"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, October 10, 2012


The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an enjoyable movie. Emma Watson/Hermione Granger is in it. The story centers on Charlie who's a bit of mess. He's entering his freshman year in high school, something he's dreading because for a while  - a year or two? - he hasn't spoken with anyone outside of his family. See he has a case Splashbergers syndrome, a splash of Aspergers as Larry David put it. He is shy and doesn't speak very often and yet is fairly smart and perceptive.

So maybe partly why I enjoyed it is that I can relate since I had Splashbergers growing up and I've always had a fondness for Hermione (though not in a pervish way!) 

As the movie goes on we learn Charlie has had some past traumas. Most recently a best friend shot himself head, successfully committing suicide. Lucky for Charlie though he is writer which helps him cope. Also he enrolls in an advanced English course which is taught by an awesomely kind and understanding teacher played by Paul Rudd. (suck on that Arnie Duncan!) Though what really saves him is shop class, where he meets senior Patrick, a quipping, fun homosexual. Later Charlie runs into Patrick at a fooball game. Patrick introduces him to his step-sister Hermione, another senior nearing the end of her sentence, and they invite Charlie out with them afterwords to a party. Soon, the step-siblings soon consider Charlie a cool friend. Charlie considers them life-savers and can't believe his good fortune. 

The movie is packed with drama. As Partick says, they're living in an afterschool special. Patrick is seeing a closeted jock on the sly. The movie is set in the early 90s where being gay was a little more scandalous. Also the friends are into alternative music which is becoming more popular. Hermoine reveals to Charlie that once she listened to lame mainstream pop songs until she hear this one song that changed her.

Hermoine used to be "easy" when she was a freshman but is trying to change her ways. Turns out she was molested when she was younger. As was Charlie by his favorite aunt (!). Who died in a car crash(!) And there's recreational drug use, the passing of mixed tapes, cafeteria brawls, the Rocky Horror Picture Show sing-alongs, music zines, nervous breakdowns plus much more. All in all a fun time at the show.

And the classic Tribute video:

Fiscal Cliff May Be Felt Gradually, Analysts Say by Annie Lowrey

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Bernanke vs. the Borg: A Short History of the Fed's Amazing Transformation by Matt O'Brien

(via DeLong)

Global Economy: Some Bad News and Some Hope by Olivier Blanchard
The main force pulling up growth is accommodative monetary policy. Central banks continue not only to maintain very low policy rates, but also to experiment with programs aimed at decreasing rates in particular markets, at helping particular categories of borrowers, or at helping financial intermediation in general.
(Yglesias, Thoma, Krugman) 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Repo Run

What Really Happened by David Warsh
The effusion of books about the 2007-08 financial crisis has mostly run its course. Two new accounts by policy-makers who were sometimes in the room (Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street, by Neil Barofsky, who kept tabs on Treasury Department lending under the Troubled Asset Relief Program as its Special Inspector General; and Bull By the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself 
Cutting-edge journalists, meanwhile, have moved on to the battles of Barack Obama’s first term: The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, by Michael Grunwald, of The Washington Post, explores the logic of the stimulus; The Price of Politics, by Bob Woodward, also of the Post, recounts the failed grand bargain negotiation of the summer of 2011; and Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget, by David Wessel, of The Wall Street Journal 
Much the best economics book on the fall calendar therefore (to be published next month) is a slender account about the circumstances that led to that near meltdown in September 2008, and an explanation of why they were not apparent until the last moment.  Misunderstanding Financial Crises: Why We Don’t See Them Coming (Oxford University Press), by Gary Gorton, of Yale University’s School of Management, mentions hardly any of the firms involved in the 2008 smash-up; it spends little time explaining the overnight repurchase agreements that were at the center of the bank funding crisis (his earlier book, Slapped By the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007, did that).
My bet is that it will happen again because Dodd-Frank isn't strong enough and leaves too much discretion ot the regulators. 

(via Thoma)