Daniel Kuehn; Facts & other stubborn things: Pick up a book, kids: "Guys like John Papola propagate these sorts of fallacies either by stating them outright or by more subtly nudging people towards them. Doing your homework dispels these fallacies…"
Alexis Madrigal: Precisely How Google Killed Google Reader: "When people say (do they still say this? or is too obvious to bear witness to at this point?) that 'Google doesn't get social', I think this is what they mean. Rather than finding a way to turn their most dedicated users into content creators for the larger masses of users, they just took their tools away, alienating a group that had loved their product. And for what? A G+ product with a huge nominal user base and a much, much, much smaller actual community. I guess the 'higher ups' got their numbers."
Duncan Black: Eschaton: We're All Keynesians Now: "All the 'fiscal cliff' nonsense is just acknowledging that contractionary policy is contractionary. That all the serious people have been advocating contractionary policy for years seems to have been lost. Maybe we take the next step and learn that expansionary policy is expansionary."
Clay Shirky: The large lecture isn’t a tool for producing intellectual joy; it’s a tool for reducing the expense of introductory classes. Higher education has a bad case of cost disease…. The great work on college and cost-disease is Robert Archibald and David Feldman’s Why Does College Cost So Much?… [C]olleges need a lot of highly skilled people, people whose wages, benefits, and support costs have risen faster than inflation for the last thirty years…. [T]he setup starts to seem a little bizarre. What would it be like to teach at a university where a you could only assign books you yourself had written? Where you could only ask your students to read journal articles written by your fellow faculty members? Ridiculous. Unimaginable…. We ask students to read the best works we can find… but we only ask them to listen to the best lecture a local employee can produce that morning…. The fight over MOOCs isn’t about the value of college; a good chunk of the four thousand institutions you haven’t heard of provide an expensive but mediocre education…. The fight over MOOCs isn’t even about the value of online education…. [T]he fight over MOOCs is really about the story we tell ourselves about higher education: what it is, who it’s for, how it’s delivered, who delivers it…. The possibility MOOCs hold out isn’t replacement…. The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled. MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system…"
Steve M.: MORE RIGHT-WING WHINING ABOUT HOW UNFAIR THE FISCAL BATTLE IS FOR THE POOR, SUFFERING GOP: "Peggy Noonan…. John Podhoretz also arguing that we should shed a tear for Republicans, who have the deck stacked against them, largely through circumstances they couldn't possibly have controlled…. Yes -- Republicans and conservatives were "unprepared" to do battle over the sequester -- which was signed into law sixteen months ago! Who remembers this stuff? You enter in your calendar and then you get that little electronic reminder, and you forget all about it! Doesn't that happen to everyone? And they're having to deal with this immediately after an election! Not fair! It's not as if President Obama and the Democrats just went through an election -- oh, wait…. And they've been maneuvered -- somehow! -- into saying benefits should be cut and taxes on the wealthy not raised! What scoundrels did this to them?… In recent years, the GOP hasn't been 'the eat-your-vegetables-and-shut-up party'. It's been the party that always wanted, um, certain people to eat their vegetables and shut up. You know who I mean. Immigrants. 'Union thugs'. Single women who have sex. People who aren't country music lovers and NRA members. People with particular melanin levels. Those people. But this year -- especially after Mitt Romney mouthed off about the "47%" -- we learned that there seem to be more of those people than there are the GOP's people…. So it's not that the GOP doesn't have a populist argument -- it's that the GOP's populist argument was a divide-and-conquer argument. And now too many people feel they're not on the GOP's side of the divide."
Greg Sargent: John Boehner nervously eyes the clock: "Boehner said the talks are going nowhere. Fine, but polls show that majorities blame the GOP for the failure to reach a compromise…. Boehner said Obama has an obligation to offer a plan that can pass both Houses of Congress. But even some Republicans, such as Reps. Tom Cole and Tim Scott — believe that extending just the middle class tax cuts — which Obama is demanding — could pass the House. Boehner has this option; it’s on him if he isn’t taking it…"
Ben Armbruster: McCain's Susan Rice Smear Campaign Goes Silent
Mark Thoma sends us to John Cassidy: It's Official: Austerity Economics Doesn't Work: "With all the theatrics going on in Washington, you might well have missed the most important political and economic news of the week: an official confirmation from the United Kingdom that austerity policies don’t work…. One of the frustrations of economics is that it is hard to carry out scientific experiments and prove things beyond reasonable doubt. But not in this case. Thanks to Osborne’s stubborn refusal to change course—'Turning back would be a disaster', he told Parliament—what has been happening in Britain amounts to a 'natural experiment' to test the efficacy of austerity economics. For the sixty-odd million inhabitants of the U.K., living through it hasn’t been a pleasant experience—no university institutional-review board would have allowed this kind of brutal human experimentation. But from a historical and scientific perspective, it is an invaluable case study. At every stage of the experiment, critics (myself included) have warned that Osborne’s austerity policies would prove self-defeating…. With Republicans in Congress still intent on pursuing a strategy similar to the failed one adopted by the Brits, this is a story that needs trumpeting…. Having adopted the policies of Keynes in response to a calamitous recession, the United States has grown more than twice as fast during the past three years as Britain, which adopted the economics of Hoover (and Paul Ryan). Meanwhile, the gaping hole in the two countries’ budgets has declined at roughly the same rate, and next year the U.S. will be in better fiscal shape than its old ally."
Cato "scholar" Michael Cannon compares opponents of universal health insurance to Frederick Douglass, Gandhi, supporters to Nazis. cato.org/publications/c…— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 7, 2012
Fortunately for Mike Cannon, the market for bonkers insane arguments against Obamacare is very strong.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 7, 2012