"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Friday, November 30, 2012

AV Club review of Killing Them Softly which has the 2008 financial crisis in the background. One commenter writes:
Cogan's Trade (the novel this movie is based on) is perhaps my favorite crime novel -- only Hammett's Red Harvest comes close. But I'm concerned about anyone adapting that 70s masterpiece into a 2012 state-of-America David Simony thinkpiece. I'll probably just queue up The Friends of Eddie Coyle again and watch that instead.
 I loved the Wire so will probably check it out.
Destructive Responsibility by Krugman

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Varieties of Error by Krugman

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why So Serious?

The Walking Dead just set a basic-cable record with being the number one show among the 18-49 demographic. NBC's popular show Revolution sort of has the same theme of society being a step away from systemic collapse, the rule of militias, YOYO morality (You're-On-Your-Own), and the rise of Fascism.

On a ligher note, I also like Castle which is being rerun on basic cable pretty regularly. It stars Nathan Fillion from Firefly (I came late to that show also) and Stana (sounds like Madonna) Katic one of the most beautiful women in the history of the planet.*(!) Katic's parents are Serbian Croatian and she grew up in Canada and Aurora, Illinois. In one re-runned episode her somewhat dour/serious character detective Kate Beckett, lightens up and blurts out "Shut the Front Door!" with a smile. I could feel the emotions of a hopeless schoolboy crush overcoming my defenseless brain. It's one of those things that's simultaneously a rush and depressingly embarrassing. The show has some good writing (like one episode was about zombies) and cameos by cool actors, but what gives it that extra something is the implausibility of there being such a gorgeously beautiful and distractingly attractive police detective in existence. (No wonder mystery thriller writer Richard Castle wanted to work with her.) You have to suspend your disbelief just as you have to do with shows about the existence of zombies. Good to see Fillion land another good show and we wish Katic the best.

*That's centuries of beautiful women all over the globe.

Monetary Policy in Challenging Times by Charles Evans (speech in Toronto)

(via Thoma)

First, assume a can-opener by Ryan Avent

The Fed has been pursuing a process of opportunistic disinflation and keeping the labor market weak longer than necessary. It has permitted a large output gap to grind away at the nation's productive capacity and actively destroy human capital. Why? Have to keep the rabble in line.

Doug Henwood on Ezra Klein and Walmart

On the latest episode of the TV show Leverage, "The crew sabotages a mega-store in order to keep it from destroying a small town."
What's Holding the Economy Back? The Collapsed Housing Bubble, End of Story by Dean Baker

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We used to have a framework for understanding the time dimension of inequality in the United States: we called it the "Kuznets Curve". The United States starts out as a country that is relatively equal--at least among white guys who speak English. Free land, lack of serfdom, the possibility of moving the west if you don’t like the wages you’re being offered in the east--all of these produce a middle-class society. Then comes 1870 or so, and things shift. The frontier closes. Industrial technologies emerge and they are highly productive and also capital intensive. So we move into a world of plutocrats and merchant princes: people in the cities, either off the farms or from overseas, competing against each other for jobs. And we get the extraordinarily stark widening of American income inequality up until the mid-1920’s or so.
This then calls forth a political reaction. Call it progressivism, call it social democracy, call it--in Europe--socialism. The idea is that the government needs to put its thumbs on the scale, heavily, to create an equal income distribution and a middle class society. Progressivism and its candidates are elected to power in democratic countries in the North Atlantic in the twentieth century--in spite of everything you say about Gramsci and hegemony and the ability of money to speak loudly in politics. Thus from 1925 to 1980 we see substantial reductions in inequality in the United States--the creation of a middle-class society, at first only for white guys and then, gradually, for others.
In 1980 things shift again. Since 1980 we have had an extraordinary explosion of inequality in the United States. This explosion has taken place along two dimensions.
First, we have seen extraordinarily rapid growth between the top twenty percent and the lower eighty percent. The benefits to achieving a college education skyrocket--for reasons that I don’t really have time to go into, and for reasons that are still somewhat uncertain.
Second, we have an even larger explosion of inequality between the top .01 percent, the top 15,000 households, and the rest of the top twenty percent. This second explosion is the most puzzling and remarkable feature of the past generation. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Fake Skills Shortage by Krugman