Jonathan Chait's Romney Death Watch Doesn't Go Far Enough
A Few Notes on the "Doux Commerce" Thesis

14 Pieces Worth Reading, Mostly Economics for March 30, 2010

  1. Marcotte: "Douthat knows well how to play the “both sides” card while... blaming liberals.... The liberals made them do it! 'In reality, the scandal implicates left and right alike. The permissive sexual culture... the silly season of the ’70s deserves a share of the blame, as does that era’s overemphasis on therapy. (Again and again, bishops relied on psychiatrists rather than common sense in deciding how to handle abusive clerics.) But it was the church’s conservative instincts... that allowed the abuse to spread unpunished.'... [B]laming rape on a “permissive sexual culture” may be the biggest honking lie he’s ever told.... Douthat, like his other patriarchal brethren, rejects the idea that consent is a relevant aspect of sexuality. When your religion is one where a man raping a small child and a consenting couple of adults making love with a condom are basically the same, then it’s a quick jump to this..."
  2. Hounshell: "Roger Cohen engages in some egregious rhetorical sleight of hand here: 'Already, there are shifts in Israeli attitudes as a result of the new American clarity. Last year, Netanyahu described Iran’s leaders as “a messianic apocalyptic cult,” which was silly. Of late we’ve had Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, setting things right..." This... ignore[s]... stubborn facts.... Barak's comments predate the recent blowup between the Obama administration and Israel.... Barak has long believed that Iran doesn't pose an existential threat to his country.... Barak and Netanyahu come from different parts of the Israeli political spectrum... have different points of view.... precious little evidence Netanyahu himself has shifted his rhetoric.... Beware pundits who throw around vague language like "of late." It's a sign they're trying to trick you, or at least being sloppy."
  3. Quiggin: "It was not surprising that the group recently arrested and charged with plotting to kill police officers, then those mourning at their funeral using IEDs have nowhere in the mainstream media been referred to as “terrorists” or even “terror suspects”. After all, they aren’t Muslims. But, that’s not enough for the political right. Apparently, on the “No True Scotsman” principle, it’s also unfair to refer them as “Christians“.
  4. UPI: "Bill Hemrick, a wealthy conservative and founder of the Upper Deck baseball trading card company, filed the suit against Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips in Williamson County, Tenn., Fox News reported. The suit, which seeks $500,000 in damages, comes nearly two months after the National Tea Party convention in Nashville. Hemrick had loaned the group $50,000 toward the $100,000 speaking fee for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Fox said. Hemrick's attorney, Phillip Jones, told The (Nashville) Tennessean, his client gave the loan to forge a long-term relationship with Phillips' Tea Party Nation. "My client takes politics very seriously," Jones said. "And he thought they were going to be partners. But once he advanced the money, he found out that was not the case." The loan has been repaid, Jones said, Fox reported. The lawsuit alleges Phillips defamed Hemrick in an e-mail to supporters saying he was neither "reputable" nor "trustworthy," The Tennessean said..."
  5. Duncan Black: "chuck lane really wants to win the worst wapo columnist award, which is like double marathon or climbing everest"
  6. Do I dare read this? Or will my head explode?
  7. Black: "Been trying to resist addressing Father Ross [Douthat]'s latest, but it's just another reminder that conservatives have a very hard time distinguishing between consensual sex, which harms no one and a few people manage to actually enjoy, and rape or statutory rape in which consent is not there or society has deemed consent is not possible..."
  8. Moynihan: "So what do the committed democrats in Ecuador do when confronted with a "politically partisan" media opposed to things "that the electorate voted for"? How about a three year stint in the clink for counterrevolutionary opinion editors! (Incidentally, using Weisbrot's rickety logic, Amy Goodman should have been kicked off the air for her partisan criticism of a twice-elected president. Or are Americans more mature consumers of opinion journalism, who can separate truth from fiction, wheat from chaff, unlike those easily manipulated Latin Americans?) Writing at Cato's @Liberty blog, Gabriela Calderon de Burgos explains the case of Emilio Palacio, opinion page editor of Ecuador's largest daily El Universo, who was sentenced to a three year prison stint for an editorial the government claimed was defamatory..."
  9. Roe: "Chapter 11 bars bankrupts from immediately repaying their creditors, so that the court can reorganize the debtor without creditors shredding the bankrupt firm’s business. Not so for the bankrupt’s derivatives counterparties, who can seize and liquidate collateral, net out gains and losses, terminate their contracts with the bankrupt, and keep both preferential eve-of-bankruptcy payments and fraudulent conveyances.... Their right to jump to the head of the bankruptcy repayment line... warps their pre-bankruptcy incentives both to monitor the pre-bankruptcy debtor and to adjust their investments to better account for counterparty risk.... Moreover, the policy justification for the super-priorities — reducing financial contagion risk — is difficult to maintain today: contagion is as likely to be propagated by the priorities as it is to be stifled, the priorities did not prevent contagion in the 2007-2008 financial melt-down and may have spread it...:
  10. Jake Tapper's Passover joke: "At the same time Jews worldwide commemorate being led out of bondage, RNC struggles with opposite dilemma"
  11. ssenberg: "'People often compare his plan to the Massachusetts plan', Romney said in an interview last month. “They’re as different as night and day...' health care policy specialists, Democrats celebrating the bill’s passage, and Republicans condemning it have come to another conclusion. The difference between the two systems, they say, is slim. 'Basically, it’s the same thing', said Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Romney and Obama administrations on their health insurance programs. A national health overhaul would not have happened if Mitt Romney had not made 'the decision in 2005 to go for it. He is in many ways the intellectual father of national health reform'..."
  12. Leonard: "what really makes this story messy is the fact that a declining appetite for treasuries can be plausibly interpreted as either a fear of unsustainable deficit spending or a return to economic health or both... today's Wall Street Journal.... 'Investors were awaiting the key event of the week: Friday's nonfarm payrolls report.... Expectations are that the report will show that the economy gained 203,000 jobs in March.... A much larger-than-expected gain in March jobs would likely spark another rout in Treasurys, as expectations that the Fed could start to tighten monetary policy sooner than expected increase...' Let's unpack this. A good job number will be bad for treasuries, because of fears that the Fed will tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates. Bad news for treasuries, theoretically, is bad news for the government, because borrowing costs will rise, thus placing even more pressure on government finances..."