Hoo-RAY! Just finished my PhD -- well, mostly. The oral defense and most of the writing. Still re-drafts to go (#!@#$!!) but that's a pittance compared to the hallucinatorily difficult process of getting here. Still don't believe it's true.
Anyway, in other "Just can't believes..." Could Obama please nominate SOMEONE progressive to his Cabinet? I know I didn't really expect him to be very actually change-ful, c'mon, now. I wonder how my friends that were very pro-Obama feel about all this -- though I suspect they (fairly) are still taking a bit of a "wait and see" approach, since who you appoint doesn't completely determine what you do. Nevertheless, though, who you appoint does have a big significance, or can, because it doesn't seem that the Prez typically gets too involved deep down in the details of Cabinets. That has mixed effects, being that a lot of day-to-day Cabinet work is not of a big great huge political nature, and that Cabinets have lost much of their power (though it depends on who the Sec is and what the prez's approach to Cabinets is), but on the other hand, the technocrats within the Cabinet influence what happens in the future through the groundworks they lay in terms of philosophy and research and therefore solutions and ideas available at later dates.
I think. I may be making all that up.
Anyway, GREAT article here on how O has seemingly snubbed Joe Stiglitz, probably one of the best mainstream economists there is from my point of view. (He's no heterodox, not really, but close enough for government work, as it were.) Stiglitz, author of "Globalization and its Discontents", was one of the few Clintonites to not only NOT jump on the globalization-free-trade IMF-bull-shitting on the developing countries horse hockey, but he actually OPPOSED it. (And his Nobel-Prize winning research contradicts its theoretical foundations. According to the article, no less a free marketeer than Milton Friedman admitted Stiglitz was right on Russia's conversion to capitalism -- that sound institutions and regulatory regimes should be the first priority -- and Friedman himself was wrong in having suggested primarily "Privatize, privatize, privatize.)
Anyway. Stiglitz is yet another example of a perfectly acceptable, incredibly qualified mainstream-type progressive-ish choice Obama could make, but he's reportedly out in the cold. This is boding poorly, my friends, very poorly indeed.
Duolingo Mandarin: a critique
20 hours ago