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Saturday, December 13, 2008

new name, same great flavor!

Let it be known that from this point forward, this blog shall now be known as "the riot trail." While the new title surely makes this sound more interesting than it really is, at least it's easier to remember (not to mention pronounce!).


Are you with me Dr. Chu?:

NYD5073CA Fpo Sarah Illenberger

More importantly, is Obama with him. Fortunately, yes.

From a NYT editorial on Obama's "green team:"

Mr. Obama’s most intriguing selection may be his choice to run the Energy Department. Steven Chu is a physicist who shared a Nobel Prize in 1997 and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has a sophisticated grasp of the complexities of global warming and a strong belief in fighting it aggressively.

Mr. Chu also has refreshingly unconventional ideas of what it would take to solve the problem. Like others, he would put a price on carbon, preferably through a cap-and-trade program, and supports the various efficiency measures — cleaner cars, greener buildings and a modernized electrical grid — that Mr. Obama is likely to include as part of his economic stimulus package.

What sets him apart is his fierce conviction that innovation is just as important as regulation, and that big energy problems, like climate change and the world’s dependency on fossil fuels, will not be solved without major private and public investment in the development and deployment of nonpolluting technologies.

Ok, I'll admit that I include this partly to make the Steely Dan reference, but this guy still sounds like a great dude. (a "major dude??")


The First Friends

The NYT on Obama's close friends



The WaPo on Obama's "relationship" with Blagojevich

M.J. Rosenberg points out that FDR faced a remarkably similar situation


Ezra Klein is feeling optimistic about healthcare


The way out of Guantanomo may lead through Portugal



Stimulus: Obama thinking big

How should the money be spent?

Obama introduces Sean Ryan:


Matt Yglesias provides a great moment in jargon


thank God these idiots won't be running the country


Credit: Barbara Kinney/The White House

Sad news: Socks, former First Cat, will not live much longer.


Obama 08 logo design
discarded Obama logos. (I think they chose the right one)


Poor Norm Coleman.


Digby responds to that Nation article on pragmatism I linked to the other day.


An interesting review of Soderbergh's "Che"


The orginal Keynesian:

Keynes created an economics whose starting point was that not all future events could be reduced to measurable risk. There was a residue of genuine uncertainty, and this made disaster an ever-present possibility, not a once-in-a-lifetime “shock.” Investment was more an act of faith than a scientific calculation of probabilities. And in this fact lay the possibility of huge systemic mistakes.

The basic question Keynes asked was: How do rational people behave under conditions of uncertainty? The answer he gave was profound and extends far beyond economics. People fall back on “conventions,” which give them the assurance that they are doing the right thing. The chief of these are the assumptions that the future will be like the past (witness all the financial models that assumed housing prices wouldn’t fall) and that current prices correctly sum up “future prospects.” Above all, we run with the crowd. A master of aphorism, Keynes wrote that a “sound banker” is one who, “when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way.” (Today, you might add a further convention — the belief that mathematics can conjure certainty out of uncertainty.)

But any view of the future based on what Keynes called “so flimsy a foundation” is liable to “sudden and violent changes” when the news changes. Investors do not process new information efficiently because they don’t know which information is relevant. Conventional behavior easily turns into herd behavior. Financial markets are punctuated by alternating currents of euphoria and panic.

His purpose, as he saw it, was not to destroy capitalism but to save it from itself. He thought that the work of rescue had to start with economic theory itself. Now that Greenspan’s intellectual edifice has collapsed, the moment has come to build a new structure on the foundations that Keynes laid.


James Ryerson considers David Foster Wallace's undergraduate thesis


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