Felix Salmon

Dr Setser goes to Washington

Felix Salmon
Aug 4, 2009 23:21 UTC

Many congratulations to Brad Setser, who is now back where his heart lies — in the policy thick of things, in Washington DC. We in the blogosphere are sad about this, because it means Brad’s excellent blog is coming to an end: while Brad managed to persuade Sebastian Mallaby that a blog wouldn’t hurt the CFR, he clearly failed (or never even tried) to persuade Larry Summers that a blog wouldn’t hurt the NEC.

Brad was instrumental in my becoming a full-time blogger, and for that I’ll be eternally thankful. And there’s another upside to Brad taking this job: now I get to blame Larry Summers when I realize I haven’t seen Brad in ages, rather than just blaming our own general crapness at ever managing to meet up.

So good luck working with Larry, Brad — although after having done so already at Treasury, and RGE Monitor, you definitely know what you’re letting yourself in for. Me, I’m just wondering what took him so long in offering you the job.

This blog entry was edited slightly after it was posted, at the request of Brad Setser.


Stetser works for the financial oligarchy. When the revolution comes his loyalty will be remembered.

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The great Greg Newton

Felix Salmon
Apr 7, 2009 14:30 UTC

In the wake of the global financial and economic meltdown, I wrote a big article for Wired magazine about how it was largely enabled by something called the Gaussian Copula Function. But the whole article was written, naturally, with hindsight. Who saw it coming? Greg Newton, for one, who blogged the Gaussian copula back in September 2005, and concluded:

Fast-growing, leveraged, interest-rate sensitive and largely untested derivatives have been conspicuously present at the center of numerous potentially-systemic train wrecks. Tick, tick, tick…

Greg Newton was also the publisher of the famous MAR/Hedge report on Bernie Madoff in 2001 — another case of being presciently early to a huge story. And his blog, Naked Shorts, was one of the very first must-read econoblogs, bringing perspicacity and great good humor to the normally-bone-dry world of finance.

Tragically, Greg died on April 1, just as he was about to start a new life in Florida; the closest thing to a memorial board is this blog entry at Seeking Alpha, where Greg was a contributor.

As Paul Murphy says, Greg single-handedly disproved the notion that bloggers couldn’t be aggressive reporters. He was an irreplaceable role model to us all; the econoblogosphere has lost a true pioneer.


Terribly saddened by this news, which I only heard this morning from Cassandra. He will be missed.

My condolences to Greg’s family.

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