March 30th, 2012

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Found Filk: Leonard Warren Does Kipling

There are a number of recordings of American Opera Tenor Leonard Warren singing various musical settings of Kiplings poetry. Very enjoyable for those of us that like Kiplings poetry. I think I'm going to try to learn a few of these for performance.

Here is Warren doing Gunga Din:

Rolling Down To Rio:

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I am genuinely curious

I cannot link through to the original article, but this is a post by the father of a 7-year old identifying as gay.

My actual response on this was "how do you know?" Seven is extremely young to determine anything about sex. Since I can't link through to the original article, I cannot tell the basis for the self-identification. I get that kids are becoming sexually aware at ever earlier ages these days (which creates a separate set of issues), but 7?
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Link Harvest: Spectrum Stuff I Gotta Respond To

I will hopefully get around to blogging on spectrum again. Especially as I need to respond to one of the most ridiculous articles I've ever read from ann economist and former FCC Commissioner.

In this piece: Harold Furchgott-Roth argues that since it is axiomatic that shortages do not occur in functioning markets, and we are increasingly facing a spectrum shortage, the only explanation possible is that it is government regulation is preventing the market from responding to price signals.

Among the many problems with this explanation is that it does not take into account that spectrum is not subject to additional production -- at least not in the conventional sense. You cannot mine spectrum, or weave it, or drill for more of it. Worse, the efficiency of its use is dependent on a host of complex factors. There is also the minor problem that spectrum is not moving to the most spectrum constrained, but to the two largest companies. To the extent there is a shortage it is not for want of price signaling.

And, apparently, we accept a monopoly or cartel arrangement as a functioning market. Presumaably, it is antitrust that is the unnecessary government regulation. As it happens, that view was expressed recently by Rick Rule, a former colleague of mine at Covington, now at Cadwalader.
This is rather funny since it used to be the position of people that antitrust replaced the need for regulation. Of course, now that antitrust is the only remaining regulation, we should get rid of it.

Meanwhile, over here, James Crowe of Level 3 argues that there is no spectrum shortage and we should rely more on wires which, conveniently enough, his company sells.

Meanwhile, Verizon, which used to sell wires, says this is popycock.
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Running on the Ryan Budget

I actually appreciate the idea of the Republicans puting out a vision for how they would run the country for the election. I think the budget would be disastrous along both economic lines and with regard to the social contract, but I know others hold precisely the opposite view. So since we have for the time being abandoned the idea in this country that we vote for individuals and reverted to the Parlimentary idea common in many other democracies that we vote for parties, this makes total sense.

Ideally, the two parties set forth their respective visions, seeking to sway the undecided electorate with an appeal both to governing ideology and pragmatic economic impact. The country debates these weighty matters, carefully considering the trade offs and trying to determine which approach will best secure our economic prosperity (or at least, economic security) for the future.

Oh wait, I'm in a country where hardly anyone will even read the Ryan Budget, despite the fact that it is available online. Only a handful more will actually go to trusted sources (of any economic ideology) for analysis. No one will actually suggest that there are trade offs that need to be wieghed. Instead, everyone will insist that their vision has only benefits, whereas the very ideology of the opposition ensures that their vision will result in a dystopian future that consists either of a Socialist Collective in which religion is outlawed and "real Americans" (you know who you are, what color your skin is, and what your first language is -- no need to say it out loud) are enslaved to a faceless elite (you know who they are, you know what color their skin will be, and you know what their first language will be), or a Feudal Theocracy in which the wealthy elite (you know who they are, you know what their skin color and sex are, you know what their first language is) will hunt us for sport, make us fight in gladiatorial games for their amusement, subject us to concubinage -- then force us to bear their unwanted offspring because all forms of contraception are outlawed. Because, as everyone will assure us, the other side is evil, and has no redeeming virtues.

But that's OK, because the vast majority of the electorate won't even remember the Ryan Budget come election time. They are likely to vote on the basis of some random thing that makes them feel good or bad about the particular candidate as a person. Whether that's high oil prices, low oil prices, an anecdote about doggies, the fact that he uses a teleprompter, that he's too wooden, too elitist, too whatever. To the extent any of the people voting for Republicans don't like the Ryan budget, they will decide that they are "not serious" and this is just "political posturing" because, of course, no one would seriously do all the stuff Republicans are promising to do in the Ryan budget.

And then, if the Republicans win the Senate and the Presidency, and pass the Ryan budget, everyone will be like "whoa! I so totally did not see that coming!"