hard heads soft hearts
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Arthur Silber - Once Upon A Time. . .
Briefly: after I pay the September rent next week, I'll be close to completely broke. Some other bills need to be paid.
Susie Madrak - Richard Trumka's message to Obama
Susie Madrak - God’s waiting room
John Amato - Update on Susie Madrak's Condition
Juan Cole - How to Avoid Bush’s Iraq Mistakes in Libya
BBC - Horror scenes at Tripoli hospital (via Atrios)
Question for economists: If the cause if this recession is the wealth effect, how much did the various forms of wealth fall during the slump, and how big was the wealth effect across various kinds of asset classes? Dean Baker frequently refers to a "8 trillion dollar housing bubble". where does this 8 trillion figure come from, and how solid is it? In general, I see a lot of discussion of income accounting, and the velocity of money, but not a lot of discussion of wealth accounting, and the velocity of wealth.
Question for politicos: What do the American people answer when asked "What is your greatest hope of what might happen with the Republicans/Democrats in power? What is your greatest fear of what night happen?" I'd guess that for most Americans, their hopes and fears are not dependent on which specific party is in power. But I have no idea what the actual hopes and fears, themselves, would be.
Krugman - Bernanke
. . .in 2000 an economist named Ben Bernanke offered a number of proposals for policy at the “zero lower bound.” True, the paper was focused on policy in Japan, not the United States. But America is now very much in a Japan-type economic trap, only more acute. So we learn a lot by asking why Ben Bernanke 2011 isn’t taking the advice of Ben Bernanke 2000. . .
Brad Delong - Some Things that Could Have Been Done--and That Could Still Be Done (quoting Mike Konczal)
A quick thought on recent blog posts on the unemployed's suboptimal job-searching skills: 1) same population, same crappy job-search skills in 2005 as in 2011, yet different levels of unemployment. 2) Those kids really suck at musical chairs. If they all showed a bit more pep & hustle, surely everyone could get a chair.
Zack Beauchamp (Daily Dish) - Keep Talking About Willingham (quoting Steve Benen)
Where is the evidence that Rick Perry is God-fearing? He executed an innocent man, then covered up the evidence of his innocence. Some claim that Perry would not have had the power to stop the execution, even if he had tried. I don't believe this (parole boards are very receptive to the opinion of the Governor on specific cases), but the fact is that he didn't try.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Deep Thought (in no way related to events of last night): By not supporting cheap late-night transit, conservatives are trying to impose Sharia law on
(via Google): Save The Children's Somalia food crisis appeal
Jibril Mohamed - Famine in Somalia: Was it always like this?
The current famine and the previous one in 1992 are the result of a meaningless war that began in 1991 when the last effective government of Somalia was ousted from power by aimless warlords who mobilized their clansmen to create chaos. Somalia was in better shape than the grim situation that has become the norm for the past two decades, and I have hope that the future is much brighter than this.
Arthur Silber - Power of Narrative
. . .Did these two young men actually riot or loot? Did they themselves participate in the events they wrote about? Did they mean the Facebook posts seriously -- or just as some kind of joke?
Reclusive Leftist - Dr. Socks says hi
Hey everybody. I’m doing well; healing up nicely. I feel better every day. Thank you all for your kind wishes and support. I think I must have the nicest commentariat in the world. . .
Susie Madrak - These kids today
This is pretty amazing!
(Via Shakesville): Towleroad - New Immigration Rules Could Help Same-Sex Couples
The Obama administration announced yesterday that immigration officials, guided by the Department of Homeland Security, can now use "prosecutorial discretion" to stop deportation for illegal immigrants who pose no threat to the nation.
I think the Obama team has been taking some heat from some conservatives for this decision. But I think the principle of prosecutorial discretion is very, very important, something we all understand when it comes to laws it's possible for us to break, at the very least traffic laws. If the Obama adminstration sticks with this in the face of criticism, they'll deserve a lot of credit.
". . .I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.”
I think what this misses is that government programs, as inefficient and mediocre and expensive as they may be, are willing to take line responsibility for things the private sector either can not, or will not. Social Security does take line responsibility for the incomes of most retirees. Medicare does take line responsibility for medical care for most retirees. Unless and until the private sector and the non-profit sector is willing to take line responsibility for these important jobs in the same way government currently does, government programs are worth taxing for, and worth paying taxes for.
Yglesias: . . .Hiking mass transit fares while cutting services is not some kind of close substitute to dealing with the projected increases in the cost of health care. It’s not just small relative to the scale of the real fiscal issue, it’s completely irrelevant. A form of short-term pain that has no benefit over the long-term.
Matthew Yglesias - Business Opposition To Economic Recovery
. . .My point is just that during the Great Depression insistence on monetary orthodoxy was worse than a crime, it was a mistake. The leading lights of the business community were perfectly sincerely in their belief that financial orthodoxy was good for America, and they were also completely wrong. Not just wrong about what was good for America, but about what was wrong for their own businesses. . .
Matthew Yglesias - To Save The Economy, You Sometimes Need To Ignore Business
Many on the right and center indicate that in order to restore the economy, President Obama needs to do more to cater to the whims of rich businessmen. Many on the left feel that this is exactly wrong and that in order to restore the economy, President Obama needs to do more to stick it to the rich and dispossess them. History suggests that both are wrong. Economic recovery would be good for business, but businessmen who may be good at running businesses are extremely bad judges of macroeconomic policy . . .
Jessica Valenti - Learning to love my baby
After a life-threatening pregnancy and a premature birth I was scared to hold my newborn daughter – or to get too attached . . .
Digby - And now for some good news...
. . .From about 7:00 every morning to 10:00 (or later) every night, activists from 18 states stood out in 100-degree heat, intense pouring rain and everything in between to stand with Dr. Carhart, his excellent staff and the women they serve with dignity, compassion and respect. At many points during those nine days we outnumbered the antis. Members of the community kept stopping by with doughnuts, drinks and thank yous for our service. There was no violence, the clinic stayed open, and we did a great job representing the pro-choice majority in this country . . .
Saturday, August 13, 2011
LORI MOORE and ROGENE FISHER JACQUETTE (NYT) - Photos of Military Personnel Lost in Afghan Helicopter Attack
Robert Paarlberg - Famine in Somalia: What Can the World Do About It?
Shakesville (Melissa McEwan) - Somalia food insecurity
Anderson Cooper (Aug. 9) - Somalia Food Crisis (interview with Iman)
Iman op-ed on Somalia crisis
DipNote - President Obama Announces Additional Funds for Horn of Africa Famine
Arthur Silber - Once Upon A Time. . .
Carolyn Lochhead - SF Chronicle (8/11/2011):
One thing I'd like to see change is the idea that "rules are rules, and have to enforced, no matter what the consequences". In reality, no rule is so perfect that it does not require judgement, discretion, common sense. You need to give people the power to use their discretion, and then trust them, and in some cases hold them accountable, for using it properly. A bureacracy that lacks discretion is not a protector of the rule of law, it's just another monstrous, unpredictable, unaccountable menace that people have to be scared of. It's important to note that a "rules are rules" mentality leads not just to harshness, but also to unpredictability, because there are thousands of laws, all of which contain ambigous wording, which can be twisted into novel and creative (and terrifying) interpretations, many of which contradict each other. Bastards though we might be, we have no choice but to put our trust in the discretion and common sense of human beings, not the satisfying pseudo-certainty of an infallible rulebook.
Violet Socks - Reclusive Leftist
Susie Madrak - (MLK) The Other America
(Via Susie Madrak) Kathy Kelly - More Lost by the Second in Afghanistan
. . .No matter which side of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border you are on, suffocating hot temperatures prevail day and night during these hot months. It’s normal for people to sleep in their courtyards. How could anyone living in the region not know this? Yet the U.S. JSO forces that came in the middle of the night to the home of a 12-year-old girl, Nilofer, who had been asleep on her cot in the courtyard, began their raid by throwing a grenade into the courtyard, landing at Nilofer’s head. She died instantly. Nilofer’s uncle raced into the courtyard. He worked with the Afghan Local Police, and they had told him not to join that night’s patrol because he didn’t know much about the village they would go to, so he had instead gone to his brother’s home. When he heard the grenade explode, he may well have presumed the Taliban were attacking the home. U.S. troops killed him as soon as they saw him. Later, NATO issued an apology. . .
Josh Marshall - Was It Worth It? (Wisconsin)
. . .It would be a mistake to see this as a distraction, a big mistake.
Susie Madrak - Shhh, it’s a secret
Blue Gal (of Blue Gal and Crooks and Liars) is getting married this Friday to the very funny Driftglass. . .
Driftglass - Deny, Deny, Deny (2005)
In the flick Matthau asks Morse what to do if his wife nails him with another woman. . .
Juan Cole - Iraq & Syria
In contrast to the Iraqi executive, the parliament has recently strongly deplored the government’s use of violence against protesters. Two major blocs in parliament, the Kurdistan Alliance and the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya Party, are not Shiite and have ties to protesters in Syria, whether Kurds or Sunni Arabs. The Speaker of parliament is a Sunni Arab from Mosul who has strongly condemned the Baath government’s repression. . .
Iraq calls Syria to stop bloodshed
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Susie Madrak - 30 years ago today
Arthur Silber - Once Upon a Time. . .
NYT, August 3, 2011:
words not in the NYT story: unemployment, HAMP
words in the NYT story: "cashing in"
Gary Farber's twitter feed: Every huge evil has a small beginning: Katharine Q. Seelye (NYT) - A Wall to Remember an Era’s First Exiles
Gary Farber's twitter feed:If you're Bay Area, HIV-negative, want to help in a safe way, & earn $50/$75 several times, you can participate in this: SFisReady - About HIV Vaccine Studies
Gary Farber - Amygdala
Dan Hurley (NYT magazine) - A Father's Search for a Drug for Down Syndrome
“All I could think is, She’s my baby, she’s a lovely girl and what can I do to help her?. . .
If raising taxes would increase NIH/NSF funding enough to allow one of the nation's leading Down syndrome researchers to buy a home, I for one would be cool with that.
Juan Cole - Informed Comment
Blake Hounshell - Syria
Al-Assad's regime is proving to be its own worst enemy. Its Ramadan assault has utterly failed to cow the protesters and has riveted the world's attention on the slaughter. . .
Miriam (Feministing) - Famine in Somalia hits women and children hardest
Lori (Feministing) - Media overlooks lesbian heroes in Norway shooting
Talking Points Memo
. . .Really makes me wonder what the President's plan is for the economy. And that's not a dig. I'm really curious.
. . .The basic issue, and the one which ought to have people running around like their hair is on fire, is the unemployment rate. That, combined with the interest rate, shows you that deficit reduction is the stupidest possible policy at the current time. This is a very important issue, and the current President of the USA is on the wrong side of it. . .
Another way to look at it: Inflation is not always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. It is caused by too much money chasing too few goods. So you get inflation in two ways 1) producing too much money 2) producing too few goods. So by not supporting full-employment policies, "inflation hawks" are possibly causing 1) a lack of real investment in the present 2) a lack of real production capacity in the future 3) Recession now, and inflation in the future.
Paul Krugman - Clinton's trip recalls his finest moment (1997)
. . .In early 1995, only months after the crushing GOP congressional victory, a handful of officials persuaded Clinton to support a daring and extremely unpopular policy initiative: the rescue, with a huge loan, of Mexico's collapsing economy. Had that initiative failed, it might well have doomed Clinton's presidency. But it succeeded, and history may record the decision to go ahead with the plan as Clinton's finest hour. . .
Time, Money & Politics
1. Political professionals (including political writers & reporters, I think)
2) Activist leaders
3) Activist rank and file
5) non-citizens affected by US policies
I'd imagine the line between professional & activist leader is somewhat blurry, and I'm not sure how to draw that line. In any case, doesn't really concern me, as I am neither.
For activist rank & file:
Doable amount of political & non-political volunteering: 1 Saturday every 2 weeks + 1 weeknight a week = 350 hours. A 100/250 split, i.e. 100 hours a year for political volunteering, 250 for non-political volunteering
Doable amount of political and non-political money: 12% income, 1% to official candidates/parties, 1% to political entities outside any official party structure, 10% for non-political giving.
Religious worship/volunteering/donations: A portion of Sunday + another 10% tithing for religious organizations/charities. Alternatively, you could, as my English teacher used to say, worship at St. Kubiak's First Church of the Polish Hedonist. You wake up early Sunday and say "Thank you, St. Kubiak", then roll over and go back to sleep.
I actually think a common ground position on taxpayer subsidies for health insurance is that conservatives would agree that taxpayer credits to buy health insurance does not constitute taxpayer funding for abortion, and liberals would agree that school vouchers for religious schools do not constitute violation of separation of church and state. Instead, unfortunately, we have gone from the default position of freedom and live and let live to the default position of "I pay the money, so I get to control you."
George Orwell - The Lion and the Unicorn (1941)
. . .What it does link up with, however, is another English characteristic which is so much a part of us that we barely notice it, and that is the addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations, the privateness of English life. We are a nation of flower-lovers, but also a nation of stamp-collectors, pigeon-fanciers, amateur carpenters, coupon-snippers, darts-players, crossword-puzzle fans. All the culture that is most truly native centres round things which even when they are communal are not official - the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside and the ‘nice cup of tea’. The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century. But this has nothing to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit. It is the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above. The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker. It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern people, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’. But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability. . .
A million dollars isn't cool! You know what's cool?