As an emergency measure, given the continued shortage of high-quality DeLong smackdowns on the internet, on to the next Kindle screen of chapter 11 of David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years:
This, too, is double-plus unhood, as Winston Smith might say...
Yesterday, if I typed "fred" into the search/url field looking for Federal Reserve Economic Data, it was the first search result returned.
Today things are different:
Bad Google! Bad Google!
The British fear electricity, and guard against it using giant red switches and a plug the size of the USS Missouri. http:://pic.twitter.com/EFWpOEF1Ra
Paweł Morski @Pawelmorski: @kjhealy @delong if our kettles took an hour to boil, I wouldn't mention other people's electricity.
Ryan Avent @ryanavent: @Pawelmorski @kjhealy @delong And yet the electric dryers here can run for 12 hours straight without managing to dry anything...
Paweł Morski @Pawelmorski: @ryanavent @kjhealy @delong buy a washing line like normal people
The most wonderful thing about the Potomac Palisades neighborhood of Washington DC is the 5:40 AM alarm. Benjamin Franklin would be proud!
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen. The next contest is between... Frank Goliath, the Macedonian baby-crusher, and Boris Mineburg.
BRIAN: Want some...
VOICE: Thank you, fellows.
BRIAN: Larks' tongues. Wrens' livers. Chaffinch brains. Jaguars' earlobes. Wolf nipple chips. Get 'em while they're hot. They're lovely. Dromedary pretzels, only half a denar. Tuscany fried bats.
JUDITH: I do feel, Reg, that any Anti-Imperialist group like ours must reflect such a divergence of interests within its power-base.
...it brings us Charles Koch.... Koch would appear to have it pretty good... a vast fortune inherited... commands enormous political influence.... But Koch’s view of himself is as a kind of ragtag freedom fighter hunted nearly to extinction....
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.
The beginning of the teaching which the man of Tjel named Dua-Khety made for his son named Pepy, while he sailed southwards to the Residence to place him in the school of writings among the children of the magistrates, the most eminent men of the Residence.
Remember, Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy, plague & beekeepers. If you don't feel up to celebrating romance,try those instead— Gravid Beast (@gravbeast) February 13, 2014
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
Eagle-eyed readers quickly noticed that the "Hot Hashtag" in Playbook hadn't actually been used by anyone on Twitter.... [Mike] Allen explained....
It's a reference--figurative, not literal--to how the debt-ceiling vote went down last night. By adopting the rule on voice vote, they avoided a potential procedural detour or roadblock. People who had been at the Capitol for the vote were buzzing about it at dinner afterward, and jokingly suggested that hashtag. Part of what makes D.C. so D.C.!
Playbook was delivered at about 9:22 A.M. Wednesday. The first tweets using the "hot" #VoiceTheRule hashtag appeared a little over 20 minutes later and expressed confusion.... As of this writing, all eight tweets on the #VoiceTheRule hashtag came from authors who were wondering what it all meant.
I had forgotten about this. It made me laugh at the time. It makes me laugh now:
Well, again I think the problem is a very simplistic and monocultural perspective on communication and meaning. I would think that editors would want articles with a communicational genre that relates to their purpose and audience. The style and organization would vary accordingly. Anything on the forefront of a particular area, particularly social theory would confront what Michael Shapiro calls the "dilemma of intelligibility". That is, at stake in the writing process is the confrontation of creativity with intelligibility. To communicate "effectively" is to sacrifice creative distance in order to produce understandable frames of reference. Communication operates within cultural bounds working constantly to restrict meaning in order to increase circulation.
Chris Cilizza is one of the best reporters the Washington Post has now that the Wonkblog crew is heading off to Vox Media. Chris Cilizza also sees nothing odd or ironic in writing:
Chris Cilizza: Why the CBO report is (still) bad news for Democrats: My job is to assess not the rightness of each argument, but to deal in the real world of campaign politics in which perception often (if not always) trumps reality…
Note the assumptions here:
And at this point, all you can do is quote extensively from Plato’s Republic, the passage on the Allegory of the Cave, and urge Jeff Bezos to immediately change the culture of the Washington Post completely so that it can at least try to step up its game...
Stephen Bainbridge: The media is ignoring the moral equivalence between Obamajams and Christie's bridge:
So at worst NJ Governor Chris Christie created some traffic jams as political payback.... Democrats... and their allies in the liberal mainstream media [are] all worked up.... But where were the latter when Obama knowingly repeatedly flew into Los Angeles and created massive Obamajams so that he could rake in political payoffs by the billions from his liberal Hollywood groupies.... I've had personal experience of Obama's incredibly deleterious effect on our traffic. To me, the difference between jams for payback and jams for payola is trivial. But because he's a Democrat, nobody in the media cares about the latter.
Is there any way to read Bainbridge other than that he is really, really angry that (a) a Black man (b) is President and (c) dares to visit Los Angeles (d) with secret service protection in order to (e) maintain his political coalition and (f) raise money for electoral campaigns?
Which of these six do you suppose makes Bainbridge angriest?
Yes, it's funny. But the normalization of the crazy is perhaps the most worrisome thing.
If, 20 years ago, I had decided that I was never going to wait for the elevators but rather take the stairs up and down to and from the sixth floor of Evans Hall, I would, on net:
Will today be the day that I don't wait for the elevator but instead start making the climb?
Once again, Jonathan Chait: Washington Redskins Hire All-Star Villains: "Ari Fleischer, center, presides over meeting of superstar political advisers tasked with saving the Redksins name.
The Washington Redskins, fighting off campaigns to force them to change their team name, have hired not only comically sleazy Washington lawyer Lanny Davis but an entire roster of Beltway super-villains. Dan Snyder... has compiled an all-star team of mendacious sleaze.... Lanny Davis, hapless Clinton hanger-on wannabe and adviser to dictators and crooks.... Ari Fleischer, the face of credibility.... Frank Luntz, crafter of useless focus groups and a spinmeister so sickeningly dishonest he even nauseates Frank Luntz.... And, perhaps most amazing, George Allen. Yes, an organization that’s fighting off allegations of racial insensitivity has decided to consult a man who was remembered as a racist by his high school classmates, remembered as an even more blatant racist by his college classmates, voted against the Martin Luther King Holiday, had a confederate flag and a noose, and then finally lost his Senate seat for being caught on camera using a racial slur.... Who’s really good at fighting off accusations of racial insensitivity? George Allen! Yeah! That guy never loses! Davis, Fleischer, Luntz and Allen — together they will join forces and rule the galaxy take a lot of Daniel Snyder's money, and then eventually lose.
The LEGO Movie:
Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writing Credits Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman & Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
- Jonah Hill ... Green Lantern (voice)
- Channing Tatum ... Superman (voice)
- Alison Brie ... Uni-Kitty (voice)
- Cobie Smulders ... Wonder Woman (voice)
- Elizabeth Banks ... Wyldstyle (voice)
- Chris Pratt ... Emmet (voice)
- Morgan Freeman ... Vitruvius (voice)
- Will Ferrell ... President Business (voice)
- Liam Neeson ... Bad Cop / Good Cop (voice)
- Nick Offerman ... Craggy (voice)
- Will Arnett ... Batman (voice)
- Will Forte ... Abraham Lincoln (voice)
- Charlie Day ... Spaceman Benny (voice)
- Jadon Sand ... Finn (voice)...
Think of Bainbridge as saying: "I ordered the duck, but it tasted nothing like tofu surprise! One star!!:
Brad DeLong : Department of "Huh?!": Partha Dasgupta's "Economics: A Very Short Introduction" Reviews Edition: A correspondent informs me that UCLA's Stephen Bainbridge really, really, really hates a book I have assigned for Econ 1 this semester--Partha Dasgupta's Economics: A Very Short Introduction:
Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus was trying to hold an empire together when he directed Publius Sulpicius Quirinius and his assistant Coponius to conduct a census of Judaea and Syria so that they could start raising taxes from them. What were those taxes used for? To maintain the pax Romana, of course--the first prerequisite of a civilized society.
What, after all, have the Romans ever done for us?
John Scalzi: Tax Frenzies and How to Hose Them Down:
I really don’t know what you do about the “taxes are theft” crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires. Sorry, guys. I know you all thought you were going to be one of those paying a nickel for your cigarettes in Galt Gulch. That’ll be a fine last thought for you as the starving remnants of the society of takers closes in with their flensing tools.
Rania Khalek says that the Nation "habitually reinforces Israeli apartheid by privileging Jewish voices over Palestinian ones..."
Rania Khalek writes: "@RichardKimNYC Listing the Palestinians who've written for The Nation since 2008 comes across as the "but I have X black friends" defense."
Friedman: "Reinventing the consignment shop on the web will save the U.S. economy. Also, PR pitches work with me." http://t.co/9Nq06LLVhs— billmon (@billmon1) December 22, 2013
@douglasstruth Friedman is such a perfect parody of himself, it's a recursive loop. Someday he's going to disappear up his own belly button.— billmon (@billmon1) December 22, 2013
Outsourced to Pro-Growth Liberal: John Cochrane on the 1982 Fiscal Restraint ???:
Stephen Williamson starts musing over this:
So, suppose I am Paul Volcker, and I'm faced with a situation at point A where the inflation rate is high and the nominal interest rate is high.... I can reduce inflation in the short run by increasing the nominal interest rate, thus moving to B. But that won't work to reduce inflation in the long run, so after increasing the nominal interest rate, I have to begin reducing it.
At this point one might be best advised to stop reading.... But silly me had to read Cochrane’s take on this which included:
To be sure, I left the grand Volcker stabilization out of the picture here, where a sharp spike in interest rates preceded the sudden end of inflation. And to be sure, there is a standard story to explain negative causation with positive correlation. But there are other stories too--the US embarked on a joint fiscal-monetary stabilization in 1982, then under the shadow of an implicit inflation target gradually lowered inflation and interest rates.
Did Cochrane and I live on different planets some 30 plus years ago? My recollection was that Reagan’s fiscal policy was quite stimulative, working contrary to Voclker’s tight monetary policy. Which is why real interest rates during the 1980’s shot up dramatically, and stayed high even as inflation and nominal interest rates fell. Yes--there are “other stories too”. Stories that don’t fit the reality...
Talk about people with no control over and no understanding of what their models are telling them...
Alex Pareene: Hack List No. 4: David Brooks: The Columnist:
It seems a pleasant life to be a Columnist. He writes a few hundred words once, or at most twice a week. He’s paid more to read those words out loud to people at elite colleges and conferences. Naturally, people frequently want to know where a Columnist comes from and how they come to have columns.>The Columnist begins as a Young Conservative Intellectual. It is important for the Young Conservative Intellectual to be a converted radical, so he will have a story of his foolish young radicalism and of his conversion, which he will credit to William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman. He finds meaning in seriousness as a concept. He admires Edmund Burke. The Columnist will be a public intellectual, not a mere pundit. He will be wry, but never funny. Lightly ironic, but never sarcastic. If he mocks, it will always be gently.
Spare a thought for the poor people of the Hoover Institution, for they have to interact with him every day!
Thomas Sowell on Christmas Day, 2012: At least half of our society's troubles come from know-it-alls…. Some people seem to think that, if life is not fair, then the answer is to turn more of the nation's resources over to politicians…. The annual outbursts of intolerance toward any display of traditional Christmas scenes, or even daring to call a Christmas tree by its name, show that today's liberals are by no means liberal… the totalitarian mindset shows through…. The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew….
If someone wrote a novel about a man who was raised from childhood to resent the successful and despise the basic values of America--and who then went on to become President of the United States--that novel would be considered too unbelievable, even for a work of fiction. Yet that is what has happened in real life…. After watching a documentary about the tragic story of Jonestown, I was struck by the utterly unthinking way that so many people put themselves completely at the mercy of a glib and warped man, who led them to degradation and destruction. And I could not help thinking of the parallel with the way we put a glib and warped man in the White House.
Protip for Thomas Sowell: the next time you write a Christmas message, why don't you study and copy John the Apostle?
Do you think it might help keep you from coming off as a psychotic troll?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John bare witness of him, and cried, saying: "This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me."
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ...
So a couple of days back, a gentleman by the name of Chad Stafko--which apparently is his actual name, which I find awesome -- wrote an essay for The Wall Street Journal titled "OK, You're a Runner. Get Over It."... Lucky for you, I studied Bizarre Angry Rant in college. I'm a little rusty, but with the help of my dog-eared Bizarre Angry Rant/English dictionary I think I can walk you through this.
Here is a rough translation of Mr. Stafko's essay. I think you'll agree, after reading this, that Mr. Stafko deserves our sympathy, not our scorn...
The universe is clearly trying to tell me something. I thought Victor Davis Hanson was it. But then along came the Wall Street Journal and Ronald Reagan on Nelson Mandela. I thought that was it. But then along came Greg Mankiw. And then came Chuck Lane. And now Megyn Kelly:
Earlier this week, I argued that our image of Santa Claus should no longer be a white man, but, instead, a penguin. I hoped the piece would come across as a little tongue-in-cheek, while at the same time expressing my real concern that America continues to promote the harmful idea of whiteness-as-default. Over the past couple of days, I’ve received a lot of responses. Some of them were positive—mostly because, as I said in the piece, people love penguins.
Dan Kuehn: Facts & other stubborn things: I would think if there's one single thing an economist should be able to do better than anyone else, it would be identifying a serious risk of endogeneity and calling it out: John Cochrane edition:
John Cochrane thinks two New York Times articles are a sign of cognitive dissonance on health economics.
I do not.
A good reminder that the wingnuts are everywhere--just not evenly distributed: there is a huge concentration of them on Vanderbilt Avenue.
Bob McManus at City Journal:
History may not repeat itself, but sometimes it whispers warnings. The wise will pay heed. Whether the ice-rink shooting at New York City’s Bryant Park, an arduously restored urban jewel at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, was an aberration or a harbinger remains to be seen. But the gunplay prompted unhappy recollections of the not-so-distant past, when the enclave was known as Needle Park and the New York Times described it as “a cesspool of crime and vice” only sporadically patrolled by police, if at all... memories linger of a time when New York had truly lost its way, when it couldn’t summon the will to resist dysfunction or even articulate a right to self-defense—to say nothing of self-respect.
Soon Bill de Blasio will be mayor...
Bill de Blasio is six weeks from inauguration as Mayor, but he's already on the hook for a mini-crime wave and junkies from thirty years ago. Is it right that one man should have such power?
I see that you can't get this shirt from the GOP anymore:
The National Republican Congressional Committee appears to have removed a t-shirt from its website that advocates against saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
In a tweet last week, the NRCC promoted the t-shirt....
As of Monday, the shirt looks to have been removed from the NRCC website. The online store is still selling a t-shirt milder version that says "Not Afraid to Say 'Merry Christmas.'"... Josh Barro of Business Insider responds to this with a post titled "Republicans Had Better Get Comfortable With 'Happy Holidays'":
... Republicans don't understand how their anti-outsider messages aggregate.
Most voters are straight, so opposition to gay marriage shouldn't be an electoral problem. Most voters aren't Mexican-Americans, so they shouldn't be too bothered by thinly-veiled (or unveiled) anti-Mexican messaging on immigration.
Add these things all together, and you get a political party that looks like it's engaged in interest group politics for straight non-Hispanic white Christians. That's not too appealing to the increasing share of voters who aren't straight non-Hispanic white Christians....
I think that's true. But I don't think that's how right-wingers see things.
Right-wingers not only root for straight white Christian males, they expect people who aren't straight white Christian males to root for straight white Christian males. So we get right-wing rabbi Daniel Lapin explaining why people should say "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays." This is a guy who, back in 2005, (along with radio host Don Feder and comedian Jackie Mason formed a group called "Jews for 'It's OK to Say Merry Christmas.'" Or consider Ben Stein, who in 2006 said this in a commentary on CBS:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish....
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.
That's the model right-wingers expect emerging minority groups to follow: deference to the majority...
Francis: Evangelii Gaudium:
Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting...
The good thing is that the walk up to the campus is long enough to listen to the entire length of "in I got a Davida".
The bad thing is that Apple Siri does not understand what "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" is:
Andrew Gelman writes: Hidden dangers of noninformative priors:
The simplest example yet, and my new favorite: we assign a flat noninformative prior to a continuous parameter θ. We now observe data, y ~ N(θ,1), and the observation is y=1. This is of course completely consistent with being pure noise, but the posterior probability is 84% that theta>0. I don’t believe that 84%. I think (in general) that it is too high.
But that is--virtually by definition--because you do not believe your flat noninformative prior: you don't think θ is as likely to be 10,000,000 as it is to be -1. And you probably don't think that you know that the variance is 1 with certainty either.
Start with the informative prior that θ ~ N(0,1). Then you pick one y ~ N(θ,1), and find y(1) = 1. Then your posterior is θ ~ N(0.5,0.5), yes? Your y(1) = 1 could have been all noise and θ ≤ 0 could be true, but it probably isn't. And then simply relax your prior...
The immersion in the River Lethe that time provides is truly a blessed boon. Unfortunately, today we have internet archives. And so I am cursed as I read my archives to be forced to recall things like this from four years ago: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2009/11/truly-a-dark-age-for-economics-in-the-midwest.html.
Here we go:
When last we saw the University of Chicago's Eugene Fama, he was mistakenly claiming that the NIPA savings-investment identity had as its consequence that increases in government spending necessarily could not boost employment and production.
It is hard to characterize the level of this mistake. I would like to say freshman-level, but my freshmen don't make it. At least, those who pass with a grade higher than a D do not.
Obama linked himself to Lincoln in '08. Blows off 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Meh http://t.co/pRsWHwnPlk— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) November 19, 2013
I was like "Wait, who seriously gives a shit that Obama isn't going to Gettysburg?" Of course the answer is @ron_fournier.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) November 19, 2013
Why won't @ron_fournier lead Obama to Gettysburg? Get out your GPS, Ron. Your country needs you.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) November 19, 2013
Why won't Obama LEAD? RT @ron_fournier This is what happens when a WH stops giving straight answers. Saw it happen to Bus and Clinton too.— Tom Hilton (@TVHilton) November 19, 2013
Josh Barro: Here's The Real Government Takeover Of Health Car:
For the last few weeks, Republicans have been full of schadenfreude over President Obama's broken "If you like your plan, you can keep it" promise. Now, this issue is about to blow up in Republicans' faces. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)... has introduced a bill to address the president's broken promise... [by] obligat[ing] insurers to continue offering all the plans they offer today unless they entirely exit the health insurance business in a state. What will Republicans do with this proposal? Do they really want a federal law that says health insurers can't enter or exit specific lines of business?
How American delicacy turned Belgium into a dirty word: Because all the Americans I know tend to think that we're in a progressive, modern country, it sometimes surprises us to learn that other nations consider us big ol' prudes. And it's not just France! Our delicate sensibilities have been catered to by the English in a maneuver that gave us one of the better dirty words out there.
It's still four days before the launch of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and already we need a better class of trolls! Dan Kervick, meet James Pethokoukis:
Dan Kervick: The Washington Center for Equitable Growth--Neoliberalism Reloaded?: One knows in advance that whatever policy WCEG ends up advocating will have to get the Good Plutocracy seal of approval from the likes of General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Walmart Boeing and the other financial backers of Podesta and his political network...
James Pethokoukis: Poor Americans Are Richer Today: The CEP will be a strong advocate of sharply higher tax rates given that its director is Emmanuel Saez, an economist who wouldn’t mind seeing a top tax rate of over 70%.... The CEP will assume that the last few decades have been terrible ones for the US middle-class. Nothing but economic stagnation and exploding inequality. It’s a claim President Obama has repeatedly made. Except it is simply not true...
May I simply say that there is no "seek approval from Goldman Sachs" button in the WCEG WordPress control suite? And may I simply say that there is something very wrong with claiming that "it is simply not true" that the last few decades have seen "exploding inequality" here in America, for they have? In the words of The Fish in the Pot in Dr. Suess's The Cat in the Hat, those are not good games to play. I wish they would stop.