"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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Behind the Music of Game of Thrones by Jennifer Vineyard

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Baker: taper not a disaster

How Bad Is the Bernanke Taper? by Dean Baker

Does he factor in the rising cost of borrowing for state and local governments? What about the sequester?

electoral downside of high unemployment

I don't like this meme DeLong and Krugman are pushing about high unemployment not mattering in elections.

They say political scientists like John Sides say it's a political fact. Well politics is even less of a science than economics. It could be true, but I believe that social democrat programs like Social Security and Medicare are popular.

So how does it make sense that the social democrat program of full employment with the economy running at capacity unpopular and electorally irrelevant. They say it matters if the unemployment rate goes up but not if it is high. My view is that they're making a partisan argument to keep the Republicans out of power no matter what. DeLong was arguing against Republicans who said Obama wouldn't get re-elected because of the economy. Krugman says Hillary will get elected despite the Democrats poor perfomance (even though it's mostly because of the blocking Republican minority.) However I see it as them saying the social democrat program of proper demand management (monetary, fiscal and currency policies) of full employment and an economy running at capacity is not popular. Even though Medicare and Social Security are popular.

Here's Krugman echoing DeLong and Sides.  First from his blog he writes he believes Hillary will win. Then in his column he echoes DeLong.

Not Like Ike
That will, one hopes, eventually change — but it’s going to take several big electoral defeats, and it’s not going to happen by 2016. If she becomes president, which does look fairly likely, Clinton will almost surely face the same environment Obama has faced all along — a completely obstructionist, hate-filled opposition. The only thing that might change this would be if her victory is really shocking — say, Democrats retake both houses of Congress and Clinton herself carries Texas. 
Defining Prosperity Down
You might think that a persistently poor economy — an economy in which millions of people who could and should be productively employed are jobless, and in many cases have been without work for a very long time — would eventually spark public outrage. But the political science evidence on economics and elections is unambiguous: what matters is the rate of change, not the level. 
Put it this way: If unemployment rises from 6 to 7 percent during an election year, the incumbent will probably lose. But if it stays flat at 8 percent through the incumbent’s whole term, he or she will probably be returned to power. And this means that there’s remarkably little political pressure to end our continuing, if low-grade, depression.
The evidence is unambiguous? I doubt that even though I'd much rather have Hillary than a Republican as President. I read DeLong and Krugman every other day and agree with their goals. I just think they may be wrong here. His link in support is:

Are Elections Too Much Like Musical Chairs? by Larry Bartels

Monday, July 08, 2013

Oberyn Martell

Game of Thrones has cast its Red Viper of Dorne

I would have preferred Toby Kebbell, who was good in RocknRolla among other films.
"Dornish law does not apply." Tyrion had been so ensnared in his own troubles that he'd never stopped to consider the succession. "My father will crown Tommen, count on that."

"He may indeed crown Tommen, here in King's Landing. Which is not to say that my brother may not crown Myrcella, down in Sunspear. Will your father make war on your niece on behalf of your nephew? Will your sister?" [Oberyn] gave a shrug. "Perhaps I should marry Queen Cersei after all, on the condition that she support her daughter over her son. Do you think she would?"

Never, Tyrion wanted to say, but the word caught in his throat.... "I don't know how my sister would choose, between Tommen and Myrcella," he admitted. "It makes no matter. My father will never give her that choice."

"Your father," said Prince Oberyn, "may not live forever."

Something about the way he said it made the hairs on the back of Tyrion's neck bristle. Suddenly he was mindful of Elia again, and all that Oberyn had said as they crossed the field of ash. He wants the head that spoke the words, not just the hand that swung the sword. "It is not wise to speak such treasons in the Red Keep, my prince. The little birds are listening."

"Let them. Is it treason to say a man is mortal? Valar morghulis was how they said it in Valyria of old. All men must die. And the Doom came and proved it true."
        George R.R. Martin -- A Storm of Swords