Clouds Over Cairo

After a rainstorm, at 17th and P Streets, Dupont Circle, D.C. (the Cairo is the apartment building in the background). No filter was used; this was the color of the sky:

Cairo after the deluge

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Maybe the First $50 Billion Should Have Told You Something?

First rule of holes–stop digging (boldface mine):

Puerto Rico’s governor, saying he needs to pull the island out of a “death spiral,” has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions.

The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, and senior members of his staff said in an interview last week that they would probably seek significant concessions from as many as all of the island’s creditors, which could include deferring some debt payments for as long as five years or extending the timetable for repayment.

The debt is not payable,” Mr. García Padilla said. “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”

Given that Puerto Rico uses the dollar–and thus can’t print more–how did anyone think an economy with a GDP of $103.1 billion–smaller than the state of Massachusetts–why didn’t someone realize that after, oh let’s say $50 billion of debt, these debts were never going to be paid back.

Atrios is right: it makes you wonder whether the bond sellers’ actual job is to price risk appropriately.

Posted in Bidness, Economics, Fucking Morons | Leave a comment

Links 7/1/15

Links for you. Science:

This Beetle Uses Its Poop as a Shield or Sword
What’s The Point Of Science Without ‘Eureka!’ Moments?
What’s really warming the world?
California’s Children Win, Anti-Vaxxers Lose
The Underfunded, Disorganized Plan to Save Earth from the Next Giant Asteroid

Other:

Living in L.A. Made Me Get Over My Body Issues
The five most frustrating things about Metro’s problems
After 14 years of watching Christie, a warning: He lies
Driven by Love or Ambition, Slipping Across the Color Line Through the Ages
A few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, a whole lot of people are getting high
Meet the Democrat in D.C. who is cutting taxes for the rich – and for everyone else (keep in mind that these cuts and increases are quite small)
A simple twist of fate
There’s a giant victim culture temper tantrum coming from the Christian right
Questions abound for new program that rewards teachers based on SAT and ACT scores
Why the Green Party’s Jill Stein Makes More Sense Than Republicans
Easy AA: The Supreme Court might destroy affirmative action because this white woman’s grades weren’t good enough.
I’m 28, I just quit my tech job, and I never want another job again
The Good News and the Bad News
Vision Zero D.C. (cool interactive map of where all the problems are)
Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can’t Dogfight: New stealth fighter is dead meat in an air battle
We have been thinking about Internet harassment all wrong

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A Paragraph I Never Thought I Would Read

Feel the Bern:

For Louis Celli, at the American Legion, Sanders’s progressive views make some sense in the context of advocating for veterans’ programs. “Who better than a socialist to advocate for veterans’ health care?” he asked.

Pretty much Gog and Magog territory right there.

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Clinton Comes Out As a Deficit Hawk. This Is Not Good

One of the things the left, along with the kinda-left, is trying to figure out is whether Clinton is a neo-liberal at heart, or if she’s going to let her Inner Liberal bloom. Max Sawicky makes a very good point about Clinton’s campaign kickoff speech (boldface mine):

Several times HRC gives a shout-out to balanced budgets, even paying off the national debt. This is deeply wrong-headed economic policy, especially in the current period. Combined with her tax cut proposals, you have to wonder where any money for her spending initiatives would come from. It suggests she is under some delusion that the elimination of budget deficits under President Bill in the late 90s had something to do with the economic boom. For another view, see my friend Bob Pollin’s book, Contours of Descent.

The critique of the Republican economic policy appears to hinge on a bogus connection between the Bush tax cuts and the 2007-08 financial meltdown. Obama used to flog this horse too, as in “Well they cut taxes and look what happened.” This analysis glosses over the financial deregulation of the 90s in which Bill Clinton played no small part. It fundamentally misunderstands what happened to cause the financial system to blow up.

Any Democratic candidate who does not see the need in the current economy to engage in deficit spending either doesn’t understand what is needed or is too cowardly to fight for the right policy. Male* employment figures are still circling around the bowl. Keep in mind, the people who are still getting hit the hardest in this downturn are minority men, which should put some of the recent bold rhetoric on race in context: money talks, and, well, cost-free talk walks. As Sawikcy puts it, “I may be some kind of radical crackpot, but the points I make do not rely on any sort of radical economics.”

Something to consider in the ‘Who is the real Hillary’ discussions.

*Expectations of women and work are still more variable than men: men, aged 25 – 54, are expected to work, so lack of employment is almost entirely involuntary.

Posted in Democrats, Economics | Leave a comment

Links 6/30/15

Links for you. Science:

Consumers of commercial genetic tests understand more than many believe
Cameroon lake cichlids probably did not speciate sympatrically: Part 1, Part 2
First Peoples: It’s Complicated
Coke vs. Pepsi: The E. coli Test
Malthusian Parameters as Estimators of the Fitness of Microbes: A Cautionary Tale about the Low Side of High Throughput

Other:

How the media spun the Tim Hunt story
Detroit: A Case Study of Oligarchs and Vigilantes Taking Over Public Safety in a Big City
The Supreme Court Decision Was a Win for LGBT Rights. Will Women Get the Same Treatment? Kennedy may be the most emotional judge on the Court, and this week that helped progress for LGBT people. But it could also hurt women.
‘It’s Time for Good Cops to Do Something About Bad Cops': What do law-and-order conservatives propose to do about abusive policing?
Childhood Trauma Can Destroy Your Health Decades Later, Yet America Ignores It
Lone Wolves and Soft Targets: Or how our Press, Politicians are being Played by ISIL
Rise of the ripped
Artificial Intelligence Machine Gets Testy With Its Programmer (thousands of years of technological progress and we are able to simulate a cranky thirteen year-old)
Kendall Square’s corporatization threatens its innovative culture
Bernie Sanders Was for Full Gay Equality 40 Years Ago
Hold it! Twitter ‘Shaming’ Serves a Purpose: ‘Victims’ so obnoxious they draw social media wrath? They’ve earned their hell.
On Jewish Dissent: It is not anti-Semitism, or the fear of it, that impels American Jews to disagree with Israel’s policies, but the policies themselves.
Lebanon Just Did a Whole Lot More Than Legalize Being Gay
THE CULTURE ISN’T CHANGING ALL THAT FAST. IT’S JUST THAT CONSERVATIVES REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE CHANGES.
World Jewish population nears pre-Holocaust level

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Bullsh-t

Observed at a D.C. area used bookstore:

Bullshit

Posted in Bullshit As a Load Bearing Structure | 7 Comments