hard heads soft hearts
Friday, January 27, 2012
Sasha Said - Help! Facing Homelessness with 4 Dogs
Arthur Silber - Helping Each Other
Susie Madrak - Fun with fundraising
Digby - Help out a pal
(William) Burton's back, baby.
Oliver Willis - C.K.: November 22, 1999 – January 7, 2012
I sort of agree with conservatives that the range of human problems that can be solved with "more money" is quite narrow. But to me this just makes it more imperative to see what problems are so trivially easy to solve with more money and. . .solve them.
[3F22] Summer of 4 Ft. 2
Lisa: In the beginning of the school year, each of you received a colored ticket. I hope everyone still has theirs.
Fed statement is a positive step, 2 questions: 1) On what basis was the 2% target chosen? 2) (Quoting Atrios) What is the unemployment target?
I guess to me the fundamental principle of macroeconomics is that people should not have to make drastic negative changes in their lives, unless those changes increase productivity, or welfare, or both. UPDATE: It seems to me that the fundamental fact of a recession is that people are forced to make major negative changes in their lives, and the changes they are forced to make neither improve productivity, nor welfare.
Juan Cole - Petition against the Murder of Iranian Scientists
If Israel is asking for active policy not only to keep Israel, strong, smart & rich, but for active policy to keep Israel's neighbors poor, weak & stupid, then Israel is asking for too (damn) much. Frankly, poor, weak & stupid is something all too easy for countries to achieve, even without Israeli murders of Iranian scientists.
next post: Feb. 3rd.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Arthur Silber - Ordinary Evil
David Plotz - The Bulldozer rolls on.
. . .The tough-Jews philosophy was coupled with scorn for Arabs. In his autobiography, Warrior, Sharon depicts Arabs as infantile, timorous, and untrustworthy. As one former U.S. official who knows him puts it, Sharon has the same condescending disregard for Arabs that Southern plantation-owners had for blacks. . .
The only update to Plotz's piece is that there's no longer any "if". After these recent murders of Iranian scientists, Israel has plumbed new depths, doing things the Americans & Russians chose not to do the Nazi scientists, the Americans & Russians, the Indians & Chinese, the South & North Koreans, the Pakistanis & Indians, chose not to do to each other, no matter how much they may have hated and feared one another. If India had tried to murder Pakistani scientists, it would not have stopped Pakistan, obviously, from pursuing their nuclear program, and these murders of Iranian scientists are not going to stop Iran, also obviously.
And if the logic of these murders is accepted and endorsed, there are many, many, more murders coming on the way. There are thousands of Iranian teenagers with the talent and desire to improve their country's military capability. Is Israel going to murder all of them too?
If the logic behind these murders is accepted, the Israeli vision of the future is of a white-skinned boot stomping on a brown-skinned face, forever.
I believe redemption is possible for everyone and everything, even these recent murders. But not unless you want it.
next blog post: Jan. 27
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Andrew Sullivan (Daily Dish) - Today In Syria: Another Bombing
ADAM NOSSITER (NYT) - For Congo Children, Food Today Means None Tomorrow
Arthur Silber - Still Here, Very Sick
I'm in very bad shape at the moment. Kind of scary times here. I'm sorry to say that's about all I'm capable of saying right now. The articles I'm working on and want to publish next are complicated. When I run through the arguments my subjects require, I heave a deep sigh and think: "Dear lord, I can't possibly explain all that when I feel this terrible.". . .
It is important to remember that we've been told for well over 5 years that Iran's nuclear program was, not "undesirable", or "scary", but "unacceptable", "inconceivable", "unimaginable", red-alert urgent urgent urgent, requiring large amounts of war and near-war ASAP. I wonder if those whose claims on Iran's nuclear program have turned out to be false are willing to go back and examine why?
Violet Socks - Life
Gary Farber - Tenth Blogiversary
Susie Madrak - ADD nightmare
Seriously, how frustrating (and silly) is this, that the DEA is keeping people from getting needed medication?
letsgetitdone (corrente) - The Job Guarantee and the MMT Core: Part Three, A Reply to John Carney
Why leaks are essential, and why too much secrecy and reverence for top-secret, classified information can damage national security:
ADAM ENTOUS and JULIAN E. BARNES in Washington and MARGARET COKER in Abu Dhabi (WSJ) - U.S. Doubts Intelligence That Led to Yemen Strike
Top U.S. military leaders who oversaw missile strikes last year against al Qaeda targets in Yemen suspect they were fed misleading intelligence by the country's government and were duped into killing a local political leader whose relationship with the president's family had soured. . .
making a similar point, a very good Bill James article in Slate, published in 2010, which I just read:
Bill James - Life, Liberty, and Breaking the Rules: In defense of Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, jaywalkers, and all the other scofflaws that make America great.
There is no real difference between sending Babe Ruth to jail and sending Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens to jail. The only relevant difference is the difference between America in 2010 and America in 1940 . . .
Question: What do Saez and other public finance economists think of wealth taxes versus income taxes, and treatment of capital income versus wage income?
Julian Pecquet (The Hill) - Health care execs top list of highest-paid CEOs
. . .John Hammergen, CEO of the pharmaceutical distributor and technology firm McKesson, made $145 million, according to GMI. Joel Gemunder, CEO of Omnicare — the nation's leading provider of medicines for seniors — made a reported $98 million. . .
Nasty, low, suspicious mind that I have, can't help wondering whether the hospitals being so extraordinarily generous to Hammergen & Gemunder are being bribed to be so.
Markets work very well for long, repeated games, not so much for one-shot and limited shot games. And the higher executive pay becomes, the more the CEO's relationship with their company, and with the broader economy, becomes one-shot or limited-shot, instead of repeated. i.e. "make your pile by hook or crook, and then after that they can't touch you". A nation dreaming of accumulating their fuck-you money, instead of defeating the desire to say fuck-you.
Water-Cooler Wisdom: "These CEOs man, they have no sense of ownership, no sense of loyalty, they swoop in, make drastic changes, swoop out with a big severance, leave a big mess to clean up. I think they take their inspiration from George W. Bush".
Dean Baker - Hiding Upward Redistribution Policies as Market Outcomes
Congrats to Romney. The first Mormon 2-party nominee is a milestone worth celebrating. But did Santorum win Iowa?
Next blog post: Jan. 20
Monday, January 02, 2012
Arthur Silber - ONCE UPON A TIME...
Gary Farber - TENTH BLOGIVERSARY
Susie Madrak - Happy new year!
Juan Cole - Top 5 Foreign Policy Challenges for US, 2012
Martin Gascoigne - Syria, the Invisible Massacre
Andrew Sullivan - Today In Syria: Assad's Terrible New Year
Glenn Greenwald - Good Chris Hayes segment, with Spencer @Attackerman, on Obama's secret drone wars: http://is.gd/kWvoT0
Charlie Rose - Ali Soufan on "The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda" (12/23/2011)
Yes, Minister - The Whiskey Priest
Jim Hacker: "Remember Churchill, the wilderness years. He found out about our military inadequacy and Hitler's war machine from army officers. So all the time he was in the wilderness, he was able to leak stories to the press and embarrass the government. I could do that."
Question for Bradley Manning prosecution: Was Winston Churchill guilty of "aiding the enemy" when he leaked top-secret information of British military inadequacy to the Germans (and the British public)?
Obsidian Wings (russell) - what about huntsman?
I asked a conservative friend about Huntsman, his answer: "Why not Huntsman? Because he's NOT a conservative! . . . .He is NOT A CONSERVATIVE!".
So I guess Huntsman, if he still has hopes, should sink money into 2 ads: 1. Jon Huntsman - I'm A Conservative! 2. Jon Huntsman - I'M A CONSERVATIVE!!
possibly followed by 3. JON HUNTSMAN - HE'S A CONSERVATIVE!!!
Kevin Drum - America's 20-Year Investment Drought
Matthew Yglesias - America's Infrastructure Failure
Michael Mandel - My chart of the year: The investment drought continues
Matt Stoller - Who Wants Keep the War on Drugs Going AND Put You in Debtor’s Prison? (June 2011)
Rortybomb (Mike Konczal) - Please Consider Supporting the Roosevelt Institute
Josh Marshall - What’s the Deal with Romney’s Taxes?
Paul Krugman - when economists stop being polite
[John Cochrane] defines Ricardian equivalence as
But how do you determine when an economy is well-functioning?
Daniel Dennett blurb to Douglas Hofstadter's "Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language" (1997)
"What Douglas Hofstadter is, quite simply, is a phenomenologist, a practicing phenomenologist, and he does it better than anyone else. Ever. For years he has been studying the processes of his own consciousness, relentlessly, unflinchingly, imaginatively, but undeludedly — he watches his own mind work the way a stage magician watches another stage magician's show, not in slack-jawed awe at the 'magic' of it all, but full of intense and informed curiosity about how on earth the effects might be achieved." - Daniel Dennett
Probably unfair, but "slack-jawed awe at the 'magic' of it all" describes my reaction to certain overly worshipful attitudes to capitalism, the free market, and the invisible hand. One example I have in mind is Milton Friedman's pencil story, which is a great story, but ignores the fact that they had pencils in the USSR, and the fact that pencil-making was invented, copied and improved under a wide variety of regimes, none of them completely laissez-faire.
David Atkins - The "No True Libertarianism" fallacy
. . .The modern welfare state didn't arise by accident or conspiracy: it evolved as a means of avoiding the failures of other models. . .
Karl Smith - John Taylor and ARRA (July 2011)
. . .I actually think Taylor is making an important substantive point here. It’s that in practice fiscal stimulus doesn’t raise GDP because in practice fiscal stimulus amounts to giving money to people, who then save it – just as Lucas, Sargent etc, said they would. . .
Karl Smith - Health Care: Unfixable on the Demand Side (Sep. 2011)
. . .This slips under my definition of Liberalization Failure. You can point to all the things that are wrong with government controlled health care but when you leave cost control to the private markets the populist backlash is so severe that governments can’t help but make the problem even worse.
I forgot to mention that, in theory, the right organization structure for private health insurance seems to be of a mutual insurer, so that successfully holding down costs leads to premium refunds. Does not deal with the problem of adverse selection, or bad relationships with providers, though.
To elaborate on my earlier assertion that that there was a gold "bubble", here's what I meant by that: By 2020, the price of gold will be closer to its 2005 price than its 2010 price. i.e. by 2020, the nominal price of gold will be less than a thousand dollars an ounce. Also, it will have turned out that during the bubble years, one or more of the major gold brokers will have done something unsavory/unethical/fraudulent. My guess is that they will have subcontracted with someone who claimed to have gold they did not actually have, or that they will interpret contracts in a way that gives investors rights to less gold than they thought they were buying.
Matt Phillips (WSJ) - Charlie Munger on gold (Jan. 2011)
Wikimedia foundation - Thank you from Executive Director Sue Gardner
Brad Delong - AN UNREALISTIC, IMPRACTICAL, UTOPIAN PLAN FOR DEALING WITH THE HEALTH CARE OPPORTUNITY (2007)
Ezra Klein - Presenting the first-annual Wonky awards
. . .Central bank dissenter of the year: Charles Evans. While some on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors are worried that the central bank is doing too much and risking inflation, Evans has argued that the Fed isn’t doing enough to boost the economy. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Evans is one of the few bankers who seems to recognize that 9 percent unemployment should, as he put it, set policymakers’ hair on fire as much as a slight uptick in inflation usually does. . .