Friday, March 14, 2008

Politics and Postpourri

So...the government (and JP Morgan) is bailing out an investment company (Bear Stearns) that is having financial problems, in part, because The Carlyle Group is defaulting on 16.6 billion in loans because of the subprime crisis. Seriously - couldn't we have just given the Bushes and their friends fifty billion or so to go away eight years ago? Wouldn't that have been significantly cheaper than this mess? I guess 50 billion would have been chump change for them considering Carlyle is indirectly getting a bail out from the government, the ailing beef companies (there are cattle in Texas, aren't there?) are getting a Brazilian buy out (alt - audio, NPR) because of the declining U.S. dollar, and oil prices are up, benefiting states with oil. The duplex I own with my brother lost almost $45,000 in value this year according to the piece of paper I got from Richfield today - directly attributable to some of this mess. With the declining dollar, I can't even sell it and move abroad. At least Richfield is increasing my taxes to make up for some of that loss the city incurs from all those problems.

I'm going to discuss cheerier things. MNSpeak had this link to a very funny scat-related Weebl's. Hilarious. Puts a smile back on my face just thinking about it.

Adam had a link to this funny CTRL/ESC nerd art. Looks like a t-shirt design from Threadless.

Pooteewheet and I went to see the movie Doomsday today so I could escape the endless crush of email. I can't say I recommend it, although it had a few moments. My favorite is that all the government heroes walk around with the initials for the Domestic Defense Squad, or something like that, on their hats. Yep...DDS. Bunch of dentists. Klund's wife can go and feel like a Scottish post-apocalyptic hero.

Mean Mr. Mustard told me about a book he'd read that has convinced him to drastically decrease his meat consumption. So I went looking for it at Amazon. The first thing I found was this quote below. Someone wrote a book where there's a group of characters named "The Secretum". And the reviewer feels comfortable using a phrase about playing into their hands. Seriously? Ish. I'm embarrassed I'm not published. Particularly as Secretum of the questionable hands may be based on a character from my place of work. I assume Mr. Mustard meant this book instead of book 2 of the Dominion Trilogy.

Fearless (Dominion Trilogy #2) (Hardcover)

Disasters, one after the other, rake the globe. As events spiral out of control, the citizens in LA begin to turn on each other. Fed by fear of the unknown, the people turn on each other and their city. Grant Borrows and the rest of the Loci-former normal people who have shifted into new identities complete with superpowers-have their hands full trying to save LA from self destructing. Everyone from the mayor on down hails Grant as a hero.

But not everyone is pleased with his actions. In Washington, D.C. the powers that be are determined to capture Grant. Unsure of Grant's motives and leery of his power, he's determined to be a threat to national security and one of the FBI's best is assigned to bring him in. But as Special Agent Ethan Cooke gets to know his prey, he's sees Grant in a new light.

Governments aren't the only powerful organizations interested in Grant. The Secretum of Six, the ones responsible for the Shifts, are sure Grant is the Bringer, spoken of in ancient prophecy.

But Grant has determined he alone is in control of his destiny. But is he? Or, in his determination to set is own path, has he really played into the Secretum's hands, setting off the catastrophes that plague the world?


Anonymous said...

I love the CTRL/ESC art and agree it would make a great Threadless tee! I'm still waiting for the Communist Party shirt to come back in Male L or XL :)

Anonymous said...

AHAHA! Poop cartoons are the best! I loved the bunny. Pete and I laughed so hard our sides hurt. :)

PrincessMax said...

You know, I can't tell from the first couple of sentences of that summary. Did the people turn on each other?

Mac Noland said...

While I understand most everyone's frustration with Bush, the subprime wasn't caused by him or his administration. From what I've read, most people are now blaming Greenspan for the housing boom and subsequent subprime fallout.

Greenspan kept interest rates low for to long and thus lead to the price inflation we saw. Like all bubbles, the housing market had to pop. And when it did, property owners who once saw their assets appreciate at greater than market averages, fall. If there is any conciliation, at least your asset is not on the coast (left or right, you pick) as property prices their have slipped much more than here in the comfy mid-west.

Long-term you still have a good investment, though right now most all of us are frustrated with the turmoil. Remember though, this is actually a great time to buy assets as prices are low. Buy low, sell high = good!

Scooter said...

The administration is totally divorced from the actions of Greenspan? Isn't it the President's job to have some idea that there are actions underway that are creating a problem with the economy? Or is it merely the job of the president to react? Mumblings about loans and mortgages predate the problem - he had many years to consider the issues and proactively consider some options. I think that given the noise and closeness of those doing the mortgage lending/investing - the administration chose to ignore the issue. I'm not frustrated as someone who's losing money - we manage our assets and cash flow carefully. I'm frustrated as someone who saw his government ignoring a growing problem.

Mac Noland said...

"The administration is totally divorced from the actions of Greenspan?"

Yes, autonomy between the fed and the administration is one of the fundamentals of the central bank.

Again, I'm not backing Bush. I'm just saying the fundementals behind subprime were not his doing.

Mac Noland said...

Here is a reference to where Anna Schwartz states just what I did. To be honest, my opinion is based on her statement which I read in a macro class I'm taking at the U of M. Anna Schwartz worked with Milton Friedman on a number of papers. I.e. she's really smart.