Assorted Links (4/13/2011)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

Today’s Obama Speech: Nearly as deceitful as it was dull

“Heartland’s Steve Stanek found President Obama’s speech less than inspiring.”

Understanding the President’s New Budget Proposal

Keith Hennessey breaks it all down for us!

Freakonomics » Clearing Out the “Rubber Rooms”

“Steven Brill’s excellent 2009 article on New York City’s “Rubber Rooms,” classrooms filled with teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence, provoked understandable outrage at New York’s beat-up school system. Now, two years later, it seems many of these teachers are being returned to the classroom…”

Little Girl Frisked By TSA

“Thought those pesky TSA pat-downs were old news? This video of a six-year-old girl getting frisked has been making waves, rekindling the debate over airport security.”

Back to the Future

“In his first floor speech, Senator Ron Johnson reviews more than a century of bigger government.”

Chicago School Bans Homemade Lunch

“Nobody likes being the kid whose mom packs the worst lunch, but isn’t this taking things a little too far?”

Perry ally pushed reforms at A&M, records show

“The architect of some of Gov. Rick Perry’s higher education reforms has worked closely with Texas A&M University System officials on implementing the controversial recommendations, records obtained under the Texas Public Information Act show.”

The Lessons of Fort Sumter

“In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens writes that there is no substitute for principled leadership in war.”

There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap

“In The Wall Street Journal, Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women’s Forum writes that a study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that women earned 8% more than men.”

The Constitution Doesn’t Mention Czars

“George Shultz writes in The Wall Street Journal that unaccountable White House aides are a product of a broken cabinet-nomination process. This is not the form of government the Founders intended.”

We’re in a Bubble and It’s Not the Internet. It’s Higher Education.

“Fair warning: This article will piss off a lot of you. I can say that with confidence because it’s about Peter Thiel. And Thiel – the PayPal co-founder, hedge fund manager and venture capitalist – not only has a special talent for making money, he has a special talent for making people furious.”

Obama Is Missing

“Where’s the Democratic vision on the budget?”  Even Paul Krugman of all people is unhappy about what’s going on these days with the POTUS!

The Fed’s Interest Rate Risk

“To make financial conditions more supportive of economic growth, the Federal Reserve has purchased large amounts of longer-term securities in recent years. The Fed’s resulting securities portfolio has generated substantial income but may incur financial losses when market interest rates rise.”

April 11: The Most Boring Day in History

“Last year, the computer program True Knowledge concluded that the most boring day in human history occurred, 57 years ago today. Using algorithms that used weighted values for more than three million facts including historical events, birthdays of significant people, etc., it determined that April 11, 1954, was really, really uneventful.”

Drivers start to cut back on gas as prices rise

See for an interesting assortment of anecdotal evidence concerning the effect of high energy prices on all sorts of different transactions, all noted by Harvard’s Greg Mankiw the last time that we had an oil price shock (in July 2008)…

Fort Sumter: Undermanned, Outgunned, Low on Supplies

“When the election in 1860 of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican whose party advocated slavery’s abolition, sparked slave-holding states in the Deep South to secede from the union, many took the forts on their territories with them. By early 1861, rebel forces had seized almost all but two major federal installations: Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., harbor and Fort Pickens outside Pensacola, Fla.”

PIMCO Officially Goes SHORT The US Treasury Market

PIMCO is betting that prices of US Treasuries will likely fall substantially, and yields rise…

The Auto Bailout and the Rule of Law

GMU Law Professor Todd Zywicki explains how the auto bailout undermined the rule of law and promoted crony capitalism…

Assorted Links (4/6/2011)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

A New Path

From an American Enterprise Institute speech given by Representative Paul Ryan (R, Wisconsin): “Here’s a budget that affirms our cherished ideals of individual liberty, equal opportunity, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance. These are the ideals that have cultivated the exceptional American character.:

Jenkins, Jr.: The Inflation Solution?

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. wonders if the government will actually honor its promises to holders of Treasury inflation-protected securities.”

Paul Ryan: How he used his budget plan to become the most courageous man in Washington.

“Two products made their debuts in Congress on Tuesday. The first was ” The Path to Prosperity,” House Republicans’ budget resolution for the next fiscal year. The second was the budget’s author: Honest Paul.”

Rembrandt’s Face of Jesus in Philadelphia – artnet Magazine

“Rembrandt van Rijn “FACE OF JESUS” IN PHILADELPHIA. Apr. 5, 2011. Portraits of Jesus by Rembrandt van Rijn at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.”

Number of the Week: PCs Make Americans $500 Billion Richer

“Despite all the wrenching change the computer age has brought, humanity is probably better off than it would have been if the PC had never been invented. Now, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta have taken a stab at figuring out exactly how much better off we are.”

Intrade – Muammar al-Gaddafi to no longer be leader of Libya before midnight ET 31 Dec 2011 is 77.4%

Intrade is “THE Leading Prediction Market. Trade political futures and tap into the wisdom of crowds.”

Fed’s Kocherlakota: Housing’s Reliance on Government Isn’t Sound Strategy

“A resurgence of private capital is needed to extricate the U.S. housing market from its reliance on government guarantees, a top Fed official said.”

10 Questions for 9/11 Truthers

“You can’t reason someone out of something that he didn’t get into by using reason in the first place. That’s why it’s so difficult to refute conspiracy theories with logic. Take the 9/11 Truthers conspiracy.”

Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn … then lead | Video on

“Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.”

Paul Ryan: The GOP Path to Prosperity

“Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, writes in The Wall Street Journal that the House Republican’s proposed budget cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years and puts the nation on track to pay off our national debt.”

McGurn: After the Welfare State

“In The Wall Street Journal, Main Street columnist William McGurn says that Paul Ryan’s new proposals for entitlement reform are a step towards ending middle-class dependence on government programs.”

End It, Don’t Mend It

“Evidence against the Dodd-Frank Act continues to pile up. Now 18 Republican Senators have introduced legislation to repeal the act.”

Moment of Truth

“Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, has his budget. Where’s yours?”

Why Sit on All that Cash? Firms Uncertain on Cost of Capital (Harvard Business Review Blog)

Facebook Is the Largest News Organization Ever (Harvard Business Review Blog)

The G.O.P.’s Empty Stage

“The party’s biggest names are mainly competing to offer excuses for why they aren’t running in 2012.”

Supreme Court Makes a Math Case

“The Supreme Court said companies can’t only rely on statistical significance when deciding what they need to disclose to investors, helping a group of mathematicians make their long-held case.”

Assorted Links (4/1/2011)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

Public Unions–Is California Next?

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Wonder Land column, Daniel Henninger writes that serious Californians, on the right and the left, know how much fiscal trouble they’re in.”

We’ve Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers

“Stephen Moore writes in The Wall Street Journal that more Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined.”

A Requiem for Detroit

“In The Wall Street Journal, Main Street columnist Williams McGurn writes that Detroit, a once-great American city, today repels people of talent and ambition.”

Medical Progress, Please

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes that if the FDA gets out of the way, devices like MelaFind will save many lives.”

What Happened to the American Declaration of War?

“War is a serious matter, and presidents and particularly Congresses should be inconvenienced on the road to war.”

Princeton Professor Gains Cult Status With 3,200 Essays on Facebook

“Elephant hunters head to Africa. Salmon fishers head to Alaska. Jeff Nunokawa, a professor of English at Princeton University, heads to Facebook.”

In Today’s Market, the Wisdom of Standing Pat

“The market’s drop then gain after Japan’s triple crises shows the stock rally’s resilience and the futility of timing market hiccups.”

Cellphones Track Your Every Move, and You May Not Even Know

“A German Green party politician went to court and found that his cellphone company had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude more than 35,000 times.”

Mike Munger Archives | EconTalk

I highly recommend a series of “conversations” featuring Russ Roberts (economics professor at George Mason University) and Mike Munger (economics professor at Duke); see These guys are remarkably skilled at explaining how to “think” like an economist on a wide array of very interesting topics, most of which have important policy implications.

Progressive Gets Leg Up With On-Board Driving Monitor

“Progressive has introduced a new type of car insurance that offers a discount to policyholders based on real-time information about how and when they drive.”

Missing: Public Companies

“Why is the number of publicly traded companies in the U.S. declining?”

The Problem With Partners

“As we enter Libya’s unknown, we should not react so strongly against unilateralism’s risks that we ignore multilateralism’s weaknesses.”

Reagan’s Legacy and the Current Malaise

“In The Wall Street Journal, Steve Forbes writes that lower taxes and a strong dollar could spur growth once again.”

Whatever Happened to IPOs?

“The Wall Street Journal says you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this one out.”

Michigan’s War on the Middle Class

“In The Wall Street Journal, Main Street columnist William McGurn writes that high taxes and regulation have strangled Michigan’s economy and led to an exodus from the state.”

Uncle Sam and the Hostile Takeover

“In The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Macey of Yale Law School says that activist investors should have time to acquire significant stakes in companies they may want to take over and shouldn’t be blocked by incumbent managements.”

Raise Rates to Boost the Economy

“In The Wall Street Journal, Andy Kessler says the Federal Reserve should raise short-term interest rates to reduce the escalating prices in food, gas and other commodities. This will constitute a de facto price cut for consumers.”

Charles Krauthammer – Et tu, Jack Lew?

“The OMB director knows the Social Security trust fund is a fiction.”

Confronting Gadhafi Is Not Enough

“Former Prime Minister Tony Blair on a framework for shaping the democratic revolution in Libya and the Middle East.”

Mega-Banks and the Next Financial Crisis

“In The Wall Street Journal, James Freeman interviews Paul Singer, the hedge-fund manager who recognized the risks of subprime mortgages and bet against them—and now warns that monetary policy could cripple American banks again.”