Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others…

Time is a little short. Well actually it has been for the past few weeks so just some link catch-up on some articles that are interesting in themselves, but also because despite the results of this past election much of the media still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to presenting a more accurate picture of America and the issues.

The Free Market Free-for-All Proof that the stock market is irrational

The death of Milton Friedman has been an occasion for celebrating the magic of capitalism, and fair enough. Capitalism is pretty great, and Friedman was its feisty defender when that was far from a universally held view. But let’s not get carried away. There are things capitalism does not do well, and other things that masquerade as capitalism at work, and claim its virtues, but aren’t entitled.

Capitalism is brilliant at setting the price of potatoes. But how good is it at setting the price of a large company? To all appearances, the stock market is capitalism operating under near-laboratory conditions. Financial markets deal almost entirely in electronic blips. Supply and demand can chase each other around the world with no actual goods to get in the way, and prices can adjust constantly and instantaneously. Yet the prices set in financial markets are patently wrong.

That is not my opinion. Well, yes, it is my opinion. But it is not only my opinion. It is held by America’s financial leaders, though they don’t put it quite that way. Actually, it is close to a provable fact. The free market cannot be setting the right price for financial assets such as shares of stock, because often there are different prices with equal claims to be the product of free-market capitalism. They all can’t be right.

Michael Kinsley knows more about economics then I do, but I would argue that because of the commodities market that we don’t even get a true value on the price of potatoes.

Waxman has Bush administration in sights

After agitating by Waxman, the State Department had to revise a report claiming terrorism had decreased in 2003, to reflect that it actually had increased.

Waxman found overbilling on Katrina contracts and overbilling by Halliburton in Iraq. He revealed that seniors wouldn’t really save on premiums by switching to the government’s Medicare drug plan. With Davis, he issued a report documenting extensive contacts between the White House and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Taekwondo Union agreed to prohibit head kicks by anyone under 14.

And when Bush administration resistance meant he didn’t get results, Waxman got headlines for trying.

As Government Reform chairman, Waxman will aim to reassert congressional checks on the executive branch. A priority are government contracts: for Hurricane Katrina cleanup, homeland security and the Iraq war.

Contrary to Republican portrayals, Waxman said he doesn’t plan to issue scattershot subpoenas. He said he has little interest in revisiting Bush administration failures that are already well known, such as Iraq war intelligence.

He wants to do it all with the help of Republicans.

“We want to return to civility and bipartisanship,” Waxman said. “Legislation ought to be based on evidence, not ideology.”

I’ve seen a few news reports and blog posts that have offered up something that at least approximates bi-partisanship. All I can say is good luck on that. If, let’s say in eight or twelve years the pendulum swings back ( I don’t think it ever will, but let’s suppose for a moment) and conservatives take control again. They will rule, not govern just as they have for years. While it usually doesn’t hurt to listen to the opposition Democrats are crazy they they think that investigations of the gross corruption and undermining the rule of law will be meet with the kind of seriousness that conservatives have shown nothing but contempt for.

I’m a little disheartened that we’re even still having this debate, Having It All
Say goodbye to the “success penalty” — professional women have the best chance at marriage and children.

You can’t have it all, women have long been told. The price of female achievement, goes the centuries-old conventional wisdom, is loneliness. And modern commentators have taken up the refrain. “The more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child,” argued economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett in 2002. Last year, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed that America faces “an epidemic of professional women missing out on husbands and kids” because men remain unwilling to enter equal relationships with educated, high-powered women. And in the first two-thirds of the 20th century, as women gained greater access to higher education and professional work, such was indeed the case. Women who earned bachelor’s degrees and PhDs were more likely to miss out on their “MRS” degrees than their less-educated sisters.

But for women born since 1960, there has been a revolutionary reversal of the historic pattern. As late as the 1980s, according to economist Elaina Rose, women with PhDs or the equivalent were less likely to marry than women with a high school degree. But the “marital penalty” for highly educated women has declined steadily since then, and by 2000 it had disappeared. Today, women with a college degree or higher are more likely to marry than women with less education and lower earnings potential.

Highly educated women are also now as likely to have children as their less-educated counterparts — and much more likely to have children born in wedlock.

Here I thought that in a free democratic society that it was always about choices regardless of social trends and that the Right’s big mistake ( which they will continue to make) is thinking of the actual human beings in the cross-hairs of the culture wars as cattle that can be ideologically herded into the proper corrals. Is amazes me how little they know about the human heart and how little credit they give it for making choices that suit it.

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams