Things I Have No Time to Teach þis Fall, But þt I Would Like to—Note to Self

school-of-athens-banner

"Data Science" & "Thinking Like an Economist":

 

Andy Matuschak would approve of how Niccolo Machiavelli reads:

html https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/things-i-have-no-time-to-teach-this-fall-but-that-i-would-like-tonote-to-self.html
edit html https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834/post/6a00e551f080038834026be40b4d46200d/edit

Briefly Noted for 2020-08-22

James Baldwin: The American Dream Is at the Expense of the American Negro https://www.tor.com/2020/08/16/lovecraft-country-sundown-episode-1-review/: ‘I picked the cotton, and I carried it to the market, and I built the railroads under someone else’s whip for nothing…

Berkeley: GSI Remote Teaching Hub https://grad.berkeley.edu/gsi-remote-teaching-hub/

Fred: COVID Dashboard https://research.stlouisfed.org/useraccount/dashboard/56322#: ‘Initial Claims, Continued Claims, Personal Income, Personal Consumption…

Robert de Nero: The Good Shepherd https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/script-the-good-shepherd.pdf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Shepherd_(film)

Gretal Kovach (2007): Pizza Chain Takes Pesos, & Complaints https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/us/15Pizza.html: ‘“I certainly wasn’t expecting ‘pizza for pesos’ to become a touchstone for the immigration issue,” Mr. Swad said. It was nothing more than an effort to “reinforce our brand promise to be the premier Latino pizza chain,” he said. “We’re businessmen. The Latino population is significant and it’s important,” Mr. Swad continued. “It’s here to stay. The United States... is going to be different, and it has an opportunity to be better.” Mr. Swad, who is Italian-Lebanese and was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, did not speak Spanish when he opened his first take-out pizzeria in Dallas in 1986…

Gretal Kovach (2007): Pizza Chain Takes Pesos, & Complaints https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/us/15Pizza.html: ‘“It’s a trivial example, but Hispanics now have their own pizza chain,” Mr. Krikorian said. “It’s a consequence of having too many people arrive from a single foreign culture, and may well reflect a kind of cultural secession”…

Daniel Voshart: Photoreal Roman Emperor Project https://medium.com/@voshart/photoreal-roman-emperor-project-236be7f06c8f: ‘Using the neural-net tool Artbreeder, Photoshop and historical references, I have created photoreal portraits of... the 54 emperors of The Principate (27 BC to 285 AD)…

x*Charlie Stross*: Dead Plots http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2020/08/dead-plots.html: ‘the eminent mainstream literary faculty are still turning out deeply sensitive realist-mode explorations of the human condition that totally neglect the tech dimension. We live in a world with killer drones, state level actors gaslighting each others' electorates with bots and sock puppets and AI generated user icons... where private space launch companies are listed on the stock market and cars park themselves. A realist-mode 21st century novel that ignores phenomena that were tropes in 20th century SF is a de-facto historical novel, or a retro nostalgia trip for people who are deeply uneasy about modernity...

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-08-22" »


McSweeney's: Miskatonic University’s Draft Reopening Plan—Noted

Miskatonic seal

McSweeney's: Arkham Board of Health Feedback on Miskatonic University’s Draft Plan for a Safe Campus Reopening https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/arkham-board-of-health-feedback-on-miskatonic-universitys-draft-plan-for-a-safe-campus-reopening?fbclid=IwAR3q4m50xLFQcW4MyAsREYP9Qv_ZCrdhqo5Kll58wwMmbWavlIvod8j5DVA: ‘Library services: You note that all of your library’s holdings have been digitized for online reading, including certain “foul, repellent, and irrudinous tomes that bespeak eldritch accursed rites and which, once made public, may unleash nameless aeon-dead horrors”...

Continue reading "McSweeney's: Miskatonic University’s Draft Reopening Plan—Noted" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-08-21

I do confess that I am flummoxed by self-identified positively-valenced “white supremacy” as a thing.

My WASPy view was always that America was an America of ethnicities underpinned by the dominant myth-message: “people coming from elsewhere to build a utopia in which we all could live better lives”. This mosaic worked, with cultural influences flowing every which way, with the ideas and cultural orientations of WASPy Massachusetts Puritans, Virginia libertarians, and Kentucky pioneers serving as the first layer of the cultural matrix. The exchange in the 2006 movie The Good Shepherd between Joe Pesci and Matt Damon grossly overstates the case, but is in the right direction:

Joe Pesci: “Let me ask you something…. We Italians, we got our families, and we got the church; the Irish, they have the homeland, Jews their tradition; even the n------, they got their music. What about you people, Mr. Wilson, what do you have?”

Matt Damon: “The United States of America…”

Yes, African-Americans were always at the bottom, but there was no monolithic “whiteness” in the mosaic anywhere. Remember: when I was at Harvard in the 1980s, when an Italian-American Catholic married an Irish-American Catholic in Boston, it was a “mixed marriage”, and people would shrug their shoulders and say it was unlikely to last.

I look at how somebody by the name of Mark Krikorian can raise the alarm on behalf of "whiteness" against the idea of “Hispanics now hav[ing] their own pizza chain…. [It] may well reflect a kind of cultural secession…” Mark Krikorian finds it alarming that an Italian-Lebanese-American born in Columbus, OH sees a market for Hispanic-inflected pizza in Dallas and moves to satisfy it. And then I think: this was always a grift, this is the fascist playbook—create the bigotry against a despised other, and then use that bigotry to create a volk:

Sean Illing: Why Rev. William Barber Thinks We Need a Moral Revolution in America https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/8/18/21327358/william-barber-poor-peoples-campaign-moral-mondays: '“Racism may target Black people, but it damns a democracy and it damns humanity”'…

 

This is why retail businesses need large permanent financial transfers now. We do not want retail businesses that are not coronavirus transmission hotspots from receiving erroneous “shut down“ signals from the market. And yet that is what is happening when we do not make them whole from the effects of the crisis of March and April:

Jason Del Rey: Amazon, Walmart, & Target Reap þe Rewards of Covid Restrictions https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/8/20/21375942/amazon-walmart-target-pandemic-earnings-q2-2020-essential-retailers: ‘Some feared the pandemic would widen the gap between the haves and have-nots of retail. That fear is now reality…

 

Not that Isaac Asimov’s 1950s novel The Naked Sun Is either a great mystery novel or a great science fiction novel. But it is a place to start in thinking about how this next upward leap in interacting with each other via symbols and screens is going to work. What personality types are going to do well? What personality types are going to do badly? In in-person interactions, a great deal of the information channels our bids and offers about authority because rapidly reaching consensus about what the group was going to do trumped reaching the best decision at the price of maybe reaching no decision at all. But those channels do not operate through screens, as anyone who has ever participated in a flamewar Or watched trolls destroy an online discussion knows very well:

Sean Gallagher: Respawn Point: þe Inevitable Reincarnation of þe Corporate Office https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/08/work-from-home-03-the-office/: ‘Stanford Institute for Economic Research figures in June showed only 42 percent of the US workforce working from home full-time—the fact remains that people's relationship with their workplace has been dramatically restructured, perhaps permanently…

 

Publius Aelius Aristides Theodorus (155): The Roman Oration https://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/11/aelius-aristides-the-roman-oration-it-is-a-time-honored-custom-of-travelers-setting-forth-by-land-or-sea-to-m.html

Wikipedia: Wrought Iron https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrought_iron | Cast Iron https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cast_iron | Bessemer Process https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessemer_process | Steel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel

Boichik Bagels https://boichikbagels.myshopify.com/

Constance Hunter (2020-08-19): Riding the Covid-Coaster https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/presentation-hunter-covid-coaster.pdf

Casey Johnston: How to Fit in a Real Workout When You Have Only 20 Minutes https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/889bxx/how-to-get-a-real-workout-only-20-minutes: ‘[Randi Zuckerberg takes] a slightly more aggressive line here with her “pick three” rule: “Work. Sleep. Family. Friends. Fitness. Pick Three.” But I often see this rule separated from Zuckerberg’s follow-up clarification: “I can pick a different three tomorrow, and a different three the following day. But today, I can only pick three. As long as I wind up picking everything over the long run, then I’m balancing my imbalance”…

Jim Wendler: How to Fit in a Real Workout When You Have Only 20 Minutes https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/889bxx/how-to-get-a-real-workout-only-20-minutes: ‘This is my favorite. I don’t recommend it, but it’s useful for non-beginners who have limited time to train. The I’m Not Doing Jack Shit program entails walking into the weight room, doing the big lift for the day (bench, squat, military or deadlift), and then walking out… I’ve made this deal with myself many times before I’ve trained: If I do X weight for X amount of reps, I’m leaving…

2020 Democratic Party Platform https://www.demconvention.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-07-21-DRAFT-Democratic-Party-Platform.pdf

Wikipedia: Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoninus_Pius#Marriage_and_children

Wikipedia: Faustina the Elder—Annia Galeria Faustina https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faustina_the_Elder

 

Plus:

FRED: COVID Dashboard https://research.stlouisfed.org/useraccount/dashboard/56322#: Initial Claims, Continued Claims, Real Personal Income, Real Personal Consumption Expenditures...

Covid fred dashboard 2020 08 21

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-08-21" »


The Pompeians Commanded by Afranius Surrender: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

And the Pompeians surrender. It is June 10, -49. In six and a hal months since crossing the Rubicon, Caesar has forced the disbanding of the equivalent of eight Pompeian legions without doing more than skirmishing, moving rapidly, and cleverly managing logistics and intercepting supply lines:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘In this work, and the deliberations on it, two days were spent. By the third day a considerable part of Caesar's works was finished. To interrupt his progress, they drew out their legions about the eighth hour, by a certain signal, and placed them in order of battle before their camp. Caesar calling his legions off from their work, and ordering the horse to hold themselves in readiness, marshalled his army: for to appear to decline an engagement contrary to the opinion of the soldiers and the general voice, would have been attended with great disadvantage...

But for the reasons already known, he was dissuaded from wishing to engage, and the more especially, because the short space between the camps, even if the enemy were put to flight, would not contribute much to a decisive victory; for the two camps were not distant from each other above two thousand feet. Two parts of this were occupied by the armies, and one third left for the soldiers to charge and make their attack. If a battle should be begun, the nearness of the camps would afford a ready retreat to the conquered party in the flight.

For this reason Caesar had resolved to make resistance, if they attacked him, but not to be the first to provoke the battle.

Afranius's five legions were drawn up in two lines, the auxiliary cohorts formed the third line, and acted as reserves. Caesar had three lines, four cohorts out of each of the five legions formed the first line. Three more from each legion followed them, as reserves: and three others were behind these. The slingers and archers were stationed in the centre of the line; the cavalry closed the flanks.

The hostile armies being arranged in this manner, each seemed determined to adhere to his first intention: Caesar not to hazard a battle, unless forced to it; Afranius to interrupt Caesar's works. However, the matter was deferred, and both armies kept under arms till sunset; when they both returned to their camp. The next day Caesar prepared to finish the works which he had begun. The enemy attempted to pass the river Segre by a ford. Caesar, having perceived this, sent some light-armed Germans and a party of horse across the river, and disposed several parties along the banks to guard them.

At length, beset on all sides, their cattle having been four days without fodder, and having no water, wood, or corn, they beg a conference; and that, if possible, in a place remote from the soldiers. When this was refused by Caesar, but a public interview offered if they chose it, Afranius's son was given as a hostage to Caesar. They met in the place appointed by Caesar.

In the hearing of both armies, Afranius spoke thus:

That Caesar ought not to be displeased either with him or his soldiers, for wishing to preserve their attachment to their general, Cneius Pompey. That they had now sufficiently discharged their duty to him, and had suffered punishment enough, in having endured the want of every necessary: but now, pent up almost like wild beasts, they were prevented from procuring water, and prevented from walking abroad; and were not able to bear the bodily pain or the mental disgrace: but confessed themselves vanquished: and begged and entreated, if there was any room left for mercy, that they should not be necessitated to suffer the most severe penalties.

These sentiments were delivered in the most submissive and humble language.

Caesar replied,

That either to complain or sue for mercy became no man less than him: for that every other person had done their duty: himself, in having declined to engage on favourable terms, in an advantageous situation and time, that all things tending to a peace might be totally unembarrassed: his army, in having preserved and protected the men whom they had in their power, notwithstanding the injuries which they had received, and the murder of their comrades; and even Afranius's soldiers, who of themselves treated about concluding a peace, by which they thought that they would secure the lives of all. Thus, that the parties on both sides inclined to mercy: that the generals only were averse to peace: that they paid no regard to the laws either of conference or truce; and had most inhumanly put to death ignorant persons, who were deceived by a conference: that therefore, they had met that fate which usually befalls men from excessive obstinacy and arrogance; and were obliged to have recourse, and most earnestly desire that which they had shortly before disdained.

That for his part, he would not avail himself of their present humiliation, or his present advantage, to require terms by which his power might be increased, but only that those armies, which they had maintained for so many years to oppose him, should be disbanded: for six legions had been sent into Spain, and a seventh raised there, and many and powerful fleets provided, and generals of great military experience sent to command them, for no other purpose than to oppose him; that none of these measures were adopted to keep the Spains in peace, or for the use of the province, which, from the length of the peace, stood in need of no such aid; that all these things were long since designed against him: that against him a new sort of government was established, that the same person should be at the gates of Rome, to direct the affairs of the city; and though absent, have the government of two most warlike provinces for so many years: that against him the laws of the magistrates had been altered; that the late praetors and consuls should not be sent to govern the provinces as had been the constant custom, but persons approved of and chosen by a faction.

That against him the excuse of age was not admitted: but persons of tried experience in former wars were called up to take the command of the armies, that with respect to him only, the routine was not observed which had been allowed to all generals, that, after a successful war, they should return home and disband their armies, if not with some mark of honour, at least without disgrace: that he had submitted to all these things patiently, and would still submit to them: nor did he now desire to take their army from them and keep it to himself (which, however, would not be a difficult matter), but only that they should not have it to employ against him: and therefore, as he said before, let them quit the provinces, and disband their army.

If this was complied with, he would injure no person; that these were the last and only conditions of peace.

It was very acceptable and agreeable to Afranius's soldiers, as might be easily known from their signs of joy, that they who expected some injury after this defeat, should obtain without solicitation the reward of a dismissal. For when a debate was introduced about the place and time of their dismissal, they all began to express, both by words and signs, from the rampart where they stood, that they should be discharged immediately: for although every security might be given that they would be disbanded, still the matter would be uncertain, if it was deferred to a future day.

After a short debate on either side, it was brought to this issue: that those who had any settlement or possession in Spain, should be immediately discharged: the rest at the river Var.

Caesar gave security that they should receive no damage, and that no person should be obliged against his inclination to take the military oath under him…  

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-08-18
html < >
edit html < >

 


 

Foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/foreshadowing-from-gaius-sallustius-crispus-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. Let us start with some foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus...


Pompey's Strategy and Domitius' Stand https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/burns-pompeys-strategy-and-domitius-standnoted.html: In his The Civil War Gaius Julius Caesar presented "just the facts" in a way that made Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus look like a cowardly and incompetent idiot. The attractive interpretation is that Ahenobarbus was just trying to do the job of defeating Caesar, but had failed to recognize that Pompey was not his ally but, rather, was somebody whose first goal was to gain the submission of Ahenobarbus and the other Optimates, and only after that submission was gained would he even think about fighting Caesar. Still an idiot, but not an incompetent or a cowardly one…

Marcus Tullius Cicero's Take on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/marcus-tullius-ciceros-take-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘We have another primary source... in addition to Gaius Julius Caesar's deceptively powerful plain-spoken "just the facts" narrative: Cicero. Caesar makes himself out to be reasonable, rational, decisive, and clever. Cicero... lets his hair down. He is writing to someone he trusts to love him without reservation. He is completely unconcerned with making himself appear to be less flawed than he appears. And the impression he leaves is absolutely dreadful: erratic, emotional, dithering, and idiotic…

Reflecting on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/reflecting-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘The key question for the first three months of the year -49 is: what did the factions anticipate would happen in that year? The Optimates seemed to think that they had Caesar cornered. My guess is that Pompey found himself allied with the Senate in January-February of -49, but not in command. So he retreated to Greece, where he was in undisputed command…


Caesar Offers a Compromise Solution (or So Caesar Says) https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-offers-a-compromise-solution-or-so-caesar-says-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Beginning of Caesar's Commentaries on the Civil War, in which Caesar says that he had proposed a compromise solution, but the firebreathers had rejected it: 'Scipio... "if [the Senate] hesitated and showed weakness, then, should they want [Pompey's] help later, they would ask for it in vain…

The Optimate Faction Rejects Caesar's Compromise https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-rejects-caesars-compromise-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates the reasons that the leaders of the Optimate faction—Cato, Lentulus, Scipio, and Pompey—worked hard to set the stage for war, and how the majority of Senators in the timorous middle were robbed of the power to decide freely…

The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-arms-for-war-illegally-usurps-provincial-imperium-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: Whatever norms he may or may not have broken during his consulate—in order to wrest land from the hands of corrupt plutocrats and grant it to the deserving—he says, the Optimate faction does much worse, beyond norm-breaking into outright illegality. And to that they add impiety…

Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsucccessfully with Pompey https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-presents-his-case-to-the-13th-legion-negotiates-unsucccessfully-with-pompey-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-rep.html: Caesar presents his case to the 13th Legion, and wins its enthusiastic support. Caesar and Pompey negotiate, but Pompey refuses to give up his dominant position…

The Optimate Faction Panics and Abandons Rome https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-panics-and-abandons-rome-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: The Optimate faction panics and flees. The towns of Italy support Caesar. And Pompey's attempts to reinforce his army by recruiting veterans who had obtained their farms through Caesar's legislative initiatives did not go well...

Caesar Besieges Domitius in Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-besieges-domitius-in-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus concentrates 13000 soldiers in the town of Corfinum and decides to make a stand. Pompey calls him an idiot. He, Pompey, "cannot risk the whole war in a single battle, especially under the circumstances"…

Caesar Captures Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-captures-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus's deception that Pompey is coming to the Optimates' aid in Corfinum falls apart, Ahenobarbus tries to flee. Before Corfinum Caesar had had two legions in Italy to the Optimate and Pompeian six. After Corfinum Caesar has seven legions in Italy to the Pompeian three…

Pompey Refuses to Negotiate & Flees to Greece https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/pompey-refuses-to-negotiate-flees-to-greece-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Pompey flees to the southern Adriatic port of Brundisium. Caesar catches up to him and begs him to negotiate. Pompey refuses and flees. Caesar decides not to follow, but to turn and first defeat the Pompeian armies in Spain...

Cementing Caesarian Control of the Center of the Empire: Late March -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/cementing-caesarian-control-of-the-center-of-the-empire-late-march-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar offers to share power with the dysfunctional Senate but, filibustered and vetoed by Optimate tribunes, he consolidates his hold and heads for Spain…

Treachery at Massilia: April-May -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/treachery-at-massilia-april-may-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Massiliotes profess neutrality—until Pompeian reinforcements arrive. Pompeians to whom Caesar had shown clemency at Corfinium have again taken up weapons against him again…

Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/rendezvous-in-spain-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-repubvlic.html: Caesar moves to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west…

Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-begins-his-first-spanish-campaign-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize...

Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/heavy-but-inconclusive-skirmishing-between-the-military-camps-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html

Floods and Supply Lines https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/floods-and-suppyl-liner-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar faces logistical difficulties…

Caesar Turns the Tables on the Pompeian Skirmishers https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-turns-the-tables-on-the-pompeian-skirmishers-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘Caesar overcomes his logistical difficulties…

The Caesarian Navy Led by Decimus Brutus Wins a Victory at Massilia https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/the-caesarian-navy-led-by-decimus-brutus-wins-a-victory-at-massilia-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html

Afranius & Petreius Fear Caesar's Cavalry & Decide to Retreat https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/afranius-petreius-fear-caesars-cavalry-decide-to-retreat-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘Logistics and diplomacy reverse the situation at Ilerda in northeast Spain, as Caesar gains an advantage in allied cavalry that makes Afranius and Petreius fear their position will soon become logistically untenable…

Caesar Pursues the Retreating Pompeians https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-pursues-the-retreating-pompeians-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat. So when they do, he sets his army in hot pursuit…

Caesar Steals a March on þe Pompeians https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-pursues-the-retreating-pompeians-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic-1.html#more: ‘Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat, and pursues. These overly-cautious Pompeian generals begin to lose the war of maneuver…

Caesar Cuts the Pompeians Off from þe Ebro & þeir Line of Retreat https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-cuts-the-pompeians-off-from-þe-ebro-þeir-line-of-retreat-liveblogging-þe-fall-of-þe-roman-republic.html: ‘And he begins trying to woo the soldiers over to his side. The Pompeian generals Afranius and Petreius react badly—and so it becomes clementia vs. crudelitas…

Caesar's Army Traps the Pompeians https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesars-army-traps-the-pompeians-liveblogging-%C3%BEe-fall-of-%C3%BEe-roman-republic.html: ‘The Pompeians attempt to retreat, and then fortify themselves on unfavorable ground with neither water nor forage available…


Briefly Noted for 2020-08-19

The end of California’s “Mediterranean climate”? Nah. It’s still cooler in the summer than Greece, or Catalonia, or Sicily—by a lot:

Daniel Swain: https://weatherwest.com/archives/7427 https://weatherwest.com/: ‘A very intense and prolonged heatwave now appears likely for a large portion of California over the next 7-10 days, and this event will likely have wide-ranging impacts from human health, wildfire, and electricity demand perspectives.... A strengthening ridge axis... from the southeast... a humid tropical airmass... from the southwest... remnants of former Hurricane Elida... locked in place for at least the next 7 days, and very possibly longer…

 

It now looks like there was enough of a bounceback in July to give us a 5% boost to third quarter GDP—that is a 20% reported annualized growth rate for Q3 –unless the economy is falling off a cliff now or does so in September. Unfortunately, the economy may well fall off a cliff this month or next. The renewed spread of the coronavirus plague, plus Trump's and McConnell‘s decision that they would rather have no fiscal stimulus at all then negotiate with Pelosi, are not pieces of good news for aggregate demand:

Tim Duy: Fiscal Follies Continue* https://blogs.uoregon.edu/timduyfedwatch/2020/08/10/fiscal-follies-continue/: ‘Incoming data still reflects the push-pull dynamics of the shutdown and reopening; we *don’t have a clear picture of the growth trajectory after those dynamics play out. Fiscal policy in the U.S. is a mess…

 

Duncan Black is depressed. And there is, admittedly, a lot to be depressed about. But I think that the elected politicians here are right. The best thing we can do is to vote in November and throw the fascist bastards out. The second best thing we can do is scare the fascist-enabling bastards today with the thought that they are going to be thrown out in November unless they frantically start blocking the idiocies of Trump’s goons:

Duncan Black: The Plan Is Hope https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/08/the-plan-is-hope.html: ‘I was never a SUPER DC INSIDER, but I used to be a bit more connected.... Not so much anymore.... Members of Congress are tweeting, "nothing we can do, please vote." I am dumb and not important and nobody tells me anything anymore, but…

 

This is not coherent: If "those people“ are not going to use their Medicaid benefits because of their attitudes toward life—which the likely future senator from Kansas says he is “not judging”-then those Medicaid benefits are not a burden on the federal or the state treasury, hence not a problem:

Nancy LeTourneau: The Extremist Agenda of Establishment Republicans https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/08/12/whats-the-difference-between-establishment-and-extremist-republicans/: ‘It can be difficult to distinguish between candidates who are “establishment” and those who are “extreme.”... [Roger] Marshall is touting the fact that he is “trusted by Trump”... in the center of efforts to repeal Obamacare and oppose Medicaid expansion in Kansas... "even with unlimited access to health care [they] are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought [in]…”

 

Steve M.: Donald Trump, A Force for "Stability"? https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/07/donald-trump-force-for-stability.html: ‘One participant... really seemed to misread the country: "'The more demonstrations there were, the more demands for recounts, the more legal challenges there were, the more funerals for democracy were held, the more Trump came across as the candidate of stability', said Edward Luce, the US editor of the _Financial Times, who played the role of a mainstream media reporter during one of the simulations." Donald Trump has many weapons at his disposal if he wants to try to cling to power after an election loss, but the general impression that he's a figure of stability is not one of them...

Julian E. Zelizer with Rick Perlstein: _ A discussion of Zelizer's latest book, Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=lRopePOgjzE&feature=emb_logo...

Zack Budryk: 'Pastor who urged people https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/510274-pastor-who-urged-people-not-to-cower-in-fear-tests-positive-for not to "cower in fear" tests positive for coronavirus…

Jo Walton: Designing People & Societies: C.J. Cherryh’s "Cyteen" https://www.tor.com/2011/08/08/designing-people-and-societies-cj-cherryhs-cyteen/_: "Cherryh chose to show us Union society first from outside in Downbelow Station, where they are the implacable enemy. I didn’t want to read Cyteen when it was first published because I didn’t want to spend that much time in Union. It becomes clear that Alliance don’t understand Union. Close up it’s… both better and worse than it seemed from outside.... If you were an ordinary CIT in Union, your life would be much nicer and more free than I would have imagined. But for an azi or somebody who isn’t ordinary, it’s much worse.... We also know, because Cherryh had written books set later in the history of this universe, that it doesn’t ultimately work.... I’ve probably read Cyteen forty times, but it always grabs me and won’t let go, and I always see more in it...

Brian Resnick & Umair Irfan: Covid-19 Antibodies, Herd Immunity, & Vaccines, Explained https://www.vox.com/2020/7/22/21324729/getting-covid-19-twice-immunity-antibodies-vaccine-herd-immunity: ‘While there is no guarantee that a successful Covid-19 vaccine will be made, some scientists are optimistic that one or more will be available in record time. One big reason: Most people survive the infection on their own, showing that the immune system can be coached to fend off the pathogen.... Our first line of defense against the virus is the cells within us, but stopping the outbreaks will depend on the whole world working together…

Cicero: Pro Balbo: ‘It has been imputed to [Balbus] also that he has become one of the tribe Clustumina, a privilege which he obtained by means of the law concerning bribery, and which is less invidious than the advantages acquired by those men who, by the assistance of the laws, obtain the power of delivering their opinion as praetor, and of and of wearing the purple-striped toga...

Cicero: Pro Roscio: 'I come now to that point to which my desire does not lead me, but good faith towards my client. For if I wished to accuse men, I should accuse those men rather by accusing whom I might become more important, which I have determined not to do, as long as the alternatives of accusing and defending are both open to me. For that man appears to me the most honourable who arrives at a higher rank by his own virtue, not he who rises by the distress and misfortunes of another...

Herodian: Commodus http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/herodian_01_book1.htm#C1

Google: Google One https://one.google.com/home?utm_medium=email&utm_source=welcome&utm_campaign=new_member_explore_g1_top&utm_content=cta_explore_g1_top

 

Plus:

Follower of Hieronymus Bosch: Christ in Limbo:

Bosch school christ in limbo

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-08-19" »


Brief Procrastinatory Thoughts on American Slavery, Power & Economists' Rhetoric—Highlighted

When the very sharp Eric Hilt writes of "Fogel and Engerman’s analysis of slavery as...brutal but efficient", I wince. "Efficiency" is an engineering term, meaning: achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. A steam boiler powering the lifting of ore out of a mine that converts only 55% of the stored chemical energy in the coal burned into the extra gravitational potential energy of the ore is 55% efficient. The other 45% of the energy is waste heat. An efficient process is one that produced little waste. In striking contrast with an efficient engine that produces little in the way of waste products, slavery produced enormous amounts of waste: death, family separation, pain, overwork, imprisonment, unfreedom. You can call slavery "brutal, but effective in producing profits for the slavelords", and I will not quarrel: that is very true. But please don't call slavery "efficient". To do so makes a normal person think that you are an empathyless moron, or neo-Confederate-adjacent.

OK. So why does Eric Hilt, who is neither an empathyless moron nor Neo-Confederate-adjacent approvingly cite Fogel and Engerman for their "analysis of slavery as... brutal but efficient"? Because economists redefined "efficient" in a particular way. Economists called a situation "efficient" in which there were no uncompleted win-win market exchanges of commodities for money. And, indeed in slavery, there were no uncompleted win-win market exchanges of commodities for money. American slaves (in contrast to at least some Roman slaves) had no chance or opportunity to buy their freedom. So it was efficient. American slavery would only have been inefficient if masters could have (a) freed their slaves, (b) charged them a market rent for their farms, and (c) collected more in rent than they had previously extracted at the point of the lash.

Now Adam Smith thought that that was in fact the case:

The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors. Wherever the law allows it, and the nature of the work can afford it, therefore, he will generally prefer the service of slaves to that of freemen.... The profits of a sugar plantation... are generally much greater than those of any other... and the profits of a tobacco plantation, though inferior to those of sugar, are superior to those of corn.... Both can afford the expense of slave cultivation but sugar can afford it still better than tobacco...

I always thought that Fogel and Engerman, in arguing that American slavery was "efficient", were in fact arguing against neo-Confederate-adjacents who lamented the "tragedy" of the Civil War. Their adversaries had thought that what the South needed was not Sherman commanding Thomas and his Army of the Cumberland, Schofield and his Army of the Ohio, and McPherson and his Army of the Tennessee, but rather forebearance and persuasion. That would, in the minds of these adversaries, lead to the diffusion of commercial values into the south, and then the slavelords would realize that they could make more money by going full-throttle toward the market economy, freeing their slaves, and becoming normal landlords than by the continuation of their neo-feudal fantasies.

Adam Smith (and those who followed him in seeing slavery as an expensive luxury chosen only by a ruling class in love with its image of itself as made up of dominating masters) were, I think, wrong—and the work done in Time on the Cross is a good part of what, I think, demonstrates that they were wrong.

But there is still this problem with the word "efficiency". It would be innocuous if you were talking only to economists. It would be innocuous if you wrote, instead "efficiency-in-economese". But writing that slavery is "efficient" when your audience includes any people who are in any way not full-fledged economists expecting you to speak in economese conveys the false message that American slavery was not very wasteful. And yet what is the destruction of humans' autonomous lives that is the core of slavery as an institution and practice but immense waste?

Eric Hilt: Slavery, Power and Cliometrics: A Brief Comment on Rosenthal https://economic-historian.com/2020/08/slavery-power-and-cliometrics/: ‘Rather than attempt to comment on all of Rosenthal’s paper, here I would like discuss some insights from the literature on Time on the Cross that relate to some parts of it.... Fogel and Engerman’s analysis of slavery as a brutal but efficient labor system clearly has echoes in some of the new books by historians on slavery...

Continue reading "Brief Procrastinatory Thoughts on American Slavery, Power & Economists' Rhetoric—Highlighted" »


Loomis: American Fascism: þis Is þe Real Thing—Noted

I agree with Erik here. The Trump administration isn't "creeping fascism" any more. This is the real thing. Their plan is to have Breitbart, Fox, Sinclair, & QAnon come out hard Wednesday after the election saying "nobody can really tell who won", and then see what happens on the streets: Erik Loomis: American Fascism https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/08/american-fascism-3: ‘Anyone who sees this as bluster and doesn’t take it seriously are equivalent to those who didn’t really take Hitler or Mussolini seriously early on: Reporter: "Is the President saying if he doesn't win this election that he will not accept the results unless he wins?" Kayleigh McEnany: "The President has always said he'll see what happens and make a determination in the aftermath"… .#fascism #highlighted #moral responsibility #noted #orangehairedbaboons #moralresponsibility #2020-08-19


Caesar's Army Traps the Pompeians: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

The Pompeians attempt to retreat, and then fortify themselves on unfavorable ground with neither water nor forage available:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Afranius's men were distressed in foraging, and procured water with difficulty. The legionary soldiers had a tolerable supply of corn, because they had been ordered to bring from Ilerda sufficient to last twenty-two days; the Spanish and auxiliary forces had none, for they had but few opportunities of procuring any, and their bodies were not accustomed to bear burdens; and therefore a great number of them came over to Caesar every day...

Continue reading "Caesar's Army Traps the Pompeians: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic" »


Caesar Cuts the Pompeians Off from þe Ebro & þeir Line of Retreat: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar cuts the Pompeians off from the Ebro River, and begins trying to woo tghe soldiers over to his side. The Pompeian generals Afranius and Petreius react badly—and so it becomes clementia vs. crudelitas:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘The contest depended entirely on despatch, which should first get possession of the defile and the mountain. The difficulty of the roads delayed Caesar's army, but his cavalry pursuing Afranius's forces, retarded their march. However, the affair was necessarily reduced to this point, with respect to Afranius's men, that if they first gained the mountains, which they desired, they would themselves avoid all danger, but could not save the baggage of their whole army, nor the cohorts which they had left behind in the camps, to which, being intercepted by Caesar's army, by no means could assistance be given...

Continue reading "Caesar Cuts the Pompeians Off from þe Ebro & þeir Line of Retreat: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic" »


Jefferson: Notes on Virginia—Noted

Thomas Jefferson: Notes on þe State of Virginia http://tjrs.monticello.org/letter/1314: ‘Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made... will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.... Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid: and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.... We know that among the Romans, about the Augustan age especially, the condition of their slaves was much more deplorable than that of the blacks on the continent of America… .#noted #2020-08-16


Coaston: Sen. Tim Scott on Police Reform—Noted

Tim Scott, the only African-American senator in the United States republican party, is playing a very difficult political hand with great skill given who his allies and who his constituents are. This is very much worth reading as a window. It is a window into, if not his mind, at least his public presentation of self:

Jane Coaston: Sen. Tim Scott on Police Reform & Why Ending Qualified Immunity Is a Nonstarter for the GOP https://www.vox.com/2020/7/7/21311493/tim-scott-race-policing-justice-act-reform: ‘Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican serving in the US Senate, has an additional, unenviable task beyond his usual legislative portfolio: talking to his colleagues, and Republicans in general, about the issues of race and policing with which he has an intimate familiarity. “I, like many other Black Americans, have found myself choking on my own fears and disbelief when faced with the realities of an encounter with law enforcement,” he wrote in an op-ed in USA Today earlier this year, detailing experiences that began when he was 21 and have continued into his time in Congress.... Sen. Scott and I talked about police reform, qualified immunity for officers and why eliminating it is a “poison pill” for Republicans, race and racism, and our own family experiences of bad policing. He told me Floyd’s death had launched a “tectonic shift on the underlying issue” of police brutality. “I hope that we don’t miss this opportunity” to address it, he said…

.#noted #2020-08-16

Briefly Noted for 2020-08-16

FRED: Continued Claims (Insured Unemployment) (CCSA) https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CCSA

 

Once again: suppress the virus so that nobody who comes into close contact with an elderly or comorbid relative has great reason for fear, and the economy will then recover. Fail to suppress the virus to that extent, and the economy will remain in depression:

Anne O. Krueger: The Open Secret to Reopening the Economy https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/covid19-virus-will-decide-when-economy-can-reopen-by-anne-krueger-2020-07: ‘Areas that eased their initial COVID-19 lockdowns and now have surging infection rates are a testament to all that has gone wrong in the pandemic. The lesson from day one still holds: until the virus is defeated, there can be no return to normal...

 

One of the best attempts I have ever seen to think through the mobilization of consent for right-wing anti-democracy in the modern age:

Sergei Guriev & Daniel Treisman: Informational Autocracy: Theory and Empirics of Modern Authoritarianism https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2571905: ‘In recent decades, dictatorships based on mass repression have largely given way to a new model based on the manipulation of information... convincing the public they are competent... propaganda and silence informed members of the elite by co-optation or censorship... a rhetoric of performance rather than one aimed at inspiring fear…

 

The Bloomberg editorial board says, with respect to the Judy Shelton Federal Reserve nomination, that water is wet:

Bloomberg Editorial Board: Judy Shelton Nomination: The Fed Doesn’t Need This Disruption https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-07-21/judy-shelton-nomination-the-fed-doesn-t-need-this-disruption: ‘Shelton... was long an ardent supporter of a return to the gold standard, a defunct system that entailed making the dollar convertible into a stable.... More recently, before the pandemic hit and as her nomination was in train, she did an about-face, aligning herself with Trump’s demands for the Fed to stimulate growth by lowering interest rates. Either way, Shelton is unlikely to be a reliably stabilizing force at a time when stability is needed most...

 

The hope was that a small increase in the share of people with college degrees would, if demand curves had the right slopes, have a large effect on the only-high-school wage discount. It looks as though this hope was in vain:

Kathryn Zickuhr: A College Degree Is Not the Solution to U.S. Wage Inequality https://equitablegrowth.org/a-college-degree-is-not-the-solution-to-u-s-wage-inequality/: ‘The skills gap... fails to account for declining worker power and... monopsony.... Policymakers need to improve the underlying labor market conditions for all workers, instead of shifting responsibility…

 

The hard truth is that we need another month-long lockdown, but that a month-long lockdown is only worth doing if it is properly followed up. And—given the grifters, ghouls, and easily-grifted gulls on the Republican side of at the aisle—I see no prospect of a proper follow-up until January 21, 2021 at the earliest:

Heather Boushey: 'In another world https://twitter.com/HBoushey/status/1289222754236071941, a sharp drop in activity would have been just a good, necessary blip while we addressed the virus.... We did not get the virus under control https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/business/economy/q2-gdp-coronavirus-economy.html

 

Techopia: Why China Does Have an Advantage in the Fourth Industrial Revolution https://www.techopia.co/post/why-china-advantage-fourth-industrial-revolution-ai: ‘We see no reason why the lessons of The Innovator's Dilemma can't apply to nations. China has been investing in new specialisms while the rest of the world watches on.... The first stage of a technology evolution is proving it and evolving it to be adoptable. The second phase is its fuller adoption, disruption of incumbents and productivity benefits. The markets are not always good at funding technologies before these benefits have set in, particularly when these require significant capital expenditure...

Wikipedia: Scipio Aemilianus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scipio_Aemilianus

Wikipedia: Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publius_Cornelius_Scipio_Nasica_Serapio

MAD Gaze: _ GLOW: Stylish MR Smart Glasses by MAD Gaze_ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/madgaze/mad-gaze-glow-lightweight-and-stylish-mr-glasses-for-you/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f53vZowtfmo&feature=emb_logo

 

Plus:

Randall Munroe: xkcd: Git https://xkcd.com/1597/

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-08-16" »


What Does Hanging wiþ þhe New York Times Staff Do to People, Anyway?—Highlighted

Why this is hell bosch

Still mulling this over...

The insightful and usually highly reliable Michelle Goldberg makes, I think, a big mistake here.

& something bad does seem to happen often to many people when they start hanging around the New York Times newsroom. They lose their moral compass, and some (not Goldberg) forget that they are supposed to work for their readers and not for their insider sources and their bosses...

Ok, that ends the throad-clearing:

Here Goldberg half-defends Bennet and Sulzburger's decision to publish Senator Cotton's call for massive violence against demonstrating American citizens by the security services—even William F. Buckley would not go quite so far half a century ago, when all he was willing to say was that white supremacists in the south had the right to defend white supremacy against protesters "by any means necessary"—on the grounds that New York Times readers are ignorant of what people like Cotton think, "readers should grasp what people like Cotton are arguing... because it is being taken seriously" and "the very qualities that make Cotton's Op-Ed revolting...make him an important figure in Trump's Republican Party".

But to publish the thing without surrounding context—that's just to give Cotton a megaphone.

Yes, you can argue that the cure for speech is more speech. But you are wrong. The "more speech" has to appear in the appropriate time, place, and manner.

At some level, I think, Michelle Goldberg knows this. Near the end of her piece is one sentence: "The paper could convey his views by reporting on them, but for the Opinion section, letting him express them himself is more direct." Not "more effective" or "more informative" or "more useful". Why did she choose "direct"?

I think because she knew she could not use any of those other words:

Michelle Goldberg: Tom Cotton's Fascist Op-Ed https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/06/michelle-goldberg-gives-her-employers.html: 'I figured he'd helpfully revealed himself as a dangerous authoritarian.... I can sort of appreciate my bosses' decision.... The Times Opinion section wants to include the views of people who support Trump... the very qualities that make Cotton's Op-Ed revolting—his strongman pretensions, his sneering apocalypticism—make him... important...

...Trump's Republican Party. (He might someday come to lead it.) Readers should grasp what people like Cotton are arguing, not because it's worth taking seriously but because it is being taken seriously, particularly by our mad and decomposing president.... The paper could convey his views by reporting on them, but for the Opinion section, letting him express them himself is more direct...

And Goldberg's conclusion? "Opinions of shape of earth differ". She won't say that Bennet's decision to publish was wrong. But she won't say that is right either. It is just as "crisis for our understandings of... marketplace[s] of ideas..."

It’s important to understand what the people around the president are thinking. But if they’re honest about what they’re thinking, it’s usually too disgusting to engage with. This creates a crisis for traditional understandings of how the so-called marketplace of ideas functions. It’s a subsidiary of the crisis that has the country on fire.

#highighted #journamalism #orangehairedbaboons #pubicsphere #moralresponsibility #2020-08-16
html https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/still-mulling-this-over-the-very-wise-very-insightful-and-usually-highly-reliable-michelle-goldberg-makes-i-think-a-sign.html
edit html https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00e551f08003883400e551f080068834/post/6a00e551f0800388340264e2e153f0200d/edit

Caesar Steals a March on þe Pompeians: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat, and pursues. These overly-cautious Pompeian generals begin to lose the war of maneuver:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘There was a debate in the council between Afranius and Petreius, and the time of marching was the subject...

...The majority were of opinion that they should begin their march at night, "for they might reach the defiles before they should be discovered."

Others, because a shout had been raised the night before in Caesar's camp, used this as an argument that they could not leave the camp unnoticed:

Continue reading "Caesar Steals a March on þe Pompeians: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic" »


Thomson-DeVeaux: What Economists Fear Will Happen Wiþout More Unemployment Aid—Noted

It was a supply shock. Now—with the expiry of income support—it is a supply shock an a demand shock. And—if we continue to make no progress in stomping the virus—it will become not just a transitory supply shock but a major reallocation shock as well, as the economy transforms itself painfully into a permanently socially-distanced one.

I am on this panel:

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux: What Economists Fear Will Happen Wiþout More Unemployment Aid https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-economists-fear-will-happen-without-more-unemployment-aid/: ‘A sudden uptick in food insecurity. A wave of evictions. People spending less money at shops and restaurants. More job losses.... Our regular survey... conducted in partnership with the Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.... The economists also said we’re more likely to see job losses than workers returning to the workforce if Congress decides not to extend the unemployment supplement in any form. That might seem counterintuitive—how could a policy that seems likely to encourage more people to return to work actually result in more job losses? But recent research has indicated that the 600-per-week payment has been allowing jobless workers to continue to spend money as they would normally, at a moment when hiring still isn’t back to normal.... Asked... which were most likely to bring about their nightmares. As a group, they said a lack of fiscal stimulus loomed almost as large as a bad second wave of COVID-19 infections...

Continue reading "Thomson-DeVeaux: What Economists Fear Will Happen Wiþout More Unemployment Aid—Noted" »


Farr & Gao: How Taiwan Beat þe Coronavirus—Noted

Yes, the coronavirus can be beaten. Schools are reopening and the economy is back to normal in Taiwan. We could beat it too with a nationwide, no more than one month lockdown. But it would have to be nationwide, and it would have to be enforced. Whether a country is able to figure out how to do this is, as Paul Krugman has said, an example fo the marshmellow test:

Christina Farr & Michelle Gao: How Taiwan Beat þe Coronavirus https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/15/how-taiwan-beat-the-coronavirus.html: ‘Taiwan has been praised for its highly effective Covid-19 response. Taiwan, which has nearly 24 million citizens, has had only 451 cases and seven deaths. Taiwan had a plan in place for years, which involved quarantines, contact tracing and wide availability of masks, among other things...

...When Catherine Chou arrived in Taipei after flying from Los Angeles, authorities told her she would need to quarantine for two weeks. For Chou, a citizen, that meant booking herself into a hotel at her own expense, although subsidies are available and the government has paid stipends for some stays. When she first arrived, she got a welcome package including dish soap, nail clippers and laundry detergent. Food was delivered to her doorstep. Several times a day, a representative of the local district’s office phoned her to check in and thank her for doing her part. She’s now almost wrapped up her hotel room stay. Once she’s officially cleared of Covid-19, she’ll be free to go.

After living in the U.S., which is still partially closed in various states, she’s looking forward to simple pleasures like visiting her family at home or sitting in a coffee shop with a good book. Taiwan allowed many of its restaurants and bars to reopen in May. “We have this phrase in Taiwan that roughly translates to, ‘This is your country, and it’s up to you to save it,’” she said. “I’m really glad that they’re taking this quarantine seriously”...

.#noted #2020-08-15

Resnick: US Covid-19 Testing & Surveillance Is Still in þe Dark_

I confess that back in March I was flummoxed by the fact that the American government and the American health sector could not scale-up to test people for coronavirus at the needed scalr. Today I am even more flummoxed by Americas continuing testing deficit. It makes it impossible to even figure out where we are with the virus, let alone plan how to try to fight it successfully at reasonable cost:

Brian Resnick: US Covid-19 Testing & Surveillance Is Still in þe Dark https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/8/5/21351766/covid-19-testing-tracking-hospitalizations-schools-reopening: ‘“It’s like we’re flying blind”: The US has a Covid-19 data problem: And fall is fast approaching...

Continue reading "Resnick: US Covid-19 Testing & Surveillance Is Still in þe Dark_" »


Caesar Pursues the Retreating Pompeians: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat. So when they do, he sets his army in hot pursuit:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Notice of this being given by the scouts, Caesar continued his work day and night, with very great fatigue to the soldiers, to drain the river, and so far effected his purpose, that the horse were both able and bold enough, though with some difficulty and danger, to pass the river; but the foot had only their shoulders and upper part of their breast above the water, so that their fording it was retarded, not only by the depth of the water, but also by the rapidity of the current. However, almost at the same instant, news was received of the bridge being nearly completed over the Ebro, and a ford was found in the Segre...

Continue reading "Caesar Pursues the Retreating Pompeians: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic" »


Steve M.: But Giving People þe Opposite of What þey Want Has Worked so Well for Republicans Until Now!—Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Since the mid-1800s, the primary way conservatives have won elections has been to mobilize fear of strangers and of the strange to trump the majority economic interest in a less unequal society. But while fear can trump interest, can fear Trump fear? Perhaps not:

Steve M.: But Giving People þe Opposite of What þey Want Has Worked so Well for Republicans Until Now! https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/07/but-giving-people-opposite-of-what-they.html: ‘Shockingly, it appears that trying to kill constituents is bad for your poll numbers if you're an elected official.... Since the Reagan era, corporatist Republicanism has weakened the middle class, increased inequality, gutted regulations on corporations, and, in this century, crashed the economy twice. But because Republicans distract their base with culture-war talk and other forms of lib-owning, none of the harm GOP politicians do to their voters has ever seemed to cause them trouble at the polls...

Continue reading "Steve M.: But Giving People þe Opposite of What þey Want Has Worked so Well for Republicans Until Now!—Weekend Reading" »


þe Deplorable Steve Calebresi Finally Sees How Deplorable He Has Been—Noted

And another Trump enabler looks around and says “what have I been doing?” It is, frankly, deplorable that it is not until now that Steve Calabresi has decided that Trump is a fascist: Matt Shuham: Federalist Society Co-Founder Calls Trump Bid To Change Election Day ‘Fascistic,’ Impeachable https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/federalist-society-co-founder-calls-trump-bid-to-change-election-day-fascistic-impeachable: ‘The co-founder of the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society said Thursday that Trump’s bid to move Election Day was “fascistic” and worthy of impeachment. Steven Calabresi wrote in a [New York Times op-ed that he’d voted for Trump, protested the Mueller investigation and opposed the President’s impeachment over the Ukraine pressure campaign. But, Calabresi wrote, “I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist,” he said. “But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.” Calabrisi, whose organization has been hugely influential in Trump’s massive record of judicial appointments, emphasized… [that] the decision isn’t his to make, and besides, the United States voted on the appointed date even during the Civil War and the Great Depression. “President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he cannot postpone the federal election,” Calabresi said. “Doing so would be illegal, unconstitutional and without precedent in American history. Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again”… #noted #2020-08-15


Black: Always Worth Reading—Noted

Always worth reading: Duncan Black: Monster Trucks https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/08/monster-trucks.html: ‘Just pedestrian killing machines: "Furthermore, the specific design trend of the massive hood sticking way out in front of the driver, with a cliff-face front grille obstructing the view several feet out in front of the wheels, is entirely a marketing gimmick.... Take it from the guy who designed the latest GM Sierra HD: "The front end was always the focal point... we spent a lot of time making sure that when you stand in front of this thing it looks like it's going to come get you. It's got that pissed-off feel," he told Muscle Cars & Trucks. "The face of these trucks is where the action is," marketing expert Mark Schirmer told the Wall Street Journal's Dan Neil.... And as Neil discovered when he was nearly run down in a Costco parking lot, that massive grille creates a massive blind spot…

Continue reading "Black: Always Worth Reading—Noted" »


Drum: Underground Cost of Health Care—Noted

The last time I went into my children’s pediatricians’ office, they had two doctors, three nurses, and four papers shufflers there—and the paper shufflers were mirrored by four more paper shufflers at the insurance companies, all trying to keep whatever the pediatricians were deciding to do from being covered by insurance. But, as Kevin Drum rightly points out, that is not the only overhead of our insane healthcare financing system. We patients spend a lot of time working for the insurance companies for free as well: Kevin Drum: How Big Is the Underground Cost of Health Care? https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/07/how-big-is-the-underground-cost-of-health-care/: ‘the health care system... massively inefficient and prone to errors, most of which end up falling on patients to fix... on hold making appointments... medication errors... arguing with insurance companies... back-and-forth... telling doctors what some other doctor said... miscommunications caused by the fact that doctors typically know nothing about the actual operation of their own industry. Etc.... elements of the health care system that are outsourced to patients themselves. It never gets accounted for, but for all practical purposes the health care system relies on the unpaid labor of patients... I have never seen a study that tries to compare this underground cost among countries... .#noted #2020-08-15


Briefly Noted for 2020-08-15

Briefly Noted:

Hamilton Project: Black Households & COVID-19: Impediments to Economic Security https://www.hamiltonproject.org/events/black_households_covid_19_impediments_to_economic_security: ‘how COVID-19 has exacerbated racial economic inequality... Maya Rockeymoore Cummings... Jevay Grooms... Bradley Hardy... Trevon Logan... Stephanie Rawlings-Blake... & Danyelle Solomon…

Philip Stephens: An Election to Decide America’s Place in þe World https://www.ft.com/content/876ba013-65d1-47aa-b8b0-79445efa7f71: ‘November’s contest will be as consequential for the world as any since Franklin D Roosevelt…

Ashley Nunes: Ride-hailing’s Collapsing House of Cards https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2020/08/13/1597305329000/Ride-hailing-s-collapsing-house-of-cards/: ‘Ride-hailing’s profitability aspirations ultimately conflict with its desire to upend the global auto market. These companies have a choice. By the virtue of raising or lowering fares they can either excite investors or thrill consumers. But they can’t do both…

Jim Sleeper: The Inevitability of Defending Henry Kissinger https://newrepublic.com/article/158897/barry-gewen-kissinger-nixon-foreign-policy: ‘Kissinger’s and Nixon’s bloody maneuvers—in Cambodia, in Vietnam—weren’t as necessary or inevitable as their admirers and apologists assert. Gewen cites the condemnations not so much to engage with them as to give his own assessments an aura of truth-seeking candor…

Andrew J.Jalil & al.: Eating to Save þe Planet: Evidence From A Randomized Controlled Trial Using Individual-Level Food Purchase Data https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306919220301548?via%3Dihub: ‘Climate change-health educational intervention reduces meat consumption.... "Win-win" message (EAT-Lancet Commission) leads to sustainable dietary change.... International food policy debate on interventions to meet global climate change goals…

Cecile Gaubert & Oleg Itskhoki: Superstar firms & þe Comparative Advantage of Countries https://voxeu.org/article/superstar-firms-and-comparative-advantage-countries: ‘We find that large individual firms appear to be a quantitatively important force in driving the comparative advantage of countries and its evolution over time. The granular structure of the world economy arguably offers incentives for governments to adopt trade and industrial policies targeted at individual firms…

Lacedaemonia as tourist trap: Plutarch: Life of Lycurgus http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Lycurgus*.html: 'The boys make such a serious matter of their stealing, that one of them, as the story goes, who was carrying concealed under his cloak a young fox which he had stolen, suffered the animal to tear out his bowels with its teeth and claws, and died rather than have his theft detected. And even this story gains credence from what their youths now endure, many of whom I have seen expiring under the lash at the altar of Artemis Orthia...

 

Plus:

Joel E. Cohen: How to Count Humans https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/lancet-population-growth-study-july-2020-by-joel-e-cohen-2020-08: ‘the global population is likely to peak in 2064 at 9.7 billion, before declining to 8.8 billion by 2100.... 23 countries... at most half their 2017 size by 2100.... By contrast, Nigeria’s population is expected to grow 3.8-fold between 2017 and 2100: Stein Emil Vollset & al.: Fertility, Mortality, Migration, & Population Scenarios For 195 Countries & Territories From 2017 To 2100 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30677-2/fulltext

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-08-15" »


Quiggin: Intangibles = Monopoly—Noted

We kinda-sorta understood the economies of the past: the agrarian-age economy based on agriculture in handicrafts, the succeeding commercial-age economy to which was added commerce, the industrial-revolution economy based more on manufacturing and non-animal power sources, and then modern economic growth based on mass production and engineering communities. But now we have a problem. Our problem now is that, increasingly, our computer age information and attention economy works differently. And we do not understand it terribly well:

John Quiggin: Intangibles = Monopoly https://crookedtimber.org/2020/08/11/intangibles-monopoly/: ‘The fact that the most profitable companies, particularly tech companies, don’t have all that much in the way of capital assets compared to their market value. What they have is monopoly power, which has been increasing steadily over time...

Continue reading "Quiggin: Intangibles = Monopoly—Noted" »


Stone: Russia, America, and the American Press—Noted

I.F. Stone (1954): On Russia, America, and the American Press https://www.bradford-delong.com/2006/09/if_stone_on_rus.html: ‘If there is indeed a monstrous and diabolic conspiracy against world peace and stability, then isn't McCarthy right? If "subversives" are at work like termites... are they not likely to be found in the most unlikely places and under the most unlikely disguises?... To doubt the power of the devil... is... to incur suspicion of being oneself in league with the powers of evil. So all the fighters against McCarthyism are impelled to adopt its premises.... Nowhere in American politics is there evidence of any important figure (even Stevenson) prepared to talk in sober, mature, and realistic terms of the real problems which arise in a real world where national rivalries, mass aspirations, and ideas clash as naturally as waves of the sea. The premises of free society and of liberalism find no one to voice them, yet McCarthyisms will not be ended until someone has the nerve to make this kind of fundamental attack on it… .#noted #1954-01-01


Farrell: Charles Rowley Was Never All There...—Noted

Henry Farrell (2009): Death to the Keynesian Insect That Preys on the Life of the People! https://crookedtimber.org/2009/12/06/death-to-the-keynesian-insect-that-preys-on-the-life-of-the-people/: ‘It’s super-duper awesome! Charles Rowley, familiar to long time CT readers for his ruminations on the corruption of the profession of political science... and his bizarre attack on Avner Greif... now has his own blog. It’s everything that one might possibly hope for. My favorite so far is the bit telling us that: "the massive fist of free market ideas once again will smash through the false consciousness of Keynesian dreams, and voters will rush to elect leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan..." ‘cos it’s a level of rhetorical styling that I haven’t seen since I used to pick up the newsletter of the Maoist International Movement.... But the Obama=Sykes, Larry Summers=Fagin “post” runs a very close second... #noted 2020-08-12


Meyer: þe Right-Wing-o-Sphere Will Fight a Cold Civil War—Comment of þe Day

William Meyer: All Hands on Deck Time https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/all-hands-on-deck-timenote-to-self.html?cid=6a00e551f080038834026bde897408200c#comment-6a00e551f080038834026bde897408200c: ‘What to say about these people? Even if there is a major political win in November for the Democrats, the entire right-wing-o-sphere, now all-in on despicable behavior, will still be out there, raring for revenge and almost certainly trying to make the pandemic and the economic damage worse with an eye on the 2022 midterms. Of course they hope to repeat their successful strategy of 2010. (That certainly looks to be what McConnell is aiming for, at a minimum—he is the smartest guy they've got.) I guess there is no alternative, but what we have ahead of us is—literally—a Cold Civil War. We better be prepared to fight it… .#commentoftheday #2020-08-14


Sabelhaus: Restoring þe Federal Estate Tax Is a Proven Way to Raise Revenue & Address Wealth Inequality—Noted from Equitable Growth

An excellent and brand-new working paper by John Sabelhaus: John Sabelhaus: Restoring þe Federal Estate Tax Is a Proven Way to Raise Revenue & Address Wealth Inequality https://equitablegrowth.org/restoring-the-federal-estate-tax-is-a-proven-way-to-raise-revenue-and-address-wealth-inequality/: ‘There are four principal reasons why expanding the estate tax could well be the most effective and efficient way.... First, policymakers have repeatedly cut the estate tax over the past 20 years, without regard for the true economic and distributional consequences.... Second... the estate tax, in practice, is better described as an effective backstop to the federal income tax.... Third, the very failure to collect taxes on the true incomes of the very wealthy increases wealth inequality within generations and amplifies the inequality due to intergenerational wealth transfers.... Fourth... reviv[ing] the estate tax—doing so would greatly improve the overall fiscal outlook of the federal government, and in a highly progressive way… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-08-14


Hardy & Logan: Race & þe Lack of Intergenerational Economic Mobility in þe United States—Noted from Equitable Growth

I have talked about this before. But now it is back on the agenda in a much more salient way for a large number of reasons, of which perhaps the largest is the police murder of George Floyd:

Bradley Hardy & Trevon Logan: Race & þe Lack of Intergenerational Economic Mobility in þe United States https://equitablegrowth.org/race-and-the-lack-of-intergenerational-economic-mobility-in-the-united-states/: ‘Geographic and racial differences in economic mobility are particularly important from a policy perspective for three reasons. First, racial differences in mobility can exacerbate racial differences in other areas.... Second, inequalities in opportunity are antithetical to our nation’s creed.... Third, structural differences in mobility limit the potential for overall U.S. economic growth.... The historic links between intergenerational economic mobility and race and income inequality.... The known policy remedies for persistently low intergenerational economic mobility among African Americans.... A mix of policies to promote more equitable housing and educational opportunities alongside moves to boost income security and wealth accumulation… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-08-14


Equitable Growth: Unemployment Insurance Claims—Noted from Equitable Growth

Better news from the labor market than I was expecting: while the coronavirus plague is still on the increase nationwide, that has not spilled over to further depress the economy—at least not yet. However, to the extent that we could suppress the virus cheaply and easily by accepting a deepening of the recession, we would be fools to be pleased that we are not doing so:

Equitable Growth: 'Regular continued claims, or the number of workers who are now insured, fell to 15.2 million the week ending August 1... 10.4 percent https://twitter.com/equitablegrowth/status/1293889469851095041.... For the week ending August 8, 831,856 workers filed for regular unemployment benefits.... States reported that another 488,622 workers filed for initial PUA, the program that extended eligibility to some workers, such as caretakers, the self-employed, and those without enough earnings history, who are not eligible for regular jobless benefits.... Experts warn that President Trump’s presidential memorandum on UI is regressive (it excludes those receiving less than $100 in unemployment benefits) and extremely difficult to implement (states might have to set up entirely new delivery systems)… .#noted #2020-08-14


Husak: Uber‘s CEO Says Uber Is a Value-Subtracting Firm—Noted from Equitable Growth

If Uber cannot be profitable if the government requires it to pay its workers enough that they make at least minimum wage, than Uber is not a value-adding firm. It is, rather, a value-destroying firm—like the state-owned enterprises of behind the Iron Curtain. Capital should flow to something that can be profitable when it pays workers minimum wage. Workers should take up better-paying options. If Uber needs a playing field especially tilted towards it to survive, it is a net negative for the economy. That's just Econ 1:

Corey Husak: 'Uber‘s CEO... [is] asking for a complete re-shaping of labor law https://twitter.com/CoreyHusak/status/1293630881349992449 just to fit their profit scheme.... Their real innovation was finding tricks to pay drivers less than their competitors... [by] making workers contractors instead of employees.... Larry Mishel at EPI found that after deducting expenses, Uber fees, taxes, and the benefits they’d make as employees, Uber drivers take home only $9.21/hr, of the $22/hr they generate in fares.... A lack of benefits makes them among the most exposed to the effects of the #coronavirus recession. A normal person looks at this and thinks “Drivers need support. Uber should follow minimum wage laws.”... However, paying workers more would hurt profits, so Uber claims they couldn’t possibly provide their drivers the same rights and benefits as most other employers…

Continue reading "Husak: Uber‘s CEO Says Uber Is a Value-Subtracting Firm—Noted from Equitable Growth" »


538: Minnesota as þe Most Likely Battleground—Noted

Minnesota as the most likely tipping-point state. Democratic edge (in order): Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan. Republican edge (in order): Florida, Arizona, Nebraska (2), North Carolina, Ohio: 538: 2020 Election Forecast https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-election-forecast/… .#highlighted #noted #politics #2020-08-13

Continue reading "538: Minnesota as þe Most Likely Battleground—Noted" »


þe Ghouls Who Ran Herman Cain's Twitter Feed While He Fought for His Life & þen Drowned in His Hospital Bed Continue þe Grift—Noted

The ghouls who ran Herman Cain's twitter feed while he fought for his life & then drowned in his hospital bed continue the grift: Rob Beschizza: Herman Cain Tweets From Beyond Þe Grave https://boingboing.net/2020/08/13/herman-cain-tweets-from-beyond.html: ‘Herman Cain... banal pro-Trump propaganda... a grim month-long spectacle seemingly pumped out by political handlers willing to speak with Cain's voice even as that voice ceased to exist. I speculated that the tweets would continue after his death, a melding of Trumpian incompetence, obscenity and indifference. I was asked to stop posting on grounds of "Rob, He Just Died", but sadly that exortation was not made to whoever is wearing Cain's corpse today on Twitter… .#noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-08-13


Briefly Noted for 2020-08-13

Reporters without Borders: The Uncensored Library https://www.uncensoredlibrary.com/en

Wikipedia: Adalbert von Bredow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adalbert_von_Bredow: ‘Von Bredow married Dr. Elise Cäcilie Friederike Kühne in 1849. It took a lot of convincing to get her to go out with him... [a] known and respected academic and long head of university departments…

Aliette de Bodard: The Inaccessibility of Heaven https://uncannymagazine.com/article/the-inaccessibility-of-heaven/: ‘Night. A night like any other in Starhollow: the headlights of cars, small and lost between the skyscrapers; the smell of hydromel and wine wafting from those few bars still open; and above me, the distant light of the stars, a constant reminder of the inaccessibility of Heaven…

Julie E. Czerneda: The Big Idea https://whatever.scalzi.com/2020/08/12/the-big-idea-julie-e-czerneda-2/: ‘Alien Squabbles? Worlds in Conflict? Come to the Web Shifter’s Library! The library in question is the All Species’ Library of Linguistics and Culture. It began, quite simply, as a way for trouble to find my characters: Esen-alit-Quar, the semi-immortal shapeshifting Web-being, and her Human friend, Paul Ragem…

Rob Beschizza: Ilhan Omar Thrashes Well-Funded Primary Challenger https://boingboing.net/2020/08/12/illhan-omar-thrashes-well-fund.html: ‘Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar fended off a well-funded challenger in yesterday's primary election and is and is now all but certain to retain her seat in November's general. Antone Melton-Meaux raised millions in the 5th district race but conceded…

Elizabeth Choe & al.: Becoming the Next Bill Nye: Writing and Hosting the Educational Show https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/biological-engineering/20-219-becoming-the-next-bill-nye-writing-and-hosting-the-educational-show-january-iap-2015/instructor-insights/

Williams-Sonoma Taste: Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce https://blog.williams-sonoma.com/chicken-with-mustard-cream-sauce/

Naked Wines http://nakedwines.com

Mark Frauenfelder: "Phoenix Checklist": The Plan https://boingboing.net/2019/02/28/heres-the-cias-phoenix-c.html: 'The "Phoenix Checklist" is a set of questions developed by the CIA to define and think about a problem, and how to develop a solution...

 

Plus:

Kirby Ferguson: QAnon, Conspiracy Theories, and the Rise of Magical Thinking https://kottke.org/20/08/qanon-conspiracy-theories-and-the-rise-of-magical-thinking: ‘1. Obsession with symbols and codes (e.g. pizza as a “deep state” code for child trafficking). 2. Dot connecting (e.g. linking 5G with Covid-19). 3. Behind every event is a plan concocted by a person (e.g. Soros and the “deep state” conspiracy). 4. Purity (e.g. the Satanic panic and heavy metal music). 5. Apocalypse is nigh (e.g. the “deep state” again). 6. Preoccupation with good and evil (e.g. liberals are not only wrong but evil)…

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-08-13" »


All Hands on Deck Time—Note to Self

All the kings men strip

Want to insult a man in America today, call him a woman—as, for example, the New York Times allows and encourages Maureen Dowd to do, albeit only for Democratic and not for Republican male politicians, who somehow seem to always be Manly Men. Want to insult a woman in America today, and you can follow Dowd and call her a man, but it is more effective to call her a whore.

It's time for all hands on deck: "hell among the yearlings and the Charge of the Light Brigade and Saturday night in the back room of Casey's saloon rolled into one". It is time for Sadie Burke and Hugh Miller.

And we haven't even gotten to the mass vote suppression and miscount part or the potential Rubicon moment part of this election:

Steve M.: 'Here's what right-wingers call Harris when they think we're not listening https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-trumpers-other-insulting-nickname.html: "Mattress Kamala" is what your right-wing relatives will be calling her soon, if they aren't already. We'll see whether Trump or any of his surrogates try to take the nickname mainstream…

Continue reading "All Hands on Deck Time—Note to Self" »


Briefly Noted for 2020-08-11

Plato: The Republic http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1497/1497-h/1497-h.htm: ‘Come, then, and I will tell you the story of Er...

Bob Pozen: Proactive Indexing: Index Funds & IPOs https://mailchi.mp/6bfedcf64bb7/proactive-indexing-index-fundsand-ipos?e=7e7976b4fc: ‘Index funds could generate excess returns if they bought IPO stocks when they were initially offered.... There is risk…

Raghuram G. Rajan: Should Governments Spend Away? https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/government-spending-debt-burden-on-future-generations-by-raghuram-rajan-2020-08: ‘Painful reminders of what happens when countries cannot service their debts.... The notion that anyone should be made whole because the pandemic “wasn’t their fault” immediately becomes untenable…

Sean Guynes: The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread https://www.tor.com/series/the-ursula-k-le-guin-reread/

Matt Mikalatos: The Great C.S. Lewis Reread https://www.tor.com/series/the-great-c-s-lewis-reread/

Duncan Black: Down Up https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/08/down-up.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/bRuz+(Eschaton): ‘I'd like to ask some of the people who spun out their fantasies of how to open schools safely if any of them actually believed anything they suggested was possible, or if it was just a propaganda effort…

David Corn: The Republican Party Is Racist and Soulless. Just Ask This Veteran GOP Strategist. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/08/racism-republican-party-stuart-stevens/: ‘Stuart Stevens says he now realizes the hatred and bigotry of Trumpism were always at the heart of the GOP…

Josh Tyler: Star Trek: Lower Decks Review: The Best Trek Since DS9 https://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/ent/star-trek-lower-decks-review.html: ‘That the people making [it]... actually know something... is a much bigger deal than it might seem.... JJ Abrams... loudly declared he didn’t like Star Trek.... Abrams handed... over to his acolyte Alex Kurtzman... [who] wouldn’t know a Tholian from a Gorn if they were standing right in front of him…

 

Plus:

Scott Lemieuxc: Real Americans https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/07/real-americans: ‘Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically…. That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out”.... For you young people out there, it’s almost impossible to convey how long the idea that Democrats are snooty elitists who don’t care about anyone outside coastal urban areas was taken as a given in mainstream political coverage.... John Kerry was disciplined enough not to make a gaffe so… Maureen Dowd… [made] up a quote about NASCAR…. But when reactionaries from Wallace to Palin to Trump talk about REAL AMERICA, they mean it—it structures their entire worldview. Jared’s belief that the lives of people in blue states (who are less affluent than he is) are worth nothing is just a blunter statement about the ethos that governs Republican politics. It’s no different when Wisconsin Republicans declare they have the permanent right to minority rule because cities shouldn’t really count and the Republicans on the Supreme Court wink at multiple provisions of the Constitution to agree with them. They’re completely straightforward about it, and yet it gets much less attention than John Kerry ordering Swiss cheese on a cheesesteak...

Continue reading "Briefly Noted for 2020-08-11" »


Afranius & Petreius Fear Caesar's Cavalry & Decide to Retreat: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar faces Pompeian forces split in two: an army without a leader in Spain, and a leader without an army in Greece. Logistics and diplomacy reverse the situation at Ilerda in northeast Spain, as Caesar gains an advantage in allied cavalry that makes Afranius and Petreius fear their position will soon become logistically untenable. They decide to retreat:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘When news of this battle was brought to Caesar at Ilerda, the bridge being completed at the same time, fortune soon took a turn. The enemy, daunted by the courage of our horse, did not scour the country as freely or as boldly as before: but sometimes advancing a small distance from the camp, that they might have a ready retreat, they foraged within narrower bounds...

Continue reading "Afranius & Petreius Fear Caesar's Cavalry & Decide to Retreat: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic" »


Plato: Myth of Er—Noted

Not much of a dialogue. But it is a story. Sokrates is speaking:

Plato: The Republic: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1497/1497-h/1497-h.htm: 'Come, then, and I will tell you the story of Er, the son of Armenius, a valiant man. He was supposed to have died in battle, but ten days afterwards his body was found untouched by corruption and sent home for burial. On the twelfth day he was placed on the funeral pyre and there he came to life again, and told what he had seen in the world below...

Continue reading "Plato: Myth of Er—Noted" »


Fall 2020: Virtual Economic History Seminar—Noted

Virtual Economic History Seminar https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/crei/virhist: 'Following the Spring 2020 seminars co-organised by Petra Moser, Katherine Eriksson and Melissa Thomasson, we will continue meeting on Mondays 11-noon Vancouver / 2-3pm Washington DC / 7-8pm London.... Co-organised with Bitsy Perlman and Felipe Valencia Caicedo… .#economichistory #noted #remoteinstruction #2020-08-11


The Caesarian Navy Led by Decimus Brutus Wins a Victory at Massilia: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

Caesar faces Pompeian forces split in two: an army without a leader in Spain, and a leader without an army in Greece. While Caesar grapples with the leaderless Pompeian army in Spain, Decimus Brutus and Caesar's navy win an victory over the traitorous Massilians and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Decimus Brutus and the Caesarian Navy Win a Victory at Massilia: Whilst these affairs are going forward at Ilerda, the Massilians, adopting the advice of Domitius, prepared seventeen ships of war, of which eleven were decked. To these they add several smaller vessels, that our fleet might be terrified by numbers...

Continue reading "The Caesarian Navy Led by Decimus Brutus Wins a Victory at Massilia: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic" »


Caesar Turns the Tables on the Pompeian Skirmishers: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

Caesar faces Pompeian forces split in two: an army without a leader in Spain, and a leader without an army in Greece. With clever engineering and tactics, he overcomes his logistical difficulties and begins to turn the tables on the Pompeian army in Spain:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Caesar Turns the Tables on the Pompeian Skirmishers: When Caesar's affairs were in this unfavourable position, and all the passes were guarded by the soldiers and horse of Afranius, and the bridges could not be prepared, Caesar ordered his soldiers to make ships of the kind that his knowledge of Britain a few years before had taught him...

Continue reading "Caesar Turns the Tables on the Pompeian Skirmishers: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic" »


Floods and Supply Lines: Livelogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Floods and Supply Lines: The enemy fortified the hill, about which the contest had been, with strong works, and posted a garrison on it. In two days after this transaction, there happened an unexpected misfortune. For so great a storm arose, that it was agreed that there were never seen higher floods in those countries; it swept down the snow from all the mountains, and broke over the banks of the river, and in one day carried away both the bridges which Fabius had built, a circumstance which caused great difficulties to Caesar's army...

...As our camp, as already mentioned, was pitched between two rivers, the Segre and Cinca, and as neither of these could be forded for the space of thirty miles, they were all of necessity confined within these narrow limits. Neither could the states, which had espoused Caesar's cause, furnish him with corn, nor the troops, which had gone far to forage, return, as they were stopped by the waters: nor could the convoys, coming from Italy and Gaul, make their way to the camp.

Besides, it was the most distressing season of the year, when there was no corn in the blade, and it was nearly ripe: and the states were exhausted, because Afranius had conveyed almost all the corn, before Caesar's arrival, into Ilerda, and whatever he had left, had been already consumed by Caesar. The cattle, which might have served as a secondary resource against want, had been removed by the states to a great distance on account of the war. They who had gone out to get forage or corn, were chased by the light troops of the Lusitanians, and the targeteers of Hither Spain, who were well acquainted with the country, and could readily swim across the river, because it is the custom of all those people not to join their armies without bladders.

But Afranius's army had abundance of everything; a great stock of corn had been provided and laid in long before, a large quantity was coming in from the whole province: they had a good store of forage. The bridge of Ilerda afforded an opportunity of getting all these without any danger, and the places beyond the bridge, to which Caesar had no access, were as yet untouched.

Those floods continued several days. Caesar endeavoured to repair the bridges, but the height of the water did not allow him: and the cohorts disposed along the banks did not suffer them to be completed; and it was easy for them to prevent it, both from the nature of the river and the height of the water, but especially because their darts were thrown from the whole course of the bank on one confined spot; and it was no easy matter at one and the same time to execute a work in a very rapid flood, and to avoid the darts.

Intelligence was brought to Afranius that the great convoys, which were on their march to Caesar, had halted at the river. Archers from the Rutheni, and horse from the Gauls, with a long train of baggage, according to the Gallic custom of travelling, had arrived there; there were besides about six thousand people of all descriptions, with slaves and freed men. But there was no order, or regular discipline, as every one followed his own humour, and all travelled without apprehension, taking the same liberty as on former marches.

There were several young noblemen, sons of senators, and of equestrian rank; there were ambassadors from several states; there were lieutenants of Caesar's. The river stopped them all. To attack them by surprise, Afranius set out in the beginning of the night, with all his cavalry and three legions, and sent the horse on before, to fall on them unawares; but the Gallic horse soon got themselves in readiness, and attacked them. Though but few, they withstood the vast number of the enemy, as long as they fought on equal terms: but when the legions began to approach, having lost a few men, they retreated to the next mountains.

The delay occasioned by this battle was of great importance to the security of our men; for having gained time, they retired to the higher grounds. There were missing that day about two hundred bow-men, a few horse, and an inconsiderable number of servants and baggage.

However, by all these things, the price of provisions was raised, which is commonly a disaster attendant, not only on a time of present scarcity, but on the apprehension of future want. Provisions had now reached fifty denarii each bushel; and the want of corn had diminished the strength of the soldiers; and the inconveniences were increasing every day: and so great an alteration was wrought in a few days, and fortune had so changed sides, that our men had to struggle with the want of every necessary; while the enemy had an abundant supply of all things, and were considered to have the advantage.

Caesar demanded from those states which had acceded to his alliance, a supply of cattle, as they had but little corn. He sent away the camp followers to the more distant states, and endeavoured to remedy the present scarcity by every resource in his power.

Afranius and Petreius, and their friends, sent fuller and more circumstantial accounts of these things to Rome, to their acquaintances. Report exaggerated them so that the war appeared to be almost at an end. When these letters and despatches were received at Rome, a great concourse of people resorted to the house of Afranius, and congratulations ran high: several went out of Italy to Cneius Pompey; some of them, to be the first to bring him the intelligence; others, that they might not be thought to have waited the issue of the war, and to have come last of all…

 

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-08-07
html < >
edit html < >

 


 

Foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/foreshadowing-from-gaius-sallustius-crispus-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. Let us start with some foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus...


Pompey's Strategy and Domitius' Stand https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/burns-pompeys-strategy-and-domitius-standnoted.html: In his The Civil War Gaius Julius Caesar presented "just the facts" in a way that made Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus look like a cowardly and incompetent idiot. The attractive interpretation is that Ahenobarbus was just trying to do the job of defeating Caesar, but had failed to recognize that Pompey was not his ally. Pompey, rather, was somebody whose first goal was to gain the submission of Ahenobarbus and the other Optimates, and only after that submission was gained would he even think about fighting Caesar. Still an idiot, but not an incompetent or a cowardly one: Alfred Burns https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-burns-pompey.pdf: ‘In early 49, the alliance confronting Caesar consisted of the old republican senate families who under the leadership of [Lucius] Domitius [Ahenonbarbus] tried to maintain the traditional institutions and of Pompey who clung to his own extra-legal position of semi-dictatorial power. Both parties to the alliance were as mutually distrustful as they were dependent on each other…

Marcus Tullius Cicero's Take on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/marcus-tullius-ciceros-take-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘We have a primary source for the start of the Roman Civil Warin addition to Gaius Julius Caesar's deceptively powerful plain-spoken "just the facts" narrative in his Commentaries on the Civl War—a narrative that is also a clever and sophisticated lawyer's brief. Our one other primary source: Marcus Tullius Cicero's letters to his BFF Titus Pomponius Atticus. Caesar, in his The Civil War, makes himself out to be reasonable, rational, decisive, and clever. Cicero, in his Letters to Atticus is a contrast. He lets his hair down. He is writing to someone he trusts to love him without reservation. He is completely unconcerned with making himself appear to be less flawed than he appears. And the impression he leaves is absolutely dreadful: he makes himself out to be erratic, emotional, dithering, and idiotic…

Reflecting on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/reflecting-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘The key question for the first three months of the year -49 is: what did the factions anticipate would happen in that year? The Optimates seemed to think that they had Caesar cornered: Either he surrendered... and then submitted to trial... or he... was quickly crushed.... Cicero appears to have believed that either the Senate surrendered to Ceesar and let him... put Cataline’s conspiracy into action but legally... and then ruled With the support of his electoral coalition of mountebank ex-debtors and ex-veterans to whom he had given land; or... Pompey... crushed Cesar militarily... follow[ed] up with proscriptions and executions after which he would rule as a second Sulla. What is not at all clear to me is what Pompey thought would happen.... My guess, reading between the lines of Plutarch, is that Pompey found himself allied with the Senate in January-February of -49, but not in command of anything—as shown by Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus’s behavior at Corfinium, attempting to trap Pompey into fighting alongside him in central Italy. And so he retreated to Greece, where he was in undisputed command…


Caesar Offers a Compromise Solution (or So Caesar Says) https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-offers-a-compromise-solution-or-so-caesar-says-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Beginning of Caesar's Commentaries on the Civil War, in which Caesar says that he had proposed a compromise solution to the political crisis.... 'The dispatch from Gaius Caesar was delivered to the consuls; but it was only after strong representations from the tribunes that they gave their grudging permission for it to be read in the Senate. Even then, they would not consent to a debate on its contents, but initiated instead a general debate on ‘matters of State'.... Scipio spoke... Pompey, he said, intended to stand by his duty to the State, if the Senate would support him; but if they hesitated and showed weakness, then, should they want his help later, they would ask for it in vain…

The Optimate Faction Rejects Caesar's Compromise https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-rejects-caesars-compromise-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates the reasons that the leaders of the Optimate faction—Cato, Lentulus, Scipio, and Pompey—worked hard to set the stage for war, and how the majority of Senators in the timorous middle were robbed of the power to decide freely, and driven reluctantly to vote for Scipio's motion to rob Caesar of his protections against arrest and trial…

The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-arms-for-war-illegally-usurps-provincial-imperium-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: Whatever norms he may or may not have broken during his consulate—in order to wrest land from the hands of corrupt plutocrats and grant it to the deserving—he says, the Optimate faction does much worse. In the first seven days of the year of the consulate of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior, the Optimate faction goes beyond norm-breaking into outright illegality. And to that they add impiety. They illegaly seize power, as they grant themselves proconsular and propraetorial imperium over the provinces, without the constitutionally-required popular confirmation of imperium. They impiously violate the separation of church and state by seizing temple funds for their own use. They thus incur the wrath of the gods. And they incur the enmity of all who believe in constitutional balance, as opposed to armed plutocratic dictatorship…

Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsucccessfully with Pompey https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-presents-his-case-to-the-13th-legion-negotiates-unsucccessfully-with-pompey-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-rep.html: Caesar presents his case to the 13th Legion, and wins its enthusiastic support. Caesar and Pompey negotiate, but Pompey refuses to give up his dominant position. He holds imperium over Spain and commanding the ten Spanish garrison legions, while also residing in the suburbs of Rome and thus dominating the discussions of the Senate. Pompey refuses to commit to setting a date for his departure for Spain…

The Optimate Faction Panics and Abandons Rome https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-panics-and-abandons-rome-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: The Optimate faction panics at a rumor of Caesar's approach, and flees from Rome with the looted Treasury reserve. The towns of Italy support Caesar. Even the town of Cingulum rallied to Caesar, even though its founder Titus Labienus, Caesar's second-in-command in the Gallic War, had deserted Caesar for his earlier allegiance to Pompey. And Pompey's attempts to reinforce his army by recruiting veterans who had obtained their farms through Caesar's legislative initiatives did not go well...

Caesar Besieges Domitius in Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-besieges-domitius-in-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus began raising troops, and by the start of February -49 had 13000 soldiers in the town of Corfinum. On 09 Feb -49 Domitius decided to stand at Corfinum rather than retreat to the south of Italy. So he wrote to Pompey... urged that the Optimate faction join its military forces together at Corfinum to outnumber and fight Caesar. Pompey disagreed. Why did he decide that he, Pompey, "cannot risk the whole war in a single battle, especially under the circumstances"?…

Caesar Captures Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-captures-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus's deception that Pompey is coming to the Optimates' aid in Corfinum falls apart, Ahenobarbus tries to flee, Lentulus Spinther begs for his life, Caesar grants clemency to all, and adds the three Optimate and Pompeian legions to his army. Before Corfinum Caesar had had two legions in Italy to the Optimate and Pompeian six. After Corfinum (with the arrival of Legio VIII plus new recruits) Caesar has seven legions in Italy to the Pompeian three. It is now 21 Feb -49: Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Domitius’s looks, however, belied his words; indeed, his whole demeanour was much more anxious and fearful than usual. When to this was added the fact that, contrary to his usual custom, he spent a lot of time talking to his friends in private, making plans, while avoiding a meeting of the officers or an assembly of the troops, then the truth could not be concealed or misrepresented for long…

Pompey Refuses to Negotiate & Flees to Greece https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/pompey-refuses-to-negotiate-flees-to-greece-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Pompey flees to the southern Adriatic port of Brundisium. Caesar catches up to him and begs him to negotiate. Pompey refuses and flees to Greece. Caesar decides not to follow, but to turn and first defeat the Pompeian armies in Spain. It is now 18 Mar -49...

Cementing Caesarian Control of the Center of the Empire: Late March -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/cementing-caesarian-control-of-the-center-of-the-empire-late-march-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar, now that the Pompeians and the High Optimates have fled, offers to share power with the dysfunctional Senate but, filibustered and vetoed by Optimate tribunes, he consolidates his hold on the center of the empire and heads for Spain…

Treachery at Massilia: April-May -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/treachery-at-massilia-april-may-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Massiliotes profess neutrality—until Pompeian reinforcements arrive, and then they go back on their word. Pompeians to whom Caesar had shown clemency at Corfinium have again taken up weapons against him: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus at Massilia, and Vibullius Rufus to command the Pompeian legions in Spain…

Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/rendezvous-in-spain-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-repubvlic.html: Caesar's first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west: 'The First Spanish Campaign: Fabius’s orders were to make haste to seize the passes over the Pyrenees, which at that time were being held by the troops of Pompey’s lieutenant, Lucius Afranius. He ordered the remaining legions, which were wintering farther away, to follow on. Fabius, obeying orders, lost no time in dislodging the guards from the pass and proceeded by forced marches to encounter Afranius’s army…

Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-begins-his-first-spanish-campaign-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. He moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize...

Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/heavy-but-inconclusive-skirmishing-between-the-military-camps-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, Caesar moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. Heavy but inconclusive skirmishing follows…


Moral Fault Attaches to the Enablers of the New York Times—Note to Self

Note to Self: Moral fault attaches to all the enablers of the New York Times: just saying:

Duncan Black: Maybe It Matters Who Rules The World https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/08/maybe-it-matters-who-rules-world.html: ‘Maybe the actions of the King matter more than the palace intrigue and court gossip. Last night I was reminded of when Maggie Haberman went to bat for Sarah Sanders. Everyone should've known the deal at the WHCA dinner by then, when a Republican is president, anyway. Comedian makes jokes. The Right finds a joke that is OUT OF BOUNDS, throws a hissy fit, declares this proves HOW BIASED AND MEAN THE PRESS ARE TO THEM because a random comedian did a mean joke. Snowflakes melting on the fainting couch, always. And there was Maggie, going for the assist, convinced that Michelle Wolf had INSULTED THE LOOKS OF SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, when Wolf had done no such thing. As is usually the case when someone at the Times fucks up, 8000 people explained it to her, but Maggie wouldn't back down. In 2 sets of tweets, basically:

Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT: That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.

Michelle Wolf @michelleisawolf: Hey mags! All these jokes were about her despicable behavior. Sounds like you have some thoughts about her looks though? 😘

Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT: The jokes I watched/heard about her eye makeup weren’t making fun of her appearance? What were they?

Scott 'antisocial distancing' Slater @slaterama: Do better, @maggieNYT. Even dictionary example calls smokey 👀 "a makeup classic that never goes out of style." @michelleisawolf said Sanders "burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye." Pls pinpoint the "intense criticism of her physical appearance."

https://twitter.com/slaterama/status/990615211907469312

.#journamalism #moralresponsibility #newyorktimes #notetoself #2020-08-07

Graydon: Authoritarians Cannot Admit Error—Comment of the Day

Graydon: The Post-Trump GOP Is Likely to Be Even Worse https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/steve-m-_the-post-trump-gop-is-likely-to-be-even-worse_-the-lincoln-project-i-believe-the-projects-founders-a.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340264e2ec1555200d#comment-6a00e551f0800388340264e2ec1555200d: ‘This is one of those cases of making a simple thing complicated. Authoritarians cannot admit error; it's structurally surrender in authoritarian contexts. The cultural GOP is authoritarian and committed for generations to a great many policies they can no longer avoid describing as errors should they retain any allegiance to the utility of facts. So you get a complete refusal to deal with facts. Because this refusal exists in context of really effective communications, the common fabulations retain political meaning on sheer numbers. It's emergent; its unpredictable. It's generally entirely bonkers. But it is a consensus… .#commentoftheday #2020-08-06


Smith: Coronavirus Relief: Republicans in Disarray—Noted

The House Republicans caucus could not govern when they were in the majority. The House was then run by a caucus composed of non-Tea Party Republicans negotiating with Nancy Pelosi, so that she would give permission for enough Democrats to vote for a bill to make up a majority.

Now it looks like Mitch McConnell has decided that his Senate caucus has the same degree of dysfunction: it looks as though he will sign on to whatever economy-rescue bill Pelosi agrees on with Mnuchin.

Here Karl Smith gives his take on how that happened:

Karl W. Smith: Coronavirus Relief Bill Has Republicans in Disarray https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-07-22/coronavirus-relief-bill-has-republicans-in-disarray: ‘The pandemic has left GOP lawmakers deeply splintered, not just over tactics or strategy but on basic principles. There are roughly four factions...

...If they don’t find a way to heal their fractures, U.S. workers and the overall economy will suffer even more.... Republicans... have traditionally supported government-led action and unrestrained spending only to battle foreign foes; with some notable exceptions, they have preferred to leave domestic issues to the private sector or the states....

The pandemic has pushed [one] group over the edge. Congress has spent almost half as much fighting Covid-19 over the last four months as it spent in nearly 20 years fighting the war on terror.... They are not prepared to spend another dime....

There is another group... that sees the main issue as the reckless promiscuity of the original Cares Act... that... gave potentially hundreds of billions of dollars to people who didn’t need it and created an unemployment insurance system that paid people not to work....

A third faction continues to believe that Covid-19 should be treated as external threat and that the full force of the U.S. government should be enlisted against it. That means more money for public health, schools and biomedical research, as well as continuing aid for struggling workers and businesses....

Lastly, there are a few senators who are not enthusiastic about more spending, but could tolerate it if it were accompanied by longer-term measures to help the economy....

Bringing them all together will require what the party is most lacking right now: a clear vision of how get out of this crisis with as little death and devastation as possible.... What that vision might consist of is anyone’s guess…

.#coronavirus #moralresponsibility #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-08-05

Lemieux: Botching Pandemic Response Bad for Incumbent President—Noted

Republican Death Cult: Scott Lemieux: BREAKING! Completely Botching Pandemic Response Not Good for Incumbent President https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/08/breaking-completely-botching-pandemic-response-not-good-for-incumbent-president: ‘On one level, it’s depressing that this isn’t costing him more support[. But] he has almost no margin for error.... And in states where he goes down he’ll take Republican Senate candidates with him. And if that’s not enough, the decision by Senate Republicans to interrupt unemployment benefits and delay relief is highly likely to make the political situation for Trump and his Senate candidates even worse. As I’ve said before, this is a case where for once the interests of the Republican Party and the public interest are directly aligned — and they’re completely fucking it up anyway… .#noted #2020-08-05


Hunt: Galadriel, Gimli, & Feanor—Noted

The Kinda Socially Isolated Ghost of Henry Hunt: 'This, and Galadriel dropping a burn so sick Feanor https://twitter.com/EvanCooney0717/status/1290728350504423435 had to go lie down for another thousand years in the Halls of Mandos, are two moments that are SO much better with full context...

...Capn' Case: Wait what? I forget that part of the tome lad can ye refresh me?

Continue reading "Hunt: Galadriel, Gimli, & Feanor—Noted" »


Cooney: Lore Context & Gandalf v. Balrog—Noted

Evan Cooney: 'I was asked to do a thread https://twitter.com/EvanCooney0717/status/1290728350504423435 on why “lore context” for Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog in the Lord of the Rings is so important and makes the scene much more intense and powerful than first impression. So here we go...

...Let’s focus on what is said. To keep this post relatable, I’ll stick with the lines from the Peter Jackson movies instead of getting too deep with the books, also Jackson does the scene justice IMO: “I am a servant of the secret fire” is a reference to the secret fire of Illuvatar, the monotheistic god of the Tolkien universe. The secret fire refers to his power to give life. Here, Gandalf reveals and identifies himself as not an old decrepit wizard, but one of the Maia.

Continue reading "Cooney: Lore Context & Gandalf v. Balrog—Noted" »