Monday, October 24, 2005

New FED Chair Nominee. World Series Update.

Preznit Nominates New FED Chair

President Completely Clueless has nominated former Princeton economics professor Bernard Bernanke to the new head of the US Federal Reserve to replace 216-year-old Alan Greenspan. BBC News excerpt:

Bernard Bernanke has been chosen by President George W Bush to succeed the respected head of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan. Mr Bernanke, a Princeton economist who was appointed chairman of the council of economic advisors in June, is therefore the government's chief economic advisor.

Mr Bernanke spent most of his career as Princeton economics professor before becoming a member of the Fed's board of governors in 2002. He is a leading advocate of "inflation targeting", the idea that central banks should set a target for inflation - in the UK it is 2% - and stick to it.

This approach was opposed by Mr Greenspan, who believed central banks needed to keep the markets guessing on how tough they would be on inflation. Mr Bernanke's approach is widely adopted in Europe, by both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, and supporters say it has helped to lower expectations of inflation among the public.

His appointment was widely welcomed by financial markets - where traders have become familiar with his approach.

"Bernanke has continuity with Greenspan," said Alex Beuzelin, analyst with Ruesch International. "The risk would have been coming out with someone the market doesn't know, or who is a monetary hawk."

But not everyone agreed. "Of all the Fed governors, Bernanke is the one I would be most fearful of," said Rich Parker, head of trading at Stamford Group. "He is too fast with the trigger and his take on inflation and deflation has been proven wrong."

Neither is the appointment popular among Republican loyalists who do not see him as a team player.

Full Story

My guess is that the rank and file neocon sludgemongers will rail against Bernanke on that last point, but also, and more importantly, because he advocates ideas that have been implemented in European markets, which is anathema to the many supply-side crackheads that make up much of what passes for President Numbskull's inner circle.

It is interesting that Greenspan had such a wait-and-see
approach to inflation. As FED Chair under Bill Clinton, he had to raise interest rates six times to control the rate of economic growth. Under Bush, Greenspan had to raise rates for just the opposite reason -- to bolster the struggling economy once the President Greedy Oil Man gave the budget surplus to the rich. Not that I'm turning cartwheels over this decision (if Bunnypants likes him there must be
something wrong with him...), but it will be fun to see how a bunch of conflicted Republican senators reach for ways to torpedo this nomination.

World Series Update

The Chicago White Sox beat the Houston Astros last night 7-6 at a cold and rainy US Cellular Field to take a two games to none lead in the 2005 World Series.

White Sox left fielder Scott Podsednik won the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, his second of the post-season after more than 500 regular season at-bats without a single round tripper.

First baseman Paul Konerko gave the Sox a 6-4 lead with a grand slam after right fielder Jermaine Dye was awarded first base for being hit by a pitch that he actually fouled off. The White Sox have been getting the benefit of these crappy calls since early in the ALCS against the Angels. Last year, when there were questionable calls, the umps got together to discuss them, then made the correct rulings. This post- season, we've seen no such effort. My theory as to why this is so? Two words: Joe West.

West is a notoriously bad ump who has been around long enough to become a crew chief. He is a confrontational lout who believes the fans have shown up to see him take over each game. The fact that the two best teams play for all the marbles should factor into the selection of the umpiring crew. This is yet another idiotic oversight by Omissioner Selig -- and I'm not even gonna get into the instant replay discussion.

Anyway, the Sox couldn't hold the lead because gigantic closer Bobby Jenks couldn't harness his 100 MPH throws for a second night in a row. He squandered the two-run lead that set the stage for Podsednik's unlikely heroics off of beleaguered Houston closer Brad Lidge. This is two game losing homers in the last two appearances for Lidge, the first having come from the bat of Albert Pujols to prolong the NLCS against the Cardinals.

Game three is scheduled for Tuesday night in Houston and will see the Astros start Roy "Harvey" Oswalt while the White Sox counter with Jon Garland.

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