Links & comment
December 9, 2012 5 Comments
A mammoth link dump for your link-dump pleasure. Just be glad I don’t split up these things into N different blog posts to maximize my click-revenue (haha):
Pejman Yousefzadah reminds us of the days when it was the (D)s who engaged in Silverbating.
I had always just assumed that Life of Pi was one of these Oprah-book-club books that your retirement age mom reads with her retirement age mom book club, and/or that comes free if you buy a Nook or a Kindle, or something, so in other words I’ve never given it a second thought when I see giant stacks of it at the B&N, but Stationary Waves manages to make the movie adaptation sound interesting.
Obama wants to spread the wealth but he’s not very good at it. I know what the patient needs! More bleeding!
Tom Maguire notices that apparently, according to the New York Times Editorial Style Guide, the “Reagan 80′s” constitutes a period of time that includes 1980, a year in which Jimmy Carter was the President of the United States.
Sober Look on Basel III:
The point that the critics often miss is that Basel I is broken. This is why we got Basel II: if we are to have risk based capital rules (and that is the big if), then we need to discriminate between credits.
Emphasis mine. He’s right that that’s a big if. Let’s ask Per Kurowski whether he would answer that If with a Yea or a Nay.
Speculating about why Asians went for Obama seems to be all the rage. To throw my hat into the amateur-psychoanalysis ring: It’s because Obama and the (D)’s are clearly the established power – they hold the keys to the kingdom – and Asians are ambitious and conservative, in the small-c sense of lacking a desire to upset the establishment. In fact, Asians tend to be more pragmatic than ‘political’: Obama’s re-election means the continued flow of government contracts and continuity of e.g. fiscal policy, while a Romney victory would have meant uncertainty and discontinuity (or at least, that’s what people thought – I’m not so convinced myself but no one asked me). That’s about all there is to it. So theories that involve saying the (R)s should focus or not-focus on this or that Issue (immigration, or whatever) just miss the mark. This was a strong horse/weak horse election and Obama & the (D)s are clearly the strong horse. If the (R)s want to challenge the (D)s in the minds of Asians (not sure why they would focus on Asians – just saying), they need to convince that they’re the stronger horse when it comes to keeping the Establishment gravy train going.
All foods cause cancer. In a sense this is ammo for my All Large Calculations Are Wrong/Smart People theories. For decades now we (at least a portion of us) have let ourselves be swung around by every new ‘study’ showing this or that food-cancer link. Certain types of ladies and other busybodies are constantly agitating for public policy to be based on such Expert pronouncements. The Bloomberg soft-drink ban, and various local plastic-bag bans/taxes, are instantiations of the same phenomenon. It is a form of Smart People worship that needs to be punctured, and this article is pretty good ammo.
Once again Paul Volcker reminds us that regulations don’t need to be complicated (video no longer works, but I didn’t bother). Of course not: in a Yglesiocracy, you write the regulations as broadly and generically and vaguely as you can get away with, and let the Yglesiocrats ‘interpret’ them however they want. You only need ‘complicated’ regulations if you want specific regulations that explain details, i.e. if you want people to be able to understand in advance what is legal and what is not, i.e. if you care about the Rule Of Law. Volcker does not; this is not news. The only puzzling thing is why people still ask him what he thinks. We ALREADY KNOW.
Yglesias has decided that The Jobs of Tomorrow Will Be Health Care Jobs. Everyone? Got that? The Jobs of Tomorrow Will Be Health Care Jobs. The diktat has now been issued and 100% compliance is expected. If you need retraining in doing a Health Care Job, such as how to change bedpans, report to your local commissar for processing.
Arnold Kling points out the obvious fact that
extend-and-pretend mortgage-modification programs tend not to work out in the real world (as opposed to on a professor’s whiteboard).
It’s interesting that mainstream news is now speaking as if they knew all along that the London Whale’s trade was a decompression trade (short HY / long IG), just like I had speculated. For the longest time, mainstream financial news spoke as if they thought this trade just involved him Getting Really Long. When did they get the memo?
Best part of this Matt Levine piece on DB’s scandal over mismarked/unaccounted for LSS gap risk is buried in a footnote:
The job of a bank is not to impress quantitative-finance researchers.