Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Short, non-CGI Subjects

Ken Houghton notes that Stanford Professor and “Taylor Rule” founder John Taylor is blogging. (No RSS or Atom feed yet.) His charts are better than this one looks, though his data is clearly GIGO. (See the link at his post.)

This blog was included as one of the 100 Best Blogs for Econ Students by the Online Universities Weblog.

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Peter Dorman of Econospeak Writes, So I Don’t Have To

I’m just going to “Go Thoma” on him, since I can’t find anything to cut:

Barack Obama tells us we should not investigate American intelligence agents or their overlings who are responsible for torturing hundreds of suspects in their custody. We have to forget about the past, he says, to concentrate our attention on the future. That might be a convincing argument if Obama were going all out for an ambitious program to remake our economy and our relationship to the rest of the world. But the future is on hold because the number one job today is bailing out the financial system, so we can preserve the money moguls who juiced our economy in the past.

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Why I Can’t Read Ta-Nehisi Coates

In the past two minutes of checking out Coates’s latest—well worth reading, otherwise—there have been banner and frame adverts for:

  1. The Atlantic Business, edited by Megan McArdle, “Decoding the Mysteries of Today’s Economic Order” or McMegan Explains Modern Business Models (a.k.a. “Built to Flip”) All to You and
  2. “Need Advice? Ask Jeffrey Goldberg

Sorry, but from now on, I’ll depend on Brad DeLong to do the heavy lifting.

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Programming Note

Ken Houghton

We’re off for two weeks in a foreign country, and internet access may be limited in the Great State of New Jersey, so—just in case in can’t find a way to pity sadly the University of Chicago’s Business School curriculum (yes, there’s an is-McMegan-is-being-obtuse-or-is-she-stupid post someone has to write; I’ll trust that someone will)—Happy Hanukkah, Xmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, and all that.

Back by Twelfth Night. Have fun storming the castle.

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What Brad DeLong Said: Rest in Peace Doris Dungey, "Tanta"

UPDATE: For those who read here and not at CR, a link for Donations.

We knew she was home with her family, but it was over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday…

Calculated Risk:

Sad News: Tanta Passes Away: My dear friend and co-blogger Doris “Tanta” Dungey passed away early this morning. I would like to express my deepest condolences to her family and friends…

Tanta was one of the people—along with CR, PGL, DeLong, and Mark Thoma (and probably a few others I’ve overlooked, such as Max Sawicky**)—who proved early on that long, informative blog posts about issues that might be considered arcane* could find an audience.*** Including people who knew what you were talking about and could provide complementary insights and information.

Via CR, David Streitfeld sums it up:

Thanks in large part to Tanta’s contributions, Calculated Risk became a crucial source of prescient analysis as the housing market at first faltered, then collapsed and finally spawned a full-blown credit crisis.

Tanta used her extensive knowledge of the loan industry to comment, castigate and above all instruct. Her fans ranged from the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times who cited her in his blog, to analysts at the Federal Reserve, who cited her in a paper on “Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit.”

There are a lot of people out there who are saying now that “we all knew there would be a crisis.” Tanta is one of the main reasons for that.

She will be is missed.

*Robert Waldmann’s investigative series on Credit Products is a current AB example.

**The lack of conservative economists on the list is not my fault; the Mankiws and Tyler Cowens of the world rarely if ever go into detail about the system or the implications surrounding their statements.

***UPDATE: See the Ubernerd posts, collected here.

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And I thought I was a night person.


The evil* Aaron Shiff of [edited to clarify that he is not—to my knowledge, at least—the Aaron in Coventry] discovered Google Web History.

Being a natural follower, I checked my own breakdown. It appears I do a lot of Google searching during the two hours the children are Not Getting Ready for Bed:

I have doubts about their methods (the top Clicks lists, in particular, do not match with what I’ve been doing in the past two years but seem rather to map my searches to Google’s search database), but it’s worth checking out, and will probably produce a thesis or three in the near future.

*Sarcastic Designation of Mr. Schiff,** who posted this distraction, for this web posting only. I am not Lou Holtz.***

**No designation of aaron-in-coventry to be intended or implied, sarcastic or otherwise.

***Lou Holtz reference explained here.***

***If he isn’t suspended without pay, will Gary Becker give back his Nobel Prize?

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Selection Bias: How Many People Read Political Blogs?

Harris Interactive reports:

One always hears about a blog breaking news before the “mainstream media” actually covers it. But are people really reading these blogs? The answer is no, as over half of Americans (56%) say they never read blogs that discuss politics. Just under one-quarter (23%) say that they read them several times a year and just 22 percent of Americans read blogs regularly (several times a month or more). These are some of the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 2,302 U.S. adults surveyed online between January 15 and 22, 2008 by Harris Interactive.

Kevin Drum ponders:

Maybe I believe this survey after all. But no. I really don’t. I mean, 22%? Surely this number has been heavily skewed upward by the fact that this poll was conducted online, right?

Right! Selection bias is a distortion of evidence or data that arises from the way that the data are collected. Self-selection bias occurs when the characteristics of the people which cause them to select themselves in the group create situations where a biased estimate of the general population is created. What percent of adults neither respond to online polls nor read political blogs? In other words, what percent of the entire population read political blogs? This survey really does not tell us that. Kevin does point us to James Joyner who divines from the survey:

So, we have a survey showing that 44 percent of Americans read political blogs occasionally and 23 percent read them several times a year. Among those who do, 78 percent find them as accurate or more accurate than the mainstream press and 82 percent find them as valuable or more valuable than the mainstream press. Yet the story is framed as blogs being inaccurate and less widely read than some might think?

So maybe the message is that those of us in the minority who actually do read political blogs should tell our friends to join us as they will be more informed than those who trust cable news – especially that station we call Faux News.

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