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Friday, October 17, 2014

Remain Calm About Ebola -- Bethesda !?! Did Just read Bethesda ???

I think we should all take a deep breath and remind ourselves that Ebola isn't coming to take our children. Oh Nina Pham (first person to catch Ebola while in the USA) looks OK as she is about to be transfered to Bethesda Whahhhh Did I just read "Bethesda" ?!? My dad works in Bethesda . Let me check more hmm tne NIH -- wait that's where my dad works. "National Institutes of Health clinical center" omigod that's the building where my dad works. Panic. Look I'm not a hypocrite. I said don't panic abut Ebola coming to take your children. I didn't say anything against panicking about Ebola coming to take your parents.

What TPM Reader JM Said

Read it Quote of the day "we’ve entrusted our national medical system to the managerial competence and goodwill of the Rick Scotts of the world, and that is much scarier than a podium fan."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nail Biters

There are some close races for Governor in the USA. They are especially close according the the Huffington Post Pollster aggregation In fact as of October 15 2014 11:54 AM EST, the two candidates are separated by exacly one point in the Governor's races featured by the Huffintong post. That is each and every featured Gubernatorial race all 6 of them. averaging over the 6, Democrats lead by 0% yes Zero.

I Just Voted by E-Mail

Amazing but true, Massachusetts allows voting by e-mail. You don't get much more 21st century than that. Well now that I think of it, maybe by 2016 they will have an iPhone app for that. I had to sign something waving my right to a secret ballot as humans will deal with the attachments (that form, an affidavit and 2 pages of ballot) I noted 3 things about the ballot First there is no glass ceiling in MA politics. The Democratic candidates for Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer and auditor are women. Second I now vote in the 5th congressional district. Ah how time passes. This means this is the end of the biennial tradition of being asked if I want to vote for Michael Capuano -- I don't think he has ever had an opponent. Now I am asked if I want to vote for Katharine M Clark. Another woman. Republicans are Abt to avoid the embarrassment of getting hammered in a distric which is mostly Cambridge MA (by population). That is an inside joke, the most recent (actually the only) Republican candidate who I can remember was named Abt. Oh there was also a Communist candiate on the ballot in 1980. In my district we have a Soviet approach with only one candidate for each of Representative in Congress, Senator in General Court, Representative in General Court, and District Attorney.The sole candidates for all of those offices but Senator in General Court are women, as is the Democratic candidate for Register of Probate. Again, no glass ceiling in the Peoples' Republic of Massachusetts, although with all due respect I'm not sure that one has to break a glass ceiling to be Register of Probate (in fact I have no idea what the Register of Probate does). All so very progressive. Third and finally, on the back of the ballot (a separate file attached to the e-mails) I find Question 4 -- "A YES VOTE would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions" . Yes super modern ultra progressive Massachusetts might establish a legal right to sick leave. I wish I could say that's so 20th century, but I strongly suspect that Bismarck might have done that in the 19th century. With the web the world may be flat, but it is also totally twisted.

A Comment on StrawKrugman

I am going to critique something Krugman didn't quite say about Tirole. What he really said is here. can't resist jumping in the deep end and discussing what Nobel memorial prize winner appreciates about another. I think the best title is "calculated silliness was a Trojan horse". In a parody of your version (StrawKrugman's view) consideration of imperfect competition was made possible if examples were allowed as theory, and this was good. But then things went too far and a smart graduate student could provide and example of everything and the opposite of everything. My reply to StrawKrugman is that there is no legitimate way in which this was is going too far. The examples of everything and the opposite of everything existed in the world of math (hyper-Urania). Ignorance is strength but time is stronger. In fact, I think the reason economists insisted (and some still insist) on assuming perfect competition is that it was easy to guess that there were no results out there -- no implications of imperfect competion by itself -- that anything could happen. I think the useful role of Tirole et al was to give the impression that there were interesting general results following from imperfect competition and/or asymmetric information. Once the approach was accepted, the pretense that theory without evidence tells us something about the world can't survive the onslaught of smart graduate students who need PhD topics. I don't think the intent was destructive, but I bet it was as if you, he and MIT played a trick on the profession,