National economists see omens in shake-up at Minneapolis Fed

New York Times econ guru Paul Krugman takes an interest in the recent shakeup at the Minneapolis Fed: “What we can ask is what might have led Narayana Kocherlakota, the bank’s president, to conclude that he wasn’t getting value out of research economists with lots of publications in top journals. … as I’ve tried to say on a number of occasions, mistakes happen. If you, as an economist, try to weigh in on events as they happen, you will get things wrong, and sometimes you may get them wrong in a big way. The crucial question is what you do next. Do you engage in self-analysis, trying to figure out what in your framework led you astray? Or do you double down on your preconceptions, refusing to admit that you may have gone up the wrong path (and, if you’re in an institutional position, try to shut out people with differing views)? One thing is for sure: people who take the second route don’t add value to a policy-making institution.”

Krugman links to a blog post by two professors, Miles Kimball and Noah Smith, who write of our local Fed: “A personnel shakeup at the US Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis last week at first flew under the radar; by the time the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported the news, followed by other news outlets, it had been percolating through the economist grapevine for weeks. But the world should be paying attention, because the shakeup may be a part of big changes that are happening at the Fed, as well as a tectonic shift in the field of economics itself. … although the Minneapolis Fed shakeup could be due to any number of reasons — a personality conflict, a disagreement over the Fed bank’s mission, etc. — one possibility is that the personnel changes are related to Fed officials’ changing attitude toward business cycles.”

It’d be a shame if he wasted away … Blake Nicholson of the AP tells us: “A white separatist charged with terrorizing the small North Dakota town he’s trying to take over is refusing food. Monday was the fourth day that Craig Cobb refused to eat at the Mercer County Jail in Stanton, where he was being held without bail, prosecutor Todd Schwarz said. Cobb has not given authorities any indication why he is refusing to eat. Officials are monitoring him and have made no decision on how to proceed. … Cobb, who is taking water, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from jail that he is not on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment — though he does feel he is wrongly accused — but is instead practicing mahasamadhi, a form of spiritual enlightenment in which the physical body is permanently left behind. Cobb said that will happen for him at yuletide, another term for Christmas.”

Getting rural Latinos to sign up for MNsure means calling … Charlie. Elizabeth Baier of MPR says: “As one of the ‘navegadores,’ or health navigators who speak Spanish, [Charlie] Mandile is a trusted figure in Latino communities in the Faribault and Northfield areas. His skills are crucial to MNsure’s ability to reach Latinos, who make up only about 5 percent of Minnesota’s population, but more than 13 percent of the state’s uninsured population. The organization received $32,000 to help explain MNsure to Latinos. Around the state, advocacy groups are ramping up efforts to inform hard-to-reach populations about MNsure and the opportunity to obtain insurance through the Affordable Care Act. But getting the message to Latinos can be especially challenging without help from trusted community organizations — especially in rural Minnesota.”

The GleanImpress your friends by using “high oleic” in a sentence. Jonathon Knudson of the Forum News Service reports: “Soybean growers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota should have high-oleic varieties available for planting in 2017, a Minnesota soybean breeder says. Jim Orf, a University of Minnesota professor who works with soybean genetics and breeding, says he’s working to put the high-oleic trait into early maturity beans suitable for the Upper Midwest. High-oleic soybean oil would be free of artificial trans fat, which the Food and Drug Administration is proposing to ban in the U.S. food supply. Developing high-oleic soybean oil would help the soybean industry compete against other vegetable oils free of trans fat.” As in: ‘No dear, those pants don’t make you look high oleic.”

Still more suppression of our precious Second Amendment rights! The AP says: “Gun permit holders who want to carry their weapons in Minnesota’s Capitol would have to annually notify state authorities under a proposed security enhancement. Currently, those with proper permits only have to notify the state once that they will enter the building with a firearm at some point. A recommendation presented Tuesday to a security task force would set a yearly requirement.  … The draft report does call for increasing the number of state troopers assigned to the Capitol from eight to 12, and the number of security officers from 40 to 67.”

Norman Rockwell would have a tough time with this … Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “Two days before Thanksgiving, an animal rights group has released an undercover video that it says shows filthy and deadly conditions at a western Minnesota farm, where 25,000 hens are said to be housed. The 3-minute video by Compassion Over Killing, shot over a two-week period this year by a planted worker with a hidden camera inside Hargin Inc., shows turkeys in tight quarters with injuries to their faces, feet and wings. It also reveals workers tossing the turkeys about in order to get to their eggs or have them artificially inseminated at the five-shed facility 7 miles southeast of Starbuck in Pope County. The narration over the video also alleges that the turkeys often get tangled in their cage mechanisms and are badly injured, then denied veterinary care and left to die. Some develop infections in the wounds on their feet and have difficulty walking.” Oh, and pass the stuffing.

An Unidentified Floating Object … Check out the video of a 50-foot disc of ice spinning in a North Dakota river. “North Dakota retired engineer George Loegering has found a rare spinning disk of ice in the Sheyenne River, a weather phenomenon experts say likely was caused by cold, dense air, and an eddy in the river.”

Somebody’s getting their “Northland” card pulled … At MPR, Bob Collins tips us to the Duluth TV station that bundled its anchors in parkas to announce the big holiday parade … but did it indoors in front of a green screen. “If The Daily Show can do it, perhaps there’s no reason why anchors at a Duluth TV station can’t fake the news by standing in front of a ‘green screen’ and pretending to be somewhere they’re not. At the Christmas City of the North parade in Duluth, Northland News Center anchors Michelle Lee, Kevin Jacobson and Barbara Reyelts bundled up in parkas to cover the parade live. The better to withstand the near-zero windchills.” … Like we’re supposed to be proud we survive every winter!

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/26/2013 - 04:52 pm.

    I’ve been following this

    since I stumbled on the blog by the economist at the St. Louis Fed prior to the Strib report.

    See: The Minneapolis Fed and the University of Minnesota

    The latest comment I’ve seen that seems to be credible is by Mark Thoma, who writes:

    Minnesota Fed President and Research Department

    My theory about what is happening at Minnesota is that it is mostly about poor communication and insufficient leadership over a very strong willed group. That led to frictions between Narayana Kocherlakota and the research department. These issues came before his ideological conversion, have nothing to do with saltwater-freshwater, or pronouncements on low interest rates and deflation.


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