Thursday, April 22, 2004
My network news debut -- mark two
[More on outsourcing, huh?--ed. Nope -- this appearance has nothing to do with outsourcing. You're gonna have to watch to find out.]
UPDATE: Well, they apparently used it (What, you didn't see it? Don't give us that false modesty BS!--ed. No, I haven't seen it because I'm in Hamburg, Germany for a conference).
And to answer a commenter question, yes, they found me via the blog. An NBC researcher told me as much.
I can actually make a valid claim to expertise here, since I've read all the collections and been reading the strip on and off since 1980.
A very important post about... who would sleep with me in the blogosphere
This according to Meryl Yourish.
Woo-hoo! Yes, I'm happily married -- but as a complete geek who could never get girls in high school, this kind of information always nice to know.
Oh, wait... Yourish was just satirizing this John Hawkins post of the top ten bloggers he would want to be stranded on a desert island with. Yourish was just kidding.
I feel so... cheap and used. Sniff.
Excuse me, I gotta go watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan again.
Shafting the Palestinians?
At the risk of posting on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict again, Walter Russell Mead made a trenchant point in yesterday's New York Times op-ed page:
Read the whole thing for Mead's policy prescriptions.
Greg Djerejian also has a lengthy post on the Bush-Sharon summit that elaborates on this point in much greater detail. Shorter Djerejian: It's one thing to favor the Israelis in the conflict -- it's another thing to do it while simultaneously kicking the Palestinians in the balls.
China cuts a trade deal
The Financial Times reports that China has made numerous trade concessions in a deal with the United States:
Chinese central bank officials have also indicated that they plan to shift the renminbi from a fixed rate to a floating rate:
Question to those advocating greater protectionism towards China -- are these concessions sufficient? If not, what else?
The effect of school vouchers in Milwaukee
Given how important education is in the global economy, it's worth finding out whether school choice/vouchers/greater market competition can improve the quality of primary and secondary education in the United States.
Over at Crooked Timber, Harry Brighouse links to a Caroline Minter Hoxby paper in the Swedish Economic Policy Review that examines the effect Milwaukee's voucher program had on school performance. Brighouse has some questions about the paper, but closes with the following:
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Danieldrezner.com -- the musical!
Fine entrants, all [C'mon, admit that you like the Wang Chung song!--ed. Well, yeah, if I'm appropriately liquored up.] However, I'm not sure the folks at Blender have children -- in which case there's a whole new list of galactically cloying songs that make "We Built this City" sound like Beethoven's Fifth. How 'bout the Barney theme? The Dragon Tales theme? Raffi's completed works?
Readers are invited to submit their worst songs. And, while being in a musical mood, go check out Brad DeLong's post about songs where the cover version is superior to the original. You can see my contribution in the comments section.
Why aren't mutual fund investors freaked out?
The Chicago Tribune reports a puzzling finding regarding investors attitudes towards mutual funds in the wake of scandals involving late trading and market timing:
For the record, I haven't been following the scandals/investigations involving mutual funds, even though all of my stock investments are in such funds. Mostly that's because these funds haven't tanked -- and even if there was a downturn, I try not to get too exercised about fluctuations in the short-term.
Those who have more information about this scandal should comment away -- I'm hoping that this is one of those episodes in which the system actually worked, and these abuses were caught before they could dramatically affect market integrity.
[You're just an assistant professor -- maybe people with real money do care about this?--ed. Not according to the Trib piece:
You can take a look at Spectrem's press release about the survey by clicking here.]
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Why I have no plan of attack on Plan of Attack
I just received the following e-mail from an avid reader:
The plain and simple answer is, I'm swamped. These books are coming fast and furious, and I only have so many hours in the day. I'll try to get to it sometime soon. [Oh, sure you're swamped -- on things that don't sit well with your political views--ed. No -- I haven't had time to blog about either the oil-for-food scandal or Iran's role in the Shiite uprising. Really, I'm swamped.]
Parenthetically, there is another reason -- they're expensive to get in hardcover, dammit. Thankfully, one or two publishers have started sending me the occasional review copy -- and have I mentioned recently Ivo Daalder and James Lindsey's America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (Brookings, 2003) is a hell of a good read? However, publishers are unlikely to send bestsellers like the Susskind, Clarke, or Woodward books to bloggers -- they don't need us. [Jayson Blair needs you!--ed. Yes, but we don't want him.]
Apparently, I'm in the minority on even getting the occasional review book. David Bernstein's not getting review copies -- and he thinks that since he blogs at the Volokh Conspiracy, book companies should be sending him gratis review copies. Tyler Cowen points out that there may be a reason why this won't happen:
Kevin Keith offers an amusing but illegal solution to the problem.
Back to main point: feel free to discuss the Woodward book here.
UPDATE: The Weekly Standard's Richard Starr e-mails a useful suggestion on the question of review copies:
The FCC's unintentional f$%&-up
Stuart Benjamin has a great post over at the Volokh Conspiracy on how the ratcheting up of FCC fines could actually lead to a long-term reduction of government censorship:
Does this mean NBC will replace the Today Show with Jenna Jameson Live!? Hardly. Broadcast networks would still be beholden to advertiser preferences.
If Benjamin is correct, and the short-term kerfuffle over broadcast standards erodes the government's long-term censorship powers, I have only this to say -- thank you, Janet Jackson!!
Forget TV -- listen to the rado
My debut on international TV experienced some technical difficulties -- so it's back to the radio for me!
I'll be on the hot seat on KERA's Glenn Mitchell Show from 1:00PM to 2:00 PM Central time on the subject of
You can listen into the broadcast by clicking here. We'll see if I can simultaneously blog about the experience as well.
UPDATE: So far, so good -- no belching on air yet.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I love doing call-in shows with access to the Internet -- make me sound like I've memorized a lot more information than I actually have.
FINAL UPDATE: That was most enjoyable. Lots of great questions, and all of them civil and well-reasoned.
Encouraging news from Pakistan
The New York Times reports that Pakistan is having some success in its spring offensive against the remnants of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Northwest frontier:
The Copenhagen Consensus and financial instability
Back in March, the Economist, along with Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute (which is run by environmentalist bete noire Bjorn Lomborg), announced the Copenhagen Consensus project. As their March story phrased it:
You can go to the Copenhagen Consensus' main site by clicking here.
This week, the magazine reports on the report prepared by Barry Eichengreen on the costs of financial instability in the developing world. The costs are significant:
Bring on the capital controls!! Oh, wait, it's a bit more complicated:
[So you're saying we should just shrug off the $107 billion as the cost of doing business in a global economy?--ed. Absolutely not. More importantly, Eichengreen doesn't shrug it off either, and he's a real economist with some intriguing proposals up his sleeve -- though I'm not completely convinced they would work.]
You can download Eichengreen's paper here.
The weird psychology of the untenured
Henry Farrell was also at the Midwestern Political Science Association meetings, and picked up some interesting cocktail chatter about the life of untenured faculty at prestigious universities:
Be sure to read the comments to the post as well.
I have no idea where Henry got this impression -- the fact that I may have met him in the cocktail bar is the smallest sliver of a coincidence.
For the record, the University of Chicago is not quite as sado-masochistic a mistress as the aforementioned Ivies when it comes to getting tenure -- but this place sure as hell ain't a walk on the beach either.
Monday, April 19, 2004
Offshore outsourcing creates American jobs, redux
The Chicago Tribune reports today on how offshore outsourcing is aiding in the creation of more small business start-ups -- which help to create American jobs. The story focuses on one Chicago entrepreneur:
Virginia Postrel posts another example of how (onshore) outsourcing facilitates small business growth.
Your critical reading assignment for today
First, read this New York Times story on NAFTA's tribunal system and their supposed encroachment on state judiciaries.
Then, read Brad DeLong's takedown of said article.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Dedicated to the international readers of danieldrezner.com
UPDATE: Well, that was fun -- all 104 seconds of it!! The satellite feed cut out during the middle of the interview and that was that -- that or Ted Turner reeeeaaallly doesn't like me telling the truth and it was a grand conspiracy. [You're sounding like some of your commenters -- snap out of it!--ed. OK -- but I think it's an awfully big coincidence that this happens less than 24 hours before Lou Dobbs inks a contract to write a book on outsourcing for Time/Warner's book division]
Reviewing the tape, however, I learned the following things about doing live, remote interviews:
I'm moving down the learning curve -- very, very, slowly.