Friday, March 19, 2004

Buyer Beware

"I know none of you would ever take advantage of someone in distress, so I can safely share this: If you are looking to unload an asset, be it a car or an eBay gewgaw, try to find buyers who are feeling sad, and stay away from those who are feeling disgusted, happy or even neutral.

If, on the other hand, you are looking to buy, seek out sellers who are sad or disgusted, but again steer clear of anyone too jovial.

In a provocative result from the new discipline of behavioral economics, scientists find that emotions that have nothing to do with the transaction at hand can influence what price people are willing to pay for something and what price they are willing to accept.

"We're showing for the first time that incidental emotions from one situation can affect economic transactions in unrelated situations," says Jennifer Lerner of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. She and her colleagues will report their findings this spring in the journal Psychological Science.

Behavioral economics, which probes how psychology shapes the decisions people make in the marketplace, has mostly concentrated on cognitive processes. In one study, for example, researchers find that people are hardly the rational, logical decision makers that textbooks assume. If someone feels she has been cheated, and has a choice of collecting either $5 for herself and $5 for the cheater or nothing at all, she prefers to walk away with zero rather than see the cheater also collect."

--Sharon Begley, Science Journal column, 3/19/04

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The Ultimate Kerry Quote

"I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." No. it's not a line from a Kausian screed. These are Senator Kerry's very own words, as reported today in The New York Times.

The CBS/NYT Poll

Kausfiles has a good rundown on yet another loaded New York Times "analysis" of its most recent poll results. The CBS News report (on the exact same information) is infinitely better.

What the poll shows is that Kerry is now a net negative (okay, statistically even) candidate (28 favorable/29 unfavorable). And this after eight weeks of more or less glowing news coverage.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Is France Next?

From the ABC News Investigative Unit's Daily Terror Report:

Plus, today a group calling itself the "Servants of Allah the Powerful and Wise" sent a document to the French newspaper Le Parisien, in which it threatened violence against France and against France's interests abroad. The public prosecutor in Paris has opened an investigation to be conducted by special police services. Officials tell ABCNEWS that it is too early to determine the significance of this document.

It's Twue, It's Twue

Those foreign leaders really do like me better. So says Senator John Kerry. As oddball stories go, this one does ring true. It's classic Kerry -- the grandiosity, the self-seriousness and the weird political value judgement. Who, after all, would think that the opinion of, say, a German Minister would matter in, say, Missouri? John Kerry would! If it's important to him, it's important to them, goddamnit!

Most everyone I know who knows Kerry thinks that he made the whole thing up; that he is simply channeling Richard Holbrooke. Senator Kerry hasn't been anywhere near a foreign leader of any kind for two years (he's been running for president). But never mind about that. The song must be sung. Even though we all know it's not his song. Welcome to Kerry's world.

A Conservative Change

I think it was Jon Podhoretz, the New York Post columnist and author of Bush Country, who predicted this, but it happened so fast that most people (myself included) missed it. With Senator Kerry locking up the Democratic presidential nomination, conservative criticism of President Bush has all but ceased. Just like that. This is very good news for the Bush campaign.

Monday, March 15, 2004


The head of the EU executive arm, European Commission chief Romano Prodi, agreed, in an interview published by Italy's La Stampa newspaper Monday.

"It is clear that using force is not the answer to resolving the conflict with terrorists," Prodi said. "Terrorism is infinitely more powerful than a year ago," and all of Europe now feels threatened, he told the paper.
-- from The Associated Press

Tony Raimondo

One of former Nebraska Governor and current US Senator Ben Nelson's closest political allies is Tony Raimondo, whom President Bush had planned to nominate as the Commerce Department's "manufacturing czar" until Democrats on Capital Hill started heaping slander on his good name. Geitner Simmons has a quick and telling entry on Raimondo in real life and what happened to him in the Beltway funhouse. (link via Instapundit)

Black Sunday

In the words of a Louisiana sherriff I once knew, "ain't no way to prettify those results." The defeat of the PP in Spain is the most depressing political development since 9/11, bar none.

Ellisblog's assertion that 3/11 would engage the EU in the War on Terror as never before was proven wrong in record time. Europeans are scared and imagine that they can wish and deny Al Qaeda away. This is folly in extremis. The Spaniards just handed Al Qaeda a huge political victory two days after Al Qaeda attacked their country and killed nearly 200 Spanish citizens.

Postscript: The new Spanish Prime Minister's remarks are, if anything, more depressing than the ballot results. (Link via Drudge)