Archive for January, 2010

Keynes’s biggest test in graph form

January 31, 2010

I wish I understood macroeconomics better. I took econ 102 so long ago that I only remember a map showing where the various central banks were located. But in the last year and a half I have been trying to get my mind around the different theories behind macroeconomics. I became suspicious of the Austrian school several years ago when reading Stiglitz’s book on the IMF and globalisation. More recently I’ve been getting my knowledge through Krugmann and Planet Money. So, I’m definitely not an authority, but I am convinced at this basic level of Keynesian principles.

Here is a graph that makes me think that I’m right. (more…)

Who would have thought that John Kerry would be the likeable one from the Kerry/Edwards ticket a year and a half ago?

January 27, 2010

From a book by John Edwards’s former aide:

Made in USA: Young says Edwards is an Atkins-dieter who hated making appearances at state fairs where “fat rednecks try to shove food down my face. I know I’m the people’s senator, but do I have to hang out with them?” Before a SEIU candidate forum in Las Vegas, Young says Edwards made him cut out a “made in the USA” label from Young’s own suit to sew in place of Edwards’s “made in Italy” label.

Bad news about news

January 27, 2010

What does this poll mean? There are so many obvious things wrong with the fact that 49% of respondents claim to trust Fox News (more than any other TV news source), not the least of which is its untrustworthiness. But this just validates what Fox is doing beyond its profit making business. Nothing will stop them because people trust it. I don’t know what to say other than that.

The most encouraging thing about this is that the majority of Americans don’t actually trust television news. Below is an article I wrote for the late great on the problems of TV and TV news in the US and the UK: (more…)

Abolish the Senate!

January 20, 2010

From the Village Voice:

Scott Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate

Did some quick calculations and found that, theoretically, a coalition of 41 senators representing roughly 11% of the U.S. population could block any bill from passing. Take the population of the 21 least populous states and that adds up to less than 11% of the U.S. population. Of course, you could also add the next 9 least populous states and have a supermajority in the Senate representing 25% of the U.S. population. Talk about a miscarriage of justice.

How crazy is it that the Democrats have an 18 vote majority and are now considered doomed since the GOP won’t vote for anything they want to pass while in Canada, the Tories are running things with less than 50% of the seats in parliament?

I think that we tolerate the Senate because senators, for the most part, seem so reasonable (bar Jim DeMint). The wackos in the House give the less democratic chamber a lot of buffer. It’s easy to tolerate the injustice of Wyoming having the same number of votes in the Senate as California when Michelle Bachmann and that guy who called Obama “uppity” in Georgia are more accurately representing the people.

Doesn’t Brown’s win in Mass. just prove that voters are selfish?

January 20, 2010

I think it’s way overblown to think that Brown’s win (a.k.a. Coakley’s f-up) is a referendum on health care reform. If the only good reason for MA to vote for Coakley was because she would maintain the supermajority in the Senate so as to pass the current health care bill, then the good people of Massachusetts were expected to be entirely selfless. After all, they already have health care reform in a fashion very similar to the current bill. Would there be benefits in the current bill passing? Sure. But there’s way less incentive for them to vote that way than people in other states with more serious problems. (more…)

I wasn’t on team Coco until now

January 20, 2010

Since I live in the UK and don’t have a TV license, I haven’t really paid much attention to talk shows in the U.S. For all I know, Conan’s been terrible since I graduated from college in the 90s. But I have yet to see any evidence that Jay Leno’s been anything but terrible at pretty much any time. I remember years ago when he decided it would be fun, for no reason I can fathom, to pretend to sting Tom Hanks like a bee (something my 2 year old daughter loves to do [although she hasn’t had the opportunity to do it to Tom Hanks yet]). The reaction on Tom “the nicest guy in Hollywood” Hank’s face said it all. It said, “I will tolerate this unfunny schlemazel for the sake of promoting “Turner and Hooch” and then I’m going home for a bath.” Remember, he’s the nicest guy in Hollywood, but he also has a good sense of humour.

Anyway, Leno’s been pounded and been very unwise as well. And then he does this: (more…)

Dick Cheney’s M.O.

January 18, 2010

It occurred to me a little while back that the reason that Dick Cheney has been dinging Obama about not keeping America safe is not because he thinks that torture is so effective in gaining intelligence (though I think he probably does think that, despite its detriments and the evidence that says otherwise), but because he desperately wants Obama to start using it and he knows he doesn’t have much chance in doing so. He’s essentially pulled the goalie with a 0-3 deficit. (more…)

If you want single-payer health care, vote Republican!

January 16, 2010

This only applies to people in Massachusetts, who already have universal health care. (more…)

Catch-22 for toddlers

January 15, 2010

It is time for my child’s nap. She says she’s not ready to go. I assume that she is, so I take her up to her room. She cries, either because she is tired and ready to take a nap or because she is not tired and can’t express her frustration with me taking her to her room any other way. She can’t win, really.

With Limbaugh, however, there is no explanation…

January 14, 2010

…he’s just an asshole. So the American income tax, one of the lowest rates in the world, a fact that partially explains our ridiculous debt, is a reason not to donate to Haiti? Everyday a Republican doesn’t rebuke this pitiable prick is another day I refuse to vote for a Republican. (By the way, we’re up to 2016. That’s when I’m allowing myself to consider voting Republican again. But it’s moving to 2018 rapidly.)