Posted: November 8, 2011 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: Medicare, morning reads, Social Security, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, child sexual abuse, Chuck Pfarrer, college football, executive orders, Herman Cain, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Matt Yglesias, Navy Seals, Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, Occupation Chicago, Osama bin Laden, Penn State, senior citizen protesters, Sharon Bialek |
Good Morning!! Let’s take a look at what’s happening in the news today.
The Daily Mail has some excerpts from a new book about the Osama bin Laden assassination mission. Apparently President Obama was out on the golf course until about 20 minutes before it all went down.
The claims are from Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEAL team commander, in a book called SEAL Target Geronimo.
He has spoken to several of the men who carried out the operation at Bin Laden’s mansion hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2.
Mr Pfarrer paints a very different picture to the official photo released at the time which shows Mr Obama and advisers huddled round a table in the White House situation room as footage was beamed from a drone 15,000ft above the al-Qaeda leader’s mansion.
Mr Pfarrer says the President’s role was largely inflated and suggests he stayed out on the golf course for so long so he could distance himself in case it went wrong. Mr Pfarrer writes: ‘If this had completely gone south, he was in a position to disavow.’
Pfarrer also claims that “when they burst into Bin Laden’s room, his wife screamed: ‘No, no, don’t do this… it’s not him!'”
More horrible details keep coming out about the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State. Here’s a timeline of events published by CNN. The reports of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky go back as far as 1994, and it’s clear that head coach Joe Paterno was aware of Sandusky’s behavior. In 1998, there was an investigation by Penn State Police and Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare of Sandusky showering naked with an 11-year-old boy. The incident was reported by the boy’s mother. Are we supposed to believe that Paterno wasn’t informed of this investigation? Give me a break!
Then, in 2002,
According to the grand jury report, a graduate assistant allegedly tells Coach Joe Paterno that he saw Sandusky in the locker room shower the night before, performing anal sex on a young boy he estimated to be 10 years old….
Paterno reports the incident to Athletic Director Tim Curley, saying the graduate assistant had seen Sandusky “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy,” according to the grand jury. Later, the assistant is summoned to a meeting with Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz.
So first, Paterno minimizes the incident in his report and then nothing is done and Paterno just lets it slide. But apparently Paterno isn’t a target in the case.
Quite a few writers are calling for Paterno to resign, however. From the LA Times:
In 46 seasons as the football coach at Penn State University, Joe Paterno appeared to create a culture of winning and decency he called “Success with Honor.”
Now that the culture has been exposed as a haven for an alleged child molester, Paterno needs to do the honorable thing and resign before he coaches another game.
It’s sad that the winningest coach in major college football history will end his career with a giant “L” in the human-being department, but not nearly so sad as the idea that boys may have been abused because football’s most controlling boss did nothing.
From Lawyers, Guns, and Money:
There can be little doubt that Paterno has known since at least 1998 that Sandusky had a “problem” with “inappropriate behavior” toward children, i.e., he was a child molester. That’s when the campus police did a six-week investigation after a mother reported to them that her 11-year-old son had showered with Sandusky. From the grand jury report:
The mother of Victim 6 confronted Sandusky about showering with her son, the effect it had had on her son, whether Sandusky had sexual feelings when he hugged her naked son in the shower, and where Victim 6′s buttocks were when Sandusky hugged him in the shower. Sandusky said he had showered with other boys and Victim 6′s mother tried to make him promise never to shower with a boy again but he would not. She asked him if his “private parts” had touched Victim 6 when he bear-hugged him. Sandusky replied, “I don’t know . . . maybe.” At the conclusion of the second conversation, after Sandusky was told he could not see Victim 6 any more, Sandusky said, “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”
To put it mildly, it’s extremely unlikely that in a little town like State College, PA, word of this investigation didn’t get back to Paterno. This supposition is bolstered by Sandusky’s otherwise strange “retirement” the following year.
Paterno should be prosecuted, but because of his reputation, he won’t. At the very least, he should lose his job.
According to the National Journal, President Obama is considering issuing an executive order that would deal with an “earmark workaround” that members of Congress have been using.
In a move that could escalate hostilities with Congress, President Obama may be planning to use his executive authority to publicize special funding requests that lawmakers make for pet projects.
A memo that the White House has floated on Capitol Hill would require executive branch agencies to make public any letter from a member of Congress seeking special consideration for any project or organization vying for government funding….
The threat to name and shame would potentially cut off another avenue members of Congress have for influencing government spending in their own back yards. It comes at a time that Obama is ratcheting up his campaign rhetoric against Congress, which he blames for blocking his efforts to stimulate the economy, on the eve of his 2012 reelection effort.
Sounds like a good idea to me.
Some senior citizen protesters blocked traffic in Chicago yesterday.
Chicago police on Monday issued citations to 43 senior citizens and their supporters who linked arms to block an intersection near the city’s financial district.
The action was part of a protest against proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other benefits.
The Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC), their supporters and “Occupy Chicago” began the demonstration with a rally outside the office of Illinois Sens. Mark Kirk (R) and Dick Durbin (D). The group, which organizers claimed was nearly 1,500-strong, then marched to the Federal Plaza.
Traffic at the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and Clark Street was blocked for about an hour, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“At every level of society, Americans are under attack,” said Karen Bocker, an “Occupy Chicago” participant and grandmother of four.
Matt Yglesias learned yesterday that Noam Chomsky had mentioned him unfavorably in a speech on receiving a Peace Prize in Sydney, Australia. Be sure to read Yglesias’ convoluted explanation of International Law as it relates to the state murder of Osama bin Laden. One commenter wrote that Yglesias had achieved a
Fantastic career milestone. Every pundit needs a personalized bitchfest with someone more famous. Next, Matt should try getting into a fistfight with Norman Mailer, or get into a William F. Buckley/Gore Vidal-esque television spat with Andrew Sullivan.
The fistfight with Norman Mailer would certainly be entertaining, since Mailer died in 2007. How about a beer drinking contest with the ghost of Jack Kerouac?
Politico reports that Herman Cain will hold a press conference in response to the allegations by Sharon Bialek.
CNN and ABC News’ Michael Falcone are reporting that Herman Cain, who has said he’s not commenting and it’s the “end of story” several times in the past week, will hold a press conference in Arizona tomorrow to address the latest allegations today, made by Chicago single mom Sharon Bialek.
In a series of tweets, Falcone also said the Cain campaign is questioning Bialek’s motives.
I guess he’ll also have to answer questione about a fifth woman.
A former USAID worker claims Herman Cain asked her to set up dinner with a woman who attended a speech he gave in 2002, the Washington Examiner is reporting tonight.
The worker – 40-year-old Donna Donella, of Arlington – told the paper that the moment came after Cain gave a paid speech in Egypt that year. A woman in the crowd posed a query to Cain during the speech, the Examiner said.
Donella told them “And after the seminar was over, Cain came over to me and a colleague and said, ‘Could you put me in touch with that lovely young lady who asked the question, so I can give her a more thorough answer over dinner?’”
She was “suspicious of Cain’s motives and delined to set up the date,” the Examiner reporter wrote.
That’s what I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about.
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Posted: February 6, 2011 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: academia, Equity Markets, financial institutions, Global Financial Crisis | Tags: Fault Lines, Financial Crisis, Matt Yglesias, Raghu Rajan, Tyler Cowen |
Macroeconomists seemingly have adopted monastic practices of self-flagellation to explain why the tribe completely misjudged the housing bubble . Their collective crystal balls didn’t predict an ensuing financial crisis either. A blog entry by Finance Professor Raghu Rajan at University of Chicago has further stimulated the conversation today. He’s written a book called Fault Lines and made remarks from the book at its official blog site. I found it at Memeorandum along with a few choice links.
I’ve written about fresh water and salt water economics before. Some of today’s discussion clearly involves philosophical fault lines. Rajan is from the panultimate fresh water university and all finance academics eventually drown in the Efficient Markets Hypothesis (EMH) literature. I’ve been pretty outspoken about how much damage I think the EMH has done to economics and especially my field, financial economics. However, it’s hard to get published in finance journals taking a contrarian view. This is one explanation he examines, then dismisses which is why I’ve taken a good look at his argument.
I have not read his book, but judging from the video and this blog entry, Rajan spends some time on the role of EMH and EMH true believers in the crisis. I can provide you with my own anecdotes on this. I can also tell you I tried to avoid some seminars because I don’t want to read any more Eugene Fama who is Rajan’s colleague. I frankly think EMH blinders or misunderstanding were a good deal–but not all–of the problem.
I was researching the subprime markets directly after Katrina and was told by my finance professors that I was following an unpublishable and boring line of research. (They used the term ‘unsexy’.) I saw hints of problems in subprime markets as early as late 2005 in the work I did with the sensitivity of stock prices of finance companies heavily invested in subprime loans to some key macroeconomic variables. I was told that line of research was unlikely to help my marketability and ability to get tenure upon graduation. They yawned when I presented the paper. I turned it in for my third econometrics seminar and switched to something else.
Finance journals editors do love them some EMH so anything on market anomalies is likely to get a jaundiced set of editor eyes. But, Rajan brings up some important points and the resulting discussion is worth viewing here. Here’s Rajan talking directly to the EMH and why he thinks it may not be a big deal.
Perhaps the reason was ideology: we were too wedded to the idea that markets are efficient, market participants are rational, and high prices are justified by economic fundamentals. But some of this criticism of “market fundamentalism” reflects a misunderstanding. The dominant “efficient markets theory” says only that markets reflect what is publicly known, and that it is hard to make money off markets consistently – something verified by the hit that most investor portfolios took in the crisis. The theory does not say that markets cannot plummet if the news is bad, or if investors become risk-averse.
Critics argue that the fundamentals were deteriorating in plain sight, and that the market (and economists) simply ignored it. But hindsight distorts analysis. We cannot point to a lonely Cassandra like Robert Shiller of Yale University, who regularly argued that house prices were unsustainable, as proof that the truth was ignored. There are always naysayers, and they are often wrong. There were many more economists who believed that house prices, though high, were unlikely to fall across the board.
Rajan points out that this probably isn’t the sole or primary explanation even though it is one that gets a lot of ink these days. I too think some of the problem is a misunderstanding of the various forms of EMH . So, the major philosophical debate happening in finance circles isn’t central to Rajan’s explanation. There is no conspiracy of EMH apologists to force misunderstanding of market rationality, so alright, I’ll give him that one.
Economist Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution likes the alternative succinct explanation Rajan provides. (You should read the comments to that thread.)
Raghu Rajan nails it:
I would argue that three factors largely explain our collective failure: specialization, the difficulty of forecasting, and the disengagement of much of the profession from the real world.
Rajan also dismisses another circle of conspirators by stating this. It’s also probably why one of those so-called progressives jumped on the dismissal earlier today. This conspiracy meme crosses circles of folks that are more into political economy than economics itself. This group argues the hypothesis that the “system” bribed economists to stay quiet. I’ve gotten into it more than a few people of the Matt Stoller mindset and various Rand hanger-ons about this improbable case. One of the biggest memes is that the FED actively influences economists not to publish things against their interests. (Usually, this comes from Austrian School folks who can’t get published any where mainstream because they want to completely operate outside of the scientific method and ignore data.) Matt Yglesias is one of these people making a living off this canard and he jumped to the bait immediately. His reasoning speaks more about him than about economists.
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