Tuesday assorted links

by on December 13, 2016 at 1:54 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Laura Miller December 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm

The Post has hit bottom, I think…

2 JWatts December 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm

That article was painful to attempt to read. What was the point in bolding a third of the article.

3 gregor December 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Definitely in decline since Dr. Evil bought it.

4 a Fred December 13, 2016 at 9:09 pm

The WaPo also ran a cute, paint-by-numbers article that will help you, the reader, decide for yourself:


5 Mark Thorson December 13, 2016 at 6:07 pm

You don’t get it! The weird Randite cult is invading our most powerful institutions! The Russians stole the election for Trump! Before you know it, we’ll all be sold to the Koch Brothers!

6 So Much For Subtlety December 13, 2016 at 7:24 pm

To paraphrase Instapundit, the Democratic Party turned into the John Birch society so slowly I hardly noticed.

The Reds! They are under our Beds! Run for the Hills – the Russians are coming! Stealing our precious body fluids. No wait, that is the Koch brothers, right?

7 Mark Thorson December 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Uh, no. The bodily fluids thing is Peter Thiel.

8 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Foreign interference in the election is a good thing if it supported your partisan preference.

It will never bite you in the ass. So, don’t even talk about it.

la la la la la la la (sticking fingers in ears …)

9 So Much For Subtlety December 13, 2016 at 7:44 pm

First you would have to show there had been foreign interference. So far there is no evidence of it.

Second, it is absurd for the Left to claim they object to Moscow interfering in American elections when they have been happy to take Moscow’s money for years. The Soviets funded many of the anti-Vietnam War protesters for instance. Cares given on the Left? Not a one.

10 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 10:19 pm

I guess the daily stormer isn’t reporting on it, so it didn’t happen.

But the CIA seems pretty sure they did. Sure enough to say so publicly.

11 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 12:31 am

Nathan, the whole point is that the CIA is not saying it publicly. We don’t know what they are saying in private but so far they have said nothing in public.

Some anonymous smears have been published in the media. But we do not know who is doing it or why. We do not know if that represents the views of the CIA or not.

And all they are saying is that people known to them with links to the Russians (that is, Julian Assange) released stuff from the DNC. So what?

So perhaps you should stop making nonsense up.

12 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 1:21 am

I guess they’d just stay mum if major news outlets were reporting it, but it were a total lie.

I’m curious though, where does a self respecting white man find high quality news media information these days?

13 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 3:57 am

The depths of things you do not know really amaze me. Can you think of three reasons why professionals do not comment on investigations that are still on-going?

Who would print it anyway. Again I like the smear you get in. You seem upset you get corrected so often. There is a better solution – stop being wrong.

14 Sam Haysom December 14, 2016 at 8:11 am

Nathan you are being excessively defensive. Just because your position is indistinguishable from partisan hackery doesn’t mean you need to lose your temper.

15 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 10:09 am

It is completely implausible that a Cold War rival tried to influence an election in the other Cold War rival.


Troll me some more with your idiocy why don’t you?

16 msgkings December 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm


“Can you think of three reasons why professionals do not comment on investigations that are still on-going?”

I can, but apparently James Comey can’t think of even one.

17 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Troll me December 14, 2016 at 10:09 am


Name three serving members of the CIA who have said publicly and explicitly that the Russians did a damn thing this time.

18 Troll me December 15, 2016 at 2:49 am

I can’t name three spies, therefore WaPo, NYT and Reuters are all being fed lies?

Granted, this is not the same as an officially released report for public consumption.

19 derek December 13, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Better look under your bed; there might be a Russian there.

Seriously though. In any other country all the desperate and loud machinations to discredit the election would be viewed as preparation in advance of a coup.

Obviously such a wonderful, warm person as Hillary who never lied to an FBI agent in her life, who never crowed to cheers from the faithful that she would shut down industries, who campaigned every day showing extraordinary stamina and health, who had a razor sharp message honed to the interests of voters could never lose except for some evil outside influence.

Or is Comey a Russian agent now? Did you hear that rumour? How terrible and such a dangerous situation for the US.

20 Thomas Taylor December 13, 2016 at 8:40 pm

“In any other country all the desperate and loud machinations to discredit the election would be viewed as preparation in advance of a coup.”

Really? So Obama will finally fulfill the Neo Nazis’ promisses about his government locking Christians and Whites in death camps? It is about time, we have heard the paranoid talk fro some many years. He must really be a damn slacker.

21 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Are you telling me that, between former Cold War rivals, when their central intelligence agency says the rival tried to interfere with the election … the first conclusion that comes to your mind is … “they must be lying”?

I mean, I wouldn’t put it past the CIA for a second to lie about something. But that? Highly unlikely.

22 derek December 13, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Now all of a sudden leftists believe the CIA? It is amazing what Trump has done.

Obama had large amounts of foreign money donated to his campaign. There are lots of foreign interests that try to affect elections.

Do you mean that Podesta didn’t say those things? Or that voters in the four midwest states were manipulated by Russians?

And Thomas, you are the one believing in conspiracy theories. The Russians Stole the Election!

What, did they make Hillary’s voice grating? Some chemical put in her tea? Did they lead her by the nose to condemn 3/4 of the US population as deplorable? Did they twist her arm and bribe her to promise to put people out of jobs by closing coal? Did they make her collapse on 9/11 in New York, and then play some cockamamie spin game that no one believed? Did they paste her face into a permanent smile during the debates, making her look like a typical politician? Did they set up the campaign strategy of slicing the population into interest groups and play a divide and conquer game?

Sanders if he had realized how close it would be earlier he could have won. She was a terrible candidate, probably the only one imaginable that could lose to Donald Trump.

They must have spiked something in the FBI lunch room. For certain.

As I said, anyone other than stupid parochial Americans recognize this pattern.

23 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 1:26 am

Who knows which way the influence was, in the expected direction, backlash or otherwise.

And anyways, it would be retarded to have a precedent like “if a foreign power interferes in the US election, whoever they appeared to support is disqualified”, or otherwise to need a re-election.

But considering that most people who are not exposed to alt-right brainwashing tend to thing it’s easy to believe that the extent of Russian interference was non-zero (e.g., top CIA and FBI officials making lots of statements of concern over quite some time now) …. I dunno, pretty weird.

PS. just ’cause I’m not racist doesn’t make me left wing.

There is nothing right wing about hate.

24 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 4:03 am

Troll me December 14, 2016 at 1:26 am

(e.g., top CIA and FBI officials making lots of statements of concern over quite some time now

Name three.

PS. just ’cause I’m not racist doesn’t make me left wing. There is nothing right wing about hate.

Sure but you’re left wing anyway and we know it because you hate. You hate the US Army for instance. Which you have regularly accused of being on some Christian mission to murder Arab civilians. That is hate. And it shows you are a leftist.

As the poster above, I am amazed that the Left can back flip literally in days from “questioning the FBI is treason” to “Comney threw the election to Trump” and now back to “The CIA are the smartest, most honest, most upright people on the planet”. Just last week you, along with all the other Leftists, believed they were baby killers.

25 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 10:16 am

SMFS – like most of what you say, that is a combination of lies and misrepresentation.

Yes, I have previously suggested that there is such a breed of person, specifically ones who are both American and Christian, who might enter into the army with the specific objective of being a Christian solider in a Christian land, most specifically for the purpose of militarized responses to militant Islam – by which definition they largely enter the army for the purpose of killing Muslims.

At no point in time did I suggest this should be a stain on the US Army. The US Army has exceedingly clear policy in this regard, and my understanding is that any failure to uphold certain basic principles, especially those which may lead to even an appearance that religious views can have any relevance in promotions, evaluations of mission successes and the like, are very much banned.

Anyways, as though there were any doubt that you look for any possible excuse to twist words and meaning beyond recognition for the purpose of maligning those you disagree with.

FYI – Here’s the argumentation tool. It’s TOTAL GENIUS!! One person says “sometimes … there are some people in that there group who are like that”. A second person comes along as says “bloody traitor!!! he said we’re all like that!” (and damned straight, I’d say if that were the case too, which it is not).

So basically it’s like arguing with children who know how to use big words.

26 Norman Pfyster December 13, 2016 at 1:58 pm

#1: I never knew it went away.

27 HL December 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm

the 80s are BACK… AGAIN!

28 Thiago Ribeiro December 13, 2016 at 4:31 pm

And now it is personal!

29 John December 13, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I’d bet that Trump’s interest in Rand stems less from ideological fervor than personal identification with a character like Howard Roark, an ambitious architect who wanted to build skyscrapers.

30 JWatts December 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm

That seems rather obvious. I expected for the author to delve into that point. Instead the article was just one long snarky quote fest.

It was clearly an anti-Trump article. Which is clearly something we need more of from The Washington Post.

31 a Fred December 13, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Me: We’ll have the Russophobia platter, for two

Waiter: Which side dishes?

Me: Guilt by association, of course.

Waiter: With a garnish of bad-people-read-bad-books?

Me: Just wouldn’t be the same without it.

32 msgkings December 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Both sides do this though. Plenty of phobia and guilt by association leveled at Clinton, Obama, Bush, and all the rest.

33 a Fred December 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm

yup. The tidiness and predictability gets so boring.

34 rayward December 13, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Every Randian identifies with Howard Roark. It’s like Lake Wobegon, where everyone is above average.

35 NatashaRostova December 13, 2016 at 3:38 pm

“Look, Ayn Rand was a wonderful author. Truly a great. Her writing on real-estate, architecture, building skyscrapers — it’s the best. Truly, some say she’s the greatest author of business and architecture to ever exist. You know, I built an amazing business building skyscrapers.”

36 Taxes Can Be a Worthwhile Investment in Our Future December 13, 2016 at 4:57 pm

LOL, exactly.

37 So Much For Subtlety December 13, 2016 at 6:37 pm

So Trump has never read Ayn Rand. Why am I not surprised?

38 prior_test2 December 14, 2016 at 1:34 am

Because Trump is more huge in his own mind than merely fictional figures can ever hope to be in fantasy?

39 hgfalling December 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Like how Paul Krugman’s favorite literary character is Hari Seldon?

40 albatross December 13, 2016 at 5:10 pm

I’ll admit that Trump strikes me as more Gail Wynand than Francisco D’Anconia or Howard Roark.

41 Roy L December 13, 2016 at 11:58 pm

That is a remarkably sympathetic reading of our next President. I would have voted for Gail Wynand.

42 Robert McGregor December 13, 2016 at 7:09 pm

“I’d bet that Trump’s interest in Rand stems less from ideological fervor than personal identification with a character like Howard Roark, an ambitious architect who wanted to build skyscrapers.”

. . . and f*ck (rape?) tall exotic women with long hair.

43 collin December 13, 2016 at 3:03 pm

7. I would say it is a big contradiction that the Trump Rand is he won with the least ‘Randian’ voters in the US, the White Working Class in the Rust Belt. So we will have put a program together to ensure they benefit during the Trump administration.

a) Expect more Carrier type deals
b) I am hoping Trump’s foreign policy is more interested in deal making not war making. (His foreign policy team outside Tillerman are not comforting here.) I still say to win Trump’s favor, China should buy a bunch of coal and corn from the US.
c) We will see if cuts Medicare and Social Security as he promised not to in the campaign. Given the experience of the Bush administration, I suspect Trump will have lots of trouble if breaks that promise.
d) I know a lot of the cabinet is for Open Borders but I believe that is one items Trump can break his promise to voters. Anti-Immigration is what carried Trump.

44 Taxes Can Be a Worthwhile Investment in Our Future December 13, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Although Ayn Rand would turn over in her grave if she knew this, the primary function of Ayn Rand’s work in current American politics is as a tool to justify crony capitalism. So it will just be crony capitalism all the way. The crony capitalists would love to destroy Medicare and Social Security, so we’ll see if Trump gives them that or not. But, in any case, he’ll give them most of what they want.

Most Rust Belt people are poorly educated. It’s easy to persuade them through fake news, to vote for crony capitalist welfare queen promoter presidents and Congress members. The GOP has done this many times.

45 So Much For Subtlety December 13, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Really? I bet Rand would not be surprised to see her life’s work being used for a cynical and cheap political point scoring exercise by people who neither understand or like her.

The crony capitalists won’t undermine Social Security or Medicare. That was Rand’s point. The crony capitalists love government spending because, and the name may have given you a clue, they have cronies. They know the money is going to them. What they fear is markets.

This is why the pharmaceutical industry went all out for Obamacare. It means endless taxpayers money flowing their way – while protecting them from competition and law suits.

Most Rust Belt people are poorly educated. It’s easy to persuade them through fake news, to vote for crony capitalist welfare queen promoter presidents and Congress members. The GOP has done this many times.

Rust Belt people? You mean the voters of Detroit? They have voted for crony capitalists any number of times. Goldman Sachs wasn’t paying Hillary for her scintillating wit. Welfare Queen promoters? That’s harsh dude. That is not a nice thing to say about LBJ at all. And also, you know, microaggression. Because we know what you really mean when you call the people of Detroit Welfare Queens. Dog whistling is shameful, dude. Come out and say what you mean openly.

46 Boonton December 13, 2016 at 9:28 pm

How exactly does Obamacare generate ‘endless’ taxpayer money flowing to pharmaceutical companies? What provisions of Obamacare protect pharma companies from lawsuits or competition?

47 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 12:43 am

Are you asking a serious question or just playing at being naive? It generates endless money because no one is careful with tax payers’ money. They are careful with their own. Even now one of the reasons health care is expensive is that people are spending their insurance company’s money. Once the Feds pay, they will spend even more. This is the universal rule of health care – everyone thinks it will save money (the British government did with the NHS for instance) but it never does. It always costs more.

As for the rest, regulatory capture always means the bureaucracy serves the people they are supposed to regulate, not the public.
The more red tape and hoops people have to go through, the less willing people will be to enter the industry. Regulation always favors the existing big players.

48 Peldrigal December 14, 2016 at 5:13 am

Since private healthcare markets consistently generate larger profits for heath care and drug providers, how do you justify your assertions?

49 Boonton December 14, 2016 at 1:15 pm

So Much….

I feel like your response is heavy on ideology but light on facts.

For example, Obamacare is not just ‘endless money’. Out of 300M+ people maybe 10M get insurance from exchanges. In the exchanges there is no ‘endless money’. You qualify for a subsidy based on your income. If your subsidy is $200 a month and insurance policies range from $300-$700 a month, then you are comparing plans that will cost you between $100-$500 a month.

So with that in mind how is your post coherent? If I run Blue Cross and you run Atenta, and I choose to get real tough on prices and treatments…insisting that they are only paid for when properly prescribed and I negotiate hard on prices while you just pay anything because it is ‘endless money’, then I’d be able to offer plans for less per month than you will. When people choose plans they would rather than one for $100 a month than $200 a month all else equal.

Do I think drug makers would rather more people be covered than less? I suspect more for the same reason that auto makers would rather roads be in better shape than worse, because no one is going to buy a car if there are no roads. If we stopped having roads would the price of cars drop? Probably not. They just won’t sell cars.

50 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Boonton December 14, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Obamacare is not endless money right now, but it will be over time. Medical spending by the government can only rise and new entitlements are impossible to rein in. We have done this experiment any number of times. We actually know this. So you can deny it if you like, but it is still there.

I do like your naive approach to regulation too. We did this with airlines. America used to have a lot of airlines but they were not allowed to compete on price. It is only a matter of time before Obamacare makes it so too. Even right now, the more regulations, the less competition. So it is a small pay off now with a longer pay off for the future. Why wouldn’t the insurance companies love it?

Naturally if someone’s drug costs $200 on the free market, but they can charge the government $500 for it and the customer pays nothing, use will rise. That is a win-win for everyone but the taxpayer.

51 Boonton December 15, 2016 at 6:08 am

You’re trying to say payers do not care about price because the gov’t is providing all the money. But it isn’t so a payer who negotiates hard on prices will have an advantage over one who doesn’t.

You haven’t explained why that dynamic does not work.

52 Anonymous December 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm

7. And who will be the Ellsworth Toohey of this regime ?

Ironic that a woman is the beacon for an administration with a significant number of misogynists.

53 Sam The Sham December 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm


Not sure who the misogynists are, but the cabinet positions have not interested me.

54 Slocum December 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm

#5. “Two-thirds (67%) say that having more information at their disposals actually helps to simplify their lives.”

The kind of ‘revelation’ that would surprise only leftish intellectuals who are sure that people need to be protected from being offered too many kinds of breakfast cereal. For everybody else, the instant availability of street maps, price searches, product reviews, DIY tutorials, etc, makes life more convenient while saving enormous amounts of time.

55 The Engineer December 13, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Occasionally I will recoil at too much information/ choices.

I got rid of cable in part because there was just too much programming that I was never going to watch. Netflix offered more than enough to watch, what was the point of more choices?

When I went to choose a smartphone, I went with Apple because I didn’t want to figure out what a good Android phone was. I figured that Apple customers were stupid, so the iphone must be easy to learn.

56 Thiago Ribeiro December 13, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Maybe they are too stupid to care if they know how to use it.

57 ron3 December 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm

The term “information” implies facts (truth).

The problem is not too much information, but too much psuedo-information (non-truth) masking the real thing (signal-to-noise ratio)

Everyone heavily struggles to sort sort information from the much larger volume of noise. Noise is constantly presented as factual information in our culture — commercial marketing hype, politics, law, “research studies”, “education”, “medical advice”, religion, books, entertainment, etc. Very difficult for most people to sort fact from fiction.

58 The Engineer December 14, 2016 at 9:30 am

I use the replication crisis as an excuse to ignore pretty much all research that doesn’t agree with my biases. I immediately look to find biases in the research that go against my biases, and discount anything that I don’t agree with. I think most people do something similar.

59 Careless December 13, 2016 at 11:09 pm

I figured that Apple customers were stupid, so the iphone must be easy to learn.

More importantly to Apple, of course, they’re too ignorant to know value

60 The Engineer December 14, 2016 at 9:26 am

I’m probably in the boat. I really don’t care that the iPhone is overpriced and can’t do everything that an Android can. I’m to the point that I don’t even care that my iPhone 5 is obsolete.

61 Roy L December 14, 2016 at 12:11 am

Or maybe, like you, they were generally smart and wanted a phone an idiot could use.

As to TV, I haven’t had a problem with too many choices in years. If I cut cable it would be because with 500+ channels, I have already seen that episode of Dobie Gillis.

62 The Engineer December 14, 2016 at 9:23 am

I’m not sure if the problem is too many choices, or just not valuing the choices.

Not having cable, I’m not up on all these new shows on basic cable stations like USA and Fx. But eventually they do hit Amazon or Netflix, for example I watched a couple of episodes of “Mr. Robot”.

But maybe it is too many choices. How do you decide which shows to watch?

Broadcast TV has a number of rerun stations that play shows from the ’60’s, ’70’s, and ’80’s. I tend to just watch stuff I liked when I was a kid. Too many choices just reinforces choices I made in the past.

63 The Original Other Jim December 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm

No kidding. Savor that “actually” they put in there. Great stuff!

Lefties are in the gatekeeper business; too much available information is a threat to them.

64 Slocum December 13, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Yep. The author of that Guardian piece worries about people being stressed and less satisfied when they go to a store that offers ‘too many’ kinds of jeans, but not about when they go to a library that offers ‘too many’ books. Funny that. But it’s really not a puzzle once you realize the all the hand-wringing about too many choices is yet another (not very well disguised) attack on markets.

65 The Engineer December 14, 2016 at 9:33 am

I have no problem with self-help advice regarding too many choices. I shop at Aldi and Costco, which have far fewer choices than Whole Foods or most grocery stores. Makes life a whole lot easier.

I wouldn’t listen to these people regarding public policy, though, and I agree that they are generally anti-market leftists who want to make your choices for you.

66 Anon December 13, 2016 at 5:49 pm

From TC’s tribute to Schelling , 2005:
…..”You can be better off, either individually, or institutionally, if your choices are limited in advance.”

67 Slocum December 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm

He’s talking about precommitment — e.g. winning a game of chicken by being the first guy to rip out the steering wheel and toss it out the window. It’s the not the same topic.

68 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm

The ability to use information is a right wing thing.

Interesting information …

69 derek December 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Indeed. The left is so inept that even with every institutional advantage they can’t come across except as raving lunatics.

70 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 10:27 pm

Very informative.

71 Boonton December 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm

“The kind of ‘revelation’ that would surprise only leftish intellectuals who are sure that people need to be protected from being offered too many kinds of breakfast cereal. ”

Reality test, if we counted different brands/types of cereal available in randomly selected counties around the US. Do you think counties that went heavily for Trump will have more types or less?

72 rayward December 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm

2. Can the plight of digital media be explained by the theory of increasing returns? That is, Google and Facebook dominate in digital advertising because they dominate in digital advertising – the latest data indicate they capture 84% of the marginal dollar spent on digital advertising. But that wouldn’t explain why Google and Facebook capture so many eyes (i.e., why so many people rely almost exclusively on Google and Facebook for digital information). Then there’s Uber and Lyft, the latter unable to scale because Uber got there first. Does increasing returns mean that some day Uber will own every (autonomous) vehicle made? Or does it mean one day Google will own Uber (more likely since Google, an advertising juggernaut, would like to control the last mile – getting the customer to the right destination to purchase from the firms that advertise with Google). Of course, the problem with increasing returns and concentration is the risk of secular stagnation (i.e., diminishing returns).

73 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 7:43 pm

For Facebook, network effects and entrenchment (it would be a pain in the butt to swtich, for a lot of people), and for Google I assume a head start is the main thing, but surely there are economies of scale – the different from the typical modeling or consideration of this being that Google’s competitors are very strongly constrained by having less information as a result of their search service being used less often.

When you have 90% of the market in a data-driven industry, how’s anyone supposed to catch up? Well, there are regulators to constrain potential for excess or abuse, a more relevant consideration in Europe than the US, it seems.

74 Yancey Ward December 13, 2016 at 3:22 pm

#1 sort of reminds one of all the urban, local government approved and funded mural paintings.

75 someone's gonna say it... December 13, 2016 at 9:55 pm

…it might as well be me


76 chuck martel December 13, 2016 at 3:22 pm

2. The great mystery of Cormac McCarthy. How has someone that produces terrible prose in ridiculous plots become notable as a writer?

77 Roy L December 14, 2016 at 12:25 am

He filled a hole that publishers created when they strangled the adventure genre piece by piece in late 60s onward.

And Blood Meridian is actually good, even though anyone who has read enough Louis Lamour and seen a few late period spaghetti westerns would not find it that shocking or ridiculous.

“All the Pretty Horses” is a basic romance of the sort that sold very well in the fifties, and its prose is not actually terrible. Plus the first portion of The Crossing is close to brilliant. Too bad about the rest of it and City’s on the Plain.

The rest is better written than most and very conventional, other than the blood and Spaghetti Western qualities, it is middle brow genre stuff by 50s standards. The Road is just a more brutal mid 60s apocalypse novel, the rest Western themed crime fiction, a genre that never really died.

Of course there is Suttree, but reheated Faulkner was a dime a dozen back then and he didn’t stand out. The only people I know who like it are those who can never get enough reheated Faulkner and those raised out of the literary South who don’t realize how much reheated Faulkner was/is published.

78 dan1111 December 14, 2016 at 3:26 am

He’s a notable writer because not everyone’s taste matches yours.

I think he’s great.

79 Axa December 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm

#1: I thought Sun Ra started all the story about being an alien from Saturn visiting Earth to preach about peace since the 50s. This is a late 50s record: Sun Ra – Insterstellar Low Ways: https://youtu.be/6CQA3jzmvA4?list=PL9401A342344AEFD6

80 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly December 13, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Donald Trump’s only relationship to an Ayn Rand novel is as a crony capitalist villain straight from central casting.

81 collin December 13, 2016 at 4:18 pm

What if we put Jon Galt in charge and he worked to make sure the citizens benefitted from the programs. Maybe what the people want is have is the smartest and brightest working for the nation instead working in the private sector to outsource all the good jobs. Use Crony Capitalism grow the economy so much that the working classes don’t care rich people taxes are cut.

Anyway, I thought the greatest truth of Ayn Rand ideas is she lived off government programs at the end of her life.

82 The Original D December 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Peter Thiel?

83 Lurker December 13, 2016 at 4:13 pm

+1, thank you very much

84 Donald Pretari December 13, 2016 at 4:24 pm

#1…A clip from Space is the Place…Sun Ra…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okEFloBF9MM

85 efp December 13, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Random question: which literary prize is most worth paying attention to? Of prizes given to works, that is, not authors (like the Nobel).

86 John Pertz December 13, 2016 at 5:30 pm

It was only a matter of time before hip hop pop culture would begin to mine and exploit Sun Ra for influence and to improve their brand status…..Rhianna, Beyonce, Solange, and Kanye have INCREDIBLE teams or brand handlers behind them. Also, is it just me or is Solange a super dietary less interesting version of FKA Twig?

Sun Ra started to become a thing in the rhetro-music-curation world about 15 years ago so that it is a bit surprising to see this resurgence.

87 Massimo Heitor December 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm

#1: If the NYT formally defines the alt right as “a racist, far-right fringe movement that embraces an ideology of white nationalism and is anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-feminist.”, then Afro-futurism focusing exclusively on racially black people and symbols would be a “racist, far-left fringe black nationalist ideology”?

NYT believes that black nationalism is good while white nationalism is bad?

88 derek December 13, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Black nationalists shoot cops so all is good.

89 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Which part of black symbols expresses racism in the other direction?

Chasing shadows …

90 Andre December 13, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Who said it was exclusively black? An imaginary future where more than a token black person actually exists doesn’t exclude anyone. A sci fi future where there are only white people is basically every sci fi universe that has ever come out of the US or Europe for ever.

91 a Fred December 13, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Does “Gravity’s Rainbow” count as sci-fi?

92 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 10:29 pm

I observe that Chinese films tend to have Chinese people in them.

And same goes for Bollywood.

Notice a trend?

But isn’t there usually at least one black person and an Asian?

93 Massimo Heitor December 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm

The title Afro-centrism is itself racially/ethnically exclusive and race-focused.

No, most sci-fi universes I can think of from US+Europe, do include non-whites. A quick google search led me to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_science_fiction_universes

Star Wars, Star Trek, Starcraft, almost all of those have non-white people, even if they are white focused. US + Europe have historically been the ethnically white geographies on the planet, so that is somewhat normal.

94 Roy L December 14, 2016 at 12:30 am

It’s funkier, and the Funk is for All, not just for them.

Except of course modern Afro-Futurism has, mostly, lost the Funk, heck the Funk makes them uncomfortable because they don’t really believe in the Funk and the Funk is the antithesis of what they are.

95 HM December 13, 2016 at 5:54 pm

3. Tyler seems to be pushing hard for stock market based geopolitical analysis. It might be interesting, but the chart posting looks uninformative, as qualitatively large geopolitical risks can have small stock price effects.

Say that Trump led to a 5% risk for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan within 5 years. Given the costs to the world, this would be a huge increase in geopolitical risk.

How to think about stock values. Well, say that given invasion, there is a 50% risk of all Taiwanese companies going bust. Even neglecting discounting, this leads to a 2.5% fall in the Taiwanese stock market. Now suppose this was phased in during a month as Trump’s victory got more likely and he made som silly comments. It would not be detectable compared to standard movements in the stock market, and some more sophisticated analysis would be needed to detect it.

Dito for Tyler’s estonian plotting.

96 Harun December 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm

“Say that Trump led to a 5% risk for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan within 5 years. Given the costs to the world, this would be a huge increase in geopolitical risk.”

Chinese already had much higher risks when DPP won its first elections and China did nothing. Clinton sent actual carriers off Taiwan then. China has conducted missile tests off Taiwan as well.

Your analysis based on a single phone call is ridiculous.

Oh, not to mention China being uncertain about Trump should mean its more cautious. Obama was actually riskier for Taiwan in many ways.

There is also a big issue for China: would they win the war? Its not that easy to amphibiously invade Taiwan and hold it.

97 Simon K December 14, 2016 at 7:58 am

You’ve anticipated a question I was going to raise. What, if any, evidence is there for stock market movements anticipating geopolitical changes, before these have become blatantly obvious to everyone? Has anybody looked at the stock markets in Georgia, Ukraine, the Arab spring countries, etc, to see if they showed any signs of picking up what might be happening ahead of time?

98 byomtov December 13, 2016 at 7:18 pm


I guess it’s not surprising that many CEO’s like Rand novels.

I suspect doctors tend to like novels that cast physicians as the most valuable people in the world, and house painters like to read stories about the importance of homes freshly painted by professionals, etc.

99 So Much For Subtlety December 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm

I don’t think that is true of everyone. A lot of middle class White writers seem to want to “butch up” their CVs to me. None of them say that they are weedy little English literature graduates who could barely bench press 80 pounds. They have to pretend they are men of the people who have been toiling hard with their hands half their lives.

I wonder if they do the same thing with on-line dating.

Is there any writer of serious literature that has ever done anything with his life except graduate as an English Lit major (at least on the Left)? Does a single one of them admit it in their bio?

100 Troll me December 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm

It is possible to work hard and not bench 250 at the same time.

101 Thomas December 13, 2016 at 10:45 pm

For an average adult male?

102 Thomas Taylor December 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm

The Neo Nazis and their cult of ignorance: “when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun””

103 dirl December 13, 2016 at 10:38 pm


104 dirl December 13, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Oh, on the left. Dostoevsky?

105 dirl December 13, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Orwell. Melville. Salinger.

106 dirl December 13, 2016 at 10:46 pm


107 dirl December 13, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Vaclav Havel.

108 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 12:38 am

Troll me December 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm

It is possible to work hard and not bench 250 at the same time.

That is irrelevant to what I said, Touched a nerve did I? Let me guess, you’re a vegan?

75 Thomas Taylor December 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm

The Neo Nazis and their cult of ignorance: “when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun””

Wouldn’t that be cultural appropriation? There is no link between English Lit graduates and culture. But nice smear.

76 dirl December 13, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Tolstoy? Oh, on the left. Dostoevsky? Orwell. Melville. Salinger. Vaclav Havel.

Tolstoy was a little bit before English Lit became a thing. You think Dostoyevsky was on the Left? Well, well, well.

I assume Orwell is the cause with a little bit of Kerouac. He walked the walk and lived with bums. Most people just talk about it. Havel is someone who would have done nothing with his life but English Lit if only he had been allowed to do English Lit.

Take Cormac McC himself. He didn’t graduate – in English Lit I am guessing. So he sponged off his girlfriend/wife for a while until she got sick of it and left him. He then got off his couch and published something. He has been doing nothing else ever since. Nice work if you can get it. But I bet his Bio says otherwise.

109 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 1:30 am

No, I just thing you’re dumb for thinking that muscle power is a pre-requisite for being able to work hard.

110 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 3:54 am

Like I said, I clearly touched a nerve. After all, I did not say they did not work hard. Although I have yet to meet an English Lit grad who actually does work hard. I said they want people to think they are horny handed sons of the soil – that they work hard with their hands.

See the difference?

111 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

My guess is that SMFS used to be able to bench 275 and has a photo of himself kissing his biceps on his bathroom wall.

112 prior_test2 December 14, 2016 at 1:40 am

Well, strangely, this comment section has finally left me pondering something truly unexpected – how much can either Prof. Cowen or Prof. Tabarrok bench press?

113 byomtov December 14, 2016 at 11:21 am

1. The only writer of serious literature that I know personally comes nowhere near fitting your description.

2. What difference does it make? Why is it wrong for someone who wants to be a writer to study literature, but OK for someone who wants to be an engineer to study engineering?

3. What is your point?

114 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 6:46 pm

It makes no difference to me. Although someone with nothing to say because they have no life experience to make anything worth saying, but an expensive education in how to say things in a socially acceptable manner, is likely to produce vapid but politically correct pap. As you can see by reading anything written by such people.

It is interesting because it runs counter to your rule. You would expect people to want to read about CEOs if they are CEOs. But they do not if they are English Lit majors. They want to pretend to be something else. As if they know that being White, middle class and nerdy is something to be ashamed of.

Although to me it looks like what people really want to read about is second hand porn – rape, torture and murder but through the lens of a policeman catching evil people so they can enjoy the rape and murder without feeling there is something wrong with them.

Maybe it is just me.

115 a Fred December 15, 2016 at 4:20 am

After working on pipelines in Alaska for three years, I took some writing classes at a fancy east coast school. What you describe was very much in evidence. Profs and some students wanted very much to let me know about their outdoor or construction experiences. Some seemed to want to be associated with me just so they could let others in the department know that I was their bud. As a quiet, medium-sized mesomorph, I found it odd being deferred to by large blustery types.

116 dux.ie December 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm

OT: US election and the Uninsured

The Uninsured variable is one of the strong indicatiors of pro-Rep.

coeff p
Rep states: Uninsured 1.739270 2e-16 ***

Swing states: Uninsured 2.0512 2e-16 ***

However in Rep state like KY where the Uninsured was about 16.99%, many of those under Obamacare still voted for Trump, http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/13/13848794/kentucky-obamacare-trump

In Dem state like MA where the Uninsured was only 4.89% the Uninsured variable was not significant. The
corollary was that the reverse of that was also not significant for pro-Dem. Seems that Obamacare might be a
non-issue in Dem states. One less rallying issues for Dem.

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