"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, November 03, 2012

I finished Sheila Bair's "Bull by the Horns" and recommend it. She mentions the Naked Capitalism blog and correctly argues that Obama, Geithner and Summers should have done more about mortgages and the housing market. DeMarco gets some decent mentions interestingly given his destructive behavior and she fails to mention how the Fed focused on housing too.

She does lay the blame squarely with Alan Greenspan and the culture of deregulation he created at the Fed, which is not a Republican viewpoint even if she is a Republican. She does blame Republicans for choosing party over country.

She is a deficit nag like everyone else, something that is compulsory in Washington I guess.

The big blind spot is the housing bubble though. No mention of bubbles or bubblenomics. Lots of discussion of the inepitude of bank management and the greed of trader types. She has an excellent description of a scene where she gave a speech to financial types and they all blamed the borrowers and absolved the lenders which in her mind is ludicrous.

Interestingly she mentions Simon Johnson but disagrees with him about Too Big To Fail banks. Read what Johnson has to say about her here. He notes:
(Disclosure: I’m a member of the nongovernmental Systemic Risk Council that Ms. Bair created and leads; I was also appointed to the F.D.I.C.’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee while Ms. Bair was still chairwoman.) 
Ms. Bair, a Republican from Kansas, worked with Bob Dole and was appointed to the F.D.I.C. by President George W. Bush. Her defining positions were against the interests of the very largest financial institutions.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Via DeLong


(Submitted on 29 Oct 2012) 
In 1928, the late Francis Wayland Thurston published a scandalous manuscript in purport of warning the world of a global conspiracy of occultists. Among the documents he gathered to support his thesis was the personal account of a sailor by the name of Gustaf Johansen, describing an encounter with an extraordinary island. Johansen`s descriptions of his adventures upon the island are fantastic, and are often considered the most enigmatic (and therefore the highlight) of Thurston's collection of documents.

We contend that all of the credible phenomena which Johansen described may be explained as being the observable consequences of a localized bubble of spacetime curvature. Many of his most incomprehensible statements (involving the geometry of the architecture, and variability of the location of the horizon) can therefore be said to have a unified underlying cause.

We propose a simplified example of such a geometry, and show using numerical computation that Johansen`s descriptions were, for the most part, not simply the ravings of a lunatic. Rather, they are the nontechnical observations of an intelligent man who did not understand how to describe what he was seeing. Conversely, it seems to us improbable that Johansen should have unwittingly given such a precise description of the consequences of spacetime curvature, if the details of this story were merely the dregs of some half remembered fever dream.

We calculate the type of matter which would be required to generate such exotic spacetime curvature. Unfortunately, we determine that the required matter is quite unphysical, and possess a nature which is entirely alien to all of the experiences of human science. Indeed, any civilization with mastery over such matter would be able to construct warp drives, cloaking devices, and other exotic geometries required to conveniently travel through the cosmos.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not dead yet: Currency Management and the Need for a More Competitive Dollar by Josh Bivens
(via DeLong)

What's Really Dragging Down the U.S. Economy by Dean Baker
Wow, that isn't what the Commerce Department is telling my spreadsheet. I get that the average share of consumption (all categories together) in GDP was 67.3 percent in the years from 1985 to 2005. I get that it was 70.8 percent in the most recent quarter. This means that consumption was 3.5 percent higher than its longer period average as a share of GDP. This means that consumers are not hanging onto their wallets at all. In fact, they are spending at very ambitious rate. (Boys and girls, you can check this one for yourself by going to the National Income and Product Accounts and clicking up Table 1.1.5.) 
This is consistent with the data showing that consumption is higher than normal relative to disposable income. (The adjusted consumption line has to do with the treatment of the statistical discrepancy in the national income accounts.) This means that consumption is not holding back the economy, it is actually unusually high.
The other error along these lines is that imports should be expected to rise relative to GDP as the economy moves back toward its potential. If GDP were to rise by 6 percent to bring it back in line with its potential then imports would rise by roughly 20 percent as much or 1.2 percentage points of GDP. This would make it more clear that the biggest factor that is out of line with our historical experience is the trade deficit. That would be even more clear if we took a longer period as the basis of comparison that was not so distorted by asset bubbles.
Of course given the Washington Post's unabashed celebration of recent trade agreements its reporters are probably not allowed to call attention to such facts.
AV Club review of Cloud Atlas by Keith Phipps

It was an enjoyable movie. Better than V for Vendetta or Matrixes 2 & 3. I loved The Matrix and this is a lot like that movie. Plus I'm a fan of Keith David who has a big part in it. Some of the films he's been in: The Thing, Platoon, They Live, Road House, Marked for Death, Reality Bites, Dead Presidents, There's Something About Mary, and Pitch Black.

Monday, October 29, 2012