I believe few conservative Republicans feel visceral hostility toward sick, uninsured people or gay soldiers. Rather, their booing is an expression of tribal partisan solidarity. These people are presenting challenges to the Republican dogma — living, breathing examples of the failures of their stance. They represent a challenge to the tribe, and the crowd is booing them for this, but not necessarily thinking through the substantive merits of their position.
This is essentially the way Romney is treating the conservative mood. Yes, conservatives have developed a series of policy stances — say, that subsidizing and regulating private health insurance is the greatest threat to freedom in American history. Rather than treat this as a principled view, Romney simply treats it as an atavistic expression of hostility toward Obama.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Now, the only poll that matters is the one on election day, but you'd obviously rather be in Warren's current position than 10 or 20 points behind. I placed a bet that Brown would not just win reelection, but win in a walk, and that's money that (happily) appears like it might belong to the counterparty to this particular wager.
These circumstances may appear to be a bit of poetic justice for Chris Capuano and other high-profile Democrats who sat out the race, presumably because Scott Brown looked "invincible" based on extremely early polling, and hey it's Massachusetts so if I just wait my turn I get a free Senate seat, right? Had Capuano run, he would have clearly been able to leverage the state's Democratic machinery, raised enough money to produce a competitive campaign, and generally done the things you'd need to do to make a run at the race. Indeed, Massachusetts Democrats already have a template for winning come-from-behind races against personally popular Republicans. But only Warren was crazy enough to think that in politics, sometimes you have to engage in a challenging general election contest against someone you disagree with, instead of waiting for a primary that you hope you can squeak through and then coast in the general. And now she seems to be reaping the rewards of that particular bout of craziness.
Over ten years ago when I was finishing college, I started a short-lived financial news parody website called Donkeybusiness, now gone from the web. The first article I put up on the site back then has become relevant to global monetary policy today, especially in light of the fourth paragraph, and I thought I'd share it with you.
I like to tell people about this article when I'm explaining the phenomenon of a liquidity trap and why I support for inflationary monetary policy at the present. If you replace your currency with a meat, people have to spend it before it goes bad. So it gets more spending going. Inflation basically makes your currency perishable, like a meat, so it has the same stimulative effect.
Japan replaces Yen with Beef
Attempting to propel the country out of a decade-long economic decline, Japan’s government announced that the national currency would be changed from Yen to Beef. The target date for the switch is New Year’s Day, 2002.
“As our economy recovers, it is important that we support this recovery to the fullest extent possible,” said Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. “A Beef-based economy will hasten its growth.”
“Beef is not only a tasty meat,” said Taichi Sakaiya, Chef of Japan’s Economic Planning Agency. “It will be the secret ingredient of Japan’s future prosperity.”
Masako Shiganaba, head of currency trading at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, explained the decision. “For many years, Japan has been caught in what economists refer to as a ‘liquidity trap.’ Seeing economic weakness and fearful of weakness to come, Japanese consumers delay purchases, saving their money. Their lack of spending, in turn, prolongs the recession. But unlike other currencies, Beef only lasts a couple of days in the refrigerator or a few months if frozen immediately. So consumers will have to spend it as fast as they can.”
Alexander Kaufman, Global Equity Strategist at Deutsche Bank, applauded the move. “While Western governments use pork to stimulate their economies in times of adversity, Japan uses Beef. It’s an innovative strategy, and I have high hopes for it. In addition, there is now no danger that coins will set off airport metal detectors.”
“If paper currency catches fire, it’s lost,” said Satoru Osako, trader at Commerz Securities. “But if Beef catches fire, you can eat it.”
“At first, I hoped they’d use a distinctively Japanese meat – perhaps sashimi-grade tuna,” said Kenji Yamura of Shinko Securities. “But an globally recognized meat like Beef will more easily gain international acceptance.”
Others were skeptical. “While other governments work hard to prepare their economies for the 21st century, Japan adopts a medium of exchange straight out of the 21st century BC,” said Annette Walsh, Asian Markets Analyst at Lehman Brothers. “The transition we need to see is from industrial Old Japan to technological New Japan, not back to agricultural Ancient Japan.”
“I worry about the new currency,” said Shimoru Nakayama, strategist at Bank of Yokohama. “Looking at the euro does not make me optimistic about the future of Beef.”
Efforts to ready the economy for the new currency are under way. Vending machines and arcade games are being refitted with new slots and freezer compartments so that they can be changed from coin-operated to Beef-operated. Electronic security measures are being devised to prevent counterfeiters from using beef substitutes.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
A Western GOP Senator was giving a speech on the Senate floor bashing Obama for wanting to raise the debt ceiling. Merkley was talking to him afterwards and asked him which president had increased the debt ceiling the most. The Republican could see which way this was going. “Was it... Reagan?” he asked. And of course it was.
Merkley then brightly suggested that the two of them could write a bipartisan bill allowing Obama to raise the debt ceiling one quarter as much as Reagan did. I don't know exactly what sarcastic facial expression the Republican had as he said “Yeah, Jeff.” But from the way Merkley told it to us, it probably was a pretty good one.
Those who tell you, in an accusatory tone, to "read the Koran," will never have read the Koran. They will perhaps have scanned words that the Koran contains. But they will never have read it. What a shame that they don't understand the difference.Perhaps Spencer's interlocutors might understand the difference if they watched White Men Can't Jump.
(For those who haven't seen the movie, by the end, Snipes thinks that Harrelson can "hear Jimmy", perhaps through Harrelson's growth as a person).
Saturday, September 17, 2011
“About 80 per cent of anti-AIDS drugs and 92 per cent of drugs to treat children with AIDS across the developing world comes from the Indian generic manufacturers,” says Leena Menghaney of Medecins Sans Frontieres (translated from French as Doctors Without Borders). “India is literally the lifeline of patients in the developing world, especially in the poorest parts of Africa…If Sec. 3(d) is overturned, it means any meaningful effort to make these vital medicines available will be put in jeopardy.”
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
If the real cause of teen traffic fatalities isn't age so much as experience, perhaps the thing to do is begin the learning process earlier, perhaps in some sort of driving simulator. Forza Motorsports and Need for Speed probably won't teach the best driving habits, so maybe the DOT should make it's own not-racing driving game.
Monday, September 12, 2011
For a time, the non-philosophy portion of Donkeylicious made a concerted effort to present data with visual aids. It looks like returning to those roots would be a valuable service to provide...
It may be the lack of sleep, but "for some reason" cracked me up. But props to the guy for exercising his right to petition the government!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Both these arguments ignore the possibility that saying bad things about Social Security may be unpopular with Republican primary voters. Raising the payroll tax cap has something close to 70% support, while the idea of cutting benefits is actually less popular than Barack Obama. What's more, Tea Partiers, who skew way older than the primary or general electorate, are largely supportive of Social Security. It's perfectly possible for Romney to leverage this attack into a genuine, policy-based critique of Perry, rather than focus on electability arguments. "You, Mr. GOP voter, you like Social Security. So do I! Perry doesn't. Sure, you may think it's awesome how he doesn't feel bad about executing people, and he has a Southern accent and I don't, but, you want that social security check, right? Then vote for me!"
Why no one is mentioning this is a mystery, in the same way that the fact that the major policy attack in the 2010 campaign—attacking ObamaCare's attempts to reign in health care costs as "$500 billion in Medicare cuts"—received very little news coverage. The people who show up to GOP debates in the fall may dig Rick Perry, but the people showing up to GOP priamries in the spring will probably be less enthusiastic.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
The Georgia Works program may be a fine idea. It may be a total waste of time. But either way, it's yet another sort of thing that the White House should be offering to Republicans during the course of negotiations, not basing as the national model. The first revision of the Obama Jobs Plan isn't going to attract any Republican votes under any circumstances. So why include any ideas that are attractive to Republicans at all? Why not let them come up with a list of things they dislike, and propose Georgia Works as a compromise? Clearly the strategy of pre-emptive compromise hasn't worked so far, why does the White House think it's going to work this time?