Optical Illusion of the day

This image is really not actually moving at all.  Very cool:

This Is Not A GIF

And, here’s a link to a whole bunch more of these.  With explanations in Japanese to boot!

New Yorker-esque cartoons of the day

I’m a big fan of New Yorker cartoons (Kim always goes straight to the last page to check out the caption contest when the new issue comes), so I really enjoyed this piece in Slate about what it takes to get a cartoon in the New Yorker.  The author, James Sturm,  includes several of his submissions that certainly fit the style, but didn’t make the grade.  These are my favorites:


The Texas economy

There’s been plenty of stuff making the rounds of the liberal blogosphere explaining Texas’ economic success since Rick Perry’s entrance to the race.  What I thought worth posting here, comes from the liberal blogosphere, but is Drum excerpting a Goldman Sachs analysis of the Texas economy, i.e,. not some whiny liberal bloggers, but Wall Street types.  The key excerpt:

The report concludes that three factors are overwhelmingly responsible for good employment performance over the past three years:

  • Lack of a housing bubble. Texas really does have something to teach us on this score — namely that sensible government regulation of the mortgage market is a pretty good idea — but this is not exactly something Perry is eager to preach about. (And he wasn’t responsible for it anyway.)
  • An oil industry. ‘Nuff said. Lucky is lucky.
  • Lots of high-end services and technology. Actually, I suspect Texas has done fairly well on this score over the past decade, but it’s still not a leader of the pack. Texas-wise, housing and oil are the big story here.

And what wasn’t responsible for strong employment performance? Here’s the list:

  • State income tax rates
  • State property tax rates
  • State spending as a share of the economy

Goldman analyst Zach Pandl’s conclusion:

For the national economy we see two main lessons. First, because housing and mortgage credit are central to the weakness around the country, these issues should probably continue to receive attention from policymakers. Second, because the outperformance of a few states is closely related to natural resource exposure it is not easily replicable elsewhere.

Just remember stuff whenever people try and argue we need to follow the Texas model.  You cannot exactly replicate oil reserves and prevent a housing bubble that already happened.  What we can do to replicate Texas is increase regulation of mortgages.  Also, if lame state services and low taxes were the key, MS, AL, LA, etc., would all be booming and people would actually want to live there.

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