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December 11, 2013

Portland Government Stops Girl from Selling Mistletoe to Pay for Braces






In Portland, the government is stopping an 11 year old girl from selling mistletoe to raise money for her braces. Here is a link to the KATU local Portland ABC news station video report: http://www.katu.com/news/local/11-year-old-told-not-to-sell-mistletoe-but-begging-is-fine-234014261.html?tab=video&c=y It also has been posted to YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj4caXi0wdw






November 26, 2013

Nebraska Teenager Becomes the "George Clooney of YouTube"



(p. 263) Google also became more aggressive in connecting sponsors for popular videos. A paragon of YouTube's business model was "Fred," a video channel created by a Columbus, Nebraska, teenager named Lucas Cruikshank. The teen pretended to be a six-year-old kid named Fred Figglehorn in a series of two-minute videos. "Fred is the George Clooney of YouTube," says Hunter Walk. "He was the first one with a million subscribers. He uploads videos, and we put ads against them. Sometimes he sells product placement ads. Fred makes a million dollars a year. He just signed a movie deal." The Fred videos-- generally manic rants in which Cruikshank portrays a hyperactive, possibly brain-damaged child who speaks like one of Ross Bagdasarian's chipmunks-- often sported commercial messages for sponsors such as Samsung, the Food Channel, and Bratz on an overlay at the bottom of the window. Since he started in 2008, at age fourteen, Fred's (p. 264) YouTube videos have chalked up over half a billion viewings. Though Fred's success was solely a product of YouTube, people in the company never met the phenom. "We sent him a cake once," says Walk.

YouTube helped Fred's youthful creator not just by selling ads but by providing analytics, the same way it did for AdSense publishers. (This was a result of an initiative called the YouTube Insight project, developed by engineers in Google's Zurich center.) Such data helped creators learn what was working and where. "They're like, 'Oh my God, I'm big in the U.K.! I never knew I had a London following!'" says Walk. Superusers such as Cruikshank were so successful in exploiting YouTube's business initiatives that corporations such as Sony were studying their methodology and even paid some of them consultant fees to help them understand the digital world.



Source:

Levy, Steven. In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.






December 18, 2012

Poor People Want Washing Machines







The wonderful clip above is from Hans Rosling's TED talk entitled "The Magic Washing Machine."

He clearly and strongly presents his central message that the washing machine has made life better.



What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading.


Source of video clip summary:

http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_and_the_magic_washing_machine.html



The version of the clip above is embedded from YouTube, where it was posted by TED: http://youtu.be/BZoKfap4g4w

It can also be viewed at the TED web site at:

http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_and_the_magic_washing_machine.html



(Note: I am grateful to Robin Kratina for telling me about Rosling's TED talk,)

(Note: I do not agree with Rosling's acceptance of the politically correct consensus view that the response to global warning should mainly be mitigation and green energy---to the extent that a response turns out to be necessary, I mainly support adaptation, as suggested in many previous entries on this blog.)






November 30, 2012

DaVita Threw Out Medicine and Billed Taxpayer: Huge Medicare Fraud



DaVitaMedicareFraudDrewGriffin2012-11-29.jpg



























I saw this clip broadcast on Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room" broadcast on 11/29/12 (if memory serves--it might have been the day before).

The clip shows the magnitude of the fraud, but also emphasizes that there were significant incentives for those who knew about the fraud to keep their mouths shut.

This is one huge case of over-billing, but over-billing happens all the time. Taxpayers could have used that money for other purposes. The opportunity cost is huge.



A link to the clip posted on CNN, is:

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/29/company-accused-of-giant-medicare-fraud/?iref=allsearch

(Note: I believe the November 29, 2012 date in the image above is the date that Drew Griffin posted the clip to the CNN blog, not necessarily the date of the broadcast.)






November 8, 2012

Coase: "Firms Never Calculate Marginal Costs"







Source of YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZAq06n79QIs#!




(p. 257) You can watch a 99 year-old Ronald Coase speaking in December 2009 for 25 minutes on the subjects of "Markets, Firms and Property Rights." "One of the things that people don't understand is that markets are creations. . . . In fact, it's very difficult to imagine that firms act in the way that is described in the textbooks, where you maximize profits by equating marginal costs and marginal revenues. One of the reasons one can feel doubtful about this particular way of looking at things is that firms never calculate marginal costs . . . I think we ought to study directly how firms operate and develop our theory accordingly." From the conference "Markets, Firms and Property Rights: A Celebration of the Research of Ronald Coase," held at the University of Chicago Law School by the Information Economy Project at George Mason University School of Law. The webpage also includes video of seven panels of prominent speakers, along with PDF files of a dozen or so papers given at the conference. Available at 〈http://iep.gmu.edu/CoaseConference.php〉.


Source:

Taylor, Timothy. "Recommendations for Further Reading." Journal of Economic Perspectives 24, no. 3 (Summer 2010): 251-58.

(Note: ellipses in original.)






October 21, 2012

Chamber Blitz Clip for Tort Reform



BlitzGasolineCans2012-10-11.jpg "Blitz gasoline cans, at Ace Hardware in Miami, Okla., will soon disappear from stores. The company closed because of the costs of lawsuits contending that the cans were unsafe." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.


The "Mr. Flick" quoted below is Rocky Flick, the former CEO of Blitz.


(p. B1) Crusading against what it considers frivolous lawsuits, the United States Chamber of Commerce has had no shortage of cases to highlight, like the man suing a cruise line after burning his feet on a sunny deck or the mother claiming hearing loss from the screaming at a Justin Bieber concert.

Now, the lobbying group's Institute for Legal Reform is showing a 30-second commercial that uses Blitz USA, a bankrupt Oklahoma gasoline can manufacturer, to illustrate the consequences of abusive lawsuits. The ad shows tearful workers losing their jobs and the lights going out at the 46-year-old company as a result of steep legal costs from lawsuits targeting the red plastic containers, according to the company and the institute.

The closing of the 117-employee operation this summer became a rallying point for proponents of tort reform. . . .


. . .


(p. B2) Blitz executives note that the company, which was the nation's leading gas can producer, sold more than 14 million cans a year over the last decade, with fewer than two reported incidents per million cans sold. The company said the most serious incidents usually involved obvious misuse of the cans, like pouring gasoline on an open fire.


. . .


A decade ago, Mr. Flick said, the company would face one or two lawsuits a year. The number grew to six or seven a year, and finally to 25 or so last year when Blitz filed for bankruptcy.



For the full story, see:

CLIFFORD KRAUSS. "Two Sides of Product Liability: A Factory's Closing Focuses Attention on Tort Reform." The New York Times (Fri., October 4, 2012): B1.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the article is dated October 5, 2012 and has the shorter title "A Factory's Closing Focuses Attention on Tort Reform.")



View the Chamber video clip on the Blitz example:





FlickRockyFormerBlitzCEO2012-10-11.jpg













"Rocky Flick, Blitz's former chief executive." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited above.







August 12, 2012

Vivid Examples of Government Obstacles to Entrepreneurship







EconomicFreedom.org/Stories is posting video clips of free agent entrepreneurs and the obstacles that government policies put in the path to their achievements. The videos give concrete examples and make the costs of regulations more real by connecting the costs to the faces of actual people.





March 27, 2012

Diamond to Teach Creative Destruction Colloquium in Fall 2012





CreativeDestructionColloquiumPoster2012PortraitTopHalfCropped.jpg

Colloquium Rationale:

Creative destruction is the process through which innovative new products are created, and older obsolete products are destroyed. In transportation, for example, cars creatively destroyed the horse and buggy, trains creatively destroyed horse-drawn wagons. Such innovations contribute to longer and richer lives, but may come at the cost of greater uncertainty in the labor market. Schumpeter claimed that the process of creative destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. Although Nobel-prize-winner George Stigler has described creative destruction as "heresy," a growing number of economists and non-economists have found the concept useful in understanding the world. While most of the emphasis will be on the implications of creative destruction for business and the economy, the discussion will sometimes involve issues related to information science, sociology, medicine, law, engineering, psychology, literature, political science, architecture, and history.





You can hear me talking about last year's version of the Creative Destruction Colloquium (which was offered last year under a different course number and a slightly different title) in the following YouTube video:











October 8, 2011

Entrepreneur Jobs Was an Exemplar of Creative Destruction






The clip embedded above from the CNBC web site, was broadcast on CNBC on Weds., Oct. 5, 2011.


I watched several commentaries on Steve Jobs after his death was announced today (Weds., Oct. 5). I think the one above, from CNBC, was one of the best.

It highlights many important aspects of Jobs' life. That he came back from failure, that he brought us products we didn't know we needed until he showed us what they could do, that his products disrupted the status quo of whole industries, that at his death he owned more shares of Disney than anyone else. (Steve Jobs and Walt Disney were two of the greatest "project entrepreneurs" of all time.)






September 16, 2011

Art Diamond Describes Honors Colloquium on Creative Destruction







The clip above is embedded from You Tube. It was recorded on July 6, 2011 in Mammel Hall, the location of the College of Business at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). I am grateful to Charley Reed of UNO University Relations for doing a great job of shooting and editing the clip.





August 21, 2011

Jon Stewart Skewers Media Bias Against Libertarian Ron Paul







The hilarious (but also seriously sad) clip above is embedded from the Mon., August 15, 2011 "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

(Note: I thank Deirdre McCloskey for letting me know about the clip.)





August 7, 2011

Theft of Elderly Woman's Air Conditioner Called "Murder"







Source of the "murder" quote is from:

J.D. Miles, reporter. "Elderly Woman Dies From Heat After A/C Stolen." Dallas, CBS 11 News, August 5, 2011.

(Note: this report is the source of the "murder" quote which was stated by Mrs. Grissom's neighbor Caroline Ware.)

(Note: Another version of the report with the "murder" quote has the title: "Texas Heat Wave." CBS 11 News, August 5, 2011.)




Another report on the incident is:





Source:

Ed Lavandera, reporter. "Woman Dies After Air Conditioner Stolen." CNN American Morning, August 5, 2011.






May 31, 2011

China's Speculative Real Estate Bubble




Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




In a front page article on October 20, 2010, the New York Times reported on how the Chinese government encouraged a real estate investment binge that has resulted in a growing number of empty, speculatively built ghost cities. Now the video media has picked up the story in the well-done story linked to above and cited below.


Williams, Ian, reporter. "The Roads Not Taken: Visiting China's Ghost Cities." Broadcast on the Today Show, Sunday morning, May 30, 2011.






January 19, 2011

What Motivated Paterno to Win 400 Games---"Gettin' Paid"



Paterno400WinsGettinPaidClip.jpgSource of image: screen capture from YouTube clip referenced below.


What motivates employees? Economists have emphasized pay as the primary incentive, while recognizing that there may be "compensating differentials" for aspects of the work that are pleasant or unpleasant.

In recent years many non-economists, such as Daniel Pink in Drive, have emphasized non-pecuniary incentives.

Joe Paterno entered the debate at age 83, after he became the first major college coach to win 400 games on November 6, 2010.

Right after the victory, he was interviewed on the field by "Heather" of ESPN. Starting at 1:33 seconds into the clip referenced below, here is the key dialogue:

Heather: "Coach Paterno, what has motivated you to get to this point?"

Paterno: "Oh geez, I don't know---gettin' paid."




Source: YouTube clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQzdVeYtm5w

(Note: the clip was posted on 11/6/10 by shellymic and has the title "Joe Pa FIRST to 400 Wins!")





May 17, 2010

CNN Says Omaha Economy is Strong Because Citizens "Living Within Their Means"





"Why Omaha, Nebraska, is seeing a small business boom and boasts of having one of the lowest unemployment rates." Source of caption and video: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/05/06/n_omaha_economy.cnnmoney/



Several days ago, CNN Money ran a very nice clip focusing on why Omaha's economy has fared better than the economies of many other U.S. cities. The piece was mainly brief fluff, though pleasant, complementary fluff.

But the one message of substance was that Nebraskans, and usually Nebraska governments, work harder at not spending more than we take in.

(The reporter for the piece is CNN Money's Poppy Harlow. Posted by CNN on May 6, 2010. Run time: 02:09.)





October 23, 2009

Measuring High Level Entrepreneurship



DiamondArtFrazerContestEntry2009.jpg

The Measurement Center of the Fraser Institute held a contest on the theme of what most needed to be better measured. I entered the contest, arguing that high level entrepreneurs are crucial to economic growth and human progress, and yet are not often the subject of systematic (as contrasted with anecdotal) study.

It turns out that my one minute video submission was picked as one of four "runners-up" in the contest.



Details of the contest and the winners, can be found at:

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/programsandinitiatives/measurement_center.htm


My minute video can be viewed at:

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/files/videos/Motivation-characteristics-of-high-level-entrepreneurs.wmv





August 18, 2009

Wattenberg's Corporate Graveyard Illustrates Creative Destruction







The clip is the famous corporate graveyard scene from Ben Wattenberg's 1977 "In Search of the Real America: A Challenge to the Chorus of Failure and Guilt." The scene appears in the first of 13 episodes, the episode called "There's No Business Like Big Business" which received the Tuck Award for the Advancement of Economic Understanding. The episode was produced and written by Austin Hoyt.

The corporate graveyard scene illustrates that under entrepreneurial capitalism, companies prosper that innovate in better serving the consumer.



URL address for graveyard scene video clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDMNYLiBexo


Wattenberg discussed the "In Search of the Real America" program, and the graveyard scene, in his recent book Fighting Words:

(p. 307) The central point of the program was that if big American corporations didn't compete effectively, they suffer, and many would go out of business.

The producers had the wonderful idea of a visual of a graveyard on a foggy night, with headstones made from papier-mâché and a smoke machine providing the fog. I walked through the mock cemetery in a raincoat and read off the names of corporate tombstones, which included Central Leather (the seventeenth largest company in 1917), International Mercantile Marine (the eleventh largest in 1917), as well as failures like Baldwin Locomotive Works, American Woolen, Packard Motor Car, International Match, Pierce Petroleum, Curtiss-Wright, United Verde Mining, and Consolidation Coal.2 When we showed the Central Leather tombstone, a sound effect mooed; behind International Mercantile Marine's, a steamship horn bellowed (I love shtick).


. . .


2 The program was based on an article by James Michaels, editor of Forbes. For many years, people would come up to me in airports, recalling that one scene and complementing me on the program.



Source:

Wattenberg, Ben J. Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism
. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2008.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: I have corrected a few obvious errors involving the omission and placement of commas in the list of companies in the text of Wattenberg's Fighting book.)



. . . , Mr. Michaels graduated from Harvard in 1943 with a bachelor's degree in economics.

Source:

RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA. "James Michaels, Longtime Forbes Editor, Dies at 86." The New York Times (October 4, 2007).

(Note: of course, Joseph Schumpeter was a member of the Harvard faculty in 1943, and published the first edition of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy in 1942.)



FightingWordsBK.jpg















Source of book image: http://media.us.macmillan.com/jackets/500H/9780312382995.jpg






June 25, 2009

Environmentalists Lay Guilt on Rafael for His New Set of Legos



BatkerRafaelLegos2009-06-10.jpg"David Batker with his son Rafael de la Torre Batker, 9, who worried it might hurt the environment if he bought a new set of Legos." Source of photo and caption: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.


(p. A1) The thick-lined drawings of the Earth, a factory and a house, meant to convey the cycle of human consumption, are straightforward and child-friendly. So are the pictures of dark puffs of factory smoke and an outlined skull and crossbones, representing polluting chemicals floating in the air.

Which is one reason "The Story of Stuff," a 20-minute video about the effects of human consumption, has become a sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation.


. . .


. . . many children who watch it take it to heart: riding in the car one day with his parents in Tacoma, Wash., Rafael de la Torre Batker, 9, was worried about whether it would be bad for the planet if he got a new set of Legos.

"When driving by a big-box store, you could see he was struggling with it," his father, David Batker, said. But then Rafael said, "It's O.K. if I have Legos because I'm going to keep them for a very long time," Mr. Batker recalled.


. . .


(p. A12) "There was not one positive thing about capitalism in the whole thing," Mr. Zuber said.

Corporations, for example, are portrayed as a bloated person sporting a top hat and with a dollar sign etched on its front.



For the full story, see:

LESLIE KAUFMAN. " In Schools, a Cautionary Video About America and Its 'Stuff'." The New York Times (Mon., May 11, 2009): A1 & A12.

(Note: ellipses added; the online version of the title is: "A Cautionary Video About America's 'Stuff'.")



EnvironmentalistVideoCapture.jpg"A section of the video on toxic chemicals and production." Source of image and caption: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited above.





March 12, 2009

Hugh Laurie SNL Protest Song Lyrics


At a "Workshop on Creative Ideas to Teach Principles," organized by Jim Gwartney at the Stavros Center in Tampa, I presented some brief video clips that I use to make various points in my principles classes. The first was Hugh Laurie's Protest Song.

After playing the song, I tell my students that to make the world better, you need more than a guitar and good intentions---you also need to know something about how the world works (in particular, you need to know some economics).

After my presentation, one of the participants asked if I knew where he could find the lyrics. In response, I found the lyrics posted online, and re-post them here in case they may be of use to other economic educators.

Hugh Laurie's Saturday Night Live Protest Song

[ open on Hugh Laurie standing at Home Base strumming a guitar ]

Hugh Laurie: This is a protest song. [ blows on a harmonica attached to his neck ]

[ singing ]

"Well, the poor keep getting hungry, and the rich keep getting fat
Politicians change, but they're never gonna change that.
Girl, we got the answer, it's so easy you won't believe
All we gotta do is.. [ mumbles incoherently ]

Well, the winds of war are blowin', and the tide is comin' in
Don't you be hopin' for the good times, because the good times have already been.
But, girl, we got the answer, it's so easy you won't believe
All we gotta do is.. [ mumbles incoherently ]

It's so easy, to see
If only they'd listen, to you and me.
We got to.. [ mumbles incoherently ] as fast as we can
We got to.. [ mumbles incoherently ] every woman, every man
We got to.. [ mumbles incoherently ] time after time
We got to.. [ mumbles incoherently ] vodka and lime.

Well, the world is gettin' weary, and it wants to go to bed
Everybody's dyin', except the ones who are already dead.
Girl, we got the answer, starin' us right in the face
All we gotta do is
All we gotta do is
All we gotta do is."

[ pauses, then blows on the harmonica and finishes ]

[ the audience cheers wildly ]

Hugh Laurie: Thank you.



Source of lyrics:

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/06/06dprotest.phtml




January 22, 2009

"I Want Some TARP" Satirical Video Clip


TARP.jpg Screen capture from the link cited below.


Today (Weds., 1/21/09) on CNBC, I caught a snippet of a replay of Bill Zucker's musical video parody of the government's TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) bailout. It was funny, and mainly on-target.

You can view it on YouTube, at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGfQk9XXm24&feature=pyv&ad=3038287303




December 12, 2008

Fred Thompson Satirizes Current Economic Bailout Policies


ThompsonFredOnTheEconomyDec2008.jpg Source of image: screen capture from the Fred Thompson video commentary described, and linked-to, below.


My brother Eric alerted me to a wise and witty video commentary by former Senator Fred Thompson satirizing current government bailout policies. The video has been posted to multiple locations. Here is the link to the posting on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKc4XFK0iVY





November 19, 2008

Company Graveyard Scene from Wattenberg's "In Search of the Real America"


EdselTombstone.JPG Source of image: screen capture downloaded on 9/3/08 from: http://cgi.ebay.com/PBS-TV-SERIES-IN-SEARCH-OF-THE-REAL-AMERICA-1977_W0QQitemZ330267803398QQihZ014QQcategoryZ63821QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

For years I have been trying to find a copy of Ben Wattenberg's wonderful opening scene in the episode on big business of his 1970s series "In Search of the Real America." He stands in a spooky, foggy, graveyard next to several tombstones. When we see the tombstones more closely, they have the names of big business corporate failures.

InSearchOfTheRealAmericaOpeningSlide.JPG Source of image: screen capture downloaded on 9/3/08 from: http://cgi.ebay.com/PBS-TV-SERIES-IN-SEARCH-OF-THE-REAL-AMERICA-1977_W0QQitemZ330267803398QQihZ014QQcategoryZ63821QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem




October 9, 2008

SNL CSPAN Pelosi, Frank Bailout Skit


SNLcspanBailout2008-10-04.jpg Source: screen capture from the NBC video clip mentioned, and linked to below.

Most Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits support liberal causes and politicians, and are critical of those with sympathies for free markets.

There was a wonderful, rare exception aired as the second skit on the 10/04/08 show. The skit pokes fun at the Democrats for their responsibility in creating the mortgage meltdown crisis. Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank are shown expressing sympathy for various miscreants who expect the taxpayer to bail them out of their financial responsibilites.

(An interesting sidenote is that NBC pulled the clip from their web site for a about a full day, even though they left up other clips from the same show. Some bloggers suggested that employees of NBC had political motivations for their act of quasi-censorshp.)

The skit was entitled "C-span Bailout" and as of 10/08/08, could be found at:

http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/c-span-bailout/727521/





September 11, 2008

Juanita Brown Buys Gun for Self-Defense


BrownJuanitaBuysGun2008-09-09.jpg Source of image: screen capture from the web posting of the WOWT report.

Justin Joseph had a nice "Crime Beat" report on WOWT Tuesday night (9/9/08), in which he documented 61 year-old Juanita Brown's purchase of a gun for self-defense.

View the report at:

http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/28119814.html#





August 17, 2008

Post Office Wastes Money on 30,000 Ethanol Capable Vehicles


PostalMinivanCustomizedEthanol.jpg "A General Motors Corp. Chevrolet Uplander flexible fuel vehicle customized for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is shown in this handout photo taken on April 22, 2008. The USPS bought more than 30,000 ethanol-capable trucks and minivans from 1999 to 2005, making it the biggest American buyer of alternative-fuel vehicles." Source of caption and photo: Bloomberg.com article quoted and cited below.

I saw a great CNN video clip on 8/11/08 showing some of the specially designed Post Office vehicles that were expensive, but that were mainly running on regular gasoline because it was too difficult to fill them with the high-ethanol blend that they were converted to use.

Before I finally found the clip on CNNMoney.com, by searching for it using the TRUVEO video search engine, I discovered that a version of the story had run back in May on Bloomberg.com. I quote from the story below.

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Postal Service purchased more than 30,000 ethanol-capable trucks and minivans from 1999 to 2005, making it the biggest American buyer of alternative-fuel vehicles. Gasoline consumption jumped by more than 1.5 million gallons as a result.

The trucks, derived from Ford Motor Co.'s Explorer sport- utility vehicle, had bigger engines than Jeeps from the former Chrysler Corp. they replaced. A Postal Service study found the new vehicles got as much as 29 percent fewer miles to the gallon. Mail carriers used the corn-based fuel in just 1,000 of them because there weren't enough places to buy it.



For the full story, see:

Peter Robison, Alan Ohnsman and Alan Bjerga. "Ethanol Vehicles for Post Office Burn More Gas, Get Fewer Miles." Last Updated: May 21, 2008 00:01 EDT Downloaded on August 8, 2008 from:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601072&refer=energy&sid=aj.h0coJSkpw


On the CNN Money video clip:

Jason Carroll was the reporter on the CNN Money clip that was added to CNNMoney.com on August 12, 2008, under the title "Snail Mail by Ethanol," and is viewable at http://money.cnn.com/video/#/video/news/2008/08/12/news.usps.081108.cnnmoney


SnailMailEthanol.jpg Reporter Jason Carroll talks with mail carrier Richard Malik, who says he has never used ethanol in his expensive mail truck that had been specially designed to use ethanol. Source of photo: screen capture from the CNN Money video clip discussed above.




August 9, 2008

Blacklisting of Voight Urged in Display of Liberal Hollywood McCarthyism


VoightBlackListedByLiberals.jpg
VoightBlacklistedByLiberals2.jpg
















Source of the images: screen captures from the CNN report cited below.

With self-righteous indignation, the left often accuses the right of "McCarthyism."

But many on the left are happy to limit free speech when what is spoken is not to their liking.

Jon Voight's column in the Washington Times has ignited a firestorm, and caused at least one Hollywood insider to openly advocate blacklisting Voight from the movie business. The CNN story cited and linked below, gives some of the details.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example.

On our campuses, free speech is often violated if the speaker speaks what is not politically correct. For many examples, see some of the cases discussed on the web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Another example is from my own personal experience as a young scholar many decades ago. I had applied to three or four top PhD programs in philosophy and was initially rejected from every one of them, even though I had a nearly perfect GPA, and very high test scores.

I was especially surprised by the rejection from Chicago, because an Associate Dean had visited the Wabash campus the year before and talked with me about applying to Chicago. He had looked at my record and said, 'with your record, if you score X, or above on the GREs, it is almost certain that you will be accepted.' (I don't remember the exact number he said.) Well I scored above X, but was rejected. So I wrote to the Associate Dean, saying I was disappointed and asking if he had any insight about the rejection. He told me that he was dumbfounded and that he would look into it.

Awhile later, I received a letter reversing the decision of the University of Chicago Department of Philosophy. I never learned all the details, but apparently the Dean of Humanities had over-ruled the Department of Philosophy. (This is fairly unusual in academics, and though I do not remember her name, I salute that Dean for taking a stand.)

Years later, the episode came up in a conversation with a member of the philosophy faculty. He said that he had been on the admissions committee the year that I had applied, and that I had been rejected because I had mentioned Ayn Rand in my essay about how I had become interested in philosophy.

For some of the details of the Voight story, see:

Wynter, Kareen. "Bloggers Fire Back at Voight." CNN Feature, broadcast on CNN, and posted on CNN.com on 8/8/08. Downloaded on 8/8/08 from: http://www.cnn.com/video/?iref=videoglobal

(Note: the clip runs 2 minutes and 27 seconds.)

Voight's op-ed piece ran in the Washington Times on July 28, 2008 under the title "My Concerns for America" and can be viewed at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/28/voight/





January 11, 2008

Feds Force Us to Fluoresce, Causing Migraines and Epileptic Seizures

 

   Source:  screen capture from the CNN report cited below.

 

The new energy bill signed into law on Weds., Dec. 19, 2007, included a provision to force us all to fluoresce starting in 2012.  In the CNN report cited below, Dr. Sanjay Gupta summarizes recent research suggesting that fluorescent bulbs cause a significant increase in the number of migraine headaches and epileptic seizures.

 

For the full story, see:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "Eco-bulbs and migraines." CNN Report. Posted online on January 4, 2008.

 

   Source:  screen capture from the CNN report cited above.

 




September 25, 2007

Hugh Laurie's Wonderful Protest Song

 

   Source of image:  screen capture from the first link below.

 

Hugh Laurie hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) on a show re-broadcast on Sat., Aug. 11, 2007.  (I am not sure if the original broadcast was in 2006, or earlier in 2007.)

In one hilarious bit, Laurie announces he is going to sing a "protest song" and proceeds to sing one of those earnest-sounding, pompous, self-righteous save-the-world-with-a-cliché songs that were so common in the late 1960s and the 1970s.

The hilarious bit: whenever Laurie gets to the part of the song where he is going to tell us the "answer"---- he mumbles. 

After showing the clip to my principles students, I told them that to fill in the mumbling with something effective, you need to know some economics.

 

Here is a link to the SNL version:

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=3591518

 

The song was apparently first performed as part of a show called "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" that was broadcast in the early 1990s in Britain. Here is a link to the earlier version of the song:

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=14405597

 




July 14, 2007

Mugabe Prints More Money and Beats Up Shopkeepers, as Inflation Soars: More on Why Africa is Poor

 

     "Inflation made food cost a fortune in Harare this week.  The government imposed controls that required vendors to sell some items below cost."  Source of caption and photo:  online version of the NYT article cited below. 

 

JOHANNESBURG, July 3 — Zimbabwe’s week-old campaign to quell its rampant inflation by forcing merchants to lower prices is edging the nation close to chaos, some economists and merchants say.

As the police and a pro-government youth militia swept into shops and factories, threatening arrest and worse unless prices were rolled back, staple foods vanished from store shelves and some merchants reported huge losses. News reports said that some shopkeepers who had refused to lower prices had been beaten by the youth militia, known as the Green Bombers for the color of their fatigues.

In interviews, merchants said that crowds of people were following the police and militia from shop to shop to buy goods at the government-ordered prices.

“People are losing millions and millions and millions of dollars,” said one merchant in Bulawayo, referring to the Zimbabwean currency, which is becoming worthless given the nation’s inflation, the world’s highest. “Everyone is now running out of stock, and not being able to replace it.”

. . .

Gasoline was reported to be vanishing from stations as the going price, about 180,000 dollars per liter, was slashed by the government to something closer to the officially approved price of 450 dollars per liter. Mr. Mugabe’s government intends to cope with the shortages by subsidizing producers of basic goods. One of the few newspapers not under government control, The Zimbabwe Independent, reported last week that flour, which is controlled entirely by the state, will be sold to bakers for 10 million dollars a ton, half the market price. Similarly, many suppliers of basic goods have been told by the government that they will be allowed to buy gasoline at one tenth the going price, the newspaper reported. The government apparently plans to make up those losses by printing more money. Zimbabwe’s dollar has lost more than half its value in recent weeks because the government has constantly issued new bills to pay its mounting debts.

 

For the full story, see: 

MICHAEL WINES.  "Anti-Inflation Curbs on Prices Create Havoc for Zimbabwe."  The New York Times  (Weds., July 4, 2007):  A8. 

(Note:  ellipsis added.)

 

CNN on 7/10/07 broadcast a great clip from ITN, that had been courageously recorded undercover by Martin Geissler.  See  "Desperation in Zimbabwe":

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/offbeat/2007/06/23/vo.mi.ugly.dogs.ap?DPFPR=true

(Note:  ITN is sometimes also called ITV.  "ITN" stands for the International Television Network.)

 

Postscript:  According to an entry on the ITV web site entitled "Mugabe Battles Economic Crises," Mugabe "has warned he will not be restrained by "bookish economics"."  (He makes a great case for cracking open the books, doesn't he?  Or at least for opening the window and looking at what is happening outside?)

For the Mugabe quote on bookish economics, see:

http://itn.co.uk/news/a1d7763de3c4778b619a72cbeab24d6d.html

 




July 12, 2007

Argentine Evidence on Global Warming

 

   Source:  screen capture from the Reuters video clip mentioned below.

 

On July 10, 2007, Reuters and other news sources (including CNN) reported that Buenos Aires had experienced its first snowfall in 80 years.

To see Reuters' brief video clip on the snow, visit: 

http://www.javno.com/video.php?rbr=4137&l=en

 

ArgentineSnowCoveredTrucks.jpg   "A truck driver makes his way through snow-covered trucks Tuesday in Punta de Vacas, Argentina."  Source of the truck caption and photo:   

"Snow leaves trucks stranded on Argentina-Chile border."  CNN.com POSTED: 3:06 p.m. EDT, June 13, 2007.

 




April 24, 2007

The Case Against Gun Control

 

   Venus Ramey shows how she balanced her pistol on her walker to shoot out the tires of an intruder on her farm.  Source of photo:  screen capture from CNN clip "Granny's Packing Heat" as viewed on 4/23/07.

 

In the wake of the Virginia Tech killings, there have been some renewed calls for more gun control (see the WSJ and NYT articles cited way below).  But we should not forget that a gun can also be a leveler; it gives the ordinary citizen a fighting chance against the thief and the murderer.

There was a great scene in the first Indiana Jones movie (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984) where Indy is being chased by a huge bad guy armed with swords.  The crowd clears, and the the huge man confidently and ominously twirls his swords.  Indy looks at him quizzically for a couple of seconds, pulls out a pistol, and shoots him. 

When I first saw that scene, the theater erupted in laughter and applause.

Laughter and applause are also appropriate responses to the story of 82 year old, former Miss America, Venus Ramey: 

 

Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder. Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.

Ramey said the man told her he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

"I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it," she said. "If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now."

 

For the full story, see: 

Associated Press.   "Armed Miss America 1944 Stops Intruder."  Forbes.com Posted 04.21.07, 5:00 AM ET Downloaded on 4/23/07 from http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/04/21/ap3637737.html

 

CNN has a great clip on this story, under the heading "Granny's Packing Heat."

 

The WSJ article mentioned above, is:

VANESSA O'CONNELL, GARY FIELDS and DEAN TREFTZ.  "Next Debate: Should Colleges Ban Firearms? The Wall Street Journal  (Weds., April 18, 2007):  B1 & B10. 

 

The NYT article mentioned above, is:

LESLIE EATON and MICHAEL LUO.  "Shooting Rekindles Issues of Gun Rights and Restrictions." The New York Times (Weds., April 18, 2007):  A19.

 




March 17, 2007

Zimbabwe Official Says People Eat Field Mice as a "Delicacy": More on Why Africa is Poor


   Screen capture from CNN report "A Ruined Land," broadcast on December 19, 2006.

 

(CNN) -- Twelve-year-old Beatrice returns from the fields with small animals she's caught for dinner.

Her mother, Elizabeth, prepares the meat and cooks it on a grill made of three stones supporting a wood fire. It's just enough food, she says, to feed her starving family of six.

Tonight, they dine on rats.

"Look what we've been reduced to eating?" she said. "How can my children eat rats in a country that used to export food? This is a tragedy."   . . . 

This is a story about how Zimbabwe, once dubbed southern Africa's bread basket, has in six short years become a basket case. It is about a country that once exported surplus food now apparently falling apart, with many residents scrounging for rodents to survive.

According to the CIA fact book, which profiles the countries of the world, the Zimbabwean economy is crashing -- inflation was at least 585 percent by the end of 2005 -- and the nation now must import food.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to United States, Machivenyika Mapuranga, told CNN on Tuesday that reports of people eating rats unfairly represented the situation, adding that at times while he grew up his family ate rodents.

"The eating of the field mice -- Zimbabweans do that. It is a delicacy," he said. "It is misleading to portray the eating of field mice as an act of desperation. It is not."

 

For the full story, see: 

Jeff Koinange.  "Living off rats to survive in Zimbabwe."  CNN  POSTED: 3:40 p.m. EST, December 19, 2006.

(Note:  ellipsis added.)

 

RatsZimbabweDelicacy.jpg   Rats for dinner in Zimbabwe.  Source:  online CNN article cited above.

 




February 15, 2007

House Hearing on Global Warming Canceled Due to Severe Winter Weather


BlitzerWolfSituationRoom.jpg  Wolf Blitzer, the host of CNN's "Situation Room" program.  Source of photo:  http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/cnn/inside_the_situation_room_24403.asp

 

Yesterday afternoon (2/14/07) on CNN's "Situation Room" program, host Wolf Blitzer reported something close to the following:

 

'A House of Representatives hearing on global warming was canceled today, because of the severe winter weather.'

 




November 23, 2006

Government War on Drugs Kills 92 Year Old Shut-In Who Defended Her Home

 

As a live-and-let-live libertarian, I think the war on drugs is a waste of money and a violation of rights. 

Consider the news report of the police breaking down the door of a 92 year-old Atlanta woman, who defended her property, and was shot dead.

 

In the CNN report, the woman's 75 year old niece expresses understandable outrage.

 

View CNN's airing of a WSB report by Eric Phillips, broadcast on Weds., Nov. 22nd.

 




July 30, 2006

Beware of a Snapshot of a Moment in Time

  Source of photo:  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/world/middleeast/27mideast.html?pagewanted=2

 

The photo of Condi Rice touching her forehead ran on the top of the front page of the New York Times on Thurs., July 27, 2006.  It ran big:  filling over a third of the length of the paper, and over half of the width.  It ran right next to the main headline of the front page:  "CEASE-FIRE TALKS STALL AS FIGHTING RAGES ON 2 FRONTS."

It appears that Condi Rice is discouraged, or has a headache, or is overcome. 

But a great CNN report by Jeanne Moos run on Sat., July 29, shows a dynamic version of the minute during which this snapshot was taken.  It shows that this photo is a split-second moment of Condi Rice brushing hair off of her forehead.

Our usual view of competition is to look at how many competitors there are at a moment in time.  We look at a snapshot.  But to really judge competition we must take Schumpeter seriously and look dynamically at whether there is the possibility of leapfrog competition over time.

In an earlier blog entry, I noted that Ronald Reagan resisted sitting for still photos because he thought that still photos could easily be manipulated to mislead.  Ronald Reagan was right.

 

(Jeanne Moos's report was entitled "Hairy Talks or Hair in Eyes?" on the CNN web site.  I believe it first ran on 7/28/06, though I saw it replayed in the afternoon of 7/29/06.)

 




February 2, 2006

The Creation of "Freedom" in Iraq

 

Freedom.jpg "Freedom" (oil painting by Esam Pashwa). Source of image: http://www.artvitae.com/art.asp?art_id=1571&bhcp=1

 

When Saddam Hussein fell, artist Esam Pashwa pulled down a huge poster of Sadam and painted a mural underneath. The gesture, and the art, attracted the attention of art expert Peter Falk, who contacted and encouraged Pashwa. He learned that Pashwa, in addition to his art, has served as a translator for the coalition forces in Iraq. Falk has organized a show of Pashwa's work in a New York gallery.

As of 2/1/06, the "Freedom" oil painting above was offered for sale through the gallery. For more information: Peter Hastings Falk Hastings Art Management Services, Inc. P.O. Box 833 Madison, CT 06443 203.245.4761 peterfalk@comcast.net

(The source of most of the information in the entry above, was a CNN report/interview entitled "The Art of War" that was broadcast on 2/1/06. It is viewable at CNN.com at: http://www.cnn.com/video/partners/clickability/index.html?url=/video/world/2006/02/01/intv.art.of.war.cnn)

 




December 16, 2005

Proxmire: Inventor of the "Golden Fleece Award"


Former Wisconsin Democratic Senator William Proxmire passed away yesterday at age 90. Through his "Golden Fleece Award" Proxmire frequently skewered taxpayer-supported research on silly topics (or at least, topics that appeared silly based on the title of the research). For example, on a clip yesterday shown on CNN (12/15/05), Proxmire, speaking of one of his Golden Fleece Awards, expresses disbelief that the taxpayer, through the U.S. government, was supporting research on whether sunfish that drink tequila are more aggressive than sunfish that drink gin.

According to the same CNN report on 12/15/05, Proxmire was in favor of government support of dairy products. (The dairy industry is politically influential in Proxmire's state of Wisconsin.)

A complete listing of all of William Proxmire's "Golden Fleece Awards" can be found at:

http://taxpayer.net/projects.php?action=view&category=&type=Project&proj_id=809





September 10, 2005

"Treat Me with Benign Neglect."


Source: Screen capture from CNN "Refusing to Leave" report by Dan Simon on the morning of 9-9-05.

"This is America. Has your neighborhood ever been invaded by state troopers from another state?" "I will leave when I am dead." Ashton O'Dwyer can't understand why he is being forced to leave his dry, intact home in New Orleans. He asks the city: "Treat me with benign neglect." The 9-9-05 report was followed up by Drew Griffin on 9-10-05 with the "Staying Put" report that presented businesses, and Afro-Americans, expressing sentiments similar to O'Dwyer's.

Dr. Michael Baden on the "On the Record" Fox News show, hosted by Greta Van Susteren at about 9:47 PM central time on 9-9-05, stated that there was little danger from the "toxic" water unless people drink it. (Toxic water is the main reason given for the current, post-hurricane, forced evacuations.) Baden claims if the city wants to help people, they would be much more effective if they sprayed the water against mosquitoes.

(Dr. Michael Baden is the Chief Forensic Pathologist of the New York State Police, and was formerly the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City.)

Watch the CNN report: "Refusing to Leave":

Watch the CNN report: "Staying Put":

For more on O'Dwyer, see also:

CHRISTOPHER COOPER. "Old-Line Families Escape Worst of Flood and Plot the Future." THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (September 8, 2005): A1.




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