Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Republican Party Platform

That government is best which governs least - except when it comes to sex and reproduction. Written in the "official language". - GWC
The 2012 Republican Party Platform

Our no-growth future: Robert Gordon - Northwestern U.

Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon predicts little if any growth for the next few decades.  He reminds my of J.K. Galbraith's New Industrial State.  Nothing in the IT revolution equals railroads, automobiles and the Interstate Highway system.  Makes sense to me but isn't it astonishing that you can communicate effortlessly with friends in China?  When I was in the Peace Corps in Inia 1967 - 1969 aerograms were the best way to stay in touch: thin airmail letters carried by plane.  Now it's email and cell phones. - GWC


Robert J. Gordon (with link to lecture video)

This paper raises basic questions about the process of economic growth.  It questions the assumption, nearly universal since Solow’s seminal contributions of the 1950s, that economic growth is a continuous process that will persist forever.  There was virtually no growth before 1750, and thus there is no guarantee that growth will continue indefinitely.  Rather, the paper suggests that the rapid progress made over the past 250 years could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history.  The paper is only about the United States and views the future from 2007 while pretending that the financial crisis did not

happen.  Its point of departure is growth in per-capita real GDP in the frontier country since 1300, the U.K. until 1906 and the U.S. afterwards.  Growth in this frontier gradually accelerated after 1750, reached a peak in the middle of the 20th century, and has been slowing down since.  The paper is about “how much further could the frontier growth rate decline?”
The analysis links periods of slow and rapid growth to the timing of the three industrial revolutions (IR’s), that is, IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830; IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900; and IR #3 (computers, the web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present.  
It provides evidence that IR #2 was more important than the others and was largely responsible for 80 years of relatively rapid productivity growth between 1890 and 1972.  Once the spin-off inventions from IR #2 (airplanes, air conditioning, interstate highways) had run their course, productivity growth during 1972-96 was much slower than before.  In contrast, IR #3 created only a short-lived growth revival between 1996 and 2004.  Many of the original and spin-off inventions of IR #2 could happen only once – urbanization, transportation speed, the freedom of females from the drudgery of carrying tons of water per year, and the role of central heating and air conditioning in achieving a year-round constant temperature.
Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007.  These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt.  A provocative “exercise in subtraction” suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chemerinsky vs. Tamanaha on the Law School Cost Dilemma

There must be someway out of here.  I am reminded of Brecht's mockery "let's dissolve the people and elect another".  For the root of all this is voters embrace of the anti-tax agenda which has paralyzed government - nowhere more than in Prop. 13 land - California.  - GWC
Law Prof's Ideal, Affordable Law School Not Possible in Reality, Chemerinsky Says - News - ABA Journal:

“If you are not going to law school ... what is your alternative path?” asks Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. “And in purely economic terms, is it better than law school? ... It’s not just monetary ... There are all sorts of exciting things you can do with a law degree.”
Asked about his own economic terms, the highly paid constitutional scholar says, “I wouldn’t have come at half the price. No one is going to take a 50 percent pay cut, no matter how beautiful Orange County is, and no matter how wonderful it is to be part of a new school.”
The two quotes may seem at odds—the ideal of a career bringing more than financial gain, the reality of getting the paycheck now. But they represent the two thorny sides of the debate of law school and its value.
One can hardly blame Chemerinsky for protecting his own. He had a posh teaching gig at Duke University School of Law and a family with four children to support. Still, his blunt statement represents the stark reality to the idealistic aims of law professor Brian Z. Tamanaha, author of Failing Law Schools, which calls for an innovative, top-quality, public-service-minded and affordable (i,.e. less than $20,000 a year) institution as the ideal 21st-century law school.
[Dean Chemerinsky] insists that tuition must be in the $50,000 range if [UC Irvine Law School] is to land in the top 20. On that point, he and I agree. What Dean Chemerinsky does not explain, however, is why it was necessary to create a “top 20” law school. If that was the driving goal, then perhaps Irvine law school should not have been created. There are already about 25 law schools in the “top 20,” three of them in California. 
Dean Chemerinsky knows a great deal more than I do about the economics of running a law school, but I am skeptical of his suggestion that there were only two options: create a “top 20” law school or a “fourth tier” law school. One way to have kept costs down with no significant loss in faculty talent would have been to recruit top professors from excellent law schools with a lower pay scale (Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, William & Mary, etc.) rather than from Harvard, Northwestern and Yale. But he went for the prestige.
And the rebuttal by Chemerinsky:
[A]ll of the goals that Professor Tamanaha identifies in his book – maximizing the opportunity for jobs for our students, especially jobs that will allow students to pay back any loans, best serving the profession and the community – are best achieved if we succeed in being a top 20 law school. Of our initial graduating class from May 2012, 28% secured judicial clerkships, 15 in federal courts around the country and one on a state supreme court. About 40% received offers from major law firms. Some are working at government and public interest jobs. As of this writing, 80% of the Class of 2012 has full time employment. None of this would have been possible if we did not have faculty and students of the caliber of a top 20 law school...had we followed Professor Tamanaha’s advice we could have achieved none of this and would have created a not very good fourth tier law school.

'via Blog this'

Sunday, August 26, 2012

White House Report on Lost Teacher Jobs - NY Times

New Report Highlights Impacts of Teacher Layoffs, Need to Invest in Education | The White House

WASHINGTON, DC – The White House today released a new report that finds that the loss of teachers and other education staff is forcing communities into difficult choices that harm our children’s education and future, including increasing class sizes and shortening school years and days. The report shows that more than 300,000 local education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession – a figure that stands in stark contrast to previous economic recoveries. As a result, the national student-teacher ratio increased by 4.6 percent from 2008 to 2010, rolling back all the gains made since 2000. Increased class sizes have negative consequences for the future of America’s children at a time when education has never been more important to finding a good job and maintaining our competitiveness as a nation. A copy of the full report is attached. 

“This year, several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school. Since 2009, we’ve lost more than 300,000 education jobs, in part, because of budget cuts at the state and local level,” said President Obama. “Think about what that means for our country. At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America; these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year. That’s the opposite of what we should be doing as a country.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

Median household incomes by age

The Times Economix blog posted this excellent graph.  As to increased income for those over 65 that appears to be attributable to decline in home equity and increased numbers of people working past 65, which is a result of the decline in pensions.  Then a real worrier: sharp income decline of those approaching retirement age.  Will those voters shoot themselves in the foot in November and vote for Romney/Ryancare?
Big Income Losses for Those Near Retirement  NYTimes com
Sources: Sentier Research estimated annual household income derived from the monthly Current Population Survey conducted by the Census Bureau.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why is Akin Being Asked to Quit? | GOPlifer | a blog

Chris Ladd is a rational Republican columnist at the Houston Chronicle.  It gets lonely there in Texas. - gwc
Why is Akin Being Asked to Quit? | GOPlifer | a blog: by Chris Ladd
Rep. Todd Akin is right to be angry. Why should he be singled out for punishment just because he made wacky, offensive claims on TV? There’s little fairness in asking him to resign if you’re not going to rein in Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, Allen West and about most of the Republican House freshmen.
Our VP nominee, Paul Ryan, was a co-signer with Akin of a House Bill that would have turned those outlandish claims into federal policy. Is he supposed to resign too? Cornyn is only asking Akin to quit because he’s doomed, we badly need that seat, he may have just torpedoed Romney’s campaign, and up until last night there was still time to replace him somewhat gracefully.Basically, we’re outlining a new party policy. Call it “The Sharron Angle Rule”: You can be as crazy as you want, but only if you might win.
But here is Congressman Todd Akin sticking to his guns even after Romney and Ryan asked him to step down.  But listen carefully.  There's a hedge there.  I think he'll get out of the race.
Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Racialization: Michael Tesler’s theory that all political positions come down to racial bias. - Slate Magazine

Racialization: Michael Tesler’s theory that all political positions come down to racial bias. - Slate Magazine: "Even presidential pets were viewed through the same lens. Tesler showed 1,000 YouGov respondents a picture of a Portuguese water dog and asked how favorably they felt toward it. Half saw the dog introduced as Bo Obama, and half as Ted Kennedy’s dog, Splash. (Both political dogs are the same breed, but the picture was of Obama’s.) Those with negative feelings toward blacks thought less of Obama’s dog."

'via Blog this'

Monday, August 20, 2012

Private-Market Tooth Fairy Can’t Cut Medicare Cost - Orszag - Bloomberg

Private-Market Tooth Fairy Can’t Cut Medicare Cost - Bloomberg:
by Peter Orszag
"The vast bulk of health-care costs arise from an extremely small share of patients, whose insurance will inevitably bear a substantial share of their expenses. That’s why competition in health care doesn’t work as well as in other sectors, and it’s also why the key to keeping costs to a minimum is to encourage providers to offer better, less costly care in complex cases."
Peter Orszag is vice chairman of corporate and investment banking at Citigroup Inc. and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration. The opinions expressed are his own.  'via Blog this'

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Obama - the peroration litany

This video captures the peroration of President Obama's stump speech.   We see that he uses the litany rather than the Black churchman's call and response.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ACA helps Medicare finances | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Health Reform Strengthens Medicare, Doesn’t “Rob” It

CBPP | Health Reform Strengthens Medicare, Doesn’t “Rob” It:
"The 2010 health reform law (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) has significantly improved Medicare’s long-term financial outlook, as we have previously pointed out.  Recent claims that health reform “robs Medicare” and does not “shore up Medicare’s finances” are flatly false, as the recent report of the program’s trustees shows. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ACA will reduce Medicare’s projected spending by $716 billion over the 2013-2023 period.  As John McDonough of Harvard’s School of Public Health explains:  “None of these reductions were financed by cuts to Medicare enrollees’ eligibility or benefits; benefits were improved in the ACA.  Cuts were focused on hospitals, health insurers, home health, and other providers.” Medicare’s trustees confirm that health reform has improved the program’s finances:  “The financial status of the HI [Hospital Insurance] trust fund was substantially improved by the lower expenditures" 'via Blog this'

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Crossing the Rubicon - hazards of prediction

Julius Caesar
Sixteen months ago I posted this short piece by Josh Marshall - founder of Talking Points Memo of which I am a devotee.  I don't make many predictions.  One - to my daughter shortly after he announced - was that Obama's Presidential campaign would be only a learning experience for him. More recently I predicted that Obamacare would survive the Supreme court challenge.  Here's an older one.  I am very reluctant to join the enthusiasm of the many who are thrilled that we finally have the enemy we want.  Never underestimate your adversary. - GWC

It wasn't much, the narrow river that marked the border between Italy and Gaul.  but Caesar was told not to cross it.  He did and you remember his name, not the guy who lost.  Josh Marshall says that today's vote to embrace the Paul Ryan `let's end Medicare budget' -  by all but six House Republicans is a fateful, no turning back day.  
The Republican Party has just gotten carried away by their hostility to government and celebration of private enterprise.  It's a popular idea.  Nobody likes to go to the DMV.  But private enterprise also makes us very nervous.  Downsizing, plant closings, higher  health insurance deductibles, real estate bubbles and crashes - all make people worry.  "And now they want to take away Medicare" is the line the Republican Party just handed to the Democratic Party.  They have crossed the Rubicon. April 11, 2011

Ryan Roundup: Everything You Need to Know About Chairman Ryan’s Budget - CBPP

I suppose this is the sort of thing Ayn Rand had in mind.  The deserving thrive, the weak don't.  So Paul Ryan has put it all on paper. There is a lot more in this CBPP round-up, but these two charts give you the basic idea of what this "bold, brave, serious thinker" has in mind.  I guess among other things, we'll have deep thinkers on Mirror of Justice the Catholic Legal Theory blog explaining how Ryan, a celebrant of "individualism and capitalism" over "collectivism", and a self-proclaimed Ayn Rand devotee, is really very Christian. - GWC
Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Ryan Roundup: Everything You Need to Know About Chairman Ryan’s Budget: "Below is a compilation of the CBPP analyses and blog posts on the budget that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposed, and the House of Representatives passed, in March.  At the bottom of the compilation, we also list the Center’s analysis of the Ryan “Roadmap” budget plan."
Millionaires Would Receive More Than One-Third of New Ryan Tax Cuts62% of Proposed Cuts in Ryan Plan Come from Low-Income Programs  'via Blog this'

Sea Ice Retreats in the Northwest Passage : Image of the Day

Sea Ice Retreats in the Northwest Passage : Image of the Day: Acquired July 17, 2012, and August 3, 2012, these natural-color NASA satellite images show the retreat of sea ice from the Parry Channel in the Northwest Passage.  The Canadian Ice Service reported that ice cover in Parry Channel began to fall below the 1981–2010 median after July 16, 2012, and the loss accelerated over the following two weeks. On July 23, the percentage of ice cover in the channel was roughly 67 percent, compared to the median of 80 percent. On July 30, ice cover was roughly 33 percent, compared a median of 79 percent.

Sea Ice Retreats in the Northwest Passage
August 3, 2012
Sea Ice Retreats in the Northwest Passage
July 17, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What You Need to Know About Premium Support — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Now that Romney has embraced physically what he embraced verbally - privatiszation of Medicare and Social Security, abandonment of Medicaid by making it a matter of federal aid to state-designed programs - it;s time to learn what Ryan proposes. - GWC
What You Need to Know About Premium Support — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "The budget resolution that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will unveil this week is expected to include a Medicare premium support proposal fashioned by Ryan and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).  Although billed as a kinder, gentler form of premium support, the Ryan-Wyden plan has the same basic features as earlier premium support proposals.[1] The Ryan-Wyden plan would shift substantial costs to Medicare beneficiaries rather than protect them from cost increases, in part because the payment that beneficiaries would receive to help them buy coverage would likely fail to keep pace with health care costs.  The plan also would likely lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making the pool of Medicare beneficiaries smaller, older, and sicker — and increasingly costly to cover.  Finally, the plan would produce few budgetary savings beyond those that the health reform law calls for, since both plans have the same target growth rate for Medicare costs.  The Ryan-Wyden plan is similar to Newt Gingrich’s 1995 proposal that, according to Gingrich, would have caused traditional Medicare to “wither on the vine.” " 'via Blog this'

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Fox News Wink: Is Obama "Gay"? or "Gay Gay"? - The Daily Beast

David Frum, a leading spokesman for rational Republicanism (speechwriter for George W. Bush), explains the bizarre set of beliefs embraced by the sub-culture of right wing chain emails, such as that which falsely claims that President Obama has ordered that those who present the flag at veterans' funerals say that they represent not the President but rather the Secretary of Defense. - GWC
The Fox News Wink: Is Obama "Gay"? or "Gay Gay"? - The Daily Beast
by David Frum
"On Fox News' "The Five," moderator Greg Gutfeld offered up this comment in a jokey yuck-yuck tone: "Obama is now out of the closet … he's officially gay for class warfare." Speaking of opening the closet, Gutfeld's comment exposes something important that many observers miss about this campaign and the way Fox News covers it: It's very important to understand that for Fox viewers, Fox is only the most visible part of a vast alternative reality. Fox's coverage of the news cannot be properly understood in isolation, but only in conjunction with the rest of that system—and especially the chain emails that do so much to shape the worldview of Fox viewers. You cannot "get" Gutfeld's joke unless you "get" that a large part of his audience ardently believes that Obama is in fact gay, that his marriage is a sham, and that Mrs. Obama leads a life of Marie Antoinette like extravagance to compensate her for her husband's neglect while he disports himself with his personal aides. Don't believe me? Just as an indicator, try this:....  Google: obama + gay + "reggie love""

  'via Blog this'

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Text of the 2012 amendments to the ABA Model Rules

August 2012 Amendments to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct  
Comments by Andrew Perlman, Reporter are HERE
Summary HERE

ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission resource page: 2012 resolutions and reports
Rule 1.6

Rules 1.18 and 7.3, and 7.1, 7.2 and 5.5

Rules 1.1, 5.3 and 5.5

Rule on Practice Pending Admission and Comment to Rule 5.5

Rule for Admission by Motion

Rule 1.6 and Rule 1.17

Comment paragraph [3] to rule 4.4 was also amended as follows:

[3] Some lawyers may choose to return a document or DELETE electronically stored information unread, for example, when the lawyer learns before receiving it the document that it was inadvertently sent to the wrong address. Where a lawyer is not required by applicable law to do so, the decision to voluntarily return such a document or DELETE electronically stored information is a matter of professional judgment ordinarily reserved to the lawyer. See Rules 1.2 and 1.4.
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Guns - as American as cherry pie

Guns don’t kill crowds of innocent people; maniacs with easy access to military-grade weapons do

h/t James Fallows