Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Hopefully the re-test will be much better. Use the book, ask questions, and pay attention in class. Those three things will help you tremendously. Doing your own homework at home (not in class AFTER it is due) will help you learn the material.
When we have the EOCT in May, it will be obvious who learned the material v. those who merely crammed and memorized the information for a single test. Work hard, study, learn, and pay attention in class.
We retested on demand today. Hopefully, the scores will be much improved. The issuing of books was generally well received. I hope they will be used. I think that most of the students now realize that economics is a subject that you must understand, not memorize. A lot of it is common sense, but many things also seem counter-intuitive until they learn to think like an economist.
There is no reason for panic. I think I now have their attention and I expect the test scores to have reached the low water mark. There is one test between now and the benchmark test (10%) given at midterm. We will be ready for it if they cooperate, work hard, and study.
The block class is performing very well. No problems at all. We are testing about every 4th day and the test result are among the best I have ever had. The students in that class like not having a book and enjoy the fill in the blank notes.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The deal struck at 3:05 a.m. yesterday between General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers union marks the dawn of an uncertain new era for the American auto industry and its unionized work force.
For much of the last half century, Detroit's Big Three auto makers had collaborated with the UAW to create an industrial aristocracy of blue-collar workers whose pay and benefits set the standard for the American middle class. If the proposed contract announced yesterday is ratified by union members -- and is subsequently replicated at Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC -- that era in American industrial history may be over.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Benefits of a Free Market Economy
First Prize: $2,500
Second Prize: $2,000
Third Prize: $1,500
Honorable Mentions: $250
Contestants will choose from the following three topics:
What Causes Prosperity?
What is the Role of Ethical Behavior in a Free Market?
Can Free Markets Protect the Environment?
Deadline: December 1, 2007
Give it a try you might win.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
In monetary economics, a liquidity trap occurs when the economy is stagnant, the nominal interest rate is close or equal to zero, and the monetary authority is unable to stimulate the economy with traditional monetary policy tools. In this kind of situation, people do not expect high returns on physical or financial investments, so they keep assets in short-term cash bank accounts or hoards rather than making long-term investments. This makes the recession even more severe.
In normal times, the monetary authority (usually a central bank or finance ministry) can stimulate the economy by lowering interest rate targets or increasing the monetary base. Either action should increase borrowing and lending, consumption, and fixed investment. When the relevant interest rate is already at or near zero, the monetary authority cannot lower it to stimulate the economy. The monetary authority can increase the overall quantity of money available to the economy, but traditional monetary policy tools do not inject new money directly into the economy. Rather, the new liquidity created must be injected into the real economy by way of financial intermediaries such as banks. In a liquidity trap environment, banks are unwilling to lend, so the central bank's newly-created liquidity is trapped behind unwilling lenders.
Milton Friedman suggested that a monetary authority can escape a liquidity trap by bypassing financial intermediaries to give money directly to consumers or businesses. This is referred to as a money gift or as helicopter money (this latter phrase is meant to call forth the image of a central banker hovering in a helicopter, dropping suitcases full of money to individuals). Political considerations make it difficult for a monetary authority to grant the money gift, because individuals and firms not receiving free money will exert political pressure. The monetary authority must act covertly to give gift money to specific individuals or firms without appearing to give money away. During the Great Depression in the United States, the Federal Reserve offered to buy any gold at a price well above current market prices. This was essentially a money gift to gold holders.full article
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
He sought quick action to increase the limit, saying it was essential to protect the "full faith and credit" of the country, especially at a time of financial market turmoil.
The limit is $8.965 trillion. Unless Congress votes to raise it, the country would be unable to borrow more money to keep the government operating and to pay debt obligations coming due."
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
from the review on Amazon.com
"The enduring legacy of the Greenspan era will be the large-scale confiscations of wealth and economic imbalances — all of it blamed on others."
from The Mess Greenspan Leaves
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The Federal Reserve cut the target on a key short-term interest rate by half of a percentage point Tuesday to 4.75% in a bold acknowledgement that the central bank is concerned the mortgage meltdown plaguing Wall Street and Main Street could hurt the economy...
The cut to the federal funds rate, the first since June 2003, was widely anticipated by investors and followed a surprise cut to the Fed's discount rate on Aug. 17...
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose 9 cents to $80.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The electronic contract touched $80.20, breaking Wednesday's intraday record of $80.18....
Despite Wednesday's jump in crude prices, oil is still well below inflation-adjusted highs hit in early 1980. Depending on the adjustment, a $38 barrel of oil in 1980 would be worth $96 to $101 or more today...
read the full story
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
10 points for the 1st five students who give me a signed bookplate for Freakonomics.
Here is the link that you need.
You should order it yourself, to your address, and give it to me at some point.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
THE Conservatives will propose banning plasma screens and other energy-guzzling electrical goods in a report to be unveiled next week...
The ideas come from a Conservative group set up by David Cameron to develop policies to protect the environment and although the measures to make household electrical appliances more energy efficient are not binding on Mr Cameron, they are thought likely to be warmly received by the Tory leader.
The group will also suggest scrapping Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of the nation’s success in favour of a model that measures people’s happiness drawn up up by Friends of the Earth.
Under the proposals, a cap could be set on the energy use of each electrical appliance, and those exceeding limits could be banned from sale in the UK.
A new labelling requirement could be introduced to inform consumers of products’ annual energy consumption compared with other similar appliances...
Sunday, September 9, 2007
from the Search for the Perfect Steak
By KATY MCLAUGHLIN
I'm standing in the kitchen of Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Peter Luger Steak House, inches from a wall of broilers, fearing that I, like the Flintstone-size porterhouses sizzling behind me, might be developing a heavy char. Waiters rush to pick up hissing plates of beef, while cooks spear steaks onto huge, pointy forks and, in a flash, dissect them into chunks…
Even as the price of prime beef skyrockets -- partially an odd side effect of the nation's new love of ethanol, which is driving up the price of corn used to feed cattle -- I discovered there's a trick to making cheaper choice cuts nearly as flavorful and tender as prime. And I learned why the most critical gadgets in the pro steak chef's grilling arsenal are a humble cast-iron pan and tongs.
Americans have grown accustomed to the taste of top-drawer steak since the steakhouse industry began to boom in the early 1990s. But for years, there was a still a difference between the beef served up at these pricey restaurants and the best cuts sold in most stores. That began to change toward the end of the '90s, when more retailers started carrying USDA prime, sometimes dry-aged. The "prime" label is the highest grade assigned to beef by the Agriculture Department based on the amount of marbling, or lines of fat, it contains. Lesser grades, such as choice and select, have less marbling…
But the good stuff doesn't come cheap. At Peter Luger, for example, a porterhouse for two costs $81.90 -- or roughly $2.04 an ounce. You can cook a similar steak at home by buying a porterhouse package through the restaurant's online butcher shop for $206.20, or about $2.71 an ounce (though you get steak sauce, chocolate coins and shipping, too).
Whereas restaurants might eat margin losses or rejigger the rest of the menu to offset losses, retailers set their prices high partly as a hedge against market fluctuations. This year, for example, wholesale prices for USDA prime steaks have jumped 8% to 9% from the same period last year -- and that's on top of a 15% increase from 2005 to 2006. These are historically large jumps, according to market analyst Cattle-Fax, reflecting the high demand for prime.
Fueling the increase are corn prices that have risen by 50% this year compared with last year, partly a result of rising ethanol demand. Ethanol uses up 26% of the total
Elias Iglesias, the 14-year veteran executive chef at the New York branch of Morton's, says though he uses prime at the restaurant, he happily cooks choice meat at home… cuts them into even, 1½- to 2-inch steaks himself (filet should be cut 2½ inches thick)…well-marbled choice steaks can taste as good as prime if they are properly aged and cooked…
While prime beef is slightly scarcer than usual right now -- accounting for about 2.5% to 3% of all beef on the market, down from 3.1% last year -- choice beef is plentiful, at roughly 58% of all beef, compared with 56% last year. Beef grade is largely determined by nature, though the industry tries, through genetics and feeding practices, to raise cattle so that they will earn a choice grade…
Cooking the meat to 165 degrees would kill off pathogens, but the meat would be like shoe leather by then. For medium rare, most chefs cook steak until the interior is 125 to 130 degrees (it will continue to rise in temperature by a further five to 10 degrees as it rests) and has a rosy, but not blood-red, hue…
At Morton's, I saw large trays of raw meat sitting out beside the stove. Mr. Iglesias explained that the restaurant lets steak sit outside the refrigerator for about an hour -- as much as the health code allows -- but "at home I let them sit for two hours," he admitted. The purpose: To raise the internal temperature slightly, so that the center doesn't stay cold while the exterior burns. This turned out to be a key technique for cooking the perfect steak.
To imitate the golden crust the steakhouse broiler provides, Mr. Iglesias suggests searing steaks in an extremely hot cast-iron pan coated with a little oil and flipping them with tongs, never a fork, which releases juices. Then, the steaks should be moved to the center rack of a 400-degree oven to finish cooking. Of course, it's wonderful to use an outdoor grill -- searing first over high heat and then moving the steaks to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking -- though not practical in winter.
Morton's also seasons steak with a secret salt-and-spice blend. Mr. Iglesias says Lawry's Seasoned Salt is a perfectly good alternative (though I, a purist, just use kosher salt). After cooking, he says it's critical to let the meat rest for a few minutes before eating it, to allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat…
* * *
2 steaks; cut strip steaks or rib-eyes about 11/2 inches thick, filet mignon, 21/2 inches
2 teaspoons grapeseed or canola oil
• Remove steaks from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking time. Dry them with a paper towel.
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with a rack set in the middle.
• Heat a heavy, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, until a few drops of water sprinkled in the hot pan evaporate within 3 seconds.
• Coat the bottom of the pan with 2 teaspoons of grapeseed or canola oil.
• Liberally salt the steaks with kosher salt, about 3/4 teaspoon for each steak.
• Place steaks in pan and sear for 2 minutes on each side, flipping only once with tongs.
• Transfer the steaks, still in the pan, to the oven and roast for roughly 8 to 9 minutes for 11/2-inch steaks to achieve medium-rare (an instant-read thermometer should register between 125 and 130 degrees).
• Let the steaks rest, under a tent of aluminum foil, for 5 minutes before serving.
* * *
Makes 1 cup
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
1/4 cup finely ground espresso-roast coffee beans
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons chile de árbol powder or cayenne (optional)
read the entire article
a good article, worth reading, I would quibble with a few points, but it should help you prepare better steaks
Friday, September 7, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The new Nano, meanwhile, will have video and a larger, brighter screen with an interface similar to the iPhone. Apple will also bundle three games into the new Nano, including Sudoku from Electronic Arts.
The new Nano will feature two memory sizes: A 4-gigabyte model for $149 and an 8-gigabyte model for $199. It will be sold in black, red, silver, blue and green.
As for the iPod Touch, Apple watchers had speculated for days that Apple would unveil an iPod similar to its new mobile phone. Though slimmer than the iPhone, the iPod Touch features a similar multitouch interface, built-in Wi-Fi and the Safari Internet browser.
Like the iPhone, the iPod Touch can play YouTube videos. It will retail for $299 or $399, depending on the memory installed.
read the entire article
Potentially advantageous exchanges do not always occur. Their realization is dependent on the presence of sound money, rule of law, and security of property rights, among other factors. Economic Freedom of the World seeks to measure the consistency of the institutions and policies of various countries with voluntary exchange and the other dimensions of economic freedom.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
…a Chinese industrial worker produces $12,642 worth of output - almost eight times more than in 1980 - a laborer in the farm and fisheries sector contributes a paltry $910 to gross domestic product…
The difference is much less pronounced in the
Sunday, September 2, 2007
read the entire news story
Big Oil did not manipulate U.S. gasoline prices: FTC
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Big oil companies did not conspire to raise
The Federal Trade Commission said that about 75 percent of the rise in gasoline prices was due to a seasonal increase in summer driving, higher oil costs and more expensive ethanol that was blended into gasoline. (Demand)
The other 25 percent of the price increase stemmed from lower gasoline production as refiners moved to using ethanol as the main clean-burning fuel additive and lingering damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita that reduced refining capacity. (Supply)
"Our targeted examination of major refinery outages revealed no evidence that refiners conspired to restrict supply or otherwise violated antitrust laws," the FTC said. "We therefore conclude that further investigation of the nationwide 2006 gasoline price spike is not warranted at this time."
Many lawmakers at the time had accused oil companies, which were raking in billions of dollars in record profits, of overcharging
The FTC said its investigation found the increases in motor fuel prices "were caused by a confluence of factors reflecting the normal operation of the market."
Supply and Demand
The law of supply and the law of demand are simple, fundamental, and basic principles that serve as the cornerstones of economics. Yet, the politicians, bureaucrats, and various other economic illiterates can’t seem to comprehend them.
Central Planning can't work and will never work. The U.S. Congress will certainly be among the last groups of people to ever recognize this fact.
for further reading: Gas Prices and Price Controls
for further (advanced) reading: The Use of Knowledge in Society by F.A. Hayek
Reports of the death of
Yet, the rhetoric on Capitol Hill and on the presidential campaign trail about a declining manufacturing sector is reaching a fevered pitch. Policymakers point repeatedly to the loss of 3 million manufacturing jobs as evidence of impending doom, even though those acute losses occurred between 2000 and 2003, and job decline in manufacturing has leveled off to historic averages.
In the first six months of the 110th Congress, more than a dozen antagonistic or protectionist trade-related bills have been introduced, which rely on the presumed precariousness of
from the conclusion:
…The evidence points to a
Bottom Line: Tariffs on imports are essentially punitive taxes on the inputs of
from Carpe Diem