Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Random Notes

by Ken Houghton

Many distractions in the past week, including but not limited to the start of school for the Eldest Daughter, a cold, house renovations beginning, a tree branch falling on the swing set (no injuries, fortunately), and the need to study Drek's advice here.

So, a few things I might have wanted to discuss, but am now happy to relegate.

The Dustbin of History is a good idea:

  • Glenn Reynolds defines derivative, and, implicitly, what wasn't:

  • The here-doubtable Tyler Cowen suggests one should read Megan McArdle instead of Matt Yglesias, failing to note that it was one of "the former Jane Galt"'s idiocies that cued Matt's rant. (Apparently, in McArdle's world, politicans are perfectly neutral, since they say nothing they believe and therefore should never be taken at their word.* Having grown up with Lee Hamilton as my Congressman, I expect better, recent matters notwithstanding.) Fortunately, AngryBear and Mark Thoma beat this one severely into the ground, though Paul Krugman (h/t Thoma) lays to rest the idea that economic ideology alone is the issue.

    Posts I Might Have Written:

  • I spent three days body surfing, and still have some cuts and bruises to prove it. It made me think about the mortgage market. Which means I'm quoting these lyrics:
    Pick up here and chase the ride
    The river empties to the tide
    Fall into the ocean

    The river to the ocean goes,
    A fortune for the undertow
    None of this is going my way...

    Strength and courage overrides
    The privileged and weary eyes...
    Pick up here and chase the ride
    The river empties to the tide
    All of this is coming your way

    Only in part because the alternative isn't a song we talk about on family blogs, though several subprime borrowers may find this more appropriate:
    I am friend to the undertow
    I take you in, I don't let go
    And now I have you

  • Max has left the blogsphere; what is the opposite of "Pareto optimal"? A hearty "L'Shana Tovah!" to him, and change your bookmarks to the robust but unMaxed Econospeak.

  • My radio this morning produced Nachum interviewing NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg, who as a politician reminds me a lot of Bill Clinton (in his pre-mayor days, he sounded less convivial and more cocksure; it may just be age). He mentioned his 98-year-old mother trying to fast on Yom Kippur and fainting. "Mom, G-d doesn't want you not to eat and drink and take your pills, and this is his way of showing it." Especially now, we often forget that fasting on the Day of Atonement is waived for children and those whose health would be negatively impacted.

  • One way you can tell when an "economics paper" is written for a giggle: when the phrase "participants extended offers (albeit in Canadian dollars)" is used. Note to Dani Rodrik: I didn't bother checking the mathematics involved after hitting that sentence, and I suspect Matthew Dowd would have the same reaction.

    *It is also necessary, for this model to have a chance of working, to assume that their policies also do not reflect their speeches or predelictions. For instance, George W. Bush mentioning several times, though in an offhand manner, during the run-up to the 2004 election that he wanted the government to address issues with Social Security must in no way have affected the political discussions of 2005-2006.

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