- What I Told The Singaporeans About Obama and McCain
- Moving Day
- Profound Thanks
- Dramatis Personae
- This Has Been The Most Awesome Thing Ever
- So Long; Fare Well
- Businessman's Pornography
- Saturday night at the movies
- Wedgies for Huckabee
- Reporting That Makes Me Sad
- Make Up For Missing Friday Saturday Frank: Solo from The Torture Never Stops; Barcelona; 1988
- There Are Some Things In This Life That Never Change
- Obama v. Krugman
- Another Word on Man Dates
- Hating on the NIE
- Alphabet Soup
- My Commenters Is Smarter Than I: Romney Edition
- Annals of Good Reporting
- Dani Rodrik is a National Treasure
- Your World in Powerpoints: Cap-and-Trade Edition
- The Tapes
- The Perfect Pander
- Open Link Thread
Oops. By Stephen of Cogitamus. Im usually not that good with titles; the one for this post, however, encapsulates perfectly what I feel and what I owe * To Ezra, of course, for the opportunity to be associated with one so talented and to write for such a large audience. Last February, when Ezra was looking to add some more weekenders, I joked with him that if he was desperate he could always add me to the team. I was shocked to find out that he was apparently that desperate and had been intending to invite me. * To the readers and especially the commenters, for holding me to the same high standards of research and accuracy to which you hold Ezra and the other weekenders. Youve chastised, encouraged, discussed and overall made reading and writing for this blog into an amazing experience. I would, of course, like to invite all of you over to Cogitamus. It can be difficult to think of adding another blog to your reading schedule, but in addition to Ezras Reservoir Bloggers weve added some fascinating voices and we are committed to making it worth your while to invest time with us. Peace, friends.
By Deborah Newell Tornello aka litbrit Dear Ezra, I cannot let the evening close without thanking you for your support and wishing you every success in your already-brilliant career. It has been an honor, as well as a great pleasure, to write for your site. Oscar Wilde said that "journalism is unreadable and literature is not read", but I believe that between the two, there is a little-known middle ground upon which a lucky few can find balanced footing--that its possible to draw inspiration and even fuel from each discipline. Thus the informative becomes artful; the esoteric, nourishing. And people tend to read it. As they have here, and as they will continue to do at TAPPED. On behalf of my family, all of whom are now Hardball watchers on Thursdays, I send a hearty congratulations and a heartfelt and loud _Bravo._ All Best, Deborah
By Ankush Khardori Its not exactly groundbreaking, but Michael Lewis piece in _Portfolio_ magazine is fairly impressive when you consider that he and the magazine are basically arguing that a decent chunk of their readership is full of crap. The odds of you or your stockbroker or your money manager "beating" the market are pretty much zero, as Lewis explains, which is why index funds are such a safe bet. So what is going on with all this investment advice in magazines and on cable? Eugene Fama, one of the key proponents of the efficient markets hypothesis, and Weston Wellington, a principal at a firm that purchases what are more or less index funds, have some pretty compelling explanations:
"You can tell a story every day about stocks," [Fama] concludes. "That’s what the media are all about. They tell a story every day about today’s stock returns. It’s businessman’s pornography." ... [Wellington] punctuates the porn show with some general lessons. One is that the financial press isnt in the business of supplying useful information; it’s in the business of feeding people’s lust for predictions. "You keep buying the magazine regardless of how the forecasts turn out," Wellington says, "and they’ll keep supplying the forecasts."That strikes me as basically correct, at least as applied to magazines (like SmartMoney) and shows (like MadMoney) that are in the business of providing people with investment advice as opposed to straight-up financial news. A lot of the folks behind these things are in the precarious position of having to dress things up -- convincing us that they have some unique insights -- so as not to quickly render themselves obsolete. This whole sector of the media is essentially a gigantic hype machine, perpetuating what is basically a myth -- out of incompetence, self-interest, self-delusion, or some combination of the three.
(Posted by John.) So the girlfriend and I went to go see _The Golden Compass_ tonight. Theres a bit of weird layering here, as my fears about _The Golden Compass_ being made in to a movie was one of the reasons I started blogging almost exactly three years ago today. Seriously. (Yes, George Bush had just been re-elected, but what really made me want to spill pixels was fears of an emasculated film based on a childrens book. Priorities, people!) And then theres the big move to Cogitamus, weirdly also happening at the same time. Obviously, Im excited to keep blogging with such quality writers, and immensely grateful to Ezra for the opportunity hes given me. Not that youll need it Ezra, but best of luck. So theres a bunch of things going on. But lets get back to the movie. Happily, the fundamentalist rage didnt manage to ruin the movie. Sadly, the movie was still ruined. I think Stephanie Zacharek more or less nailed the movies flaws, and its few virtues, with her review. But I had a curious sensation watching this movie, trying to figure out where Id last seen a movie which had such a dissonant mix of good actors and high production values on the one hand, but absolutely atrocious writing on the other. Oh yeah... _The Chronicles of Riddick_. Except this time, Vin Diesel is a polar bear. And if you havent seen it, _Riddick_ really is a weird movie. Youve got Thandie Newton, Colm Feore, and Dame friggin Judi Dench, but somehow theyve all been transported to this alternate universe where theyre delivering some of the worst dialogue ever, within a truly atrocious story. But its also got some of the most impressive and interesting use of CGI that Ive seen in a film recently -- frankly, more in some ways than the _Star Wars _prequels. But: Dame friggin Judi Dench. Still, all in all, a forgettable film. So lets just say that when Im comparing it with _Golden Compass_, its not a compliment.
By Neil the Ethical Werewolf _Crossposted to Cogitamus_ Ive got a couple more things to talk with yall about before its time to bid Ezras blog farewell, and one is Mike Huckabee, whos now leading the GOP Iowa polls. Hes a good bet to win the state -- his straw poll success was a good test of his organization, and he has the most appeal to Iowa religious conservatives. For a long time, Ive regarded him as the most dangerous general election opponent. Like most Democrats, I remember how easily a red-state Republican cast himself as a compassionate conservative in 2000, and Im worried about seeing it again. But the more I think about Huckabee, the less I worry. I think people underestimate the extent to which his brand of social conservatism is a real liability in a general election. Bushs success doesnt have any positive implications for Huckabee, as Bush always blurred the lines on social issues before elections. For example, here he is in October 2004, saying that civil unions are okay if states want them. And we all remember Bushs cryptic "Dred Scott" reference in the debate. Thats the kind of dog-whistle politics you engage in when youre afraid to come out and say that you want to overturn Roe. Having made his religious views such a big part of his public image, I doubt that Huckabee will be able to hide himself nearly as well. Hes stuck with extreme positions like opposition to civil unions even in states that want them and support for a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion. And if you want to see something really crazy, take a look at this, from 1996:
Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas today refused to authorize a Medicaid payment for an abortion for a 15-year-old girl whose stepfather has been charged with incest, despite a Federal judges order that such payments were required by Federal law.Yeah. He blocked federal Medicaid funds _so that an incest victim would have to bear her stepfathers child_. Maybe Scott Lemieux or somebody can weigh in on the legal reasoning that Huckabee cites in the article, but it looks really thin to me. In any case, the dude is nuts. Weve seen Republican presidential candidates get stung by right-wing social views before -- think of Pat Buchanans 1992 speech at the GOP convention, which hurt the elder Bushs re-election campaign. The main reason that social issues are regarded as difficult for Democrats today is that the younger Bush managed to triangulate away from our wedge issues. But if the focus returns to birth control, Constitutional Amendments to ban abortion, and civil unions, were back in favorable territory. Its a lot like it is on foreign policy -- if Democrats just show the same kind of confidence on social issues that they do on economic issues, they can come up with a way to defend progressive positions and win. Rather than making a big deal about extreme they arent, they need to show how extreme their opponents are. It was hard to do that with Bush, because he was very effective at blurring the lines. Huckabee is going to be a lot easier.
By Deborah Newell Tornello aka litbrit
The title of this Frank Zappa masterpiece seems perfect for the moment, what with the weeks revelation that our intelligence personnel destroyed valuable videotaped evidence of U.S. agents torturing "enemy combatants".
If no-one knows that its even going on in the first place, of course the torture never stops.
Change, on the other hand, continues apace. In fact, it seems to me, lately, that the only real constant is change, and as someone whos had enough real-life moving this fall to last her a while, Im glad this weekends efforts are confined to the virtual kind. Its a big old blog-moving day today: Ezra Klein, the blog (as well as Ezra, our gracious host) will now be part of the American Prospect website starting on Monday, and the weekend writers at Ezras, including Yours Truly, are joining together to bring you Cogitamus, a blog featuring the opinions, outrages, musings and indulgences of a group of modern thinkers. Our very talented writers hail from the arts, the halls of academia, the courthouse corridors, and the drawing boards of design. And of course, for those of us loco parentis sorts, the kitchens and car-lines of Greater Domestica, where much writerly inspiration seems to occur, usually when there are no keyboards within reach and someone has absconded with all the crayons.
Writers who are seldom in complete agreement, who are always passionate, progressive, and articulate--thats us.
So, come visit, and bookmark, our first clubhouse--Neil and Nicholas should have taken down the No Girlz Alowed sign by now (you guys did get the injunction this morning, yes?!), and while its definitely a linoleum-tiled, beige-curtained starter home at the moment, were going to work wonders with the place. Youll see.
Via Dave Roberts comes a pretty fantastic Powerpoint presentation explaining how cap-and-trade systems work to reduce carbon emissions. It can be a bit of a glaze-your-eyes-over sort of topic, so the use of a musical chairs analogy, while a bit hokey, actually clarifies things considerably. Below, Ive posted the short version using SlideShare, so you dont actually have to download the Powerpoint. Theres also a long version if you want it, but for most, this guy will do just fine. Now, if we could only get Tom Friedman to watch it...