Links 8/31/08

Bargain Wine and the Big Mac Index Wine Economist

Most Verizon FIOS Installations Violate National Electric Standards [Fire Hazards] Consumerist. You should also know that Verizon will cut your copper connection unless you insist. My Verizon DSL has been very sluggish lately and I have no doubt that it is deliberate.

Huge rally against Taiwan leader BBC

Veep Nominee Palin and the Exxon Valdez Case The Blog of LegalTimes

McCain, Palin, and the Important Difference Between Boldness and Riskiness Robert Reich. Reich can dish it out when wants:

Sarah Palin has been a governor of state inhabited by more moose than people for twenty months, and before that mayor of a town with a population smaller than two blocks of downtown Manhattan. Although she has barely exercised power, she is already under federal investigation for abuse of it. And while Ms. Palin is perfectly entitled to believe that evolution is a myth, that women should be barred from choosing to have abortions, and that global warming has yet to be proven, these views all run counter to the views of mainstream America.

“What’s Wrong with This Hurricane?” Mark Thoma

Bank of England to show no mercy as firms go under The Independent

Lehman: Following Good Bank/Bad Bank to Redemption Roger Ehrenberg

Antidote du jour:

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  1. doc holiday

    FYI: "Mrs. Mallard hatches eight ducklings named Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. After the ducklings are born, Mr. Mallard decides to take a trip up the river to see what the rest of it is like. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard agree to meet at the Public Garden in one week. In the meantime, Mrs. Mallard teaches the eight ducklings all they need to know about being ducks.
    One week later, Mrs. Mallard leads the ducklings ashore and straight to the highway in hopes of crossing to reach the Garden, but she has trouble crossing as the cars will not yield to her.

    Critics … find the characterization lacking, that is, the Mallards represent "rather stereotypically concerned parents", often showing the same facial expressions and rarely showing expressiveness.

    Make Way for Ducklings was published in the 1940s, before the feminist movement generated greater awareness of gender role disparity. Critics have noted that the books of the time portray a male dominated society, a trend which Make Way for Ducklings does not follow.[10] Contrary to other books of the time, such as What Girls Can Be which stereotyped women as submissive, limited, and weak, McCloskey presented Mrs. Mallard as an "independent and nonsubmissive female character."[11] When Mr. Mallard leaves on questionable purpose, Mrs. Mallard is charged with raising their ducklings alone. McCloskey portrays Mrs. Mallard as a capable woman who does not need the support of a male character. This strong portrayal has led some critics to label the book as "pre-feminist."

    The main problem here in this picture from Yves, is the metaphorical matter related to ten ducklings and the obvious allusion to chaos and bond yields, i.e, we have to many bonds and not enough yield, too many hungry mouths to feed in a tsunami of liquidity that has washed away future value in a cascade of defaulting securities, which are nothing but a bunch of quacking and feces….. the mismatch of spreads is out of control and the voyage on this river will not end well!

    Re: "What Girls Can Be":

    Two steps forward, one step back: the presence of female characters and gender stereotyping in award-winning picture books between the 1930s and the 1960s.

    Their major finding was that American picture books for preschoolers depicted male and female characters in stereotyped ways and that they hardly showed female characters at all. Weitzman et al. suggested that both the stereotyping of all characters and the relative invisibility of female characters taught young readers an important lesson about the relative worth of boys and girls in American society: that "boys are more highly valued than girls" (p. 1125).

    In particular, we wondered whether, because the Great Depression is associated with a degradation in women's relative status in the public sphere, (4) late-1930s Caldecotts might have tended to depict men and women in traditional roles. We also speculated about the possibility that, because the Depression actually diminished conflict over women's roles, it may have led to relatively high levels of female-character visibility. We wondered whether women's greater access to the public sphere in the 1940s, particularly during World War II, might have led to a more egalitarian portrayal of gender in late-1940s children's books.

    Our data from the first four decades of Caldecott awards suggest that, under the wrong circumstances, the current 30-year trend toward less stereotyped displays and more visibility of female characters in children's award-winning picture books is also potentially reversible.

    >> Bottom line, we need more kid books on The Fed, bonds and The Treasury, which include cute references to moral hazards, collusion, corruption, dishonesty, pirates, crooks and bad guys, i.e, the enemy within.

    I think the extra ducks in the photo also represent the probability that out of 10 ducks, 8 will turn to crime; just a guess….

  2. Danny

    Robert Reich also believes that raising minimum wage doesn’t increase unemployment. That makes less sense than any of the views that he is attacking Palin for, yet no one holds the fire to his feet.

  3. Anonymous

    i agree with danny ….. let’s reduce minimum wages and increase employment…. no, wait a moment… that doesn’t go far enough… let’s get McCain/Palin to eliminate wages for working people…. let’s pay them nothing and employment will skyrocket…. no, no, no.. that’s not enough… let’s get workers to pay corporations for the opportunity to work… hey, it’s effective for summer interns…. wow… excellent… not only would employment reach all time highs if we didn’t actually have to pay workers… but if workers paid corporations for the opportunity to work, then corporate profits would rise so much that we could undoubtedly lift the dark clouds hovering over the economy .. dark clouds caused by people like Reich who have so much contempt for facts

  4. Richard Kline

    Increasing the minimum wage does eliminate jobs at the very lowest end of the pay scale. Initially. To a (quite) minor extent. Jobs with low turnover and no prospects for those who hold them. On the other hand, higher wages lead to more spending which in turn is demand that stimulates. Other jobs result (unless they are exported overseas).

    The argument you allude to, Danny, is, to be blunt, a big fat crock of it. Its terms have everything to do with ideology and precious little to do with analysis, in case you didn’t know that. The argument that wages should be suppressed to keep serf laborers living on popcorn and soda while plodding toward the unreachable carrot, the logical conclusion of your point, is odious. But let’s take your point: what do we do for those marginally employed few who, briefly lose their jobs from trivially higher wages at the bottom end of the scale if we raise wages for _far more people who stay employed_? Weellll, we could more effectively tax the top 10% to create better job training, more spending on infrastructure (which tends to employ low end laborers, in case you didn’t know), and otherwise cushion those losses. I’ll be Reich is calling for some of that, too, which makes his argument intellectually sound across the board, and the one you are using, er, cockeyed.

  5. etc

    Richard Kline: “Increasing the minimum wage does eliminate jobs at the very lowest end of the pay scale…. [but] what do we do for those marginally employed few who, briefly lose their jobs from trivially higher wages at the bottom end of the scale if we raise wages for _far more people who stay employed_?”

    Giving the poor an earned income tax credit is a much more efficient way to encourage employment among the poor without discouraging their hiring. Of course, as you imply the cost of something like that is higher taxes on high earners, but one can’t make pillows without plucking feathers from someone.

    Kline, if you don’t mind me asking, is your day job being a professor? You write like one.

  6. Richard Smith

    Hah. Yankee ducks are utterly effete. Here in London we regularly have ducks nesting in our flower boxes, 10 *storeys* above their landing spot, next to the lake. At the appointed time the ducklings hurl themselves over the side, plummet the 80 feet to the concrete, get up, trot to the water, and swim away; all accompanied by anguished-sounding quacking from the mother.

    Would love to catch it on film one year. Unfortunately this year I can only provide some rather sad photographic evidence of this habit, in the form of the remains of the latest clutch (which was sterile – we haven’t dared touch the very horrible eggs which we didn’t notice in time), next to the imposing drop.

  7. Juan

    .. let’s get workers to pay corporations for the opportunity to work…

    labor theory of value would say that has been the case as wages only need cover the reproduction cost of the commodity labor power, a cost which is generally lower than labor value created and ‘objectified’ in product within the process of production — from which we get a surplus value that, depending upon real market conditions, etc, can be realized as profit. IOW, capital depends on, would cease to exist, without living labor which, through the provision of surplus (behind the facade of equality) always pays capital for the privilege of employment, always pays to perpetuate a particular set of social relations which, in contradictory fashion, seek to eliminate as much living labor from production as possible.

    within and besides the above, which was displaced by other, more subjective, theories of value, there is also state and local subsidies to corps, that can be seen as the purchase of jobs paid for by individual taxation and/or reduced but necessary expenditures for social and physical infrastructure.
    in this case, govts begin to act as labor contractors–workers pay corps for jobs through the mediation of govts.

  8. Lune

    Mr. Reich is far too kind in allowing Ms. Palin to believe evolution is a myth. Believing in creationism implies a level of denial that crosses into psychiatric disease. And we should call her on it. As the old saying goes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. Evolution is a fact.

    I understand the conflict that arises when comparing scientific and religious world views. Since science is fundamentally about reason and religion is fundamentally about faith, it’s inevitable that they sometimes come to different conclusions. And there are many insightful, intelligent, and sincere people in both the scientific and religious realms who work hard to try to reconcile the two different worlds. Ms. Palin, and the proponents of “Intelligent Design” are not in that group, and I’m sick of coddling them in the name of religious tolerance. It’s not about religion. The denial of logic, rationality, and impartial judgment that the espousal of their belief implies should serve as an automatic disqualification for any sort of public office, much less the vice presidency.

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