From Liar’s Poker to A House of Cards

by on 2008-11-13- Leave a reply

Michael Lewis's account of the collapse of Wall Street is a must read for insight and understand of what was going on that led to the current mess.I know it won't, but it should, end this foolish notion that markets are self-organizing, self-regulating, rational entities where rational actors maximize value and where self-interested firms don't lie, cheat, and steal. Markets are social entities, perhaps best studied as networks governed by certain rules and norms--and those rules and norms read more like and MBA textbook than an Econ textbook. The implications of that are, I think, quite profound. Invisible hand my
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Can we collect benefits now?

by on 2008-11-11- Leave a reply

Alex Tabarrok explains why government employees should be considered unemployed.Some of you will, I expect, object that Tabarrock is actually referring to those employed by receiving money from workfare programs, specifically those, uh, affiliated with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal. Yes he is. But I fail to see why one class of government employees is actually "unemployed" while every other government employee is "employed." I suppose one could argue that WPA workers were only temporarily paid for providing goods and services. To my mind, that answer creates fascinating conceptual issues, such as whether someone who loses
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Political Economy

by on 2008-11-10- Leave a reply

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The incredibly shrinking margin of victory

by on 2008-11-08- Leave a reply

As of this morning, Norm Coleman is beating Al Franken by a scant 221 votes. If the trend continues, he may come to rue his strange his claim that "too much is at stake" for a (legally mandated) recount.
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Mother In Chief? Not Exactly Your Typical Feminism, But…

by on 2008-11-07- Leave a reply

Michelle Obama is doing something very interesting. She is taking back family values from the right.According to Reuters: Michelle Obama brings the skills of a corporate lawyer to the White House as first lady to President-elect Barack Obama, but she says her priority will be her role as 'mom-in-chief' to the couple's two daughters. Michelle Obama, 44, was a passionate advocate for her husband's candidacy, but she says she would not want a direct policy role in an Obama administration.To those for whom breaking the gendered glass ceiling would have felt as or more transformative than seeing a US President
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Wordling Away The Time

by on 2008-11-06- Leave a reply

I have no idea what this tells us about anything important. But I do like it. McCain's concession speech Wordle is below the fold.Of course, what I'd really like to compare to Obama's victory speech is McCain's victory speech, the one we'll never hear. And I'd be interested to see how Obama's concession speech would have looked compared to the image you see above.
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Explain this to me, and use small words because I’m pretty stupid

by on 2008-11-06- Leave a reply

Last time I checked, 7M is twice as large as 3.5M. Therefore, if a 3.5M margin of victory is somehow a 'mandate', wouldn't it stand to reason that 7M is twice as emphatic a mandate? Or if nothing else, falls into the category of 'mandate'? I'm not saying that every conceivable progressive policy should now be rammed through, but let's be realistic here about what we saw Tuesday night.
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I never thought that such a day would come, part II

by on 2008-11-06- Leave a reply

If current leads hold, I will have correctly predicted a 364-179 electoral college outcome, with Obama winning either IN or MO, but not both.
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James Poulos on the future of conservatism

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

I would be doing our readers a great disservice if I failed to point them to James' fascinating discussion of the future of the conservative movements after 4 November 2008. A taste: Politically, on the right, nobody is dead now. Nobody is discredited. Everyone will decide for themselves. The wagons could be circled even tighter. But the herd is being thinned, and it is hard, for instance, to think of exactly why, say, Elizabeth Dole should still be serving in the U.S. Senate. There is nothing wrong with Liddy Dole, of course; but Republicans are going to have to do
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The Election is Far from Over

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

(or why Patrick shouldn’t worry just yet)This is morning, one thing is clear: Barack Obama has won a clear majority of both electoral and popular votes. The polls were not all that far off on the final total, ending up with a respectable record of what states went for which candidate.But to read nearly every major news outlet, publication, and blog this morning, you’d never know it—in an instant, everyone has moved on to the more important question of the hour, “What does this all mean?” Does Obama have a mandate, and what is that mandate? Mandates are about meaning,
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Donald Douglas goes completely insane

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

Exhibit A: Donald's post-election screed, in which he interprets the price mechanism effects of a cap-and-trade system (also advocated by Donald's hero, John McCain) as a threat to tear down ideologically nonconformist energy companies, continues to believe that think tanks such as the Center for American Progress are radical leftist organizations, and may or may not threaten violence against our own government in the context of accusing Obama of being a Manchurian candidate. I'm not entirely sure about the threat of violence, as Donald's prose becomes rabidly convoluted at the point that he mentions the 2004 bombings that helped topple
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Interpreting Obama’s victory

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

I don't ordinarily do this, but I thought Duck readers might be interested in seeing my post on "President-Elect Obama" over at my personal blog. It is impossible to be happy on the day of my father's funeral, but the American electorate is doing its best to win me over for the rest of the decade.
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The New Senate

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

It looks like the D's are going to fall just short of that mythical 60 votes in the Senate. At this point, 58 seems likely, 59 a possibility given how close MN is. Subtract one for Lieberman. However, the Senate is a coalition-building body, and Reid and the Obama Administration will probably want to / need to bring a few Republicans along on major Legislation.Likely targets? Senators up for reelection in 2010 in states that Obama won:Mel Martinez of FLCharles Grassley of IAJudd Gregg of NHRichard Burr of NCGeorge Voinovich OHArlen Specter of PAMcCain is also up for reelection in
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I never believed that such a day would come

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

I agree with Charli that McCain gave an amazing speech, but I fear that it is only a small step towards reversing the embers of hate that he, and his campaign, helped stir. A shield of bulletproof glass, easily visible during Obama's acceptance speech, provided a stark reminder of the dangers fear and anger yet pose to hope and reconciliation.
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Nicely Done, Senator.

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

John McCain gave a gracious concession speech that did not pander at all to the sentiments of his disappointed audience. Instead, shrugging off repeated boos from his supporters, he spoke firmly about race, about bipartisanship, and about the responsibility of all Americans to support the person who will now be our President. In other words he joined Barack Obama in calling on the best parts of us as citizens. This was the McCain I used to respect, the McCain I lobbied for during the Republican primary.
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President Barack Obama

by on 2008-11-05- Leave a reply

44th President of the United States
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Election Results Open Thread 1

by on 2008-11-05- 7 Comments

7pm in the east, first polls close. Too early to call most key states, but Indiana is too close to call, which is telling, I think.Consider this an open discussion thread, will update as things happen-- I need to go put the kid to bed, so i'll be back after a rousing Good Night Moon.Updates throughout the night, below the fold:7pm One thing to watch for that the MSNBC folks are prattling about (i'm flipping between msnbc and cnn) is African-American turnout. The TV people are hinting that its not just big, but Huge. As in Huge enough to swing
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Snap poll

by on 2008-11-04- Leave a reply

I have graded one paper since 10:30am this morning. Anyone else getting basically nothing done?
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Breaking: evidence of MASSIVE VOTE FRAUD

by on 2008-11-04- Leave a reply

Just kidding. Apparently some Obama voter may have shifted her residency from Florida to New York, despite intending to move back to New York. Brian Faughnan of Red State, however, insinuates that this is evidence of a significant, concerted effort by Obama supporters to steal the election.Republicans rightly decry some of the more extreme anti-Bush conspiracy theories emanating from the left over the past eight years, but conveniently forget the craziness of the Clinton years--a series of witch hunts driven by an unwillingness to accept the legitimacy of a Democratic administration despite two convincing plurality wins in 1992 and 1996,
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Opinion polls and the polling place

by on 2008-11-04- Leave a reply

I will freely admit to being a FiveThirtyEight junkie over the past few months. The excellent analysis and projection that they do over there is more than a little reminiscent of my favorite baseball site, Baseball Prospectus, in that we have a very self-conscious quantitative methodology in which numbers are used to produce good insights, and not simply crunched for the sake of crunching numbers. Marvelous stuff, and basically updated in real time -- hats off to Al Gore for inventing the InterNet that makes this all possible.That said, I worry just a bit about this obsessive poll-watching, the same
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