1. George Will on gasoline prices and the House Democrats’ impending “anti-gouging” bill. A great column, although I think that under-investment in R&D for extraction techniques (due to years of OPEC laziness and threats of “windfall profits” taxes from the US government) explain the slow rate of increase in US oil production better than the lack of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Link from Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek.)
2. Juan Luna has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Brown’s Chicken Massacre. On May 10, 2007, Luna was convicted of killing the two owners and five employees of the restaurant during a robbery-turned-mass-murder in January 1993. James Degorski, Luna’s alleged accomplice, is awaiting trial.
3. Civil society is not dead in Venezuela, as tens of thousands protest Hugo Chavez’s attempt to shut down a privately-owned television station. UPDATE: The protests are renewed on the eve of the station closure.
4. Andrew Sullivan’s excellent summaries of the first and second Republican primary debates. Sullivan correctly notes that despite the misinterpretations of some pundits, John McCain and Ron Paul are the only Republican presidential candidates that openly and thoroughly oppose the use of torture by United States military and intelligence forces. Both McCain and Paul, for very different reasons, would immediately shut down Gitmo and end “renditions”, waterboarding, etc. upon taking office, which is as good as we’re likely to get from Hillary or Obama. UPDATE: Sullivan wrote another good summary of the third Republican primay debate.
5. A formidable group of economists has written a letter asking the US government to deregulate the creation and operation of prediction markets for academic research.
6. The books Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations by David Warsh and Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert are both out in paperback. These were definitely the two best nonfiction books I have read in the past year, although Perry Mehrling’s Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance (hardcover only for now) was a close third.
9. Jack Treynor, who (independently from finance professors Sharpe and Lintner) developed the Capital Asset Pricing Model, has been awarded the CFA Institute Award for Professional Excellence. The CFA Institute publishes the Financial Analysts Journal (usually called the FAJ), a top publication for financial and business economics and quantitative financial analysis, which Treynor edited from 1969 to 1981. Strangely, as of now there is no Wikipedia article for Treynor.