hard heads soft hearts
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I do not know whether Troy Davis's last words to Mark MacPhail's family were true. I do not know whether a possibly credible witness claiming Coles confessed to shooting MacPhail is speaking the truth. But neither does the criminal-justice system. Which is why this is such a travesty.
Susie Madrak - The quality of mercy
Violet Socks - Elizabeth Warren for Senate
Gary Farber - Amygdala
Arthur Silber - Power of Narrative
Amanda Marcotte - The death penalty and our corrupted justice system
Lindsay Beyerstein - Troy Davis and Arguments Against the Death Penalty
Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Utterly Relevant NAACP
Jelani Cobb - The Night They Killed Troy Davis
Ta-Nehisi Coates - Death Penalty Activism
Obama UN address
Wonkblog (Sarah Kliff) - Medicaid quietly dodges deficit-reduction battle
Matthew Yglesias - Today Is A Good Day To Guarantee Loans
Matthew Yglesias - Fantasy Central Banker Draft
Matthew Yglesias - No Stop Till (Full-Employment In) Brooklyn
Andrew Tobias - Israel
I do think that one opporutunity for progressives to make up some ground on the tea party will come from the collapse of the gold bubble.
HP's ousted CEO will take home $25 million
Coming To America:
King Jaffe Joffer: Semmi, you have disgraced yourself, and you must be punished. Confine yourself to our royal suite at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
NAACP - Significant Doubts about Troy Davis guilt: A Case for Clemency
NAACP - Too Much Doubt
Letter to Georgia Parole Board, Georgia Parole Board:
Subject: Do not execute Troy Davis, if there is a chance that Officer Mark MacPhail was shot by Sylvester Coles
It is not certain that Troy Davis shot Officer Mark MacPhail. It might have been Sylvester Coles, Given this uncertainty, Georgia must not take the chance of executing a man who did not commit the crime he was convicted of. 4 jurors on the original jury now say that if they knew then what they know, they would not have voted for the death penalty.
Always in a criminal-justice system, rules & procedures have never been enough. Always it has required officers of the law to act and intervene with good judgement, common-sense, alertness to new facts, and courage, in order to make the system work better.
I humbly implore you to use your best judgement in the Troy Davis case, and if your conscience tells you there is a chance that Sylvester Coles shot Officer Mark MacPhail, and not Troy Davis, then to not kill Troy Davis when there is a chance that he did not kill Officer Mark MacPhail.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
(Via Yglesias) JEFFREY GETTLEMAN (NYT) - Famine Ravages Somalia in a World Less Less Likely to Intervene
NYT - How to Help Victims of the East Africa Famine
Matthew Yglesias - Be The Change You Want To See In The World
NYT: Portraits of Grief
Wikipedia - Troy Davis Case
(Via Gary Farber) Lena Groeger (Wired) - The Dead, the Dollars, the Drones: 9/11 Era by the Numbers
Violet Socks - Reclusive Leftist
here’s an excerpt from Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies, describing the conversations happening in the White House on September 12, 2001:
Susie Madrak - CBS/NYT Polling
. . .The poll found that nearly three-quarters of Republicans said they thought Social Security and Medicare were worth their costs.
Arthur Silber - Once Upon a Time. . .
Shorter Netanyahu: We're a good people, so it's not possible for us to do anything bad.
Siegbert Tarrasch: "It is not enough to be a good player: One must also play well."
tweets from dsquared & co:
DD "simple" plan for financial regulation: loan growth > deposit growth = visit from regulators
Re: Brooks column on limits of government responsibility for the economy, I think he's conflating productivity and employment. The three main fundamentals of an economy are productivity, distribution & employment. Government cannot magically increase productivity, can partially affect distribution (at least, it can make sure everyone has access to affordable basic education and health care), and not only can, it must be held accountable for achieving full-employment.
I actually think the productivity numbers would be more accurate and meaningful, and a better guide for policy, if they included the unemployed/discouraged workers in the calculations.
re: "let him die", I guess my fantasy "grand bargain" is that conservatives give up on the idea of lightening their load by chucking people off the bus, liberals give up on the idea of lightening their load by putting it all on the backs of the rich.
Conversation I had with someone:
"Obama can't do anything about jobs. No politician can. It's being driven by deep forces, outsourcing, globalization. Jobs will come back in this country only when wages equalize with India & China".
Me: What about Germany? Same first world wages, but they've been good at reducing unemployment.
"Oh, but their politics is completely different. . ."
Obviously, the world did not fall at Obama's feet after his jobs speech, but I still think his current strategy of proposing something that might work but might not pass is better than strategy of proposing something that might pass but won't work, or the strategy of proposing nothing because prosperity is just around the corner.
One other possible strategy: Congress, 1) here's your budget. 2) here's the number of jobs you must create 3) how you do it is up to you.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Gary Farber - Amygdala
Susie Madrak - The Campaign (American Hospital Association lobbying to raise the eligibility age for Medicare)
Arthur Silber - Once Upon A Time. . .
Ezra Klein- Charles Evans dual mandate speech
I understand the fears of the Fed, of inflation picking up and facing the ignominy of being responsible for stagflation. But the fact is that inflation below 5% has very minor, basically unquantifiable costs, while 9% unemployment and a trillion dollar output gap are disasters, and you have to base policy on the facts, not fears.
Matthew Yglesias - The American Jobs Act
Matthew Yglesias - Ben Bernanke Hints At Further Easing
Brad Delong (quoting David Beckworth) - How To Undertake Credible Expansionary Monetary Policy
Matthew Yglesias (quoting Beckworth) - good monetary policy by Swiss, Swedish, Australian, Israeli central banks
But really, what do the Swiss know about banking?
Juan Cole - Israel, Egypt, Turkey; Afghanistan & Iraq; Libya
Karl Smith - Wealth vs Employment, donut seller from hell
Rortybomb (Mike Konczal) - retrospective, analysis of Obama's jobs proposals
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Gary Farber - Amygdala
Susie Madrak - A Florida sheriff saves his county $1M by de-privatizing jail. . .
Arthur Silber - ONCE UPON A TIME...
re: cancer drug shortages, a good example I think of business media's tendency to be very coddly of business/contemptuous of government: hardly anyone is asking, Why aren't other countries, with much stronger government regulation of drug companies, having these drug shortages?
What Kling & Cowen don't explain is what happened to PSST and LMP in 2005/2006. I guess the explanation is that firms were willing to carry more workers when they were fat and happy, but not anymore, but that doesn't explain why firms were fat and happy in 2005, and not now.
Paul Krugman - The Return of Depression Economics (1999)
. . .The right perspective is to realise how very much good free markets and globalisation have done; the point is to preserve those gains. One cannot defend globalisation merely by repeating free-market mantras as economy after economy crashes. If we want to see more nations making the transition from abject poverty to the hope of a decent life, we had better find answers to the problems of depression economics.
what should Obama say in his jobs speech?
1) Obv. I don't know, due modesty, etc. etc.
1.5) An infrastructure fund where businesses can apply for grants for fixing accessibility problems
2) One idea: Weak dollar = strong manufacturing. "I'd rather have a stronger manufacturing sector than a stronger dollar."
3) Proposal to change the composition of the Federal Reserve board. Right now 5 of the seats go to bankers. Replace 4 of the bankers with 1 labor, 1 consumer, 1 manufacturing, 1 health care/education/services
4) A proposal to require all the Fed governors and the Fed chairman to resign, and for the President to appoint a new team, if the unemployment rate exceeds 7%, or the core inflation rate exceeds 7%, for 18 months. This might be unfair to some good people on the Fed board, but it it seems to me that the value of having unemployed people know that the Fed is not indifferent to their plight exceeds the value of possibly treating good people somewhat unfairly.
5) A proposal of a wealth tax with the rate directly linked to the rate of unemployment, with the money raised from that to pay for 1) a tax cut for all firms that expand payroll 2) unemployment benefits . The idea is not to raise money, it is again to send a signal to the unemployed that the nation's wealthy have a strong incentive to avoid mass unemployment.
6) Investment can be motivated by hope and fear. Hope for new sales, fear of losing old sales. Both the hope and the fear seem to have diminished in the current environment, possibly because of firm consolidation/ tacit collusion/ barriers to entry. This lack of hope & fear is possibly leading to stockpiling cash instead of real investment.
C.S. Lewis - The world's last night
. . .Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things—ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer; but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out our fear. . .
7) What is the role of a government in a recession? Possibly, to provide Knightian insurance/services at non-Knightian prices. But what kind of services, and at what prices?
8) Who should Obama consult about jobs? My list: economists: Dean Baker, Tykromulongerlofa, Baublishillitzvolk, Glenn Loury. business: buffet, munger, bogle, bill gross & PIMCO, james sineghal, immelt, the team at Southwest. I guess I prefer business leaders who appreciate the difference between an open and closed system, and who have shown a strong preference for making their numbers by creating value rather cutting costs. Labor: Trumka, Serwer, Angelides. Politicians: Lula, Sweden's team, the people in Germany who have done such a good job holding down unemployment, Clinton.
Deep Thought: There really is no shortage of reasons to feel contemptuous of yourself, and other humans, is there?
C.S. Lewis - Two Ways With the Self
. . .[Self-hatred] begins by accepting the special value of the particular self called me; then, wounded in its pride to find that such a darling object should be so disappointing, it seeks revenge, first upon that self, then on all. Deeply egoistic, but now with an inverted egoism, it uses the revealing argument, "I don't spare myself" with the implication "then a fortiori I need not spare others" and becomes like the centurion in Tacitus, "immitior quia toleraverat." ("More relentless because he had endured (it himself)")
Dean Baker - Beat the Press
There are two simple remedies to the plunge in employment in manufacturing. One would be to open the professional services to international competition. . .
Paul Krugman - Iceland's recovery
. . .Iceland still has high unemployment and is a long way from a full recovery; but it’s no longer in crisis, it has regained access to international capital markets, and has done all that with its society intact.
Mark Thoma - Discussion: Is it important for taxes to be progressive? Or is progressivity in the net benefits the only important consideration?
That can't be true. Can it?
Deathtongue (Daily Kos) - Toothache Kills Unemployed (24 year-old) Man With No Insurance
Digby - "It’s not you. This is what the country is going through"
Hullabaloo - The Wrong Problem by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")
. . .there's an endless string of [people] waiting to tell us that the banking sector crisis is the fault of social security, labor unions, universal healthcare, strange swarthy Greeks, individual deadbeat homeowners, welfare queens driving Cadillacs, the Environmental Protection Agency, and anyone and anything else they care to dream up. Anyone, of course, but the banks. . .
Atrios - Eschaton
. . .The point is that, for example, maybe a massive writing down of all Fannie and Freddie owned mortgages isn't an optimal policy if we were in a first best world. But we aren't and we aren't going to be. So it might be a second best optimal policy. . .
I wonder what the law&order hardliners: e.g. "We are a nation of LAWS. The LAW is the LAW and they're BREAKING THE LAW. END OF STORY." think of these Florida laws? Even if the law is changed now, should it be enforced against past lawbreakers? Or is hardline law-enforcement only important when it's used against people other than yourself?
A very important article, which shows that everyone understands the importance and necessity of prosecutorial discretion, prosecutorial common-sense, and prosecutorial leniency when it comes to laws it's possible for them to break.
Atrios - Libya
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Rebel forces and armed civilians are rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Sahara Africa, accusing them of fighting for ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi and holding them in makeshift jails across the capital. . .
Juan Cole - Informed Comment
. . .The African Union said it was reassured by the remarks in Paris of TNC leader Moustapha Abdul Jalil, in which he pledged to order the protection of foreign workers in Libya, and that it might go forward with recognizing the new government. . .
Cheryl Contee (Jill Tubman) - Jack and Jill Go To Cameroon with UNITAID: Roll Deep, Go Hard, Get Out (PHOTOS)
lightgetsin - Data
I gave myself 7 days. Every time during that 7 days I ran into a particular kind of inaccessibility, I wrote to the owner/relevant authority and asked them to fix it. I aimed for short, factual, informative request letters. . .
Tavis Smiley (Interview with Booknotes/Brian Lamb)
. . .Now CompUSA was different. CompUSA we went after them, which we really did do. We went after them. They put their head in the sand. And for 10 weeks--every day on the radio for 10 weeks, I was riding CompUSA every day. . .CompUSA, for some reason--I learned later on, as I said, in the case study--Jim Halperin, the chairman of the company, told me it was--it was fear. They did not know exactly what to do. They were frozen. They said, `We obviously got to do something about this.' But they originally thought, `If we don't acknowledge this campaign by this little black kid on the radio, this thing will eventually go away. It'll eventually dry up.' And that didn't happen. . .And they got on those phones and those faxes and those e-mails. They shut down ABC's phone system that day in New York. They shut down CompUSA's phone system that day in Dallas, and that day was the moment of truth. CompUSA and ABC heard an earful--and not to mention, as I said, they couldn't get any business done because their phone systems were jammed. And that day was the moment of truth.
Seeing the Euro mess really makes me appreciate politicians like Gordon Brown, politicians who, at least occasionally, have the ability to reject fashionable proposals which do not make any sense. Can only imagine the problems the UK would have had if Tony Blair had got his way and joined the Euro. Too bad Brown didn't show similar judgement for the Iraq war.
Patrick Appel (Daily Dish) - Picking Someone Out Of A Lineup, Ctd