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the greatest depression

FYI We Are So Going to Be Obsessed With Neel Kashkari

Remember when John McCain plucked Sarah Palin out of the tundra obscurity and made her his running mate, and then everybody was immediately like, "but we don't know anything about her!" And then after like two days suddenly we knew more about her and her family than we ever wanted to know? Well, that's basically what happened this week with Neel Kashkari, the new interim assistant Treasury secretary who was appointed by Hank Paulson. Paulson chose Kashkari to head the Office of Financial Stability, which basically means he's going to handle the congressionally approved bailout and figure out how to spend that $700 billion dollars. But nobody knew this Paulson protégé because he had been quietly working for Paulson on the crisis at the Treasury, and before that he was a mere V.P. at Goldman Sachs. So then the media panicked (the public was obviously reassured by his efficient haircut and confident eyebrows), and we learned all sorts of things about him in a short period of time. For example:

• He "lives in the pleasant Washington, D.C. suburb with wife, Minal, 32, and their enormous brown shaggy Newfoundland dog, Winslow — named after former Browns star tight end Kellen Winslow." [NYP]
• Prior to his career in finance, Mr. Kashkari was a R&D Principal Investigator at TRW in Redondo Beach, California, where he developed technology for NASA space-science missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope. [Treas.Gov]

• He grew up in Stow, Ohio, an Akron suburb. His mom and dad are a retired pathologist and an award-winning engineer, respectively. Kashkari himself studied engineering at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. [WSJ]
• Last year, he and Phillip Swagel, assistant secretary for economic policy, crafted a “break the glass” proposal — an emergency tool that envisioned the Treasury buying bad loans and other assets. [Muckety]
• He likes AC/DC and Rush. [Gawker]
• His family is from Srinagar in Kashmir, where there was once a neighborhood named after the Kashkari clan. People in the area still remember his grandfather Sudarsan, but the neighborhood was dismantled in 2000 to make way for a new bridge. [Indian Express]

See how that works? It moves so quickly from useful knowledge to bizarre trivia.

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Photo: From the New York Post yesterday.