Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 12th, 2012

In the ongoing mythology vs. reality wars…

Posted by Charles II on December 12, 2012

An entry by several NBER members and Sumit Agarwal on the mythology side, countered by Barry Ritholtz on the reality side:

There are two major, critical questions that show up in the literature surrounding the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

The first question is how much compliance with the CRA changes the portfolio of lending institutions. Do they lend more often and to riskier people, or do they lend the same but put more effort into finding candidates? The second question is how much did the CRA lead to the expansion of subprime lending during the housing bubble. Did the CRA have a significant role in the financial crisis?

There’s a new paper on the CRA, Did the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Lead to Risky Lending?, by Agarwal, Benmelech, Bergman and Seru, h/t Tyler Cowen, with smart commentary already from Noah Smith. (This blog post will use the ungated October 2012 paper for quotes and analysis.) This is already being used as the basis for an “I told you so!” by the conservative press, which has tried to argue that the second question is most relevant. However, it is important to understand that this paper answers the first question, while, if anything, providing evidence against the conservative case for the second.

There is a simple step that anyone attempting to make a logical argument about causation should essay before going to an econometric model: does the causal link make any f–king sense? The extinction of the dinosaurs might have caused the Renaissance, but I don’t f–king think so.

I have long been skeptical about the NBER and the involvement of political agendas in its actions. Maybe it’s just that economics has become a more conservative profession in my lifetime, but this paper just adds to my disquiet about NBER in particular.


Posted in economy, liars | 2 Comments »

Florida, where magical things happen

Posted by Charles II on December 12, 2012

Richard Luscombe, The Guardian:

The scale of abuse at a notorious youth residential school in Florida has been laid bare with the release of a report by investigators who say they have evidence of almost 100 deaths at the institution.

Investigators say they believe more graves are yet to be uncovered at the Arthur G Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, which closed a year ago following revelations of the widespread physical and sexual abuse of youths sent there since early last century.

It means the enormity of the outrage, in which survivors have told gruesome stories of regular beatings, rapes and even murders by staff members, is much greater than reported by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2010, when the agency announced the presence of 31 grave sites.

“No understanding of the Florida State Reform School over the course of its history can be understood without consideration of the impact and implications of segregation, particularly those relating to criminal justice,” she said. “The majority of boys committed to the school and that died there were African American.”

Many of the deaths and abuse occurred within living memory. Some of the “law enforcement” criminals…er, officers… who committed these crimes are probably still alive.

When will there be justice for the sins of racism?

Posted in Florida (where magical things happen), racism | Comments Off on Florida, where magical things happen

Did Koch Finance Breitbart-Reported “Union Thug Violence” In Lansing?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 12, 2012

Over at Emptywheel, the hostess of the same name reports the rather fishy circumstances surrounding “union thug” violence stories that the Breitbart/Drudge/FOX parts of the right-wing noise machine are currently pumping out in a frantic effort to frame the Michigan protests — protests over actions by Rick Snyder and his fellow Republicans that are so vile that even the Detroit Free Press, which endorsed Snyder in 2010, blasted Snyder for them.

Here’s a taste:

When I saw this video–claiming that a “violent mob” destroyed the tent the Koch brothers had paid for in front of the Michigan Capitol–I knew right away it was likely a false flag. After all, Stranahan, James O’Keefe’s buddy, first posted it. Within minutes it was up at Drudge.

Just as this whole narrative was rolling out, Dick DeVos’ paid hack was calling for RICCO [sic] charges against union leaders.

All this, in spite of the fact that witnesses say the Americans for Prosperity people were trying to provoke union members to violence, and witnesses reportedly saw AFP people loosening the ropes on the tents so they would come down. And in spite of the fact the place was crawling with cops (shipped in from around the state) who didn’t do see anything amiss. (Cops are as we speak arresting people engaging in civil disobedience at the Romney Building, where the Governor’s office is.)

And of course FOX News is running with it.

The person behind the selectively-edited video of the collapsing AFP tent? None other than James O’Keefe emulator Steve Crowder, who was witnessed trying to incite union members to attack him.

How sleazy is Steve Crowder? Three years ago he got called out for repeated lying by none other than conservative pundit Debbie Schlussel:

For the last couple of days, many readers have been sending me a video on Detroit produced by Steven Crowder of PJTV and shown on FOX News. Please stop sending the video to me. Yes, a lot of ignorant conservatives, like the uber-ignorami at unHot Airheads, have been posting it on their sites eating it–and all the fiction therein–up. It’s getting tens of thousands of views and is all over the Net. Problem is, it’s mostly lies. Detroit is bad enough, so much so that a great video on Detroit could have been made without making stuff up. But making it all up is what Crowder did. Hey, don’t blame him. He can’t be bothered with actually looking up facts, ‘cuz he’s too busy making know-it-all, “edgy” (but not really) videos. If you liked the video, you got punked by this self-styled “Conservative Punk.”

Pretty much every “fact” in his video “report” simply isn’t true. Lies. He should stick to his lame rap videos about Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and leave journalism to people who actually care about presenting truth. While Crowder may have spent two second video-taping the obvious decrepit buildings and houses around Detroit and some time putting snappy muzak on the soundtrack, what he didn’t do is the tiniest bit of research. Because, ya know, that would involve work. And why do that, when you can just utter fake “facts” you pulled out of your ass?

How bad do you have to be as a conservative ambush hack for somebody like Debbie Schlussel to call you out? Pretty darned bad, it would seem.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

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