Here are my longer form journalism for your weekend reading pleasure:

• Has Carl June Found a Key to Fighting Cancer? (Philadelphia Magazine)
The Blip: What if everything we’ve come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? (NY Mag)
• Understanding Google (Stratechery)
• Unhappy Truckers and Other Algorithmic Problems (Nautilus)
• The Last Days of Big Law You can’t imagine the terror when the money dries up (New Republic)
• Intense commitment for religious, political or philosophical ideas create Ideological Bias (Seeking Wisdom)
• Have You Heard the One About President Joe Biden? (GQ) see also Why the G.O.P Needs to Lose for a Third Time (Rational Irrationality)
• The Cheat Code to Life (Wired)
Twelve Absent Men: Rebuilding the American Jury (Boston Review)
• ‘Community’s’ Dan Harmon Reveals the Wild Story Behind His Firing and Rehiring (Hollywood Reporter)

What are you doing this weekend?


New Home Sales Hit Five-Year High as Homebuilders Struggle
Source: Bespoke

Category: Financial Press

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.

7 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads (Long Form)”

  1. rd says:

    Re: The Blip

    I frequently tell my kids that American society has a huge recency bias issue by considering the 1946 to 2000 period to be “normal”. In reality, there were a lot of confluences of various things to make that a historical aberration. we see it in discussions of pensions where people believe that they have been around forever when in reality, they have only been around for 50 years or so.

    One of the biggest single things was a focus on consumption, which is unsustainable in its present form. Pollution, land use, resource availability are all starting to gum up the works of the system that was providing the things to consume. We have started solving those problems, such as pollution, but one of the ways we did that was exporting the pollution-causing industries to other countries so their part fo the planet can get polluted.

    Ultimately, the focus of the next two generation is going to have to be to collectively around the world solidify the gains of the past century and figure out how to do it sustainably. I think this will take 20 to 40 years. sustainably. This is where the big opportunities will be.

  2. Moss says:

    Remarkable turn of events. One has to wonder what exactly is under the rocks.

  3. b_thunder says:

    Re: New Home Sales Hit Five-Year High as Homebuilders Struggle

    “Mortgage delinquencies take a sharp turn up”

    “After five straight months of improvement, mortgage delinquencies rose dramatically in June. The national delinquency rate is 6.7 percent, up nearly 10 percent from May and the highest level since February, according to a report from Lender Processing Services. ”

    And another, IMHO no less important “observation:”
    “This data follow another read on the mortgage market showing that nearly half of the loans modified in 2009 under the Obama administration’s housing rescue program defaulted again.
    The Home Affordable Modification Program has helped 865,100 homeowners avoid foreclosure, but more than 306,000 could not keep up with even the modified monthly payments, according to the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The program does not force banks to write down mortgage principal.”

    So let’s get Larry Summers, the chief architects of that bank bailout plan (because if 50% HAMP recipients re-defaulted it can’t be called bailout for the homeowners) to run the Fed and continue the bailouts from there.

  4. Anonymous Jones says:

    This was a great set of links.

    On the “Blip” Article, I, of course, think that there is very little to reason to believe that the next couple of decades in the US will be like the 60s or 80s or 50s. The future just doesn’t work like that.

    At the same time, many things are cyclical, and I think some of the fear of the future can sometimes be overdone. Not that there aren’t things to fear, but there are things that we don’t anticipate that sometimes turn out much better than we imagine.

    In the 1890s, there was a (very large) school of thought that the American experiment was turning for the worse. Frederick Jackson Turner was not some fringe doomsayer, but rather someone with a keen intellect and very large following who had a simple attractive thesis that the closing of the frontier was going to irrevocably change America (this happened) and probably for the worse (this mostly didn’t happen). And the thing is that I think Turner (and/or some of the more despondent of his acolytes), though proven wrong in hindsight, were right to make the predictions they did. The US had been declining for about 50 years (i.e., since 1850) in very measurable and troubling areas. The share of wages per capita vs GDP and things like stature and other measures of well-being had been declining since 1850. There had been one extremely costly civil war and two very great depressions/recessions (in 1873 and 1893) [deflation didn't reverse until the Yukon and South African gold strikes in the mid 1890s]. This was 50 years of troubling evidence, compounded by a clear demarcation that the opportunity of the “frontier” had closed. 50 years is not a trend; it is a destiny.

    But, well, we know it didn’t turn out that way. Just because a theory is more plausible than the other competing theories (and based on more evidence) does not mean that the future is going to bear that theory out. Just because it is unlikely that a fair coin will be heads ten times in a row does not preclude this string of flips from happening.

    I agree there are troubling signs and there is no good reason to believe that only the best parts of the last 50 years will be replicated. But there’s also no good reason to believe that only the worst parts of the last 50 years will be replicated (not that the Blip article was arguing that; this is an additive, not contradictory, musing).

  5. XRayD says:

    Lets face it … the two most remarkable developments that have shaped all our lives from the 40s to the 90s come down to (as I read somewhere many years ago, and still agree with) just two things:

    1. The transistor, and

    2. The Birth Control pill, the “baby boom” notwithstanding – it change our politics and culture, which is now at the “same sex” stage, and coming soon, “mail order designed babies”.

    (I would add to the above, the revolution in agriculture and medicine).

    The real question now is, Who can afford what, and What “we” as a society should pay for, and what “I” as an individual want to.

    Two items of the times:

    Septuagenarian Strut,1

    Mick Jagger, Birthday Boy

  6. czyz99 says:

    I always marvel about the times many of our parents and grandparents lived in. Both my parents born in the middle of the roaring 20′s, one lost the house in the depression, the other didn’t. Both had fathers that died before my parents were 12. One was unemployed and suddenly died on a bitterly cold December day in ’32, literally weeks after his daughter was born. The other employed, but died December 24, 1933 on a snowy mountain road coming home for Christmas. Mothers struggled on at a time you just about had to have a husband to survive. One only had job because she was a school teacher, the other made it because her family helped her. Then along came WWII and their sons went to war. My father discharged from the Army, wanted to stay in California, but there were no jobs and a wicked housing shortage. So he trudged back to the frozen plains of South Dakota and began building from what he had.

    Fast forward to ’00 and my father had ‘made it’. But he kept telling me as my stocks climbed ‘it ain’t this easy.’ You can’t outlaw the business cycle. What poppycock and balderdash! And banks can fail. I just laughed. I’m not laughing now.

  7. tjmc says:

    Great set of links this week. Thanks.