Morning Coffee in China Links


First blue sky and sun we’ve seen in three days here in Dali. We got our first taste of the cold season here these last few days, and it tasted bitter! While Dali’s winter climate is quite mild, it’s kind of a tough season because there are no central heating systems. We use (terribly inefficient) space heaters and electric blankets and layer up the clothing, but still, for three to four months of a year here you rarely feel warm. It’s usually clear in the winter, so going outside for sun breaks is key to health and well-being. Often, it’s much warmer outside in the sun than inside a building.

Some links from my morning internetting:

  • Talking Points Memo finds a poll with Ben Carson reaching 50% support as first or second choice among Republican primary voters.
  • TPM’s founder Josh Marshall wonders where the outrage is from media platforms and personalities that would be killing Democrats if they decided to boycott Fox News. Republicans are now boycotting NBC because of last week’s CNBC debate, which was awful, but not for the reasons Republicans think.
  • Via his post at Lawyers, Guns and Moneyhere’s Robert Farley’s piece on China’s new submarine capabilities.
  • LGM’s Erik Loomis writes about the mixed blessings of the return of some manufacturing jobs to the US. China is losing its competitive edge in some manufacturing sectors, in part because much of the US has decided through its policies to treat its workers like China treats its workers: bad hours, low wages, and few benefits.
  • Some (kind of) good news for once. Charlie Pierce’s old friend – the Keystone XL pipeline he refers to as “the continent spanning death funnel” – is going to hibernate and hopes to wake up to a Republican president in a year’s time.



Reality Has a Well-Known Liberal Bias, Paul Krugman Edition

Rob Corrdry once told Jon Stewart that “the facts themselves are biased.” By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Rob Corddry Uploaded by maybeMaybeMaybe) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
“Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”  Stephen Colbert’s more famous version of the idea spoken at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner. By David Shankbone from USA (Stephen Colbert Uploaded by maybeMaybeMaybe) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
Why don’t facts say what we want them to say? Paul Krugman has been on this beat for a long time, notably writing in 2014 about conservatives unable to deal with the fact that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was doing what it was designed to do.

Here, Krugman catches The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis compiling pesky facts that show private sector employment during Obama’s presidency has not been the nightmare of Republican fever dreams. In fact, the rate of private sector job growth since the recession hit bottom has been much better than anything we saw under George W. Bush.

Another inconvenient fact Krugman’s been tracking over the years is that inflation has remained extremely low in spite of constant warnings from the Right that hyperinflation is just about to break out or is already happening (to argue that it’s already happening, some have claimed that Obama’s minions at the Bureau of Labor Statistics manipulate its CPI measurement). I mean, we’ve all seen recent spikes in the prices of our Rembrandts and van Goghs, right? Clearly inflation is here!

Krugman reminds us that one proponent of inflation-is-here-to-eat-your-children nonsense is Marco Rubio’s new benefactor Paul Singer. Seriously, Singer believes his anecdotal evidence that real estate prices are up in Manhattan and London and that high-end art is more expensive these days means that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) must be understated. Yes, that’s right, clearly the CPI that measures the things we mere peasants consume, like food and gas, must be wrong because Paul Singer once saw an expensive apartment for sale in the Upper West Side.

(General explanation of the concept of liberal bias here. Corddry quote found here and Colbert quote here.)