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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 47,953

Journal Archives

Thursday TOON Roundup 3- Rights, Guns and Work




Thursday TOON Roundup 2- Waiting for the fiscal cliff charade to end

Thursday TOON Roundup 1 - Divisions within the GOP

The best and worst media corrections of the year

Error of the year:



Getting the incentives wrong

By Tom Toles
Those conservatives who actually care about something other than their own bottom line like to talk about how the marketplace gets incentives right, not only for economic outcomes, but for human behavior too.

It’s a good argument, but I want to look at the second half of it today. The idea that if things are arranged so that you get more benefits if you do something useful is a really good idea, as far as it goes. But here’s where it starts failing. It starts failing in a winner-take-all economy, which we seem hell-bent on creating. It’s the idea of carrot and stick, at least the carrot part. You make some effort to grab the carrot when there is some hope of getting it, and you try for the next carrot when you are successful at grabbing the first carrot. Only the mule in a cartoon keeps walking towards a carrot that is forever suspended out of its reach.

Two lessons. First, the rich should spend less time congratulating themselves on how hard they work. It’s a WHOLE lot more rewarding to work long hours for $10,000,000 dollars a year, than for raw carrots. Secondly, people DO respond logically to incentives. If the incentives are set up to require a preposterous amount of effort for a tiny or tenuous payoff, expect increasing numbers of people to opt out of that bargain. If your fallback position is if they get desperate enough, they will do ANYTHING to avoid starving, you may be correct, and you may also be a monster.


How do you know everybody thinks the Stimulus worked?

By Tom Toles
The election is over, so there is less need to go back and correct a lot of the politically-motivated nonsense that flooded the basement and first floor of public discourse. Less need, but still a little need, because some of these questions are still very much with us.

Over the last four years there was a lot of noise that resembled a herd of cattle meandering across a prairie mooing at each other. It was the chorus of people who said, on the basis of no economic analysis whatsoever that “Obama’s stimulus didn’t work.” The reasoning was that since unemployment was stubbornly high, that therefore “Obama’s stimulus didn’t work.” See also: Firefighters are battling a raging inferno and after a few moments of careful consideration declare: “Firefighters’ water doesn’t work.” A slightly more considered look at the question would compare the US GDP since the 2008 collapse to that of Europe, where the Anti-stimulus Austerity Model has been deployed in it’s full grinding glory. The Auster-Hungry Empire.

But another way to gauge EVERYONE’S secret belief in the power of stimulus is simply to listen to them squawking the Squawk of the Truly Alarmed about the Fiscal Cliff. What is the Fiscal Cliff? It is, just about precisely, Stimulus in Reverse. And what will it do to the economy? Wreck it, says everyone. The defense rests. Case dismissed. The cows shuffle out of the courtroom and meander back to their prairie, to continue their mooing exactly as before.

Wednesday Toon Roundup 3-The rest


War on Drugs

War on Christmas

Climate & Environment



Bangladesh Fire

Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Various vacuous repubs

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- Class Warfare

Giant Squid Captured on Video for First Time (will have to wait to see, though)

The giant squid has been captured on video in its natural habitat for the first time ever.

This long-sought after footage — considered by many to be the Holy Grail of natural history filmmaking — will be revealed by Discovery Channel and NHK in January 2013.

With razor-toothed suckers and eyes the size of dinner plates, tales of this creature have been around since ancient times. The Norse legend of the sea monster the Kraken, and the Scylla from Greek mythology, might have derived from the elusive giant squid.

This massive predator has always been shrouded in secrecy, and every attempt to capture a live giant squid on camera in its natural habitat has failed. Until now.

Mankind finally confronts the greatest mystery of the deep as the first-ever footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat is revealed in Discovery Channel’s Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real, which premieres on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 10/9c as the season finale of Curiosity. NHK will air their special on the first-ever footage of the giant squid in early January 2013.

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