Amateur legislature

One problem with an “amateur” legislature like we have here in NC is that you get some real amateurs who are amazingly clueless.  Then again, there’s some US Senators I can think of to which that applies (yes, you James Inhofe).  Anyway, I was meaning to blog on the story I read in this morning’s N&O about a new freshman NC legislator who wants to put NC on the gold standard:

RALEIGH — Cautioning that the federal dollars in your wallet could soon be little more than green paper backed by broken promises, state Rep. Glen Bradley wants North Carolina to issue its own legal tender backed by silver and gold.

The Republican from Youngsville has introduced a bill that would establish a legislative commission to study his plan for a state currency. He is also drafting a second bill that would require state government to accept gold and silver coins as payment for taxes and fees.

If the state treasurer starts accepting precious metals as payment, Bradley said that could prod the private sector to follow suit – potentially allowing residents to trade gold for groceries…

Mike Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University, said the notion of North Carolina reverting to having its own currency is outlandish.

“We dealt with this issue about 100 years ago when the Federal Reserve was established,” Walden said. “If North Carolina were to have its own currency, that would put us at an extreme competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis other parts of the country and other parts of the world.”…

The language of Bradley’s House Bill 301 predicts a dire future for the U.S. economy.

“Many widely recognized experts predict the inevitable destruction of the Federal Reserve System’s currency through hyperinflation in the foreseeable future,” the bill declares…

Asked who are the “widely recognized experts” to which his bill refers, Bradley cited U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Peter Schiff, a precious-metals dealer and investor who regularly appears as a commentator on Fox News.

Good news, though.  This guy is an outlier even among the nuts who have taken over the Republican party:

Bradley’s bill has yet to attract any co-sponsors among his fellow Republicans.

Wasn’t sure I’d get around to us, but since it made the national blog radar, via Yglesias (who goes off on a nice disquisition about the nature of currency, if you are curious), I figured I better get on this home-grown story.  Anyway, let’s hope we don’t hear too much more from NC’s new Republican legislature that is dumb enough to earn national derision.

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Product of the day

Just ran into a colleague who does really cool research where she actually goes into the field with people fighting wildfires.  Thus, she was picking up her latest copy of “Wildfire” magazine in the mail room.  She flipped to the back to show me the cool ads for firefighting professionals. I had no idea you could buy a hand-held pyrolauncher.  And for less than $2000!

Chart of the day (March Madness version)

Nate Silver’s such the political analyst that it’s easy to forget he actually got his start as a baseball analyst.  Silver thus brings the quantitative analysis as only he can to looking at NCAA seeding.  Here’s a telling chart:

Basically, for teams of equivalent strength, you are much better positioned to advance to the Sweet 16 or further by being an 11 or 12 seed than an 8 or 9,  Why?  Because you get to avoid the #1 seed in your second match-up.  And, interestingly #1 seeds tend to truly be the class of the field, as this chart shows:

Looks like there’s as much difference between 1 and 2 as there is between 5 and 11.  There’s a whole lot more cool charts if you are a college basketball fan.  And if you’re not, at least you know not to pick the 8/9 seeds to go far in your pool.

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