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Only that which is rational is real

CNBC reports

Greenspan … added that the financial crisis could not have been foreseen.

“It is just not feasible to forecast a financial crisis,” he said. “A financial crisis by definition is a sharp abrupt, unexpected decline in asset prices.”

Notice that he says if it is unexpected, then it *can’t* be forecast. That is if the risk bearing capacity weighted average investor doesn’t forecast something then it isn’t forecastable. Greenspan is asserting that financial markets are efficient by definition. He displays no willingness to allow data or evidence any role in answering the question.

Only that which is rational is real. The key policy relevant question is answered by definition, that is, by authority. Efficient is whatever markets are, and also what they should be, therefore markets are what they should be – by definition.

This is dogma, this is faith, this is medieval thinking. Galileo lived in vain. The enlightenment arrived in the Fed when Bernanke replaced Greenspan.

via Atrios. More ranting after the jump.

Also “Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that the recent stock market decline is “typical” of a recovery,” If a decline is typical then it is forecastable. If a decline is typical during a recovery, then financial markets are inefficient. I see no basis for the claim (which, I amdit, was constructed with only one actually quoted word).

Note how the efficient markets hypothesis is switched on and off for convenience. Something which could have been prevented with tighter regulation must have been unpredictable. Something which might or might not alarm people was predictable and isn’t news. I am fairly sure that no one believes that financial markets are efficient. It is just a debating trick. It can be assumed at will in order to make absurd arguments. It is absurd and has high status, for some reason, so it is a license to make clearly false claims which are not dismissed.

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Paul Clement, In Appreciation

by Beverly Mann
originally posted at the Annarborist

Paul Clement, In Appreciation

Each year as the Supreme Court’s term ends in late June, Slate’s main legal-issues writer, Dahlia Lithwick joins with Walter Dellinger, head of mega law firm O’Mebeny & Meyers’ national appellate practice, and a former head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Clinton administration, in a weeklong discussion about the Court’s recent opinions, their effects, and the apparent internal dynamics among the justices during the term. This year, they’re joined by Paul Clement, head of mega law firm King & Spaulding’s national appellate practice and solicitor general during George W. Bush’s second term.

Dahlia began the discussion last week by welcoming Clement to the group and expressing her deep admiration for him.

I share Dahlia’s admiration of Paul Clement, but not just because he is a brilliant legal analyst and has an uncanny ability to argue that analysis incredibly cogently—both traits he shares with my favorite Supreme Court litigator, Jeffrey Fisher—but also because as solicitor general he occasionally had the government take positions as an amicus that departed from robotic Republican ideology, and did so also in at least one case recently as a private practitioner.

I still recall vividly the elation that I and (I know) others felt in 2006 when as solicitor general he filed an amicus brief for the government urging the Court to grant a certiorari petition filed on behalf of an autistic child and his parents in a case called Winkelman v. Parma City School District. The case presented the issue of whether the parents of a handicapped child could serve as surrogate parties on behalf of their child in a lawsuit against a school board, claiming a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, when the parents and child were not represented by an attorney because (although middle class) they could not afford one. Legal fees would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. The lower federal appeals court had threatened to dismiss the lawsuit unless the parents retained counsel to represent the child.

The Court did grant the certiorari petition. Clement then filed an amicus brief for government supporting the Winkelmans’ claim that they and their son were entitled to access to court without having to retain counsel first.

Justice Kennedy wrote an eloquent and unanimous opinion for the Court ruling in favor of the parents and the child.

Later Clement, as a lawyer in private practice, brought his very considerable personal prestige to a case called Perdue v. Kenny A, in which he represented Kenny A., one of 3,000 abused and neglected children in Georgia’s foster-care system, and the children’s lawyer, who a lower federal court had awarded a larger-than-normal attorney’s fee under a federal statute that provides for the award of attorneys’ fees in successful civil rights lawsuits such as that one. The Court effectively ruled against the Kenny A. petitioners, in an opinion that barely disguises that that is what the Court did.

So much of conservative Republican jurisprudence—far, far more than the general public is aware—centers around simply (very simply, actually) denying most people access to court at all in constitutional or statutory civil rights cases. Paul Clement obviously does not share the right’s affection for that agenda.

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HEALTH CARE: Mrs. Rustbelt is Grouchy

by Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt

HEALTH CARE: Mrs. Rustbelt is Grouchy

Mrs. Rustbelt (aka the world’s great nurse) is a paragon of competence, compassion, service and self-sacrifice. When grandma is ill you want Mrs. R to be granny’s nurse. She routinely gets letters and call from families praising her work, and this is the only thing that makes her lose her composure.

But Mrs. Rustbelt is getting grouchy. Mrs. R is really tired of:

super morbidly obese patients
diabetic and overweight patients who ignore their diets
diabetic and overweight patients who refuse their meds
families who bring junk food to patients with dietary restrictions

She gets upset about nurse aides, who despite training and equipment, get inevitable back injuries. And don’t get her starting on smoking.

Apparently inserting a catheter into a female patient who is 5′ 2″ and 265 pounds is not a whole lot of fun.

If Americans want good health Americans have to start taking some responsibility.

The triple stacker bacon burger is not good for you, get it?

(My lipid panel numbers are good, one advantage of being married to a nurse.)

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