13 Aug 2009

Rothbard Anagram Time!

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Jesse Johnson emails me the following puzzles:

* Which Rothbard book title can be rearranged as, “Hot Celebrity Fetish”?

* Which Rothbard book title can be rearranged as, “Bitchiest Elf Theory”?

The first to answer correctly will receive satisfaction.

13 Aug 2009

Clash of the Think Tank Titans

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The National Association of Manufacturers puts out an estimate of the economic impacts of Waxman-Markey (cap & trade)… The “Wonk Room” at ThinkProgress (Yglesias’ stomping ground) puts a rosy spin on it… The wonks at IER put a dandelion spin on it… Excerpt from the IER rebuttal:

Because of this natural trend for secular growth, it would be quite shocking if U.S. GDP actually fell from the year 2009 through 2030. Maybe a return of the bubonic plague, or an attack on California’s fault line by Lex Luthor, could yield such utter devastation as to keep total output stagnant over such a long period. To give some historical context, recall that the great stock market crash occurred in 1929, after which followed a decade of Depression. Yet real GDP in 1950 was more than double what it had been twenty-one years earlier, in 1929. So the fact that real GDP will continue to grow despite the imposition of Waxman-Markey is hardly reassuring; such logic would have “proved” the harmlessness of the Great Depression.

13 Aug 2009

Strong Demand for Treasurys? Or Is This Another Lesson in Fungibility?

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CNBC announces the strong demand in the 30-year Treasury auction today. I bet I can guess what Chris Martenson’s going to be working on next week…

13 Aug 2009

Dear Prudence

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Buckling to pressure from a certain critic–who was concerned more for more consistency rather than blogosphere modesty, I believe–I believe I have filtered out the absurd Evony ads. It actually is a lot easier to filter Google ads than I thought.

What clinched it for me was the realization that if I’m going to write a high school course, I don’t want some kid to be looking at my blog when his mom walks in and sees racy Google Ad photos.

So now that I am going down the censorious route, I will zap other ads that do not align with my ministry.

(Note that it may take up to 48 hours for a filter to kick in, so you may have to shield your undefiled eyes for a bit longer when you visit Free Advice.)

13 Aug 2009

Oh Wait, Maybe the Recession Isn’t Over After All

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CNBC reports with apparent surprise:

Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell in July and the number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, indicating the recession-hit economy faced a bumpy recovery.

A Commerce Department report Thursday showed total retail sales edged down 0.1 percent after increasing 0.8 percent in June, compared with market forecasts for a 0.7 percent gain.

Analysts had expected a boost in retail sales from the government’s “cash for clunkers” program, which gives consumers cash to swap aging gas-guzzlers for new, more fuel efficient models.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed first-time applications for state unemployment insurance benefits climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 558,000 last week.

“Retail sales were unexpectedly weaker than expected, suggesting that the money spent on the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ plan wasn’t spent on other things,” said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

There was more bad news on the home foreclosures front, where RealtyTrac reported that U.S. home loans failed at a record pace in July despite ongoing federal and state programs to avoid foreclosures.

Foreclosure activity jumped 7 percent in July from June and 32 percent from a year earlier as one in every 355 households with a loan got a foreclosure filing, RealtyTrac said.

Consumer spending fell at a 1.2 percent annual rate in the second quarter after edging up 0.6 percent in the January-March period. Despite signs the worst recession in over 60 years was winding down, companies have been reluctant to hire, though the pace of layoffs has slowed down markedly.

I think we just need to give it another month, and then Obama and Krugman will go back to explaining that the stimulus money hasn’t hit yet (and was too small anyway) to get us out of the recession.

13 Aug 2009

What Letter Will the Recovery Look Like? U-Shaped?

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Someone please make it stop. People have been arguing for months over a V-shaped versus a U-shaped recovery–as if there were some scientific propositions behind each theory. And now, CNBC runs an article talking about a W-shaped recovery and a triple-U-shaped recovery.

My guess? A lowercase z–in cursive.

13 Aug 2009

The Best Goldman Apology Yet

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LRC reprints a pretty funny Matt Taibbi article where he (with some vulgarity) responds to a Slate defense of Goldman Sachs:

So, gosh, I stand corrected, I guess. Because I thought that Goldman made a ton of money this year because it got a special waiver (fast-forwarding through the usual five-day antitrust waiting period, thanks to their buddies in the Fed) to instantly switch to bank holding company status and make itself eligible for $28 billion in FDIC-backed lending. I thought it got $13 billion in public money via the AIG bailout and hundreds millions more in extra underwriting fees through its work underwriting stock for banks repaying TARP money. I didn’t know that it made all that money because it had internal safeguards in place to rein in egos. I feel foolish now.

12 Aug 2009

Alanis Morissette Did That on (Canadian) Television

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Somehow over pitchers and wings we managed to bring up You Can’t Do That on Television the other night. (“Daaaa I heeeeard that!”) One member of our elite group remarked that if you watch clips of the show now, the Canadian accents are striking, whereas that was never something I had noticed as a kid.

In any event, here are some clips when Alanis Morissette was on the show. (You can tell it’s her, because the other actors refer to her as “Alanis.”)