From December, 2013

Quote of the Day

It is a funny thing about life, if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it: if you utterly decline to make due with what you get, then somehow or other you are very likely to get what you want. –W. Somerset Maugham, The Treasure.

In Memoriam: Paul Sally

I didn’t take Paul Sally’s math class when I was an undergraduate. I wish I did; unlike most professors, Sally was clearly devoted to teaching first and foremost. A rare trait amongst academics (alas). Be sure to read this Q&A as well. The interviewer was Supriya Sinhababu, and the key passage, in my mind, is the following: SS: You’ve said that people view it as a “badge of honor” to not be good at math. PS: Yeah, well. Ignorance is bliss. SS: You’ve also said that they’d never say the same thing about not knowing how to read. I was wondering why…

When Monopolists Attack

Yes, this story is from France, which is hardly a bastion of free market economics, but that doesn’t make the story any less outrageous or ridiculous: At first, it was just an idea, but this bill is now very real — urban transportation services like Uber and LeCab will now have to wait 15 minutes in France before letting a customer in the car. Back in October, the French government mentioned this piece of legislation as these new services would hurt traditional cab drivers. But nothing was set in stone until the AFP spotted the new bill today — and this news comes…

The New York Times Owes Scott Irwin and Craig Pirrong an Apology

Details here. And via Felix Salmon, this outstanding response by Pirrong. Any chance whatsoever that the Times will apologize for its shoddy reporting, or should we just assume that they will be happy to move on, having done their best to smear Irwin and Pirrong with no supporting evidence whatsoever? Once again, leave it to blogs to inject some actual facts in this story.

Can We All Stop Taking MSNBC Seriously?

Truly appalling: An MSNBC host apologized Tuesday morning after she and panelists on her weekend program faced criticism after poking fun at a photo of Mitt Romney, his wife and their nearly two dozen grandchildren, zeroing in on the Romneys’ recently adopted African-American grandchild, Kieran. “I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family. #MHPapology,” Melissa Harris-Perry wrote on Twitter. During the segment, which appeared on the show “Melissa Harris-Perry,” the panelists made jokes about the infant standing out. Two panelists later said their comments weren’t directed at the baby and apologized if the family was offended.…

Who Cares Whether al Qaeda Was Involved in the Benghazi Attack?

I am scratching my head, wondering what the point is of arguing over whether al Qaeda was behind the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. I don’t see why the identity of the terrorist group matters when it comes to judging the Obama administration’s awful handling of the issue. We got varying stories regarding the reasons for the attack, we got varying stories regarding the timeline and facts surrounding the attack, and no one in the administration has been held responsible for the debacle–a debacle that cost lives. The terrorists behind the attack could have been al Qaeda,…

It’s Time for a Big, Giant Health Care Reform Roundup

I have been neglectful in posting about the continuing travails of Obamacare; real life demands mean less time for blogging. There is a lot of news to cover, and the news does remain bad for Obamacare fans. Let’s start with what might be the next big problem for Obamacare: Obamacare’s rollout dented the Department of Health and Human Services in just the first month. Up next year: the Internal Revenue Service. A key piece of the health care law gives Americans making less than 400 percent of the poverty line subsidies to buy insurance. But if buyers don’t alert the…