Assorted links

by on July 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Many WWII bombs in Germany remain unexploded, and live, and they are (still) tracked with WWII reconnaissance photos.

2. Krugman can’t bring himself to present the figures on government spending.  Herbert Hoover raised spending and raised taxes too, in a slightly expansionary combination.  It is incorrect to take, say, a state governor who is pursuing a contractionary fiscal policy and liken that person to Hoover.  Krugman would do better to simply cede this historical point, which need not infringe upon his more general critique of contractionary policy.

3. What is a high mortgage default rate?, from Arnold Kling.  And Rortybomb, with links to Min, responds on GSEs, a useful post.

4. Are all non-Africans part Neanderthal?

5. A sign that “the Left” is falling apart too; how many hackneyed or false memes or misguided examples of us. vs. them thinking or mistakes of mood affiliation are in this blog post?  It is a veritable feast of fallacy and it should be studied by future historians.  (If you are looking for balance, try David Brooks on the contemporary right.)

DontCallMyBluff July 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

“try David Brooks on the contemporary right” – not a NY Times reader, so I won’t.

Foo Fighter July 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Turing test failed.

Right Wing-nut July 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

That’s a subtle way of saying this: David Brooks? Right? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Name July 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Neanderthals,
Wasn’t this in the news earlier this year?

razib July 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Neanderthals, Wasn’t this in the news earlier this year?

yes. last spring a group of researchers found that ~2.5% of non-african ancestry is attributable to neanderthals. but that was total genome, this study focuses on the dystrophin locus, a huge gene (it’s long, so lots of breakage targets) on the x chromosome which is implicated in muscular development. the scientific backstory is that this group pinpointed that this might be a locus with admixture ~10 years ago, but were ignored cuz that didn’t fit the paradigm. now with the neanderthal genome they get to check to see if their statistical inference matches the raw sequence, and yes, it does match it!

the paper came out in january, the media is responding to the press release for the print release. i reviewed it here:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/01/neandertal-admixture-revisiting-results-after-shaken-priors/

(my father and one of my brother is a hemizygote for the neanderthal allele. my mother is a heterozygote. 00ga-b00ga!)

Scott Sumner July 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm

But wait, Krugman has told us that taxes and transfers don’t matter for fiscal stimulus. Only government output matters. That’s why in the current recession he quotes the numbers on government output, not the deficit. That’s how he can claim there has been no fiscal stimulus in this recession. So why would he cite government borrowing figures for the Hoover administration? That makes no sense? it’s almost like he just cites the figures that best support his policy preference, not the figures that actually fit his model.

BTW, his hero FDR ran a campaign that criticized the big Hoover deficits.

David R. Henderson July 19, 2011 at 10:44 pm

You mean by “government output” government spending on inputs, right Scott?

Bill July 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Translate Tyler’s point: Hoover’s expansion wasn’t big enough, but it had an impact Hoover wasn’t credited for.

Paul July 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Oh come on Tyler. #5 is a huge false equivalence (assuming I understand you correctly and your assertion is that the blog post is evidence of the crumbling of the left). Comparing a blog post on a website that specializes in that sort of thing to the intransigence of an entire caucus of a major political party that has the support of a large share of the American electorate is a little much. The irony of course is that the blog post itself is evidence against your point as it’s primary complaint is that the establishment left is all too willing to bend over backwards to meet the other side beyond halfway and yet we still have political gridlock. Whose fault do you think that is?

Dan July 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I’ll second that. It is worth reiterating that the author’s complaint is that this kind of thinking is not being taken seriously by any Democrat in power, while Brooks’s complaint is that this kind of thinking is dominating the Republican leadership.

I’d actually like to see Tyler do a more in-depth deconstruction of this blog post to make his point about fallacious thinking more clear, if he’s taking requests.

Paul Riannon July 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

The gridlock is the fault of Pres. Obama for being mean to me.

Tomasz Wegrzanowski July 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

How many factual inaccuracies are there in #5? Obama has been a disappointment and a failure.

Bill July 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Thanks Tyler for making another correction that was peripheral to Krugman’s main point! Surely we are getting closer to that “much better world” by focusing on these sorts of things, and not the gross misunderstandings of fiscal and monetary policy that are routinely espoused by one of the two major political parties!

JoeDog July 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm

+1

trouc July 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I have to second the requests for further critique of the “many hackneyed or false memes or misguided examples of us. vs. them thinking or mistakes of mood affiliation” in the Naked Capitalism post… if you’re going to trash folks at least don’t be lazy about it.

j r July 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm

“how many hackneyed or false memes or misguided examples of us. vs. them thinking or mistakes of mood affiliation are in this blog post? ”

This is our current political landscape. Progressives are continually trying to convince people that the evil bankers are out to get them. Conservatives are continually trying to convince people that the terrorists are clamoring at the gate. The true effect of both parties is to continually transfer power away from individuals and into the hands of the ever-increasing state. Welfare state vs. warfare state, pick your poison.

Dan Dostal July 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Agreed until you said that the goal is to transfer power to the state. That’s not just untrue, but it’s silly. The state is currently a democracy and they would not be happy with a weird election result. No no, rest assured that just like every other upper class in history, they are transfering power to them and there’s, not an institution. If it looks like the state, then you’ve fallen for someone’s trap.

John July 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I hope this was written with intentional irony….

a July 20, 2011 at 4:02 am

“Progressives are continually trying to convince people that the evil bankers are out to get them.”

Maybe because the evil bankers *are* out to get them?

Jamie_NYC July 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm

#5:
“the pain of millions of people XXX tried to protect.”
“I’ve seen XXX in crowds before; they love XXX, they feel like finally, here’s a person who is stronger and smarter and better”
“They crowd around XXX, tell XXX their stories,”

Perhaps she should have named her book “My Struggle”. ; -)

Dan Dostal July 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Way to enact Godwin’s Law?

Bernard Yomtov July 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

try David Brooks on the contemporary right.

If you’re saying you think Brooks often makes no sense, I agree. But if you are equating the influence and prominence of Brooks with those of Stoller then you are miles wrong.

mark July 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I am not getting the Min / Rorty bomb argument. It focuses on a) credit quality — GSE’s “less bad” than PLS — and market share “only 22% or some such number”. What of it? Lehman’s Commercial Real Estate investments doubtless performed better than some other folks (I can name lots of contemporaneous CRE deals where equity has been totally wiped out, like Stuyvesant Town, Extended Stay, some Tishman deals, and so forth). I also am confident Lehman did far less than 22% of the CRE deals. What of it? The point is irrelevant. Neither Lehman nor the GSE’s had adequate capital for the risks they took. Both had less than 4% equity capital when they put those risks on. And the GSE’s dwarfed all the “PLS” originators in terms of their significance and interconnectedness, just as Lehman dwarfed other investors in CRE. That’s the point. We had these big interconnected undercapitalized things that were mandated by federal policy to keep expanding the amount of paper they bought or backed, which meant inevitably they were going to reach the point where the paper they were backing was too risky, and the GSE’s mandated growth necessarily called for them to issue more paper of their own to do that..And then you had Basel II and its US application that made GSE paper Tier I capital to support maximum loan growth in private sector banks. No wonder credit dried up when the GSEs were taken over in Sept 08. But you never see the Rortys and Mins speak to this perspective. THE GSE’S WERE PROCYCLICAL VECTORS THAT TRANSFORMED HOUSING DEMAND TRENDS INTO CREDIT MARKET TRENDS AND VICE VERSA, FREQUENTLY AMPLIFYING THEM, BUT THEY WERE NOT STRONGLY CAPITALIZED ENOUGH TO ABSORB A TREND REVERSAL.

Brian J July 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I’ve often wondered why so many on my side get attached to Elizabeth Warren. She is a fine individual that has done a lot of good work, but she’s far from the only person capable of leading that organization.

In fact, as Felix Salmon once pointed out, you’d think that many progressives would have rather had Michael Barr, to Warren’s left on issues that would probably be important to them, as head of the C.F.P.B., but that isn’t the case.

Plus, and perhaps more important than anything, as Salmon also pointed out, many Republicans will simply oppose Warren or anyone else because they object to the idea of the agency. I think this is the most underrated part of this story. She’s a person, after all, with an important job and a family and interests outside of financial regulation. Perhaps she’s just tired of the nonsense involved in trying to be a part of the government that is dysfunctional. That, more than Obama’s possible but not definite “illiberal” beliefs, could be what is making her move on. Or perhaps she really is interested in running for senate. Given the odd lack of candidates to take down Scott Brown, it’s not the craziest idea.

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/07/20/elizabeth-warrens-nomination/

Tom July 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm

She has work that does not get debunked in 24 hours?

Morse July 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Elizabeth Warren is important because she debunks many of the standard libels against the middle class used to justify certain policies.

No one else in any position of “legitimacy” has come anywhere near to debunking the ideology that basically says, “You boomers were a bunch of spoiled middle-class losers too busy squandering your inheritance on ‘hedonic value’ to care about children — so let’s replace you with people who can at least reproduce themselves!”

Cliff July 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Wait, what?

Dan in Euroland July 20, 2011 at 7:03 am

There was something about clones in there, but other than that I don’t know what he said either.

Morse July 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm

When you listen to harassment of Elizabeth Warren, you may get an idea of why Elizabeth Warren is important. You understand why people come out on behalf of “the masters of the universe” to try and discredit her.

The really important point to understand here is that the key to controlling the middle-class population in the US has been pumping middle-class women up to the point that their weaknesses can be turned against their people. Ultimately that’s what control of the media, academia and money are all about: Grabbing control of women. They sacrifice their youthful fertility for the urban centers as corporate concubines and then, when discarded during middle age without so much as alimony, are sent packing with their bitterness, hysteria, debt, chlamydia, HPV and HSV if not HIV, back to the rubes who have no resources to deal with them. There they might find some government program for “continuing education” supplemented with a lot of medication, to prop them up so they can continue to preach what they’ve been fed by media, academia and money at the rubes — who might be getting out of hand. Truly a horrifying scenario but one that seems to function for the “masters of the universe” back in the cities.

Until now….

See, what is starting to happen with folks like Elizabeth Warren is that, instead of sitting in the front pew of the church and saying “Amen!” to their “Preacher”, they’re starting to realize he’s not only spreading VD among her fellow church ladies, but that he can’t really support them even after conning the rest of the congregation out of their tithes!

mark July 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm

“a lot of medication” indeed

Careless July 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I think we’ve found our Gabe of the left.

NYCer July 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

OMG. You are AWESOME! Please continue to post comments.

AJ July 21, 2011 at 12:22 am

This is awesome. Please keep commenting so that Tyler will eventually have to propose “a theory of Morse”

kevin July 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

As a anthropologist myself I’ve done extensive research with regards about the Neanderthals. This is one major reason why East Asians, and Whites have such a higher IQ.

Jamie_NYC July 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm

It can’t be. Australian aborigines have the lowest IQ of any racial group.

Vernunft July 20, 2011 at 12:08 am

It CAN’T be? That’s not just a data point against it – that refutes it utterly?

You don’t think the continuation of evolution to the present day (see Harpending and Cochran) could have something to do with Australia’s unique problem?

JonF July 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Balderdash, on stilts even

No one has a time machine to go back and measure Neanderthal IQ. For all we know the lot of them were dumber than rocks. And they were a failed subspecies after all. Hardly evidence of brillance.
Moreover someone above noted that the Neanderthal genes are expressed in musculature.

Brian July 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm

“Krugman would do better to simply cede this historical point,”

when did this blog become “The Onion” ??

Benny Lava July 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm

They still from time to time find unexploded ordinances from World War I; bombs in the ground or mines in the sea:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2011/0622/World-War-I-and-its-unexploded-weapons-continue-to-haunt-the-present

Benny Lava July 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm

And more about unexplored ordinances here:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960811&slug=2343580

Perhaps the “dead weight loss” of war? How beneficial, then, was the Pax Americana to the US economy?

gcochran July 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

“Are all non-Africans part Neanderthal?”

Yes. Who could have guessed that?

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