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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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Arthur Silber - So, What Exactly Are We Talking About? Some Preliminary Observations

Arthur Silber - Railroaded Into Unnecessary War


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?'. . .

Mudd: . . .So when we sat down for the interview, I knew almost as much about him and Chappaquiddick as he did so it was not an adversarial interview so much as it was he knew that he couldn't get by with very much. And he'd have to answer the questions because, you know, I knew where to go. . .And I kept saying, `Well, I mean, how do you differ from President Carter? I mean, what would be different?' And the answers were not very articulate, and suddenly I said, `OK, so why do you want to be president?' And the answer was, `Well, because the sky is so blue and the grass is so green and the water's so cold,' is basically what he said, and the answer did not make sense.

And it suddenly occurred to people that maybe the senator didn't know why he wanted to be president or maybe he hadn't thought about it; maybe he hadn't gone to the mountain and figured out who he wanted to punish and who he wanted to reward and what elements of society he wanted to -and it was a difficult moment for him because an awful lot of writers, columnists, reporters used that interview to to dump on him. They had not been willing to do that before because I think they were taken by the Kennedy magic, and this revealed the senator as inarticulate in many ways.

I think he's a terrific senator, by the way. . .

LAMB: . . .You glad it's over? Or would you have liked to have stayed on?

Mr. MUDD: Well, no. Things have changed so much, Brian. Priorities are not the same. What you try to do is not the same. The audience you try to reach is different. The kind of stories that they use now are different. . .I've had a marvelous life with the networks, ups and downs, mostly ups, and was privileged to be a part of a--of, you know, a splendid news organization, CBS. You know, when you--when you went somewhere with CBS, you felt like you were the New York Yankees arriving because you--you knew there wasn't anybody any better.

And we were awfully good; I mean, had an awful lot of good people. And we knew what we were doing, and we knew what was news and what wasn't. And maybe we had too much hubris, I don't know. But, in any event, I think--I think it would be very difficult to go back. So to answer your question, no, I'm not sad about it.

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.

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