Daily Archives: April 19, 2011

How to interpret the S&P warning on U.S. debt outlook

Andrew Sullivan has rounded up the response of various pundits
here. I think the best response is from Matt Yglesias:

There are two metrics to keep an eye on when assessing American debt. One is the interest rate the Treasury has to offer to get people to buy the debt. Currently that number is low. The other is the “spread” between bonds that are indexed for inflation and bonds that aren’t indexed for inflation which serves, among other things, as a gauge of market assessment of the risk that we’ll have no choice but to inflate the debt away. Currently that number, too, is low.

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Why Paul Ryan’s and the GOP’s budget plan is neither serious nor brave

Speaking of Ayn Rand admirers, Paul Ryan has been lauded recently for his budget plan. He and his budget do not deserve it. James Fallows, in the Atlantic, takes it apart dispassionately in this post: The Brave and Serious Mr. Ryan.

I will give Ryan credit for coming up with a much more detailed budget than the GOP had put together previously. And no doubt it will be the starting point for further discussion, not the final material that will result in a budget, and I am sure he put it together with that in mind. That said, it is, as Fallows said, “gimmicky” and “partisan”. Something brave and serious would be neither of those things.

Who is Ayn Rand?

With the release of a new movie based on her book, “Atlas Shrugged”, there’s been alot written  about the film, her book and the author herself. Depending on the beliefs of the author, she was either a genius or a crackpot (or worse). I think this line from Donald L. Luskin, in his article , Remembering the Real Ayn Rand, in the WSJ.com, sums up her appeal:

Rand was not a conservative or a liberal: She was an individualist. “Atlas Shrugged” is, at its heart, a plea for the most fundamental American ideal—the inalienable rights of the individual.

And I think that is why Rand, whatever her faults, is raised up by her admirers: she extols the value of individualism.

My new article on the web site, the 99 percent

Can be seen here:  How Influential Are You? :: Tips :: The 99 Percent.    I’d appreciate any feedback you can provide.

And if you like that, perhaps you’d like the other article that I wrote for that site: The Medium Isn’t The Message, People Are. :: Tips :: The 99 Percent

Tom Plaskon on good iPhone apps

My colleague Tom has put together this list: Some of My Favorite iPhone Apps.

And not only is it a good list, but he explains why you should get them. Well worth a look, both for the list of apps as well as Tom’s posterous blog itself.

What Shakespeare and David Foster Wallace and James Joyce have in common

The way they write excites your brain. In a nutshell:

It is Shakespeare’s inventions–particularly his deliberate syntactic errors like changing the part of speech of a word–that excite us, rather than confuse us.

See This is Your Brain on Shakespeare | How to Think Like Shakespeare at Big Think for more on what great writers do to your brain.

P.S. Anyone looking to excite people with their writing or presentation material would do well to read this. We are not Shakespeare, yet we can tweak the brains of others if we try.