Friday, August 27, 2010

well, we at least have economic consensus

unfortunately the consensus very bad, and the fed seems like it ain't gonna do anything substantive while the whitehouse and congress probably can't do anything because of republican opposition. ugh.

now i can carry 8 movies in my pocket

just got my new 8gb lacie usb key. i can't believe no one else designs them to fit on a key ring. its ballin'.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What happens when the republican party drives their crazy base into a frenzy of hate and bigotry? This:

(and yes,i know you can't prove this has anything to do with the mosque controversy or republicans blah blah. i'm willing to make a bet on it though)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

David Brooks: The Master of False Equivalencies

I usually avoid reading Brooks NYTimes column because its become so predictable and usually completely wrong or pointless. He's made a career out of pretending there's always a correct and moderate middle ground between the right and left in American politics and that he's the guy who sits in that perfect spot. Self-righteous and psuedo-intellectual, thy name is brooks.

So today i was reading the physical paper, which is rare, so i read the brooks column since i already had the page open and didn't really care about bob herbert's childhood hero. And not to disappoint, brooks was formulaic as usual.

1) Start with some random, archaic story which no one cares about but has emotional impact. this makes one seem smart and well read, while keeping the reader both interested and distracted from facts or logic. in this case he out did himself by writing several paragraphs about a woman undergoing a mastectomy while fully conscious and with no pain killers. i would call is disturbing at best.
2) Make a tortured analogy between the random story and some political or social event of today. In this case its a particularly tortured (pun intended) analogy between the woman's ability to endure pain and modern folks' inability to overcome confirmation bias. Or something like that. It really doesn't make any sense, but it does make Brooks think he sounds smart.
3) Present loosely two related examples of the thesis from step 2 from the Left and Right and create a false equivalence between them. This allows brooks to sound moderate, while falsely making it seem like both sides are wrong. In this case he compares the mindless bigotry, demagoguery and blatant lies of those who insist Obama is a Muslim with the reasonable and thoughtful (if in retrospect incorrect) opposition to the Iraq troop surge. We all know (those of us who are sane) the Barak Obama is Christian and American. At the time leading up to the "surge" in Iraq, the country was in a shambles, we'd spent years trying to prob up a government that seemed hopelessly corrupt and various factions within Iraq were busily murdering each other. I, for one, thought it was hopeless to try to occupy and rebuild the nation on any time frame acceptable to the American people. I thought adding more troops would be a waste of lives and money while inflaming anti-American sentiment around the muslim world. It turns out the surge so far has been successful (though i still harbor serious doubts about the long-term benefit and stability of Iraq once we complete withdrawal) but that does not mean my position was driven some mindless, partisan, anti-Bush sentiment. Unless you're David Brooks and its the time of the week when you need a fake left-right equivalency.
4) Close with something that sounds both pretentious and profound. Today's example

To use a fancy word, there’s a metacognition deficit. Very few in public life habitually step back and think about the weakness in their own thinking and what they should do to compensate. A few people I interview do this regularly (in fact, Larry Summers is one). But it is rare. The rigors of combat discourage it.

Of the problems that afflict the country, this is the underlying one.

And that's how you write a New York Time Column.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I am now a fan of Current TV

They had the Current channel at my hotel last week and its amazingly good. check out Viral Video Film School, its like Tosh.0 for the east coast liberal elite


and That's Gay -

- a show making fun of gay trends in the media.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

testing my blog twitter feed

lets see if this works

--UPDATE: it does not. twitterfeed is garbage and/or i'm a moron.

here come the terrorist babies from the future!!!

Two things i like about this clip. One when cooper asks her if she has any proof and the crazy lady says "in the initial conversation with your producers i wasn't told i'd be grilled to produce any evidence of what i'm saying is true". Second is that her botox makes her look like the crypt keeper - only her mouth moves and the rest is wrinkled and dead looking. Love it.

P90X update

ok, its been a couple weeks since the last post. i'm still not really completing any of the routines, but i talked to others who are doing p90x and neither have they. and these are people who've been working out regularly for awhile before starting. but i have kept up 6 days a week plus some bike riding for 5 or so miles a couple times.

so anyway, results have been good. i feel better and everyone i haven't seen in a few weeks or longer says i look thinner. i also put on a belt today which i had to cut an extra notch in when i bought it. now i don't need that notch and can wear it about 1.5 or 2 inches tighter. The only downside is i don't feel like i'm building much muscle mass so far. that could be my fault because i'm not completing the workouts, or because i only have 25 lb dumbbells. the 45 lb pair of quick adjust dumbbells was like 300 bucks so i just spent 120 on the 25's. They're actually really nice. I got them from Walmart. I forget the name but you can find them easily, they have square plates and are nice to use as pushup handles as well. i'll probably weigh myself soon too and check body fat somehow. i usually range from 167-172 (pre p90) and am 5'10''.

so the current conclusion is its working, try it if you want to lose wieght, tone and get some video motivation.

sometimes you just really want chicken nuggets

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Zandi Blinder paper

There's be a lot of talk about the Zandi-Blinder paper on the effects of fiscal and monetary stimulus which was recently released. Basically they say that the government stimulus measures were very successful and prevented a depression 2 scenario with 16+% unemployment, continued negative GDP growth through 2011 and serious deflation. So here's the link .

I don't have enough of a background in economic forecasting to really dissect the paper's conclusions but I'll point out that Zandi is not a liberal economist, and in fact was a McCain economic adviser. Also, as I understand they used pretty standard models to make their analysis and it is relatively consistent with related alalysis from the CBO.

But the main reason I read the paper wasn't for the stimulus analysis but because i was interested in exactly how the Moody's Analytics economic model works and that's touched on in Appendix B of the paper. It talks about inputs to the model such as credit spreads (TED, LIBOR etc), household cash flow, mortgage rates, treasury yields, Federal Reserve asset values, undewriting standards on lending, business cost of capital (corporate bond yields), labor supply (based on full employment level of labor), and other capital stack input factors, FOMC's inflation target and several other factors. This is covered starting on page 18 of the paper. If anyone knows more about the nitty gritty of how this model functions please add a comment.