Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cav update

Hello friends and readers,

I'm alive and well, still chopping wood in New York.  The new job I took 18 months ago cut my reading from 5 hours to 5 minutes per day, hence the precipitous drop in blogging.

I'm trying to figure out how to read more and post more, and am going to try Twitter to increase 'reps'.  Finally got the twitter feed set up on the blog, on the upper right hand corner.  My handle is @caveatbettor if you are already there.

The family keeps me busy.  Bummed over the field of mayoral candidates, one of whom is poised to take over from Bloomberg.  As curiously anti-libertarian as he is, he was good for markets and I think that smoking ban actually improved bars and restaurants for owners, workers, suppliers, neighbors and customers, based on my sampling over the past 2+ decades.  I am a chastened and humbled libertarian--as is true of some bets, trades, people: some government is actually good.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Quotes of the week

There’s such a direct correlation between how much money you have and what you’re able to do or not do with your budget parameters. We’re better off as indie filmmakers studying South Korean filmmakers or Eastern European filmmakers — artists who have to do a lot with little. I admire the aesthetic of, say, the Duplass Brothers’ movies, but there are ways to bring bigger production value to indie movies without having gobs of money.--Steve Taylor

I fear that in the current climate the goal of "women's rights," with the compliance of politically motivated government policy and the tacit complicity of college administrators, runs the risk of grounding our most cherished institutions in a veritable snake pit of injustice—not unlike the very injustices the movement itself has for so long sought to correct. Unbridled feminist orthodoxy is no more the answer than are attitudes and policies that victimize the victim.--Judith Grossman

There is one thing present: That powerful human need to help. That is our hope -- in Boston, in Newtown, in Oklahoma City, in Columbine. People run toward the danger. People apply pressure to stop the bleeding. People send money they need. People pray for men and women and children they never met. People do stop attacks before they unleash and notice bombs before they go off.
Yes, this is our hope. All through the night, people in Boston wrote and talked about the terror and the pain, of course, but what was so striking is that they also wrote and talked about small kindnesses and large ones. They wrote and talked about the spirit of their city, and how it can never be broken. It was haunting and beautiful. And it was deeply true. This is something we hold on to in the moments of darkness.--Joe Posnanski

Rest in Peace Pat Summerall. You let sports breathe. You let Madden talk. And in an age where we so often use too many words to say too little, you let our imaginations fill in the gap.--Joe Posnanski

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Explorer at work; Safari at home

Source here.

And that would be blasphemy

And that's what it would be, (a retrospective on Charlie Pierce on Tiger Woods).  My favorite:

Tiger had a birdie in his pocket, unless he jerked it over the flock of genuine American coots and dunked it into the designer pond in front of the green. All he had to do was lay it up, pitch the ball close and sink his short putt. That was the safe play. That was what he should have done.

Tiger took a wood out of his bag.

The gallery erupted.

It had been a long time since any golf gallery cheered someone for removing a club from his bag. The ovation was not about redemption or about inspiration. It was not about the metaphysical maundering of theological dilettantes. It was about courage and risk and athletic daring. Its ultimate source was irrelevant, but I do not believe this golden moment was foreordained by God while Earl Woods was stumbling around Indochina trying not to get his ass shot off. To believe that would be to diminish God.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chart of the day: female fertility

Time sure flies.  Source here.

Ross Douthat on "Journalists leading the conversation"

Consider, for instance, the Washington press’s tendency toward what critics have dubbed “bipartisanthink” — in which journalists fetishize centrism and deal making, and assume that the best of all possible legislation, regardless of its actual content, is the kind that has both parties’ fingerprints on it. By conflating the march of progress with the march of legislation through Congress, bipartisanthink allows journalists to take sides and root for particular outcomes without having to explicitly choose sides.

 “Leading the conversation” is how you end up with the major Sunday shows somehow neglecting to invite a single anti-amnesty politician on a weekend dominated by the immigration debate. It’s how you end up with officially nonideological anchors and journalists lecturing social conservatives for being out of step with modern values. And it’s how you end up with a press corps that went all-in for the supposed “war on women” having to be shamed and harassed — by two writers in particular, Kirsten Powers in USA Today and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway of GetReligion — into paying attention to the grisly case of a Philadelphia doctor whose methods of late-term abortion included snipping the spines of neonates after they were delivered.

As the last example suggests, the problem here isn’t that American journalists are too quick to go on crusades. Rather, it’s that the press’s ideological blinders limit the kinds of crusades mainstream outlets are willing to entertain, and the formal commitment to neutrality encourages self-deception about what counts as crusading.
Read the whole thing. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

James Taranto on nature and nurture

He writes:

Here's our hypothesis to explain the Hart-Risley findings [on academic success in young children]: The variables they studied--again, the parents' loquaciousness and the children's IQ and school performance--were all effects. The main causal factor was something the researchers apparently didn't think to measure: parental IQ.

Steven Pinker, the Harvard cognitive psychologist, seems to be thinking along similar lines. This morning in response to the Rosenberg post he tweeted: "The Blank Slate lives: Yet another story on parent-child correlations that dares not mention the g-word."

"The g-word" is "genetics," and "the Blank Slate" refers to the view that human beings are essentially fungible--that all differences between individuals and groups, or at least all those that have important social consequences, are the product of nurture rather than nature. It follows from this view that inequalities between individuals or groups can be eliminated by social engineering--by changing the environment in which individuals develop.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Margaret Thatcher passes away

Andrew Sparrow with (decidedly mixed) round up.

London is the financial capital of Europe, thanks to Maggie.  Perhaps her fellow citizen detractors would prefer it be Frankfurt.

Race bias? Nahhh

Chuck Culpepper has it.

What’s interesting is the fact that somehow, folks were missing [Jeremy Lin's basketball talents] in practice, and that’s what’s interesting, because you’ve got to assume that during scrimmages, he was running that pick-and-roll pretty well ... --President Obama

And one of the better SNL cold opens:

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Quotes of the week

As soon as you crack your knuckles and open up a comments page, you just canceled your subscription to being a good person.--Louie C.K.

Manipulated by the media, voting their pocketbooks, supporting sectional interests or monofocal issues, voters in America and other Western democracies do not show very great signs of transcendent wisdom. Worse, we labor under the delusion (indeed, we foster the delusion) that somehow things will be all right provided lots of people vote. Our system of government is our new Tower of Babel: it is supposed to make us impregnable. The Soviet empire totters; other nations crumble into the dust, Balkanized, destroyed by civil war, tribal genocide, grinding poverty, endemic corruption, Marxist or some other ideology. Not us. We belong to a democracy, “rule by the people.”--Don Carson

Monetarism is not — nor did it appear to policy makers in the 1970s to be — a laissez-faire program.  Rather, it is a program for government control of economic volatility.--Michael Clune

Devote your life to something you love — not like, but love.--Gene Siskel

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Susan Patton beats Erin Callan

I'm hoping my girls beat both.

Erin Callan helped perpetuate (or, perhaps, 'perpetrate') the financial crisis, as the Lehman CFO who reported that her firm was healthy when it was, in fact, dead bank walking.  But her bigger regret seems to be that her job came before her relationships and herself, according to her own words:

Sometimes young women tell me they admire what I’ve done. As they see it, I worked hard for 20 years and can now spend the next 20 focused on other things. But that is not balance. I do not wish that for anyone. Even at the best times in my career, I was never deluded into thinking I had achieved any sort of rational allocation between my life at work and my life outside.

On the other hand, Susan Patton is drawing the ire of feminists and the politically correct police with her letter on how women do need men, and need to compete hard for the good ones.  It looks like the internets have crashed The Daily Princetonian after publishing her letter.  A cached version can be found here.  From Patton's piece:

Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you. 
Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them. And, you could choose to marry a man who has other things to recommend him besides a soaring intellect. But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isn’t as smart as you.
Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen? 
If I had daughters, this is what I would be telling them.

Mrs. Cav heartily agrees with Patton, and has saved this for our daughters to ponder when they are closer to college age.

The Bible and science agree:  making healthy babies who will make more healthy babies is a prime directive that cannot be denied, no matter how many protestors march on Washington.

All the newspapers, all the tongues of to-day will of course at first defame what is noble; but you who hold not of to-day, not of the times, but of the Everlasting, are to stand for it: and the highest compliment, man ever receives from heaven, is the sending to him its disguised and discredited angels.--Ralph Waldo Emerson

UPDATE:  Ed Glaeser weighs in, affirmatively.  Anecdotally, this blogger met his wife at Cornell, where we were both undergraduates.

Easter weekend quotes

... we note that the founder of Christianity was a rule breaker. There wasn’t a PC bone in his body. He hung out with prostitutes, thieves, terrorists and collaborators with Rome.  He was notorious for shoving the rulebook aside when it got in love’s way.--Walter Russell Mead

People moving to the city have been illogical risk takers from the beginning. and the key is probably they like the sexual or mating opportunities inherent in large groups. Playing to that angle would bring in hipsters and gays. As to whether that's the key to the health of cities or our nation, I doubt it, but it won't hurt, especially because one of the best ways of making a city fun to go out in is that it's safe for young women.--Eric Falkenstein

The longer the road from sexual maturity to marriage, the more complicated the underlying cost-benefit calculus in any given relationship becomes, and the more difficult it becomes for people with fewer resources to figure out the wisest course to take. So while the new romantic landscape doesn’t offer automatic benefits to the upper class and automatic costs to everyone else, it does create a situation where the people who need the least help figuring out the wisest life course have multiple clear paths to take, and the people who would most benefit from a simple map to responsible adulthood can easily end up in a maze instead.--Ross Douthat

... all economists are, definitionally, very good at college.  Not all economists are good at marriage.  Saying that more people should go to college will make 0% of your colleagues feel bad.  Saying that more people should get married and stay married will make a significant fraction of your colleagues feel bad.  And in general, most people have an aversion to topics which are likely to trigger a personal grudge in a coworker.--Megan McArdle

History scorns the people who lived outside Auschwitz and Treblinka, with their weak protests of ignorance. How will history treat us, I wonder?--Tony Woodlief

My homeowner insurance doesn't cover the cost when my gutters need cleaning, and my car insurance doesn't cover the cost when I need to fill the tank with gas. Instead, the policies cover only catastrophic events, like my house burning down or a major accident. Now that the Obama administration has fixed the health insurance system, I trust they will soon move on to solve these other problems.--Greg Mankiw

I wonder if [Paul Krugman] (and all the others who are pushing for more controls) are not having a “Smoot-Hawley Moment”. In 1929 tariffs and other restrictions on trade were established. A global depression followed. In 2013 the tariffs and restrictions are on money, not goods. But if the result of those controls is a reduction (or even stability) of the external debt numbers, then the global economies will fall with it.--Bruce Krasting

Military and economic catastrophes are, by their nature, unpredictable. While we can’t plan on one, prudence requires that we take their possibility into account. In normal times, when we are lucky enough to enjoy peace and prosperity, the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio shouldn’t just be stable; it should be falling. That has generally been the case throughout our history, and it should become the case again as we look forward.   The bottom line is that President Obama is right that sustainability is a reasonable benchmark for evaluating long-run fiscal policy. But the standard he applies when evaluating it appears too easy. It will leave us too vulnerable when the next catastrophe strikes.--Greg Mankiw

Bitcoin isn’t tied to any commodity—besides trust. As a statement on the global economy, Bitcoin is hilarious. As a currency for the disenfranchised and distrustful, it’s as serious as can be.--Paul Ford

... a firm basis for religious freedom would be found in the Bible, supremely in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. "I did not come to judge the world," Jesus told his followers, "but to save it." Here is an Easter story—a message of the grace of God toward every human soul—for believers and doubters alike.--Joseph Loconte

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quotes of the day

Economics evolved as a more moral and more egalitarian approach to policy than prevailed in its surrounding milieu. Let’s cherish and extend that heritage. The real contributions of economics to human welfare might turn out to be very different from what most people — even most economists — expect. --Tyler Cowen

In the longer run, the solution to the economic plight of high school dropouts and other low skilled persons is, as I have argued in previous blog posts, to ease the obstacles to boys and girls from poorer backgrounds that prevent them from finishing high school and getting additional training after high school, such as learning to drive trucks or work with computers. In the shorter run, it would be desirable to replace the welfare benefits that discourages many low skilled individuals from working with an expanded earned income tax credit that does the opposite and encourages them to work.--Gary Becker

In Ms. Sandberg's ideal world, "half our institutions are run by women and half our homes are run by men." Until this utopia comes to pass, it might be wise to take another look at "society." Society is, after all, a fancy word for other people. And what is society actually telling women these days? It is telling them that they ought to go out and earn a string of degrees qualifying them for hard-charging careers that the majority of them eventually discover that they don't actually want. As a result, many of them quietly cut back their hours and do what they actually want to do and do very well: make homes for their families. Sheryl Sandberg isn't one of them, and more power to her. But she is likely to find that nagging men and women to change their natures is a more daunting task than anything she does at her day job.--Charlotte Allen

Because pursuit of the truth is often irrelevant in evolutionary competition, humans have an evolved tendency to hold self-favoring priors and self-deceive about the existence of these priors in ourselves, even though we frequently observe them in others.--Eli Dourado

The minimum wage is far from the most harmful regulation on the books.  Why then do I make such a big deal about it?  Because it is a symbol of larger evils.
From the standpoint of public policy, the minimum wage is a symbol of the view that "feel-good" policies are viable solutions to social ills: "Workers aren't paid enough?  Pass a law so employers have to pay them more.  Problem solved."  From the standpoint of social science, the minimum wage is a symbol of the myopic view that you can become an expert on X by reading nothing but the leading research that explicitly addresses X: "Does the minimum wage reduce employment?  Read the top papers on the minimum wage.  Problem solved."
We need to get rid of the minimum wage.  But that's only a first step.  Our ultimate goal should be to get rid of the errors that the minimum wage has come to represent.--Bryan Caplan

One of the happiest quotes on earth

... [Dave] Roberts turned out to be that player who, given just a small moment, had prepared completely for it, instead of sulking over all the missing innings, and he made it into something extraordinary.--Gwen Knapp

Into the mind of a Sports Agent

Really interesting interview of Leigh Steinberg, by Russ Roberts.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Benjamin Carson for President

It's 27 minutes, but compared to the recent State of the Union address, as much better as it is shorter.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why some gun controls increase gun violence

Moreover, even if we were to reenact the assault weapons ban, how could we deal with the millions of such guns already owned? Some people think a voluntary buy-back program would work. But it would be costly. And who might the sellers be? They would be individuals who valued the money more than the firearm. That would include low-income persons living in high-crime areas who obey the law but need a means to defend themselves. And who would keep the weapons? They would be individuals who valued the firearm more than the money. That would include criminals, terrorists and mentally deranged persons who are not motivated by financial incentives. 
That's Robert Levy, via Glenn Reynolds.

I'm afraid that often "what sounds good" to an unengaged electorate beats "what works" in our time here in America.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Quotes of the day

We're still building, then burning down love.--U2

Why is productivity important?--zeroHedge

The Teletubbies will begin airing in Burma in January. Call me crazy, but this does not seem like a great way to incentivize other authoritarian regimes to liberalize.--Katie Cronin-Furman

... in 2011, there were 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs. --Awr Hawkins

When a judge describes his own conclusion of law as “surely” correct, but then offers no legal authority to back it up, the validity of the judge’s conclusion is almost always very much in doubt.--Orin Kerr

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Source here.  I've got a high failure risk resolution this year:

never criticize a teammate publicly or privately

inspired by Bill Russell, who apparently never gave into this temptation even once in his playing career.

Have a great 2013.  God bless us, every one!