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Tuesday Open Thread

by Colman Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:27:15 PM EST

Or second Monday if yesterday was a holiday where you are.


Display:
Oh, and happy equinox.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:30:10 PM EST
Steve Keen: Ignoring the role of private debt in an economy is like driving without accounting for your blind-spot. (March 14, 2012)
The profound insight they believe they have is that the level of debt doesn't matter, and that only the distribution of debt can be important. Ben Bernanke rejected Irving Fisher's "Debt Deflation" explanation for the Great Depression on this basis; after noting that Fisher did influence Roosevelt's policies, Bernanke added that:
`Fisher's idea was less influential in academic circles, though, because of the counterargument that debt-deflation represented no more than a redistribution from one group (debtors) to another (creditors). Absent implausibly large differences in marginal spending propensities among the groups, it was suggested, pure redistributions should have no significant macro-economic effects...' (Bernanke 2000, p. 24)
One crisis later, leading neoclassicals like Paul Krugman continue to argue that only the distribution of debt can matter:
People think of debt's role in the economy as if it were the same as what debt means for an individual: there's a lot of money you have to pay to someone else. But that's all wrong; the debt we create is basically money we owe to ourselves, and the burden it imposes does not involve a real transfer of resources. That's not to say that high debt can't cause problems -- it certainly can. But these are problems of distribution and incentives, not the burden of debt as is commonly understood. (Krugman 2011)
So can we ignore the level of private debt? No--because this "profound insight" is in fact a blind-spot about the role of banks and debt in a capitalist economy. Neoclassical economists treat banks as irrelevant to macroeconomics--which is why banks are not explicitly included in their models--and regard a loan as merely a transfer from a saver (or "patient agent") to a borrower (or "impatient agent"), as in Krugman's "New Keynesian" model of our current crisis:
In what follows, we begin by setting out a flexible-price endowment model in which "impatient" agents borrow from "patient" agents, but are subject to a debt limit. (Krugman and Eggertsson 2010, p. 3)
With that model of lending, a change in the level of debt has no inherent macroeconomic impact: the lender's spending power goes down, the borrower's goes up, and the two changes roughly cancel each other out.
Krugman and Eggertson: Debt, deleveraging, and the liquidity trap: A Fisher-Minsky-Koo approach (26 February 2012)
... Making some agents debt-constrained is a surprisingly powerful assumption: Fisherian debt deflation, the possibility of a liquidity trap, the paradox of thrift and toil, a Keynesian-type multiplier, and a rationale for expansionary fiscal policy all emerge naturally from the model ...

...

Given both the prominence of debt in popular discussion of our current economic difficulties and the long tradition of invoking debt as a key factor in major economic contractions, one might have expected debt to be at the heart of most mainstream macroeconomic models- especially the analysis of monetary and fiscal policy. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, however, it is quite common to abstract altogether from this feature of the economy.1 Even economists trying to analyze the problems of monetary and fiscal policy at the zero lower bound - and yes, that includes the authors (see e.g. Krugman 1998, Eggertsson and Woodford 2003) -- have often adopted representative-agent models in which everyone is alike, and in which the shock that pushes the economy into a situation in which even a zero interest rate is not low enough takes the form of a shift in everyone's preferences. Now, this assumed preference shift can be viewed as a proxy for a more realistic but harder-to-model shock involving debt and forced  deleveraging. But as we will see, a model that is explicit about the distinction between debtors and creditors is much more useful than a representative-agent model when it comes to making sense of current policy debates.

...

It follows that the level of debt matters only if the distribution of that debt matters, if highly indebted players face different constraints from players with low debt. And this means that all debt is not created equal -- which is why borrowing by some actors now can help cure problems created by excess borrowing by other actors in the past. In particular, deficit-financed government spending can, at least in principle, allow the economy to avoid unemployment and deflation while highly indebted private-sector agents repair their balance sheets.

(h/t Brad De Long)

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:38:25 PM EST
Am I misreading the dates, or is Krugman slowly re-deriving all the things he didn't believe in about Depression Economics (Fisher, Minsky, etc.) ?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, ominously, he's playing the role Samuelson played with respect to Keynes: he's bastardizing Fisher and Minsky into neoclassical economics.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ouch - that's an unhappy thought.

I haven't had time to properly read the K and Eggertson paper, so I defer to your analysis.

I still tend to think of him (K) as honestly trying to explore knowledge, but handicapped by his starting conditions (a student of traditional economics...)

However, even under that scenario, the road to hell can be paved with good intentions.

Of course, under Keen's argument, the Euro crisis so far is almost a ripple compared to the almighty upheavals that await the banking system when the UK housing bubble pops...

(UK housing debt is held mostly by UK banks, but the interlinking of the finance sector means that we're almost certainly looking at "contagion" when players like Barclays and HSBC are under pressure...)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:54:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but the UK housing bubble hasn't popped; the lack of housing is keeping prices high and there is almost no chance of that situation changing.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 06:00:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the housing benefit cuts are yet to take hold.

and that well is deep.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 06:57:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that housing benefits mostly end up in landlords' pockets?

and that the collapse of the inner-city (or London-region) subsidised rental market will leave a lot of upside-down landlords desperate for a sale?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes,all of housing benefit ends up in Landlords pockets, In some constituencies there are apparently over 5,000 families whos rent is now too high. On top of this The social fund which included  loans and grants to help moving is being abolished, so people will have to move, but will not be able to afford to.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:12:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hear there's a lot of boarded up houses in Liverpool and Hull ripe for the impoverished

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt it will disrupt the market. The demand for housing is so high they'll simply get others in, especially if they do the place up a bit.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From HousePriceCrash.co.uk:

It looks to me like the housing market is being artificially propped up since about 2003. It already had a mild crash at the start of the Global Financial Clusterfuck, and as austerity bites it should have another crash.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks to me like the bubble has already burst.

Austerity alone won't cause a crash. It will cause a dip and Daily Fail readers will lie awake at night trembling at the thought that their property might be dropping in value. But unless unemployment becomes very much higher, it will stay a dip.

The only way to cause a crash would be to raise interest rates. Many people are barely solvent now, and even an extra £50 a month is going to mount up into significant arrears.

An interest rate rise doesn't seem likely. Inflation seems to be dropping. But some building societies are raising rates, supposedly to balance the higher cost of borrowing. If more societies raise their rates and all societies keep raising them, then we'll see some fireworks.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Austerity alone won't cause a crash.

Most likely it will. If people start to move to cheaper houses, the credit leveraged speculators must start selling property, to pay their interest charges.

by kjr63 on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 12:31:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is my point.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 06:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Debt, Deleveraging, and the Liquidity
Trap

Given both the prominence of debt in popular discussion of our current economic difficulties and the long tradition of invoking debt as a key factor in major economic contractions, one might have expected debt to be at the heart of most mainstream macroeconomic models- especially the analysis of monetary and fiscal policy. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, however, it is quite common to abstract altogether from this feature of the economy. Even economists trying to analyze the problems of monetary and fiscal policy at the zero lower bound - and yes, that includes the authors (see e.g. Krugman 1998, Eggertsson and Woodford 2003) -- have often adopted representative-agent models in which everyone is alike, and in which the shock that pushes the economy into a situation in which even a zero interest rate is not low enough takes the form of a shift in everyone's preferences. Now, this assumed preference shift can be viewed as a proxy for a more realistic but harder-to-model shock involving debt and forced
deleveraging. But as we will see, a model that is explicit about the distinction between debtors and creditors is much more useful than a representative- agent model when it comes to making sense of current policy debates, and yes, that includes the authors (see e.g. Krugman 1998, Eggertsson and Woodford 2003) -- have often adopted representative-agent models in which everyone is alike, and in which the shock that pushes the economy into a situation in which even a zero interest rate is not low enough takes the form of a shift in everyone's preferences. Now, this assumed preference shift can be viewed as a proxy for a more realistic but harder-to-model shock involving debt and forced deleveraging. But as we will see, a model that is explicit about the distinction between debtors and creditors is much more useful than a representative-agent model when it comes to making sense of current policy debates. (My bold.)

Well, this seems to be a step forward. Is he hinting that he has been glib rather than forthcoming about the role of debt in the past, perhaps to avoid awkward subjects? I have wondered how the fact that we owe money 'to ourselves' explains anything. It does wonderfully obscure the typical fact that much of the money is owed to very wealthy individuals by less well of individuals. But when that debt has been rehypothecated over and over and blown up to such proportions that it cannot be paid back, it still constitutes a bubble that is little different from the South Sea Bubble. And high net worth individuals seem often to take much greater offense at having lost money, regardless of whether it was losses from a debt to another high net worth individual or some lowly peon, and even if it was largely their own doing that led to the loss. So, is he expressing solidarity with Bernanke by studiously overlooking that the Fed has been blowing bubbles? And is he trying to justify TARP and QE spending to save TBTFs?

In part he seems to be trying to push back against those who want more debt to deal with a debt induced problem. There is some merit to this, but he seems to want to avoid the issue of resolving insolvent institutions, but I have not finished reading the paper. It seems to me that the purpose of the debt makes all of the difference, but I am not sure he wants to go there. That would involve justifying bailing out the TBTFs, and I suspect he only wants to approach that obliquely.

Finally, we turn to the role of monetary and fiscal policy, where we find, as already indicated, that more debt can be the solution to a debt-induced slump. We also point out a possibly surprising implication of any story that attributes the slump to excess debt: precisely because some agents are debtconstrained, Ricardian equivalence breaks down, and old-fashioned Keynesian-type multipliers in which current consumption depends on current income reemerge.

I rather doubt we will see an acknowledgement of Cambridge, Mass. having done damage to Keynes' formulations.

(I gave up on trying to reformat the text from the PDF.)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 03:38:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we should move this discussion of Krugman's epiphany to ARGeezer's diary Debt Does Matter from last weekend.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 04:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fro Ha'aretz.
Who said the home front isn't protected? People who have spoken in recent years with Defense Minister Ehud Barak know he's well aware of the suggestion that he take care of two things before a war with Iran: The return of Gilad Shalit and the sale of his home in the luxury Akirov Towers.

He had to take care of Shalit so he could look benevolent and patient before hundreds or thousands of lives are dumped. And the apartment? There's no better preparation for war than to sell. Because if "only" 500 people are killed, you can be sure thousands of apartments will be damaged. Barak's situation, in which he has sold his real apartment but his next one is still "on paper," is ideal. Apartments in the planning stage don't get destroyed. You can't compare Barak to former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who sold only a few of his stocks before he ordered the Second Lebanon War to get underway.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:38:55 PM EST
NY Times: U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran (March 19, 2012)
Israeli intelligence estimates, backed by academic studies, have cast doubt on the widespread assumption that a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would set off a catastrophic set of events like a regional conflagration, widespread acts of terrorism and sky-high oil prices.

"A war is no picnic," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio in November. But if Israel feels itself forced into action, the retaliation would be bearable, he said. "There will not be 100,000 dead or 10,000 dead or 1,000 dead. The state of Israel will not be destroyed."

That's all right, then.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:43:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All scenarios seem to involve an intense, probably relatively short, period of hostilities, exactly what Israel has historically preferred. But what if Iran, knowing that, fires a few missiles every few days, hoping never to cross the threshold that will get the U.S. involved. What will the Israeli economy be like after a few months of that? Have any of these war games considered this possibility?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that the Americans had a lot of int4lligence estimates that they would be greeted with garlands of roses when they occupied Iraq and it would all pay for itself within a couple of months.

Anybody who believes that hogwash may find life generally disappointing

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:13:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that ceebs is on his second return to manufacturer, my 'puter decided to die today: motherboard problem.

So, it's now waiting to be collected, hopefully on the promised one week turn round cos I'm back in Bulgaria Sunday week.

Anyway, fortunately I had a pc lying around and conencted it up. However, it was last updated in 2008 so I had over 100 updates to cycle through, fortunately it took 110 of them in one hit but I was going for bout 2 hours. Then anti virus (avast) and spybot for good measure.

Now rebuilding my bookmarks.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:50:42 PM EST
Public Policy Polling
There is growing talk about Mitt Romney's "dog problem." Before the issue was specified in the poll, only 20% of voters said they had a favorable opinion of Romney's treatment of dogs; 29% said unfavorable. That compares to the president's 44-14 spread on the issue. Even Republicans only think their nomination frontrunner is kind to man's best friend by a 26-14 margin, while Democrats give the president's puppy friendliness a 66-7 nod. 37% say Obama would be a better president for dogs, while 21% choose Romney. 16% of Republicans cross over for Obama on this issue, versus only 11% of Democrats for Romney. Independents go 38-14 for the president.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 01:58:42 PM EST
Well, let's be honest, strapping a dog to the roof of a car for an 11 hour drive is a pretty wierd and heartless thing to do. It's not just that it won't play well to dog lovers, but it says things about Romney that raise serious questions about who he is.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the survey:
Mitt Romney once strapped his dog's kennel to the roof of his car for a long car trip. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for him, or does it not make a difference?

More likely....................................................... 7%

And you complain about women voting for Republicans....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:22:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Definintely a win with the psychopath vote then.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, making jokes about killing people with predator drones while actually killing people with predator drones also tells you something about a person.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to know their positions on cats. Dogs, I'm probably in the 7%.

(Living in a neighborhood where the big argument is whether its preferable to have a wolf-huskie mix or a pit bulldog. When an ambulance drives by, all hell breaks loose with the sirens and barking. And it is a good idea to carry a large stick when out walking. Stray cats eaten on sight.)

by asdf on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 12:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Muslim candidate is probably the best for cats....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:25:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Siberian huskies are nice dogs.

Greenland huskies... are not pets. They're work animals. There's actually a rule in Greenland that you can't bring a dog across the polar circle. North of the circle, dogs are work animals. South of it they're pets. Pet dogs get turned into mediocre shish-kebab if they get within a chainlength of a work dog.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 at 01:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria: Bashar al-Assad nicknamed 'duck' by wife Asma

I have no further comment

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:31:47 PM EST
Jon Stewart on Assad:
This guy massacres his own people with impunity, but makes sure he purchases his music legally? 'I'll taunt NATO and the world community, but even I won't f**k with Apple.'
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:46:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jon Stewart obviously doesn't play Dungeons and Dragons: Lawful Evil
Lawful Evil is referred to as the "Dominator" or "Diabolic" alignment. Characters of this alignment see a well-ordered system as being easier to exploit, and show a combination of desirable and undesirable traits; while they usually obey their superiors and keep their word, they care nothing for the rights and freedoms of other individuals and are not averse to twisting the rules to work in their favor. Examples of this alignment include tyrants, devils, undiscriminating mercenary types who have a strict code of conduct, and loyal soldiers who enjoy the act of killing.

Like Lawful Good Paladins, Lawful Evil characters may sometimes find themselves faced with the dilemma of whether to obey law or evil when the two conflict. However, their issues with Law versus Evil are more concerned with "Will I get caught?" versus "How does this benefit me?"

Boba Fett of Star Wars, and X-Men's Magneto are cited examples of Lawful Evil characters. The Lawful Evil outsiders are known as Baatezu (Devils).



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well we know where he will be seeking asylum if the whole thing collapses then

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 02:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It's time for you to move to Bethnal Green and start an off-license, Bashar."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 03:50:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Highfields, more like. (me duck)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 04:20:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Mummy, ah we in Lehstuh!"

I debated pulling a random Leeds neighborhood, too.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 06:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lived there myself as a poor art student - Severn St to be exact.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:37:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europaparlament: Grüne bremsen beim Fiskalpakt - taz.deEuropean Parliament: Greens brake the fiscal pact - taz.de
BERLIN taz | Die positive Grundhaltung der deutschen Grünen-Spitze zum europäischen Fiskalpakt hat zu einer heftigen innerparteilichen Auseinandersetzung geführt. In einem Brief an den Bundesvorstand, der der taz vorliegt, hatten 13 der 14 deutschen Grünen-Abgeordneten im Europaparlament kürzlich gefordert, dass die Partei dem Pakt in Deutschland ihre Zustimmung verweigert: Er sei ,,ein Irrweg", dem die Grünen die ,,Hand nicht reichen" sollten.BERLIN taz | The basically positive attitude of the German Greens' leadership towards the European fiscal pact has led to a fierce intra-party conflict. In a letter to the federal leadership [of the party], of which taz has a copy, 13 of the 14 German Green Party Members of the European Parliament have recently called for the party to deny its approval for the pact in Germany: it is "the wrong track" and the Greens should "not lend a hand".


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 04:43:20 PM EST

Larry Summers is the wrong person to lead the World Bank.

Summers has continuously advocated for deregulation and other policies that favor Wall Street and corporate interests. He should not be inflicted on the developing countries that the World Bank is supposed to serve.

Sign our petition urging President Obama to nominate someone better suited than Larry Summers to be World Bank president.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 04:58:52 PM EST
They could give the job to Blanchard, he and Summers have Harvard in common.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like he's been stopped.
President Obama will make a personnel announcement at 10 a.m. ET in the White House's Rose Garden. Obama is expected to nominate Dartmouth President Jim Young Kim to head the World Bank.
Is he any better?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 at 09:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better than "Let's fuck over Russia" Summers? Yeah, probably.

Not good, though, from what I hear. I've got a friend at Dartmouth who claims that he's jumping ship from a serious corruption scandal that has gotten the school in hot water with the police, and caused the (normally placid and unorganised) student body to demand his resignation.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 at 01:48:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Global solar PV market up 40% in 2011

PARIS - Worldwide solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations grew to 27.4 gigawatts (GW) in 2011, up 40 percent year over year. The PV industry generated $93 billion in revenues in 2011, up 12 percent year over year, according to market watcher Solarbuzz LLC.

The new Solarbuzz annual PV market report indicated that worldwide solar cell production amounted to 29.5 GW in 2011, compared to 23.0 GW in 2010. Thin-film production represented 11 percent of total production.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:10:21 PM EST
It's Tuesday and that means ...

ANOTHER GOP primary !!!!!!!

(yea!)

This week's pointlessly complicated bullshit primary is in Illinois where polling has:

American Research Group:

Romney 44%
Santorum 30%
Gingrich 13%
Paul 8%

Public Policy Polling (PPP):

Romney 45%  
Santorum 30%
Gingrich 12%
Paul 10%

The Illinois GOP runs more Centerist than most and Mittens is picking-up support from rural voters, thus the two digit lead.  Frothy over-preforming his polling has been a constant this primary season so expect him to do better ... 14 or 15 percent better?  Probably not.  

However it's not about the Beauty Contest but about delegates.  Man-on-Dog will get delegates according to ...

Teh Rules:

54 (3 from each of the 18 congressional districts) of Illinois' 69 delegates to the Republican National Convention will be directly elected in the Illinois Presidential Primary.

This is a so-called "Loophole" primary (a Delegate Selection Primary combined with an Advisory "beauty contest" presidential preference vote). The popular vote in the Illinois Republican Primary will have nothing whatsoever to do with the presidential preference of the 54 separately elected National Convention delegates.

    Each candidate for delegate ... must file a Statement of Presidential Preference supporting a specific presidential candidate, or a statement that he/she intends to run uncommitted [SBE No. P-1E]. Note: There is no law or rule officially binding the delegates to the candidate.

Each of the State's 18 congressional districts is assigned 3 to 4 National Convention delegates- the number of delegates assigned to each district being based on the relative strength of that district's vote for the Republican presidential nominee in the previous Presidential election: a total of 54 district delegates to be directly elected by the voters and individually listed on the ballot with their presidential preferences indicated.

I expect God's Own Candidate will do well outside Chicago and despite being down in polling could end-up with more delegates.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:26:05 PM EST
Polls will close in two and half hours from this time stamp or 7:00 PM CDT.

Plenty of time to run out, grab your favorite beverage, your favorite snack: pizza, popcorn, Vegemite®, Marmite®, settle down, and get ready to PARTY!

(or not)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:34:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make mine a slumber party. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if I promise to link to some really cool YouTubes you won't be able to watch?

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 08:02:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh... seeing this the next morning. I was headed for bed when I posted; long day.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 04:04:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was quite taken by this story about the growing latino influence on the vote and how the repugs are gonna get a kicking over it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kos is fairly sharp on these things.  And he's, of course, right: If Latinos are pushed to an 80-20 Democratic group, the GOP's done.  The Republican strategist is right.  Florida is irrelevant in a world where the GOP can't hold Texas.

The GOP's only hope as a national party in the very long term is to pivot on Latinos and try to make inroads into the Rust Belt.  Short of that, the math gets very difficult for them.  Again, their days are probably numbered in Virginia and North Carolina.  That's -- what, 28 electoral votes gone?

They're not having much success so far.  They're losing Florida.  They're losing Colorado and New Mexico.  They haven't made any progress in Wisconsin.  They'll probably gain back Indiana, but Dems weren't banking on that anyway.  Ohio is forever a swing state.  They look like shit in Michigan.  And it's hard to see how they take a state like Pennsylvania while losing Michigan badly and just holding on by the skin of their teeth in Ohio.

Texas is going to flip sooner than many thought at the current rate.  Dumb white assholes are already the minority of people.  Arizona may flip this year if they don't knock it off.  And if they lose those two, they can have Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.  It won't matter.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 06:27:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding: This is all setting aside -- for no real reason -- other places where the GOPers are going to run into trouble (Georgia, Montana, and so on).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 06:31:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"According to my tax breakdown, Daily Mail readers are the biggest scroungers" | Left Foot Forward
Today, the Daily Mail has an excellent breakdown of what a young person will see when she receives her first tax breakdown next year. If the young person does as the Daily Mail hopes she will, she'll sit down and work through what she's happy to pay for and what she's not.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:26:45 PM EST
Ha ha!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:41:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian reports from Florida.
An unholy spat has broken out over a nondescript stretch of road in Florida as atheists and Christians stake their claim over the asphalt.

Polk County's Highway 98 was first blessed a year ago by a local church group wanting to prevent sinners and wrongdoers from entering the community.

Annoyed by the appropriation of the public highway by those of a religious bent, humanists took to the street last weekend to symbolically wash away the anointment oil.

Now, not to be outdone, the group behind the initial ceremony have indicated they will re-bless the road - but they are not saying when.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:44:48 PM EST
C'mon guys, atheists are supposed to be the grownups

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 05:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A symbolic act to counter a symbolic exclusionary appropriation of public right of way seems right to me.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:45:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not a fight until the Mormons baptize it.
by asdf on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 12:22:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They should take the approach we have taken in Colorado for our highway naming. Interstate 25 runs north-south through Colorado Springs (conservative Republicans) and Pueblo (blue-collar Democrats). In Colorado Springs, it's the "Ronald Reagan Highway." in Pueblo it's the "John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway."

There could be a "Christian" section of the road, an "Atheist" section, a "Mormon" section, etc...

by asdf on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 12:37:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll believe a man can...

Oh, wait.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 06:46:25 PM EST
Yep. Here's the debunking:

from CGI people.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 02:10:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Mail: British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants?

No, it's not the State's fault, it's the fault of the people dismantling the State (Poshboy and Cleggsy Bear).

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:06:40 PM EST
Open Democracy: Britain is not just `undergoing privatisation', this is a modern enclosure movement (Stuart Weir, 19 March 2012)
I think that those who oppose the neo-liberal drive towards the "small state" need to re-imagine the the full enormity of what is going on.  Cameron and co - a group which includes Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander - and their two parties are engaged in the destruction of the historic postwar compromise between the public and private sectors with the wholesale transfer of public functions to private enterprise.  Their project amounts to no less than a modern enclosure movement, in which it is not common land but what is still left in the public sphere as a whole that is being wrested from the people.

This enclosure movement is most evident in the NHS where the purpose of the Health and Social Care bill is to give private companies the power to take over services, managerial processes and infrastructure in every area of the Service.  More NHS services will be put out to tender by law every year.  Look also at Gove's "reforms" of Britain's state schools; the outsourcing of police functions; the opening up of planning on behalf of developers;  the severe restriction of state welfare benefits; the abandonment by the state of families renting from private landlords; the  removal of environmental controls on behalf of industry; plans to hand over  roads to private capital; the potential sell-off of the Royal Mail, even our forests were in danger (and may very well still be so).

At the same time, the emphasis on "choice", always a Trojan horse under Labour, will privilege the middle and professional classes at the expense of working class families.  Gove's policies proclaim a universal intent; but even he admits that it is actually the middle classes who will benefit. And do not expect them to share their privilege.  Forget any notion that the "sharp elbows" of the middle classes will be employed to make room for less privileged families; they bond, network and move within their class, there is scarcely any cross-class "bridging". Instead, look to proposals in the budget that will reflect, and be influenced by, the interests of middle and professional classes alongside those of the private sector.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:08:08 PM EST
The link doesn't work, you have to go to the Open Democracy homepage and select it from there.

But it's a good essay. It openly suggests that the compromises which made British society "work" will be irrevocably fractured in the next few years. Yet there is not currently a consistent opposition to it in the public discussion.

The Labour Party, around whom you'd imagine any opposition would coalesce, seem incapable of voicing anything other than a muttered "too far, too fast". The idea that the changes are just wrong never enters their imaginings. Too Blairite still.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 06:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corrected link

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 07:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Get your comment six weeks early on ET.

The problem remains - how to create a push-back when opinion is so easily fragmented by corporate media, and labour (not so much Labour) remains fragmented and un-organised?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 07:07:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:20:36 PM EST
As I wrote upstream Romney leads in the pre-election polling by 14 or 15 percent.

But, Nate Silver:

Although Mitt Romney has pulled well ahead in polls over the course of the last week, the notion that Illinois was up for grabs has some support in the exit poll conducted today.

According to the exit poll, 32 percent of Illinois votes decided whom to vote for either just today or in the last few days.

Anecdotal evidence from the Chicago 'burbs is a light turnout which is Not Good for the RomneyBot since he needs to do well there to balance the nutters downstate.

Still, the safe prediction is Romney will win Illinois.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 08:01:06 PM EST
7% reporting:

Romney 53.9%
Santorum 27.7  
Paul 10.7  
Gingrich 6.7

H'mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Newt is really under-preforming his polling numbers ... but early innings.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 08:38:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
24% reporting:

Romney     68,908     55.7%
Rick Santorum     33,772     27.3  
Ron Paul     11,760     9.5  
Newt Gingrich     8,321     6.7  

Networks have started to call Illinois for Romney, as expected.    

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 08:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
45% reporting

Romney 50%
Santorum 32%
Paul 9%
Gingrich 7%

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 09:33:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and my extra dubious calculation system says Romney by 7%

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 09:47:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
56% reporting

Romney 48%
Santorum 34%
Paul 9%
Gingrich 8%

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 09:55:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
63% reporting

Romney 47%
Santorum 35%
Paul 9%
Gingrich 8%

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 10:08:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
58% now:

Romney      208,810   48.2%
Rick Santorum     147,755   34.1%  
Ron Paul     39,192        9.0%  
Newt Gingrich     33,232        7.7%

Not sure if there is enough votes for Frothy to pull an upset but there are plenty of votes left for him to make this a tighter race than expected.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 09:56:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well anything down around single figure difference is an achievement.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 10:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
percentagewise that is

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 10:11:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a lot of precincts left but not many people in 'em.  Romney will win the Popularity Contest but Santorum is going to get some delegates, which is what it's all about.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 10:13:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
65% and downstate is coming in big for Frothy:

Romney 47.3%
Rick Santorum     34.8  
Ron Paul  9.1  
Newt Gingrich     7.8

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 10:10:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But not big enough.

74%

Romney 47.5%
Rick Santorum 34.5  
Ron Paul 9.2  
Newt Gingrich 7.8

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 10:28:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
98% Reporting

Romney  46.7%   
Rick Santorum  35%   
Ron Paul  9.3%   
Newt Gingrich  7.9%

Both Mittens and Frothy did slightly better than expected.  Paul slightly worse.  Gingrich a lot worse, he was polling at 12 to 13 percent.

Unexpectedly, for me, was Romney seems to have done very well in delegates: 43 to Santorum's 8.  The estimated delegate count (NYT) stands:

Romney 563
Santorum 261
Gingrich 135
Paul 50

There are 1,275 delegates left, Romney needs 581 and his percentage required, 45%, of those remaining is steadily dropping.  However, the earliest he can mathematically clinch by winning every delegate (impossible) is May 15th, the more likely date for him to reach 1,114 is June 5.  

Something to put in the mix: news media have been reporting the Romney campaign organization in Illinois was no better than Santorum's.  If the Romney campaign was not ready for on-the-ground operation in Illinois I have to wonder if the same is true for the remaining primaries.  If so it levels the playing field a bit.

Another curious happening is Santorum has increased his support in the Gallup National five day moving average to 30%; Romney's is at 34% national support - exactly where he was at the beginning of the month.  

The next primary is Louisiana on March 24th.  Where:

20 of Louisiana's 46 delegates to the Republican National Convention are allocated to presidential contenders in today's Louisiana Presidential Primary. [Caucus and Convention Rules, Adopted May 21, 2011, Rule No. 19. (d) and 20. (b)]

     20 National Convention Delegates are allocated proportionally to those Presidential candidates receiving 25% or more of the statewide primary vote. Fractional delegates are rounded to the nearest whole number (rounding rules for too many or too few unknown).

    Otherwise, the 20 delegates will attend the Republican National Convention officially unpledged to any candidate. These delegates will be elected at the State Convention where the participants at the State Convention will alone determine if presidential preference is to be a factor in such choice and, if so, how it is to be applied.



Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 12:40:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an amazing device.  

Gizmodo

by ElaineinNM on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 08:24:41 PM EST


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