Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
♦ US-Russian Relations continue to spiral downward over Syria and Ukraine (Associated Press)
Already testy, relations between the United States and Russia plummeted Monday as Washington suspended diplomatic contacts with Moscow over failed efforts to end the war in Syria and President Vladimir Putin put on hold a deal with the U.S. on disposing weapons-grade plutonium. … The Obama administration said it decided to cut off discussions on Syria because Russia had not lived up to the terms of last month’s agreement to restore a tattered cease-fire and ensure sustained deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged cities, such as Aleppo, which has been under bombardment from Russian and Syrian forces. –Associated Press
♦ “Welcome to our University. You are now entering a Republican-Free Zone,” according to a survey of 40 universities reported in Econ Journal Watch.
We investigate the voter registration of faculty at 40 leading U.S. universities in the fields of Economics, History, Journalism/Communications, Law, and Psychology. We looked up 7,243 professors and found 3,623 to be registered Democratic and 314 Republican, for an overall D:R ratio of 11.5:1. The D:R ratios for the five fields were: Economics 4.5:1, History 33.5:1, Journalism/Communications 20.0:1, Law 8.6:1, and Psychology 17.4:1. The results indicate that D:R ratios have increased since 2004, and the age profile suggests that in the future they will be even higher. –Mitchell Langbert, Anthony J. Quain, and Daniel B. Klein in Econ Journal Watch
♦ I use political betting markets to supplement the polls and polling averages. Now, Ethan Epstein writes that the political betting markets have serious flaws. (Weekly Standard)
Comment: Epstein’s conclusions may be right, but his arguments are not. His main point is that the markets sometimes get it wrong. They missed the rise of Trump, thought Britain would vote down Brexit, and guessed wrong about the Columbia truce. That’s correct. But the question is whether these markets are systematically wrong or just make some errors. If they make errors, the likely reason is that the markets do not incorporate all available information. The reason is that bets are extremely limited by law. If somebody had great ideas about Brexit or Trump, she could not bet a million dollars, as she could if she thought oil prices were going up or down. The markets would be more useful if they permitted larger bets. That’s why football betting odds are so efficient.
♦ Turkey’s army being politically purged by Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan after failed coup. (The Economist) Some 5,000 officers have been fired, including half the military’s generals and admirals. Why? Because the army’s main goal is not to fight external foes but to keep the current leader in power. So political reliability trumps military effectiveness. Another 70,000 civil servants have been fired or suspended, including many in the justice system. About half of them are now in jail.
♦ Ethicist argues the New York Times was wrong to publish Donald Trump’s taxes, and wrong to actively seek someone who would leak them. Here is the basic argument, as made by Jack Marshall:
The New York Times should not be publishing anyone’s tax returns who has not publicly released them. It’s unethical. They Times has the right to print just about anything, or course, but like all newspapers, it is obligated to exercise that right responsibly and fairly. This is neither. Tax returns are private. These tax returns reveal no crime, and nothing unethical on Trump’s part. –Jack Marshall in Ethics Alarms blog
♦ Taxi business off 25% in Chicago because of competition from Uber and Lyft. (DNA Info Chicago) Public transit has also said they are facing price competition from the low cost of ride-sharing.