"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Politics of the Economic Crisis

Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Mark Thoma, and Simon Johnson are all pretty much in agreement over the economics of the Geithner Plan, but differ on the politics.

DeLong believes the plan brings in 3/8ths replacement money for the toxic assets on the banks books and believes the administration feels it's bringing in 6/8ths of the money. Krugman doesn't believe it will be enough to turn things around. DeLong doesn't say or doesn't know but feels it's better than nothing.

He thinks the Senate won't go along with a bank reorganization plan at this time, but might later on. Will it be too late? We'll find out.

What we won't know is if brinkmanship with the dead-enders in the Senate over pre-privatization would have worked. Two things stand out for me: 1) the conservative Swedish minister who implemented the Swedish model said bipartisanship and confidence is the key and war in the Senate wouldn't inspire confidence 2) info on the "stress tests" should already be coming in, even though no one is discussing them, so the administration should know the lay of the land.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Microcosm of the Macro

Obama gave an impressive performance again trying to redirect the conversation - not all Wall Streeters are criminals or immoral - and answering the media's question during a live press conference tonight. I thought it was interesting that he called on Univision, Starts and Stripes and Ebony, outlets not normally called upon. The Fox guy's question was couched in typically misconstrued terms. He tried to be ironic about "Communist" China questioning the dollar as reserve currency and "Socialist" Europe's pushback on a spending stimulus, but it just reflected the typical Fox viewer's cramped view of the situation. He also gave a firm but respectful answer to the Washington Times' questioner about embryonic stem cell research.
Oh No, Performers Coming Into Audience
PITTSBURGH - Audience members at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts are reporting that, oh God, no, approximately 20 extremely enthusiastic actors are approaching the edge of the stage and appear determined to continue their current musical number in the main seating area.

"Oh, man, are they? Shit," one audience member was overheard saying as the energetic ensemble began filing down previously unseen stairs and past the front row. "Shit, shit, shit."

Increasingly uncomfortable audience sources have also confirmed that the performers are proceeding down the aisle with crisp, larger-than-normal steps timed perfectly to the music. Even more shocking, some appear intent on interacting with non-cast members.

I caught Will Ferrell's live show George W. Bush: You're Welcome America and it was hilarious. Surprised at how much audience interaction there was. At one point he'd ask audience members their name and occupation and give them a nickname. One guy had a big beard so Ferrell nicknamed him China Grove.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lindsay Beyerstein profiled by Normblog.

Michael Bérubé discusses a rarely known moment in rock and roll's history where it underwent a paradigm shift. (see video below. Note the bassist's groovy shuffling dance moves.)

Admittedly I'm an Obamabot infused with Obamamania,* but even I winced when I heard that Obama told Jay Leno on air that his experience bowling during the primaries was "like the Special Olympics."

*In other words I've set myself up to have a loss of innocence, a disillusionment so traumatizing my politics would swing wildly to the right and I'd transform into a cartoonish, younger, skinnier David Horowitz** figure. In my defense, growing up in the Chicago area and living in Chicago as in other cities but especially in Chicago it seems you're indoctrinated to pull for the home team like the Bears, the Blackhawks, the Bulls, the Sox and Cubs which is especially persuasive during good years.
** No relation to Adam Horovitz, (note the "v") the King Ad-Rock, member of the post-S&L recession version of Juicebox Mafia.