Monday, February 18, 2008
You can click on that above embedded link, but I found it unusably small to read the text. Instead, it's much easier if you follow this link to view the Google Docs presentation at full size: The Subprime Primer
Apparently, Norwegian stick figures have hats that make them look like Canadian Mounties.
Friday, February 15, 2008
I came across a link at Yahoo Music a few minutes ago talking about how one of the contestants already had a deal in the past. I clicked it, thinking I'd get the full story on the Cook girl..but no, it turned out to be about Carly, the Irish girl with tons of tats.
In the comments on that Yahoo Music page, I saw a link to a whole other page. This page details all of the Top 24's past brushes with commercial success (or lack thereof)...there are a lot of contestants who aren't exactly out of the blue, never seen before talent.
Here is a bunch (22 oz, if I recall) of El Rey, waiting to be melted down:
Of course, there were a ton of eggs (copious amounts of heavy cream not pictured):
A whole bunch of lime zest (I hate zesting!) mixed in -- it ended up looking like chives!
And of course, the ingredient most people cared about:
Finally, assembling them at the party: sugaring the glass rims, putting in a dollop of mousse, and topping with a candied lime slice.
And no, I have no idea why I forgot to take a picture of a finished one!
Jen found an awesome recipe on allrecipes that came out just right: Crab-Stuffed Filet Mignon with Whiskey Peppercorn Sauce. I should have taken pictures. Anyway, it came out great, although we now agree with the people who commented on the recipe, stating that the listed duration is pretty optimistic. We were pretty close: I think it took us about 2 hours, and that included me running out to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up a large cast-iron skillet (somehow I didn't own one yet). I thought I'd find a bunch of Lodge cast iron stuff at L&T and BBB...but no! It seems cast iron is more scarce than I thought: L&T only had an Emeril cast iron square grill that was only available as a freebie when purchasing a whole Emeril set. I ended up finding the same item for sale separately at BBB (but still no Lodge). Cheap, in any case: $20 for a 10" skillet, $25 for the square grill version of the same thing.
We also made a spinach salad that we make often (toasted pumpkin seeds, red onion, dried tart cherries, and -- this time -- avocado (normally peppered goat cheese, but I forgot to pick it up), all in an oil and dijon dressing.
I also got out a nice Chateauneuf du Pape that I'd had on the rack for years. I tried to bring it to my birthday dinner at The Driskill this year, but they don't allow corkage anymore. It turned out to have mellowed nicely. It was a 1996 Paul Coulon et Fils 'Boisrenard':
I then mentioned that I had a hankering for ice cream, and was about to grab some vanilla out of the freezer. Jen told me no, and made me go read at the computer for 'about 10 minutes'. When she called me back in, this was on the counter:
It is a chocolate ginger bundt cake with a bourbon sauce on top and was damn good. I had forwarded this recipe along months ago when I first saw it, and I guess Jen filed it away for later use! All of the flower petals around it for decoration were apparently courtesy of Matt (apparently he had some fading tulips at his place...maybe from the big weekend prior? ;)
I came across this link talking about a study done on Seattle housing prices in recent years. It concluded that roughtly $200,000 of the rise in the average home cost was due to land use restrictions (that's 88% of the total average cost increase)!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
There are actually two versions of comparable worth legislation, the Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The former is co-sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama; the principal sponsor of the latter is Sen. Hillary Clinton (Mr. Obama is a co-sponsor). Both would push companies to set wages based not on supply and demand -- that is the free market -- but on some notion of social utility. The goal is to ensure that jobs performed mostly by men (say, truck drivers) are not paid more than those performed mostly by women (paralegals, perhaps).And I thought the 'living wage' people were pushing clueless economics!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
76% John McCain
70% Mike Huckabee
69% Rudy Giuliani
67% Mitt Romney
64% Bill Richardson
61% Fred Thompson
56% Hillary Clinton
55% Tom Tancredo
55% Chris Dodd
53% Barack Obama
53% Ron Paul
52% John Edwards
44% Mike Gravel
40% Joe Biden
39% Dennis Kucinich
2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz
I am a bit wary of these results. While I can't say I'm surprised that it came out with McCain as most aligned, the fact that it has a populist, wary-of-free-trade, religion on his sleeve (he only made it a few sentences in his post-Super Tuesday speech before quoting Scripture, no joke) candidate as the second most aligned makes me cast some doubt on the scoring methodology. I could not vote for that joker under any circumstances; he is the John "Two Americas!" Edwards of the Republican side.
A relevant segment from Easterley's WSJ piece follows (although I recommend reading all of it, particularly the commentary on favoring of specific industries at the end):
Mr. Gates seems to believe that the solution is to persuade for-profit companies to meet the poor's needs by boosting the "recognition" of corporate philanthropy. But the dossier of historical evidence to suggest this would work is as thin as Kate Moss on a diet. First of all, the recognition motive has proven to be awfully weak compared to the profit motive. Otherwise we would have had a lot more than the $5.1 billion of annual American corporate philanthropy to the Third World (as of 2005, which has the most recent reliable figures). That was four one-hundredths of 1% of the $12.4 trillion of U.S. production for the free market. Is it really the poor's only hope that the Gap will donate a few pennies per sexy T-shirt for AIDS treatment in Africa?
Profit-motivated capitalism, on the other hand, has done wonders for poor workers. Self-interested capitalist factory owners buy machines that increase production, and thus profits. Capitalists search for technological breakthroughs that make it possible to get more output for the same amount of input. Working with more machinery and better technology, workers produce more output per hour. In a competitive labor market, the demand for these more productive workers increases, driving up their wages. The steady increase in wages for unskilled labor lifts the workers out of poverty.
The number of poor people who can't afford food for their children is a lot smaller than it used to be -- thanks to capitalism. Capitalism didn't create malnutrition, it reduced it. The globalization of capitalism from 1950 to the present has increased annual average income in the world to $7,000 from $2,000. Contrary to popular legend, poor countries grew at about the same rate as the rich ones. This growth gave us the greatest mass exit from poverty in world history.
The parts of the world that are still poor are suffering from too little capitalism. Foreign direct investment in Africa today, although rising, amounts to only 1% of global flows. That's because the environment for private business in Africa is still hostile. There are some industry and country success stories in Africa, but not enough.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
The question really is, 'Why did we go from having nobody on Earth with blue eyes 10,000 years ago to having 20 or 40 percent of Europeans having blue eyes now?" Hawks said. "This gene does something good for people. It makes them have more kids.
From what I understand, Commonwealth Care does have a mandate (everyone is required to have a policy -- either privately purchased or the state-subsidized Commonwealth Care), which is what Hillary is pushing as well (Obama's does not have a mandate)...but that the penalty imposed by MA for noncompliance is so small as to not have any real teeth. I don't know what numbers Hillary is tossing around (if she is tossing around numbers at all) as how much she will fine people for noncompliance. The only thing along I've heard mentioned around this is that she has talked about garnishing wages to impose such fines...but I don't know how large the fines are to be.
In any case: if the overrun was this large in a relatively small, wealthy state, I'd be scared to see the numbers involved in a national version of he same program.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
In most developed countries (of the OECD variety), fertility rates are markedly lower than in the US. The cost of housing is also much higher, making it difficult for young couples to afford much space in which to raise a family...possibly leading to having fewer kids. One big example would be Italy; housing is markedly more expensive (not so much housing stock to go around) there and the economy is not exactly going gangbusters...which has led to -- get this -- 82% of men under 30 still living with their parents. Talk about mommas' boys! They also have an abysmal fertility rate: 1.29. In comparison, the US is at 2.1 (roughly replacement rate).
UCLA prof Matthew Kahn is quoted too (his blog is worth reading), with a different argument: so many of these newer, high square footage homes in the US are in outlying areas (where land is cheap), leading to longer commute times, serving as a drag on the return to the workforce of women post-child...leading to more of them staying out of the workforce once they get out, and having more babies.