Links 1/16/09

Google Reader has been down for the last half hour, of course, precisely when I want to use it. Grr.

KRASTING and COBERLY in COMPLETE AGREEMENT…well not exactly Angry Bear

‘Sorry’ still seems to be the hardest word on Wall Street Washington Post

Paul Volcker’s Moskowitz Lecture Rajiv Sethi (hat tip Richard Alford)

Big Banks Short Sell Fraud Michael Schussele

Instead of Taking Up Pilates, John Lanchester Wrote a Book About the Crisis Moe Tkacik

Hard Road Ahead Hoisington Investment Management (hat tip reader Nick)

How to Cure 1 Billion People?–Defeat Neglected Tropical Diseases Scientific American (hat tip reader Michael T)

Hallandale Beach grandma sent to jail — and forgotten Miami Herald (hat tip reader Michael T)

Jevons’ Law: Enforcing the Age of Energy Decline – Part 1 The Oil Drum

Lady BlahBlah Charles LeBow, New York Times

Larry Summers, Robert Rubin: Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country? Harry Lewis, Huffington Post

Is this a recovery? Ed Harrison

Bernanke Gets Desperate (Fed Letter) The Daily Bail

If you want to get really ill about health care reform, you must read:

Health Bill Can Pass Senate With 51 Votes, Van Hollen Says Bloomberg As Marshall Auerback noted:

So now the Dems raise reconcilation? Why didn’t they do this before they threw out the Medicare buy-in option or capitulated to the grotesque bribes given to Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu? Why didn’t Obama use this threat? Answer: the guy basically doesn’t want to offend ANYBODY! Pathetic. Gets worse every day this guy is in office.

How the White House Used Jonathan Gruber’s Work to Orchestrate the Appearance of Broad Consensus FireDogLake. Apologies for not seeing it earlier.

Antidote du jour:

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28 comments

  1. craazyman

    Harvard it seems to me is a museum of thought and a national laboratory for public purse plundering strategies. The way they treated Psychiatry Professor John Mack was all you need to know. It was like what the Church did to Gallileo. Nobody knows what I’m talking about, but that’s OK. Magonia is a strange place, invisible, like water is invisible to fish. ha ha ha ha.

  2. DoctoRx

    A 51 vote passage of such major legislation would destroy the Senate. Each Party would then use it for whatever its contributors wanted. In W’s time, the energy bill got to 58-59 supporters. We would have it, for better or worse, now, if reconciliation were used for it. IMO all important legislation should have some sort of supermajority requirement. Soc Security, Medicare, major Civil Rights legislation was all bipartisan and all passed with overwhelming majorities in the Senate. It’s enough that the House can pass things 218-217. Without broad national consensus on important matters, we devolve more and more into banana republic status–and we’re close enough already.

    IMO this reconciliation ploy is a reflection of an incompetent, flailing Democratic Party that moved away from its core principles on healthcare and is now paying the consequences. It is because it played ball with Big Pharma etc. rather than fighting for quality healthcare for the people that Ted Kennedy’s seat appears to be at risk of going to an avowed opponent of Obamacare.

    1. liberal

      ” IMO all important legislation should have some sort of supermajority requirement.”

      That’s absolutely nuts.
      (1) The Republic Party, as currently constituted, is crazy.
      (2) The US Senate is not a representative body, given that tiny states with reactionary rural populations are overly represented.

      Look at what the supermajority requirement in California re raising taxes has done to that place.

      An appropriate place for supermajority would be things like changes in the constitution, etc.

  3. DownSouth

    Wow!

    From “Lady BlahBlah” by Charles Blow:

    According to an analysis of New York Times and CBS News polls, Obama has the lowest approval rating among whites at the end of his first year in office than any president in the 30 years that The Times and CBS News have collected such data. And the gap between Obama and the others is significant, ranging from 10 to 36 percentage points.

    I suppose the big question here is who is looking at Obama in a colorblind fashion.

    Is it the whites, with whom it looks like Obama is in a horse race with Bush to see who can be the worse president in US history?

    Or is it the blacks, who, according to the poll Blow cites, still approve of Obama by an 87% to 7% margin?

    1. aet

      It has always struck me as a strange thing: to hope, in the sphere of public affairs, that policy outcomes should change, absent any change in substantive policy.

      A “change in tone” is not a “change in substantive policy”.

  4. attempter

    Paul Krugman’s been trying to set new records for convoluted hypocrisy regarding Gruber:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/more-on-jon-gruber/

    That’s what happens when you’re so eloquent as a dissenter for 8 years and then overnight you have to unmask yourself as a partisan hack who never objected to Bush policy after all, only to Bush himself.

    (I wrote a blog post on the subject:

    http://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/krugman-hack-number-one/ )

    BTW, the original Greenwald piece Krugman was flailing about in response to is really harrowing; it’s on the ways Obama dreams of censoring the blogosphere.

    1. liberal

      “That’s what happens when you’re so eloquent as a dissenter for 8 years and then overnight you have to unmask yourself as a partisan hack who never objected to Bush policy after all, only to Bush himself.”

      That’s not fair. PK has been very critical of Obama on many occasions.

      The reason he defends Gruber isn’t party hackery. It’s obviously because Gruber is a fellow economist. Yeah, PK, criticizes other economists (notably the “freshwater school”), but he’s still an economist and he’s probably not going to admit that the field is totally corrupt.

      (Not that I think there can be no scientific economics. But as economists themselves stress, people respond to incentives, and this applies at least as much to economists as the rest of us.)

      1. aet

        Observation – hypothesis – experiment.

        Repeat as necessary. That’s science.

        Tough to do with economics (or medicine!), without engaging in a type of “human experimentation”.

        That apparently inescapable fact makes the ethics of the researchers relevant in both of these sciences in a way that does not obtain in other sciences.

        There really does need to be a “first and above all, do no harm” stricture on the implementation of economists’ policies & plans: just as there is on medical researchers and doctors.

        That’s easier said than done, though. D’oh!

    2. liberal

      “BTW, the original Greenwald piece Krugman was flailing about in response to is really harrowing; it’s on the ways Obama dreams of censoring the blogosphere.”

      It’s really Obama’s advisor Cass Sunstein, not Obama. Not that I think that gets Obama off. Rather, I never liked Sunstein much, and this just makes him sound like a total a$$hole.

      1. attempter

        What Sunstein has said here is aggressive, inflammatory, and objectionable enough that it’s a firable offense if Obama actually disagrees with it.

        Compare it to the relatively innocuous Van Jones.

        Of course, Sunstein has a long record of hatred of internet communication and politics, and of all decentralization of information and political advocacy.

        So if Obama really objected to such fascism he wouldn’t have had Sunstein in his administration in the first place.

        As for economists, that’s the most ridiculous thing Krugman said: that economists should somehow be considered a higher class of political hack than other mere “pundits”.

        After all that just happened!

        I imagine you’re right that he gives such colleagues extra leeway. It’s part of how he just doesn’t get it.

  5. Keenan

    RE: ObamaCare

    I posed this question to the Obama “tough on bankers” post but maybe, given the healthcare link, it belongs here instead.

    Surely others must have previously remarked on the irony of his advocacy of compulsory private insurance. Forcing citizens into contractual relationship with a corporation – another “person” as defined by the Supreme Court – is simply involuntary servitude (albeit of the corporate variety) which was eliminated by the 13th amendment to the Constitution.

    The first black president would be party to re-instituting slavery in America.

      1. Keenan

        attempter, I hadn’t previously seen your own blog post. Yes, the poll tax nature of the provision does seem yet another basis to question the mandate. This bill must be constitutionally dubious on at least a half dozen different grounds.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Well, it sounds like another tough day here at Naked Capitalism.

    Luckily, it’s my ‘hug a pencil’ day. I am looking out for one deserving pencil to hug. I thought the pencils should know.

  7. OldSkeptic

    Yves, interesting link.

    From the Dept of “you coudn’t make this up”.

    Australia, the next Iceland?

    Shows people are incapable of learning. For the Australian: “THE Rudd government is considering new tax breaks for banks and reducing financial regulation in an effort to build Australia as a regional financial centre, capitalising on Australia’s good performance during the global financial crisis. ”

    With TAX BREAKS and DEREGULATION!

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/tax-breaks-to-woo-banks/story-e6frg6nf-1225820234610

    1. Skippy

      Old post see: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/10/links-100909.html

      Links: Australia rose nine rungs to second place, while Singapore and Hong Kong also did well, rising to fourth and fifth respectively. France and Germany were both relegated out of the top ten.
      http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article6866989.ece

      Skippy here.

      Britain has toppled the United States as the world’s leading financial center, according to the latest league table from the World Economic Forum (WEF), but the gloss was tarnished as the UK scored worse than Nigeria, Panama and Bangladesh for financial stability.

      BTW WEF is the davos gang.

      Now for the Aussie take see:

      The New South Wales Government’s hopes of turning Sydney into a global financial hub have been delivered a boost by the World Economic Forum.

      In its latest assessment of 55 of the world’s leading finance systems the forum has ranked Australia second only to the United Kingdom and ahead of the United States.

      The state Treasurer Eric Roozendaal says it is a great vote of confidence in Sydney as it accounts for nearly half of Australia’s total finance and insurance output.

      link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/09/2709730.htm?section=business

      My take on the story see: Dear world we would like to be the next ground zero like Wall St as it looked like such a good time, so please send all your financial enterprises our way with their amazing ability to blow them selves, and any one with in spitting distance to kingdom come.

      cheers

      —–

      I WAS JOKING!!! I DID NOT ADVOCATE IT AS POLICY!!! I SHOULD SHUT MY BIG MOUTH!!!

      Well looks like Australia will go down with the rest of the loonies and Aussie’s being cleaver and all, it should only take half the time to blow up too. Hell our housing market is already hugely over valued, have little in the way of manufacturing and largly a commoditys exporter. Please Rudd just give me 2 years to set off grid abode up.

      Skippy…Gault-A strikes again.

      1. Skippy

        Does any of this remind any of you of the Olympic Hosting process and derelict facility’s down the road aka over capacity, used condoms after the fancy financial party day break horror.

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