Linkage -



1. Doug Saunders reviewing The Future of the Dollar in the new LRC

2. A useful look at Simpson’s paradox in the context of unemployment numbers

3. Kant’s Third Critique explained via comic book art

4. Good Canadian William Shatner, on his new show, debating Rush Limbaugh on health care

4.5 The Liberals are having a contest

5. Trailer for RZA’s new project Victory or Death (thanks @wicary)

Filed under:


  1. Great piece by Saunders. It reminds me of The Day After Tomorrow, but potentially real, i.e. a sudden shift in the Gulf Stream of world finance. But his conclusion, that there's no credible alternative, is comforting, as it means that US$ inertia may outlive me.

  2. That is a great letter. I don't think English appreciated Wells' review.

    And I have lots of time for one of the founders of Wu-Tang Clan. Will have to see what it's all about in a few weeks.

  3. Too bad no journalists knew about Simpson's paradox a few weeks ago – we could have avoided most of those stories about stimulus funds being disproportionately spent in Tory ridings…

  4. The Simpson's paradox article raises an interesting point, but I'm not entirely sure it applies to the unemployment numbers. Yes, the current unemployment is higher than it was at its peak in the 1980's in each individual educational category, despite being lower on average due to a shift in worker qualifications to reflect higher numbers of college grads.

    However, educational categories are a rather arbitrary was to divide the population and it's certainly not static over time – because of that educational inflation, a college degree is now worth relatively less than it was in the 80's. This means that a sub-category of individuals who wouldn't be college grads but are now, have switched real categories without really gaining much in terms of employability.

    Eventually, if you just keep looking at smaller and smaller sub-categories, you regain the aggregate statistic. There's no reason not to subdivide the categories, as they're arbitrarily created anyway (unlike in the classic kidney stone study, or the allegations of sexism in school admissions), so that interpretation is equally valid.

    Of course, the argument that this is better or worse than the 1980's recession is pointless because America has yet to climb back from the unemployment basement (and may not have hit it) and they're both terrible anyway. It's like debating which kidney would be better to be stabbed in (and for the record, I'd prefer the left).

  5. Agreed, though I have to say that his review was a nice lead-off to what is otherwise an issue of the LRC that doesn't really interest me.

    Except, that is, for the awesomely pissy letter from John English re Wells' review.

  6. Yes, that was classic. Quite unfair to Wells' great review, I thought, but I liked the way he let it imperceptibly shift from a polite beg-to-clarify letter into a brutal Vidal-esque réplique.