Some of these may be a little dated now. The news cycle has been working quickly and these have been collecting since the last post.
1. A good source of ambassadors outside of the professional diplomat corps:
2. A good appeal to expertise:
3. Volcker should have a larger role?
4. Smartest people in the world, or the luckiest? They seem smart to me:
5. Prof. Ariely's great but undernoticed blog:
6. I'd like to know more about Oakeshotte, Burk, Kirk and Hart. I think their insights/ideology can be subsumed to normative goals of minimizing existential risk (avoiding social epistemological capture by ideological fad).
7. Interesting case at the margins, of baby born alive and then killed in abortion clinic (allegedly).
In the explanation, a good articulation of how the law can side with repugnancy bias over our best empirical understanding and a consequentialism strongly grounded in empiricism.
8. I posted this in the comments section of yglesias.thinkprogress.org
I think Democrats should start thinking very critically about education spending and health care spending. I intuit as a non-expert that there may be quite a bit of validity to arguments that we “waste” a lot of resources in those two areas to signal that we care about individuals and populations. If that holds up under scrutiny, it may make sense to spend a lot less on education and healthcare, and reduce much of that spending to more efficient symbolism. For example, I think it may be wasteful for the public to pay for so many kids to learn algebra and for so many people to see doctors and even registered nurses. Maybe we should even be consumption/luxury taxing that behavior in the private sector.
In general I think Democrats and progressives should get over process repugnancies that may harm core outcome goals.
all subject to expert analysis and insight, of course.
9. Cutting criticism of Krugman and the stimulus, apparently from a domain expert, Barro by way of Andrew Sullivan:
wow, the original Barro interview is excellent!
That seems like modern mythology to me (in all honesty).
Interacting with Congress doesn’t seem to me like very important part of what most department heads do in the federal bureacracy. In contrast, competent management of a large bureacrcacy seems to me to be a very, very important part of what most department heads do. When I think of fails by most department heads in the past, it seems to me to have been due to incompetent management, and/or domain illiteracy.
In particular, Senators confirming Senators seems particularly suspect to me.
Finally, former undersecretaries, former regional directors, big population state governors, and presidents of large research universities and institutions seem to me to be very likely as a class to have developed competency interacting with legislative bodies (if not Congress itself) -whereas members of Congress who lack administrative experience over large bureacracies seem to me to be strongly ill-suited to start with the very large bureacracies of the federal government.
In short, I doubt the meme from you, Colby, and others strongly. Although I’m a non-experts, and would defer to their consensus.