Briefly Noted for 2021-01-09
Graydon: COVID Evolving: Comment—Noted

Briefly Noted for 2021-01-11

<https://braddelong.substack.com/p/briefly-noted-for-2021-01-11> I feel uneasy today, as most of this is outside my wheelhouse. But, for what it is worth, here is what I have found most worthwhile over the weekend...

Must-Read:

Bernie Sanders: Why Impeach Now? @BernieSanders: Some people ask: Why would you impeach and convict a president who has only a few days left in office? The answer: Precedent. It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government...

Ian Millhiser: Minority Rule @imillhiser: When Warnock and Ossoff are seated, Democrats and Republicans will each control half of the seats in the Senate. But the Democratic half will represent 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.  America’s anti-democratic Senate, in one number41,549,808...

Joshua Gans: B.1.1.7 <https://joshuagans.substack.com/p/b117>: ‘B.1.1.7 has an advantage over older variants in infecting people when the mitigation strategies are in place. In other words, it is getting around them.... My guess is that the new variant can obtain more cases in certain settings—like workplaces that previously were able to keep transmission low—and then people carry the new variant home where fewer mitigations are in place and transmission occurs more easily there.... That means that the fight against B.1.1.7 requires the places that have been the most vigilant need more action. It is hard to know what that is.... The other option—and I will continue to beat this still live horse here—is ramping up testing…

Tom Snyder: The American Abyss <https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html> : ‘When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around.... Social media... supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true…

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Should-Read: My (Possibly Uninformed) Reflections on the Coup

DeLongTODAY: Why Storm the Capitol Building & Then Do Nothing But Take Selfies?2021-01-08
Project Syndicate: What Next for the MAGA Insurrection? 2021-01-08 

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BRIEFLY NOTED:

Haley Bird Wilt: The Consequences of Lying to People <https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/the-consequences-of-lying-to-people>: ‘Republican lawmakers misled millions of people into believing the results of a legitimate election could be overturned. Many of them viewed contesting the outcome as a relatively easy way to gain political currency among Trump supporters, knowing all the while that their efforts would have no real impact on who will be sworn into office in two weeks. The deception—primarily led by Trump, yet enabled by members of Congress—set the stage for the violence that unfolded at the Capitol Wednesday. Four people died.... The normally dry procedural affair of counting of the Electoral College votes was viewed by everyday Republicans and zealots alike as the place to make a final stand to overturn the election—even though elected Republicans knew the outcome would ultimately remain unchanged. As my colleague Jonah writes this morning, “Convincing people they need to prevent a coup when no such coup exists is a recipe for violence.” This was the energy that fueled the horde on Wednesday…

Nora Caplan-Bricker: An Overlooked Novel from 1935 by the Godmother of Feminist Detective Fiction <https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/an-overlooked-novel-from-1935-by-the-godmother-of-feminist-detective-fiction>: ‘A new group biography establishes Dorothy L. Sayers’s “Gaudy Night” as a forerunner of works by Gillian Flynn and Tana French…

Edward Luce: America’s Dangerous Reliance on the Fed<https://www.ft.com/content/bcb8d4d9-ca6d-45b7-aafc-9e9ecf672a5b>: ‘Alas, the chances are that the Fed will remain “the only game in town”. This would be both a missed opportunity and pose a severe danger. The opportunity is for the US government to borrow long term funds at near zero rates and invest it in productive capacity. The danger of not doing that can be expressed in a simple equation: QE — F = P. Quantitative easing minus fiscal action equals populism…

Wikipedia: Metanarrative <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metanarrative>: ‘In The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979), Lyotard highlights the increasing skepticism of the postmodern condition toward the totalizing nature of metanarratives and their reliance on some form of "transcendent and universal truth": “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.... The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is being dispersed in clouds of narrative language…. Where, after the metanarratives, can legitimacy reside?…” Lyotard and other poststructuralist thinkers (like Foucault) view this as a broadly positive development… grand theories tend to unduly dismiss the naturally existing chaos and disorder of the universe…. Postmodernists attempt to replace metanarratives by focusing on specific local contexts as well as on the diversity of human experience. They argue for the existence of a "multiplicity of theoretical standpoints" rather than for grand, all-encompassing theories.… Postmodern narratives will often deliberately disturb the formulaic expectations.… Others have related metanarratives to masterplots, “recurrent skeletal stories, belonging to cultures and individuals that play a powerful role in questions of identity, values, and the understanding of life”…

Simon Schama: Donald Trump’s Weaponised Lies Blew Up in His Face <https://www.ft.com/content/6cde0715-5506-4c09-a804-538031a667d9>: ‘The violent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral result should be seen in the context of Mr Trump's (not baseless) belief that a sizeable part of the country cares less about the constitution than it does about him. Wednesday saw the most dramatic consummation of what has always been standard operational procedure for Trumpism: the wink to violence and the empire of lies. His 2016 campaign regularly featured invitations to rough up the media…

Salvatore Cerchio & al.: A New Blue Whale Song-Type Described for the Arabian Sea & Western Indian Ocean <https://www.int-res.com/prepress/n01096.html>: ‘Blue whales in the Indian Ocean… 2 or 3 subspecies… 4 populations, each with a diagnostic song-type. Here we describe a previously unreported song-type that implies the probable existence of a population that has been undetected or conflated…. We label it the ‘Northwest Indian Ocean’ song-type.… Moreover, the potentially restricted range, intensive historic whaling, and the fact that the song-type has been previously undetected, suggests a small population that is in critical need of status assessment and conservation action…

J. A. M. de Sanchez: Stabilizing the Franc <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/france/1928-10-01/stabilizing-franc>: ‘Thus almost exactly twenty-three months after accepting the portfolio of Minister of Finance, M. Poincaré brought to a conclusion the task of fiscal reform which he had set himself. If M. Poincaré's achievements in his first year were remarkable,[i] those in his second have been no less so. Not only have the measures which were adopted in 1926-1927 continued to be strictly enforced, but new ones have been sought and applied which have resulted in a further strengthening of the credit structure of the State proper and of the national economy as a whole. So careful and complete were the preparations for de jure stabilization of the franc that the event itself was received in France almost phlegmatically…

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Annalee Newitz: What Ancient Roman Hospitality Workers Can Teach Us About This Moment in Historyhttps://thehypothesis.substack.com/p/what-ancient-roman-hospitality-workers

Budget Act of 1974 <https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-RIDDICK-1992/pdf/GPO-RIDDICK-1992-34.pdf>…

Robert Keith (2009): The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate’s “Byrd Rule” <https://budgetcounsel.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/crs-the-budget-reconciliation-process-the-senate_s-e2809cbyrd-rulee2809d-bob-keith-rl30862-july-8-2009.pdf>…

Unemployment Rate: 1890-2009 <https://origins.osu.edu/sites/origins.osu.edu/files/4-3-chart1487_0.jpg>…

Wikipedia: Republic of Artsakh <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Artsakh#Current_situation>…

Gaston Jéze: The Economic and Financial Position of France in 1920 <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1883886.pdf>…

Historical Currency Converter <https://www.historicalstatistics.org/Currencyconverter.html>…

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