The Whole Banking Crisis Thing (this is going to be big news, get in on the ground floor with me)
1. I find it ironic that Republicans whose rhetoric is often tied to, fiscal responsibility, free markets and private industry solving just about everything, for the most part don't do much to advance those principals. Not just out of economic necessity, they just talk the talk but don't walk the walk. So when a few Republicans actually want to let private industry and the free market thrash it all out... Wall Street is POed at them.
2. One thing I'm not sure I get about this is how this all went so bad. I get that if you make a bunch of housing loans and people can't pay for it and the houses are not worth what you loaned out for them, you're incurring some massive losses. Still enough to take down entire banks? I read about the adjustment allowed by the feds to increase some bank's debt limit they're allowed to hold. I suppose the debt's outstanding to actual cash and assets is where the balance was tipped, but dang if you've got financial industries too big to fail I'd hope those industries would be under even tighter restrictions... In fact I'm willing to bet being that big they've got the lobbyists to make sure they're even more free to do what they want.
3. If anything this provides a good example for those hard core unrestricted free market types as to why it is the market requires some regulation to run smoothly. Well... ok so it is not a good lesson for the hard core unrestricted market types because many are hardcore believers and I'm fairly sure a package will get passed eventually and they'll still get to point to the panacea of the non existent totally free market.
Still it is a good lesson about markets none the less and hopefully drives home the point that those companies and individuals who flourish in the free market are NOT necessarily the people who should have anything to do with advising how to manage the market. Instead they seem as much a threat to a free market (demanding government intervention / support / bailouts, the ability to hork it up so bad that the market ceases to function) as some anti free market communist.
4. Not that I'm sure at all what exactly should be done but I feel like I understand why you don't want credit markets locked up. Just before the vote I did like some of the changes made to the first plan, but like most heck if I know what the end result of such a plan would be. I think it is ASTOUNDINGLY clear that just buying up bad mortgage security is stupid, some serious oversight, and rule changes are necessary. I worry that if not in the main plan that momentum for such changes will die out.
Great Stores From Work: The Government
I was on the phone today with a customer who happened to be a department of the U.S. government. We sat on a conference call waiting for someone to grant us access to some computer equipment. We had been waiting 20 or 30 minutes and the following conversation between two of the government workers occurred.
GovPeon 1: Do we all want to have everyone sit on this call forever? We're all on a long distance conference call not getting anything done here. Maybe we should just call everyone back when we can actually do something.
GovPeon 2: Don't worry about it, I don't think this is going to be the biggest stupid government expenditure today.
-laughter on conference call ensued-
Movie Talk: Into The Wild
I liked Into The Wild. Dude takes a trip across America on his way to Alaska rebelling against his family and meeting people. There is some disconnect between the story narrated by his sister and the actual action. It provides very specific family stories and events. When the main character's journey sort of intersects people with like stories, nothing happens, no reaction, nothing. Also the movie seems to try to avoid making the parents out to be evil totally bastards by making their flashback fights almost comical...
If you know anything of the story you know the ending. I was not fond of how it was handled. Avoiding it would have been a cop out so I give them credit for handling it directly but I just didn't know what to think about the film's ending. Maybe the film tried to show both the horrible consequences, and some of the enlightenment this guy found all at once without tossing in much judgment and maybe I'm supposed to feel conflicted, but mostly I feel conflicted about the ending, not the actual story. Still when he is writing some of his last notes they seemed almost silly (duh) and I just didn't feel ... like the film was over or something. Can't put my finger on it. Good film none the less. Great music too.
Photography: New Camera & Lens Time! 50D
My old original Digital Rebel is old. Not unusable. Just old and I can't take the size in my hands after 5 years (too small). I was considering the 5D MkII, and as awesome as it sounds I had to go with the 50D. I just couldn't justify the cost of the 5D MkII. I plunked down my money for a place in line at my local camera store for a 50D when they get them in. I'm pumped.
Also I've been suffering for years with my favorite film body lens (50mm 1.4) just not doing the job on the digital rebel. Don't get me wrong, it is still awesome but with the 1.6 crop factor it feels like an 80mm lens and that just doesn't fit every occasion like 50mm did. Having said that a fixed prime lens is sooo nice at times. I'm thinking of picking up the inexpensive Canon 35mm 2.0 lens out there. That should have the feel of my good old 50mm lens, sadly it is not a USM (super quiet focusing system) like the 50mm lens but I think I'll survive. There are some tempting 28mm lenses out there and while I wouldn't mind it a bit wider the price points are a lot higher and I think the bang for the buck is at the 35 based on what I'm reading out there.
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