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Messages - BT

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3DHS / Overused and misused words.
« on: September 24, 2006, 10:00:44 PM »
At the top of my list i would have:


What's on your list?

3DHS / Time Travel
« on: September 24, 2006, 08:11:09 PM »
Bias, bias everywhere!
Brad Delong writes about CPI bias here and here.

In case you are unfamiliar with CPI bias (and really, where have you been?), it refers to the idea that the Consumer Price Index (alias the CPI) overstates inflation. It is mostly believed that this happens because of the lag between the introduction of a new product to the market, and the time (generally years later) when this product is added to the CPI. So, for example, when cell phones were introduced, they were extremely expensive, and also would rip the pocket right out of your trousers. Now I get a Razr for $100 and a two-year contract. But since cell phones didn't hit the index until . . . well, whenever . . . they missed a lot of that price decrease.

Brad argues that the bias isn't that big, and even if it is, it doesn't matter:

Think about it. If there is 20% of CPI bias in the past 30 years, then median male real earnings have risen by 30% instead of the 10% in official statistics. But real national income per capita has risen by 125% rather than by 90%. A country that is so phenomenally more productive than the country of the mid-1970s should be able to do a much better job at providing an economic environment in which all Americans can have greatly improved income security, education for their children, and leisure time, as well as a much greater share in the rises in real material standards of living of which the rich have grabbed the lion's--no, much more than the lion's, the tyrannosaurus's--share.
I am more interested in making the poor and middle class better off than I am in making the income distribution more equal; I don't feel that Larry Ellison's harrier makes the modest new rug I bought in Turkey somehow less beautiful or enjoyable. There are several broad categories of goods that I would like to make sure that everyone has enough of, and which I would like to see improve for everyone at roughly the same rate: food, shelter, clothing, leisure, health, education, and autonomy.

But this is precisely why I have a hard time dismissing CPI bias. Though I was raised upper middle class, enough of my family are median wage earners for me to be very familiar with the lifestyle--and also what it was like in the 1970's. I think it's improved a lot more than 10%.

According to the Census bureau, median personal income for a man was $8,056 in 1973, which I think puts my nuclear family right near the center of the income distribution. This works out to roughly $28,893 worth of income in 2003. The figures say that in the intervening years, median personal income rose only $1,100, to $29,931--an increase of less than 4% in 30 years. Median household income has done a bit better, going from a little over $10,000 in 1973--or $37,700 worth of 2003 income--to $43,318 in 2003. (Hooray for women's lib!) That's an increase of $5,618, or almost 15%.

But let's say we could find someone who makes $29,931 today, and remembers the 1970's. Do you think that if you offered to send him back to 1973, with 4% more than the 1973 median income, he'd take you up on the deal? What if you doubled that, to 8%? What if you sent him back to 1973 making 15 or 20% more than the median wage, so that he could keep the wife at home and still enjoy a modern level of household income?

Personally, I wouldn't take the deal . . . and not just because I'd be the one stuck at home trying to make the Harvest Gold drapes match the new Avocado refrigerator. 1973 means no internet. No cell phones. No cheap air travel to exotic foreign climes. No computers. No blessed asthma drugs (see my co-blogger's memoir for just how much this means). Three television channels and nothing good on any of them. Expensive books. Air pollution. Shorter life expectancies. More crowded housing. About the only thing more available then were Manhattan apartments, and that was because the muggers were cramping everyone's style. Yes, we all wish we'd done like my parents and bought a co-op in 1973--but that's because we want to live in it now, not then.

I'm not sure you could pay me enough to go back to 1973, in fact. I think I'd rather be a journalist living now than a multi-millionaire living then. Probably other people would be willing to take that bargain . . . but you'd have to pay them a lot more than 10% of their salary, that's for sure.

3DHS / Re: At least we have moral clarity.
« on: September 24, 2006, 08:06:52 PM »
you are trying to make an empty point ....

more precisely she is arguing an empty talking point, and therein lies the rub.

3DHS / Re: At least we have moral clarity.
« on: September 24, 2006, 07:40:03 PM »
I think that anyone who is pro-torture for the enemy must accept that he or she is also pro-torture for our own troops.  It will be used if we use it.  That's why the Geneva Conventions came about. 
I can't understand that. Why would you put our troops at risk?   

You mean our troops were never tortured in prior conflicts? McCain might beg to differ.

« on: September 24, 2006, 07:37:25 PM »

"That's where we kind of agree with some of the people who've criticized our show," Stone says. "Because it really is open season on Jesus. We can do whatever we want to Jesus, and we have. We've had him say bad words. We've had him shoot a gun. We've had him kill people. We can do whatever we want. But Mohammed, we couldn't just show a simple image."

During the part of the show where Mohammed was to be depicted — benignly, Stone and Parker say — the show ran a black screen that read: "Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network."

Other networks took a similar course, refusing to air images of Mohammed — even when reporting on the Denmark cartoon riots — claiming they were refraining because they're religiously tolerant, the South Park creators say.

"No you're not," Stone retorts. "You're afraid of getting blown up. That's what you're afraid of. Comedy Central copped to that, you know: 'We're afraid of getting blown up.'"

Conveying an unfortunate message, and lesson, in the process.

3DHS / Re: WHouse: newspaper's account of Iraq report incomplete
« on: September 24, 2006, 07:20:52 PM »

Can it be you are beginning to come out from under the ether?-- Nah!

I have always known that the NYTimes would print only portions of a document as long as those portions met the criteria of its talking points. Thus there was no surprise.

Just as it was no surprise that the point of my post sailed right over your head.


3DHS / Re: War Crimes
« on: September 24, 2006, 07:17:51 PM »
Establishing and condoning torture is surely enough in and of itself to constitute a war crime.

What torture did he establish or condone?

3DHS / Re: WHouse: newspaper's account of Iraq report incomplete
« on: September 24, 2006, 07:07:51 PM »
Sep 24, 12:53 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A newspaper report that a U.S. intelligence analysis said the Iraq war gave rise to a new generation of Islamic radicals and made the overall terrorism problem worse was "not representative of the complete document," the White House said on Sunday.

What a surprise.

3DHS / Re: War Crimes
« on: September 24, 2006, 06:41:00 PM »

What war crimes is Bush alledged to have committed? And please don't insult of with the rants of Holtzman. Those charges wouldn't get him convicted on TV let alone a real court of law.

3DHS / Re: At least we have moral clarity.
« on: September 24, 2006, 03:13:19 PM »
<<Fact remains the editorial was based on supposition of future events, and unless the WaPo editorial board is clairvoyant, that hardly counts as more than conjecture. >>

It seems common sense that if he has no intention of using the powers, he would not be wasting political capital in retaining them.

And that statement presumes that he is protecting executiv powers for his own use and not protecting them for future presidents use.

It seems to me that there are many editorials based on supposition of future events like Iraq misusing WMD or Iran developing nuclear weapons, and I don't recall you ever using terms like "clairvoyant" or "conjecture" with regard to them.

And an editorial is an editorial. I doubt you can point out an instance where i quoted an editorial in some snark laden post declaring opinion as fact.

Even if that opinion conveniently matches my own.

3DHS / Re: At least we have moral clarity.
« on: September 24, 2006, 01:28:50 PM »
Glad I was able to provide amusement.

Fact remains the editorial was based on supposition of future events, and unless the WaPo editorial board is clairvoyant, that hardly counts as more than conjecture.

3DHS / Re: At least we have moral clarity.
« on: September 24, 2006, 04:27:36 AM »
Since when have editorial comments expressing  a point of view become fact as to the way things actually are?

I guess when it is convenient to think so.

3DHS / Re: Don't read this, Tee
« on: September 24, 2006, 03:17:24 AM »
<< But continue to harbor your illusions. >>

Tell ya what.  I'll go on believing that "states' rights" was (and still is)  the war-cry of the racist south, Democratic yesterday, Republican today.  I'll go on believing that the "Southern Strategy" was simply an appeal to white racists in the South who lost their old home in the Democratic Party, Pat Buchanan notwithstanding.  And YOU can continue harbouring your illusions.

Sounds like a plan. Of course, I live in the South,  so my zip code is a bit closer to the truth than yours. Just because you state your delusions with conviction, does not make them so.

3DHS / Re: Don't read this, Tee
« on: September 24, 2006, 12:16:10 AM »
THAT was hilarious.  States' rights AND human rights in the same party.  As if "states' rights" weren't the buzzword invented to cover the racist nature of the struggle AGAINST human rights and the war-cry of every single racist politician who resisted black voting rights, anti-Klan and anti-lynching legislation throughout the entire postwar period.  A party of states' rights AND human rights.  Makes about as much sense as:

States rights might have been a buzzword for racist policy for the dems but the gop has always used it to describe decentralizing power from DC. But continue to harbor your illusions.

3DHS / Re: The Devil made him do it
« on: September 23, 2006, 08:59:00 PM »
Note that there have been some on the right wing in the United States who have called for violence against President Chavez. I'd hardly call them responsible, mature adults.

Also note that the US Govt through the Ambassador to Venezuela has notified him of assassination plots as well as potential coups.

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