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September 2012

Liveblogging World War II: September 25, 1942

Eleanor Roosevelt:

NEW YORK, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon I joined in a broadcast to the women of Poland on the third anniversary of the loss of their country's freedom. Arranged by Station WRUL, it was a most impressive occasion. My own part was limited to a very few minutes.

Miss Dorothy Thompson, Mrs. Luce, Miss Pearl Buck and Mrs. Moore, were extremely effective in their talks. I hope the broadcast will give some sense of future security to the women of Poland. I was glad to be able to say how deeply the women of this country sympathized with the sufferings of the women in Poland.

Starvation and horror live with them day by day. I wonder more and more at the Nazi psychology when I read descriptions of what happens to people in the occupied countries under Nazi control. How can the Nazis hope to create loyal and friendly citizens in a country which they have conquered by cruel treatment? Certainly, if they want goodwill, they go about it in a strange fashion.

I have before me a description of the Ravenbruck Women's Preventive Detention Camp in Poland. One of the items reads:

People are regarded as ill only when they drop. Prisoners have to go barefoot in streets sprinkled with coarse gravel. In consequence prisoners get sore and festered heels, but they have to go on walking barefoot. No food is provided during the examination period, so if they bring none of their own, they go hungry until they are finally assigned to barracks. One of punishments consists of transferring to punishment barracks where degenerates are detained. If a Polish woman talks to a Jewess, she is punished with 42 days in a dark cell. There is one month of quarantine on entrance to the camp. There are no books. At the end of the month they are set to work. Kitchen work starts at 4:00 a.m. and includes the carrying of heavy sacks of food from the lorries. They (the women) are used in building houses for German prisoners, carrying bricks, lime and stones.

This is only the description of one camp, and I should not think it would tend to make the conquered people love their conquerors. The Nazi psychology is a strange one, because fear and suffering do not create love and loyalty.

Today I am going to an exhibition at one of the branches of the New York Public Library and later to a tea given for Mrs. Flora Johnson, who is to run as Congress woman-at-large in Mrs. O'Day's place on the Democratic ticket in New York State this fall.

In Which I Feel I Understand Where Elijah Muhammed Was Coming From More than Ever Before...

General Conference Report of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1960:

I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today….

The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter we represent, the little member girl—sixteen—sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents—on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather….

These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated…

And Gramm and Taylor's Fed Bashing Claims Another Victim: Now We Need to Find an Extra Padded Cell for Tim Duy

The economics faculty ward here at Miskatonic University is getting crowded. Just saying. Tim Duy:

Gramm and Taylor Don't Get It: As a general rule, I stay clear of the Wall Street Journal editorial pages…. I just don't have the emotional energy for it anymore.  But Brad DeLong forced it on all of us….

Continue reading "And Gramm and Taylor's Fed Bashing Claims Another Victim: Now We Need to Find an Extra Padded Cell for Tim Duy" »

Greg Sargent: Marie Mitt Romney Antoinette Weblogging: Let Them Go to Emergency Rooms

Greg Sargent:

Romney: Let them go to emergency rooms:

It’s shocking that Governor Romney would say it’s just fine for the uninsured to access emergency care when he’s seen in his own family the importance of health insurance in assuring care for those with chronic conditions,

the Urban Institute’s Stan Dorn, who has done extensive research on the uninsured, tells me.

Thank God his wife has had health insurance to cover her multiple sclerosis,

Dorn continued.

Continue reading "Greg Sargent: Marie Mitt Romney Antoinette Weblogging: Let Them Go to Emergency Rooms" »

Yes. The Missouri Republican Party Is Completely and Openly Corrupt. Why Do You Ask?

Aviva Shen on the remarkable Todd Akin:

Todd Akin: Constituents Who Want My Attention Should 'Write Me A Decent Check': A new recording released by his opponent, Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), won’t do much to help him…. Akin suggests that the best way to get his attention is…

An unidentified man asks Akin for advice on the best way to get in touch with a congressman, asking “should we write them a letter?” Akin dismissed the idea and suggested cash might be more attention-grabbing:

AKIN: I’m in a three-way primary for the US Senate. I’ve gone to people and asked for their support, their help, or their endorsement, and some people say yes. They write me a decent check. I remember that. The people that I thought were friends that tell me to go away because they are supporting someone else, I remember that. You know, I can remember back to 12 years ago. You remember who’s helping you. That’s one way that people get to know congressmen and senators…

Some--But by No Means All--Things Are Up-to-Date Across the Not-So-Broad Missouri Where Not the Women But the Rabbits Are Crazy-Looking...

Some things are up to date--and Internet connections are about to be a generation in the unequally-distributed future--here along the not-so-wide Missouri where the women do not look especially crazy, but the rabbits definitely are...

Yes, I am in Kansas City: this year I am on sabbatical as a Visiting Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation for entrepreneurship. Why Kansas City? The Kauffman Foundation has smart people who think differently than I do and a very interesting mission in a part of the country that I have not lived in before.

And my wife Ann Marie Marciarille decided--correctly, in my view--that Americas's law schools need another professor of health regulation and finance law and has got herself a job as Associate Professor of Law at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

First reactions:

  • We only caught the tail end of the summer, real-estate transacting and whatnot. But everybody says it was awful.

  • The truly scary thing was the drive up to Omaha to have lunch with a child (as she drove the entire length of I-80) at the (quite good) Blue Planet Nature Grill: 150 miles of stunted, dying, and dead corn stalks on the way.

  • The coffee place two blocks south is better than any place in Berkeley: it is still run by crazed coffee fanatics who have put a DC-3 on top of their processing plant, while those who work at Berkeley coffee places these days do not treat it as a Vocation-with-a-capital-V.
  • Todd Akin and the rest of the Missouri Republican Party are truly scary crazy.
  • And the Kansas Republican Party is worse.

  • I suspect that in five years Johnson and Wyandotte counties will secede from Kansas to become East Kansas--they don't want to be taxed to support the rural poor, but they do want functioning schools and paved roads and fire departments and--no matter what Justice Roberts says--the buy-in according to which the federal government pays 90% of the cost of Expanded Medicaid.

DeLong Smackdown Watch: Star Trek "Mirror, Mirror" Weblogging


That's [not the agonizer. That's] the agony booth.

The agonizer is a small device which individuals carry for immediate discipline (Spock uses that on the transporter tech after the beam-up which transposes the landing party from one dimension to the other). It's immediate effects are unpleasant but not fatal.

The agony booth is used on Chekov for his attempt to kill Kirk, and is typically used until death (Kirk orders Chekov's release).

The Propaganda Model: Son of Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman in Counterpunch!

I had zeroed out all memory of "Counterpunch". Alex Tabarrok brings knowledge of it and its Alexander Cockburn memorial issue back. I suppose he is doing a good deed: I should not forget that such things as "Counterpunch" and its Cambodian Holocaust deniers exist:

Israel Shamir: Pol Pot Revisited » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names: Now, in the monsoon season, Cambodia is verdant, cool and relaxed…. It’s a pleasant time to re-visit this modest country: Cambodia is not crowded… Cambodians are not greedy…. They fish for shrimp, calamari and sea brim. They grow rice, unspoiled by herbicides, manually planted, cultivated and gathered. They produce enough for themselves and for export, too….

Continue reading "The Propaganda Model: Son of Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman in Counterpunch!" »

John Sides: There Is No White Working Class. There Is a Southern White Working Class and a Rest-of-the-Country White Working Class, and Nobody Pays Attention to Either

John Sides on the centrality of race in this sliver of the electorate:

Puncturing Myths about the White Working Class: A new survey… is a valuable corrective…. For example, consider this:

In mid-August, Romney held a commanding 40-point lead over Obama among white working-class voters in the South (62% vs. 22%). However, neither candidate held a statistically significant lead among white working-class voters in the West (46% Romney vs. 41% Obama), Northeast (42% Romney vs. 38% Obama), or the Midwest (36% Romney vs. 44% Obama)….

Continue reading "John Sides: There Is No White Working Class. There Is a Southern White Working Class and a Rest-of-the-Country White Working Class, and Nobody Pays Attention to Either" »

This Has Turned into a Pre-Existing Condition Weblogging: Mitt Romney's Specific Promise Not to Release Any Policy Specifics Requires That We Find Some Thorazine for Jonathan Chait

I would not have thought that any Republican could be worse for Jonathan Chait's emental equilibrium than George W. Bush. But here we are:

Jonathan Chait: Mitt: Policy Details Equal ‘Take It or Leave It’: Earlier this year, Mitt Romney explained to a reporter that he wouldn’t detail any of his major budget proposals because doing so would make people not want to vote for him…. On 60 Minutes last night, he took a more politic line:

It's very much consistent with my experience as a governor which is, if you want to work together with people across the aisle, you lay out your principles and your policy, you work together with them, but you don't hand them a complete document and say, "Here, take this or leave it." Look, leadership is not a take it or leave it thing.

Continue reading "This Has Turned into a Pre-Existing Condition Weblogging: Mitt Romney's Specific Promise Not to Release Any Policy Specifics Requires That We Find Some Thorazine for Jonathan Chait" »

Paul Krugman Opines on Epistemic Closure and Mental Recessions

Paul Krugman takes as granted that Gramm-Taylor in the Wall Street Journal makes no substantive sense at all: Paul Krugman:

Brad DeLong is upset by the illogic of John Taylor and Phil Gramm’s attack on the Fed. Indeed: it boggles the mind that they believe that a downside of expansionary policy now is that it will require contractionary policy once the economy has recovered. Um, isn’t that exactly what you want monetary policy to do — boost the economy when it’s weak, take away the punchbowl when the party gets going?

But what truly freaks him out is the optics:

But what really boggles my mind is the Romney campaign’s evident belief that it gains credibility by rolling out Phil “Mental Recession” Gramm as a spokesman. Gramm is best known these days for dismissing the risks to the economy when a recession was already underway and a catastrophic crisis was just around the corner, meanwhile denouncing us as a “nation of whiners”. And the Romney people think that putting him out in front makes them more persuasive?


Continue reading "Paul Krugman Opines on Epistemic Closure and Mental Recessions" »

Confidence Fairies and Inflation-Expectation Imps: Paul Krugman smacks down Robert Waldmann's (and Brad DeLong)

A couple of weeks ago I semi-endorsed Robert Waldmann's position that there is a certain symmetry between Austerians' reliance on the Confidence Fairy and expansionary monetarists' reliance on the Inflation-Expectations Imp to rebalance the economy. (I say "semi-endorsed" because there is a small difference between the two positions: austerity policies to summon the Confidence Fairy have non-expectational effects that deflate the economy right now, perhaps severely, while quantitative easing has non-expectational portfolio-balance effects that slightly boost the economy right now.) Both policies do rely on changing expectations of the future, and on the shifts in business and household behavior that those changed expectations trigger.

Now comes Paul Krugman to deliver the smackdown on any and all who see a symmetry here:

[T]here isn’t really any [close parallel]; it’s an orders of magnitude thing. What the expansionary austerity types are claiming is that the indirect effect of austerity on confidence will outweigh the large direct depressing effect of cutting government spending now. That’s a very tall order. Consider a very simple New Keynesian model with... infinitely lived [non-myopic] consumers with free access to capital markets, assumptions that would seem to be very favorable to the notion that changes in expected future policy matter. Yet even there, a perceived [and certain] permanent fall in government spending will at best have zero effect on output; if there’s any notion that the cuts are temporary, they’ll be contractionary. Add more realism, and the odds of expansionary austerity get even worse. By contrast, expectations-based monetary policy has no direct effect on the economy today, so any positives from expectations make it favorable over all...

This, to my mind, is not quite fair to the high priests of expansionary austerity.

They do not envision not a one-time permanent cut in the level of government spending leaving the future growth rate unchanged. They rather envision a one-time permanent cut in the level of government spending now followed by a permanent cut in the growth rate of government spending as well. The cut in spending now has an adverse impact effect on current aggregate demand, but the fact that you were able to summon the political moxie to cut spending now makes your promise to cut the future growth rate of spending hyper-credible, hence the expectations effect does not just offset but overwhelms the adverse non-expectational effect.

But then Paul does goes over to what I regard as the first-best and think of as the Larry Summers point that the best kind of quantitative easing involves buying not Treasury bonds or mortgage securities but rather biomedical research, the human capital of 12-year-olds, and new bridges--that expansionary fiscal policy financed by the Federal Reserve is the best expansionary policy of all:

You don’t have to believe that the effects are really big to believe that they might be there. Now, there is room for skepticism over the effectiveness of “credibly promising to be irresponsible” — which is why from the beginning of this crisis I’ve always favored using fiscal policy as the main answer, with unconventional monetary policy as a supplement. But the Fed should be doing what it can — and finally, it seems to be moving in that direction...

Yes, John Taylor and Phil Gramm Have Written a Column About the Federal Reserve and QE III That Sharply Reduces My Utility. I Blame Miles Kimball

The smart and public-spirited Miles Kimball asks the Romney economic advisors to explain themselves:

Agony booth  Memory Alpha the Star Trek Wiki

I really wish he had not done this, for I find the results very painful indeed.

You see, John Taylor, with the assistance of Phil Gramm, carries out the assignment.

And I feel as though I have been sentenced to the Agonizer:

Gramm and Taylor's argument, in a nutshell, is that it is bad for the Fed to buy bonds now through Quantitative Easing III because:

  1. The Fed will eventually have to sell its bonds--say in 2016.
  2. When it sells the bonds in 2016 private investors will have to increase their bond holdings quickly.
  3. Thus interest rates will rise in 2016.
  4. And high interest rates in 2016 will be a bad thing.

But suppose the Fed did not buy bonds now through QE III and thus did not sell them in 2016. Then in 2016 the supply of bonds for private investors to hold would be exactly the same. Thus bond interest rates in 2016 would be exactly the same (unless something automagically happened to change demand for bonds).

The lesson:

  • QE III unwound in 2016 produces more liquidity and lower rates for the next four years.
  • QE III unwound in 2016 leaves us with the same interest rates in and after 2016.

So why are Taylor and Gramm arguing that returning interest rates in 2016 and after to what they would have been anyway is a cost to QE III? It's a zero. It's not a change. It simply does not compute.


Continue reading "Yes, John Taylor and Phil Gramm Have Written a Column About the Federal Reserve and QE III That Sharply Reduces My Utility. I Blame Miles Kimball" »

Department of "Huh!?": Yet Another Washington Post Edition

Zachary Goldfarb:

Romney at risk of losing edge on deficit: Critics point out that Obama has far from a perfect record on the debt. The country added about $4 trillion to its debt during Obama’s term, in part because of the recession, and he failed to live up to his promise to halve the deficit. He also didn’t fully embrace the report of the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission he created, a frustration for many of the president’s supporters in the business community.

“The president would attract more CEOs if he’d adopt Simpson-Bowles,” said Marc Benioff, an Obama campaign co-chairman and chief executive of “I’ve told the president that I felt that is the right plan. He should reconsider his position.”

Barack Obama:

I'm still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done, and we can get it done…

How is this not adopting Bowles-Simpson?

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

Mind you, I think Obama's embrace of Bowles-Simpson is a mistake. It's not good policy--it's barely tolerable policy. And if it is not an agreement but rather the Democratic opening negotiating position then the deal struck will be very bad policy indeed.

But why doesn't Zachary Goldfarb write: "In his DNC renomination acceptance speech in Charlotte, President Obama endorsed the principles of Bowles-Simpson"?




Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?: James Fallows Is Amused

James Fallows:

Forgive Me for Finding This Charming: A headline on the home page of the WaPo just now, about some of the recent travails of the Romney campaign:

Errors Hurting Romney Effort, Some in GDP Say….

What I treasure is this example of the ongoing struggles of the journalism biz to convey what reporters think is actually happening, while trying so hard not to seem opinionated or conclusory. "Romney Campaign Faces Distractions" is the headline you find if you click on the story. Tomorrow morning I'll see what headline the paper version has.

Iceberg getting nearer, some on Titanic say.

Again, I'm not talking about the Romney campaign, which unlike the Titanic could still bounce back. What I love is this little revelation about our craft, that of journalism, and the contortions we go through to abide by what we think are the rules. My thanks to whoever came up with this.

Continue reading "Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?: James Fallows Is Amused" »

Jonathan Bernstein: No, Bob Woodward Does Not Remember His Life. Why Do You Ask?

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

Jonathan Bernstein:

A plain blog about politics: Are the 1980s and 1990s Really That Long Ago?:

President Clinton, President Reagan. And if you look at them, you can criticize them for lots of things. They by and large worked their will. On this, President Obama did not.

That's Bob Woodward talking to Diane Sawyer about his new book on Obama and the debt limit showdown…. [My] impression is to just say:


Continue reading "Jonathan Bernstein: No, Bob Woodward Does Not Remember His Life. Why Do You Ask?" »

Joe Klein on Why Nobody Has Any Business Voting for Romney

Joe Klein:

Bitter Clinging Moochers: The greatest similarity… is… Democrats [were] boggled by (mostly white) working-class people who don’t “vote their economic self-interest” [and] Republicans [are] convinced that they are carrying a nation of (mostly minority) freeloaders and government employees on their backs. The greatest difference is that Obama was describing a part of the country that actually exists… and Mitt Romney was giving credence to a statistical chimera… slagging off a majority of his most devoted supporters….>Obama was talking about small town America…. Obama was right about the larger picture: there was a fear and bitterness in white small-town America that had its roots in the changing economy, and expressed itself in anger that some people–immigrants, welfare recipients (and especially, now, those on social security disability) and those lazy folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles–were getting over. Those sentiments, obviously, gave rise to the Tea Party. They are undiminished today. And clearly, Obama was saying something he really believed, although–to borrow a Romney locution–inelegantly.

Continue reading "Joe Klein on Why Nobody Has Any Business Voting for Romney" »

Mitt Romney's Housing Market Plan Has Driven Joe Weisenthal into Shrill Unholy Madness

Somebody trank him down before we find him loping through the night on all fours through the forests of Arkham, Massachusetts, raving beneath the dead uncaring stars…

Joe Weisenthal:

Mitt Romney's Housing Market Plan: Has Got To Be A Joke: At this point, we have no choice but to conclude that the Mitt Romney campaign is just trolling whiny journalists who have complained about the lack of detail in his plans.

Continue reading "Mitt Romney's Housing Market Plan Has Driven Joe Weisenthal into Shrill Unholy Madness" »

William Galston Explains Why Obama Is Losing in Ohio!

William Galson:

William Galston: It’s Official, Obama’s Trying To Win The West—Not Ohio: When Lyndon Johnson endorsed path-breaking civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s, he knew that he was irrevocably changing the Democratic Party. As he was affixing his signature to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he reportedly remarked to an aide that he was “signing away the South for 50 years.” President Obama’s decision to endorse gay marriage may yield a similar outcome by weakening beyond repair his party’s links with less educated, socially conservative white voters.

Continue reading "William Galston Explains Why Obama Is Losing in Ohio!" »

John O’Sullivan of National Review GIves Advice to Mitt Romney

I love the "leave without taking questions" part. That is crucial!

John O'Sullivan: How Romney Should Respond:

If Romney responds to the Mother Jones story by backing off from his basic argument that far too many Americans are dependent upon the government and that this dependency skews their votes, he will weaken his campaign enormously. This audio revelation does not destroy his chance of winning in November…. There are inaccuracies in it…. [T]he basic argument is reasonable…. Romney cannot make that and other arguments if he begins by withdrawing his remarks or, worse, by apologizing….

What Romney should do is call a press conference, play the tape, and then announce that he stands by what he said… [except] "I was referring to income tax, but of course working Americans pay payroll taxes and all Americans pay indirect taxes on the goods they buy.”… "[have] some Americans who have become so discouraged… that they have… resigned themselves to a life of dependency on government? Yes, there are some — not 47 percent, but some. Will they vote for me? Some will…."

Romney should then leave without taking questions.

So Has Mitt Romney Spent the Last Six Months Frantically Filing Amended Tax Returns and Writing the iRS Checks...

…so that he can right now release a cleaned-up 20-year summary of his taxes? Is that why his campaign is refusing to say whether this is a summary of the tax returns as originally filed? Or is his campaign refusing to say in the hopes of getting Harry Reid to go all in so that they can then cut Harry Reid off at the knees?

Tonight's Texas Holdem game was much more straightforward than this…

$7,204,114 of Mitt Romney's 2011 Adjusted Gross Income Is Missing!

It has vanished since January. Rick Newman:

The Mysteries in Mitt Romney's Tax Return: Final 2011 return: Adjusted gross income: $13,696,961; Total federal tax paid: $1,935,708; Effective federal tax rate: 14.1 percent

Preliminary 2011 return (released in January): Adjusted gross income: $20,901,075; Total federal tax paid: $3,226,623; Effective rate: 15.4 percent

Final 2010 return: Adjusted gross income: $21,646,507; Total tax paid: $3,009,766: Effective rate: 13.9 percent…

I confess to a certain lamentable and prurient curiosity about that conversation:

"Governor Romney, Sir…"


"You know how we told you last January that you had made almost $22 million in income in 2011?"

"Yes. I do remember something of that. But I'm busy right now…"

"I'm afraid that back in January we had made some arithmetic errors."

"That's OK."

"We lost track of $7 million…"

Josh Marshall Thinks Romney Has Been Spending the Past Three Months Filing Amended Returns for Past Years and Paying Back Taxes...

It is the only scenario I can think of in which it makes sense to:

  • release a summary of past years' taxes, and
  • not release the taxes themselves

In that case, Reid's source was probably right when he saw Romney's tax returns--but is probably "wrong" today.

"End 'Too-Big-to-Fail' by Reforming the GSEs": Are Romney and His Campaign That Pig-Ignorant?

The Romney-Ryan plan will completely end “too-big-to-fail” by reforming the GSEs. The four years since taxpayers took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, spending $140 billion in the process, is too long to wait for reform. Rather than just talk about reform, a Romney-Ryan Administration will protect taxpayers from additional risk in the future by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and provide a long-term, sustainable solution for the future of housing finance reform in our country.

That is the Romney housing white paper's section on the GSEs and "Too-Big-to-Fail".

That is not the introduction to the section.

That is the section.

That is the entire section.

I don't know which is scarier:

  1. That Romney and everybody else in his campaign think that a "white paper" on housing can cover both the GSEs and "Too-Big-to-Fail" in 85 words.

  2. That Romney and everybody else in his campaign think that if the GSEs are somehow "reformed" that that can somehow magically resolve "Too-Big-to-Fail" as well--make it so that there are no longer any problems of systemic risk associated with the potential bankruptcy of Citi, JPMC, Wells-Fargo, BoA, GS, Morgan Stanley, or any of the other systemically-important financial institutions.

People: which scares you more? Vote in comments, please...

Liveblogging World War II: September 21, 1942

From Glantz and House, Armageddon in Stalingrad:

Even at this desperate stage in the fighting there was one bright spot for Chuikov. Having finally found necessary transport, the first regiment (1043rd) of Batiuk's 284th Rifle Division reached the western bank of the Volga on the night of 21-22 Septeber. Batiuk's division totaled about 10000 men but lacked many of its authorized weapons. In fact, for a time it had sufficient rifles to arm only one of its three regiments. Once across the Volga, the 1043r... serve[d] as 62nd Army's only reserve....

Colonel Nikolai Filippovitch Batiuk had risen from the ranks during a 15-year military career to take command of 284th Rifle Division on 2 February 1942. Thereafter, he commanded the division with distinction during the heavy fighting west of Veronezh during July, after which the division's survivors were transported to the Urals to rest and refit in early august. Before that process was complete, in early September Batiuk's division received order to move to Stalingrad...

I Demand That Cosma Shalizi Write a Weblog Post About What the Real Dyson-Press Contribution to the Theory of Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Is!

Brad DeLong wrote:

Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Blogging: Dyson and Press Really Are Very Clever Indeed...: Basically, consider the strategy space of one-period look-back mixed strategies. And take the strategy S = { p(C|CC)=1/2-ε, p(C|CD)=1/4+ε', p(C|DC)=0, p(D|DD)=0 }.

If the opponent cooperates all the time, their average score is a little better than the DD payoff 1--giving them an incentive to choose a strategy that cooperates some time. If they cooperate all the time, then your average score is a little worse than 4--pretty good. And if they do anything other than cooperate all the time, their score falls and is worse than if they cooperate all the time. Thus in this strategy space { P(C )=1 } is a dominant strategy for the opponent if you choose your strategy first. Of course, this is not a Nash equilibrium: if the opponent is playing C you should play C as well

And two opponents each thinking that they move first and committing to S do rather badly: they end up in (D,D) for all time.

And then comes the smackdown:

Continue reading "I Demand That Cosma Shalizi Write a Weblog Post About What the Real Dyson-Press Contribution to the Theory of Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Is!" »

Wallace vs. Noonan: Can't the Republicans Play This Game? Weblogging


In an interview with POLITICO today, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace questioned Peggy Noonan's "conservative bona fides," following her recent editorials criticizing of Mitt Romney's campaign.

Peggy Noonan has bashed George W. Bush, based Mitt Romney, wasn't crazy about McCain. So, [her] conservative bona fides I'm not sure I take too seriously…. [Columnists] like Peggy Noonan, sometimes they're New York City's idea of conservatives."

Continue reading "Wallace vs. Noonan: Can't the Republicans Play This Game? Weblogging" »

I've Heard of Rockefeller Republicanism. I've Never Heard of Rockefeller Fascism...

Yes, they are very odd ducks over at National Review:

Back in 1975, James Burnham's praise of Franco included the marvelous claim that:

The whole concept of "fascism" for that matter has been a fraud from the beginning. Like "peaceful coexistence" and "detente," it is a tactical invention of the Soviet Agitprop, and boils down in practice to the simple definition: fascism is any regime that outlaws Communism…

The Kocherlakota Shift at the Fed Is a Big Deal...

I think that the excellent Cardiff Garcia gets a rare one wrong when he decides that it is not a big deal:

FT Alphaville » The Kocherlakota Rule: This has been interpreted as a kind of doveish shift by Kocherlakota and inconsistent with his previous views — specifically that structural factors are largely to blame for the sluggish employment recovery. Maybe, though really the idea he announced today doesn’t necessarily contradict his views on structural unemployment; instead it just elides the issue altogether. If unemployment is indeed mostly structural, then it is unlikely that the economy will get to 5.5 per cent unemployment before inflation climbs to 2.25 per cent.

Remember, before, Kocherlakota was in favor of early increases in interest rates and opposed to quantitative easing because he was very confident--without evidence--that unemployment was structural, and unwilling to use policy to test that assumption. He was arguing against those of us who said that the Fed should continue to ramp up expansionary policy as long as there were no signs of an accelerating wage-price spiral.

Now he is one of us.

That is a big shift.

Narayana Kocherlakota Then: Mike Konczal's Take

August 11, 2011: Mike Konczal: The Fed Dissenters, Or: Examining Narayana Kocherlakota’s Gut:

The Federal Reserve’s FOMC just released another statement punting on both parts of their dual mandate.  Many, including Ryan Avent here, are disappointed… three (three!) dissenters…. Fisher… Kocherlakota, and… Plosser…. What’s their motivation? We looked at Richard Fisher before.  In April 2011 his ”gut tells [him] that [QE2] will result in some unpleasant general price inflation” – something that was absolutely wrong…. But what is going on with Kocherlakota? Why is he dissenting in favor of tightening sooner?  Last time we saw him, he was talking about job openings taking off, numbers that turned out to be exaggerated by modeling assumptions at the BLS.  So that’s off the table. What’s his deal now?  Let’s go to his big discussion paper, Labor Markets and Monetary Policy…. First thing you should notice is that Kocherlakota of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve is basing his opinion on unemployment on an equation in which the Federal Reserve has no role.  Lots of people think the idea that the Fed can’t set a negative interest rate – that there is a “zero lower bound” – has something to do with our current problems.  Agree or don’t, there’s no possible way it impacts this model.  Product markets not clearing doesn’t factor into this model, which is all about how lazy workers are….

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David Glasner on St. Louis Fed President Bullard "Defending the Indefensible"

The thoughtful David Glasner looks at one of the last of the dead-ender inflation hawks, James Bullard:

Bullard Defends the Indefensible « Uneasy Money: I am having a lot of trouble figuring out what he was up to in the op-ed piece he published in today’s Financial Times (“Patience needed for Fed’s dual mandate”) in which he argued that the fact that the Fed has persistently undershot its inflation target while unemployment has been way over any reasonable the rate consistent with full employment, is no reason for the Fed to change its policy toward greater ease…. Bullard cites a 2007 paper in the American Economic Review by Smets and Wouters “Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles.”… Here’s how Bullard characterizes the rationale for QE3 and explains how that rationale is undercut by the results of the Smets and Wouters paper.

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Duncan Black Spends a Night on Bull%$^t Mountain


Good Daily Show segment. I like the inclusion of Craig T. Nelson saying:

I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No.

Because I think that quote really gets to the true core of Bull%$^t Mountain. One can never be quite sure how much conservatives believe their own bullshit, but my longstanding theory is that they believe there's some secret super generous welfare system that only black people have access to. When they had hard times, got their government handouts, their government handouts sucked. But the blahs are out there buying their t-bones and driving their cadillacs, so they must be getting the really good welfare.

Nobody helped poor Craig out, because the food stamps and and welfare sucked. They don't understand that this is because food stamps and welfare do suck.

I Have Heard of the Confidence Fairy and the Inflation Imp. But This I-Will-Do-Nothing Economic Policy from Mitt Romney Is Absurd

Mitt Romney's Economic Plan: Win, Then Do Nothing:

Romney's secretly taped comments weren't just embarrassing for the 47% comment. They also revealed a faith-based economic strategy:

If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back and we'll see -- without actually doing anything -- we'll actually get a boost in the economy…

And Matthew O'Brien brings the very large hammer for the very big smack down:

Mitt Romney has a secret economic plan. It's magic…. [T]he conceit that Romney has a secret economic plan…. The idea is that Romney is too smart and too ideologically flexible, and his stated plans too vague and too mathematically incoherent for there not to be another plan…. But is the secret economic plan real or is there really no secret economic plan?….

Romney's secret economic plan to jumpstart the recovery is… winning office.

That's it.

He thinks markets are scared of Obama, and an Obama loss would be enough to send markets racing up.

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Gavyn Davies's Morning Meeting Reading List

Macro blogroll for the morning meeting:

I admit that I have only belatedly realised just how much essential economic information and discussion is freely available in the blogosphere. The internet has given everyone the chance to become a journalist, and many macro economists have taken full advantage. How times have changed. When I started work as an economist in the financial markets in the 1970s, it was easy to prepare for client presentations or for the firm’s morning meetings (which even then had assumed great importance, though they normally started at the civilised hour of 9.30am). Essentially, I read three journalists in the papers on the way to work in the City: Samuel Brittan in the Financial Times, and Peter Jay and David Blake in The Times. With Martin Wolf still ensconced inside the four walls of the World Bank, that covered about 95 per cent of the questions I was likely to get at the time. Any other questions were easily dismissed as irrelevant to the markets…. Morning meetings nowadays are full of debate about macro-economic ideas, the speeches of central bankers, and the writings of academia. The blogs are pivotal. Diversity of opinion reigns. No one in the investment community is safe from the ideas of the macro thinkers…. In the list below, I have selected only a small sample of the total universe of economics blogs, focusing exclusively on those that cover my particular subject…. I have tried not to choose personal favourites…. I have excluded many other great blogs for no reason other than the need for brevity…. In no particular order… the current list is:

  1. Economists View – Mark Thoma
  2. Paul Krugman Conscience of a Liberal
  3. Grumpy Economist – John Cochrane’s blog
  4. Grabbing Reality With Both Hands – Brad DeLong
  5. Economics One – John Taylor
  6. Econbrowser – Jim Hamilton and Menzie Chinn
  7. Fed Watch – Tim Duy
  8. Confessions of a Supply Side Liberal – Miles Kimball
  9. Noahpinion – Noah Smith
  10. J.P.Koning Blog
  11. The Money Illusion – Scott Sumner
  12. Uneasy Money – David Glasner
  13. New Monetarist Economics – Stephen Williamson
  14. VoxEU – Portal for the Centre for Economic Policy Research
  15. Bruegel Blog
  16. China Financial Markets – Michael Pettis
  17. Key Trends in Globalisation – John Ross
  18. Not the Treasury View – Jonathan Portes
  19. Mainly Macro – Simon Wren Lewis
  20. Money Supply – FT
  21. Alphaville – FT
  22. Martin Wolf’s Exchange – FT
  23. Free Exchange – The Economist

If I were Davies, I would dump (5): John Taylor looks to me right now to be much more interested in seeking high federal office than in analyzing the world out there. I would also dump (3)--it is true that John Cochrane is no longer peddling simplistic cash-in-advance models in which nominal GDP moves proportionately (albeit perhaps with lags) with the stock of nominal money and nothing else matters, but this does not mean that he has done his homework: now he peddles simplistic fiscal-dominance models in which nominal GDP moves proportionately (albeit perhaps with lags) with the stock of nominal debt, and that is not a net improvement.

I would replace them with the nonpareil that is Marginal Revolution, and with Felix Salmon and Joe Weisenthal and Matt O'Brien

Well This Is a Huge Switch!: Fed Hawk Molts Weblogging

When I consider what Kocherlakota was saying last spring to people…

Aki Ito:

Fed’s Kocherlakota Wants to See Jobless Rate Cut to 5.5%: President Narayana Kocherlakota said the central bank should hold the main interest rate near zero until unemployment falls below 5.5 percent, marking the first time he has linked policy to a specific economic goal.

“As long as the FOMC is continuing to satisfy its price stability mandate, it should keep the fed funds rate extraordinarily low until the unemployment rate has fallen below 5.5 percent,” Kocherlakota said today in the text of remarks prepared for a speech in Ironwood, Michigan, referring the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee….

Kocherlakota today embraced a proposal by Chicago Fed President Charles Evans to calibrate monetary policy based on specific economic goals. Evans advocates holding to near-zero rates until the jobless rate falls below 7 percent or inflation reaches 3 percent.

“My thinking has been greatly influenced by his,” Kocherlakota said, referring to Evans. “By increasing monetary accommodation, the Committee can better meet its employment mandate while still satisfying its price-stability mandate,” Kocherlakota said to business and community leaders at Gogebic Community College….

Kocherlakota said today the central bank should give itself leeway by allowing inflation to deviate from its 2 percent target, saying the FOMC could contemplate raising rates if inflation rises above 2.25 percent. History suggests it’s unlikely inflation will rise above that point as long as the jobless rate remains above 5.5 percent, he said.

“The current economic impact of both forms of accommodation -- low interest rates and asset purchases -- depends on when the public believes that accommodation will be removed,” Kocherlakota said.

Confident the Fed will keep the fed funds rate near zero until achieving 5.5 percent unemployment, “people will spend more today, and that will drive up economic activity,” he said.

Why We Loathe Jonathan Weisman: Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?

It's not about you and your entertainment, Jonathan. It's about the future of public policy, our collective destiny, and whether Kaine or Allen will be Senator from Virginia for the next six years.

And yes, David Leonhardt, I am going to have to take action for your retweeting this...

George Romney Explains Why We Must FIght His Son's Republican Party

Mitt Romney's Republican Party is all about using legal process to deny the most basic of political rights--the right to vote--to as many of the "moochers" as possible.

What would George Romney have said about such a party? We don't have to wonder: we know:

George Romney, Letter to Barry Goldwater, December 21, 1964:

You have requested an explanation from me…. First, as to your remark… concerning the possible realignment of the Republican and Democratic parties into "conservative" and "liberal" parties… you have indicated that… this might be "a happy thing". I disagree…. Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation…. We should exert every effort to broaden and strengthen our Republican party… [as] an essential element of a free country….

In the newspapers I read that when you were questioned about our getting together for… my well-publicized desire for a discussion in depth, you said you had sent me a printed statement of your positions, and if I didn't understand it I could get in touch with you…. [T]he need for such a meeting had become all the more important. You were just about to take a position on the 1964 Civil Rights Act contrary to that of most elected Republicans… there were disturbing indications that your strategists proposed to make an all-out push for the Southern white segregationist vote and to attempt to exploit the so-called "white backlash" in the North….

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Begging for Help with the New York TImes Archives...

I try to access "Text of Romney's Letter to Goldwater After Defeat of Presidential Nominee in '64" at, and the NYT dumps me at "'When Flexibility Hurts' By SUSAN J. LAMBERT: The flawed incentives that guide businesses’ employment practices"

Can anybody make it work and send me a .pdf?