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Random stuff, some good some bad

March 26, 2012
  1. In case you didn’t hear, Obama didn’t nominate Larry Summers to head the World Bank. This goes in the category of good news in the sense that expectations were so low that this seems like a close call. But I guess it’s bad news that expectations have gotten so low.
  2. Am I the only person who always thinks of tapioca when I hear the word “mediocre”?
  3. There are lots of actions going on in Occupy Wall Street, part of the Spring Resistance. It’s going to be an exciting May Day, what are you plans?
  4. Did you hear that New Jersey was somehow calculated to be the country’s least corrupt state? This Bloomberg article convincingly blows away the methodology that came to that conclusion. In particular, as part of the methodology they asked questions about levels of transparency and other things to people working in New Jersey League of Municipalities (NJLM). A bit of googling brings up this article from nj.com, exposing that NJLM clearly have incentives to want the state government to look good: it consists of “… more than 13,000 elected and appointed municipal officials — including 560 mayors — as members… its 17 employees are members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System, and 16 percent of its budget comes from taxpayer funds in the form of dues from each municipality.” Guess what NJLM said? That New Jersey is wonderfully transparent. And guess what else? The resulting report is front and center on their webpage. By the way, NJLM was sued by Fair Share Housing to open up their documents to the public, and they lost. So they have a thing about transparency. And just to be clear, the questions for deciding whether a given state is corrupt could have been along the lines whether the accounting methods for the state pension funds are available on the web and searchable on the state government’s website.
  5. If you know of examples of so-called quantitative models that are fundamentally flawed and/or politically motivated like this, please tell me about them! I enjoy tearing apart such models.
  6. The Dallas Fed has called for an end to too-big-to-fail banks. Mmmhmmm. I love it when someone uses the phrase, “Aspiring politicians in this audience do not have to be part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, or be advocates for the Tea Party, to recognize that government-assisted bailouts of reckless financial institutions are sociologically and politically offensive”.
  7. Volcker says more reforms are needed in finance and government. Can we start listening to this guy now that we broke up with Summers? Please?
Categories: #OWS, data science, finance, news
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