Assorted Links 11/24/09


Jimmie Rodgers – Years Ago (The last recording of Jimmie Rodgers)
Also see Hobo Bill’s Last Ride


Scott Sumner’s title for this video: “The right time to shoplift.

  • Best Books About Etiquette: No offense to other etiquette guides, but Laura Claridge says these are impeccable – “The great classical scholar of the Northern Renaissance, Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, also had some thoughts about proper behavior. Teach manners early, Erasmus believed. To that end, he produced this small book addressed to children. It admirably commanded the attention of his young audience and remained popular for three centuries. ‘To lick greasy fingers or to wipe them on your coat is impolite. It is better to use the table cloth,’ he counsels. Also: ‘It is not seemly, after wiping your nose, to spread out your handkerchief and peer into it as if pearls and rubies might have fallen out of your head.'”
  • Against Congressional Briefs – “I have occasionally criticized judges and Justices who use their official positions to try to influence the legislative process. In this post I want to criticize the mirror image: Legislators who sign on to ‘congressional briefs’ in the Supreme Court, such as the one David Kopel links to below, designed to influence the outcome of cases.

    Amicus briefs written on behalf of sitting legislators strike me as inappropriate. Of course, legislators can influence the judicial process in many ways. They write the legislation that the courts interpret; they control the rules that govern judicial hearings; they can control much of the Court’s docket; and they even control how many Justices are on the Supreme Court. Further, legislators take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and they have an independent (albeit sporadically exercised) duty to ensure that legislation they enact passes constitutional muster.”


Who are the world’s top intellectuals?

  • My Politicals Enemies are Idiots! – “It reminds me of when Hyman Minsky would go off on John F. Kennedy, noting that he was often presented as genius because he went to Harvard. Kennedy was a below average student at a time when Harvard had a lot of dopey legacies, and Minsky the Liberal was too independent to pretend he was some sort of genius.

    I consider politicians mostly narcissistic, smarmy, and unthinking. Those accidentally glommed onto my general disposition towards Friedmanism, I’m for. Ronald Reagan was often called an idiot while in office, but was a good politician because he changed the trend through his steadfast defense of smaller government. He wasn’t a Richard Feynman, but he was consistent, and a good communicator.
    . . .
    Most pundits, professional and amateur, consider a genius as someone who can articulate one’s platform more effectively than themself. An idiot is someone who effectively articulates the other side.”

  • Another Broken Myth: Foreclosures and Crime Rates – ” Prince William County, Virginia, which has the highest rate of foreclosures in Old Dominion, nevertheless saw its violent crime rate fall by 36.8 percent between 2008 and 2009. Foreclosure-plagued Oakland, California has seen a 3 percent annual drop.

    Still, the perception that foreclosures are linked to the deterioration of law-abiding areas is not necessarily susceptible to statistics. Many intelligent people say they have a sense that crime is getting worse as more residences end up unoccupied. Again, my own experience contradicts this: I live in a not-so-nice part of Los Angeles County and spend plenty of time in less-nice areas (in California nothing ever goes below nice), yet I am absolutely certain I hear less gunfire and fewer police helicopters this year than I did in 2006. ”

  • The Cost Of Additional Porsche (Li-ion) Lightness: $132/lb. – “Never one to shy away from expensive options, Porsche has announced that beginning in January 2010, a lithium-ion starter battery will be optional in the 911 GT3, GT 3 RS, and Boxster Spyder. Porsche is the first automaker to offer a li-ion SLI (starting, lighting ignition) battery, and given its cost, €1,904 (US$2,900), it may stay that way for a while. The new pack weighs 6 kg (13 lb), which is 10 kg or 22 (lb) lighter than a conventional 60 Ah lead battery. That works out to $132 per pound saved, based on European pricing. US pricing has not yet been announced. That sounds like a bargain compared to some of Porsche’s other pricing shenanigans. Ask the fellas in the paint booth to leave off the masking tape on a certain number of exterior and interior pieces to make them body colored, and they’ll ask you a mighty $13,545 for their (non)effort. Only a company that has the cojones to do that would to try to take over VW. I digress.”
  • How worried should we be about the deficit? – “When water regularly overflows from your toilet, you want the toilet fixed, whether or not the water is doing harm.”

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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