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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 14:16
This young woman did not really think through the way the Winnie the Pooh costume was supposed to look.  She likely meant well, but....Well, see for yourself.

Need to be more careful about putting the pants on.  If you put them on backwards, you'll scare the children, and amuse me.   And William H, who was amused enough to send it in.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "china, large and in charge, watch your b..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 14:03

 Not sure which entity in the photo is the scariest!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "home for the holidays?"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 11:00

The nice thing is that this is about BOTH GWB and BHO. Do as I say....
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "governance, information"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 17:00
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)"
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VPC   New window
Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 12:42
So, shut up about "markets" already.  The key is voluntary private cooperation, and society.  We can do this...

My new piece in The Freeman.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "cooperation, euvoluntary exchange"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 12:28
Angus is an experience welder.  He could probably stitch you up one of these, if you have a hankerin' for one.  It's going to handle your downspout.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "just rain dammit"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 08:30

For Members Only: Ingroup Punishment of Fairness Norm Violations in the Ultimatum Game 

Saaid Mendoza, Sean Lane & David Amodio 
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming 

Abstract: Although group membership has many privileges, members are expected to reciprocate those privileges. We tested whether in-group members would be punished more harshly than out-group members for marginal fairness norm violations within ultimatum game bargaining interactions. Participants considered monetary splits (of US$20) from in-group and out-group proposers, which ranged in proportion. Accepting an offer yielded the proposed payout; rejecting it caused each player to earn nothing - a punishment of the proposer at a personal cost. Participants exacted stricter costly punishment on racial in-group than out-group members for marginally unfair offers (Study 1), an effect that was replicated with college group membership and magnified among strong in-group identifiers (Study 2). Importantly, ultimatum game decisions were driven by fairness perceptions rather than proposer evaluations (Study 3), suggesting our effects reflected norm enforcement and not esteem preservation. These findings illuminate a previously unexplored process for maintaining group-based norms that may promote in-group favoritism. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "articles to read, clubs"
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Recycling   New window
Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 16:09

How mighty is Dan Benjamin?  Very, very mighty.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "public choice videos"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 12:08
So, this screed was published in the Chapel Hill News.  The Raleigh News and Observer was so taken by its forceful logic and persuasive evidence that it was reprinted there.

The whole thing is excellent.  But this part was particularly excellent, I thought:

Roses is owned by Art Pope, a man whose politics I vehemently oppose....Roses is the only store of its kind within walking distance of the neighborhoods that surround University Mall. Many of these are among the poorest in Chapel Hill...Art Pope was essentially using his customers’ money against them. And because of their limited mobility and the lack of other nearby options, there wasn’t much they could do about it. While the demise of such predatory practices are to be cheered in the long run, it’s tough to sell that point to folks who’ll find themselves without a place to buy clothes and other household necessities once Roses closes. 

...Were they being exploited? Absolutely. But that doesn’t get make things any easier for them in the short run now that Roses is leaving. Of course, I believe that systems of commerce need to be established that prohibit the creation of an underclass that at once produces and consumes low-cost goods for the benefit of the upperclass. 

So, to be clear, people are being exploited by having a store that is conveniently located, has good quality, and low prices.  He wants new "systems of commerce," because this whole convenient/good/ cheap model is exploitative.  It's the system of commerce, itself, that creates an underclass.

Now, I shouldn't be so hard on him, perhaps, because he's a journalism major, and so has never taken any actual college classes.

Still, I had to go all Boudreaux.  Here is the letter to the editor I sent to the N&O, which they printed today:

I felt conflicted reading Henry Gargan's POV piece ("As Roses closes…", April 13). Some folks are so ignorant of markets that they think selling quality products at low prices in convenient stores such as Rose's is "exploitative." Having Mr. Gargan argue this point, and having the N&O give it prominent space, makes for a useful reading for my economics classes. That made me happy. 

Still, it's upsetting to see Mr. Gargan exploiting his privileged position. UNC is protected from any kind of competition, and takes its budget from public taxes. Mr. Gargan pays, at most, a fraction of the cost of mislearning economics; he is essentially using taxpayers' money against them. And because the state uses taxes to subsidize leftist think tanks like the Journalism School, there isn't much those of us who care about education can do about it. 

The big picture is that Mr. Gargan will never have to face any of the costs of his exploitative misuse of tax funds for personal gain. But the little picture, the one solace in all this, is that I can now use this bizarrely misinformed view of commerce as a teaching tool. 

Michael Munger, Professor 
Duke University

One clarification:  I was trying to parody both the argument and the steps in the argument in Mr. Gargan's original piece.  I do not, in fact, think that the UNC Journalism School should be prevented from teaching whatever ideologically biased material appeals to them, any more than I think Mr. Pope should be prevented from exercising his rights to use his support for causes he believes in.  So the "subsidize left-wing think tanks" is a parody; I don't think the Journalism School is a left-wing think tank.  It's just a bunch of folks doing the best they can, given their beliefs, with the very limited intellectual resources at their disposal.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "economics is hard, goin' all Boudreaux"
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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 09:29
1.  Male lawyers dressing badly....

2.  A video of video clips behaving cutely...

3.  Prof. pranks:  April Fools.

4.  Man-car love.

5.  Envypreneurship...


6. Gluten-free blacksmithing, stored in hand-thrown mason jars. And other randomly generated "Hipster Hobbies."

7.  "Starving"?  Really?  I think he meant he wanted money to get pizza delivered.  After having a snack, after dinner.  Young men that age are always "starving."  It's perfectly fair to claim he is being ripped off, especially going to an education-free zone like UConn.  But starving?

8.  Car tipping.

9.  A video for R. Hutter, to help with his golf game.  Sort of.

10.  Advances in waterless poopology.

11.  Privacy laws.  Or, things the state cannot do.  Either way, I like them.

12.  Drive-by squirrel hunters.  Not sure this is really a problem, unless they are using an actual firearm.  Even a .22 is pretty scary in any urban setting.  The muzzle velocity of the long .22 rifle is pretty mighty.  But if it's an air rifle?  I have to admit, I don't really like squirrels, or Mets fans, or other vermin.

13.  I've always wondered what "Viscount" meant.  Turns out it means idiot. As Gandalf might have put it, "Beano alone will not save you!"

14.  Can Americans actually cooperate?  Maybe.  But maybe we need to think more like the Dutch.  An interesting thesis:  having to work together can have benefits.

15.  10 Questions Libertarians Can't Answer, and Hope that You Will NEVER ASK!

16.  If you steal a computer, you may want to avoid calling tech support.

17.  "You can tell when it's done, by the smell..."

18.  Second-tier cities are cool.

19.  What a sweet, calm pup.

20.  A woman with an encompassing view of the scope of state responsibiilty...

21.  "So, listen to me, a talking pug, you see..."

22.  There are many men for whom the LMM would happily leave me.  Rob Lowe is one.

23.  Westerly, RI gets new paint job.  Way to go, Shirley!

24.  Phishing performance art.

25.  This guy is claiming air should be free.  When in fact everything about his claim is an indication of why it is NOT free, but rather a common pool resource that's actually quite valuable.

26.  I wonder if he can hit a 1-iron.  As I recall, Dan Clark is the only human who could hit a 1-iron.

27.  If sliders were the numeraire good....A minimum wage index.

28.  This goes so far beyond self-parody that it parodies self-parody.  The Onion would reject this as too obviously implausible.  NO ONE would say this much stupid crap about themselves.  ANYONE would realize that they are making themselves look like idiots.  Except. These. Two. People.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "links"
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Date: Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 12:19
The reason we have this problem is that so much of the West is owned by "us," or "the U.S.," or something.  You may not have known that, but it matters a lot for context.  Check out this map:

Click for an even more federally-owned image.

Now, there is a genuine kerfuffle about land rights.  Not ownership, exactly, but the right to use the land for cattle grazing.  Adverse possession, Lockean combining my labor (or cattle) with the land, and so on.  There's this.  And then this

These people are crazy, right?  Why don't they graze their cattle on private land, and stop whining?  Check out Nevada, folks.  In the map above.  There is no private land.

Have we reached a cow tipping point?  What is going to happen?  My answer:  sell it, sell most of it.  My friend Holly Fretwell at PERC wrote about this back in 2003.  Fifteen years ago, Terry, Vernon, and Emily worked on this.  It's not like we didn't know.  Sell it.  SELL IT!  More recently, Holly is still trying to get someone to listen.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "federalism, land use, public policy"
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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 13:11
In the ongoing battle over monetary compensation for student athletes, perhaps no voice is more stridently ignorant than that of Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby:

"I came up as a wrestler and I can tell you I worked just as hard as any football player in the country, as any basketball player, in fact I would say I worked harder than those guys,"

"The fact is we have student-athletes in all sorts of sports that, if you apply any form of value to their labor, you cannot pay football players and not pay gymnasts just because the football player has the blessing of an adoring public. That's the only difference. There are a lot of student athletes that are worthy."

Well maybe he did take a class in Marxian econ and fell in love with the labor theory of value!

Of course a simple glance at the real world (as opposed to wherever the hell Bowlsby lives) refutes his thesis.

Just change the context and see if you buy it: "you cannot pay movie stars more than teachers just because the movie star has an adoring public. Teachers work harder than those guys".


Look people, the hard truth is that football and basketball players have been cross-subsidizing tennis players, swimmers, rowers, golfers, you name it, for a very long time. Now that the handwriting is on the wall for that (to me at least) blatantly unfair system, there are going to be big adjustments.

No more cross country air travel for the golf / tennis / field hockey teams. Heck maybe even no more scholarships for them either.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "adoring public be damned, cross-subsides..."
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 11:28
So, when you enter Europa via CDG, from the US at least, and you remain in the international transit part of the airport, the passport check is...well, there isn't one.  At all.  I had thought this was fairly typical (except in the U.S., of course, where we try to maximize hassles for travellers).

I thought little of the fact that the "passport control" on my entry into Prague, from CDG, was  also desultory.  The guy was waving US passports through like it was rush hour and he was a traffic cop.  Didn't scan my passport, didn't even open it.

Today, I tried to leave.  Got a car from Bratislava to Wien, and then flew Wien to Amsterdam.  And tried to cross through passport control, leaving the Schengen area to go to a connecting flight to the non-Schengen area.  The Dutch passport guy, leaved through my passport, and announces, as if it were a movie, "Sir, you are in Europe illegally!

And suddenly there were four men with guns, all around me." The guns weren't drawn, but there were guns, in an airport.  They "suggested" that I take a walk with them.

It seems that I must have entered the "country" (the EU, it turned out, which is no country) illegally, because, according to the remarkably self-important Dutch police, "No country ever allows anyone without stamping their passports."  (This is not only mistaken, but absurd.  Nobody stamps passports...The comments here claim that it's never a problem.  Of course, they are wrong, but it was a problem for me!)

I was ushered into a room to talk to a man who did NOT have a gun, and (thank goodness) was endowed both with excellent English and wisdom.

I said that it was hardly my fault that France doesn't check passports, and that Czech Republic doesn't stamp them.  There is no way I could have gotten a stamp in Paris, which is where he claimed I should have been checked, because they didn't even operate a passport control station inside the international transit area.

The gentleman smiled ruefully, and said, "That's quite true.  And yet that is also what someone would say if they really were in the EU illegally, now, isn't it?  If we simply believed people about when they entered and exited, the whole process could be done on the honor system.  We have to try to enforce the law."
I had to admit this was actually true, from his perspective.  And of course he had no way of knowing if I was telling the truth, because there was no stamp.

He asked if I had my tickets still from the journey into the EU.  Fortunately, I did.  He looked at them, and said, "Now I doubt you just forged these, so you must be telling the truth." And did a carefully placed, handwritten "correction"entry stamp proving I had entered the EU.

And then added an equally careful exit stamp allowing me to leave.

I have to ask:  while it's true that could not have forged tickets RIGHT THEN, it would be easy to forge tickets before the fact.  He didn't check the bar code, didn't make a copy, didn't do anything to verify that the tickets were legit.

Does this happen often?  Thoughts?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "air travel"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 12:09
Here is the video of my speech last night at CEQLS, in Bratislava.  I had to speak rather slowly because it was being simultaneously translated into Slovakian.  So it's a little frustrating to listen to, because there are lots of pauses.

But it was  a fun talk to give, and a great audience!  Thanks to Dr. Peter Gonda and the M.R. Stefanik Conservative Institute for doing such a wonderful job of sponsoring it!

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "entrepeneurship"
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Date: Monday, 07 Apr 2014 09:00
1.  Westerly, RI:  Where there is always action around the Brazen Hen.   (It's on Canal Street, the busy hub of Westerlyness, close to Toscano's Men's Shop if you want to rent a tux before trying to kill somebody).  Much to enjoy here.  The guy is 24 and has "an extensive criminal record."  He assaulted a funeral direct and violated his parole before assaulting a romantic rival using his mother's Kia Optima.  And the headline makes it sound like the hit-and-run took place IN court.  How he got his mother's Kia Optima into court I'll never know.

2.  Brain teasers trigger alarms of Venezuelan government.  Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves...

3.  If Marlon Brando weren't dead, was short, and had a band, it might look something like this.

4.  If you are the sort of guy who even NOTICES "toe cleavage," then you are likely to want to pay more attention to a lady's toes than most ladies will feel comfortable with.   Like this guy.  A little toe-sucking can be fine, of course, but never on the first date.  (UPDATE:  It was an April Fool's joke...But since I am in Bratislava, Slovakia now, I just left it..)

5.  "Neglect, carefully cultivated."  That sounds like my physical fitness regimen!


6.  High frequency trading:  should it be illegal?  And how in the world could you make it illegal?  And then...  On the Daily Show... A contrary view, calling Michael Lewis "A shill for the buyside."
And then a  debate in 20 minutes.  Long, but interesting.

7.  Hot ladies?  An odd place to send the deaf...

8.  The Weather Channel uses Twitter to troll up UGA, and other things.

9.  Taco nazi:  Putin, no tacos for YOU.

10.  This is well done, and transcends language barriers.  How does Opa use his new gift from his daughter...

11.  Open source comedy?

12.  Charles G. Koch offers some observations.  And a bunch of commenters show themselves to be idiots.

13.  Big solar?  Not very green....

14.  Holy smokes, Dartmouth kids are fighting oppression of costly sex change operations.  Of course, Duke caved on that one preemptively...

15.  Pro-tip:  Don't poke self in eye with ice-pick.  And don't use heroin.

16.  The scouting report, from a lady who has seen it all. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/03/28/4801492/shes-been-to-all-30-major-league.html#.U0JAcvldVG1 Best fans:  St Louis Cardinals.  It's our world.  We are happy you get to live in it, tho.  Because we're really nice people.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "links"
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Date: Saturday, 05 Apr 2014 15:03
Holy crap people. George Bush is an excellent artist.


Those are amazing and there are more here.

He's already better than Lucian Freud and that's saying something.

People, if crap like this can happen, why do we even have art schools at all?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "Arts, the allocation of talent, this wee..."
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Date: Saturday, 05 Apr 2014 13:31
The symbol of the snake eating its own tail is ancient.  The idea of this kind of circle is appealing, because it is so paradoxical.

So...Obamacare imposed a new tax.  But then panicked, because the tax would have to be paid, and if someone has to pay something they can't claim that their chosen role as Santa is viable.  Santa claims he doesn't like naughty kids, but in fact even the naughty kids want to keep stackin' that paper.

So, the plan is to pay the tax that is being charged to finance Obamacare.  But then who will pay the tax that will be used to finance the subsidies that go to pay the tax that was supposed to finance Obamacare?  Ummmmm.......tail.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "health care, taxes fix everything"
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Date: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 07:30
There is an enormous difference between

(a) the US should spend billions (as it has) to achieve energy independence as an end in itself, and
(b) the US should develop resources, if they are cheap and don't produce too many externalities, and have energy independence be a (mildly happy) consequence.

  This author doesn't really see that distinction, it appears. 

There is just no reason why anyone should strive for independence, if that requires this kind of neo-mercantilist nonsense.

Don't get me wrong:  it would be great to have a significant new industry in the U.S., and a decline in the price of energy.  All good for growth.  But not because having a trade deficit has been "sucking the blood out" of our economy.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "gas prices, just trade baby"
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Date: Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 13:34
A video of the Celestial Clock at the Municipal House here in Prague.  You can't really see it here, but there is a skeleton ("Death") striking the time on the right, underneath the dancing Saints.  Dancing Saints and Death keeping the time...nice.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "Death keeps time"
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Date: Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 12:49

Is this the latest K-POP boy band sensation? Are all Yakuza congenitally incontinent? Are they so chickensh*t that they don't get tatoos on the parts underneath the diaper? Is that the Iron Chef in the middle? What in the sam hill do they got on their feets?

I think that should just about cover it here in "Today in WTF".
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "the land of the inappropriate underwear"
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