hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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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:

. . .Secretary Powell pushed back, urging a focus on al Qaeda. Relieved to have some support, I thanked Colin Powell and his deputy, Rich Armitage. “I thought I was missing something here,” I vented. “Having been attacked by al Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.”

Powell shook his head. “It’s not over yet.”

Indeed, it was not. Later in the day, Secretary Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which, he said, had better targets. . .

I note with amusement that former Secretary Rumsfeld cancelled his subscription to the Times this morning in protest against Krugman’s column.

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.

Some pretty big clues there, Mr. President.

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

This is the fundamental fact. For the system, loans can't grow faster than deposits. So if a bank grows loans > dep, it ought to be a focus

Been telling people this for years. UK had a lending boom. It didn't have a simultaneous deposit boom. Hence, problems.

chrismealy Chris Mealy
@dsquareddigest just curious, are there deposit booms?

@chrismealy can't think of one ever happening, but it might possibly have happened sometime somewhere.

@chrismealy Of course, since every loan is a deposit, every lending boom is a deposit boom, somewhere, but somehow it never evens out

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.

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