Mark Thoma Catches Greg Ip Writing on Ben Bernanke
Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars? (George W. Bush Edition)

If I Had Infinite Hours in the Day: 20051207

If I had infinite hours in the day: Dan Froomkin writes: "Some American journalists intent on fact-checking President Bush's vision of [progress in] Iraq are finding it too dangerous to inspect the areas Bush yesterday cited as models of success. Which sort of tells you the story right there..." Daniel Gross points out that when Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal editorial page writes "dividend payments to shareholders have doubled in two years" what he really means is that dividend payments to shareholders have risen by 25%. Once again: trust nothing, believe nothing on the Wall Street Journal editorial page... Aaron Swartz really understands economic jargon... The New Economist admires the "Nordic Model," but doesn't think anybody else should try to replicate it: "Can the Nordic model be replicated? Perhaps, but not easily.... Nordic countries have small populations, are very homogenous, 'with a preference for equality, inclusion and collective action'. Most also have a long history of political dominance by social democratic parties. Those cultural and political characteristics, and the institutional complementarities that go with the Nordic economic and social model, will make it harder to export key elements elsewhere, particularly in anglo-saxon countries... Ed Cone writes: "When the Wall Street Journal editorial page gives prime real estate to a piece about Tom DeLay's serious legal problems, you know The Hammer's problems are, well, serious... Eric Umansky watches Knight-Ridder report on the White House's "mounting an aggressive effort to counter a Knight Ridder story that described Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito as a committed judicial conservative"... Jim Henley thanks the Democratic Party for keeping "this churl" Robert Bork off the Supreme Court... Jacob Sollum of Reason watches the latest clown show at National Review: Robert Bork writing that censorship is liberty. Next week in National Review: freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and war is peace.... Oh. You say they've already done those? A new contestant for the Stupidest Woman Alive: Peggy Noonan says: Because it was legal for my Irish ancestors to cross the border in 1920, moving here makes them the blessed salt of the earth. Because it is illegal for Mexicans to cross the border today, moving them makes them a despicable and dangerous criminal underclass... Chris Silvey reads GM CEO Richard Wagoner on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, and freaks out: "Huh? Is he actually are touting manufacturing productivity as a strength of GM? He can't seriously be taking this line of argument!... It certainly doesn't sound like GM has a competitive advantage.... It takes them nearly six hours longer per vehicle to produce a vehicle. That's 75% of a regular time shift on a production line. If that extra time was spent making the GM car a more attractive, safer, more economical, and/or a more reliable car then it would be time well spent. However, I don't know a single person that thinks GM is better at any one of those things.... If GM sold its average car for the same price as Toyota (an addition of $5,855 per car) they would eliminate their marginal operating loss and make a profit of $3,544. This would more then cover the large executive bonuses and employee health-care liabilities..." More Republican Family Values: "Barbour's niece by marriage big FEMA winner... lucrative FEMA contracts awarded to a firm owned by a woman with family ties to Gov. Haley Barbour.... Alcatec LLC, which is owned by Rosemary Ramirez Barbour - a Guatemalan immigrant married to the governor's nephew and Hinds County Supervisor Charles Barbour - received nearly $6.4 million in contracts for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief. The bulk of the contracts were awarded in September and October without competitive bidding, according to federal records. Rosemary Barbour said Wednesday that Alcatec is a listed as disadvantaged business through the Small Business Administration, and that helps her company gain government favor..." Incompetent Design theorist Don Wise speaks: "No self-respecting engineering student would make the kinds of dumb mistakes that are built into us. All of our pelvises slope forward for convenient knuckle-dragging... the only reason you stand erect is because of this incredible sharp bend at the base of your spine, which is either evolution's way of modifying something or else it's just a design that would flunk a first-year engineering student. Look at the teeth in your mouth. Basically, most of us have too many teeth for the size of our mouth. Well, is this evolution flattening a mammalian muzzle and jamming it into a face or is it a design that couldn't count accurately above 20? Look at the bones in your face. They're the same as the other mammals' but they're just squashed and contorted by jamming the jaw into a face with your brain expanding over it, so the potential drainage system in there is so convoluted that no plumber would admit to having done it!... fewer teeth... fewer bones in our face, so that it could drain properly... straighten up the pelvis... take out the appendix... the tonsils, too.... Some guy from Texas... said, 'Actually I would write more, but I have to go pee in Morse code, because some idiot designed my aging prostate'..."

Lisa Randall (2005), Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions (New York: Harper Collins: 0060531088).