"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

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Coen Brothers' True Grit remake coming soon
With a sly hipness that is the trademark of Joel and Ethan Coen, a billboard just outside the Melrose Avenue gate at Paramount Pictures promotes their next film, "True Grit," with a promise: "Retribution. This Christmas."
It's funny but is it "hipness"?
But other film devotees were less charmed, particularly when they viewed "True Grit" through the filter of Vietnam-era politics and Wayne’s conservative principles -- which he had said were illustrated by a scene in which Cogburn shoots a rat after demonstrating the futility of trying to treat it under due process of law. (The new film has no such moment.)
Writing in The New Yorker, Penelope Gilliatt complained of the movie’s "very right-wing and authoritarian tang." She was particularly put off by the frontier stoicism, which she described as "near-Fascist admiration for a simplified physical endurance of pain"
In The New Republic, Stanley Kaufman said of Mr. Portis’s novel, "Although it was short it was overlong by about a third." The film’s director, Henry Hathaway, he described as "an old workhorse" who "hasn’t had a new idea since the beginning of his career"
President Richard M. Nixon, for whom Wayne had campaigned, apparently felt otherwise, if a snippet of conversation caught by his Oval Office taping system in February 1971 is any measure. Greg Cumming, an archivist with the Nixon Library, said that the audio quality of the tape was bad, but that he could make out Nixon’s discussing "True Grit: with his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman. They talk of someone’s having gone "out in a blaze of glory," according to Mr. Cumming.
Of course, Wayne went on to make about 10 or so more films, including the 1975 sequel "Rooster Cogburn," before his death in 1979.
The Coens said they only dimly recalled having seen the earlier movie when they were young, and they did not watch it in preparing their own. "We didn’t do our homework," Ethan Coen said.
Joel Coen said they were drawn to the underlying book a few years ago after he had "re-read it out loud to my kid."
1969 trailer:

Friday, December 03, 2010

Sewell Chan on the Fed data dump
From December 2007 to October 2008, the Fed opened swap lines with foreign central banks, allowing them to temporarily trade their currencies for dollars to relieve pressures in their financial markets.
The European Central Bank drew the most heavily on these currency arrangements, the records show, but nine other central banks also made use of them: Australia, Denmark, England, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Spanish Prisoner by Krugman
But problems were developing under the surface. During the boom, prices and wages rose more rapidly in Spain than in the rest of Europe, helping to feed a large trade deficit. And when the bubble burst, Spanish industry was left with costs that made it uncompetitive with other nations.
Now what? If Spain still had its own currency, like the United States -- or like Britain, which shares some of the same characteristics -- it could have let that currency fall, making its industry competitive again. But with Spain on the euro, that option isn’t available. Instead, Spain must achieve "internal devaluation": it must cut wages and prices until its costs are back in line with its neighbors.
And internal devaluation is an ugly affair. For one thing, it’s slow: it normally take years of high unemployment to push wages down. Beyond that, falling wages mean falling incomes, while debt stays the same. So internal devaluation worsens the private sector’s debt problems.
What all this means for Spain is very poor economic prospects over the next few years. America’s recovery has been disappointing, especially in terms of jobs -- but at least we’ve seen some growth, with real G.D.P. more or less back to its pre-crisis peak, and we can reasonably expect future growth to help bring our deficit under control. Spain, on the other hand, hasn’t recovered at all. And the lack of recovery translates into fears about Spain’s fiscal future.