Author Archives: Heaton


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Why, exactly, Lincoln Chafee?

From his meteoric presidential launch endorsing the metric system to his most recent TED Talks-style performance in the Democratic presidential debate, we follow Rhode Island’s answer to the question none of us asked, and the ultimate conclusion that this is a ruse for a different, colder office. Update: Since this post, Lincoln Chafee’s donors turned read more »

America Should Have a Queen

Queen Elizabeth II has become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. I propose we get ourselves a queen, for some excellent reasons, and I’ve already got one in mind: Betty White. They’re both about the same age, they’re both respectable, but Betty White has given some really inappropriate Friars Club Roasts which I think would translate well to read more »

Dog and twin mayors in Minnesota

In Minnesota democracy is running amok, electing toddlers and dogs for mayor. Can they compete with full-grown adult mayors, like in Pennsylvania, where a former mayor is being charged for, among other things, using tax dollars on vampire kits? I suggest that, in general, ceremonial mayors who are cute/and or household pets may be a read more »

This Week in Beer: Lobsters, Bernie Sanders, and Yoga

A brewery is making its beer WITH LIVE LOBSTERS INSIDE, pinko craft brewers are cashing in on Bernie Sanders’ hipster appeal, a yoga pants maker is getting into the lager market, and a bear gets schnockered in a state park. All of these are great developments in the wonderful world of beer, except of course read more »

TRUMPDATE: Donald In the Lead

Despite having insulted the entire nation of Mexico, as well as John McCain’s war record, Donald Trump is presently leading the pack of Republican presidential hopefuls. Not only have I unearthed old footage of Donald Trump’s 1989 board game “Trump the Game,” I’ll also explain why he’s the lead GOP presidential contender, and what he’s read more »

Monkey News: The Banana Derby

In Illinois the Banana Derby (a time-honored event where monkeys ride dogs like horses) has been catching flak, with people claiming it’s immoral to turn monkeys into jockeys. But do we really want to live in a country where county fairs don’t include simian cowboys? I know I don’t. Also featured: a cameo from Whiplash the read more »

The first robot wedding, and a Robot Poetry Turing Test

Robots are getting married in Japan, and a top university is combining poetry with ye old Turing Test. So I’ll prove that good ‘ol human poetry is better, more soulful, and less fattening than robot poetry. Also featured: cameos from animatronic American presidents speaking from Disney World. &nbspAndrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian read more »

State of the Week: A Monumental Fight

This week Oklahoma removed a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn of the state capitol. I’ve got nothing against Ten Commandment monuments, but I do have a problem with violating the separation of Church and State. Fortunately, in this instance, all sorts of hilarity ensued leading up to the removal, including a typo etched into read more »

Game of Loans: Greek Debt Crisis

Greece is having a debt crisis. Again. Europe has loaned it a lot of money, and now, astonishingly, wants them to figure out ways to pay them back. In this video I come up with several excellent fiscal solutions, such as cutting spending, or disguising their entire country as Belgium to thwart creditors. Why no read more »

EconPop: Castaway

  Castaway is the heart-warming story about a dedicated FedEx employee striving against all odds to ultimately deliver his packages and finish his assignment, even after getting marooned on an island for several years. It also features the brilliant Morgan Friedman as “Wilson the volleyball.” In this episode of EconPop we discuss: specialization. &nbspAndrew Heaton read more »

EconPop: The Shawshank Redemption

  This is one of the funniest episodes of EconPop, in my opinion, because of the frequent asides to my time in prison. But we also cover economics, too: specifically trade. Trade is good. Prison is bad. &nbspAndrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh read more »

EconPop: The Hudsucker Proxy

  In this episode of EconPop we tackle The Hudsucker Proxy, to investigate how supply and demand work, and why a minimum wage isn’t necessarily a good thing. I also spend a decent amount of time explaining why me being suspicious of the minimum wage does not automatically mean that I am an evil plutocrat. read more »

EconPop: Robocop

  Robocop is a timeless film (mostly based off of Shakespeare) which covers essential economic questions like, “What is a public good?” and “Who better delivers public goods, the private sector or the government?” and “Wouldn’t it be cool if a robot cop could kill a bunch of bad guys and walk through explosions and read more »

EconPop: It’s A Wonderful Life

In this yuletide edition of EconPop I do a spot-on Jimmy Stewart impression, explain banking and loans, then how the concept of moral hazard leads to robbing liquor stores. If you spent your entire childhood watching this film every Christmas like clockwork, and your parents are bankers but you never have anything to talk to read more »

Two Minutes Hate

In this latest installment of Two Minutes Hate we pose the question: “are cats the ideal libertarians?” Full disclosure: I am an unabashed dog person, and like Milton Friedman quite a lot. So my answer is a resounding “no.” That said, the amount of hate mail the hosts accrued after some derogatory comments they made read more »

EconPop: The Treasure of the Sierre Madre

  In this installment of EconPop we delve into The Treasure of the Sierre Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart. The film is worth watching for two reasons: first, Humphey Bogart goes on a psychotic homicidal rampage, which is funny to watch if the only film you’ve otherwise seen him in is Casablanca. There’s also an old-timey prospector character read more »

The Economics of Elysium

  I love cyborg movies, particularly if they’re in space. But Elysium is the first science fiction film I’ve seen where the economics is less believable than the footage of robots battling to the death. In this episode of EconPop we cover income inequality, the fallacy Zero Sum Game thinking, why Malthus was wrong, and read more »

Two Minutes Hate

This week Bernie Maxsmith returns to The Independents to relay belligerent mail to the hosts from viewers like you. We tried a couple of new formats, making one of the hate mails a compilation of suggested segment titles from viewers. Favorites include “Welch deep mucker” and “Bipolar Kennedy.” I also brought up the fact that read more »

Boston’s Stupid Government

The first thing you should know about Boston is that its State House, the capital of the entire state of Massachusetts, contains a thing called “the Sacred Cod.” The Sacred Cod is a large fish suspended within its House of Representatives, which is legally or at least traditionally necessary in order for their House to read more »

Boston’s Other History

Boston’s first European inhabitant was a man named William Blaxton, who hated people. Enough to move to Boston. Not that Boston is a bad place—I find it quite charming. But back in 1625 it was just undeveloped swamp. So, after having left England to get away from the English, Blaxton moved to a swamp to read more »