Andrew Sullivan: Freezing As The Planet Overheats, Ctd.: "Bill McKibben Truly weird winter, record-breaking highs in the 70s across Kansas and Missouri http://t.co/w7uzwQG7" "Steve Bloom @billmckibben Yes, hard to explain. It's not as if the entire northern hemisphere atmospheric circulation has been destabilized. Oh wait…"
Duncan Black: "Is Chris Cilizza really this big an idiot? Yes" weblogging: Eschaton: What Sarah Palin Meant For Our Opinion Of Village Journalism: "The laziest grifter grfited you all." Chris Cilizza: "What Sarah Palin meant to politics: Her journey shows how the process can chew up those who aren’t ready." "Doug Galt: "'I wanna spread the news that if it feels this good getting used…' Chewed up to the tune of a million dollars a year, 15 bucks a word. Plus all the money she made from her book and reality show. Don’t cry for me, Wasilla."
John Scalzi: Killing My Voice Mail: "Well, I finally did what I should have done about four years ago, which is to change my cell phone voice mail message to this: 'Hi, this is John Scalzi. I will never ever ever ever listen to the voice mail you’re about to leave, because voice mail is a pain in the ass. So if you actually want to reach me, you can either send me a text at this number, or send me e-mail at “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Feel free to leave a voice message if you want, but remember, I will never ever listen to it. Have a nice day!' Why? Because f@&% me, voice mail is annoying. Especially on cell phones, on which it seems designed by the furies to punish everyone, not just the people who mock the gods. And you know what? Life is too short to deal with a horrible user interface, especially when everyone under the age of 103 knows how to send a goddamned text. So that’s it, I’m done with voice mail, that hateful contrivance. And I feel good."
Linda Greenhouse: Misconceptions About Roe v. Wade: "[T]he seven middle-aged to elderly men in the majority certainly didn’t think they were making a statement about women’s rights…. It’s a case about the rights of doctors – fellow professionals, after all – who faced criminal prosecution in states across the country for acting in what they considered to be the best interests of their patients…. Republican strategists throughout the 1970s and well into ’80s carefully cultivated the abortion issue in the service of party realignment, with the aim of peeling away urban ethnic Catholic voters from their traditional home in the Democratic Party. It was a Northern version of the successful 'Southern strategy'…"
Cosma Shalizi (2007): Those Voices Again | In Different Voices… | Yet More on the Heritability and Malleability of IQ
Teresa Nielsen Hayden (2004): Motivation and doubt
C. Fred Bergsten and Joseph E. Gagnon: Currency Manipulation, the US Economy, and the Global Economic Order
Ari Kelman: The Sand Creek Massacre
Christina D. Romer and David H. Romer: The Missing Transmission Mechanism in the Monetary Explanation of the Great Depression: "This paper examines an important gap in the monetary explanation of the Great Depression: the lack of a well-articulated and documented transmission mechanism of monetary shocks to the real economy. It begins by reviewing the challenge to Friedman and Schwartz’s monetary explanation provided by the decline in nominal interest rates in the early 1930s. We show that the monetary explanation requires not just that there were expectations of deflation, but that those expectations were the result of monetary contraction. Using a detailed analysis of Business Week magazine, we find evidence that monetary contraction and Federal Reserve policy contributed to expectations of deflation during the central years of the downturn. This suggests that monetary shocks may have depressed spending and output in part by raising real interest rates."
Ricardo J. Caballero and Emmanuel Farhi: A Model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM): Safety Traps and Economic Policy: "The global economy has a chronic shortage of safe assets which lies behind many re- cent macroeconomic imbalances. This paper provides a simple model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM), its recessionary safety traps, and its policy antidotes. Public debt plays a central role in SAM as long as the government has spare fiscal capacity to back safe asset production. We show that Quantitative Easing type policies have positive effects on spreads and output. In contrast, Operation Twist type policies, where the duration of public debt held by the public is reduced, can be counterproductive. Mon- etary policy commitments work if they support future bad states of nature. All these policies depend on fiscal capacity. Once the latter runs out, short term cyclical policy becomes ineffective. In contrast, credible long run fiscal consolidation relaxes the fiscal capacity constraint and enhances the effectiveness of short term policy. An economy that is near its fiscal limits is susceptible to runs on its public debt and to destabilizing feedback loops. We also show that in a SAM world, safe asset producer economies can continuously run trade deficits supported by global demand for safe assets, but they do so at the risk of exhausting their fiscal capacity."
Gary B. Gorton and Guillermo Ordoñez: The Supply and Demand for Safe Assets: "There is a demand for safe assets, either government bonds or private substitutes, for use as collateral. Government bonds are safe assets, given the government's power to tax, but their supply is driven by fiscal considerations, and does not necessarily meet the private demand for safe assets. Unlike the government, the private sector cannot produce riskless collateral. When the private sector reaches its limit (the quality of private collateral), government bonds are net wealth, up to the government’s own limits (taxation capacity). The economy is fragile to the extent that privately-produced safe assets are relied upon. In a crisis, government bonds can replace private assets that do not sustain borrowing anymore, raising welfare."
Andrew Gelman: Economists argue about Bayes « Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science: "[H]ypothesis testing typically means that you do what’s necessary to get statistical significance, then you make a very strong claim that might make no sense at all. Statistically significant but stupid. Or, conversely, you slice the data up into little pieces so that no single piece is statistically significant, and then act as if the effect you’re studying is zero. The sad story of conventional hypothesis testing is that it is all to quick to run with a statistically significant result even if it’s coming from noise. In many problems, Bayes is about regularization—it’s about pulling unreasonable, noisy estimates down to something sensible."
Richard Cantillon: Essai sur la Nature du Commerce in Général
Stanley L. Engerman and Kenneth L. Sokoloff: Economic Development in the Americas since 1500: Endowments and Institutions
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrestles with Thomas Hobbes:* Confronting The Monster/a>: "One thing that became clear from today was that I can't confront the monster alone. Does anyone want to read (or re-read) Leviathan along with me? If we get enough folks I'll set up a reading schedule. Fair warning for nubs like me. This is not an easy text."