… that Peter King’s ‘hearings’ are nothing more than glorified racism and religious intolerance, that his obsession with ferreting out The Terrorists Among Us is very likely to alienate the very Muslim community that he’s so worried is harboring TTAU, that I’m having a hard time getting outraged because I can’t quite believe such a thing is really happening, and that you could learn more about all this ridiculosity here.
I suppose spring break will be a good time to start getting in the habit of posting regularly. In any case, fact of the day: Ezra Klein recently complained that no one knows what ‘stochastic’ means, so economists should stop using it when communicating to the public. So here I am to tell you that stochastic refers to random processes, which are determined by random variables, as opposed to deterministic processes, which contain no randomness. Stochastic processes, therefore, require descriptions based on probability; i.e., a stochastic process could develop in many different directions as time goes by, some more likely than others. Stochastic calculus provides a way to integrate the functions describing stochastic processes. Analysis of stochastic processes is often used by financial experts and insurance companies, and the underlying theories have applications in physics, music, etc. There, I just saved you ten minutes of checking Google and Wikipedia. I could tell you more, but I haven’t got any formal economics education so I’m not sure you’d want me to.
Gaah, need to rant about the Texas government’s current shenanigans :
Here’s some good links:
*So, like most states, Texas has a big budget shortfall – forecasted to be 15 to 27 billion dollars over the next two years.
*Also like most states, Texas has a rainy day fund, currently totalling 9.4 billion, to help pay off budget shortfalls in bad times like the current recession.
*For reasons best known to himself, Gov. Perry continues to insist the rainy day fund is off-limits.
*Non-wholly incompetent lawmakers point out that this kind of situation is exactly what the rainy day fund is for, and that using part of the funds could help save a few billion dollars so social services wouldn’t have to be cut so drastically.
*Huge cuts in education, public health, and food stamps are being proposed. Because how could helping kids go to college or helping families buy food possibly benefit the state or the economy?
*Perry declares it an emergency item to pass voter ID legislation, when voter fraud is a) a minor issue b) mostly committed through mail-ins anyway and c) voter ID laws disproportionately affect the poor (and thus also black people and Latin@s), students, and the elderly. Guess which one of those three groups regularly votes Republican. Now guess which one of them gets an exemption from the voter ID law. Yeah.
*Other emergency legislation: forcing women to look at ultrasounds and listen to the fetus’s heartbeat before they get abortions, as well as requiring them to go through a 24-hour waiting period, because women are fickle, flightly creatures; a federal balanced budget amendment (yeah, the stimulus money Perry hates so much that the federal government gave to the states is one of the reasons Texas isn’t even more in the shit); eminent domain reform (one of the only halfway decent things the legislature wants to do, but not really emergency material); and reform of ‘sanctuary cities’ that don’t require police to check the immigration papers of people who are arrested.
Lisa Falkenberg has a nice takedown in the Houston Chronicle.
From the old blog, because I liked it, as a mission statement of sorts:
These old posts by Lisa Harney are excellent. I especially liked this part:
The other problem with this is that it conflates our desire to live our lives with political goals. Real lesbians do not declare themselves lesbian to transgress heteronormative society. Real lesbians declare themselves lesbians because we want to live our lives and not suppress who we are. This does affect our politics, but our politics do not drive this. People who practice BDSM do not practice BDSM as a political statement. They do this because that is the kind of sex they enjoy. We do not choose these things to transgress, but society punishes us for doing so because they are transgressions.
The desire to be able to live as a full person comes first. People adopt transgressive sexual politics in order to oppose the kind of society that sees them as freakish and unworthy. The important thing is to build a decent society where people can live in peace – feminist theory should always be just a means to that end.
I just started a new wordpress blog, that I will hopefully actually maintain this time!