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Someone recently asked whether President Bush is going to try to one-up President Clinton's "Final Days" video. My guess: He probably won't. But the President sure looks like he's having a great time at the Olympics. And it'll be fascinating to see what he does next. The President appeared in NBC's Olympics studios tonight, and the camera shot created a pretty funny juxtaposition, with the floating head of Chairman Mao (on the side of Tiananmen Square) appearing over President Bush's right shoulder. Sort of like the old Looney Tunes devil-and-angel-over-the-shoulder thing.
It's pretty pathetic that we still haven't broken our cycle of "no policy without a crisis." A year ago, members of Congress were overstepping their bounds by trying to tell the Federal Reserve what to do. And, of course, they were trying to score political points about the mortgage crisis, which was only starting to make the news about this time last year -- even though they, as Congress, should have acted years before if they actually wanted to fix the problem.
So what do we get?
- A world in which we did nothing about problems in mortgage lending, even though we could've told five years before that it was going to be a problem.
- A world in which it's been evident that we have needed to prepare for higher oil prices for at least 35 years, but in which no one really talks about it until gas starts hitting $3.50 or $4.00 a gallon.
- A world in which we can tell right now that Medicare funding is going to go bankrupt before the next President is out of office, but nobody is going to do anything about it until it's a "crisis."
If you want to join the cool kids playing Scrabble online, the best version is probably Scrabulous. If you need to take the nerd factor up by a factor of ten, you could be like Brian Gongol and start recording your scores in a Google Documents spreadsheet.
Believe it or not, there's a serious debate raging between pro-penny and anti-penny lobbyists. The problem is that it costs more than one cent to make a penny, due to the rising cost of metals. But rather than killing the penny, why not switch to a two-cent penny? It seems like that would be about the simplest compromise of all, and it wouldn't require irritating all of those Abraham Lincoln fans who want to keep him on a coin.
A bit of new research says that 75% of websites with crooked stuff on them started out legitimate. All the more reason to run your computer from a limited-access account. It's easy and it's free. How can you beat that?
Did you know that Alan Thicke wrote the theme to "Diff'rent Strokes"? How strange.
If a lecturer isn't sharp enough to realize that students in a lecture hall aren't paying attention, technology may be coming to the rescue with facial-recognition programs that figure out how well the audience is following along. Maybe someone could use that to come up with conclusive proof that PowerPoint doesn't make people better presenters.
Greg Mankiw has weighed in on "how to win the economist vote". And what he has to say may not be popular -- even though he's probably right.
Speaking of populist economics, just say "No" to a windfall-profits tax. It's not going to punish the oil companies, and it's only going to make gas prices worse.
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Keywords in this show: Bush, George W. • Clinton, Bill • "Diff'rent Strokes" • economics • educational technology • energy • energy crisis • facial-recognition software • Federal Reserve • Google Documents • investing • lectures • limited-access accounts • Mankiw, Greg • Mao • Medicare • mortgage crisis • "no policy without a crisis" • Obama, Barack • Olympics • online crime • penny • populism • PowerPoint • research • Scrabble • technology • Thicke, Alan • Tiananmen Square • two-cent penny • viruses • websites • windfall-profits tax