Yay! Gervais!!!

I haven't seen "Extras" yet, but the original "The Office" is the greatest TV show ever. I've been thanking my lucky stars ever since I read this blurb from the Guardian Unlimited (hat tip: the Geek-tastic site Ain't it Cool).

Ricky Gervais says: "I want to do a radio show where I can say what I want, when I want for as long as I want and that's free for anybody who can be bothered to listen anywhere in the world. We didn't want it to just be the best bits of a radio programme you'd missed so this is a show that is straight-to-Pod-cast. I suppose we're trying to create an exclusive club. We'd prefer this to be a few people's favourite show than a huge samey ineffectual broadcast"

Ricky is going to be unleashing 12 podcasts, one every week begining Dec. 5. Just bookmark the link to the Guardian Unlimited, check the site next monday, and subscribe to the podcast. It will be lovely.


The left and economics

If you haven’t already guessed from my previous ramblings, the biggest reason I’m not a democrat is their fundamental rejection (misunderstanding?) of basic economic principles. They insist on making policy using an alchemy composed of an odd mixture of feelings and Marxism. Anything resembling the sort of intro-econ stuff you learn as a freshman they look on to with suspicion. Fire baaadddd! This is revealed by Mickey Kaus’ summary of a NYTimes analysis on the latest GDP numbers.

Gregg Easterbrook's rule that All Economic News is Bad was effectively illustrated by yesterday's NYT front-pager, "Upbeat Signs Hold Cautions for the Future." The article notes several positive economic trends, including lower gas prices, but then warns darkly that

... as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple.

For every encouraging sign, there is an explanation. ...[snip] Gasoline prices - the national average is now $2.15, according to the Energy Information Administration - have fallen because higher prices held down demand and Gulf Coast supplies have been slowly restored. [Emph. added.]

It's indeed deeply disturbing to learn that higher gas prices have held down demand, causing those prices to fall back to a level at which demand begins to rise again! It's almost as if some insidious law was at work--as prices rise, demand declines! As supply increases, prices fall! You can't win! ... P.S.: The price drop might be alarming if the decline in demand for gas reflected a general economic downturn. But that doesn't seem to be the case. What the NYT's Vikak Bajaj ominously describes is the market working exactly as it's supposed to, coupled with successful rebuilding efforts on the Gulf Coast. It appears to be "quite that simple." ... P.P.S.: Nor can I spot any "cautions for the future." .... P.P.P.S.: Bijaj further reported that

the Federal Reserve and businesses will have a big part in setting the economy's pace next year - the Fed through interest rates and companies by their hiring decisions. [Emph. added]

Yikes. Who knew? That's the sort of alarming macroeconomic information investors can use to make millions--and yet this wasn't even a TimesSelect article. They charge for Bob Herbert but they're giving away Bijaj's explosive contrarian insights for free! The hapless Pinch Sulzberger misses yet another revenue stream. ...

Update: Only a paranoid right-wing blogger would suggest that the NYT's editors are so eager to explain away any positive economic news because the healthy economy is the one remaining prop holding up Bush's presidency, and they can't believe his policies haven't produced another recession yet. Easterbrook's Bad News rule indicates that they'd have written exactly the same piece if a Democrat were in the White House. ... 1:20 A.M.



Topic for discussion: OIL.

Demand is growing very fast (50% in the last decade according to a BP exec I saw on C-SPAN). Production levels are not growing as fast. If we run out of oil, things won't go, people won't make money, economies will stagnate, unless we find something else to make things go. Oil will get more and more expensive as supply decreases, making it more expensive to make stuff go, making economic growth slow down.

Talk amongst yourselves.