a federal probe.

Of course an optimist could just claim they were cutting the fat out of the company...

Warren Buffett Bankruptcy Watch

The Euro actually closed up slightly, but I still found this an interesting followup to this story.

This did not stop the euro falling 0.9 per cent to Y131.70 against the yen and 0.2 per cent to £0.6640 against sterling, although the shared currency did recover from intra-day lows to sit just 0.1 per cent lighter at $1.2137 against the US dollar.

Paul Chertkow, head of global currency research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, said a fresh impetus was needed to re-test the downside of the euro’s recent range, at $1.2020.
However, Mr Chertkow believes there are around $1bn worth of options in place below the $1.20 level, which could cause the euro to slide precipitously if triggered. “We would have real panic,” he says.

In this eventuality Mr Chertkow sees scope for the euro to fall as far as $1.10, or potentially, even parity against the dollar, led by euro-selling by US companies. “American corporates have insufficient hedging ratios to protect a move on the downside through $1.20,” he said. “This would cause American corporates to capitulate.”

Goldman Sachs also unveiled a gloomy prognosis for the euro yesterday. Thomas Stolper, global markets economist, calculated that repatriation flows under the US Homeland Investment Act had thus far been worth around $30bn-40bn and accounted for a 3 cent drop in the euro. Mr Stolper saw similar flows still to come, implying 3c more of euro weakness.

I had better start using my espresso machine

I am surprised this ran in the Seattle Times. Talk like this is heresy around here.

SEATTLE -- At a Starbucks across the street from Seattle University School of Law, Kirsten Daniels crams for the bar exam. She's armed with color-coded pens, a don't-mess-with-me crease in her brow and what she calls "my comfort latte."

She just graduated summa cum laude , after three years of legal training that left her $115,000 in debt. Part of that debt, which she will take a decade to repay with interest, was run up at Starbucks, where she buys her lattes.

The habit costs her nearly $3 a day, and it's one that her law school says she and legions like her cannot afford.

UPDATE: Oxblog has a hilarious Fisking of this story:
It's a sad tale, but true. The thrifty young student comes to campus in pursuit of knowledge, only be to led astray by casual sex, recreational drugs and the sweet aromas of the roasted coffee bean.

Hitchens on Conspiracy Theories

The Downing Street memo, should be the Downing Street dud. I am sorry, but the revelation that Bush was trying to force a showdown with Saddam and end the standoff one way or another, it had been going on for over 12 years after all, is hardly new. Christopher Hitchens covers this, as well as some other conspiracy theories, a favorite subject of mine.

But the main Downing Street document does not introduce us to any hidden or arcane or occult knowledge. As Fred Kaplan wrote in Slate last week, it explains no mystery. As protagonist Jim Dixon observes in another context in Lucky Jim, it is remarkable for "its niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems." On a visit to Washington in the prelude to the Iraq war, some senior British officials formed the strong and correct impression that the Bush administration was bent upon an intervention. Their junior note-taker committed the literary and political solecism of saying that intelligence findings and "facts" were being "fixed" around this policy.

Well, if that doesn't prove it, I don't know what does. We apparently have an administration that can, on the word of a British clerk, "fix" not just findings but also "facts." Never mind for now that the English employ the word "fix" in a slightly different way—a better term might have been "organized."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Krugman sycophancy watch

The good professor is interviewed by the Telegraph (a takedown on the facts of the article by Tim Worstall). The correspondent gushed over him like a lustful Berkeley undergrad. Geez guy, get a room.

Paul Krugman, the brilliant US economist...

With his soft voice and bearded smile, Paul Krugman looks just how a Princeton professor should look....

But throw this 52-year-old American a serious question and he clears his throat, looks you straight in the eye and bats back a ferociously intensive answer. For Krugman is no ordinary academic. He is arguably the most brilliant economist of his generation....

Krugman combines the virtues of a great economist - analytical clarity and profound respect for facts - with none of the usual caution. Talking to him is like sitting in an intellectual wind--tunnel....

Since then this shy man has emerged as one of America's most influential pundits. His reputation is based neither on a PhD thesis on flexible exchange rates nor on his well regarded textbook on economic principles. It stems instead from his grit and pellucid writing style....

Whether the economics profession likes it or not, he is now in the process of joining the very small number of economists in history - like John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman - who've combined academic brilliance with genuine popular appeal....

Don Luskin adds:

Paul Krugman is in London, mongering scare stories about how the American economy is being propped up by the housing market which is, in turn, being propped up by Chinese investment in T-bonds. What's propping up the Chinese econony? And what's propping up whatever is propping up the Chinese economy, and what's propping up that?

Which leads to a question I had about the Krugman interview where it states:

He keeps a close eye on the UK, so I ask him about our housing market too. An intake of breath. "Prices here are completely out of whack with the fundamentals," he says. "Across the UK as a whole, they look as over--inflated as in south Florida and California, the most bubblicious parts of the US".

Krugman goes for the kill. "Interest rates here are a bit higher, so there is some room for manoeuvre," he says. "But if this bubble bursts, the UK economy is in very deep trouble."

If the Chinese are propping up the US housing market, then who is propping up the UK housing market?

This is what good money management can get you

OK, the expired meat might be a bit much, but I might have to show this to the wife...

HOUSTON — A retired public school teacher who was so frugal that he bought expired meat and secondhand clothing left $2.1 million for his alma mater, Prairie View A&M — the school's largest gift from a single donor.

Whitlowe R. Green, 88, died of cancer in 2002. He retired in 1983 from the Houston Independent School District, where he was making $28,000 a year as an economics teacher.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The AP continues myths about blacks in the military

Via CNN today:

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Nancy Carroll didn't know schools were giving military recruiters her family's contact information until a recruiter called her 17-year-old granddaughter.

That didn't sit well with Carroll, who believes recruiters unfairly target minority students. So she joined activists across the country who are urging families to notify schools that they don't want their children's contact information given out.

"People of color who go into the military are put on the front line," said the 67-year-old Carroll, who is black.

But this simply isn't true. In fact it is whites that are disproportionately represented on the front lines. Even if it were true, so what, is it supposed to be a bad thing that minorities are given more opportunities! Here is a good rundown of the truth on this issue.

Does Gary Trudeau know anything about history?

Today's Doonesbury has a continuing skit about a CIA "torture" class, in which one of the students asks.

Yeah, sir, I am a bit confused, World War II was a "new type of war" too, over 50 million people were killed. Yet somehow we managed to defeat a lawless enemy without resorting to torture. What is the difference between now and then?

To which the instructor replied with the punchline.

A spineless president.

Now I understand that this is just a comic strip, but presumably Trudeau is trying to make a serious comparison here, therein lies the humor. The fact is though, that there was torture and abuse of prisoners by US and Allied troops in WWII, just like there are in all wars, unfortunately. Given the scale of the war, the abuses were way beyond what we see now, there just wasn't any handwringing self flagellation over it. There were even cases of enemy prisoners being shot on site, but it was overlooked as just the unfortunate side effects of a bloody war.

The biggest irony of this lies in the fact that people are going crazy over the internment of 500 or so terrorists, captured on foreign battlefields and placed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Amnesty International hyperbolically called it "the gulag of our times". Senator Durbin compared it to Nazi Germany and Pol Pot. But what did this "spineless president" FDR do during WWII? He interned over 100,000 Japanese Americans, for years at a time, all without charges! I guess Mr. Trudeau forgot about that part.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Well how else do you expect us to interpret it Sean?

I saw this on LGF. Somehow I doubt if people were running through Washington D.C. chanting "Death to Iran" he would fault Iran for taking it literally. Heck, we are considered racists if we merely make the observation that terrorists tend to be Muslims.

The actor, who visited Iraq' name before and after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and wrote an account of his second trip for the Chronicle, has largely declined to talk to the media since arriving in Iran.

But he told a film student during a visit to Iran's Film Museum in Tehran on Monday that the "Death to America" slogan chanted each week at Friday Prayers hurt Iran-U.S. relations.

"I understand the nature of where it comes from and what its intention is," he said. "But I don't think it's productive because I think the message goes to the American people and it is interpreted very literally."

Inflation and the Euro

The National Review has a rather interesting, albeit somewhat technical (part of my grad school prep), article on the Euro as a case study for the effect of monetary supply and economic activity on inflation. I have always maintained that Greenspan, although he has done a pretty good job, is way too paranoid about wage pressure's effect on inflation, and as a result helped cause the 2001 recession through excessive rate hikes. This article doesn't address that directly, but I feel somewhat vindicated.

Even though inflation is undeniably a monetary phenomenon, a shocking number of policymakers at the Federal Reserve and other institutions ’round the globe still cling to the view that “too much” economic activity is the culprit. For them, inflation’s akin to steam issuing from the radiator of an overheated engine. Thankfully, a test of the thesis is now readily available in the form of Nobel laureate economist Robert Mundell’s invention — the euro.

In sharing a common currency, the dozen member states of Europe’s Economic & Monetary Union (EMU) are governed by the same monetary policy (much like the 50 states of the U.S.), but this uniformity doesn’t stretch to all policy matters. The economic, regulatory, and fiscal regimes of EMU countries, while reflecting certain unifying directives from Brussels, don’t necessarily align, and the differences, particularly as regards taxation, often bear directly on economic growth. The eurozone thus can serve as a sort of proving ground of economic and monetary theory.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

No grade inflation here

They may have some smart kids, but come on, there is no way that 10% of your graduates should have a 4.0, for their entire high school existence!

Back in the day, class valedictorian was the standout scholar of the senior class, the acknowledged brain.

This year's 406-member graduating class at Garfield High School features 44 valedictorians. Forty-four students with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages who, over seven semesters of mostly honors and Advanced Placement classes, have never earned less than an A.

Even for a school with a reputation as an academic powerhouse, it's a record number: Last year Garfield had 30 valedictorians; the year before, 27.

Skeptics say that so many students with perfect 4.0 GPAs is evidence of grade inflation; admirers say it's the product of smart, hard-working students at a school that encourages academic success.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What is it with getting an economics PhD that makes you an idiot moonbat

First Krugman and DeLong, now this guy.

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7. Reynolds, who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas and is now professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said, "If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling."

Check out his stunning writings here. Where among other things he makes the following claims:

The Report never confronts 9/11 skeptics on any issue, like, say, a Boeing 757 (American Airlines Flight 77) allegedly crashing into the first floor of the Pentagon and completely disappearing without a trace on the lawn through a hole in the wall no bigger than 18 feet in diameter.

Let me ask you dear readers, does this look like no bigger than 18 feet in diameter?


And then this gem:

And why did the South Tower collapse 29 minutes earlier than North Tower, despite being hit 17 minutes later? No explanation.

Uhh, here is an explanation, the plane struck the south tower at a lower point than the north tower, thus more weight was on the damaged area, causing it to buckle earlier. Of course this explanation requires complex scientific knowledge of such arcane subjects such as GRAVITY, which apparently the professor cannot grasp.

Take this picture for example. Keep in mind that those vertical gray stripes are supporting beams for the building, not just the wall. The WTC was unique in that much of its supporting structure was on the exterior of the building. Observe the airplane shaped hole where all the beams are missing, severed by the airplane's impact. Keep in mind that it was travelling over 500MPH and the plane continued clear to the other side of the building, ejecting debris out the other side and obviously causing a lot of damage in between.


We have been worried about the state of higher education as it relates to the students. Maybe we should start worrying about the professors?

UPDATE Texas A & M makes a statement clarifying Mr. Reynold's (I won't honor him with the term Dr.) status. Maybe there is hope for academia in America.

The following is a statement from Texas A&M University regarding recent news reports about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11.

Dr. Morgan Reynolds is retired from Texas A&M University, but holds the title of Professor Emeritus-an honorary title bestowed upon select tenured faculty, who have retired with ten or more years of service. Additionally, contrary to some written reports, while some faculty emeriti are allocated office space at Texas A&M, Dr. Reynolds does not have an office on the Texas A&M campus. Any statements made by Dr. Reynolds are in his capacity as a private citizen and do not represent the views of Texas A&M University. Below is a statement released yesterday by Dr. Robert M. Gates, President of Texas A&M University:

"The American people know what they saw with their own eyes on September 11, 2001. To suggest any kind of government conspiracy in the events of that day goes beyond the pale.”

UPDATE 2: An LGF reader pointed out who Dr. Gates used to work for. Let the conspiracy theories begin! Err... continue...

UPDATE 3: FEMA Another great source of info on the WTC collapse.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Businessweek on upward mobility

In contrast to Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong's shrill fact challenged hysterics on the demise of the middle class, Businessweek has a good commentary on recent gains for all Americans.

Here's what we do know: Over the past decade, virtually every traditionally disadvantaged group made gains in absolute terms. Take, for example, families headed by immigrants who entered the country in the 1980s. The poverty rate for such families dropped sharply, from 26.6% in 1995 to 16.4% in 2003, the latest numbers available. Similarly, a combination of welfare reform and tight labor markets helped drive down the poverty rate for female-headed households with children from 46.1% in 1993 to 35.5% in 2003. That may not seem like much, but it beats the total lack of progress in the previous decade. And a new book, Moving Up or Moving On: Who Advances in the Low-Wage Labor Market?, uses a new set of data to look at the wage history of a group of low-earning workers from 1993 to 2001. Adjusted for inflation, those people saw their average earnings more than double over those nine years.

Christopher Hitchens on torture and more

One of the coherent liberals, in the interest of equal time.

The forces of al-Qaida and its surrogate organizations are not signatory to the conventions and naturally express contempt for them. They have no battle order or uniform and are represented by no authority with which terms can be negotiated. Nor can they claim, as actual guerrilla movements like the Algerian FLN have done in the past, to be the future representatives of their countries or peoples. In Afghanistan and Iraq, they sought to destroy the electoral process that alone can confer true legitimacy, and they are in many, if not most, cases not even citizens of the countries concerned. Their announced aim is the destruction of all nonbelievers, and their avowed method is indiscriminate and random murder. They are more like pirates, hijackers, or torturers—three categories of people who have in the past been declared outside the protection of any law.

More on income inequality

Powerline complete decimates Krugman on this issue. If he were a prisoner, Amnesty International would be complaining about this one.

I can't resist this parting shot: Krugman writes darkly that "Since 1980 in particular, U.S. government policies have consistently favored the wealthy at the expense of working families..." Let's test Krugman's thesis by referring to his apparent gold standard, the Census Bureau's median family income data. Let's refer to the data for "Married Couple-Families" to avoid the demographic distortion described above. Here are the numbers: during the decade from 1970 to 1980, median income rose 13.4% in constant 2003 dollars. During the twenty years beginning in 1980, median income rose an average of 13.5% per decade. Which shows, I guess, how government policies devastated the middle class beginning in the last year of the Carter administration.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Paul Krugman continues his nostalgia

Krugman is nostalgic for the wonderful days of the 70s again, as Econopundit points out. Makes you wonder if he also misses disco and bellbottom jeans. I discussed this earlier here, and here.

Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947 and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of that gain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or working longer hours, not rising wages.

Maybe Professor Krugman has never heard of the concept of diminishing marginal return. I don't have an economics PhD, but doesn't it stand to reason that as an economy develops through industrialization, its rate of growth would diminish? That is why China is able to attain growth rates pushing 10%, while the US is doing good at 4%. Why doesn't the good professor compare our income growth with equivalent economies over the last 30 years. Say Europe for example. Once again, I will post this easy to read graph, without any "shaping, slicing and selectively presenting data", and would someone please explain to me how things are getting worse for the American worker.

Unemployment Rate by Month 1975-2005

UPDATE: Some other good posts on this article. Brainster and Just One Minute.
UPDATE 2: I was thinking about this claim "But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of that gain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or working longer hours, not rising wages. " With a focus on the working longer hours part. I checked out the BLS, and although I could not find the exact numbers I was looking for, but I did find this comparison, titled "On the decline of average weekly hours worked" for a relatively equivalent time period, 1964-1999.
The Current Population Survey (CPS) shows that there has been little change in average weekly hours worked; from 1964 to 1999, there was a decline of 0.5 percent in the average weekly hours at work in nonagricultural industries.
The CES shows an even bigger decrease, which the author says is misleading. I will try and find more recent numbers, but regardless this does not indicate a rise in working hours which would partially explain away a 22% gain in average income.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Stolen Valor: The Iraq Years?

Just this Tuesday I finished reading B. G. Burkett's excellent book Stolen Valor, which describes how, for various reasons, anti-war groups created the myth that large amounts of Vietnam veterans suffer from PTSD, and as a result are ticking time bombs on the edge of mass murder. Burkett, through some detailed research described how so called Vietnam veterans used this as an excuse for their crimes, such as murder, assault and rape, even though many of them were not even veterans, had never been to Vietnam, or had been assigned to relatively safe non-combat jobs. After reading this I asked myself how long it would take before "soldiers" real or imagined would start blaming the Iraq war for their problems and misdeeds.

Well, the answer is two days. On the way to the gym tonight I hear Brian Suits discuss this case on KVI.

TACOMA, Wash. -- A man accused of raping a woman who was working as an escort is blaming his behavior on his experience as a soldier in Iraq, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reported.

Dagan Walters, 27, of Olympia, arranged to meet a call girl at a Tacoma motel, police said.

He allegedly took her captive at knifepoint, taped her mouth shut and raped her.

She escaped by grabbing the knife and fleeing the motel room.

His defense attorney said when Walters came home from the war in Iraq, he suffered post traumatic stress and alcohol abuse.

Walters' family is trying to get him admitted to a veterans' hospital.

I looked his name up on Army Knowledge Online, which basically lists everyone in the Army, active or reserve, and it had no listing of his name. But it is possible he is (was) a Marine, or is not listed for some other legitimate reason. So I have no way to know definitively whether his story is true or not, although I have a hard time buying the story that being in Iraq causes you to call up prostitutes, assault, and rape them, but hopefully the prosecuter, and the media will investigate this guy and find out whether his story is true or not. More likely it will come down to bloggers or people like Mr. Burkett. Burkett describes how to request info on people through the Freedom of Information Act here, provided you know enough about the person. Regardless, someone has to keep people like this from besmirching the good name of the soldiers who sacrificed so much in Iraq and other wars.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

It couldn't have happened to a nicer liberal billionaire

I caught this story on Man Without Qualities. With the recent sharp drop of the Euro against the dollar, after a longer and larger run up, one story that hasn't really been covered much is the role of currency speculators in this. Well, when things were going well they made money, but there should be some interesting numbers at the end of the next couple of quarters. From Forbes:

Warren Buffett's vote of no confidence in U.S. fiscal policies is up to $20 billion. The dollar has fallen savagely against the euro for the past three years, and the trade deficit is running $55 billion a month. Is the currency rout over? Can the trade deficit be fixed with a rise in interest rates or an upward revaluation of the Chinese currency? Warren Buffett, the world's most visible dollar bear, says the answer to both these questions is no. His bet against the dollar, reported at $12 billion in his last annual report (for Dec. 31, 2003), has gotten all the bigger.

Now his Berkshire Hathaway has a $20 billion bet in favor of the euro, the pound and six other foreign currencies. Buffett has for a long time been lecturing fellow Americans about their bad habit of borrowing from abroad to live well today. He made a big stink about his currency trades in his March 2004 letter to shareholders. FORBES phoned him recently for an update, hoping for the news that the Scold of Omaha had softened his views on the decline of the dollar. What we got was more doom and gloom, more than we have ever heard from the man. In other words, he is not about to cover his short position on the dollar.

Right now the Euro is right above the $1.20 mark that Buffett said he stopped buying at, but if recent trends continue, well, Paul Allen might regain his position as the world's second richest man.

Floyd McKay continues his journalistic flexibility

Once again, the journalism professor emeritus continues his loose connection to the facts in the Seattle Times, see my earlier post here. In his latest article he concludes with what has been all too common in the mainstream media nowadays, a gratutious attack on their biggest threat, blogging.

Journalism students, at least in my experience, are less interested in hard-scrabble reporting and more interested in supporting roles. Just as Watergate fired up a generation of would-be investigators, so has the Internet attracted a generation that would rather work online than by knocking on actual doors and talking to actual sources.

Revival of the Watergate story reminds us that no amount of blogging and Web browsing can replace face-to-face contact with real sources, and no portfolio of computer expertise rivals an inquiring and skeptical mind and just plain hard work.

This is all too ironic, because a few paragraphs earlier, McKay makes the following statement, which a quick Internet search proves to be rather inaccurate, one could even say false.

Investigative reporting is practiced, and practiced well, at a handful of major newspapers and magazines. Seymour Hersh, who uncovered the Mai Lai massacre in 1969, revealed the Abu Ghraib scandal 35 years later for The New Yorker.

Yes, Hersh wrote about Abu Ghraib in the New Yorker, but as Hersh himself explained in that very article, he did not "reveal" the scandal, it was 60 minutes that did so.

After the story broke on CBS last week, the Pentagon announced that Major General Geoffrey Miller, the new head of the Iraqi prison system, had arrived in Baghdad and was on the job.

In fact it was ironically Mary Mapes, that very same 60 Minutes producer who produced the famous "fake but accurate" Bush Air National Guard memo. But even that isn't entirely accurate, since CNN had reported several months earlier that the Army was investigating reports of abuse, including pictures of detainees. The Mudville Gazette (yes, those evil bloggers) has a good round up of this story. Perhaps in the modern media world overhyping and publicizing a story is now the same as breaking it, or perhaps Mr. McKay should spend more time "blogging and web browsing" Maybe then he could get his stories straight?

UPDATE: For an example of Seymour Hersh's "well practiced" investigative reporting techniques, check out this story.

There are two Hershes, really. Seymour M. is the byline. He navigates readers through the byzantine world of America’s overlapping national-security bureaucracies, and his stories form what Hersh has taken to calling an “alternative history” of the Bush administration since September 11, 2001.

Then there’s Sy. He’s the public speaker, the pundit. On the podium, Sy is willing to tell a story that’s not quite right, in order to convey a Larger Truth. “Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people,” Hersh told me. “I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.”

One more reason Europe is doomed

I am sorry, maybe I am one of those Neanderthal American neo-cons, but there is no way I am putting on a pink flowered shirt.

PARIS (AFP) - Macho man is an endangered species, with today's male more likely to opt for a pink flowered shirt and swingers' clubs than the traditional role as family super-hero, fashion industry insiders say.

A study along these lines led by French marketing and style consultants Nelly Rodi was unveiled to Fashion Group International during a seminar Tuesday on future strategy for the fashion industry in Europe.

"The masculine ideal is being completely modified. All the traditional male values of authority, infallibility, virility and strength are being completely overturned," said Pierre Francois Le Louet, the agency's managing director.

Instead today's males are turning more towards "creativity, sensitivity and multiplicity," as seen already in recent seasons on the catwalks of Paris and Milan.

The Jayson Awards

Don Luskin's Jayson Awards are out for the worst examples of Paul Krugman's writings. I entered but didn't win. Damn, I wanted a free Krugman Truth Squad sweatshirt for B school, all I got was a consolation e-mail from Don.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Would anyone die for Europe?

I have found the European soldiers that I have worked with competent, if not overly motivated. Let's face, it is hard enough to get people to sacrifice and die for their own country, much less the vague notion of a "European Union" Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister says they will die for Europe.

BERLIN, June 6 - Does Europe have a soul? Would anybody die for Europe?

Germany's foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, was asked those questions the other day by an American wondering whether the rejection of the European Union's constitution in France and the Netherlands last week meant that the European Union lacked a core, that it could never be to its citizens what the United States is to Americans.

"European soldiers," Mr. Fischer said, answering the question about who dies for Europe. European soldiers are facing danger in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo, he continued, speaking at a forum at the American Academy in Berlin. They are there as members of national contingents, but they are serving a wider interest - Europe's.

"There is a soul," Mr. Fischer said. "There is a sprit. And people die for Europe, and have died."

The truth is though, that European casualties have been minimal for all 3 of those operations, and none were a result of combat operations. It took the EU 9 years to get the courage up to take over SFOR operations in Bosnia. Ask the people of Srebrenica what they feel about the courage and capabilities of European peacekeepers.

Also keep in mind that several European countries, unlike the US still have compulsory military service. So they haven't had to worry about whether people wanted to die for the EU. In many cases, they had no choice.

Hillary Chimes In

Econopundit points out that now Hillary is commenting on how "people [are] staying unemployed longer". I'll have to check out if Brad DeLong is defending her. But once again, she is missing the point, that even if the average is up, the fact is considerably less people are unemployed for long amounts of time.

Percent Of Civilian Labor Force Unemployed 15 Weeks & over

John Kerry: Intellectual

No wonder he didn't want his records released. I thought Bush was supposed to be the dumb one. Although I always found it ironic that people criticize someone with a Harvard MBA as "dumb". Heck, I could only get into UW.

WASHINGTON -- During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.

But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.

In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D's in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years.

Let's not forget, he studied at a boarding school in Switzerland, and took summer vacations in France, where his family owned an estate. And this was the best he could manage ?!

His top score was a 79, in another political science course. Another of his strongest efforts, a 77, came in French class.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Journalism's evolving standards

A telling quote from the Okrent-Krugman wars.

On 6/8/04, I made a numerical mistake, reading from the wrong line in a table of tax rates during the Reagan years. Although the mistake didn’t change the column’s conclusions, I reluctantly issued a correction. But I forgot to use the word “correction,” which I hear got Mr. Okrent upset.

Now since Krugman admits that he made a mistake, innocent or otherwise, why was he "reluctant" to make a correction, or whatever he wants to call it?

The C3PO Award

Don Luskin is running a contest for the best (worst) Paul Krugman quote, in 6 different categories. Another reader suggested a 7th category, I propose a 8th, inspired by an Eidelblog post, the C3PO "We are doomed" award for paranoid negativism. Here are a couple I can come up with off hand.

"Without the Bush tax cuts, it would have been difficult to cope with the fiscal implications of an aging population. With those tax cuts, the task is simply impossible. The accident — the fiscal train wreck — is already under way."

"So what happens if the housing bubble bursts? It will be the same thing all over again, unless the Fed can find something to take its place. And it's hard to imagine what that might be. After all, the Fed's ability to manage the economy mainly comes from its ability to create booms and busts in the housing market. If housing enters a post-bubble slump, what's left?"

"But in any case it was Mr. Cheney, speaking last weekend, who gave us our first post-election hints about Mr. Bush's economic policy. And the news is not good. "

"For a generation Americans have depended on a superb volunteer Army to keep us safe - both from our enemies, and from the prospect of a draft. What will we do once that Army is broken?"

"Of course, the coming of the New Deal was hastened by a severe national depression. Strange to say, we may be working on that, too."

"But the American military isn't just bogged down in Iraq; it's deteriorating under the strain. We may already be in real danger: what threats, exactly, can we make against the North Koreans? That John Bolton will yell at them? And every year that the war goes on, our military gets weaker."

The only problem with this idea is how do you choose? There are too many possiblities, just about every column. Most of these are just from the last month.