News from around the web: 2009-09-04

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  • Putting the ‘change’ back in “change you can believe in”: The two faces of Barack Obama – Marshall Auerback

    Is this the Warren Christopher Presidency writ large? Roosevelt Institute Braintruster Marshall Auerback argues that the divide-and-compromise approach is dead-wrong for Obama.

  • Blog You! – Barry Ritholtz

    This is a video clip I sent Barry. I knew he would find a good use for it, vacation or not! Read the comments too.

  • The looming political war over Afghanistan – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com

    There was a time, not all that long ago, when the U.S. pretended that it viewed war only as a "last resort,"… In the 64 years since the end of WWII, we have started and fought far more wars and invaded and bombed more countries than any other nation in the world — not even counting the numerous wars fought by our clients and proxies. Those are just facts. History will have no choice but to view the U.S. — particularly in its late imperial stages — as a war-fighting state.

  • FT.com – Baltic Dry Index

    Uh-oh. While investors have been distracted by the brightly coloured balloons of rebounding economic output, the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities, has been quietly deflating. Daily rates for leasing the largest Capesize vessels are down about a quarter over the past fortnight.

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  • Has runaway Arctic warming already begun? – New Scientist

    Runaway warming of the Arctic threatens to spread climate havoc across the globe in the coming decades, according to a new study by the environment group WWF. But has the process already begun? Climate scientists meeting at the World Climate Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, where the report was launched today, are in two minds.

  • Health care costs climb 3% to all-time high | The Japan Times Online

    The figure represents an average of around ¥267,200 per capita, also an all-time high, and a rise of 3 percent from the previous year, data from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry show. Medical costs for people 65 or older stood at ¥17.74 trillion, or 52 percent of the total, and averaged ¥646,100 per person

  • First lady grabs spotlight with spiritual quirks | The Japan Times Online

    The next prime minister is known for being bland in his speeches. His wife, however, is anything but. Miyuki Hatoyama, a former actress and wife of Yukio Hatoyama — who is expected to be sworn in as prime minister on Sept. 16 — promises to become one of Japan’s most colorful first ladies ever.

  • Common good is best achieved through rewards, not punishment: Scientific American Blog

    "Groups that used rewards got significantly higher payoffs than groups that punished," David Rand, a lead study author and postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, said in a Science podcast.

  • The crisis and citizens’ trust in central banks | vox

    Most observers agree that central banks can claim partial credit for the stabilisation that have been achieved and the prospect of a recovery. This column warns that the general public seems to hold a completely different opinion; trust in central banks has declined and the reaction of central banks to the crisis is generally judged as unsatisfactory. Central bankers all over the world should redouble their efforts to regain the trust of the people towards their institution.

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  • The Government’s Role in R&D – Megan McArdle

    Megan argues as I do that the private sector is better than government at many but not things economic in society. Government has a legitimate role to fulfill and R&D is one of them.

  • Unlike any since the Depression | Free exchange | Economist.com

    IN MY many years of reporting on the Federal Reserve, I have turned more times than I can count to Allan Meltzer. Volume One of his history of the Federal Reserve (he’s still working on Volume Two) is one of the most thumbed books on my shelf, and I consider him one of the leading authorities on 20th century economic history. Naturally I was intrigued by his criticism of comparisons between the current period and the Great Depression in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a fascinating piece but I have several qualms with it.

  • Browser Speed Tests: Chrome 4.0 and Opera 10 Take On All Challengers – Lifehacker

    Opera 10 final is out, Chrome just turned one year old, and Firefox 3.5 has settled into stability. It’s time once again to break out the timers and speed test today’s web browsers.

  • Always pick the right browser for the job with Browser Chooser

    Most people have a favorite browser, but if you use two or three, it can be tricky to make sure you’re opening links in the right one… That’s the idea behind Browser Chooser, a Windows app that acts as your default browser and lets you pick which browser to open a link in.

  • Strategist: Gold’s Surge Suggests Investor Jitters – MarketBeat – WSJ

    Patrick Neal, head of equity strategy at Jefferies sees gold’s run up as a bearish sign that some investors are preparing for a significant turn lower in stocks.

  • Economist’s View: Rogoff: Is a Debt Crisis Next?

    A good entry in the debate over Keynesian stimulus and Austrian school style restraint as policy in crisis. This is both monetary and fiscal. I must admit to taking Rogoff’s view in 2008 that the Fed needed to raise rates in order to prevent a commodities bubble from getting out of control and worsening the economic crash. Thoma argues the opposite is true. On the fiscal side, I have argued, like Thoma that stimulus has been necessary.

  • Where the job losses are | Free exchange | Economist.com

    we seem to have two big problems. The first is how a rebalancing of the economy toward manufacturing can actually hope to produce enough jobs to return America to full employment… The second is how to move workers trained for manufacturing or housing construction into the fields which are actually growing, which include health care and education. And there is a third, I suppose, which is how America is to handle persistent higher-than-normal unemployment if neither of the above questions can be satisfactorily answered in the near term.

  • Real Change: Turning up the heat on non-bank lenders – Elizabeth Warren

    We know that big banks need reigning in, but Elizabeth Warren argues that it is time for serious oversight of non-bank lenders — like mortgage brokers or payday loan outfits — as well.

  • Geithner Pushes for Tough Global Capital Rules – Real Time Economics – WSJ

    The standards, which Mr. Geithner said should be agreed on by the end of 2010 and implemented by the end of 2012, would call for much higher capital requirements at banks and require a much higher quality capital, with a heavy emphasis on equity.

  • The Mess That Greenspan Made: Reluctant landlords, then and now

    after a while, you can grow quite cold toward your former home, looking at only the numbers involved and quickly forgetting about the memories that were made there

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