Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Super Bowl Pick- Pittsburgh

Surfing on over to TBeck's prediction tracker, one can see that almost all the "computer" predictions are in:

 Home      Visitor    Opening   Updated  Prediction  Prediction      Prediction
line line Avg. Median Standard Deviation

Arizona Pittsburgh -7.00 -6.50 -7.04 -6.47 2.70

So, while betting is apparently heavy on the Arizona side, the data say that Pittsburgh is going to win. I only see one predictor that picks Arizona--by 3.

Note-- these numbers are similarly lopsided to last year's predictions for Patriots domination over NYG. Last year the predictors clearly expected the Giants to beat the spread, but not win the game.

Given that most Super Bowls end up in a blowout, that's what my prediction is this year:

Pittsburgh to beat the spread and put the smack down. Arizona will just be happy to be there, much of Pittsburgh has been there before and know they're expected to win. They don't want to get upset like the Patriots did.

Update: Brian Burke's model gives Pittsburgh a 69% chance of winning.

The Plight of My Parents

My parents are without power and telephone service in rural West KY, and probably won't have it back for another week. For others, it may take another couple of weeks. They were very fortunate to be one of the few houses in the county that had water service. Their treatment plant is in their neighborhood and my dad has gone up there to keep it working by generator. The only reason we heard from my parents was because my mom has OnStar (satellite) telephone service with her car and they were able to use that to call out (after they cleared the trees off the driveway so she could back out of the carport). Apparently the men of the neighborhood have successfully cleared many trees from the roads. The Lexington paper (one of the few in the state that stayed in operation this week) writes that the "Misery Lingers."

There's no electricity for gas stations, so people are just running out. My parents have a gas fireplace so they're able to do alright, although the food they had put outside to freeze is now spoiling as the weather warms. I offered to go help this weekend but they told me to wait until electricity returns. They lost several large trees to Hurricane Ike and have no lost several to the ice storm.

Pray for the people in Kentucky and Arkansas, particularly the elderly and people unable to call for help. People have died, some from carbon monoxide poisoning from their generators.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Tonight, PBS NewsHour wrapped up the news with an essay by Anne Taylor Fleming. The link is the mp3 of it, it's even better with the images she used. It expresses so much of my inner anger. Highly recommend listening to it.

Tonight's NewsHour was incredible, I've never seen a more important broadcast. (Most of it was economics-related stories, a staple of the Friday edition). Brooks and Shields got 3 separate segments, which was incredible. David Brooks is getting angry. Greg Mankiw has linked two him twice in the past week, he must be saying something right.

"Fiscal Straitjacket"

Economists Jeffrey Sachs (The End of Poverty) and Bill Easterly (The White Man's Burden) pretty much hate each other, or at least never see eye-to-eye. Until today. Easterly gives props to Sachs on his new blog and directs us to Sachs' recent op-ed in the Financial Times. Sachs (you may know him as Bono's "teacher," the guy who helped start the One campaign) has long advocated a massive increase in government spending on foreign aid (which Easterly opposes). Now, he's appalled at the haphazard massive increase in government spending in the form of the stimulus package (boldface mine):

Without a sound medium-term fiscal framework, the stimulus package can easily do more harm than good, since the prospect of trillion-dollar-plus deficits as far as the eye can see will weigh heavily on the confidence of consumers and businesses, and thereby undermine even the short-term benefits of the stimulus package...

The most obvious problem with the stimulus package is that it has been turned into a fiscal piƱata – with a mad scramble for candy on the floor. We seem all too eager to rectify a generation of a nation saving too little by saving even less – this time through expanding government borrowing. First it was former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan’s bubble, then Wall Street’s, and now – in the third act – it will be Washington’s...

If the present stimulus package is adopted without a medium-term plan, it will go the way of the earlier stimulus package and the Tarp, yet also put the US into a fiscal straitjacket that could paralyse public sector action in critical areas for a decade or more to come.

Combine this with my previous post about the "demographic timebomb" and you have a rapidly increasing number of reasons to move to Estonia.

I've read both Sachs and Easterly, and have made my students read them too. Easterly starting a blog this week was one of the best parts of my month.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Myth of the Technosavvy College Student?

This is for my wife's my brother-in-law who loves looking at new technology, loves his IPhone, posts video on his blog, and Twitters constantly.

As a teacher, I'm required to attend instructional seminars where I often hear that "your students are more tech-savvy than you are," and learn ways to integrate technology into my classroom.

I'm requiring all my Principles of Macroeconomics and Personal Financial Planning sections to subscribe to various blogs related to the subject matter we cover. They'll end up writing some papers on the content. But, the past two days I had this experience in 4 sections:

Me: "How many of you already subscribe to blogs using a feed reader?"
Class: --blank stares, quizzical looks--
Me: "Okay, how many of you read blogs?"
Class: --blank stares except the one guy in the back who raises a hand (out of 35 students)--
Me: "Okay...well, how many of you use Twitter?...anybody?"
Class: --quizzical looks and blank stares-- One outspoken student says "Um, I know what it is, but I don't use it."

Audience is 19-22 year olds, some of which are Information Systems or Computer Science majors.

Last semester I had a similar experience when I gave an example of something I'd read about the online world Second Life. Even if you've never seen Second Life, you probably heard about it while watching The Office or various other TV shows that have mentioned it. But I couldn't find a single student that had heard of Second Life.

I've also had a large number of students who couldn't figure out how to change the margins and spacing on their Word documents. "The computer won't let me do it..." I had to find someone to help them. I've had several others complain because I posted Powerpoints created in MS Office 2008 (what's installed on all the machines on campus), and they just couldn't figure out how to read them with prior versions of Powerpoint.

So, in what ways are these college students more technosavvy than me? What do they do online that's creative? They're really good at Facebook, but what else?

When I was their age, we wrote web pages by hand using HTML, often only with Wordpad. For fun. And we liked it.

What the Future Holds

In this quarter's The Regional Economist, a St. Louis Fed publication: "Deficits, Debt, and Looming Disaster: Reforming Entitlement Programs May Be the Only Hope" by Michael Pakko.

If you don't want to read the whole thing, mostly about how deficits aren't alarming in and of themselves, scroll down to the last paragraph- "A Demographic Timebomb." Then scroll down to the last graph, I've posted it on here before, it's a graph of gov't debt as a percentage of GDP:

When non-partisan economists start throwing the words "dire" and "serious" and "critical" and "time bomb," you'd think politicians would pay attention. But, so far, almost no one is. Obama says he intends to reform entitlements, nothing detailed has even been mentioned yet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Lemon Socialism"

Former Clinton Secretary of Labor Bob Reich:

Put it all together and at this rate, the government -- that is, taxpayers -- will own much of the housing, auto, and financial sectors of the economy, those sectors that are failing fastest...

What's left? Most of high-tech, entertainment, hospitality, retail, and commodities. So far, at least, we taxpayers are not propping them up. And when the economy turns up -- perhaps as soon as next year, most likely later -- these sectors have a good chance of rebounding.

But the others -- the ones the government is coming to own or manage -- are less likely to rebound as quickly, if ever....

It's called Lemon Socialism. Taxpayers support the lemons. Capitalism is reserved for the winners.

Since Reich is considered to be left-of-center, I find his expressions of horror throughout this crisis to be quite telling.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What the Stimulus Looks Like

*update* NY Times reports that Peter Orszag, formerly director of the Congressional Budget Office (quoted in the Washington Times post, quoted below) and current director of the OMB wrote a letter to Congress stating that his team's analysis shows that 75% of the funding would be dispersed within 18 months *update*

David Brooks gives us a ring-side seat of the House Appropriations Committee's work. It looks like you'd think it would: Like a big slab of pork. That's right, Congress is mortgaging my son's country's future on fruitless projects that will do nothing to stimulate the economy until the recession is already a fading memory.

According to The Washington Post, of the $30 billion devoted to highway spending, only $4 billion will be spent in the next two years. Less than $3 billion of the $18.5 billion for renewable energy and less than half the financing for school construction will be spent by 2011.

The Appropriations Committee chairman, David Obey, fulminated against the C.B.O. Wednesday, and the uselessness of economists in general, but he had no answer to these findings...

On Tuesday, President Obama was inaugurated and vowed a new era. On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee met and showed the old era was very much alive. Democratic subcommittee chairmen sat like potted plants because all power was wielded by Chairman Obey. Republicans were in the dark because of an information embargo placed on the majority staff.

President Obama is clearly going to have to show the hard way that he meant what he said about bringing change. He didn’t run for president just to sign whatever bills the Old Bulls put on his desk.

He’s going to have to prove the hard way that he meant what he said about being pragmatic and evidence-based. That means he won’t sweep a C.B.O. study under the rug simply because the findings are inconvenient.

He’s going to have to show that his plans have credibility, that a stimulus bill is really a stimulus bill, and not a Christmas tree for every special interest desire.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More on Inauguration

I eagerly watched the inauguration for the historical moment, would have no matter who was getting sworn in. The sense the media gave was that everyone in the world was watching.

Maybe not.

Context: SW Missouri is as red as it gets. None of the local counties went to Obama, even after intense campaigning and several trips by Obama and Biden. Not really even close.

The local newspaper ran a poll asking respondents if they were planning on watching the inauguration. Out of something like 200 responses, 67% said they were not. Interesting to see if Friday's paper even carries any stories about it.

I talked to some elementary school teachers yesterday, didn't sound like they turned the inauguration on, but I'm sure some classes did somewhere.

Some of the local university's Jan term classes (4 hours long) also did not let out for any of the ceremonies or turn them on. I didn't hear anyone talking about it there yesterday or today. I'm not aware of many students there who would admit to voting for Obama even now.

An attempt to start a conversation about it yesterday with a small circle of friends fell flat. Most of them didn't watch because they were working. Most simply complained that it was the only thing on TV yesterday. They were put off by the (erroneously?) reported $150 million cost of the whole thing and weren't real excited about Obama.

My favorite part of the administration thus far is the fact that Obama has put a White House Blog in place in an effort toward greater transparency. (HT: Sok)

A Thought on the Inauguration

I enjoyed yesterday. I enjoyed Obama's speech, I thought the first half was probably the best political speech I've ever heard.

In the media buildup to the inauguration a family member was perplexed at the African American community claiming Obama as their own. Tavis Smiley was quoted that the black community kept its mouth shut during the election to "get the brother elected," but now was ready to start making its requests and grievances known. Other prominent African Americans spoke of how Obama "owed something" to the black community.

My family member said:"But, he's my President too. And he's not black!"

His mom was white, his dad was a visiting Kenyan. He spent some time growing in Indonesia and then was reared mostly by his white Kansan grandmother -- Obama was never a part of the black community until he finished Harvard. How much African ancestry do you need to still be "black"? Is it 1/2, 1/8?

But Kenya claims him, Hawaii claims him, the South Side of Chicago also claims him (even though he only spent 1 summer there as a community organizer)...

I'm glad that oppressed minorities feel like Dr. King's dream has been (mostly) fulfilled.

But, Thomas Friedman's column today made me think of a question: Could we ever elect a Jewish president in the U.S.?

Travel much in the Muslim world and you'll hear that Abraham Lincoln was a Jew, George Washington and our founding fathers were mostly Jews, etc. So, much of the world would say "Of course, you've had several."
But, would it be an issue here? We've only had one Catholic President, and that was sort of an issue then (and Joe Biden is now the first Catholic VP). Would Jewish people rejoice and shed tears at a Jew being elected?

"But Jews aren't discriminated against like African Americans are..." is one reply. Then, that sounds ludicrous in light of the Holocaust, pogroms, and historical laws and rules in the U.S. keeping Jews from being admitted to some colleges, organizations, public office, etc. Fear and distrust of Jews used to be regularly printed in the media.

"But Jews aren't impoverished like African Americans are..." is another reply. True, life expectancy, unemployment, labor force participation, and incarceration rates are higher among blacks than whites (or Jews). But, is that statistic true among biracial people who were raised by whites? No. Which takes us back to the first point-- is Obama really "black" and is that relevant to the question?

Ethnic Jews have won 163 of 750 Nobel prizes. They've held some of the highest positions of public service, including some elected offices. But, a Jew has never been elected to head the Executive Branch.

So, what do you think?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kenneth Rogoff = Great Reading

I highly recommend "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," a presentation paper by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. It graphically (ie: with graphs) compares countries' similar downturns in employment, GDP, and equities, as well as the rise in public debt in the aftermath of financial crises.

Rogoff and Reinhart are set to publish a book shortly about the history of financial crises over the last 800 years. I'm particularly interested in the similarities in the run-ups to the crisis. Rogoff mentions a few of those in an interview in the Minneapolis Fed's quarterly publication that is very interesting. But I always try to read everything he puts out there.

I should note that Rogoff says in the interview that the U.S. will have no problem absorbing $1-$2 trillion in extra debt (this was when TARP was just getting passed) so long as the economy grows faster than government does. However, he mentions that he fears the regulatory backlash will hamper economic growth for many years to come.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I feel like our nation is in a plane crash

Did you hear the news tonight? A plane crashed into the Hudson yesterday. It wasn't enough to give it a full 15 minutes of prime network news coverage yesterday, it needed another 20 tonight. Dateline is even airing the teary reunion of father and son who were separated for *gasp* 20 whole minutes while they evacuated the plane. "Superpilot" t-shirts, groups on Facebook, etc. etc. etc.

And did you hear that Barack Obama accidentally dropped his Blackberry as he got out of his limo today? Yes, that was also considered newsworthy.

But nevermind that the biggest bank in the U.S. (over $1 of every $10 on deposit with a commercial bank is on deposit at Bank of America) is suddenly in deep trouble, requiring immediate government assistance after boasting of how it didn't really need it previously since its takeover of Merril Lynch was like digesting a rotten walnut. Or that the #2 bank is splitting itself up and the government is considering establishing an "aggregator bank" to purchase troubled assets. Or that there are now serious concerns of countries defaulting on their debts and a possible end to the current form of the European Monetary Union. Or that over 1,100 have died in Gaza this past week...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A fellow employee is on Survivor

So, Benjamin Wade, the women's soccer coach from my university, is a contestant on this upcoming season's Survivor. He says he sought to "bring integrity" to the game.

Interesting. Coach Wade disappeared for 2 months. No one knew where he was. The article linked above quotes him as saying:

His two-month leave-of-absence could be explained by his love of travel, Wade said, which was convenient because he had to keep his participation fairly quiet.

“It was kept pretty secret. I couldn’t tell anybody unless they signed a ton of release papers,” he said. “Most people were like, ‘Oh, he’s gone for two months. He’s probably kayaking somewhere.’”
What I'm told is that he disappeared halfway through his girls' season and without explanation -- he'd disappeared on his team and abandoned everyone. Everyone thought that was quite unusual. He's a California guy and stands out in a place like Bolivar. I've heard him called an odd cat by people who saw him act oddly in public.

“I really think it goes back to that first kayaking trip,” Wade said. “I’m a born-again Christian. I like to strip away the shackles of society, so to speak. That shaped the way I wanted to approach the game. For me, stripping away the shackles of society has always been a part of who I am and my character deep inside. I’ve always loved doing this kind of thing because I feel it connects me to the wild, to the primal man I am deep inside, and it connects me to God.”
I think many faculty are curious whether anyone in the administration knew why he'd disappeared and whether he will keep his job since he so abruptly and secretively left.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I listened to the first 2/3 of the UK game last night before going to bed. I was glad to wake up to read all the accolades lauded on Jodie Meeks. My favorite part of it was this quote from Patrick Patterson:

“Even in the last minute of the game, they were still talking trash,” Patterson said. “When somebody scores 50 in your gym, I wouldn’t have been talking.

“My mouth would have been shut.”

For all my attempts to not care so much about sports, I find I still passionately hate one school more than any other-- the University of Tennessee. The above quote sums up why. Bobby Maze and Scotty Hopson are just the latest 2 reasons. The one coach I always believe Gillispie can always outcoach is Bruce Pearl.

(The paradox of sports passion among highly educated people who care deeply about how their resources are spent is going to be the subject of a future post).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Dose of Skepticism

Required readings today:
Greg Mankiw's column asking "Is Government Spending Too Easy an Answer?" It's useful because it shows what the textbook/theory says and what the data say.

David Brooks makes very similar points in an earlier column. He points out the absurdity of thinking that Congress can, by President's Day (which is Pelosi's stated deadline to pass the stimulus package), determine effective uses for all of that money.

So, when you hear or read (ie: Krugman) that "everyone knows an additional $1 trillion of government spending is the only solution" know that not everyone knows or believes that. Everyone knows it is A solution, but no one knows if it will work as forecast, or what the long-run consequences will look like (although we have a pretty good idea and it's not pretty).

Note that Obama's team released its proposal yesterday. Note the graph on page 5. The recovery plan will simply lower unemployment faster/sooner than doing nothing. But, even doing nothing we end up back at our natural rate of output around 2013. Do the benefits of the stimulus package outweigh the cost of massive deficits, and probable U.S. debt monetization and all that comes with that? That's what Mankiw is saying-- perhaps yes, but only if the money is spent wisely and not on bridges to nowhere.

BTW-- the best way to keep the price tag low on the package is to encourage other countries (ie: the EU and China) to do likewise. But that leads to the Nash equilibrium I mentioned previously.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Year, New Title

Around New Years I was thinking of what overly simple, cliche motto I could use to make my mission statement for 2009 or at least rename my blog. I loved that my blog was called What Do the Data Say, but it hasn't lived up to that name. It'd be nice to have a blog that just looks at the data or refutes commonly held misconceptions by use of unadulterated numbers, but that takes more time and discipline than I have.

So, I'm going with: Value Added. In introductory economics we describe profitable entrepreneurship as the process where one person takes some resource and makes it worth more--ie: adds value to it. This would be Apple taking a trifling amount of plastic and silicon and selling it for $299 as a video Ipod (source). Read the article, at each stop on the supply chain to make the Ipod, someone in some country adds value to the input he bought from someone else who previously added value to it. The sand becomes silicon which becomes a microchip which becomes...

Many countries have a Value Added Tax (VAT) where the value added is taxed at each stage of production (rather than a sales tax on the end product). The U.S. will likely end up with a VAT one day instead of sales taxes.

Every task I engage in, I ask myself-- am I adding value? Will this activity add value to my life? Am I taking this 5 minutes and turning into something that's valuable, or am I wasting it? Am I using the gifts God has given me and adding value to them in a final activity, or am I squandering them (Matthew 25:14-30)? Is the marginal activity the going to maximize the value added or is there some better use of my time/energy/money?

If Apple had taken that same amount of plastic and silicon to make a coaster for your drink, it probably wouldn't be worth $299 to you. If people value the final product less than the input, then the market punishes the entrepreneur who goes out of business. The enterpreneur subtracted value from that resource. In the process of creative destruction the resources will then go to someone who will find a way to add value to them. "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him" (v. 29).

So, if you're consuming (reading) this blog I hope that I add value to your knowledge, understanding, or overall well-being and that your time isn't wasted. If I don't, then don't consume the blog any longer.

Book Review (#1 of 2009)

No End Save Victory: Perspectives on World War II. Volumes 1 and 2 -- multiple authors
These books are a collection of essays by WWII historians like Stephen E. Ambrose. Some of the essays are extended excerpts from books by the authors and others are original essays highlighting some little-known or little-reported aspects about the war. If you're a history or WWII fan, I highly recommend these.

Among the most interesting are a re-printing of a diary of a Japanese kamikaze pilot who survived his attack and was captured. The profile of General Edwin P. King, who surrendered the largest U.S. force in history, was also great. A couple of the essays are from the little-reported viewpoints of the Japanese--kind of like Letters from Iwo Jima.

Volume 2 has an interesting essay about Operation Peppermint and the Allied fears that Nazi Germany had an atomic weapon. On D-Day several soldiers were assigned to discretely record radiation levels on the beach and observe any strange signs of radiation sickness. There was also a covert operation to destroy the Nazi's heavy water facility in Norway, and other operations to determine the extent of Germany's atomic knowledge. In Germany, Nazis inspected bomb craters with Geiger counters to see if the Allies were using atomic weapons.

There's also the story of a previously unknown Nazi landing in North America-- when Germany set up a weather station in Greenland.

Good stuff, five stars out of five. If you have to choose between one of the two sets, choose Volume 1.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Another Book of 2008

This is technically a book but not one I'll count. I read it in about 45 minutes.
On New Years Eve, my family went to the Creation Museum owned by Answers in Genesis in Petersburg, KY. I wholeheartedly recommend visiting as it's high-quality. I won't go into great detail about how well-done it is. The museum gets your attention by asking questions rather than giving point-by-point specific refutations. It displays a lot of scientific evidence that lets you know that there is very little "consensus" among scientists.

If you go, check out the Men in White "satire" film experience. That was about the only example of specific refutations that were given.

At the gift shop, I picked up the book that normally accompanies the DVD set Global Warming: A Scientific and Biblical Expose of Climate Change. The book contains a few essays and then the transcript of the documentary.

Very interesting. Did you know that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report backs off much of the gloom-and-doom found in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth? Scientists now predict that sea levels may rise as much as 1 foot by 2100. That's not enough to create the catastrophe that Gore and others have trumpeted. The report has been roundly criticized for not being alarmist enough.

According to the climatologists and other scientists in the book, the earth's temperature has risen by about 1.2 degrees since the 1880 (while the accuracy of this number is still highly debatable). It's estimated that about 50% of that is caused by man. It's not clear that the benefits of doing something about this would outweigh the costs in terms of higher prices and hurting developing countries' economies. Global warming is already bringing some benefits--longer growing seasons and more vibrant plant life. And polar bears have seen their population increase tremendously over the last 30 years.

The book echoes what I posted a couple years ago after having watched and Inconvenient Truth and then The Great Global Warming Swindle.

The shouting down, death threats, and pulled funding from scientists asking "what do the data say" instead of "global warming will destroy us all!" is alarming. There's quite a bit of good evidence (as seen clearly in The Swindle) that much of the larger cycles of climate change are caused by sun spot activity (see the Medieval Warming Period) or other natural causes.

We are still called to be good stewards of our creation. But, in dealing with climate change it's useful to remember that exalting the rest of creation over man is unbiblical.

4 stars out of 5. I don't doubt this post will see a lot of flaming, angry comments.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Blunt reminders

Nicholas Kristof, the foreign correspondent for the NY Times, has been writing columns about modern-day slavery in Southeast Asia. I highly recommend reading "If This Isn't Slavery, What Is?" and his previous column as well. Unbelievable stuff. His previous columns about abuse of women in Pakistan were equally frightening. It's tough to read columns that show women with their eyes gouged out or horribly disfigured by acid attacks.

After his previous column I checked out his blog and found the comments interesting. Some said "I've been to those countries, and don't buy anything you're saying. Those girls are working voluntarily." Others gave testimony of how they experienced the same type of slavery here in the U.S. Kristof responds to the commenters here.

A couple years ago, Kristof bought the freedoms of a couple of girls there and wrote their stories. He challenges his former Senator and Secretary of State-to-be to do something about the problem.

My question is-- where is the Church? Kristof points to the Wilberforce Act, named after William Wilberforce, a famous Christian who got England to abandon the slave trade (confession: I haven't seen Amazing Grace yet). So, maybe the Church is quietly lobbying.

I'll just say I'm sick of hearing about raising more money for professional missionaries, church buildings, programs, money for "God's" political candidate, etc. When the money could be used to give everyone in Africa clean water, liberate women and children in slavery and build schools where they can be educated, and the list goes on.

I'm sick of giving my own time and energy to professional sports or to entertain myself while people suffer. Fantastic distractions only lead us straight into judgment:

Matthew 25:41-46

Kristof, by writing for the world's most-read newspaper, has essentially left all of us without excuse.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

On the Rose Bowl

CBS' 60 Minutes did a segment on USC coach Pete Carroll a few weeks ago, and I was deeply impressed. A coach volunteering his time to really make a difference. I'm not a fan of USC's program, wish the NCAA would reach decisive conclusions as to their punishment for Reggie Bush and others taking money. However, Carroll seems to be a genuine good guy in his too-good-to-be-true efforts. Win Forever is also a great motivational challenge.

You might also enjoy an encore presentation of when Captain Compete (Will Ferrell) dropped in on a USC practice this season.