Worth reading, 20060713:
John Quiggin: "Mumbai terror attacks: Yet another terror attack, with 200 killed. All such crimes, whether committed by terrorist gangs or national governments, should be condemned without reservation. The idea that causes such as national independence, religion or political ideology justify the murder of ordinary people going about their daily business is utterly pernicious, as is the view that similar killings (whether directly intended or inevitable ‘collateral damage’) are justified in retaliation for such crimes..."
Informed Comment: "The Beginning of a New War? Will it Spill over on Iraq? All hell broke loose on Wednesday in the Mideast, with a Hizbullah attack on the Israeli army and Israeli reprisals, and the Israeli dropping of a 500 pound bomb on Gaza. I roundly condemn Hizbullah's criminal and stupid attack on Israel and escalation of a crisis that is already harming ordinary Palestinians on a massive scale. Likewise, the Beirut airport is not in south Lebanon and for the Israelis to bomb it and neighborhoods in south Beirut is a disproportionate use of force..."
Blood & Treasure: once more into the breach: "I was wondering idly what the actual military term was for Israel’s two front rampage in Gaza and Lebanon might be, when I saw this: 'Israel's army chief of staff, General Dan Halutz, said his military would target infrastructure and "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years" if the soldiers were not freed.' Ah, that’s it. It’s a chevauchee: 'Rather than besieging a castle or conquering land, soldiers on a Chevauchée aimed to create as much destruction, carnage and chaos as possible to both break the morale of enemy peasants and deny their rulers income and resources...' in order to pressure the opposition into giving them what they want. Broadly speaking, it’s what Henry V was up to in France as depicted by Shakespeare. It’s a bit harder to romantcise these days, though..."
Asymmetrical Information: Addendum to previous post: "Addendum to previous post: Is anyone else tired of this Greg Mankiw fellow consistently writing multiple daily posts of astonishing awesomeness? Frankly, we don't need that kind of stuff around here. It's a classic story of how some tycoon with an unfair share of assets--in this case intelligence, writing flair, and Harvard professorships--uses his power to muscle out the little guy. Frankly, Marginal Revolution and EconLog were already two excellent economics blogs too many, as far as I'm concerned. We certainly didn't need more academic types muscling in on mom-and-pop operations, threatening to put us out of business. It's a good thing I write for free, isn't it? Because otherwise, I don't think I could afford to keep it up in the face of all this unfair competition. Where's the antitrust department when you need them?..."
Asymmetrical Information: Deficits as far as the eye can see . . .: "As an econ blogger, I presumably have a responsibility to comment on the deficit. This [from the Economist] about sums up my opinion..."
The Valve - A Literary Organ | Essentialism run riot: "I recently ran across a collection of Essentialist Explanations that is glossed thus: This page comprises a list of 794 'essentialist explanations' of the form 'Language X is essentially language Y under conditions Z'..."
Lois Romano: Beyond the Poll Numbers, Voter Doubts About Clinton: "Clinton's assets are formidable: an unrivaled ability to generate publicity and money, and approval ratings that are notably strong, given her polarizing reputation and the controversies she has weathered over 15 years in the national eye. In recent public opinion polls, she handily leads potential Democratic rivals. Beneath these positives, however, there is evidence of unease.... Follow-up interviews with skeptical Democrats and independents who participated in the Post-ABC News poll suggest that many view her as an inscrutable public figure who gets high marks for her ability and intellect but who nonetheless gives them pause because they find it difficult to relate to her on a personal level.... [S]upporters say the powerful scrutiny she faces means that, far more than the typical politician, she has little room for public error or spontaneity, since even casual comments often draw national headlines. In addition, some political analysts believe that politicians who are women must work harder to be perceived as strong and serious..."
The Horse's Mouth: "TIMES FORGETS THAT SOME ECONOMISTS ARE FOR A MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE. In today's Times piece about Democratic plans to make a minimum wage increase an issue in the midterm elections, reporter Edmund Andrews writes that many economists oppose an increase and lets a conservative economist argue the case against a boost -- but forgets to mention that many economists are for an increase, too..."
Confessions of a Community College Dean: Reward or Fix?: "We’re doing budget dances again. With steadily dwindling resources, now we have to make choices between rewarding programs that have achieved growth, and fixing programs that have sprung leaks in recent years. It’s pretty much either/or; we don’t have the money to do both.... If we take the ‘money sends messages’ approach and use what little we have to reward the areas that have grown, we will continue to bleed out in the other areas. If we shore up the holes, we will be punishing success. Neither is good....I suspect that, over the long term, the answer will be to abandon the idea of the 'comprehensive' community college, in favor of a statewide system of community colleges with different strengths. (Boutique majors could be hosted at particular campuses, with online sections open to students across the entire state.) But that’s the kind of strategic decision best made deliberately, with forethought, broad discussion, and statewide buy-in. It’s not the kind of thing to decide on the fly, unilaterally, at one college.... And we can’t base long-term strategic decisions on who happens to decide to retire next semester..."
Econbrowser: Out of sample prediction of the euro, pound and CAD: "As some of you will know, my main area of research is in empirical exchange rate modeling (see Meese and Chinn (1995) and Cheung et al. (2005)). In a recently completed a paper to be presented at conference at the HKIMR, Ron Alquist and I have conducted another exercise.... At most horizons, the interest rate parity model does as well as the random walk.... The sticky price monetary model outperforms the random walk in 4-quarter ahead forecasts during 1987q2-2004q4 for the pound, but significantly worse for the Canadian dollar.... We find favorable support for the use of the measure of external imbalance, particularly when we estimate the cointegrating vector over the longer sample. In the second subsample, it outperforms the random walk at short horizons for the Canadian dollar and the pound at 5 and 10 % level significance level. The results are less favorable at long horizons and not particularly positive for the euro..."
A Monetary Policymaker's Passage to India (2006-16, 07/07/2006): "Each year, the President of the San Francisco Fed joins the Federal Reserve Board Governor responsible for liaison with Asia on a "fact-finding" trip to the region..."
Tom Watson: MySpace is YourSpace: "Typepad is like the ancient Buick Skylark I used to drive. Sometimes it flies, that killer 350 smacking down shiny Camaros out on Central Avenue. And sometimes it just answers with a cold, empty 'click, click, click' when you turn the key. Today was the dead battery Typepad, so while I sat there unable to post, it got me thinking about these internets of ours. Specifically about social networks, actually - those hotter-than-Hades social-bookmarking, social-tagging, and social-er-hooking-up sites that are sucking up more and more user time online, and more and more ink in the press. First off, I'm not hooked. Yeah, I use tags...sometimes. When I forget, I forget. Mostly I use 'em to keep track of stuff for myself, whether on Technorati or Flickr or my own blog. I don't use them to meet other taggers. Same thing with Delicious (when I can figure it out). The only other reason I use tags is the somewhat hypocritical notion that they'll deliver a larger audience. Both selfish reasons, unrelated to a wider sense of online community - for that, I rely on comments, both on my blog and the many other sites I track on a regular basis. Comments are social networking, to me..."