Reading Links


More links for your reading pleasure:

How Federal Cash Harms State Governance (Real Clear Policy)
Since the federal government covers states' costs in the short- and medium-terms under the ACA, it seems sensible that they would expand their Medicaid coverage.  Largely lost in the debate has been the long-term costs to states of Medicaid expansion.  Undoubtedly, states will be hesitant to go back to pre-ACA levels of Medicaid coverage once the federal drip dries up.  This leaves a higher spending burden without a matching increase in revenues.  (This assumes that Congress would not decide to provide more funding to states.)  This is the ratchet effect that occurs with temporary flows of money from a higher level of government to a lower one- though a similar effect has been observed with government spending in general since World War II.  This should not be construed as an argument for the repeal of the ACA, it just happens to be a prominent example, but rather an argument for reconsidering the financial relationship between federal, state, and local governments.  Essentially, our current system is not as efficient as it could be.  We should be able to achieve the same goals (a wide social safety net, good infrastructure, etc.) with much less waste using a different framework.  Efficiency, however, has never been the strong suit of government.

Academic Drivel Report (The American Prospect)
Having spent some time recently in an academic environment, I can say that much of what is produced by academics really is drivel with no meaning outside of their silo.  On the other hand, a lot of academic production is great and humanity is richer for it.  The issue is that the drivel gives a bad name to academic work in general and turns society at large away from engaging with the good products of academia.  Not all ideas can expressed in the most simple of terms, but ideas should not depend on nonsensical obfuscation to appear valid.

Romer and Romer on Friedman (Conscience of a Liberal)
Krugman condenses the detailed criticism of Sanders' economic projections by Romer and Romer.  (The actual document is linked in Krugman's post.)  One of my biggest issues with Sanders and his supporters is that seem content to ignore or manipulate the full costs of his proposals.  On their face alone, the projected growth numbers seem to warrant scrutiny.  Now that scrutiny has been applied they simply don't hold up.  There would be economic losers under Sanders' policies beyond the 1%.  Perhaps that is acceptable, but we should not be led into fantasyland thinking.  The Sanders campaign has prided itself on Bernie's integrity and frankness, but this has been a consistently misleading point, though by this election cycle's standards this is a very minor transgression.

How Biden killed John Roberts's nomination in 1992 (Washington Post)
This goes back to what I wrote the other week.  Clearly obstructionism is a bipartisan practice.  Republicans can fairly point fingers to Biden for doing this 24 years ago, but that does not mean that they should follow that example.  It might be worth mentioning that as far as SCOTUS nominees were concerned, the obstruction was hypothetical.  


Bonus Video:

Is this the saddest debate moment of the debates?

Northern Ireland Links (Plus More Photos)


I realize that Northern Ireland and the conflict around it gets quite convoluted at times.  In my last post I probably employed certain phrases and discussed certain issues that I didn't bother to define.    To help your understanding here are a few links that can aid in enlightenment.

CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet): Probably the best one stop resource for information on the conflict in Northern Ireland.  Check it out for background.

Good Friday Agreement: Commonly viewed as the agreement to end the Troubles.  The process behind was drawn out and nearly totally derailed on several occasions.  It was not accepted by all paramilitaries leading to continued violence by some dissident groups.  If you have hours of free time consider watching the BBC-produced series "Endgame in Ireland" (available on YouTube).

Should Paramilitary Murals in Belfast Be Repainted? Questions of how to deal with one of the most widely known visible legacies of the Troubles.  I'd argue that they are integral for understanding how participants and community members understand the conflict and that eliminating them at this time would do little to heal the sectarian chasm.

The Siege of Derry as retold by a unionist website- centuries later the events still resonate.

Derry/Londonderry: The politics of the city's complicate even simple news coverage


Here are a few more photos of Belfast and Derry:

Greece Reading

Links to more reading related to yesterday's post

On the economic crisis

Collection of coverage from The Economist on the crisis

The effect on US importers of Greek goods (NY Times)
Enjoy Greek wine or olive oil?  You may have a harder time getting those and other Hellenic goods as Greek exporters struggle to import inputs, such as bottles from Italy.

Poorer European countries are not happy about paying to bail out Greece (Guardian)

On refugees

How they're getting to Greece and where they're headed (Economist)

Reading Links


Here are few reading links possibly worth checking out.  Nothing breaking or cutting edge, but they're all fairly brief.

How does Trump end? (Politico)
Watching the primary cycle from a distance, it seems that Trump is doing a surprisingly good job of getting and maintaining attention.  I am absolutely dismayed that he's actually leading in the polls, but that doesn't seem sustainable.  I'll be interested to follow the debate coverage.
The best snippet from this article on how the saga plays out: "Who the hell knows what the final episode of the Trump telenovela will be. You are better off asking that question of a psychiatrist, not a political analyst."

College Is Weakening America's Military (Forbes)
Former Marine officer argues that the expansion of higher ed and lowering standards in that regard of created lower quality military officers.  Not sure how I feel about this one.  The expansion of higher ed has had a lot of consequences, but I don't think it deserves the blame for poor officers as much as other factors.  They point to sentiment at elite schools as one factor.  The military is just not seen as a viable career choice for top students.  I think this is true.  I also think that that it is hard to claim that today's officers are objectively worse than those in earlier periods.  Standards change, the equipment changes, the environment changes.  I had some great officers, men I would have followed anywhere, while I was in and some truly awful ones.  I think their quality had fairly little to do with their SAT score.  It would be interesting if someone actually did the research on this and could pull hard data.  Maybe it's already out there and I just haven't looked.

Bin Laden on Climate Change (Mother Jones)
Bin Laden discusses the significant consequences of climate change.  I can't really argue that in the long run, climate change is our greatest threat.  However, the point that was actually of interest to me had to do with humanitarian relief.  Bin Laden was responding to the 2010 flooding in Pakistan.  He claims that the West did nothing to provide relief and instead spending large sums on their military.  This is bullshit.  I know because I spent two and a half long months off the coast of Pakistan on the USS Peleliu.  American helicopters flew back and forth constantly delivering aid and assisting people.  The American military did more than just about any organization outside of Pakistan for the people of Pakistan during the flooding.  Certainly more than al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

The Ballad of Mullah Omar (New Yorker)
Mullah Omar is dead.  He has been dead for some time now.  Clearly the Taliban was enough about this news to conceal it for two years.  It's going to be interesting to see how this develops.  Signs already point to a fragmenting Taliban.  Mullah Omar was an enigmatic guy.  The one photo you see of him in any article is the only photo of him out there.  He led a depraved government in Afghanistan that destroyed culture and repressed just about anything that could bring a person joy.