Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trekkies!

Not much time these days--post vacation catching up and all. But came across (via Andrew Sullivan) this cool Trekkie photo collection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obama, temperment, and economic policy

Some friends of mine have been complaining about Obama and his economic policies. While most are doing little more than complaining that they can't get a good bead on the guy, the others seem genuinely mistified at the difficulty in getting a handle on pragmatic economic policy.

Here's a long NYT article on Obama's economic policies and tendencies (the latter, IMO, more important than the former). Andrew Sullivan pulled out a good money quote already:

As anyone who has spent time with Obama knows, he likes experts, and his choice of advisers stems in part from his interest in empirical research. (James Heckman, a Nobel laureate who critiqued the campaign’s education plan at Goolsbee’s request, said, “I’ve never worked with a campaign that was more interested in what the research shows.”) By surrounding himself with economists, however, Obama was also making a decision with ideological consequences. Far more than many other policy advisers, economists believe in the power of markets. What tends to distinguish Democratic economists is that they set out to uncover imperfections of the market and then come up with incremental, market-based solutions to these imperfections. This helps explain the Obama campaign’s interest in behavioral economics, a relatively new field that has pointed out many ways in which people make irrational, short-term decisions. To deal with one example of such myopia, Obama would require companies to automatically set aside a portion of their workers’ salary in a 401(k) plan. Any worker could override the decision — and save nothing at all or save even more — but the default would be to save.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Just about 3 years ago Hurricane Katrina hit lane, with Rita following just a few weeks later as the Gulf states were still reeling from Katrina. Much has been written about the political fallout from those disasters, and the human (and animal) suffering. But the actual work of the pair of hurricanes in natural terms sometimes gets glossed over in lieu of the other stories reflected in their effects.

The USGS has a lot of data on the hurricanes. Here is a page with some images and maps, just to get a reminder of the awesome forces they were.

Something to ease back into the work week with

Amy Winehouse game

Friday, August 15, 2008

Russia: Thug or Super-thug?

Russia: Poland risks attack if they accept US missile system

A top Russian general said Friday that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.

This has gotten out of hand.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Administration as a Circus...

Ron Suskind interview on Jon Stewart

We have a freaking circus running the country right now. Years from now, historians will wonder at the incredible incompetence of it all.

Raining on Obama's parade

During most of this video, I kept expecting the guy to say "that's exactly what some evangelical Christians are doing...praying for very hard rain during Obama's speech."

But apparently is was a bit of a joke, and has been pulled. A joke--like "hope you trip going on stage" or "look at her again and I'll knock your teeth in. Ha ha."

Monday, August 11, 2008

I.O.U.S.A.

How sad is it that it'll have to be the Democrats who show fiscal restraint?

Looks like a scary film:

Friday, August 08, 2008

Russia & Georgia go at it

Could be a very big deal. NATO did something stupid in (all but) promising George a place at the NATO buffet. Thuggish Russia is acting like themselves.

This'll either blow up or blow away--the next couple of days will determine which way it goes.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

You are what you search

Here's a 2006 article I just came across (which is like pulling a 1913 book off the shelf in internet terms) doing an analysis of AOL search terms.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hugo Chavez -- Leftish thug or misunderstood softie?

Lots has been said already about Hugo Chavez, and he keeps grabbing power, whether he's allows to or not. Has Venezuela had enough of his power grabs?

Use your work email for personal stuff?

Careful! According to a survey by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, over half of all employers fire workers for E-mail and Internet abuse.

Medical marijuana

I've been avoiding the whole medical marijuana issue, for no other reason that the arguments tend to be muddy, expansive, and the goals are not altogether clear.

But there appear to be clear divisions between states trying for statutory innovation in this area, and the ham-fisted federal government. Charlie Lynch, who apparently carefully followed all state laws regarding his business in this area, was busted by the feds anyway.

I guess "states rights" for the federales only applies to state efforts to expand gun rights and restrict abortions.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Obama as Reagan

It is almost eerie how the Republican slams against Obama mirror those of the Democrats against Reagan in the 1980 election. Amazing how completely the GOP has flipped-flopped on this. Given that their current criticism is not policy oriented, but is about "fitness" this video hits the bulls-eye:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

McCain's race problem

The race to play the race card.

McCain campaign's strategy on race is to (a) play the race card and then (b) accuse Obama of having played the race card.

So much of modern politics involves the art and science of taking umbrage.

Friday, August 01, 2008