"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

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Poehler at the White House Correspondents Dinner after party.

Poehler on Charlie Rose.

Amy Poehler on NPR.
Losing your religion

Michelle Cottle writes about a conference for religion writers where a scientist attempts to square faith and science:
His maiden BioLogos blog post (which appears on beliefnet) opens with an anecdote about a devout home-schooled Christian girl who, once she got to college and embarked on a biology major, promptly suffered a four-alarm crisis of faith. If the creation had not gone exactly as she had been taught, were all of her beliefs a lie? While Hitchens would surely like her to conclude "yes," presumably her family and faith community would prefer a different outcome. 
In my younger years, I underwent a vastly lower-key recalibration along these lines that pretty much ruined religion for me. More seriously, I had a devoutly Christian friend whose little brother became damn near suicidal trying to reconcile his fundamentalism with the basic realities of the world beyond his church. If the stats and stories are to be believed, scads of kids have similar experiences.
I shared a fiction writing class with Cottle at Vanderbilt, which come to think of it did have a lot of religious students. Cottle is distractingly pretty, so of course she'd catch me stealing glances during the time fellow classmates were reading their boring short stories aloud. This must have been before her recalibration because she was consistently impervious to my attempts at after-class chit-chat like "I really liked your story, great stuff" and "That story was even better than the last, especially that part when ..." Or maybe not.

With all of its straight-laced God-fearing southern students, I found it ironic that the university was founded by that OG corporate titan, robber baron Cornelious Vanderbilt, also know as the Commodore which is the school's mascot. There's a new biography out on him:
Cornelius Vanderbilt, the great steamship and then railroad magnate, the man who built the original Grand Central Terminal, was not much of a conversationalist. If a man boasted in his presence, he would say, "That amounts to nothing." If interrupted while speaking, he would stop talking and not resume the subject. Vanderbilt (1794-1877) didn’t need words. His actions spoke with a brute eloquence.
Coincidently, Slate recently had a piece where John Swansburg discusses what your favorite Grateful Dead song says about you
"Tennessee Jed": ...While you were paddling Vanderbilt freshmen over at the Sigma Chi house, she was hot-boxing in a VW bus with her vegan friend Judy. You hated all that drug stuff, but you were fond of Brianna's liberated approach in the boudoir (actually the back of the VW). Brianna dragged you to a few Dead shows, but you never thought Jerry had anything on Gregg Allman.
I was actually a member of Sigma Chi until national pulled our charter for excessive partying. The chapter wasn't very hardcore fraternity-wise with only officers living at the house, but there were lots of parties where the music usually consisted of countrified Grateful Dead or Allman Brothers or the Rollings Stones' countrified rock of Exile on Main St. and Sticky Fingers.

Many believe the guy in the jeans in Andy Warhol's album cover is Mick Jagger, but it's actually Joe Dallesandro, who acted in Warhol's films. He also later appeared in John Waters's Cry-Baby as a religious zealot. Waters praised him as "A wonderful actor who forever changed male sexuality on the screen."
Hey Nineteen

According to the stress tests, Bernanke and Geithner say the banks need $75 billion in fresh capital to weather an economic storm worse than expected:
Under the worst-case scenario - an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent, an economic contraction of 3.3 percent this year and a 22 percent further decline in housing prices - the losses by the 19 banks could total $600 billion this year and next, or 9.1 percent of the banks' total loans, regulators concluded. Losses to the banks' loan portfolios alone could total $455 billion this year and next.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

And the winners are....
(or Lovers in Japan (Osaka version))

Tomorrow is Stress Test Thursday, when the Obama administration provides the public with some more transparency regarding the financial sector, the specifically the top 19 banks.

Bernanke says things are stabilizing
but there will be no quick recovery:
In his most upbeat assessment in a long time, Mr. Bernanke said a wide array of indicators, from consumer spending and home sales to a revival in the credit markets, now suggested that the economy was stabilizing.
Mark Thoma fears we may be falling into a Japanese rut.

Brad DeLong is happy as credit fears ease.

Obama has critics Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz over for dinner.

Joe Nocera has been searching conferences and symposiums for the answer and reports Stiglitz gives the Obama administration an A++, however that's grading on a curve.

Obama interview with David Leonhardt.