Saturday, November 29, 2008

Re: For the Sheer Joy

Tried to do this as a comment but couldn't. Reminds me of Jimmy Stewart's movie, It's a Wonderful Life.

Friday, November 28, 2008

For the sheer joy of it

For your entertainment, young people Lindy hopping:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New tourism slogan for Minneapolis

"What happens in our public bathroom stalls, doesn't stay here."

Lincoln and Malia

In the Good Morning America interview with the Obamas, they tell the story of how their daughter Malia, having seen Lincoln's desk in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House, told her folks that she wants to sit at that desk to write history papers for school because that will inspire her.

Man. I wonder if Abraham Lincoln imagined that 150 years after his presidency, thanks in part to difficult choices he made, a little black girl, descended from slaves and daughter of the president, would sit at his desk to write her school papers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Uh oh

Groups of Somali men have gone missing from the Twin Cities in recent months. Federal authorities are investigating. Their families suspect they've been recruited to fight in Somalia. It's hard not to fear that they've been recruited for something nefarious closer to home.

Tick tick

Joe the Plumber's 15 minutes of fame are nearly over. Here is a chart generated by Google Trends showing the volume of searches on "joe the plumber" over time.

Turkey in 45 minutes

Mark Bittman shows how to cook a turkey in 45 minutes (or a little less).

Oil Price Drop = Stimulus Package

As I said, these prices put a lot of money in our pockets. (I concede it has as much to do with less driving as the sunsetting of the drilling restrictions.)

From the WSJ:

The U.S. Department of Transportation last week said that gasoline taxes paid into the highway trust fund fell by $3 billion in the 2008 fiscal year.

But the collapse of gasoline prices since the summer -- a drop of more than $2 a gallon in my neighborhood -- is an economic stimulus worth more than $200 billion a year.

I think I've posted this before...

ISI Civics Quiz

31/33 or 93.94%at 6:20 a.m.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Politico reports that Robert Gates will be staying on as Secr. of Defense.
The team gives Obama experience in the bureaucracy and credibility with the military, although it could lead to criticism from his party’s left wing that the lineup is more hawkish and less revolutionary than his supporters expected.

Scooter, you're going to like this President as much as it's possible for you to like a Democratic president. And you might like him better than you like Bush 43. (Actually, I think it's possible you'll really really like him, but it's too soon to tell that.)

Bailout Cost Comparison

Barry Ritzholtz and Jim Bianco via Mark Hemingway at the Corner:

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

BAILOUT Cost (including Citibank) $4.6165 trillion dollars

Lac de la Queue de la Outer

Love it.

A month of Holidays

Tough economic times mean we need to give more than ever. If it doesn't hurt, you're not giving enough. The Salem Radio Network has been promoting Feed the Children. Find something you believe in and give.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Otter Tail County

From the county's website about the origin of the name:
Before there were roads in the wilderness area, the best method of transportation was by water; and as the Leaf Lakes drain towards the Gulf of Mexico and Otter Tail Lake toward Hudson Bay by way of the Red River of the North.

The early explorer would portage from Leaf Lake to Portage Lake to Donald Lake to Pelican Bay on Otter Tail Lake and be on his way through Canada to Hudson Bay.

The first explorers through this area about 1750 were a Frenchman and an Englishman. They met with a band of Indians on the shore of "Lac de la Queue de la Outer", which translates roughly to the Lake of the Otters Tail.

This is on record in the archives of Congress, and I would think that it was called that for many years before that as the name derives from the sand bar shaped like an otter's tail where the Otter Tail River enters Otter Tail Lake (on the North East end of the lake) and now over two centuries later the otter's tail sand bar is still there.

Ottertail County?

Texas takes a backseat to none in the silly names for towns (Dime Box is just about 6 miles from Old Dime Box, Texas) and counties but Ottertail?

The Hanging Chad of 2008-09?

I wish it were my original prediction but it was Jeff Ward's. He is a former UT place kicker and current UT marketing professor and local talk-show host. He regularly blasts both sides of the aisle and probably considers himself a free-market libertarian. He is probably the best local host (on any subject area...his is not primarily a sports show) I've ever heard. He's the only local host I've ever heard give substantial time to economics and biz.

As of today, UT is .05 points ahead of OU in the BCS standings. Though UT beat OU earlier this year, it is pretty clear to me that if they played today, OU would win 9 out of 10 times. Still, UT has the head to head win. OTOH, OU thoroughly whipped the team that beat UT. My point being that this year maybe like never before, we may have the perfect storm that does real damage to the BCS. Florida and USC certainly can make their arguments. The Harris Poll and USA Today Poll results can be seen in the second link above and very good arguments can be made for those rankings.

I've heard that there is a congressman introducing legislation trying to declare the BCS as some kind of restraint or trade. A Utah congressman may be co-sponsoring because the small school Utah is getting dissed.

If the politicians are getting involved, can the lawyers be far behind?

Even our President-elect has called for a playoff system.

Update: Just learned the the BCS Standings is the tiebreaker for the Big 12 South if OU, UT and TT win out. Given the woeful record of aTm, OU should leapfrog UT next week and thereby win the South.

Remember Enron Field?

For those that don't. The Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park used to be Enron Field.

From Hot Air:

AIG, Citibank and a number of other federally bailed-out financial institutions have no plans to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in sports team sponsorships, even as they take billions in taxpayer support, ABC News has found.

This is a travesty.

Colmes leaving Hannity and Colmes

I rarely watched the show because I don't really care for Hannity. I'm not surprised he's leaving though. When I did see him it was usually during election nights or during debate coverage. He never seemed to have his heart in the back-and-forth. Lately, he seemed to have just given up and collect a paycheck.

Update: to my surprise, he's not leaving Fox.

Bernanke and the Federal Reserve

Day in and day out for the past few weeks, there've been announcements of actions taken by our government and by the Federal Reserve to deal with the economic crisis. I've gotten pretty much numb to the extraordinariness of it all. Ho Hum. We're bailing out Citibank today.

This blurb from a piece on Ben Bernanke in the Dec. 1 edition of The New Yorker lists a bunch of Fed actions, and seeing them all strung together this way is staggering :

But since the market for subprime mortgages collapsed, in the summer of 2007, the growing financial crisis has forced Bernanke to intervene on Wall Street in ways never before contemplated by the Fed. He has slashed interest rates, established new lending programs, extended hundreds of billions of dollars to troubled financial firms, bought debt issued by industrial corporations such as General Electric, and even taken distressed mortgage assets onto the Fed’s books. (In March, to facilitate the takeover by J. P. Morgan of Bear Stearns, a Wall Street investment bank that was facing bankruptcy, the Fed acquired twenty-nine billion dollars’ worth of Bear Stearns’s bad mortgage assets.) These moves hardly amount to a Marxist revolution, but, in the eyes of many economists, including supporters and opponents of the measures, they represent a watershed in American economic and political history. Ben Bernanke, who seemed to have been selected as much for his predictability as for his economic expertise, is now engaged in the boldest use of the Fed’s authority since its inception, in 1913.