By Kyle | May 15, 2011
The president talks immigration. Latinos want him to talk jobs. More in my Sunday column.
By Kyle | May 9, 2011
So says Nobel-prize-winning, Ph.D.-holding, Princeton and New York Times-affiliated Joe Sixpack. One difference between Paul Krugman and, say, the Bushes: they actually like pork rinds and football.
By Kyle | April 28, 2011
Another great video. I feel sorry for John Maynard. The security guard at the beginning looks a bit like Yankeefan.
By Kyle | May 19, 2010
The movie biz takes yet another crack at explaining the great Wall Street mishegoss of 2008 with Charles Ferguson’s upcoming fall release “Inside Job,” which my colleague Lou has seen at Cannes and which he says is a far better indictment than Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” and which he promises will “give conservatives agita.” Agita? I can’t wait to see it! A movie that will take down capitalism? Give it your best shot, Chas. The film, says Lou,
definitvely lays out how decades of deregulation and unbridled greed led to the global economic collapse.
Greed, huh? As I’ve explained earlier, greed doesn’t actually exist but it would be fine if it did. Ferguson, you may remember, was showered with honors for making “No End in Sight,” perhaps the most spectacularly misnamed movie in history as it came out in the summer of 2007 — the exact historical moment when the end to the Iraq chaos came into view due to the, shall we say, farsightedness of the Bush surge — which was a brisk rebuke to the myopia of liberals who had long since declared the war both lost and unwinnable.
By Kyle | May 16, 2010
In today’s Post I wrote the cover story of the Postscript section. I take a look at the absurd measures that big government is taking to “fight” obesity (including a text-messaging service that sounds like it has more employees than TimeWarner) and ask what government has done to exacerbate the problem in the first place.
By Kyle | May 1, 2010
Tribeca rolled out its big premiere of the documentary version of “Freakonomics” last night, which economist and star Steven Levitt hadn’t even seen yet. I asked him what he thought of it afterward and he said he thought it was pretty good but “I wouldn’t pay to see it.”
That tells you something about the movie’s commercial prospects, which are highly limited. It has five parts (one of them dispersed throughout the picture directed by “King of Kong” director Seth Gordon). The first, directed by Morgan Spurlock, trades heavily on ethnic and class stereotypes in an effort to make some cheap, and tasteless, jokes about baby naming. (Stereotypically black names such as Roshonda, according to studies, cost a kid job opportunities.) The second episode, directed by the leftist Alex Gibney, was even worse — an exploration of a Sumo wrestling cheating scandal in Japan that bizarrely tried to bring in the 2008 Wall Street crisis and Bernie Madoff to make some sort of angry point about how the system is corrupt and stacked against us truth-tellers. The Eugene Jarecki-helmed third part, about the most notorious chapter of “Freakonomics,” had an appropriately solemn air as it explored the unintended side benefit of Roe V. Wade — legalizing abortion decreased the crime rate 15 years later because fewer unwanted kids were being born. The fourth part, by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, was by far the best. It used an entirely appropriate blend of humor and seriousness to tell the story of a University of Chicago economists’ study that involved visiting a high school and seeing whether 9th graders who were failing could be bribed to succeed–get your grades up to C’s, win 50 bucks. The economists concluded at the end that the 9th graders were simply too old, their studying habits too engrained, for bribery to make much difference. This was the one segment that treated its subjects as individual characters, and by the end of it you will feel you know the two 9th graders that are its stars.
Overall, economist-author Steven Levitt is very much the star — he’s a handsome, charismatic guy who could host his own talk show (assuming there was such a thing as a smart talk show, and I don’t think there is) and his stories about bribing — er, using incentives to encourage — his own family were a treat. The movie has been picked up by Magnolia.
By Kyle | April 25, 2010
Matt Welch has a superb op-ed in today’s Post about how, as American bureaucrats muse about instituting a Value-Added Tax and other Europhile measures, Europe inches back toward less government centralization.
By Kyle | April 18, 2010
Richard Florida’s futurist book “The Great Reset” imagines that, in a post-crash America, big changes are afoot in the way Americans think about their housing and transportation. Could it be that the rest of America will become a bit more like New York? More in my Sunday column.
By Kyle | April 14, 2010
Love the reasoning in this embarrassing AP story about the Tea Party headlined by Sarah Palin in Boston:
Several speakers protested suggestions of racist undertones to the movement, which sprouted as the nation elected its first black president. Nonetheless, virtually the entire speaking program and audience were white.
First off, if any black person dares to express conservative views, the press and liberals no longer consider him black. See Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly and others. So if the Boston Tea Party 2010 had drawn a percentage of black audience members that resembled that of the Boston metro area, the press would have suggested that these blacks didn’t count. Reporters would have dismissed them in a few snarky lines like, “John Smith, 45, one of the African-American attendees, said he was tired of high taxes as he climbed into his BMW.”
Second, using the word “nonetheless” implies that what you are about to say contradicts a previous point. Nonsense. Last week I attended a New York magazine-sponsored book party that drew a couple of hundred publishing-industry swells (in a city that’s about one-fourth black). There were, as is typical at these things, maybe three or four black people present. (One was the novelist Colson Whitehead). If tea parties are racist, then so is virtually every book and magazine party I’ve ever been to in Manhattan. In fact, the book and magazine parties are far more racist because admittance is by invite only, whereas Tea Party events are generally open to all.
And should an AP story bother mentioning that some number of people at a Tea Party event may believe the president was not born in America? Some number of them may believe they were victims of alien abduction or be fans of “Dancing with the Stars,” too, but none of that is part of the Tea Party’s raison d’etre. Such snark would be fair game if the party’s policy ideas included calling for some sort of official investigation into the president’s birth.
By Kyle | April 1, 2010
Watching the now-famous Hayek vs. Keynes Rap video (which I just got around to, not expecting it would be this good), it occurred to me that the video makes a fair case for Keynesianism — then convincingly refutes it. So it turns out not to be a surprise that, although the video on first glance appears to be even-handed, both of the video’s makers are Hayek devotees. This video is going to be highly influential in making Hayek’s case for a new generation. It could be to Keynes what Tina Fey was to Sarah Palin. I’ve said it before: Conservatives need to learn how to make their points in entertaining, funny ways. A memorable joke is worth a thousand policy papers. The Manhattan Institute and Cato need to hire some funny people to popularize their ideas. (Check out co-creator Russ Roberts’ blog Cafe Hayek.)