Thursday, November 10, 2011

Idiotic Political Calculations

UPDATE: This clown is now spouting his graphically verbose nonsense all over Seeking Alpha. Somehow I thought they were a serious site...

TLDR: Ironman from Political Calculations posts visually stimulating but utterly meaningless crap. In this example, I show how his "GDP per Capita" graph is really "GDP per Capita per Capita", which is like measuring the MPG per gallon of a car and concluding that filling the tank half full doubles the fuel economy.

I wouldn't normally care that a blog called Political Calculations has published the following visually pleasing but ridiculous graph that overstates the U.S. debt burden in 1831 relative to 2010 by a factor of 23:

EXCEPT that this blog has been picked up up by two publications that I respect, namely Reason Magazine and Townhall. In this time of unprecedented fiscal irresponsibility and risk, the last thing that we need to do is to understate the debt problem so severely.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Autistian Economist Strikes Again

So Tyler Cowen is once again providing tactical advice from the pages of the New York Times to Republicans on how to lower taxes. For someone who's supposed to be such a brilliant, original thinker, forgive me for noticing that it sounds exactly like the same tired buzz we've been hearing from the beltway punditocracy for months.

I'll sum it up in the shrill, wavering voice of a frustrated Elmer Fudd: "Those wascally wadical Wepublicans wefuse to waise wevenue!!!!"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Norway Terrorist a Unitarian Universalist

In an apparent policy reversal, media organization are now quick to note the religion of terrorists complete with snap judgements in the headlines. So now that the Norway killer's own words are available online, we can evaluate the media claim that he was a "fundamentalist" Christian.

In short, the claim is utter libelous nonsense. Verum Serum digs into the manifesto to show that the killer doesn't even appear to be a believing Christian, let alone a Christian fundamentalist.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Would the Market React to no Debt Increase?

As I've previously explained, failure to raise the debt limit would involve shutting down one third of the government since the government is currently borrowing one third of the money its spending. Therefore, there is no reason to expect Aug 2nd to be as severe as a government shutdown.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obama Lie about the Debt Broadcast Far and Wide

Each time I think that the media couldn't be any more obsequious in its service to Obama, I'm unpleasantly surprised.

All of the enthusiasm and energy that went into the election of this Congress boils down to three and only three opportunities to reverse the fiscal train wreck that we're in the midst of: the 2011 budget, the 2012 budget and the debt limit.

U.S. Debt Downgraded to AA+

With all of the utter nonsense about how "Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling to prevent default" infecting even the esteemed minds of people like Tyler Cowen, it was refreshing to hear a tiny bit of common sense on Bloomberg Surveillance this morning.

Yesterday the Egan-Jones rating agency downgraded US debt yesterday to AA+ and Sean Egan was on discussing the downgrade. The podcasts for Bloomberg Surveillance episodes can be found here and the audio for today's show can be found here (skip to 5:35).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back of the Envelope on Biofuel Claims

Bio-tech startup Joule Unlimited is claiming to be close to commercializing a closed system for bio-fuel production using custom genetically engineered organisms.

It sounds about perfect: no fresh water required, "up to" 15,000 gallons of ethanol per acre produced, $20/barrel equivalent costs, etc.

Realistic? Well... It's hard to know where to begin.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Naked Pictures of Snopes

So according to, the self-anointed arbiter of internet truth, two of these photos show the same woman. See if you can tell which two:

If you said the two photos on the right are the same woman, then you are....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Part I

So I saw the movie on Friday. I thoroughly enjoyed it and left the theatre wanting more and hoping that the next two parts make their way in to film. Anyone who believes in the ideals of the American Revolution or who otherwise identifies with libertarian thinking should not hesitate to see the film.

However, it's also clear that this film isn't going to be a popular watershed. This isn't going to be the work that finally brings Rand to a larger audience and exposes the craven nature of our modern democratic fascist state or the film that converts the hordes of Twitter and Facebook Obama-bots into Randian Tea Party activists.
I think P.J summarized it best in his WSJ article ( He seems less than thrilled with the film.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Epic Budget Battle of 2011

The groundswell that swept the Republicans into control of the house provided three and only three silver bullets for stopping the massive new governmental beast that has spent the last two years on a multi-trillion dollar spending binge.

Those three bullets are:
  • The 2011 budget
  • The debt limit
  • The 2012 budget
That's it until the 2012 election season. The task ahead seemed daunting but Republicans were on a roll. As described on Red State, the teary-eyed Boehner proclaimed;
“We are going to cut $100 billion in discretionary spending next week. Write it down. $100 billion in discretionary spending. And we aren’t going to stop there.”
That seemed like a tepid opening against a deficit that has grown by $100 billion times 10 over the last two years, but hey, like he said it's just a start.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Picken's Snake Oil

Forbes columnist Rich Karlgaard doesn't normally normally seem like a gullible dupe, but he sure snaps up the bait for Picken's latest scheme to divert billions of taxpayer dollars into his own pocket.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Analysis of Terman Sample

There is a new paper out on the Terman sample of high-IQ individuals (IQ > 135).
The study finds that earning correlation with IQ accrues later in life and therefore was not available to be found in previous studies that missed out on full extent of the positive correlation between IQ and income even within this sample.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Food Stamp Crisis

Zero Hedge and Red State have both posted the following graph depicting the 60% increase in Food Stamp payments over the last 3 years:

So, 60% is a pretty large increase, but THAT graph doesn't really tell us much more than "it went up". On the off chance that you don't want to make the data seem any worse than it is, I offer the following graph of the same data: