Saturday, December 14, 2013

What Mattered This Week?

The confirmations. I think I said this before, but put aside the drama (and real importance) of the Senate rules fight: the nominations at stake, especially those three DC Circuit picks, are quite important.

Of course the various Mandela memorial flaps don't matter, but you all knew that.

What else? It was a pretty newsy week, seemed to me. What do you have? What do you think mattered this week?

37 comments:

  1. Legal win for polygamy.

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    1. Since I'd never heard of such a legal case, I googled for a bit of background. Ruling here: https://ecf.utd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?211cv0652-78. What seems to be at stake is not whether multiple partners are allowed to marry, but whether the cohabitation of multiple non-married partners is something the state can interfere with. Utah's polygamy law banned not only multiple marriage licenses, but cohabitation.

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  2. The final Volcker rule approved on Tuesday is a huge deal for those of us professionally involved in the financial markets. The final rule was more principal-based than rule-based in how it treated market-making, which should result in only a small reduction in liquidity in the corporate bond markets. The final rule was easier on market-making but tougher on macro-hedging, which seems like a reasonable policy direction. Those much criticized Wall Street lobbyists did a fine job of education regulators and their staffs about the importance of bond market liquidity, and as a consequence the final rule will do far less damage to the financial markets than the earlier draft would have done.

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  3. The execution of Jang Sung-taek may matter, though of course knowing the real significance of things that happen in North Korea is always difficult.

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  4. If you believe that "mainstream" Republicans are starting yo stand up to the Tea Party, which I largely do, that will matter.

    When the conservative WSJ notes that Ryan had to tack left on the budget deal to pick up democratic votes for passage, that shows that the Tea Party strategy of scorched earth obstruction is failing.

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  5. The attempt by hawks in Congress to try and blow up the Iran deal with new sanctions seems to have collapsed, that matters. Ireland finally came out from under the ECB emergency loans they got, but at a pretty frightening human cost: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/business/international/ireland-to-end-reliance-on-bailout-lifeline.html?_r=0 (they have a story about a one time small business man whose been reduced to living in his mother's garage and shooting wild birds for food.) Also White House staff changes always matter.

    If you will indulge me by tolerating my whining about something, I've noticed a really annoying thing about the whole "kludge" debate. I think the original article made important points about how to think about policy solutions that can be very complex and built upon previous policies. Unfortunately most folks ignored the original article's arguments and pretty quickly the term was transformed into a pejorative to be little more than "bad."

    So you have things like David Frum tweeting stuff about Obamacare like "It's an awful kludge. Obama could have done with same things with tax deductions." Which is annoying because using tax deductions as a way to do things like expand access to healthcare is the very definition of a kludge.

    So basically very few people took the actual article to heart and instead we just have another word for bad or stupid. Which is annoying because I think the original article made some important points. (Personally I think kludges are neither good nor bad, what they are and how they are implemented.)

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  6. Silicon Valley pushes back against government surveillance:

    http://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com/

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  7. Important poll of IQ experts.

    In the first survey of its type in 30 years, psychometricians were polled on subjects such as:

    Asked: What are the sources of U.S. black-white differences in IQ?

    0% of differences due to genes: (17% of our experts)
    0-40% of differences due to genes: 42% of our experts
    50% of differences due to genes: 18% of our experts
    60-100% of differences due to genes: 39% of our experts
    100% of differences due to genes: (5% of our experts)
    M=47% of differences due to genes (SD=31%)


    Tick, tock, progs. It's almost time to jettison your anti-evolution stances on intelligence and genetics. Science is coming for ya!

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    1. Trolling on a Sunday, might want to find a better "Doctor". Anyway, glad we can bring in Eugenics during the holiday season.

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    2. And what particular piece of fascist policy would you justify with this?

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    3. And what particular piece of fascist policy would you justify with this?

      The policy of ending affirmative action and disparate impact regulation.

      Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in positions of wealth and power while Jews are wildly over-represented because of genetics, not a ghostly "history of oppression." Richwine was speaking the boring truth.

      As a prog, you're either pro-science or you're for using racist policy to advance your political ends against whites and asians that you wish to harm. I recommend being pro-science.

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    4. Leaving aside an apparent lack of understanding about how standard deviations work, the gaping hole in your theory is housing. Housing discrimination is an undeniable historical fact. Black folks have been robbed blind, and I fail to see how that traces back to IQ, particularly when even the wealthy have been segregated (obligatory note that this wasn't just the south, but very often in northern cities). Of course, ever since Nixon hamstrung George Romney, Republicans have been fighting tooth and nail pretty much any attempt to prevent solutions, let alone correct any historical wrongs.

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    5. But can we discuss, the 31% sd? Come on that was my favorite part... 31%? Of what, hahahah.

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. Sorry dude, sd of 31% doesn't make any sense and if it was .31 it would be way too small. Whoever did this study didn't understand statistics, which would probably make the findings pretty difficult to swallow, but you know that's just math...

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    8. Sorry dude, your study is bunk... and psychotically racist. So there's that.

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    9. Jamie C

      Not a study, but a poll of psychometricians who have been published in the following journals:
      Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology, Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of School-Psychology, New Ideas in Psychology, and Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

      The poll claims that the respondents' mean estimation of the effect of genes on the black/white IQ difference is 47%. There is a lot of disagreement about the actual number, hence the 31%. What don't you understand?

      These numbers are unsurprising. The majority of academics who study intelligence believe that much of the difference in IQ between races is due to genes. Unless you think that human brains are immune to evolution, it's pretty sensible to believe so.

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    10. theBitterFig,

      Forcing companies to hire stupid blacks and hispanics in place of whites and asians does not address red-lining, etc. Affirmative action and disparate impact lawsuits are the wrong, racist tools. It's a near certainty (based on the scientific consensus) that blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites (on average) so "remedies" for decades-ago racism need to allow for reality to intrude. Because progs can't think about this problem, that hasn't been the case for a while.

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    11. It's also occurring to me that there is a unchallenged premise here that IQ is the best predictor of wealth (or at least net income). If it is, we'd expect blacks with 80 points to do as well as whites with 80 points, blacks with 120 points to do as well as whites with 120 points, and so forth. If IQ doesn't correlate well with wealth within racial classifications, that also blows up your entire premise. Put another way, for your theory to be valid, IQ has to explain pretty much the entire wealth gap. Granting the genetic intelligence gap for the moment, if we suppose it's say 10 points, but Blacks have wealth equivalent to 20 points fewer than whites, that shows that things go far beyond genetics. There' a lot of work which needs to be done, rather than just waving your hands over a few IQ points.

      The other thing is, the policies we have now are probably the only ones we'll have for a long while. The contemporary GOP would poop solid gold before allowing better solutions, even if it meant they replaced older policies. I mean, a HUD with teeth, possibly aligned with how George Romney wanted to run it back in the late 60s, might the best thing we could do, but it's NEVER EVER going to happen because Republicans.

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    12. I would love it if backyardfoundry could share with us all of the amazing things he would have accomplished in his life if not for Jews and black people.

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    13. LOL--"a poll of IQ experts." Not education experts, or testing experts, or statisticians, but a self-selected bunch of biased people who believe BS IQ tests. This poll proves nothing except about the people who responded to it.

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    14. ModeratePoli,

      Universities pay social scientists with PHDs to do this work. These social scientists can then predict things with an accuracy and consistency that most social scientists can only dream of. The IQ difference between american blacks and whites has been remarkably consistent for generations, and that difference has predictable (and predicted) effects. If you think that IQ testing is BS, then you need to throw out nearly all of social science, because IQ testing works.

      These people are education experts, testing experts, and statisticians.

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    15. Anonymous,

      Jews have produced an unbelievable amount relative to population size. If there's a Christmas song, TV show, or movie that you like, it was probably created by Jews. Jews win an unbelievable number of Nobel prizes. Sure, their politics tend to be obnoxious, but it all balances out. Without Jews, we'd all be poorer.

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    16. theBitterFig,

      IQ does correlate with wealth. Google around.

      There will be no sensible conversation about how much of the wealth gap is due to genes vs white power until progs stop acting like children. Racist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is not an argument.

      Why were you and Jamie C complaining that there was something idiotic about the SD? Were you mistaken and just doing the usual internet thing of never admitting that you're wrong? Or am I confused? I find that it's hard to learn anything at all if one just calls everyone one agrees with an idiot and then doesn't admit and internalize when shown to be wrong.

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    17. Any who'd like a whimsical primer on the effects of IQ on just about anything can go here. A common layout of the articles is: story/dialogue, exposition and helpful graphs, relevant models and equations.

      But you would not be the first prog to be hooked and converted to a pro-science bias if you read that author.

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    18. @backyard, you go ahead and pretend that your supposed scientists are thoroughly researching this issue and somehow (miraculously) have been able to untangle all the social issues involved. Until they have identified a genetic factor like the BrCa genes, the social factors are scientifically the much stronger argument.

      If you had genetic evidence, you wouldn't have to argue based on an appeal to the authority of the selected-selected set of psychometricians,

      What's funny is that you think you're being scientific. You don't seem to have a clue how far you are from it. Phrenology was bias clothed in science too.

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    19. ModeratePoli,

      You seem to believe that the existence and effects of something can't be measured and described unless they can be pointed at directly. You've set science back 500 years. Apply this test of evidence to other fields and you'll find yourself arguing that there's no AGW and that smoking causes pink lung.

      I know that you have never read of any of the evidence that humans are susceptible to evolution. You're as much a creationist as the 6000 year types.

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    20. Fun! You know, backyard, I just had an insight wrt the Tea Party after clicking on your link two above: the reason anti-government Tea Party types are so hostile to science is because they wonder why we waste so much money on inquiry so obviously settled?

      The second link in your post two above dealt with the gender gap in math and science. The author scoffed at research published in the august journal Science showing that the gender gap in math and science had disappeared. Look at the data, your man says, and you'll see that the gender gap is still there, the differences are a little greater in high school, and everyone knows that boys get better at math with puberty!

      For those of us not in the cult...maybe? Or could it be that boys tend to be triaged into more challenging math and science classes in high school? Or math nerd is - historically - a (high school) boy culture "thing"? If you see science as endless inquiry (an NIH or NSF-type view) as opposed to recitation of dogma, these become interesting questions.

      I even googled that question - you can do that, you know! Here's one of the first links - very contemporary! Turns out high school chicks are worse at math and science - but only in the US, Canada and Britain. The rest of the world, not so much.

      I suspect that doesn't bother you, as you are probably comfortable with the idea of an American/Canadian/British genetic type that is fully distinguished from genes in the rest of the world, especially since those first two countries are notably genetically distinct from the rest of the world.

      You are comfortable with this. Real scientists, by contrast, are not.

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    21. CSH,

      I don't think that you read very closely or check sources. It is not only in the US, Canada, or Britian that males outscored females in science, which you can see if you follow your links. But you can find the relevant tables here which show that the NYT has got some screwy chartmakers. As a rule, don't trust progs to report accurately where education or testing is concerned, even if they're just passing on gov results. Check the gov PDFs.

      And you seem to have missed the key ideas of La Griffe's article: higher male variability and the differences in highest scores. The sex difference that bothers progs so much is in the upper reaches of math and science, where men have an extreme advantage. Of course, there is zero prog interest in "rectifying" universally higher median scores for females in reading. For progs, it's always about knowing who the enemy is.

      Are you even trying to figure out what people who disagree with you are saying, or are you trying to find ANYTHING that will distract the bad man from making the hurty-talk?

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    22. No one's trying to "distract" you. Just pointing and laughing at you. Big difference.

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    23. @backyard, Oh I've set science back 500 years by requiring clear, methodical, repeatable definitions of the type that geneticists do ALL THE TIME. You, on the other hand, are supporting 'science' that is the equivalent of phrenology, while ignoring all the many behavioral and cultural data. Yes, please lecture me on how to do science. While you're at it, explain why the self-selected poll of 'expert' has scientific merit. I'd love to hear that. I might talk my own poll in the meantime. Shall I?

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    24. ModeratePoli,

      while ignoring all the many behavioral and cultural data

      What does it mean that 95% of the PHD respondents who were published in the standard journals did NOT claim that the black/white IQ gap is 100% due to genes? I know that you will never read any of the literature because: Racistssss!

      But maybe you can consider whether these experts know something about nurture. Because they study this constantly.

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  8. Dems being unable to hold the line on Federal UI extensions matters, not just for those affected, but for the leaders who can't get anything they actually try to get.

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    1. This may come up again in January, to be dealt with retroactively. Not an ideal way to deal with things, but better than nothing if it happens.

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    2. It is striking, however, how unashamedly the GOP leadership can take their stance. It does not augur well for the future. It seems quite difficult to marshall sufficient pressure for extending UI on members of Congress, even though many progressive groups have known for months that this deadline was approaching.

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  9. More news from Benghazi, and again it reinforces the official story. The CIA security personnel from Benghazi have talked to a House Intelligence subcommittee in closed session. They said they got the call from the diplomatic compound, about a mile away, but the station chief decided not to go immediately. (Unlike James Bond movies, the CIA generally tries to keep its presence under wraps rather than shoot up neighborhoods.) As pretty much described in earlier reports (if somewhat indirectly at times), their first response was to try to find out what was happening and to contact the Libyan militia that was tasked with protecting the compound. Only after they were unable to achieve that did they decide to risk the possibility of an ambush and go there themselves to help. Hence the 25 minute delay in arriving. The new twist added by the testimony is that there was a dispute between the professional CIA and the security contractors, with the contractors wanting to go immediately and being ordered to wait by the station chief. This is apparently the source of the rumors that the CIA was ordered to stand down. Both the CIA chief and the contractors denied that an earlier arrival would have saved the ambassador. The CIA chief said he did not request air cover because he was aware that none was available. Lynn Westmoreland, a Georgia Republican who chairs the subcommittee (but whom I'm not familiar with), seems to accept the story.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/cia-benghazi-stand-down-report-101162.html?hp=l13

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  10. Also, I thought the whole discussion involving the "fake" sign language interpreter revealed how far we have to go before people with psychological disabilities are accepted. Now, it turns out that this individual may have been involved in a murder and himself admits to being prone to violence at times... But even before that was known, the general attitude of commentary was that no "crazy" person should be allowed within 100 yards of the President. It also seemed like no one could accept that someone could be both a sign interpreter and a person with a psychological disability (hence the "fake interpreter" label) -- as if disabled people have no right to work in society like the rest of us.

    Of course some people need inpatient treatment, particularly those with violent tendencies. But there seems to be an assumption that all of these people are inherently prone to violence, which simply isn't true.

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