Paul Krugman: For Bonds, This Time is Different: "Bloomberg has an interesting piece on how high bond prices and low yields have been shocking investors who relied on old models. Some of this... is because many people still... haven’t wrapped their minds around... a zero-lower-bound economy and... a low-inflation trap. But... structural change is happening fast... the demographic transition... Europe very quickly turning Japanese... the US, although growing faster, also turning down sharply. Add to this the fact that what we thought was normal actually depended on ever-growing household debt, and it becomes clear that historical expectations about normal [safe] interest rates are likely to be way off..."
Brad Plumer: A guide to Obama's new rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants: "Why is the EPA regulating carbon-dioxide?... The agency is required... to regulate carbon-dioxide under the existing Clean Air Act so long as there was evidence that the gas endangered public health. Most scientists agree that it does — and, in 2009, the EPA issued an 'endangerment finding' to that effect.... Now the EPA must turn its attention to existing power plants, using section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. This is a relatively untested section of the Clean Air Act, and the agency has a fair bit of leeway in how to apply this section to carbon-dioxide.... The EPA will propose a 'performance standard' requiring a certain level of emissions cuts from power plants. Each state will then have to come up with a plan to implement those standards.... Coal power plants could adopt more efficient technology. Or perhaps electric utilities could switch from coal to natural gas.... Or perhaps utilities could boost their supply of wind or solar or nuclear power. Or promote energy efficiency in homes. Or power plants could join some sort of cap-and-trade program.... This time, however, the agency seems poised to allow power plants to meet the emissions limits through changes 'beyond the fenceline' — that is, power companies can use wind generation or efficiency programs elsewhere (say) to meet the standard.... That baseline is important. Emissions from US power plants have already fallen roughly 13 percent between 2005 and 2013.... So this rule would effectively require power plants to cut their emissions 13.5 percent between now and 2020, or 19 percent between now and 2030. That's somewhat less than environmentalists were pushing for.... How much will these new rules cost the economy?... The Natural Resources Defence Council previously estimated that a more ambitious plan would cost electric utilities as much as $14.6 billion by 2020... lower than the benefits... which run from $28 billion to $63 billion..."
Chris Blattman: This is my teaching nightmare: "Professor Christensen did something 'truly disruptive' in 2011, when he found himself in a room with a panoramic view of Boston Harbor. About to begin his lecture, he noticed something about the students before him. They were beautiful, he later recalled. Really beautiful. 'Oh, we’re not students', one of them explained. 'We’re models.' They were there to look as if they were learning: to appear slightly puzzled when Professor Christensen introduced a complex concept, to nod when he clarified it, or to look fascinated if he grew a tad boring. The cameras in the classroom--actually, a rented space downtown--would capture it all for the real audience: roughly 130,000 business students at the University of Phoenix, which hired Professor Christensen to deliver lectures online."
Should Be Aware of:
- Michael Aneiro: Barclays Downgrades Electric Utility Bonds, Sees Viable Solar Competition
- The Roches (cover): Acadian Driftwood
- Andrei Piontkovsky: "Putin has simplified the task of those who seek to understand the country... his actions are guided by a single goal... ruling Russia for as long as he lives..."
- Peter Viney on The Band: "The Weight" | The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down | Acadian Driftwood
- Adrinna Macintyre: Obamacare might benefit college grads more than less-educated young adults
- Amy Lynn Smith: Pharmacy technician sees Obamacare working every day
- Ben White: Why Geithner drives liberals nuts
- Tim Noah
- Robert Skidelsky: The Programmed Prospect Before Us
- Michael Bloomberg: Obama Finally Keeps His Promise on Climate Change
- Scott Kaufman: Recap: ‘Game of Thrones,’ Season Four, Episode Eight: ‘The Mountain and the Viper’
- Austin Frakt: Obesity may need a policy prescription, not a medical one
- Austin Frakt: Microeconomics Made Simple
- Muhammad Idrees Ahmad: A Dangerous Method: Syria, Sy Hersh, and the Art of Mass-crime Revisionism
Constitutional Mistermix: Every Time the Sun Comes Up, I’m In Trouble: "So let me get this straight. A young soldier who was clearly having a hard time with the most awful thing human beings do, war, should not be rescued because: (a) it’s not crystal clear how he was captured, or (b) he sent a few emails home questioning the war, or (c) the people we are fighting are 'terrorists' so we can’t negotiate with them as we would in any other POW situation, even though we call what we’re doing a 'War on Terror'? And this is coming from the people who still support a war where we wasted, squandered, frittered away and otherwise burned up $6 trillion? This is the 'debate' we’re going to have the next couple of days? Can things get any more stupid than this? It’s Monday morning and I want to drink like it’s Friday night."
Josh Marshall: An Important Message for Our Core Readers: "We need your support. I don't know any other way to put it. So we're asking for it. And yes, that means money. I hope that doesn't sound too crass. But we do.... So if you like TPM, if you value it, if it's part of your regular news diet, I am going to ask you to sign up and become part of our membership program.... In the history of publishing... there are very few examples of publications that are 100% dependent on advertising... a revenue source... [that] is inherently unstable.... It's your core fans that are really invested in you being there every day and next month and next year. So it's really important to build a reliance on people like you who want to be sure TPM is alive and well. This is particularly so for an independent publisher. The vast majority of website you read are either owned by some larger publisher or corporation. We're not. TPM is just TPM..."
Ezra Klein: Obama’s climate change regulations are less ambitious than what Republicans were proposing in 2008: "In May 2008, Sen. John McCain traveled to Portland, Oregon and delivered a speech that no Republican presidential candidate would consider giving today. It doesn't matter "whether we call it 'climate change' or 'global warming,'" McCain warned. "Among environmental dangers it is surely the most serious of all." McCain went on to propose a cap-and-trade plan far more aggressive than the power-plant rules the Obama administration is announcing today.... "We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them," McCain said in 2008. "Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge." We're about to find out."