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...

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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...

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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...

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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…

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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...



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

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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...

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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…

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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

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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...



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)…

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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…

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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…



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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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
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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."


.#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?

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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.

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Makridis: Impact of COVID-19 on Child Care—Noted

What is happening during the coronavirus plague to work-life balance among those with small children? Some preliminary answers: Umair Ali, Chris M. Herbst, & Christos A. Makridis: The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Child Care Market: Evidence from Stay-at-Home Orders https://equitablegrowth.org/working-papers/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-u-s-child-care-market-evidence-from-stay-at-home-orders/: ‘This paper quantifies the short-run impact of... containment policies on search behavior and labor demand for child care.... Using plausibly exogenous variation from the staggered adoption of SAHOs across states, we find that online job postings for early care and education teachers declined by 13% after enactment... driven exclusively by private-sector services. Indeed, hiring by public programs like Head Start and pre-kindergarten has not been influenced by SAHOs. In addition, we find little evidence that child care search behavior among households has been altered. Because forced supply-side changes appear to be at play, our results suggest that households may not be well-equipped to insure against the rapid transition to the production of child care. We discuss the implications of these results for child development and parental employment decisions… .#noted #2020-08-05

Hacker & Pierson: Let Them Eat Tweets—Noted

Perhaps the most interesting book to be published by someone in the Equitable Growth posse this summer: Equitable Growth: '[Thursday August 6, 2020,] Research Advisory Board member Jacob S. Hacker https://twitter.com/equitablegrowth/status/1291004223791026177 and co-author Paul Pierson talk about their new book Let Them Eat Tweets. Register/watch and more details here: https://epi.org/event/let-them-eat-tweets-how-the-right-rules-in-an-age-of-extreme-inequality/ Economic Policy Institute: "Thursday at 3:30pm ET... followed by a panel with Thea Lee, Larry Mishel, and Jaimie Worker on what can be done to derail rising inequality… #books #noted #politicaleconomy #2020-08-05

Drake: Police & Motorcycle Jackets in Chapel Hill, NC—Noted

How to talk about Black Lives Matter to old rural white men with guns: a MasterClass from a master writer:

David Drake: Newsletter #115 http://david-drake.com/2020/newsletter-115/: ‘The Chapel Hill police force doesn’t have a bad reputation for brutality (the way the Minneapolis police have since I lived in the Midwest decades ago)...

...Some years ago a fellow ran a red light and just about killed me. Instead of letting it go, I called the police from the mall where I was going to pick up a rose for my wife on our anniversary. (This was before I had a cell phone. It was a stupid over reaction on my part, but I thought of the police as my friends–and I was hot about the driver’s behavior.) Officer Steve Riddle wasn’t one of the policemen I knew personally but when he pulled up to the curb I walked over to greet him. His response was to shout, “Back up Cowboy!” and arrest and handcuff me. In the magistrate’s office Officer Riddle lied that I was carrying a concealed weapon.

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Bob Kuttner Behaving Badly—Noted

I have learned an awful lot from and have a great deal of respect for Robert Kuttner. America owes him a great deal—much more than it knows. But. This—rarely for him—is stupid.

First of all, it is written as if Biden has it in the bag, and Trump will be a bad dream as of January 21, 2021. Lots and lots of people in the fall of 2016 thought that HRC had it in the bag, and so started to nibble away to undermine her in order to position themselves more advantageously for 2017. Here is Kuttner doing the same thing for 2021. It's a bad, immoral thing to do. Stop it. Biden does not have it in the bag.

Second, everybody whom Biden appoints will be to the left of the governing coalition in the Senate, which is the veto point here. Thus whether Biden's appointees make Robert Kuttner happy in meetings and when he contemplates their influence does not matter. What does matter is whether Biden's appointees execute so that things get up to the Senate, and whether they are able via popular mobilization and clever framing and legislative tactics to move the governing coalition to the left. I understand that Kuttner does not like Jennifer Hillman and Miriam Sapiro. I understand that Kuttner does not like Steve Ricchetti and Anita Dunn. I understand that Robert Kuttner does not like Sergio Aguirre and Nitin Chadda and Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken. In a different day, with a different Senate, I could be persuaded that some of all of them would be bad choices for a Biden administration. But not today. That Kuttner does not like them is at best orthogonal to whether Biden should pick them:

Robert Kuttner: The Trouble With Biden’s Big Tent https://prospect.org/politics/the-trouble-with-biden-big-tent/: ‘It papers over some irreconcilable differences of policy and principle. Sooner or later, Biden will have to choose which side he’s on...

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Deplorably, the Trump Movement Is Made Up of Grifters, Ghouls, & Their Victims

Deplorably, a large number of easily-grifted morons thought Trump was their friend—or at least that the people lower down in the Trump base were their prey to be scammed...

Back in 2015, I concluded that the Donald Trump campaign was a deplorable multi-level marketing scam. At the top, a few grifters running lots of cons. In the middle-levels, a bunch of people who thought that they could take advantage of the situation to get rich—or richer—but who were actually easily-grifted morons themselves. And at the bottom, people who thought that Trump was their friend, rather than viewing them as suckers he could take.

Nothing I have seen since has changed that opinion of mine.

Deplorably, one of the easily-grifted morons in the middle was former Godfather's Pizza executive and Republican politician Herman Cain:

On June 20, 2020, Herman Cain was boasting that he was having a "fantastic time" at Donald Trump's massless, non-social distancing Tulsa rally:

Cain at tulsa

Trump had required attendees to: "acknowledg[e]... that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury..."

On June 24, 2020, Herman Cain wrote, with respect to the public-health emergency measures of March and April: 'Never again. We now have the evidence it didn't help at all...'

On July 1, 2020, Herman Cain wrote very approvingly of Trump's next rally: 'Masks will not be mandatory for the [Mt. Rushmore] event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP!: South Dakota Governor: "We will not be social distancing. We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country, and to talk about our history...'

Also on July 1, 2020 Herman Cain was hospitalized for coronavirus. On July 30, 2020, life support measures were discontinued, and Herman Cain died.

At some point the 'Masks will not be mandatory... PEOPLE ARE FED UP!' Post on twitter was deleted from Herman Cain's account.

After his hospitalization, Herman Cain's twitter account was run by a rather cynical gang of ghouls.

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Briefly Noted for 2020-08-03

Clinton Foundation: Administration Alumni Conversation with President Clinton and Secretary Rodney Slater https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SG-jcTuV5A: ‘Administration Alumni Conversation with President Clinton and Secretary Rodney Slater…

St. Ignatius of Loyola: _Prayer for Generosity https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/prayer/traditional-catholic-prayers/saints-prayers/prayer-for-generosity-saint-ignatius-of-loyola/: ‘Eternal Word, only begotten Son of God,/Teach me true generosity./Teach me to serve you as you deserve./To give without counting the cost,/To fight heedless of wounds,/To labor without seeking rest,/To sacrifice myself without thought of any reward/Save the knowledge that I have done your will./Amen…

DOL: News Release: Embargoed Until 8:30 A.M. (Eastern) Thursday, July 30, 2020: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

FRED: Weekly Unemployment Insurance: Initial Claims https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/ICSA#0

FRED: Weekly Unemployment Insurance: Continued Claims https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CCSA

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Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps at Ilerda: 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. Heavy but inconclusive skirmishing follows:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps: Between the town of Ilerda and the neighbouring hill where Petreius and Afranius had their camp there was a level space about five hundred yards wide and almost in the middle of this there was a small hillock. Caesar was certain that if he seized and fortified this eminence he would cut off the enemy from the town and the bridge and all the supplies which they had collected together in the town...

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DuBois: The Comet—Noted

Worth reading. What we call “Lovecraftian” but in a profoundly anti-Lovecraftian way: the real horror comes not from alien species, or the dead uncaring stars, or death from the comet, but from white men—northern white men—doing what white men naturally did… do:

W.E.B. DuBois: The Comet http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15210/15210-h/15210-h.htm#Chapter_X: ‘He stood a moment on the steps of the bank, watching the human river that swirled down Broadway. Few noticed him. Few ever noticed him save in a way that stung. He was outside the world—"nothing!" as he said bitterly. Bits of the words of the walkers came to him. "The comet?" "The comet—" Everybody was talking of it. Even the president, as he entered, smiled patronizingly at him, and asked: "Well, Jim, are you scared?" "No," said the messenger shortly...

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Briefly Noted for 2020-08-02

Parker Molloy: 'Here’s a mashup https://twitter.com/parkermolloy/status/1287772516342267905 that the amazing @JohnnyHeatWave made to go along with my @mmfa article. It’s depressing. https://t.co/ObiRMSsocE.... It’s all even more ridiculous if you look at the number of times the same person credulously talks about Trump’s “new tone”...

Paul Krugman: With the Coronavirus Pandemic, Republicans Are Flunking Microbe Economicss https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/18/opinion/republicans-keep-flunking-microbe-economics.html: ‘The question of whether or not to dump raw sewage into a public lake isn’t something that should be left up to individual choice. And going to a gym or refusing to wear a mask during a pandemic is exactly like dumping sewage into a lake: it’s behavior that may be convenient for the people who engage in it, but it puts others at risk.

Heidi Przybyla: MOAR Trump Corruption https://twitter.com/HeidiNBC/status/1289172345614000128: ‘Trump overspent for ventilators by as much as 500 million... paid 4-5 times as much... Didn't enforce prior contract or try to build on it...

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Steve M.: The Post-Trump GOP Is Likely to Be Even Worse—Noted

Steve M.: The Post-Trump GOP Is Likely to Be Even Worse https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-post-trump-right-is-likely-to-be.html: ‘The Lincoln Project.... I believe the Project's founders and allies when they say they're disgusted with the Republican Party and want to reform it. I'm not saying I'd like the party they hope to create...

...But in some areas, I think the party the Lincoln Project wants to create would be at least be a slight improvement.... As Max Boot notes, Stuart Stevens, a former Republican consultant, now calls the GOP "a white grievance party” and acknowledges that “there is an ugly history of code words and dog whistles in the party.” Boot writes, "If you accept Stevens’s searing critique of the Republican Party—and I do—then it is incumbent on the Lincoln Project to target not just Trump but also his enablers. That’s just what it has done with commercials such as this one urging the defeat of Republican senators."

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Wikipedia: Trans-Mediterranean Barbary Slave Trade—Noted

Nunn's estimates: trans-Atlantic slave trade: 10.5 million; Indian Ocean slave trade: 900,000; trans-Saharan slave trade: 3.2 million; Red Sea: 1.3 million:

Wikipedia: Trans-Mediterranean Barbary Slave Trade https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_slave_trade: 'Robert Davis... estimates... Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone enslaved 1 million to 1.25 million... from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th from bases on the Barbary coast, North Africa, the Barbary pirates raided ships traveling through the Mediterranean and along the northern and western coasts of Africa, plundering their cargo and enslaving the people they captured...

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Against 'Ideology for Ideology's Sake'—Note to Self

Lincoln douglas

Smart young whippersnapper and Equitable Growth alumnus Marshall Steinbaum attempts to solve the problem of corrupt interests and corrupt ideology with... MOAR IDEOLOGY! Ideology that he hopes, somehow, will be reality-based.

I do not think this will work:

Marshall Steinbaum: 'In order to know what to do https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/status/1016333284320526337, we have to know how things work. To me, the sentiment @Noahpinion expresses here is the moment I get off the 'empirical revolution' train, because this is where it turns toward 'maybe we can avoid ideology after all'. Nope..."

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Lacker: GPT-3 vs. Turing—Noted

Much of our intelligence is devoted to constructing models of other minds based on observations of actions, expressions, and words. We have a strong tendency to overdo it. Thus we can be very easily grifted to really, really believe that there is another mind—another Turing-class entity—back there when there isn't: the lightning does not really come from a large red-haired guy with a big hammer and anger management problems who drives a cart pulled by two goats. The latest example of this is GPT-3:

Kevin Lacker: Giving GPT-3 a Turing Test http://lacker.io/ai/2020/07/06/giving-gpt-3-a-turing-test.html: ‘An interesting corollary is that GPT-3 often finds it easier to write code to solve a programming problem, than to solve the problem on one example input...

Q: Write one line of Ruby code to reverse an array.
A: ary.reverse

Q: Write one line of Ruby code to count how many X's are in an array.
A: ary.count { |x| x == 'X' }

Q: Reverse the following array: [1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 4, 2, 77]
A: [10, 6, 4, 2, 77, 3, 5, 1]

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Waldmann: Social Democracy & Freedom—Noted

Steve Randy Waldmann: Social Democracy & Freedom https://www.interfluidity.com/v2/7557.html: ‘So who is right here? I say Milton Friedman is. “Free speech” stops being real, stops being a practicable ideal, once the consequences of unpopular expression are so great you’ll be banished from the communities you value and be unable to earn a decent living. Both the woke and their discontents should be able to speak their piece...

...We want a society where—in practice, not just as a formal, legalistic matter—the public sphere can accommodate a wide range of expression, some of which each of us will find abhorrent. But Friedman’s conjecture that capitalism plus a light-touch state would be an effective way to ensure this state of affairs was wrong. Because it was never really “capitalism”, in his argument, that protected political freedom. It was decentralization....

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Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign: Liveblogging 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: 'The First Spanish Campaign II: Two days later Caesar arrived with nine hundred cavalry, whom he had kept as a personal bodyguard. The bridge which had been broken down by the storm was almost rebuilt; he ordered it to be completed that night. He himself ascertained the nature of the surrounding country and leaving behind all the baggage train, together with six cohorts to protect the bridge and the camp, he set off on the following day towards Ilerda, advancing with his forces in a triple column...

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Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda; Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

siege of massilia

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. 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:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: '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...

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Kades: Antitrust Hearing—Noted

If you want to know what happened at the tech antitrust hearing, your best source is Michael Kades’s twitter account. I have still not thought this through, so go and read what he has to say: Michael Kades https://twitter.com/Michael_Kades/status/1288543592114462725: ‘So far, my biggest takeaway, the Republican Staff memo tried to paint this as a partisan issue. So far, between Gaetz and Buck, that framing has failed… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-08-01