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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Randay Parker Hall of Fame: The 1976 Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers welcomed the USSR Red Army Team to the USA. I remember this game like it was yesterday. I also remember all the guys around the bar thinking what a bunch of candy bottoms the Russians were.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Horse racing's lighter side.

Marshall Gramm hits the wire and gets a piece of the purse in fifth. Just misses filling out the bottom of the superfecta:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai Massacre

At right is one of the poor misunderstood terrorist thugs in India. They terrorized a train station, a hotel, and a Jewish center. I just don't understand why they didn't throw in an orphanage for good measure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama is picking very excellent economists.

If you don't know the answers then hire people that do, or at least the best folks you can get your hands on to at least ARTICULATE what you are trying to do. In this the Bush Administration has been a total failure.
Obama is putting together a very capable economic team. Christina Romer (interviewed in my second book), Tim Geithner, Larry Summers. Christina Romer is probably the #2 scholar on the Depression after Ben Bernanke. They are all top flight scholars and know the score. Would you rather the president-elect start pulling names from the economics faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst?
From the UMASS web site:
"The Department of Economics is a jewel in the crown of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst...It has a highly distinguished faculty working within several different traditions in economics: Marxian, post-Keynesian, institutionalist, historical, non-Marxian radical political economy, and feminist economics. Many members of the faculty enjoy national and international reputations for the quality, originality, and relevance of their work. " Relevance of their work?
Read this for a run down on Christina Romer:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joe Jihadi has a bad day: Part III

Here are two guys trying to plant an improvised explosive device underneath the road in Iraq. Trouble is, a U.S. military drone has spotted them in the still of the night. I remember Mother always telling me never to play in the road. Some boys just won't listen to Mama.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friedman explains why government spending has problems.

And this is what is coming...more and more of bureaucrats spending other people's money on somebody else. The video is not great but the audio drives home the point.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday is meant for football. Randy Parker Hall of Fame: The 1985 Bears

I went through a painful childhood as a Bears fan. Losing season after losing season. The 1985 Bears made it all worthwhile. I recently played with long-time New England Patriots great Irving Friar in a celebrity golf tournament. I said to him "forgive me Irving but I am a Bears Fan." He said "professor, after they did what they did to us in the 1985 Super Bowl, I became a Bears fan too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Then Vouchers for all, Right?

If the Obama girls are going to go to private school, then the President elect should want the same for all D.C. children and throw his full support behind school vouchers. Look for this policy pronouncement on Monday. Now we are talking about the change we need baby!

Look at the don't need a Ph.D. in Economics to figure out what it means.

From Alan Krueger's blog (via Phil Rothman). The vertical axis is the percentage of workers who say their firm is either hiring (top line) or letting folks go (bottom line). The graphs are the three-day rolling averages of those percentages.
I am now prepared to say that double digit unemployment is a very real possibility, and soon.

Randay Parker Schmuck Hall of Shame: Eliot Spitzer

Being a Schmuck is one thing. Being a Schmuck who claims to be the victim is another thing...
But being a Schmuck and then humiliating your wife publically is unforgiveable For this, and for any other Schmuck who does the nasty and then trots his wife out with him at the press conference, Eliot Spitzer is forever in the Randy Parker Schmuck Hall of Shame.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This is a great video to explain what went on...make mine a double.

Six minutes to make you much smarter...I'll drink to that. (Be mildly takes a few seconds to load the video...not too long)

Crisis explainer: Uncorking CDOs Marketplace Off Air Marketplace from Americ

In general this is a fabulous resource for the current financial mess (from guess who? Phil Rothman) .

Randay Parker Moron Hall of Fame: Wilbur Mills

This ladies and gentlemen is Wilbur Mills. You can read about him here: . The main reason he got into trouble in the first place was he was stealing electricity from the power company by jumping the line to his house boat before the line got to the power meter. That is what put the cops on to him and ultimately got him pulled over with his headlights off riding down the road. The rest of the story took off from there. Now we can't go telling the rest of the story here. For all our itsy bitsy econ bloggers out there, let's just say Congressman Mills ran out of bedtime books to read for his friend and companion with whom he wrote poetry Fanne Foxe. And remember kids, don't take nothing that don't belong to you. Always pay your power bill fair and square.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This is why we love kids! Transparency 101.

Like I have been saying over and over. What we need is transparency and openness. Even the itsy bitsy econ bloggers realize it is true.
Check out my November 6, 2008 blog for a more scholarly, and less ocular, discussion on this topic

Ben Bernanke and Lessons from the Great Depression

I realize that there are many of you out there that are enraged that the Fed is not disclosing who is borrowing from the TARP program, how much or what the goverment is paying for the assets. And you have a right to be mad. But let me also remind you of a little story from the Great Depression. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) was a government agency that was in the bailout business back in the early 1930s. When they first started their deliberations, the names of the banks that borrowed from the RFC were not published. But beginning in August 1932, any bank that borrowed from the RFC had its name published and all the particulars were splashed across the media. Once this happened, borrowing from the RFC dried up as banks were reluctant to borrow as it was a sign of weakness. It snowballed until the ultimate crisis happened...first in the banking collapse in Michigan in February 1932 and then in the ultimate meltdown in March 1933. Like banks that have to go to the secondary discount lending facility today, you show up there and you might as well have a sign that says "soon to fail" hung around your neck. I suspect Ben Bernanke remembers these lessons from the Great Depression. He deserves the benefit of the doubt to do it this way. By the way, I have a one hour interview with Chairman Bernanke in my second book on the Great Depression seen in the upper right. You could call Edward Elgar at 413-584-5551 and order the book. Imagine that.

Here is a very good presentation of the issues involved in this matter (thanks again to W. Douglas McMillin)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday is meant for football. You have to watch this!

Watch this video from our friend Jim Hamilton...

Cool eh? We'll get back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Duck season is upon us. Let's have some fun!

From ECU Economics Alumni Hall of Fame Member Keegan Lynn.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Randy Parker Hall of Fame: W. Douglas McMillin

This Ladies and Gentlemen is W. Douglas McMillin. He is the Mack H. Hornbeak Endowed Professor of Economics at Louisianan State University, Co-Editor of the Journal of Macroeconomics and was my dissertation chairman. I owe a lot to this fine gentleman and I have a long, long memory.
Think back in your life. We all had a few special people who helped us become what we are today. This is one of the main guys who did it for me.
For those of you who have a bit of time, the following is an account of what went on behind the scenes of our recent financial crisis. Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall? Here is your chance compliments of Doug McMillin

Duck season is upon us. Watch this guy...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hey all you investors out there, you need to read this!

This ladies and Gentlemen is John Cochrane. They don't come any better than this guy. Read this and you will know what to think.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I really like this guy...but here he gets it wrong.

Robert Samuelson is now sounding the alarm regarding deflation. That is total and utter economic rot. Deflation is the easiest thing in the world to fix. Don't believe it? Then tell me the Fed could buy up all the assets in the world and not cause inflation and then you'd be right. Of course, it is utter nonsense. I have a lot of respect for the writings of Robert Samuelson. Here he is dead wrong. And so are people who speak of "the liquidity trap." It shows a confusion between nominal and real quantities. But they neither know it nor admit it.

And if you think Ben Bernanke is going to preside over deflation, you are

Randy Parker Hall of Fame: Moses Abramovitz

Moses Abramovitz was a giant of 20th Century macroeconomic research and the advancement of the economics profession. He is in my first book Reflections on the Great Depression. You can learn more about him here . Read this interchange I had with him and note the added emphasis I included:

Me: Could another Great Depression happen?

Abramovitz : My own sense of the matter is that the severity and length of the Great Depression of the 1930s could not happen again in the economy we know today. But serious reversals, lesser in magnitude, more transcient than the Great Depression, I certainly think are possible. And who can forecast how the underlying features of the economy will change over time? It may make us more vulnerable to great disasters we can't evnvision now.

I don't want to rattle anyone but would the subprime garbage we built our financial system on qualify?

If you want to read more about historical credit cycles and trends, then here is the whole interview with the Master...Moses Abramovitz Or you could call Edward Elgar at 413-584-5551 and order the book. That's it in the upper right. Imagine that?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's help out the little guy too!. What's wrong with this idea? Nuttin!

Foreclosure is expensive and begets more foreclosure as property values plummet more, bring on more default and take your neighbor out as the neighborhood dries up. Read the link below about how to stop this vicious cycle.

Happy Veterans' Day: Duty, Honor, Country

I am never prouder to be an American than I am every time I read this speech. MacArthur has two farewell speeches. One to Congress after Truman relieved him of command in Korea where he says "old soldiers never die, they just fade away." And then the lesser known one here, given to the cadets at West Point. If you ever have even a 1% chance to go visit West Point, don't pass it up. It is unlike anywhere in the world. I routinely drive 200 miles out of my way to sit at Trophy Point for even 5 minutes and gaze up the Hudson river. See a football game there if you won't be sorry, you will hit the Sports Americana jack pot. If I had to do it all over again, I would try and go to West Point. MacArthur refers to "the long gray line" of tradition and esprit-de-corps that sustains all West Point cadets. I flatter myself that I think I could have gotten in or had the guts to finish. Here are parts of the speech I have edited. I know you are busy so here are the best segments of the speech. I can't read it without getting a lump in my throat. The full text is available here:

And Thanks to all Veterans!
MacArthur's West Point Farewell:
"And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?
Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.
His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.
Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.
Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory - always victory, always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of Duty, Honor, Country.
Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.
Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.
You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.
The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.
This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."
The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished - tone and tints. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen then, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.
In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.
Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.
I bid you farewell. "

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let us count the ways.

Joe Biden thinks there is going to be a test of a President Obama within the first 6 months of taking office. I think he is 100% right. If John McCain would have said this he would have been labelled a fear monger.

Hey Joe said it not John. He'll have lots of opportunity to show that spine of steel. Let's hope Biden is right, that Obama has one, for your safety and mine. Don't look at this as an indictment. Look at this as a punch list of what can go so very wrong. So Joe, let us count the

ways ...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Randy Parker Hall of Fame: Bobby Hull

I don't know that my Southern friends could ever feel it the same way we Yankees do, but yes, hockey players were boyhood heroes. Here is another guy I worshipped as a kid. There was no place in the world like the old Chicago Stadium to watch a hockey game. Too bad it is gone now. Life goes on.

We;ll get back to business tomorrow.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

RIP Thoroughbred Racing.

The downward slide in the world economy leaves no one untouched. Horse racing, like any other asset is going to take some mark downs too. Read this short piece from Bloomberg:
Then add in how disgusting it has become trying to handicap horses with changes in track surfaces, dirt vs. synthetic, and how enthused most of the titans of the industry are toward the change, and I see an industry in the death throws. They can have it. I'm half way out the door.
Will the last person leaving the last dirt surfaced track in America please turn out the light?
Or maybe the whole thing will collapse. They just banned dog racing in about it here at . If you don't think it is but a short hop over to banning horse racing next, let me tell you about the tooth fairy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hey buddy, come here and rub this lamp.

From Senator Obama in 2001: "As radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it has been interpreted -- and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you. But it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf."

The negative liberties are contained in the Bill of Rights and are what the government can't do to you like deprive you of free speech or take away your gun to defend yourself and family.

Senator Obama is talking about "positive liberties" not found in the Constitution, a list of things government must do or provide for you. Or let us call them what they are...economic rights. Thus the Senator has said publically that access to health care is an economic right. At least he has the guts to say it, right to your face. That would be first on the list. Second on down the list of new economic rights would be the right to a "living wage" however you may define that term. The third new right may/would be access to free education for as long as an individual wished to attend school. Fourth (insert your favorite right here).
What about the right to live your life without the intrusion of coersive central power?

Monday, November 3, 2008

I dare you to read and understand this article.

From my colleague Phil Rothman:

It may take some effort to get through this article. But if you do go through it you will be richly rewarded and ahellofalot smarter when you are done. This is not nutty professor stuff....The upshot: When household income statistics are corrected for 1.) total household compensation (that is, including employer-provided health benefits since these are the fastest rising source of worker compensation) and not just measured by wages 2) changes in household composition since married couples are less and single households more than 30 years ago and 3) using better measures of inflation, the middle class did very well over the last 30 years and shared handsomely in our expanding economic pie. This is the type of economic scholarship that really makes a difference. This is also the type of thinking that can stop us from adopting policies that produce a zero-sum economy where the main goal is not to grow the economy and then share but rather just to confiscate what someone else makes and then give it away. This is what Europe does and is why they have such pathetic economies. We can have that too and real quick believing that the rich are the ones who grab all the gains. Believe that if you like. This article shows that is boulderdash!

Cry for Argentina Part II...More silliness from our friends in the South.

Che' was Argentine Eva Peron too.

Argentina continues as one of the economic tragedies of the 20th century. Now the 21st too. In 1900 they were the 3rd wealthiest country in the world. Not today. There is an old joke about how when God made the earth, angels came to him and said "God, this is not fair. You have given this country such beauty and natural resources beyond what you have given others, this is not fair." God turned to the angels and said, "just wait, I am going to put Argentines there."

They keep shooting themselves in the head, over and over, in someone's sick repeat of the movie Groundhog Day. Read the link below and weep. We know from economic research that private property is one of the most precious economic resources we have combinded with defending it through the court system and the rule of law. That is what makes economies grow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Randy Parker Hall of Fame: Mr. Ed.

I still can't quite hold it together whenever I listen to Mr. Ed. This show was a staple of my youth. Now that I love horses so much, I can't forget him.

Hey, that's Marshall Gramm with Mr. Ed in the upper right. Marshall once told me that horses talk to him when he goes to the back side on visits to the track. That boy ain't right. Learn more about this delusional broken down horse player (see it in his sunken eyes, click on it and just look at him, he is on a three day drunk, or on the schnide as usual) at