My long form weekend reading — pour a cup of coffee, and enjoy:

• Regulatory Moneyball: What Washington Can Learn From Sports Geeks (Foreign Affairs)
• Chess and 18th Century artificial intelligence (BBC)
• Three days that saved the world financial system (The Washington Post)
• What is an economic equilibrium? (Noahpinion)
• Diamonds Are Bullshit (Priceonomics)
• The Meme Hustler (The Baffler)
• The Average Human Vagina (Double X Science)
• Is There Life After Fifty for a Songwriter? (The Ivory Sofa)
Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws (Rolling Stone)
• What’s in a Nickname? The Origins of All 30 MLB Team Names (mental floss)

Whats for brunch?


Europe Woes Deepen as Economies Contract

Source: WSJ

Category: Financial Press, Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

17 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. call me ahab says:

    “labia pride” movement

    let’s see if they can get a parade together

    “Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws “

    a government knee jerk reaction to the drug wars- I wonder if long term incarceration is inherently a “cruel and unusual” punishment

  2. rd says:

    The US has a history of criminalizing normal or relatively inconsequential activities thereby causing massive social harm.

    We can start with the Jim Crow laws which marginalized a significant minority causing a (so far) permanent underclass. This was after slavery had already destroyed family and cultural support for people in that community.

    Prohibition created the modern criminal gang. Until then, they were simply some local hoodlums. Prohibition is what got them industrialized with major cooperation from politicians and police.

    The modern prohibition on marijuana so that possession of a nickel bag of it is essentially equivalent to selling crack.

    Three strikes laws (they make sense for violent crimes or felony fraud) applied to shoplifting socks. We are now creating major criminal records for normal people which reduces their ability to work while we ship their jobs to Asia – and we wonder why unemployment is a problem. Meanwhile, private prison companies and prison guard unions are major cheerleaders for these laws. The politicans also like having those jobs in their communities as prisons have become bug business.

    People need to be responsible for themselves and their own future. However, society deliberately installing a Marine Corps live fire legal obstacle course for a substantial portion of the population is not assisting their progress forward, thereby hampering our society’s abiltiy to move forward.

  3. VennData says:

    Online Betting Site Intrade Faces Liquidation

    “…Intrade’s director, Ronald Bernstein, said in a statement that the shortfall resulted from unspecified actions by two other parties, whom he did not name. “We are now very confident about the reasons which caused the current circumstance of the company; however, for legal reasons we are not yet at liberty to document them to you…”

    Un-documentable shortfalls resulting from actions of two third parties. That’s what always trips you up when you’ve got a run of good predictions.

  4. VennData says:

    Deep in the Red of Texas, Republicans Fight the Blues

    ​”…California, New Mexico and Hawaii are the others—where non-Hispanic whites, at 45%, are in the minority..”​

    ​No. I don’t believe this.​ America is white. I’m white, you’re white. We’re all white. Stay the course. Keep on Keepin’ on. Rock on GOP.

    • willid3 says:

      even while they watch the population change from white majority, to minority right here in red Texas.
      odd though if you know Texas history, we seem to always be a one party state (used to be Democrat instead of GOP). and if you look back far enough in governor good hair you find out he was a democrat who changed to GOP when the time was right. though they do seem to want to try and slow down that change over, but keeping many from voting. as long as they can anyway.

  5. formerlawyer says:

    A new study “shows global population peaking in 2050 slightly above eight billion, and then falling back to 6.2 billion by the end of the century, the same as the total world population back in 2000″

    I don’t recall this being here, but the “top” economic story is the stock market v labour market? Hasn’t it always been so?

  6. hue says:

    methane pancakes: pale blue blobs, invade, freeze, then vanish npr

    $7 flea market ‘Renoir girl’ unmasked WaPo do we really believe she bought the Impressionist painting in a W.V. flea market?

  7. RW says:

    Not a long read on any given week (but the total Gun Fail litany is getting very long and we are only in week 12) but it still limns how many people really would be better off if they (or a neighbor/friend/spouse/stranger/etc) did not own a gun in the first place or were considerably better trained in its use and care. At the very least one would think that guns ought to be licensed and insured at a level consistent with other potentially lethal projectiles; e.g., automobiles.


    Among the listings in this entry, three accidental shootings of girlfriends …; one brand new entry in the growing collection of bathroom gun accidents; five accidents while cleaning loaded guns; three toddlers shot by found weapons; nine incidents involving the ‘highly trained’ class of cops, ex-cops, security guards and National Guardsmen; and; three discharges through the walls of neighboring homes and buildings.

    In economic terms, the externalities (indirect costs) of poorly regulated gun ownership are probably considerably greater than most folks appreciate. Great enough to constitute a drag on a state’s GDP growth? Doubtful but also doubtful anyone has actually done that calculation even though it might be be interesting if someone (credible) did, assuming no supression of funding or findings typical in gun research of course.

    • rd says:

      The US mindset on guns is bizarre. It appears to be largely rooted in American Revolution and Wild West mythology.

      The myth of guns for self-protection died this week with the killing of a DA in Texas who was a military combat vet who proclaimed that he was well-armed and ready to defend himself. He died in his pajamas with 20 bullets in him after his wife opened the door to gun-wielding intruders. Sleeping in body armor might have helped him to survive.

      Similarly, we hear a number of folks taking about needing arms to protect themselves against intrusive government. Numerous civil war conflicts, including Syria, prove that you need artillery, anti-aircraft weapons etc. to protect yourself against intrusive government. By their logic, the NRA should be pushing for an 80 mm mortar and Stinger missile in every home.

      It is amazing that it is not possible to have universal background checks in the US for gun purchases or a felony to buy a gun for someone who can’t. The focus on banning semi-automatic “assault weapons” or large capacity magazines, would be nice but is nowhere near as important as background checks. PErfomance wise, a lot of semi-automatic hunting rifles are effectively the same as the assault style weapons available to the public and making homemade magazines is not difficult for crooks to do.

  8. S Brennan says:

    Economist James K. Galbraith shines a light into the dark to reveal Obama’s complicity with Republicans seeking to destroy the New Deal’s last remaining pillars.

    “The debt deal will make things clear. The President is not a progressive – he is not what Americans still call a “liberal.” He is a willful player in an epic drama of faux-politics, an operative for the money power, whose job is to neutralize the left with fear and distraction. What Barack Obama offered was a path toward severe cuts in the core New Deal and Great Society insurance programs – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And, of course, no tax increases at all…one has to conclude that what the President really wanted…the appearance of being bullied into it.” – James K. Galbraith

    When Bush attempted this, he was stopped by Democrats, but now under Obama, Democrats will get the “glory” of destroying the raison d’être for the Democratic party itself.

    Over 60% of retirees rely on Social Security income alone, the average payment, for this group is less than 1000.00/mo, or 12,000/yr. In the USA, ~16,000 is the poverty line. For Obama [and his supporters], these seniors, living in extreme poverty, are hogging the national resources! Is Obama just a parsimonious ass? Hardly, Obama and his supporters showered ~12-13 TRILLION to his wealthy buddies on Wall Street, that’s ~30X’s from what he seeks to gut from our nation’s most vulnerable. The irony for Republicans is that it will be Obama and his supporters that will be blamed for the ensuing dystopia.

    I call on Obama supporters, to reject Obama fully and completely, distance yourself, admit you were PLAYED…and be vocal about it, don’t sit in silence as a the USA is placed into a hobbesian casket. Silence is complicity.

  9. willid3 says:

    business tax reform. not going to happen, as while the standard rate may be 35%, almost none of the big companies pay it.

    cause to get that rate down, they would have to loose some tax breaks. and we can’t have that when some barely pay any thing

  10. mathman says:

    Fukushima: Massive Leaks Continuing On a Daily Basis … For Years On End
    Is Fukushima Leaking … Or Are the Reactors Wholly Uncontained?

    You may have heard that Tepco – the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plants – announced a large leak of radioactive water.

    You may have heard that the cooling system in the spent fuel pools at Fukushima has failed for a second time in a month.

    This is newsworthy stuff … but completely misses the big picture.

    Japanese experts say that Fukushima is currently releasing up to 93 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium into the ocean each day.

    How much radiation is that?

    A quick calculation shows that it is about ten thousand times less than the amounts released by Chernobyl during the actual fire at the Russian nuclear plant. But the Chernobyl fire only last 10 days … and the Fukushima release has been ongoing for more than 2 years so far.

    Indeed, Fukushima has already spewed much more radioactive cesium and iodine than Chernobyl. The amount of radioactive cesium released by Fukushima was some 20-30 times higher than initially admitted.

    Fukushima also pumped out huge amounts of radioactive iodine 129 – which has a half-life of 15.7 million years. Fukushima has also dumped up to 900 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium-90 – which is a powerful internal emitter which mimics calcium and collects in our bones – into the ocean.

    And the amount of radioactive fuel at Fukushima dwarfs Chernobyl … and so could keep leaking for decades, centuries or millenia. (Tepco graphics of the Fukushima plants even appear to show water directly flowing from the plant to the ocean. And see this.)

    The bottom line is that the reactors have lost containment. There are not “some leaks” at Fukushima. “Leaks” imply that the reactor cores are safely in their containment buildings, and there is a small hole or two which need to be plugged. But scientists don’t even know where the cores of the reactors are. That’s not leaking. That’s even worse than a total meltdown.

    So what are the consequences for people living outside of Fukushima itself?

    They could be quite severe, indeed.

  11. farmera1 says:

    mathman, Hanover, Washington has been leaking radioactive waste for years.

    The history of Wallstreet in Stick man form. Hilarious