Saturday assorted links


6. Still missing the point, it was entirely due to a methodology change:

Narrative needs changed a few weeks back, so the NYTimes had no choice but to explain that Obama really wasn't rounding up and deporting more people because not doing so makes it quite a bit harder to criticize Trump for producing the similar numbers even if Trump and Obama numbers amout to counting apples and oranges.

The interesting thing, though, that doesn't get mentioned is this- no one in the media wants to try to explain why the Obama Administration felt it had to buff up the numbers of deportees reported. I predict Trump won't change the methodology back- it serves his purposes in exactly the same manner they served Obama's.

According to Drum. 'the winner for the title of Deporter-in-Chief is...Ronald Reagan.'

But as for that narrative changing, there might be something to that - after all, Reagan was not only the deporter in chief, he was the man that signed this -

Our then deporter in chief also became America's greatest immigration legalizer - but as we know, things changed a few weeks ago, when another Republican was elected president. Somehow, Reagan's legacy is considered differently by today's Republicans, it appears.

Yes, and the legalization of nearly 3 millions illegal immigrants by Reagan makes the whole argument of Kevin Drum BS, if only because it makes Drum's index go higher by diminishing greatly its denominator.

Now Trump has promised many legalizations too. Perhaps his track-record will be very similar to Reagan. Let's see how it have handled it in four years.

And a big part of that act was to beef up enforcement. But I wouldn't mention that part if I were you. Narrative and all that.

Except the beefing up of enforcement turned out to be a smokescreen for the mass employment of undocumented workers in such industries as meatpacking - as noted by Pollan in Fast Food Nation.

Disagree. If Obama's programs had indeed deported many people, Trump's calls for further deportation would be pointless, as the status quo would have already been effective at deporting. The methodology change narrative bolstered Trump's case for more aggressive deportation policy.

Who actually had policies that reduced the number of unauthorized residents?

Clearly Reagan had a policy to reduce then number unauthorized, by authorizing them.

And the number of unauthorized residents has fallen while Obama has been president, partly by inheriting a bad economy, but also by working with other nations to reduce the drivers of migration to the US.

Ie, demilitarizing the war on drugs is one step taken in partnership with each nation. Instead of military aid to sell weapons, aid was shifted to economic development. Yes, the military is deployed in Mexico but not in a drug war, but to reduce police corruption.

Ie, making it worthwhile to mexico to stop immigrants at the shorter southern Mexican border.

Clinton increased the number of unauthorized residents by making travel to the US so expensive that you needed to stay for years instead of coming for a season and returning home to family. But if you stay in the US for years, you start a new family in the US. Now returning home becomes impossible because home becomes the US.

Remember, it was Clinton that started building the border wall that led to steady increases in permanent unauthorized immigrants as well as restricting visas to the "wealthy" based on the poor coming on tourist assumed 100% guilty of coming to live permanently.

You're underlying premise is that Trump is fundamentally honest?!

Speaking of narrative. Perhaps the EO fiasco reveals how Trump will do immigration:

1. Go to areas that already have a large fence or wall being built or already built and claim credit for it being 'the wall'
2. Create a media circus over someone being deported and use it symbolically to show he is deporting lots of people when he isn't. This requires doing something dramatic and totally unfair. Perhaps rip a single mother nursing her baby away, deport her claiming she is a criminal (perhaps she had an overdue library book). This won't require any actual change in overall policy, but Bannon style it provides the headlines and the red meat for the 'low information voter' who makes up his base.


Judging from what we've seen so far, Trump is 100% about style/appearance over substance. In many ways, the media and protesters are supporting his strategy--his adminstration can carry our some deportations that would have gone unnoticed by the national media under Obama, and we'll see news stories talking about a terrible crackdown. And that plays *really* well with Trump's voters, even if it represents no change at all from what Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc., were doing. The more media-outrage, the more protests, the more heart-rending footage of parents being dragged off to some dismal detention center and leaving their kids behind, the better for Trump.

The counting is very apples to apples. 1 deportee = 1 deportee.

Surrounding issues, implementation, etc., less so.

"... a change in methodology" is far too kind a description of the Obama policy. In fact, he merely began counting those turned back at the border as having been "deported," even though those people never even entered the US. This covered the fact that Obama's immigration enforcement was totally lax. In his two terms, little effort was made to ensure the deportation even of serial offenders. Convicted criminals were typically released "pending hearings," to which they rarely appeared.

Trump's ideas are extreme in many ways, but this should be seen for what it is: a thoroughly predictable reaction to the opposite extremism of Obama.

How do those who never entered get removed by immigration judge order?

It was the voluntary returns that fell drastically under Obama and the removals by immigration order that increased drastically from 2010 to 2014.

Obama State department worked out an agreement with Mexico on expedited returns of Mexicans who had been in the US for only a few days.

Mexico is reversing that policy based on Trump unilateral policy claims, so any one Trump tries to send to Mexico will be held up at the border until Trump documents their identity and nationality.

Any links for the claim that he merely began counting those turned back at the border as having been “deported"?

I thought Larry's obit of his uncle was quite moving.

Moving? Maybe selfish gene? Seems Larry is related to all kinds of famous economists btw.

#1. TC → Please change the title here. There is no coherent explanation "why", as is, it's just click-bait. Did you actually read the article?

#1 - It's clickbait so people like you and I can point out if you want to know about technology diffusion, read these references:

1/ ("Everett Rogers, a professor of communication studies, popularized the theory in his book Diffusion of Innovations; the book was first published in 1962, and is now in its fifth edition (2003).[1] Rogers argues that diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated over time among the participants in a social system. The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span multiple disciplines" - I've read some of this classic book; Rogers points out in a village were something as simple as 'washing your hands' cuts disease, this 'new technology' is only adopted when the most popular families start doing it)

2/ (one of many papers on this topic)

Another example of 'diffusion of technology' not adopted since it's 'uncool', even though it costs you money: it's pretty well known that shooting a free-throw underhand slightly increases your odds of making the shot in basketball, but outside of W. Chamberlain and R. Barry, few stars did due to peer pressure (internet screen scrape, today's news: "The underhand shot will solve all your problems. Guys like Shaquille O’Neal and Andre Drummond may not have listened, but the Hall of Famer’s son, Canyon Barry, clearly did, and now he’s one of the ")

Still, it was worth the read for me. Thanks TC.
Here's a link (is that ok here?) to Forbes article on Warren Buffets latest letter to shareholders, which I also found interesting.

but 100% unrelated...

Yes Li Zhi, I read that this morning, before you did. Interesting how Buffett found the tangency portfolio on the Markowitz efficient frontier by buying value companies like Kraft-Heinz through the insurance float, aka "Buffett's Alpha", as explained recently by Frazzini et al: "Berkshire Hathaway has realized a Sharpe ratio of 0.76, higher than any other stock or mutual fund with a history of more than 30 years, and Berkshire has a significant alpha to traditional risk factors. ... Buffett’s returns appear to be neither luck nor magic, but, rather, reward for the use of leverage combined with a focus on cheap, safe, quality stocks. Decomposing Berkshires’ portfolio into ownership in publicly traded stocks versus wholly-owned private companies, we find that the former performs the best, suggesting that Buffett’s returns are more due to stock selection than to his effect on management. These results have broad implications for market efficiency and the implementability of academic factors."

Does Buffett get to use insurance float for stock acquisition and general corporate purposes? I would have thought it had to stay in the insurance sub. Does it get up streamed to the parent?

@gab -funny you ask; I'm reading on that now. From one source, I read Buffett gets 1.6-to-1 leverage from his insurance float to invest in low-debt, high value companies like See's Candy, Kraft-Heinz, WaPo (all high value but declining sales or prospect). See more here:

Buying companies with effective management and keeping that management in place is a kind of management effect. Get that "synergy" crap outta here. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The inventor certainly thought his machine was better than the older methods but were they? What did women think? Just looking at the pic it looks like a person had to supply the energy of the first 'washing machine'.

He probably knew that stuff that operates by turning stuff would eventually require less human labour. It operated by a sort of crank, and numerous non-human labour means of turning cranks were already in existence at the time (e.g., windmills).

The newly released science fiction book "Empire Games" by Charlie Stross has a lengthy analysis of the political economy of washing machines and in particular their role in economic development.

I really have no clue how he could write this article without discussing the advent of proper soap, and based on the title, I figured it would be a discussion of Tide. The author seems deeply ignorant of the subject mater.

Technologically speaking, they are basically unrelated, even if used together.

"...Ronald Reagan. Every president since then has been successively more tolerant of a large undocumented population."

Wasn't that the guy who gave 3 million amnesty?

Hard to imagine that Reagan was actually only a RINO, but the proof is hard to overlook.

After all, the narrative shifted a couple of months ago, and since then, St. Ronnie seems to be consigned to a dark corner of the sacristy.

Do you support every single thing past Democrat politicians did? No?


Why? I have never voted for a Republican or Democrat, so I feel absolutely no need to care about whatever policies a Democrat or a Republican advocate, and whether they are consistent or not to whatever party line may or may not exist.

The real insight here is how so many people seem to think that people can not have politics outside of a partisan defined split. Particularly as most Americans do not actually belong to one party or the other.

Congratulations. You have arranged it so you can be smug about both major parties.

There are a great variety of independents. Some lean strongly right or left, some lean with reservations, or exceptions.

What I personally like is the freedom to pick and choose my own platform.

Of course I must then match it in a two party system to the candidate that I think matches my platform in the most important way, not generally, but for the specific times.

This past year that was easy, because one candidate kept piling on full disqualifications, from vaxxer madness to war crimes endorsement.

I don't think you understand that Ds and Rs is largely irrelevant to most foreigners.

It's "generic American politicians who do generically stupid American things". E.g., addressing teen pregnancy and STDs by banning education on contraception and safe sex, in preference of abstinence only approaches. E.g., 3 strikes you're out leading to life imprisonment for stealing a chocolate bar or two and a loaf of bread (less insane about that these days). E.g. dropping bombs on pepole and then wondering why the neighbours don't like you. E.g., telling the poor that they will necessarily benefit if billionaires pay less taxes while at the same time cutting precisely the services and benefits which enable the poor to access opportunity. E.g., claiming that freedom is actualized in the general sense by allowing coroporations and billionaires to (try to) buy elections.

Ds have a better reputation because they are generally believed to have fewer warmongers in their midst. For practical purposes this means that, for example, Obama gets a few months or years of benefit of the doubt before becoming the "generically evil US president in the generically US president kind of way", whereas Trump would never receive this beneift of the doubt, nor would many (almost none) Republicans.

Not a RINO, but in the past 25 years things have changed.

Yes illegal immigration is now less of a problem than it was 25 years ago. So is crime. Trump and many of his supporters live in a world that has passed by long ago. (The phrase 'inner cities' is always a good clue, people who use this phrase a lot these days think of movies like Escape from New York when the reality is they probably can't afford to buy coffee in many 'inner cities' these days).

I thought 7 was very interesting, both from the standpoint of economics and technology. Cellphone money changes everything. It allows direct giving and for It to be compared to traditional methods of aid.

I look forward to more.

#7 is indeed interesting and it has lessons for our society as well. The article ends with: "There he found an M-Pesa stand and converted his mobile money into shillings. He used the cash to buy the first of three rounds of filament-thin fishing line that he would need to hand-knot into nets to catch tilapia in the lake.

When the nets were done, he told me, he would rent a boat and hire a day laborer to work with him. He anticipated that his income, after costs, might reach as much as 2,000 shillings on a good day. I asked him why he hadn’t saved money for nets beforehand.

He shrugged, smiled and said, “I could not.”"

A huge problem in our society is that entrepreneurism is experiencing a death-spiral. Less patents, much less new businesses, even fewer really cool ventures. The rich getting richer apparently stifles innovation; no wonder when the education system is going downhill for the masses and the elites focus on holding on to power, roman-empire style. That's why I hope this kind of charitable approach in Africa gets applied to startups and innovation. A farmer in Africa might need $50 to get things rolling; here, it might take someone 5 to 50K to get going on some new idea. It would be just infinitly awesome if there was a government program paying out a few Billions a year in small(ish) grants to budding entrepreneurs. It could even be a social program: Submit your proposal online to have it judged for its worth by your peers, by panels of experts etc. There's no reason many different handout schemes shouldn't be used, or even that a certain percentage of proposals are selected just randomly capture those whose' main strength might not be marketing. JM2C.

Also, cell-phone money isn't necessary for this kind of scheme, here or in Africa. That's my only point of dissention with the article and approach. A person coming once a month with cash money will be just fine, though it would of course give rise to a bit more crime. Not punitive rates of attrition, though.

It would be just infinitly awesome if there was a government program paying out a few Billions a year in small(ish) grants to budding entrepreneurs.

So you think that every small business in the land should be taxed in order to pay out money to every nephew of every Congressman or for a monorail for Shelbyville and the like?

You know, call me cynical, but I don't think this policy is likely to have the outcome you desire.

You have me exactly wrong. This money must NOT be used to further line the pockets of the rich, just as those Africa donations are not siphoned off to the pockets of African dictators.

Put simply, the problem is that our brand of anarchic capitalism breeds monopolies. Think of it as that trend in biology where big animals get bigger due to more efficient use of energy, less predation etc. But that's not the system we want for ourselves.

Most scholarship grants go to those who are in need of help. The nature of our economic system means that fewer people have opportunities to become independent entrepreneurs. We should help them to refresh our economic vitality. And i dont just mean letting people start restaurants, but to foster innovation in sectors that are closed to upstarts due to complexity.

Google buying all available talent before it can invent something game changing, then shutting it down so it doesn't kill their business model is not sufficient.

On what grounds do people believe that education quality is actively gong in reverse?

The world is catching up, more often surpassing the US results. The US is not getting stupider.

1. "left them to their fate for 12 minutes" (while someone, presumably that servant, turned the crank) and then discovered to all-around amazement that all the dirt was gone.

Hmmm .... I would say some exaggeration by the inventor there. Certainly a huge improvement over previous methods but if all the dirt was gone, it would have been better that today's machine.

Or perhaps, someone turning the crank is better than an electric motor.

I thought them same, but maybe their thought of clean is different than ours.

Probably, considering that most people had only a couple/few changes of clothes, which they often wore for days on end (or longer).

I think you will like this article:

"The Greenland Vikings were essentially victims of globalization and a pandemic."

Although it made me wonder, to what extent is such an explanation reflective more of contemporary researchers' concerns than the data support.

It got cooler around that time, which reduced the amount of hay that could be produced to get cows through the winter, and they were busy collecting goods that could be traded for religious curios, etc., instead of building an economy.

They could have been harvesting lumber to build locally. But instead they sent it a thousand miles away to get some artefacts, while half starving through the winter.

It's an example of both how climate change can affect an economy, and also how cultural resistance to change in the face of necessity can be disastrous (which is not the same as saying that you will always lose unless you pre-roll over for anyone).

(in Collapse, by Jared Diamond)

#7. I was surprised at the small sums. $22 a month, less than a dollar a day. The world bank defines property in Sub-Saharan Africa at less than $1.98 a day. Still it undoubtedly helps. I find hard to understand why the idea of giving cash instead of goods has been so hard to accept. Why believe the donors know better than the recipients what they need ? It's infantilizing the recipients.

should be "defines poverty" not "defines property"

Even a very small cash income will leave more time free for investment, perhaps relating to child care or improvements to productive property. Or they could invest more directly through purchase of fertilizers, improved seeds, or other productive inputs.

*Annie Lowrey

Definitely not going to cry over the #3. Too many idiots are owning dangerous animals. It's sad enough that many people don't even have the capability to be a responsible dog or cat owner!

We've talked about this one before:

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