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This chart from Princeton's Hyun Shin is the best illustration I've seen of the unsustainability of the boom in the securities sector: In absolute terms, most sectors grew by a factor of 80 between since 1954. But, at its peak, the non-commercial-bank financial sector had grown by a factor of 800. From Shin: The greater detail afforded by the chart in log scale reveals that the securities sector kept pace with the rest of the economy until around 1980, but then started a growth spurt that outstripped the other sectors.

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Want a hint about what the president will say tonight? Check out the guest list for the First Lady's box, which the White House just published.

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Brad, you note below that Ahmadinejad's power is waning and the country's supreme leader Ali Khamenei appears to be reasserting control over foreign policy. You take this development as evidence that "Iran is much like any other country, with its own concerns and political disputes, not just single-mindedly obsessed with the destruction of Israel and the West." But for that to be right, you would have to show that Khamenei is significantly less committed to Israel's destruction than Ahmadinejad. And that isn't true.

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