Thursday, August 30, 2012

HEADLINE OF THE DAY: "Man convicted of molesting a dead deer and shooting horse to have sex with it 'assaulted female cop after shoplifting from Walmart'"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IN NEW ZEALAND, hakas are not just performed by the All Blacks before rugby games. Look at this moving video of a funeral of three servicemen fallen in Afghanistan:

Monday, August 27, 2012

INTERESTING CHART at the NYT on which countries regained what they lost in their markets during the2007-2009 plunge.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


UPDATE. Reader Julio Behar tells me that this footprint is not Armstrong's but Buzz Aldrin's; sorry about that. Many people have made the same mistake, but obviously this is no excuse.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

JULIAN ASSANGE'S MISRULE OF LAW: good piece by Ana Palacio, former Spain's foreign affairs minister.


KEYNES, the hedge fund pioneer....

AT THE NEW STATESMAN, the historic magazine of the British socialists: five legal myths about the Assange extradition debunked.

APOCALYPSE will have to wait, considering how many times the Cassandras have been wrong, writes Matt Ridley.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

PROGRESSIVES, make up your minds: you can't send Todd Akin to the shredder and at the same time give Julian Assange a free pass for his nocturnal activities in Sweden. They both share the same premise: that rape is often non-legitimate (v.g. in date rape, or when the woman changes her mind about having sex mid-intercourse), meaning that is a tool used by women against men for who-knows-what but it's not "real rape". For them it's only when there's physical violence from the onset. Yeah, it's that retrograde. In both cases.

So no, it's not a problem for social conservatives, precisely. Or at least not only for them.

SAD... (click to enlarge):

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NOTICE: I'll be offline for the next few days. I've pre-scheduled a few posts on BarceMusic so that you don't completely forget about me. At most I'll sneak into Twitter, so if the financial meltdown suddenly ends I won't be like on of these Japanese soldier that were found years afters who thought that the war was still ongoing...

So, behave yourselves, OK? I'll see you around the 20th.

Friday, August 10, 2012

WHO would've thought, eh?... "Bans on short-selling imposed during the financial crisis in the belief that short sales were driving United States stock prices below fundamental values did little to stabilize those prices, according to a new study by New York Fed economists. In addition, the bans had the unwanted effects of lowering market liquidity and boosting trading costs."

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

RESTAURANT CHAINS have managed to combine quality control, cost control, and innovation. Healthcare can, too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

MARVIN HAMLISCH, one of Hollywood's and Broadway's biggest, has died. RIP.

Monday, August 06, 2012

FT: "The silent Rajoy is deaf to the Spanish emergency" And that's just the headline...

The piece is informative and accurately explains many blunders by Rajoy, but there's a bit which is plain silly: "When the government rammed through by decree last month’s €65bn austerity package, Mr Rajoy was absent from parliament. When he announced the measures earlier, each cut was rapturously applauded by government MPs, one of whom greeted benefit cuts for Spain’s legions of unemployed by saying que se jodan (let them screw themselves)."

It's unfair, let alone disinformative, to say that the cuts were rapturously applauded by government MPs (as if the cuts made them happy) without mentioning that they were being rapturously jeered by the opposition MPs. The applause was an act of support by government lawmakers to their boss who was being booed by the other guys, at some points he had difficulty making himself heard. Remember, this is a country where people routinely applauds at funerals... does this mean they are happy the dead guy is dead? Of course not. It's a —weird, to be sure— way to show support.

As for the "screw themselves" it's certainly unacceptable and the lawmaker should have resigned or forced to resign, but it's clear she was referring to the opposition, not to the legions of unemployed, as the article says. Not only it's the logical thing unless you want to create a straw man, it's also what she explained later. You may not believe her, of course, but you can't just write a piece assuming the worst possibility as if there had not been any explanation whatsoever.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A FEW PEOPLE should tatoo this on their foreheads: 10 Unwritten Laws of Web Etiquette.

FISCAL DISCIPLINE IN EUROPE, a.k.a. austerity, while necessary, won't solve the problems of the continent's peripheral problems by itself. That's because their problems go beyond that:
The European project risks becoming a zero-sum game edging towards disaster, and all seem to be forgetting an important point: The problems of the south are structural rather than fiscal. Government administration in Southern countries are bloated and hopelessly bureaucratic, unable to reform themselves.

Caricatures of lazy southerners and disciplined northerners gloss over this distinction. If we consult the OECD's statistics on hours worked per worker, we see that the country with the highest national average in Europe is none other than Greece. The Netherlands comes last, with Germany just ahead.

How can this be? Don't Greeks sip ouzo on the beach while the virtuous Germans build cars? According to the statistics, that is entirely wrong. If we look closely, we see that the real problem for Greeks — at least, those with jobs — is not that they're work-shy. It's their monstrous public sector, which is inefficient, often corrupt, and prone to meddling with the allocation of productive effort in the private sector. In other words, Greece's problems are fundamentally structural. The story of Greece is the story of a failure in governance.

These structural problems, which cause tax evasion (and are often seen to justify it), are not unique to Greece. Spain's massive banking mess with the Cajas de Ahorros is due to local politicians' influence on banks, and their iniquitous links to property developers. Italy, too, suffers from nepotism, political clientelism and corruption. It is precisely this endemic southern European disease (most acute in Greece) that the EU can fix.
I don't have much faith in the latest bit, however.

MILTON FRIEDMAN, 1997: "The Euro: Monetary Unity To Political Disunity?"