Links 11/5/08

Golf secret not all in the wrists BBC

Rainforest Fungus Naturally Synthesizes Diesel Wired

How will the economic crisis affect wine? Wine Economics

Obama’s brilliant campaign Jurek Martin, Financial Times. IMHO, this issue has not gotten the notice it warrants.

Financial Engineering, Wall Street’s Extreme Sport New York Times. It is surprising how much this rehashes basic ground, although it does mention some recent papers that might be of interest to readers.

Bear market has ended, says Morgan Stanley Independent

IMF thesis gives no reason to think the worst is over Tony Jackson, Financial Times

Ahead of the Curve: Slump Looks Long Wall Street Journal

There is Too a Credit Crunch! Mark Thoma

Why diversifying abroad doesn’t reduce investment risk VoxEU. Eeek!

Why agreeing a new Bretton Woods is vital Martin Wolf, Financial Times. But he is not optimistic that it will come to pass.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Richard Kline

    Regarding the _management_ of Obama’s campaign, the media typically missed this major point, which shows what they know: nada. The best campaigner nearly always wins the race for the US presidency. That is my studied observation of the history of presidential races, and has been for many years. Cycles and conditions do matter, some contexts cannot be overcome, but by far the single largest factor leading to victory is operational skill in managing a campaign. It amazes me that the public and the media don’t get this since the evidence is not subtle and available to all.

    I have no love for some of the policy choices Obama’s crew made to position him, but the tactical skill and strategic necessity behind those actions was manifest. Once could see what they were doing, what it was supposed to accomplish, and that they executed on-plan, first-time-right, on schedule. There was no point in this entire election cycle that Obama did not have _BY MILES_ the best campaign outfit going. The only reason the primaries stayed in play, and the general election was remotely contestable was that a big chunk of the Murricans out there just can’t see more than skin deep. —And now all those Know-Nothings have the same sense in their gut that many had when the first Catholic was elected President: they old lies and slurs no longer serve. Now, will Barack DO anything? I’m not holding my breath on that one. For one night, though, ‘truth, justice, and the American Way’ (and the baddest ass team on the boards) won. Or something.

  2. River

    I am overjoyed that we once again have a president that can put together and utter a coherent sentence.

    Being president requires many skills and much political saavy…a president that is secretive, a divider, a liar, and disrespects the constitution, treaties, and the law of the land, cannot succeed. President Bush has proven that. Let us hope that we never elect another of Bush’s ilk.

    Congratulations president elect Obama. You have a tough row to hoe and I wish you the best in your efforts.

  3. fresno dan

    “He took on one of the best political machines in the history of the modern Democratic party, created by Bill Clinton and inherited by his wife, Hillary, and left it in the dust.”
    With the internet, anybody can analyse, so I may as well too. You win and people say your brillent. I will give Bill Clinton credit for running – at the time he started Bush I seemed invincible (Winning the gulf war, Berlin Wall collapses) and no other major democrat even tried. But it was mostly luck – Ross Perot and the economy heading south.
    Parties are steered by activists, and the democractic activists would not tolerate Hillary’s staddling of the Iraq issue. Iraq was crucial for Obama’s nomination. But the economy was crucial for Obama’s general election victory. (McCain was actually ahead in some polls up to the Sept 15 meltdown, and after that McCain looked erratic). So again, mostly fate, not planning is responsible for the Obama victory.
    Don’t get me wrong – I wish him good luck, and that is what it will take more of than anything else.
    However, I think we’re not in a ditch, but a crevass, and I doubt that anyone elected this year will be re-elected.

  4. River

    Most presidents probably come to the office with more than a little help from serendipity.

    In retrospect, viewed from two years in the past, Obama’s election might qualify as a Black Swan. Viewed from the aspect of today, his election might not qualify as a Black Swan.

    It would be interesting to hear Taleb’s take on this question. Taleb did make the point that we tend to look at events in the current light and explain away by retrospective analysis events that are truly Black Swans.

  5. Anonymous

    The best campaigner nearly always wins the race for the US presidency.

    This is practically a tautology. If the best campaign loses, it wasn’t.

  6. River

    Off Topic:

    ADP Says U.S. Companies Reduced Payrolls by 157,000 (Update2)

    By Bob Willis

    Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) — Companies in the U.S. cut an estimated 157,000 jobs in October, the most in almost six years, a private report based on payroll data showed today.

    The drop was larger than forecast and followed a revised 26,000 decrease in September that was bigger than previously estimated, ADP Employer Services said. The decline in employment was the biggest since November 2002, when the U.S. was emerging from a recession.'…snip…

  7. daily reader


    Congrats on the Obama’s victory. Becareful what you wish for…$5.2B spent on the election…what! We’re in a recession????

  8. Raver

    "God bless America" is being echoed in countries far & wide today. The US's standing in the world has jumped by leaps and bounds.
    Hope is no longer considered immature.

  9. Arline Stewart

    And the beat goes on.

    From the New York Times this morning by Mr. Shapiro, an investigative reporter and lawyer.

    “The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.”

    “Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty — a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.”

    Written with the depth of a high school student about a man unqualified to run for any office, proven by his graven failure as president, perpetrated on a public unprepared for dirty election tricks on a level and scope unprecedented in recorded history, a man who showed nothing but disrespect and contempt for his own people, for the press, for the military personnel under his command, for the nations of the world; a man who in fact spread fear in the hearts of the people of his own country, and in general represented the craven interests of the profiteering class in full view with no shame.

    A pathetic man worthy of nothing but pity who will do us all a favor by going back to Crawford to chop wood for the rest of his life.

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