Saturday, November 29, 2008

might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people

This analyzer has me pegged. I'm curious about the algorithm. Does it only consider diction? Other blogs I read receive a wide variety of results, so it isn't just randomly picking one of the nerdy personality types. Atticus, post more and we'll confuse it!

INTP - The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Linked by Tyler Cowen.

Friday, November 28, 2008

House and the Drug War

Thanks to my Thanksgiving vacation, I caught a couple episodes of House during a day-long marathon. There was a lot of focus on a plot line involving House's use of painkillers and some cop's attempt to stop him.

It's good for popular culture to bring up the issue of law enforcement meddling in medical decisions. The cop's character was portrayed too favorably to rile up anybody not already morally outraged by the concept of doctors or patients being punished because some drugs are taboo, but at least the issue is brought to the attention of viewers.

If only Cindy McCain's money and John's political connections could protect everybody who has to treat their pain with medication.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Drug Warrior is Dead, another Victim Likely Going to Jail

Police knew Robert Korbe fought with officers before, but they didn't consider him heavily armed.

So federal agents and local police officers weren't wearing full SWAT tactical gear when they broke down the door of Korbe's Indiana Township home early Wednesday to arrest him on drug trafficking charges.

Here's a crazy idea: If somebody is not considered dangerous enough for home invaders to put on a full GI Joe costume, neither Federal agents nor local police officers should initiate violence by breaking into their house in the wee hours of the morning! Of course, if the suspect is actually considered that dangerous, any non-suicidal agent will try to figure out how to avoid a confrontation.

Generally speaking most people would agree that it's a bad idea for cops to attack families at home during the night. Something about the drug war turns people into retards.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Civic literacy: In the land of one-eyed men, the blind man is king.

This is the survey on civic literacy currently in the news. 
Among the 2,508 respondents, 164 say they have been elected to a government office at least once. This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected.

I correctly answered 33 out of 33, but I wasn't certain about a few of my answers so maybe some luck was involved.

Personal Statement for law schools

I'm applying to law schools, and so I have to write a personal statement. To keep this post succinct, I won't reproduce my statement verbatim. Here are some of the ideas I'm considering:

  • I have no profound commentary on Kafka's parable "Before the Law", or The Trial in general, but I am haunted by them. Maybe I should tell the admissions office that I'm a paranoid Jew.
  • All of the schools I'm considering cover law and economics. Based on my shallow understanding of the academic discipline, it matches my intuition well and I look forward to learning more about it. I don't know what I could do with this.
  • One of my favorite books is Restoring the Lost Constitution by Randy Barnett. His understanding of the Constitution's presumption of liberty is clear and morally compelling. What will the admissions office think if I discuss Barnett's influence on myself? I could think of one or two schools where I hope the impact would be positive, but I worry this might be a strike against me at some elite law schools.
  • A lot of the female law students and lawyers I've seen are hotties, and I want to meet more of them. Again, probably a strike against me. I also have a thing for nurses, but I can understand why healthcare workers would be motivated to take good care of their bodies. What can explain the hot lawyer phenomenon?
  • I want to go to law school because, as the Don once said, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." (Sun-tzu has him beat by a few years) Another strike against me.
  • I would enjoy the reading, contemplation, and discussion of the law that I would get to experience at law school. I don't know how to tie this in to actually being a lawyer.
  • I like money.
  • Atticus Finch is my hero

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Don't bring that shit into my house.

This will be the first of many inebriated posts.

In his reply to my post below, Atticus makes a few errors:

1) It's great that you "respect the fact that he's shown a willingness to adjust his strategy." I guess I do too. However, if an abusive husband stops beating his wife, that's a great step, but the husband should still be condemned, not praised. Well, maybe that's a bad example for me to make. Nevermind.

As bitter and jaded as I am, I'm not ready to praise a politician who made a historically awful decision merely on account of subsequent corrections.

2) I'm not sure what debate you're referring to, but the core of my post was not about "what extent (if at all) the government should intervene in the free market." 

To be petty about it, the mortgage backed securities market was never free market, because Federal housing policy is fucked. To be clear, government transferring wealth from the masses to the elite isn't the free market, it's bad government. Fannie and Freddie were Government Sponsored Entities and everybody saw their securities as being implicitly backed by the government, and we've seen that promise come to fruition. Taking for granted that douchebags want the federal government to subsidize home ownership over unpatriotic forms of shelter such as apartments: why does the tax code create an incentive to have more mortgage debt, instead of subsidizing home ownership directly? 

Substantially, my post was not about the extent of government intervention. For all of its potential flaws, bank recapitalization is at least plausible.  I'm not confident that the current schemes are going to do any good, but I'm not sure they won't. Paulson's plan, on the other hand,  was explicitly dumb. It could have been $700,000,000 instead of $700,000,000,000. It would still have been dumb.  With the lower sum he might deserve to go to a higher circle of hell, but it's still a circle of hell.

3) While politics isn't about policy, Paulson's plan doesn't even deserve that explanation. The gas tax holiday was retarded policy, but at least the clique vying for the popularity contest was every American who drove a car. Paulson's bailout was for his tiny circle of Wall Street frat brothers. It was not packaged to be popular with voters. McCain and Hillary pandered to voters with the gas tax rubbish. Paulson rammed his excrement through with intimidation. If anything, concerns about the "troubled minds of consumers" are another angle for attacking Paulson, not defending him.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Garrison to Paulson: "When I am king, you will be first against the wall."

September 20, Paulson unleashes his plan upon the world. Highlights:
  1. Buying Mortgage Backed Securities from Paulson's Wall Street chums. Nobody wanted to buy this crap once the music stopped playing. The only way for financial firms to offload it after they had lost the game was for taxpayers to foot the bill.
  2. Contracting with financial institutions to manage the transfer of wealth. Treasury hadn't hired enough people with Wall Street experience to do the operation in house. The difficultly of setting up the necessary bureaucracy belies any legitimate sense of urgency. Since this solution would take so long to implement, its flaws cannot be excused on the grounds that something had to be done immedietely.
  3. "The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time." I believe this was contradicted in subsequent reports. There's a frightening difference between being able to buy $700,000,000,000 worth of MBS and then returning the proceeds back to the Treasury, and being able to buy and sell MBS until the entire credit line has dried up.
  4. "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."
Between the demand for 700 billion dollars and the claim of absolute power, this was some scary shit. There was a lot of support for this bill based on the notion that Paulson must have some reason for making such an urgent and dramatic request.

October 14, Paulson announces a voluntary capital purchase program

November 12
Finally he gets it.

November 17 Either things aren't as bad as Paulson promised, or he finally realized that as an employee, if he doesn't know what to do with his employers money, he should stop asking for more. "The Bush administration told congressional aides it won't ask lawmakers to release $350 billion remaining as part of the $700 billion U.S. financial- rescue package."

"Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been criticized by lawmakers for shifting the focus of the program to inject capital directly into financial institutions. His initial proposal presented to Congress called for buying troubled assets from the firms."

Paulson seems to have gone out of his way to stand out from all of the other villains culpable for this crisis. As corrupt and flawed as Fannie, Freddie, Frank, and friends are, I generally have some idea of how systematic problems encourage otherwise decent human beings to make odious decisions. Paulson is a mystery.

Edit: I am impressed by this speech by Thaddeus McCotter, who voted against Paulson's bailout. Kudos.
So you're not a Paulson fan. Can't say I am either. I do respect the fact that he's shown a willingness to adjust his strategy when it's apparent such action is necessary.

The core of this debate is to what extent (if at all) the government should intervene in the free market system to absorb the harmful social effects of an "adjustment" in the economy. I recognize McCotter's argument that the free market system is not broken. I also recognize that I haven't heard a (serious) call for the end of capitalism.

The impetus to pass the bailout package is more politics than policy, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. To illustrate my point- how terrible an idea was the gas tax "holiday" plan proposed by Hillary Clinton and John McCain back in May? Even the heightened insanity of partisan politics couldn't force Washington to take that idea seriously. But Bryan Caplan, an associate professor of economics at George Mason, wrote an interesting op-ed that explained why it wasn't as terrible an idea as everyone thought. Sure, it's bad policy, but the appearance of a government that's trying can yield greater positive effects in terms of consumer confidence than a sound policy. (Of course, George Mason can still suck my balls for ruining my bracket in 2006. I guess another recent ill-advised policy is God's way of telling them to fuck off.)

Good government isn't always defined by good policy. Though the best policy option in turbulent times may be to be patient and ride things out as the market works, the choice won't ease the troubled minds of consumers or investors. Bankrolling a compulsive gambler won't solve his problems, but helping him pay off his debts while he seeks treatment for addiction covers the short and the long-term.

So chill the fuck out.

Enough finance. Stupid Garrison.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Introduction, yo

Hello, I'm the co-founder of Pretty Girl With Scissors.

This blog will explore the framework Atticus and I have developed for understanding the world, from political affairs to misogyny.

Generally, I reject collectives (political, cultural, etc) in favor of individuals. The common wisdom seems to be to defer to the judgement of those with authority, possibly derived from many generations of the losers of power struggles being weeded out of the human tribe. I hold them to a higher moral and intellectual standard, and as such, I am prone to critizing them.

I love puppies.

Blah, blah, blah, blah. That's my translation of the above.

This is Atticus. This is our blog. This is the thesis: to cut through the spin of the mainstream Zionist blogosphere media conglomerate international consortium and discover the real truth of the most important issues of the day.

We express different opinions from different perspectives, but the goal remains the same. We want to be right, something many people sacrifice to win. I'd rather Puppy McHitabitch, my esteemed colleague, set me straight than to continue living with a flawed idea of how something works.

What's my perspective? I'm a liberal douchebag. You'll get used to it- I have.