hard heads soft hearts
Thursday, April 12, 2012
BRACHA KURTZER and YOEL GOLDMAN and ILAN BEN ZION (Times of Israel) - Peres asks Obama to free Jonathan Pollard
If freeing Pollard makes some conservative Israelis happier by 0.0000000000000001%, the benefits of freeing Pollard still outweigh the costs.
Glenn Greenwald (Salon) - Peter Van Buren, Bowe Bergdahl, Bradley Manning, Bahrain
Juan Cole (Informed Comment) - Washington’s Dangerous Blockade of Iran (Cole at Tomdispatch)
Juan Cole (Informed Comment) - Bahrain Crisis between Hunger Strike and Grand Prix Boycott
Susie Madrak - How lobbyists jacked up your cell phone rate
this piece by Matt Stoller in the Republic Report:
Susie Madrak - Foreshadowing
Violet Socks - AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH
Digby (Hullabaloo) - "I want Medicare"
Atrios (Eschaton) - Priorities
I think the reason for the Obama team's housing policies is that their top priority is avoiding giving money to undeserving homeowners, in order to avoid the Fox News Headline, "Obama Bails Out Deadbeats". Apparently, it's okay to give money to undeserving AIG counterparties, undeserving banks, undeserving insurance companies, but not undeserving homeowners. IMO, the top priority should be a ruthless & pragmatic Iceland-style deleveraging, not selective concerns about moral hazard.
Actually, the McCain campaign's proposal to have the government buy up mortgage debt at 100 cents on the dollar strikes me, in hindsight, as really, really good policy. It would have been a giveaway to banks, true, but it would have been a clean, transparent, 1-time giveaway, it would have produced a profit for the government in the long-term, and most importantly, it probably would have worked, accomplishing deleveraging faster than many alternatives. Of this current generation of finance-crisis firefighters, Douglas Holtz-Eakin might very well be the best of the lot - when he wants to be (lately, he doesn't seem to want to be).
In describing the value of Atrios, I think of this Michael Kinsley quote:
. . .It seems to me that humor is not only valuable for its own sake. It also efficiently makes the point that much of what goes on is perfectly ridiculous. This is a point that serious political punditry often suppresses. If that's not too pompous. . .
re: rosen-romney, it's very important that your people have the freedom to fail, to say or do less-than-optimal things, and then recover gracefully from their mistakes. Rosen, despite 1 "baking-cookies / bitterly-clinging" type-mistake, and RIAA shilling, is good people. Defend her.
LAURIE KELLMAN (AP) - Ann Romney fires back at never-worked charge
Re: Derbyshire, I wouldn't be offended if he kept his job. If the price of tolerating eccentric lefties who wear Che T-shirts (but who also help to prevent and shorten US foreign and drug wars) is that we have to tolerate eccentric righties who are racist, it seems to me a price worth paying.
Seth Freed Wessler of @Colorlines talks to Maine Public Radio about winning a 2012 @SidneyHillman Prize
Saeed Kamali Dehghan (Guardian) - Iranian intellectuals raise alarm over war
Mehdi Hasan (Guardian) - Iran's nuclear scientists are not being assassinated. They are being murdered
RONEN BERGMAN (NYT) - Will Israel Attack Iran?
. . .a former top Mossad official told me . . ."when a scientist — one who is not a trained soldier or used to facing life-threatening situations, who has a wife and children — watches his colleagues being bumped off one after the other, he definitely begins to fear that the day will come when a man on a motorbike knocks on his car window.”. . .
Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic) - Guenter Grass and Germany's Responsibility
Ta-Nehisi Coates - Trayvon Martin's Parents Interviewed
Robert Wright (Atlantic) - Israeli Ambassador Fails Analogy Test
Jim Muir (BBC) - Syria: Annan ceasefire holds despite violent incidents
BBC - Nigerian Easter bomb kills many in Kaduna
ANITA JOSHUA (Hindu) - 117 Pakistani soldiers missing as avalanche hits Siachen Glacier
ANANTH KRISHNAN (Hindu) - China expresses condolences, considers aid for Siachen avalanche
Zofeen Ebrahim (Dawn) - Searching for answers in “avalanche country”
MJ ROSENBERG - WHY PETER BEINART IS DRIVING THE “PRO-ISRAEL” ESTABLISHMENT CRAZY
. . .take a look at this video from the top-rated Israeli show “Big Brother,” a television reality show in which a group of young people move into an apartment and live their lives on camera. These shows are popular worldwide, but the brilliant exposition of the evils of the occupation that one character made on the Israeli show last week is unimaginable here. (U.S. reality shows avoid politics like the plague. But this is Israel).
Rachel Gordon, Peter Fimrite (SF Chronicle) - Concord SUV kills father, daughter riding bikes
Al Saracevic (SF Chronicle) - Talk-show host Ralph Barbieri, KNBR part ways
. . .I was told to gather my belongings and turn in my card key, at which point I was "escorted" out of the building by a KNBR management person.
PETER HARTLAUB (SF Chronicle) - Two things can be equally true: Some thoughts on Ralph Barbieri
It seems to me that Larry Gonick is a national treasure. Has he been in a segment on "60 Minutes" or Charlie Rose?
Chop Bouie - the most useful apps on my ipad
re: debt, equity & wealth, I guess another question is: what would policy look like if you targeted nominal wealth, instead of NGDP?
Another question: what is the consensus view of center-left economists of the relationship between inflation and unemployment, especially at low levels? I'd imagine the choice is between a) non-linear, but no multiple equilibria b) multiple equilibria (i.e. it's possible to have stable inflation of 2% with 8% unemployment and also possible to have stable inflation of 2% with 6% unemployment.
. . .In 1999, Donald Trump proposed a once off 14.25% wealth tax on the net worth of individuals and trusts worth $10 million or more. Trump claimed that this would generate $5.7 trillion in new taxes, which could be used to eliminate the national debt. . .
I'd imagine being a pro blogger is a bit like being Slurms MacKenzie.
Beppe Severgnini (FT) - A week without the worldwide web
. . .For five days I've been doing less but I reckon I've done it better. . .
Brad Plumer (Wonkblog) - Are there better ways to pay for college than student loans?
Free exchange Economics - Selling a piece of your future
. . .Students in California have a proposal. Rather than charging tuition, they'd like public universities in California to take 5% of their salary for the first twenty years following graduation (for incomes between $30,000 and $200,000). Essentially, rather than taking on debt students would like to sell equity in their future earnings. This means students who make more money after graduation will subsidise lower-earning peers. . .
Felix Salmon (Reuters) - Buying equity in people
I actually don't like to think of this scheme as rich subsidising poor, I prefer to think of it as giving students more freedom to attempt difficult things and delay gratification. If you have the opportunity to try something difficult which might pay off in 3 years versus something easy which might pay off in 6 months, a debt-based system seems more likely to lead to taking the easy way out (day-trading, lottery tickets, B2B E-Commerce) versus trying something hard (Down syndrome research, high-speed rail, carbon sequestration, building St. Paul's Cathedral). Recall that one of the nation's top Down syndrome researchers, Dr. Alberto Costa, ". . .lives with Tyche and Daisy in a rented apartment, having never felt he had enough job security to buy a home."
Paul Farmer and John Gershman (WaPo) - Jim Kim’s humility would serve World Bank well
Paul Krugman (NYT) - Cannibalize the Future
Matthew Yglesias (Slate) - We Save for the Future by Building Things
Including relationships. Congrats!
Oof. Just tried and utterly failed to find an article I remembered reading by an African entrepreneur on the costs of working on weekends and evenings, and the unexpected downsides of 24-hour customer service. They found that customer-service complaints actually increased when they switched to 24-hour service, and that handling business during normal business hours led to better work, and more satisfied customers. Anyway, a thought-provoking article, which I'll assume is lost in the mists of cyber-space and cyber-time.
Wikipedia - Computer Graphics
. . .A student by the name of Edwin Catmull started at the University of Utah in 1970 and signed up for Sutherland's computer graphics class. Catmull had just come from The Boeing Company and had been working on his degree in physics. Growing up on Disney, Catmull loved animation yet quickly discovered that he did not have the talent for drawing. Now Catmull (along with many others) saw computers as the natural progression of animation and they wanted to be part of the revolution. The first animation that Catmull saw was his own. He created an animation of his hand opening and closing. . .
Wikipedia - Edwin Catmull
Edwin Earl Catmull, Ph.D. (born 1945) is a computer scientist and current president of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. . .
That's a nice journey, no? From being a child who wanted to draw, but didn't have any special talent for it, to being president of Disney Animation Studios.
George Orwell (Tribune) - What is Science? (1945)
. . .Implied in the demand for more scientific education is the claim that if one has been scientifically trained one's approach to all subjects will be more intelligent than if one had had no such training. . . And, in fact, there are already millions of people who do believe this. . .
Brad Delong (Semi-Daily Journal) - Notes: What Thomas Sowell Thinks of The Bell Curve (2003)
Atrios laments: "Every time I refer disparagingly to [Herrnstein and Murray's] The Bell Curve some true believer expects me to write a 50,000 word critique of the book to justify my opinion of it. Frankly, it's as if every time I spoke disparagingly of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion someone expected me to write a 50,000 word critique of it."
Ben Armbruster (ThinkProgress) - Pakistani Acid Attack Victim Commits Suicide Because ‘There Was No Justice Available To Her’
(Via Digby) Neil Shea (The American Scholar) - War in Afghanistan
Jack Serle (Informed Comment) - The Syrian Army’s outlaw Executions
Ben Armbruster (ThinkProgress) - Erdogan Suggests Invoking Article 5 Of NATO Charter To Protect Turkey’s Border With Syria
Juan Cole (Informed Comment) - China hopeful Iran will compromise with the UNSC
Robert Wright (Atlantic) - Nuclear Talks With Iran: 4 Key Questions
Karam Nachar's twitter feed (@knachar)
XKCD - Lakes And Oceans (large)
Partners In Health - IHSJ Reader April 2012 Issue 21
HRC - Remarks on George Marshall and the Foundations of Smart Power (VMI, April 3, 2012)
Darius Dixon (Politico) - Mayor Booker saves woman in fire
. . .“I think that’s way over the top, honestly,” he said, when asked about the [hero label] at a press conference Friday. “There are firefighters that do this every single day. I’m a neighbor that did what most neighbors would do, which is to jump into action to help a friend.”. . .
Glenn Greenwald (Salon) - DOJ prosecutes another whistleblower, Drone activist denied visa, Charles Davis asks Jay Rockefeller tough question and people freak out, horribly cruel and unfair treatment of Tarek Mehanna, sentenced to 17 years in prison, in the United States, for political speech
Juan Cole (Informed Comment) - Tens of Thousands of Syrians Protest Peacefully after Ceasefire, 6 Killed
next post: 5/11/2012 (planning to change the cadence of the blog from one post a week to one post a month)
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