hard heads soft hearts
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Arthur Silber - Rape, Harrassment, Horrible Bosses
Arthur Silber - "They Don't Represent America"? Not Quite, Mr. President. (2004)
Will Kane (SF Chronicle) - Scott Olsen, vet hurt at Occupy Oakland, discharged
World O' Crap - If 'Are You Being Served?' is the Kind of Programming...
Sam Seder interview of Dean Baker
Dean Baker: " . . .So we had a huge fall-off in both construction & consumption, creating a shortfall in demand over a trillion dollars a year. The point is, how do you replace that demand? We have all these people in Washington saying `We want the private sector to do it'. Wonderful! I want the private sector to do it too, but it doesn't work that way, they don't increase their spending just because we have politicians who want them to. . ."
just saw the Inside Job, found it a little overwhelming, found the interview with Mishkin, who seemed a nice man (and whose textbook is indeed quite good), painful to watch. One of the baroque details I found interesting was the extraordinary lengths Richard Fuld of Lehmann went to shield himself from the details of what the Lehmann rank and file were doing (He had his own private elevator, and his driver called in to the doorman to clear the way once he had arrived, so that the journey from the car to the elevator, instead of talking 5-10 minutes, could instead be over in 30 seconds, with minimum human contact. Once in the elevator, safe from the rank and file, straight up to the privacy of the executive floor).
I perhaps have similar misanthropic tendencies, a similar occasional desire to be free from the accusing glance of others, a similar desire to be safe in a private sanctuary, but could not imagine indulging that desire to that extreme, no matter how much money I had.
In any case, 2 people in the film that I found impressive were Robert Gnaizda & Charles Morris, and wondered why they didn't seem that impressed with the Obama administration. Also wondered what Larry Summers would have had to say about his dealings with Brooksley Born.
Re: Europe, it almost defies belief, but a great and sophisticated continent is coming to grief because it has saddled itself with a central bank that does not understand central banking: namely, that every industrial economy since 1820 has needed a lender of last resort at a penalty rate, and the penalty rate should be nonzero but affordable. The alternative to the lender of last resort is 1) large amounts of capital wasted self-insuring against Knightian uncertainty 2) random, unavoidable crisis caused by self-fulfilling fears & panics. It's easy to blame the Germans, but I believe the real fault lies with elites in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, who need to gather their courage and get out of the Euro, ASAP. When the UK & Sweden exited the ERM, the results were very beneficial, and I believe the same would be true of exiting the Euro.
One idea I think would be good for US economic policy: allow every fixed Treasury bond to be freely convertible to a TIPS bond, if the bondholder wants to convert. The result would be to allow a shift of inflation risk from individual investors to the government. Hopefully, that would make the system more tolerant of moderate amounts of inflation, and therefore better protected against liquidity traps.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Arthur Silber - So, What Exactly Are We Talking About? Some Preliminary Observations
Arthur Silber - Railroaded Into Unnecessary War
Arthur Silber - AN ASSAULT ON A HUMAN BEING IS AN ASSAULT ON A HUMAN BEING. CHILDREN ARE HUMAN BEINGS. CHILDREN ARE NOT PROPERTY.
Arthur Silber - Sorrowful Silence
Violet Socks - Reclusive Leftist
Am I the only person in the world who thinks 200 bucks is serious money? Okay, not exactly serious, but significant. It’s a chunk of change, you know?. . .a hundred-dollar piece of electronic gear is not a stocking stuffer. A stocking stuffer is a plastic pez dispenser with red and green M&Ms. . .
Gary Farber - Amygdala
russell (Obsidian Wings) - the 28th
Susie Madrak - Dorli Rainey
A must-read post by Digby:
Digby - The war at home
Digby - For thee but not for me
Paul Krugman - The Very Brave BOE
The BOE sensibly realizes that moderate inflation is far preferable to the alternative of a liquidity trap combined with a crushing debt burden. No one liked the Post-WWII double-digit inflation rates, but surely they were preferable to depression. Central bankers with a clue: Who let them into the building?
Talking about people who know what they're doing, I've always liked this Roger Mudd interview:
Roger Mudd - interviewed by Brian Lamb (1999)
Lamb: . . .if people were to go back and say, `Was there a Roger Mudd moment?' it would be the question to Ted Kennedy, `Why do you want to be president?'. . .
Amid all news of cell phone patents/IP, I realized with a sense of shock that patents/IP are much more valuable for a company which doesn't make cellphones, who makes nothing, than a company which actually makes the damn phones. If you actually manufacture a phone, then you can sue other manufacturers for violating your patents, but they can sue you too for violating their patents, and it's mutually assured destruction. If you can sue for infringement of your "ambulatory communication device" patent, you can also be sued for your infringement of someone else's "device which ambulates while communicating" patent. But if you posses only the cell phone patents, without selling any actual phones, you can happily sue all the real manufacturers for violating your precious, oh-so-valuable IP, without a care in the world. (I take it for granted that 99.99% of patents are not actually valuable in the process of manufacturing a product)
Obviously, this is perverse and absurd. There are solutions, but the current crop of politicians have zero interest in finding them.
I don't think Steve Jobs bitter denunciation to Obama of unions/the left should be seen as Jobs just being a jerk. I think they should be seen as someone who wanted pretty badly to manufacture macs in the US, and was frustrated at his inability to do so. I think Jobs was well aware that if he had managed to make macs in the US, the love people had for him, already immense, would have reached stratospheric levels.
Cricinfo - Full coverage of Peter Roebuck's death
Rob Steen on Peter Roebuck - A sharp mind, a tormented soul
Sambit Bal - Remembering Roebuck
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that Roebuck, when he first came up, was a pupil and friend of Tom Cartwright, one of my favorite cricketers.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Andrew Sullivan - Assad's Victims Mount
Andrew Sullivan - Obama on Cannabis
Arthur Silber - Sorrowful Silence
Susie Madrak - Generational Warfare
Gary Farber - Amygdala
Violet Socks - Reclusive Leftist
Fresh Air - (Jill Lepore) How Birth Control And Abortion Became Politicized
Are the kids in the PSA abuses getting all the help they need? What do they think is an appropriate punishment?
So how many jobs would Obama/Dems have created if the GOP hadn't blocked their bills? And why isn't this number a kajillian billion?
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Gary Farber (Obsidian Wings) - CPT Thomas J. Casey's Bronze Star
ROD NORDLAND (NYT) - 12 Americans Die as Blast Hits Bus in Afghanistan
Corrente Wire - Bernanke & Unemployment
I like Bernanke as a person. But the unemployed deserve to know that there are consequences to the nation's top economic policy-makers for failing to prevent high unemployment.
Violet Socks - The end of male primogeniture
Susie Madrak - Greece
I agree with Atrios that this is really not that difficult. This is just a form of bank run, and we know the way to deal with bank runs is some FDIC-like system.
Arthur Silber - Once Upon a Time. . .
ROBERT D. McFADDEN (NYT) - Dorothy Rodham, Mother and Mentor of Hillary Clinton, Is Dead at 92
Thomas Macaulay Millar (Feministe) - Facts on rape
. . .rape is not the result of miscommunications, and since it’s not the result of miscommunications, sending “mixed signals” isn’t the problem. . .
Rapists aren't actually seeking consensual sex, they're seeking plausible deniability that non-consensual coercion cannot be proved to be non-consensual. They're not looking for the truth ("Is this rape?"), they're looking for a cover story ("Can I make it possible to argue that I couldn't be expected to know this was rape?").
Alan Rappeport (FT) - Obama orders FDA to tackle drugs shortage
. . .Last month, a US congressional committee requested documents from five “grey market” drug companies that buy and sell drugs in short supply to find out how they are acquiring the drugs and how much profit they are making from selling them to hospitals and pharmacies. The committee said that one company was selling a drug to treat leukaemia for nearly $1,000 per vial when the normal price was $12 per vial. . .
One key point that was not made in the FT article: Europe & Japan do not have these drug shortages.
If I were the Dems, I would make this story the centerpiece of the 2012 campaign. "We found evidence that rogue companies & health-care providers were trying to corner the market in cancer drugs so they could drive up the price and gouge hospitals. We immediately investigated and and used every tool in our power to put a stop to it. We are willing to take action to stop these abuses, no matter how loudly the rogue companies squeal. The Republicans aren't".
The Herman Cain case reminds me of how much I hate non-disclosure agreements (I also hated the non-disclosure aspect of the settlements the Catholic Church made in an attempt to cover up clergy abuse). "I did nothing wrong, but let's let it be our little secret, hmm'kay?" I think a good law Congress could pass is "Non-disclosure agreements shall not be enforceable in a court of law unless the enforcer of non-disclosure clause can demonstrate that said enforcement poses no serious risks to the general public."