Monday, October 31, 2011

Because FLG Cannot Help Himself


Somebody Is Confused

Via James Poulos' twitter feed, FLG sees this:
"I'm not dressin up as a Pirate for Halloween. Pirates are gay. I'm goin' as The Situation.' - real guy, to his gf, E42nd.

Some Advice

FLG hopes people know how big a clusterfuck the streets in Georgetown are because of all the construction:
Parking restrictions and road closures will make driving through Georgetown a frightening ordeal starting around 4:00 this afternoon. K and M Streets and areas along Wisconsin Avenue will have parking restrictions until 6:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Celebrity Object Sex News

Remember the artificial pirate porn star vaginas? Good.

Apparently, they've offered Lindsay Lohan $1 million to make a mold of her muff.

If they are going for realism, then FLG would like to suggest that they swab a random, surprise venereal disease in each package. Collect 'em all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fables

For some reason, this and this reminds FLG of the grasshopper and the ant.

Surely, He Can't Be Serious

Yesterday, on his way to pick up Miss FLG Maior from daycare, FLG listened to Sean Hannity's radio show. The first thing FLG heard was something like this:
We have Austan Goolsbee on the show next. He was the architect of the Obama economic plan. I had him on the television show. I liked him a lot. He's wrong about economic policy, but I liked him a lot.

FLG almost crashed his car. Austan Goolsbee has three degrees in economics, two from Yale and one from MIT. He's a professor at the University of Chicago. As far as FLG knows, Hannity doesn't have a degree period, forget one in economics.

To be clear, FLG doesn't want to overemphasize credentials. He knows plenty of people who are knowledgeable about all sorts of topics who never graduated from college. But FLG has heard Goolsbee and Hannity talk about economics. Goolsbee is what FLG would describe as informed. Hannity spews talking points and says Ronald Reagan a lot. Anyway, FLG had to hear this.

Somewhat unfortunately, it turned out as FLG had expected. Hannity got his ass handed to him. FLG actually laughed when Hannity said he's surprised Goolsbee came on his show again. FLG isn't. Even if Hannity is a hostile host, Goolsbee is so much more knowledgeable about basically everything that the first thing that came to mind as FLG listened was the O'Hara fight in Enter the Dragon, which begins with O'Hara breaking a piece of wood and Lee responding that "Boards don't hit back."

FLG's Time Horizons Theory

FLG's time horizons theory proves its explanatory power once again. Paul Krugman highlights a passage from George Will:
Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’ … Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for THIS?

Krugman then writes:
I sometimes like to say that modern conservatism isn’t an attempt to turn the clock back to the Gilded Age, it’s an attempt to roll things back to before the Enlightenment, with all that godless talk about numbers and evidence and all that. Doesn’t sound that silly now, does it?

FLG Laughed

At this headline - Eruption spotted on Uranus

And feels guilty about it. But not as much as how much he laughed at this:
I'm usually guilty of thinking poor old Uranus is pretty bland and uninteresting.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Miss FLG Minor

Miss FLG Minor has arrived. Both Mama and Baby are doing well. Miss FLG Maior spent the night with family and is now at daycare, so she has yet to meet her sister.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Intellectual Preschoolers

There's a blogger, FLG won't mention the person by name because FLG has determined from their comments on a post here that attacked said person they are emotionally fragile, that gets an undeserved, inordinate amount of attention from other bloggers. When, as far as FLG can tell, the blogger in question is the intellectual equivalent of a finger painting preschooler who has a river of snot coming out their nose and chewing a freshly picked booger. It just doesn't make any fucking sense to FLG.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blackbeard's Cannon

Pretty cool.

In Case Anybody Was Wondering

Archpirates need handbooks too.

Correspondence

A reader writes asking FLG why he hasn't inked a deal to get paid for blogging.

A variety of reasons, dear reader. First, nobody has asked him, probably because 1) this is a relatively obscure blog with a small following and 2) FLG isn't a very good fit for commercial-type blogging. No legitimate site wants object sex, pirates, Plato, and shitloads of cussing. Second, he has no desire to get paid to blog. As soon as that happens, then he'll be compelled to blog and he thinks that will take much of the fun out of it. Now, he can let the blog go fallow or toss all sorts of poorly thought out things up in rapid succession, whichever he feels like doing.

BTW, FLG thinks he's answered this question before.

How Does Somebody Write This With A Straight Face?

Felix Salmon:
I’m still in the (upper quintile of the) 99%, and if you boil things down to just their income and wealth numbers, the 1% is as far away from me as I am from a struggling working family with an onerous mortgage and a highly uncertain employment outlook. And there’s no need for them to shower themselves with that kind of money. From me on out, it’s pure avarice.

Well, Thank Fucking God we have Felix Salmon's divine judgment about where avarice begins because it would be pretty fucking self-serving for people to arbitrarily and undoubtedly self-interestedly declare everybody who has more money than them unworthy, greedy fuckers.

Anybody Else Seen This?

The Vatican On Financial Reform

The Vatican recently released a statement on financial reform and unsurprisingly, it's based upon Aristotle. For example, with FLG's emphasis:
In material goods markets, natural factors and productive capacity as well as labour in all of its many forms set quantitative limits by determining relationships of costs and prices which, under certain conditions, permit an efficient allocation of available resources.

In monetary and financial markets, however, the dynamics are quite different. In recent decades, it was the banks that extended credit, which generated money, which in turn sought a further expansion of credit. In this way, the economic system was driven towards an inflationary spiral that inevitably encountered a limit in the risk that credit institutions could accept. They faced the ultimate danger of bankruptcy, with negative consequences for the entire economic and financial system.

Here's Aristotle:
Hence men seek after a better notion of riches and of the art of getting wealth than the mere acquisition of coin, and they are right. For natural riches and the natural art of wealth-getting are a different thing; in their true form they are part of the management of a household; whereas retail trade is the art of producing wealth, not in every way, but by exchange. And it is thought to be concerned with coin; for coin is the unit of exchange and the measure or limit of it. And there is no bound to the riches which spring from this art of wealth getting.

But then they reference Hobbes too, which somewhat surprised FLG:
Given the complexity of the phenomena of concern, the importance of ethical and cultural factors cannot be overlooked or underestimated. In fact, the crisis has exposed behaviours such as selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a mammoth scale. No one can be content with seeing man live like a wolf to his fellow man, according to the concept discussed by Hobbes. No one can in good conscience accept the development of some countries to the detriment of others. If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that follow on the social, political and economic level are destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid.

But then we get to the recommendations, which as expected disappoint FLG:
Financial transaction tax
Recapitalize banks
Separating commercial and investment banking

The issue, as FLG sees it although he may be wrong, is that the Church's focus on human unity and justice is necessarily short-term oriented. People are either together or they are not. Now, as always, is the time for people to come together. But unity in human affairs is never permanent. It is always a series of moments of unity, which results in well-meaning but ultimately short-term oriented economic and financial recommendations. Indeed, some of the Church's thinking scares the shit out of FLG:
It is the task of today’s generation to recognize and consciously to accept these new world dynamics for the achievement of a universal common good. Of course, this transformation will be made at the cost of a gradual, balanced transfer of a part of each nation’s powers to a world Authority and to regional Authorities, but this is necessary at a time when the dynamism of human society and the economy and the progress of technology are transcending borders, which are in fact already very eroded in a globalized world.

Quote of the day

Helen Rittelmeyer:
I’m the sort of person who believes televangelists who say they only rented that hotel room because the hooker wanted to have her Bible-study lessons somewhere quiet.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It Would Be Funny, If It Weren't So Scary

Here's a video of a reporter asking Merkel and Sarkozy whether Berlusconi has a credible plan to, like you know stave off contagion if Greece defaults and the credit market becomes something like chum filled shark infested waters.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Conversation

FLG is standing in Georgetown. A lady walks by, does a double take, and walks back to FLG.

Lady: How was the flight in?

FLG: Pardon?

Lady: The flight in. From London.

FLG stares blankly.

Lady: You were just in London, right?

FLG: Sorry, not me. I was in London a few months ago, but not recently.

Lady: Oh, I'm so very sorry, but you have a long lost twin who lives in London and also wears Savile Row suits.

She walks off before FLG can correct her about the suit.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Conversation

Professor: This assignment involves writing a blog post. Are you familiar with blogging?

FLG: Vaguely.

FLG Is Increasingly Convinced

...that much of the discussion surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement's lack of coherence and demands misses the real motivation of the people down there, which is the therapeutic experience of protesting. Have fun while telling The Man to fuck off.

What more can you ask for? Nothing. In fact, once you start asking for stuff, well, then there's the potential that your demands will be met and it will be time to go home. Who wants that? Nobody. Because then the fun will be over. They'll have to pack up their bongos and go home.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Conversation

Cashier: Thank you. Have a nice day. Wait, does your wallet say what I think it says?

FLG: Oh, yeah. My wallet says Bad Motherfucker on it.

Cashier: Pulp fiction. Awesome movie. But you're wearing cufflinks AND carrying a wallet that says Bad Motherfucker on it?

FLG: Are they mutually exclusive? Didn't Tony Montana wear cufflinks? He was a bad motherfucker.

Cashier: I guess you're right. Where'd you get it?

FLG: My wife bought it on the Internet.

Cashier: I'd get one, but I don't think I'd have the balls to use it as my actual wallet.

FLG: Until you are, you aren't a Bad Motherfucker.

FLG Is Glad He Isn't Alone

Megan McArdle seems as perplexed by the pervasive attachment by so many to reinstating Glass-Steagall when they have no idea what it was. FLG has always been of the opinion that the vast majority of the people who tut-tut about reinstating Glass-Steagall say this because "it sounds sophisticated."

Are Vikings Pirates?

FLG isn't so sure he'd count Vikings as pirates, but he'll take this opportunity to post this video:


"Did he say 'making fuck?'"

Quote of the day

Thinking about Occupy Wall Street this morning reminded FLG of this passage from Federalist 10:
The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens? And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.

Notice the time horizons there at the end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

FLG's Stream-Of-Consciousness Argument To Blame The French

FLG was listening to this interview with the author of this book about the creation of derivatives.

During the discussion, the interviewer suggests that part of the problem is that the quants are too "Platonic" and dealing too much in the abstract. Now, knowing how passionately FLG feels about Plato, many of you could guess how he reacted - there was a lot of screaming on the Lee Highway. But not long after the author mentioned a tension between those quants who had been trained in physics and those who had been trained in mathematics. Immediately, FLG rightly redescribed the problem not as Platonic, but Cartesian thinking. Ah, but then remembered something he'd read years ago:
Nicole El Karoui, a math professor in Paris. She teaches skills required to create and price derivatives, the complex financial instruments based on stocks, bonds or loans. "When I talk about El Karoui's master's, everyone knows" about the degree, says Mr. Charvet.

As derivatives have become one of the hottest areas for the world's biggest banks, Ms. El Karoui, 61 years old, has become an unlikely player in the business. Her courses at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique and a state university, in such rarefied subjects as stochastic calculus, have become an incubator for experts in the field. A resume with her name on it "is a shortcut because you don't need to train the person on the basics of derivatives," says Rachid Bouzouba, a former student who is now head of European equity trading at the London office of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

The derivatives departments at banking giants J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, and France's BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA include many of her protégés.

And so the financial collapse is the fault of French Mathematics professors. They, in turn, can blame the French philosophical tradition. Therefore, it is clear Decartes and the French Philosophes, whose high levels of abstraction, are to blame for the current financial economic malaise and basically everything that is wrong with the world right now. QED.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DC Celebrity Sightings

FLG almost ran into George Will on M Street in front American Apparel. Not as cool as Paul Newman, but FLG'll add him to the list.

FLG Doesn't Get

...the appeal of this critique, which was originally written by Conor Friedersdorf apparently has gone viral:
Much easier to decide that it's wrong to create a mortgage-backed security filled with loans you know are going to fail so that you can sell it to a client who isn't aware that you sabotaged it by intentionally picking the misleadingly rated loans most likely to be defaulted upon

But here's what FLG doesn't get -- the client in this case wasn't some mom and pop retail investor, but another sophisticated financial institution, ABN Amro, if FLG remembers correctly. FLG ain't gonna lose sleep that ABN Amro got fucked over. In fact, the people who did the deal for ABN Amro, or whichever financial institution it was, were financial professionals, by definition in that they get paid to make financial decisions on behalf of the bank, and got fucked.

So, FLG isn't losing sleep for two reasons:

1) Financial professionals should be aware that the hands down best way to make money in financial markets is to exploit information asymmetries. (In this case, the composition of the underlying assets of the derivative.) This is why people do due diligence. If this security was cooked, then a sophisticated financial professional should've sniffed it out. Again, it's not like Goldman was forcing this on pensioners whose financial sophistication extends to writing a check.

2) If Goldman really did fuck ABN Amro, then their reputation will be hurt amongst its customers over the long run. There's a self-correcting mechanism to this, even if Goldman is at the center of the financial world right now, it can't fuck its customers over for very long before people go elsewhere.

BUT FLG, wasn't this illegal? Well, Goldman did pay a shitload of money, but the settlement was also wishy-wash on whether there was wrong-doing.

BUT FLG, even if it might not have been strictly illegal, wasn't it unethical? As FLG mentioned above, the fastest way to make money in the financial markets is to exploit information asymmetries. Therefore, we have a variety of laws and norms that encourage disclosure and prevent people from exploiting these asymmetries, insider trading laws probably first and foremost. Goldman admitted mistakes were made, and FLG things in general that they acted in a downright shitty manner and would seriously question doing business with them if he were in that position, which was FLG's point about #2.

But what Conor's statement is really saying is that we shouldn't let banks screw over other banks. Is that really the populist sentiment? Maybe, if you think this is merely emblematic of the corrupt culture on Wall Street. But FLG doubts it. If you asked people down at the protest if they care that Goldman Sachs screwed over another bank, they'd probably say whatevs, as long as there doesn't need to be a bailout. More likely, people think "the client" in this case was an individual investor, which it wasn't.

FLG is currently listening to

Wow, FLG Never Would've Guessed

...who is questioning the oft held, but seldom understood idea that the repeal of Glass-Steagall caused Too Big Too Fail and the banking crisis.

What's even more interesting to FLG is that Matt also writes this:
Federal regulators started to relax this rule in the 1980s and it was firmly repealed in the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994. It seems to me that if you want to look at a piece of 1990s financial deregulation that set off waves of bank consolidation, this is where you want to look.

And also writes:
The “one state only” rule is totally arbitrary. There’s no principled reason you should be allowed to have branches in Manhattan and Buffalo but not Manhattan and Newark, or that it’s okay to work with a local branch of a very large bank in Yuba City but not in Utah. But it does limit the overall size of banks pretty severely. California, Texas, and New York banks would be kinda big and banks in most of the country would be quite small. And the fact that the rule is so plainly arbitrary makes it relatively easy to enforce. Since it simply piggybacks on existing lines rather than claiming to be some fine tuned optimization, it’s relatively difficult to game the system without people noticing.

To be clear, because he wasn't in his previous post on this, FLG thinks that 1) the relaxation of interstate banking was and is more to blame for the existence of megabanks than repeal of Glass-Steagall and 2) breaking up banks by states is a preposterous idea, but 3) it's less preposterous than trying to regulate financial companies into separate functions in a world where the nature of modern, computerized finance is blurring those lines constantly. Moreover, people seem to forget that Bear Stearns and Lehman were pretty much pure investment banks, meaning that they would've existed pretty much as they were, even if Glass-Steagall were in place. Ergo, even under Glass-Steagall you still have the exact same problem.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote of the day II

Andrew Stevens:
It's important to recognize the politics of all this. When you're marginalizing a Sarah Palin, you don't announce that you're doing it; that would just enrage her supporters. You maneuver behind the scenes, you change some rhetoric here and there in order to placate and subsume the movement so they don't go off in a huff and start their own party. You don't just haul off and call them idiots. I've been watching the Republican Party carry out a master class in assimilation of these folks and what do they get from the people ostensibly on their ideological side? Nothing but grief.

Hold The Presses

FLG agrees with Dean Baker:
While Friedman favorably quotes Emanual describing this as, "staring right into the whites of the eyes of the skills shortage," the most obvious shortage of skills in this story is with the CEOs. Competent CEOs know that in a market economy you attract good workers by offering higher wages.

This is known as the principle of "supply and demand." If the demand exceeds the supply, then the price of the item in question is supposed to rise. In this case the item in question is labor. If these companies were run by competent CEOs then they would be offering higher wages in order to attract the workers that they say they need. If they offered high enough wages people would leave competitors to work for their companies. They would also move from other parts of the country or even other countries to accept their job offers. In the long-run more people would train to get the skills needed to fill the positions these employers are offering.

Quote of the day

Buttonwood:
Those mad regulators insisting on higher capital ratios!

How FLG Feels

Replace Maximum Leader with FLG and you've about got it:
Your Maximum Leader doesn’t really feel at home in the current iteration of the Republican party; and feels marginalized on the political right.

Your Maximum Leader is not a Tea Party type of fellow. He doesn’t think President Obama is a full-out Socialist. He doesn’t deny evolution. He is an old fashioned conservative. He would likely be labeled a RINO by many. Or a “Rockefeller Republican.” Or even a “Moderate.” Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think that he is any of those three things… But he is thinking that more and more he is becoming the old man yelling for the kids to get off his yard. Only in this case he is yelling at the kids that he is a true conservative and they are something else…

Your Maximum Leader believes in small government. But there is a role for government in society and it is possible for government to be too small. (Ours is too big now, by the way.) Your Maximum Leader believes that taxes are a price we pay for civilization. But he doesn’t see that tax cuts now will help our economic situation. (Neither will a tax increase by the way. Uncertainty - about all things economic is at the heart of our current crisis.) Your Maximum Leader is in favor of a strong national defense. And currently the US is overextended around the world and in need of a rethink of priorities. [...] Your Maximum Leader is a pretty traditional guy and does believe that permissiveness in many areas of civil society is damaging to that society in the long run. But he also believes that government is not the agent of social change many think it is and should be. Your Maximum Leader appreciates science and learning and is put off by those who seem to flaunt their ignorance.

So what is he to think? Your Maximum Leader likes to think he is a rational right-leaning fellow. That said he certainly doesn’t think that he is in the mainstream of the political right. Neither is he off to the far right. He thinks that the right have moved further right and he is looking to be more of a centre-right type of guy.

By the by, FLG believes that the problem here is that instead of being prudent and thoughtful about what policies are best in the long run, the current Republican party has becoming dogmatically fixated on things that are most of the time, but not always best in the long run. It seems to FLG that the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has onto conclusions without regards to the reasoning behind them. Yes, in general, it's good to keep taxes low, but sometimes you need to raise them. Yes, in general, it's good for the government to run a balanced budget, but in times of economic distress it does help to run a deficit.

This isn't to say that the current administration has executed any of these things well, but that stimulus spending and taxes aren't per se socialist.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jack O' Lanterns

The FLGs stepped up the pumpkin carving this year:

Look, Dad, A Pirate!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Object Sex

FLG already tweet'd this, but in honor of the Halloween season, here's some object sex (jump to the 2:05 mark):

Friday, October 14, 2011

Banking Reform

Via Reihan, FLG learns Matt Taibbi has some demand recommendations for the OWS crowd:
1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.

FLG is still waiting for a compelling explanation how and why reinstating Glass-Steagall, which is what Taibbi is calling for here, is going to work. The logic seems to be that banks and banking was simple and safe when Glass-Steagall was around, so if we reinstate it, then it will be simple and safe again.

FLG thinks if one is really worried about Too Big To Fail, then the problem lies not with the repeal of Glass-Steagall by GLBA, but the IBBEA five years earlier. What the heck is IBBEA? The Interstate Banking and Branch Efficiency Act.

While there was the Banking Holding Company Act back in the 50s and there were regional compacts for interstate banking going back to 1982, the IBBEAs passage in 1994 opened the floodgates to banks to operate across state lines. That, not GLBA as many would have you believe, is when massive banks really began to emerge.

So, if we are going to break up banks, then let's do it along state lines. Now, FLG understands that this seems less rational than breaking them up by function. Better to separate the institutions by whether their business is risky or not than anachronistic political lines with no real economic or financial meaning.

Well, FLG demurs. The thing that these Glass-Steagall proponents miss is that we can't turn back the clock on banking by turning back the legal regime. Financial innovation, caused primarily by information technology, has blurred the lines between what used to be separate functions of financial institutions. Finance is ultimately about somebody paying some money to somebody else now and getting paid back at some point in the future. That's true whether you are talking about bank deposits, mortgages, or insurance. Well, over the previous 30 years or so, computers made financial instruments, broadly speaking derivatives, that blur these old lines. We can't and nor do we really want to disinvent these things. So, rather than trying to enforce the old lines of finance in a world in which they make less and less sense by having regulators determine what a reasonable versus unreasonable purchase or sale of derivatives for that line of business, it would be easier just to break up the banks along perfectly clear geographic lines.

FLG Has Finally Given Into The Dark Side

Plato, Alexander, Pirates, and Object Sex all in 140 characters or less - @FLGtown

FLG's Time Horizons Theory: David Frum Edition

Heard this on Marketplace last night:
RYSSDAL: So why this move? Why is this no longer a good fit for you?

FRUM: Well, we’ve been doing a point/counter-point here between me and Bob Reich for a couple of years. And it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve certainly learned a lot from it. But I think that there’s a kind of expectation that when you do it that you represent the broad point of view of your half of the political spectrum. And although I consider myself a conservative and a Republican, and I think that the right-hand side of the spectrum has the better answers for the long-term growth of economy — low taxes, restrained government, less regulation — it’s pretty clear that facing the immediate crisis — very intense crisis — I’m just not representing the view of most people who call themselves Republicans and conservatives these days.

RYSSDAL: Let me quote you back to yourself in a post that you made on FrumForum not too long ago. You say: “Under the pressure of the current crisis — intoxicated by anti-Obama feelings and incited by talk radio and Fox — Republicans have staked out an extreme position on the role of government.” That’s where we are in this discussion, right?

FRUM: It’s not just the role of government though. We have got a sick patient — the American economy. And we can see that the patient in the next bed — the European economy — he’s looking even sicker and there’s a real risk of contagion. And what I think we have to do at a moment like this: Have a very, very open creation of money and credit. This is not a moment for government to be cutting back. Here’s where Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes agreed. They didn’t necessarily agree about why to do this medicine, but as to what the medicine was, they did broadly agree. But it’s not the medicine that’s being prescribed now.

Again, FLG's time horizon theory says that conservatives value the future relatively more than than liberals. FLG has always stated this is a positive, not a normative theory because reasonable people can disagree on how much to value the future, the long run.

Add to this FLG's other theory that we need to think of the government like the Marine Corps. If it's about getting something done by mobilizing a lot of resources over a relatively short time frame and efficiency isn't the primary concern, then government might be the best answer. In this light, what Frum is saying makes perfect sense. The economy has been terrible, and in hindsight it was actually worse than we've thought it was at the time. Many conservatives appear, at least to FLG and from his comments to Frum also, constitutionally incapable of recognizing that the long run might not be the best approach given the consequences of the current crisis. One doesn't typically debate which design for a replacement dam would be best when the flood waters from the current damn are still swamping the countryside.

A Few Thoughts

First:
The Ancient wrote in response to the post about Mary Beard's Alexander article:
P.S. Perhaps we could interrupt The Dormition of Alpheus on that last bit in your post: Much more likely Arrian was modeling his own picture of Alexander on the behavior of the emperor under whom he served.

How is that any different than, say, claiming that Hadrian had his boy toy drowned to create a more exact parallel between his life and Alexander's? Because the evidence seems non-existent.

FLG has been thinking about this. There isn't any evidence either way, as far as FLG can tell. But FLG is going to turn to a combination of his Big Assumption and Time Horizons theories to explain Beard's assertion. Beard is present oriented and therefore assumes that Arrian is present oriented as well.

Wait, FLG. You're calling a classics professor present oriented? Well, yes. Yes, he is.

Second:
FLG hasn't had too much to say about Occupy Wall Street because he's pretty much decided that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are basically political Rorschach Tests. Seeing the people down there reminds FLG of PCU: "These, Tom, are the Causeheads. They find a world-threatening issue and stick with it for about a week." In Boulder, FLG referred to these types as the BMW hippies. During the day, they sat on the Hill playing bongos, reeking of patchouli oil, and railing against whatever injustice they fixated on that week, only to drive a way later in the BMW their Chicago lawyer father leased for them. And FLG finds it hard to believe that serious, adult people can think anything else. So, when columnist or people on the Left feel that this is the beginning of some movement or revolution or whatever, FLG can't help but laugh.

This isn't to dispute that Wall Street is a bastion of moral turpitude, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but those fucking jackasses, at least the ones FLG has been seeing on the news, aren't the people to make the case because 1) alumni of liberal arts schools aren't exactly the oppressed, even with student loan debt and 2) they have no fucking clue what they are talking about.

On the other hand, FLG can see how somebody on the Left could very similarly look at the Tea Party and see it as the unhinged, uninformed, but organized response of upper-middle class white people at their taxes being raised that was funded by super-rich white people.

Third:
This is a useful little tidbit:
YOU know how some people are always cold? There's a word for that in Spanish—that is, there's a word, rather than the small string of words I used in English. A woman who is always cold is a friolera (or if she's Catalan: a fredolica).

FLG wonders if there is a masculine form and if there is if it's ever been used. FLG has never met a man who is constantly cold, but he'd say roughly a quarter of women are frioleras. None more so than FLG's mother-in-law, whom he loves but shivers in the desert.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Correspondence

WARNING: The rest of this post is not just not work safe, but possibly not home safe either.

FLG received an email mumbling something about his interest in pirates and object sex and then a link to this site. For those of you afraid to click, it is a site selling flashlight-shaped rubber and plastic replicas of pornstars' vaginas who were in some sort of pirate porn movie. Oh, and FLG almost forgot about the vibrator necklace on offer as well. Plus, FREE SHIPPING!

It took FLG a bit to figure it out, but the variety of different vagina replicas by pornstar only refers to the exterior, which makes perfect sense. Who is gonna wanna put plaster paris or whatever up inside? So, the site has three different vagina interiors with names like the gauntlet and nipple alley.

Couple of thoughts:
1) Who is the copywriter on stuff like that?
2) Would Marx have thought differently of capitalism if he knew it was going to bring about artificial vaginas?

Quote of the day

Walter Russell Mead:
leftie protests that go nowhere are part of the background noise of modern American life. Drums and granola in the park is not news.

Five Paragraph Essay

FLG just wrote a standard, vanilla five paragraph essay. He almost feels like he should be quoting Lethal Weapon -- he's too old for this shit. But the instructions asked us to address three specific points in two pages or less. So, FLG tied them together with a thesis and voila - five paragraph essay.

Again, It's Time Horizons

Via Matt Yglesias, FLG learns of this passage by Russ Roberts:
The evidence for the Keynesian worldview is very mixed. Most economists come down in favor or against it because of their prior ideological beliefs. Krugman is a Keynesian because he wants bigger government. I’m an anti-Keynesian because I want smaller government. Both of us can find evidence for our worldviews. Whose evidence is better? I’m not sure it’s a meaningful question. My empirical points about Keynesianism won’t convince Krugman. His point don’t convince me. I am not saying that we will never get any kind of decisive evidence on the question. I’m saying it sure isn’t here now.

Paul Krugman responds:
Which brings me to the final point. Russ Roberts may choose his economic views because they support his political prejudices. I try not to. Maybe I sometimes fall short — but I try to analyze the economy as best I can, never mind what’s politically convenient, and indeed to bend over backward to avoid believing things that make me comfortable, to avoid turning everything into a morality play that confirms my political values.

FLG would just like to point out that he thinks this, particularly Roberts' approach, is the wrong way to go about this. FLG still contends this is about time horizons.

FLG asserts that Roberts, as the more conservative of the dyad, values the future relatively more than Krugman. Thus, he has a lower discount rate than Krugman. Therefore, Roberts' view of stimulus is more akin to Ricardian Equivalence. Whereas, Krugman would argue that dealing with unemployment now is very important and tax revenues are discounted so much that they don't really matter. Therefore, the NPV of stimulus spending is huge for Krugman, but zero or negative for Roberts.

This approach doesn't necessarily fix the problem of convincing the other party since reasonable people can disagree about the relative importance of the present versus the future, but it is beneficial because gets away from somewhat opaque and nebulous political priors topic.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alexander

The Ancient offers up this quotation from Mary Beard:
In a now fragmentary passage of [Cicero's] treatise On the State, he seems to have quoted an anecdote that would turn up again, almost five hundred years later, in the pages of Saint Augustine. The story was that a petty pirate had been captured and brought before Alexander. What drove him, Alexander asked, to terrorize the seas with his pirate ship? “The same thing as drives you to terrorize the whole world,” the man sharply replied.

FLG thought he had posted that portion of Cicero before, but guess he never got around to it. FLG began reading the article thinking he was going to hate it because he reads Mary Beard's blog. She refers to Alexander as a drunken juvenile thug. But, somewhat surprisingly, FLG enjoyed the article.

Besides pirate references, it also includes support for FLG's theory that all ambitious men are motivated by daddy issues:
Or, to follow Ian Worthington’s theory in Philip II of Macedon, after modest beginnings, Alexander was driven to continue in his campaign of conquest right up to the Punjab specifically to outdo his father in every possible way

And FLG had a face palm moment here:
“Some say,” writes Arrian, “that for most of that day…Alexander mourned and wept and refused to leave until his Companions carried him off by force.” Soon after he established a cult to Hephaestion as a “hero.” This is almost exactly what the Roman emperor Hadrian (under whom Arrian served) is said to have done at the death of his own favorite, Antinous. Maybe Hadrian was aping Alexander. Much more likely Arrian was modeling his own picture of Alexander on the behavior of the emperor under whom he served.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Really?

FLG saw this sentence over at TNC's page:
What was most confounding about [Kanye] West's behavior, after years of obsessive study of the [fashion] industry, was that he demonstrated very little understanding of how he might actually be perceived by retailers and editors who have a vast amount of experience at detecting utter nonsense.

...and FLG immediately thought himself -- experience at detecting utter nonsense? Last time FLG checked Thom Browne is considered a highly influential menswear designer. Yet, he does shit like this. Which reminds FLG of a video, jump to the 2:45 mark, in which Alan Flusser eviscerates Browne.

But this point isn't about picking on Thom Browne, it's about the idea that the fashion industry can detect utter nonsense. The fashion industry is up to its ears in utter nonsense.

Feedback From FLG's Professor

First, let me say that your paper was superbly written.

It's clear you had extensive prior exposure to the topic. Unfortunately, the paper read as if you sat down and simply tried tell me what you know about this topic in three pages or less with lots of exposition and just a bit of argument. All the meat of the argument was in the penultimate paragraph. If that had been your opening paragraph and you had continued from there, then it would have been a extraordinary paper. But you didn't.

This would've been a fatal flaw for most students, but your exposition was so engaging I didn't feel I could knock you that much for it. Man, can you write.

Take that FLG's 10th grade English teacher!

This is probably the fourth or fifth professor who has complimented FLG on his writing chops. Maybe it's because they can't find anything good to say about his actual arguments, or in this case the near lack of one, but whatever.

On that point about arguments, FLG must say that he didn't follow the old Jesuit tradition of when in doubt, draw a distinction. Jesuitical distinctions have saved FLG so many times.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dear Dr. Boli:

Is it safe to eat PEZ straight from the wrapper or must it be placed into a dispenser? Also, is there a preferred dispenser? I insist on the Daniel Boone edition. Your urgent attention requested, as this may be a life or death matter.

Sincerely,
FLG

Two Unrelated Conversations

FLG: I just realized that I don't really like Bob Seger. I think I hate his music in fact.

Coworker: Well, he is the poor man's John Cougar Mellencamp, who is, in turn, the poor man's Bruce Springsteen.

FLG: Do like Little Pink Houses though.

Coworker: Better to listen only to The Boss and be done with it.

-------------------------------------------------

FLG: I think I'm going to quit both the MBA program and my job.

Mrs. FLG: Oh, really now? Why? Pray tell.

FLG: Found me a plush resort to invest in down in the Caribbean. Got a flawless plan. I get a pirate costume...

Mrs. FLG: Oh, Jesus...here we go.

FLG: Hear me out....and a copious amount of flour. I start a rumor about some long dead pirate's ghost, and scare away all the customers. Then strike when the place is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Mrs. FLG: Dear, there's kind of big flaw in your plan.

FLG: I'm listening?

Mrs. FLG: A bunch of meddling kids and their Great Dane.

FLG: Ah ha! Seven steps ahead of you! That was in a cartoon! They would've gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling kids.

Mrs. FLG: And only in a cartoon can a overweight, unscrupulous real estate investor dressed in a pirate costume covered in flour scare anybody in the first place.

FLG: Rats! Okay, plan B then. I have this idea for a girl band that solves mysteries on the side while on tour!

Mrs. FLG: Can I turn the volume back on?

FLG: Yes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Liberal Arts, Not STEM

Via Reihan, FLG reads this sentence:
inventions do not make us richer, do not constitute eonomic advance. Use of inventions, the use of technological advance is what does create wealth and economic advance.

What's FLG been writing for years?

Innovation Comes From Liberal Arts, Not Science And Engineering...It's the liberal arts that provide insight into what's important to people. This in turn provides insight into how technology can be useful to people, not cool technology for technology's sake.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

FLG's Current Obsession

FLG assumes most of you wake up and immediately ask yourself, "Self, I wonder what FLG is obsessed with today?"

Well, kids. For the last few days, it's been videos of comedians responding to hecklers. Fascinating stuff. FLG is sure it sucks for the comedian, but it's fascinating because 1) every joke is at somebody's expense and who better than some asshole piping up and 2) it demonstrates how quick witted the comedian is.


Examples?, you ask. FLG'll be your huckleberry.

Louis C.K.
Jamie Kennedy
Steve Hofstetter one and two.
Joe Rogan
Jimmy Carr
Jesse Fernandez

Correspondence

A reader writes in response to the primer asking why is the blog named Fear and Loathing in Georgetown?

The Georgetown part is easy. FLG was and is a student at Georgetown. Why the homage to Hunter S. Thompson?

FLG always liked the description that Hunter S. Thompson was the "most accurate and least factual" reporter. The idea that facts can get in the way of the truth, that hyperbole can be the clearest description has always resonated with FLG. So, while FLG has not even one-millionth of Thompson's talent for prose, he does take a great deal of inspiration from him.

UPDATE: FLG believes this passage, which he has posted before, helps illuminate the issue:
Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism -- which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.

Quote of the day

David Frum:
There have always been grifters in politics. What was important in her story was the revelation of conservatism’s lack of antibodies against somebody with the faults and failings of Sarah Palin. That’s the story that should trouble us still.

A Primer For New Readers

FLG intends for this post to be a continuous work in progress that he'll keep a link to on the main page so that he doesn't have to describe his theories and proclivities over and over again.

About Fear and Loathing in Georgetown

It's either the most influential blog you've never heard of, or the least influential blog you've ever heard of. If you're reading this, then it's the latter.

About FLG

FLG holds a BS in International Economics, with a further concentration in International Finance, from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, an MBA in Finance and International Business, also from Georgetown.   He's also taken several graduate political science classes, mostly political theory or political-economy related. He has a wife, Mrs. FLG, and two daughters, Miss FLG Maior and Miss FLG Minor. He has a variety of pet theories and obsessions. These are detailed below.

Who is GEC?

GEC, Fear and Loathing in Georgetown's Graduate Education Correspondent, got a tenure track position a few years ago and doesn't post anymore. In fact, FLG is pretty sure GEC doesn't even read the blog at all.

Didn't insert post here cross the line?

Put simply -- No.  FLG possesses impeccable taste.  So, if there is a question of taste, then the error is yours.

Plato

FLG loves him some Plato and has read everything he's written at least twice. The more famous dialogues he's read probably a dozen times each and he's not quite sure how many times he's read the Republic all the way through, but at least four.

Alexander

FLG admires Alexander and impugning him is probably the most surefire way to draw FLG's ire.

Pirates

FLG is fascinated by pirates, both ancient and modern. He sometimes refers to himself with the epithet, FLG the Archpirate, and is tickled that somebody took the time to update the Urban Dictionary accordingly.

Object Sex

FLG finds people having sex with inanimate objects absolutely hilarious and documents as many cases as he can.

NATO delenda est

FLG has called for the abolition of NATO years now. He maintains that it was merely the vessel through which the West channeled the focused energy caused by a real and imminent threat to their collective existence, the USSR. Once that threat disappeared so did the focus and so did any reason for NATO existence. The bureaucracy has been thrashing around for two decades trying to find a raison d'etre. Morons, who wrongly attribute the success of West in winning the Cold War through focus and determination to the mere vessel they used to do it, keep hoping the institution will again become relevant and use it to find a way to share the burdens of global security, when, in reality, it does the opposite because it creates an institutional illusion of security that exacerbates the Europeans' natural instinct to free ride.

Time Horizons Theory

FLG contends that liberals place more value on the present than the future relative to conservatives, who place relatively more value on the future. This is reflected most clearly in a variety of quotations, including King's "The fierce urgency of now" and Keynes' "those walk most truly in the paths of virtue and sane wisdom who take least thought for the morrow." Indeed, Keynes entire economic analysis is rooted in the short-run because, as he said, "in the long run we are all dead."

A sort of corollary from this is that liberals are more empirical while conservatives are more rational, but FLG is trying to find better language to describe the difference. Anyway, the basic intuition is that empiricism relies upon observations that take place at some discrete moment, which are only certain at that moment, and FLG would argue that the assumption that the observation is still accurate becomes less credible the more time has elapsed since the observation. Thus, relying upon empiricism in some ways necessitates a short-term orientation. Conversely, it's very difficult to isolate a single cause and effect over a long period of time, so conservatives have to rely more upon reason and logic rather than specific empirical evidence.

Big Assumption

FLG believes that most people believe that "the experiences that constitute my individual life are representative of the entire human condition." He calls this the Big Assumption. Moreover, he believes that the purpose of liberal education is to disprove this assumption. This is where educational buzzwords like critical thinking and expanding horizons come in. However, FLG also thinks this is just the first step in liberal education and that after the Big Assumption has been disproven students should begin the search for what is universal in the human condition.

Government Is Like The Marines

If you want some specific goal accomplished within a relatively short period of time using a whole of lot resources and existing technology (or relatively easy to develop given a huge amount of resources technology) and you don't care about cost all that much, then government might be the answer.

FLG's Revolutionization of the Blogosphere

FLG revolutionized the blogosphere in numerous ways, but two are notable. First, he posts what he is currently listening to. Second, he posts conversations he's had. "Wait," you say, "those are no big deal." FLG'll forgive you for saying that, as you're new here.

Miscellany

FLG believes:
  • Everybody wrongly thinks that everybody else likes clowns when, like mimes, nobody likes them, except maybe the French.
  • the simile is a much underrated linguistic form.



Steve Jobs

FLG doesn't quite know what to think about Steve Job's death. In FLG's mind, he was certainly one of the most influential people over the last thirty years.

Night At The Movies

The FLGs went to the movies last night, something they don't get to do much anymore, to see Drive. Mrs. FLG didn't like it. FLG isn't quite sure what to make of it. But both agreed Ryan Gosling is a damn good actor.

FLG is super excited about this though:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

FLG Hopes Against Hope That We Have Reached Facebook's Zenith

Facebook, which FLG used to like, has reached a point where he can barely tolerate its existence and is more than half-tempted to unFacebook.

Issue 1) Facebook as told every website in the world that "All your base are belong to us." Seemingly every website has some sort of Facebook plug-in that's trying to tell me what my friends are commenting or reading or whatever (whilst presumably trying to harvest my data.) Well, guess what? FLG doesn't give a flying fuck what most of his Facebook friends think about anything. Plus, the additional delay, and it's noticeable, in loading pages because of all this shit drives him batshit fucking nuts.

Issue 2) The reason FLG left MySpace was because it was starting to look like fucking 42nd street in the 70s. Everybody had some awful music playing and there was flashing lights and the guys have titty pictures. Facebook at the time was very nice, clean, and neat.

Log into Facebook now at it's like the new Disneyfied Times Square. There are tickers everywhere giving FLG updates on shit and people he couldn't possible care less about.

FLG holds out immense how that today is the beginning of the long slide when the entire system crumbles to dust.

Quote of the day

Ken Rogoff:
After all, there certainly is a case to be made that [a Financial Transaction Tax] has so much gut-level popular appeal that politically powerful financial interests could not block it. One can almost buy this idea, except that the tax is so counterproductive in the long run that it is hardly obvious that it would be better than nothing.

FLG is simply astonished by the level of support among people who should know better.

Creationism Versus Evolution

FLG was just thinking -- Does it matter whether students learn Creationism versus Evolution?

What FLG means is, what does it matter to their lived lives? FLG's favorite example is that probably billions of people lived perfectly happy lives thinking the Sun revolved around the Earth. And as far as FLG can tell, his life would be perfectly fine if he believed that as well.

Don't get FLG wrong, he's in favor of teaching evolution and the heliocentric solar system. But he's in favor of it because of issues beyond the question at hand. Science is pretty damn certain of these things because they are empirically verifiable and FLG is in generally favor of teaching things that are empirically verifiable over things that aren't.

But FLG is less concerned about the impact of teaching either theory in and of itself. 99.999% of peoplecould live the exact same life they would thinking the Eden story literally true or that the Sun revolves around the Earth or the Truth. So, it's not really about those things, per se, but the larger implications of what Truth is.

This was probably all very obvious to most of you, but it takes FLG a while to figure things out sometimes.

Almost Makes FLG Want To Move To The 10th District

Frank Wolf gives Grover the business.

h/t

Really Stupid Liars

Ross Douthat:
Now one can draw two possible conclusions from these difficulties. One possibility is that the authors and compilers of Genesis weren’t just liars; they were really stupid liars, who didn’t bother doing the basic work required to make their fabrication remotely plausible or coherent. The other possibility is that Genesis was never intended to be read as a literal blow-by-blow history of the human race’s first few months, and that its account of how sin entered the world partakes of allegorical and symbolic elements — like many other stories in the Bible, from the Book of Job to the Book of Revelation — to make a  theological and moral point.

FLG is always shocked by the number of people who don't know an allegorical interpretation goes back to at least Augustine. Despite what a lot of the Richard Dawkins' of the world would like to believe, religious believers aren't a bunch of morons. They have brains and have thought about this stuff for a couple of millennia.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh, Fuck Me

L'Otan se juge plus crédible après la guerre en Libye


NATO delenda set.

Freedom And Skhole

A few years back, FLG argued and he still believes:
The ultimate goal of Marxism, in its purest, Platonic form, is Leisure. Leisure in this case means the ability to pursue one's goals free from constraints. Those constraints could be cultural, economic, or political.

And a couple of weeks later:
As the previous discussion revealed, Marx took this goal from Aristotle, who I would argue rightly understood Leisure. I vacillate between whether Marx bastardized Aristotle's version of Leisure so much that he wrongly understood it or whether Marx kept Aristotle's Leisure largely intact and the modern Left bastardized Marx's generally correct understanding. Somehow Leisure, which used to be understood as a virtuous use of free time and resources for the betterment of oneself and one's society, became a hedonistic consumption of experiences. I might even say Leisure went from Apollonian to Dionysian, but that would probably require more thought than I'm willing to put in this morning.

Digression: Many people read this and then start bickering with FLG about how Marx was really talking about the alienation of labor and all that. Yes, yes he was. But FLG thinks that misses the larger point. If one reads it with the idea of skhole front and center in their mind, then FLG thinks it becomes clear that at root the problem is that Labor is alienated because it's not Leisure.

Thus, he read the definitions of freedom given by Occupy Wall Streeters with some fascination:
  • ”Revolution means freedom from necessity.”
  • ”Being able to have enough activities, friends and the social basis of self-respect so that you can make meaning out of your life.”
  • ”Freedom means freedom from necessity, freedom to do what you want without having to sell yourself in order to survive. Freedom to express who you are through whatever you want to do without any forces stopping you.”
  • ”Realization of human potentiality.”
  • ”Freedom means the unlimited transformability of all things humans into things beyond human. The unimaginable frontiers of human destiny that we have given up largely to our own discredit.”
  • ”Freedom means the ability to speak your mind, to live your life free of worrying about how you’ll pay your next bill or whether you’ll have a roof over your head.”
  • ”Live your life as you see fit, making your own decisions to the best of your knowledge and ability.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Conversation

Doctor: so, why are you he today?

Lady: Well, it's kind of embarrassing...

Doctor: Don't worry. What is it?

Lady: Uh, um, I have centipedes in my vagina.

Doctor: Ha ha ha ha.

Lady: Hey! It's more likely than you think!

FLG is currently listening to

Tracking In School

FLG read this debate about tracking versus integration with a good deal of interest. His school district wrestled with the issue back in the 1980s and 1990s. So, he saw a bit of both sides.

He realizes that his personal experience isn't data, but he can say without a doubt that his experience in integrated classes was unequivocally less stimulating and challenging than those separated for ability and it did cause him to become extremely bored and withdraw. So, he is very sympathetic to the argument that focusing on the lowest performing students comes at high-achievers' expense. That doesn't necessarily mean we should shift focus away from the achievement gap, but it does also mean we shouldn't make education policy without remembering TINSTAAFL.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Correspondence

Galatea writes:
Saying that the difference between the person who saved and the person who spent is personal willpower, or better budgeting, is the real drastic oversimplification.

Shockingly enough some of us have noticed that only white straight men ever make it.

Pirate King Slippers

FLG will be adding these
to his list of useless shit he wants to buy, but won't.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Quote of the day

Megan McArdle:
A number of people have claimed that the government had to make these loans because they're "too risky" or "too big" for the private sector, forcing the government to act as a VC firm. That riskiness means that yes, a non-insubstantial number of the loans will fail.

But this doesn't really make any sense.
 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.