Monday, March 31, 2008

Financial Optimism in the Face of Insanity

I have in the past week heard a little faint optimism. It makes me feel a little better then my brain kicks in. An upside to all the financial mess is that more people are looking into it and more of it is being reported. When big companies and government are involved there are rules and practices that make no sense. Take these numbers with a few tons of salt, i don't have direct references. My recollection the Fed can loan money seven time actual money and banks only have to keep 16 to 20 cents on the dollar of money deposited. I understand the Fed lending more than they have, it keeps things growing, but seven times? Changing that ratio would give much more direct control that changing interest rates. As for the second ratio, shouldn't it be in line more with expected money on hand in the future, ie. profits of the company. Something along the lines of 30% cash and 30%+ in assets, i don't really know, but 16 cents of a dollar? yum salt good.

That said for what its worth I am sure most of the current problem would have been avoided if someone has passed a law or issued a guild line or rule that just said that banks couldn't lend more than 99% of the value of residential property. A 125% loan what? No one thought that was a bad idea. The real horror show of all this is that it will allow all sorts of new regulations and law. I am not for no regulation and not for increasing it every time there is a problem. Solutions, way over my head.

The original article tends to disappear. This from Centerfield
The Economist this week published an article suggesting that serious overleverage is afoot. Leverage is the ratio of loans to capital at hand. If it's too big, it's hard to resist financial trouble. The article's freely available to nonsubscribers, so far. They give numbers that suggest Merrill is 50:1, and Goldman is 28:1. Note, an earlier Econ article had the now-deceased Bear-Sterns at roughly 30:1. This article talks about some of Bear's problems in some detail.

Doesn't allow much movement, but if the loans are solid and transparent it should make little difference. When your offering 100% loans like their water and your just getting cliff notes on bundles of loans not so good. Look at it this way 100:2, 100:3.6, 100:3.3 so if the value of the loans decreases by 2-3.6% you have no cash left and everyone is trying to sell to cover the dept.

The Dilbert Strategy Form The NYT op-ed points to Bush lack of regulation. I agree that the
Bear Stearns of the world need some regulations, there are a lot of pensions tied up in them, but let's not go overboard. The typical reshuffling won't due, but the current thinking only allows that or massive government interference, not the smart streamline of regulation thats really needed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

8 lessons of a dumb war, Iraq in this case

Five years in i am not sure how you completely get out. There are good reasons to want out. Yet i still believe we can't leave the place to collapse or even flounder for years till they completely get it together. Not many people these days really have any clear and viable plans to rap up Iraq, I don't know if one can. Most of the talk at the five year mark are on what went wrong. I have talked of my frustrations, the long term effects of Bush and the incompetence and mistakes before, moving on. Over a Slate there is no exception.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Slate has asked a number of writers who originally supported the war to answer the question, "Why did we get it wrong?" We have invited contributions from the best-known "liberal hawks," many of whom participated in two previous Slate debates about the war, the first before it began in fall of 2002, the second in early 2004.
Looking at the "Why did we get it wrong?" page of course i went to the Hitchens page "How Did I Get Iraq Wrong? I didn't,". Didn't find it all that informative. Reading on there is this "Rather than bore you with the answer, here are lessons from the experience." I don't agree with all or most if it. it is however much more informative than the usual and usually insane anti-war talk i read.

1. Question authority: ok

2. Suspicion can become gullibility.
"He was so suspicious of Saddam that he bought—and spread—rumors, lies, and exaggerations about Iraqi WMD."
Not so sure about that, but point taken.

3. Beware mission creep.
"But if that was the rationale for going in, why disband the Iraqi army? Remaking Iraq was more than the offense justified and more than we could handle."
Yes it was more than was justified by the U.N. and the WMD reasoning. I would argue that the whole Iraqi dictatorship was in part are wholly our creation, a necessity of the Cold War. At the beginning of the current conflict we had a chance to fix our mistake and that should be more than enough to justify the "remaking of Iraq". "More than we could handle"? With the current administration it couldn't be handled efficiently and is unknowable now if it really is. In the end if it was we will fail if not it won't.

4. See new evil. :ok

5. Human nature at home is human nature abroad. :
This is a broad point that I agree with. However a general point does not apply to all cases. In some parts and different times in Iraq help was very much needed. Did we do it to often, yes. If we had set them up for success from the start this would be largely irrelevant to Iraq.

6. Judge the warrior.
"Eventually, I realized that the idea of nonpartisanship meant little next to the lethal reality of incompetence. Corn was right: You have to decide whether you trust the administration, not just the idea of the war. Other Republican administrations have passed that test. Not this one."
I agree. We are where we are. I don't think anyone can say that they know that Bush would be this incompetent before we went in. There we signs but they didn't point to it being this bad. It doesn't change where we are now.

7. Know your limits. : I agree it is a lesson, but i don't think it would works in the case of Iraq or if it even applies

8. Consider the opportunity cost.
"Countries that might have supported us in a strike on Iran won't do so now, since we led them astray. Our coffers have been emptied to pay for the Iraq occupation. Our troops are physically and spiritually exhausted. In the name of strength, Bush has made us weak."
I agree with this as well. Just don't think it is quite that bleak. The situation can't be changed under Bush but can under a new administration and quickly. Unless the next president goes around with "we're so sorry", "we were so wrong" or "well if you don't think we should" type of statements it will only get worse.

I have the hardest time with "judge the warrior". As true as it may be I can't pull support now because of that. Is food for thought as always.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Honor for good or bad

I vegging in front of the tv as i do far to often. Watching two what have so far been lackluster shows on Fox (entertainment not news). Honor enters into the second show, so a brief rundown. Serial rapist and murder kills nun. Detectives find one surviver and she doesn't want testify. they convince her to and promise to protect her. In flash backs to the 16th,17th century?, throughout the lead detective's girlfriend is raped buy the lord of the house?. He makes an insensitive comment then decides to duel the lord. Kills him and leaves town because it wasn't his place to challenge. Flash forward the witness leaves protection and is found died. Turns out she lost a sister back in India to an honor killing. Her other sister called her to meet and her father killed her.

early on our detective friend( 400 yrs old to explain the 2-300 yr flashback, it is tv) laments that honor doesn't exist in America. I am with him. Later after killing the lord he ponders whether it was honorable to kill him of if it was just revenge and if thats all honor really was, well something like that. i should have written this while it was still fresh. At the time i thought it was a little odd. At the end there are the comments about "how is it honorable the kill someone for being raped" and "she deserved better than that". True, but looking at it now, are they taking the extremes and bash honor in general? Not where i was going.

The thought i was having which is the more palatable version today is the only thing evil needs to win is for good men to do nothing. To extend that one does they think is right despite the legal and social consequences as well as ignoring personal hardship. In short honor. The problem is when it goes to far,no. When the good man thinks he is one but is not. Killing an unapologetic rapist i have no problem with. I likely couldn't do it myself but i would not be able to send someone else to jail for it. Of course i am not sure that they would even let the fact that the "victim" was a rapist. However killing your daughter for not being "pure" anymore is inexcusable. In that case i think it is more a selfish move to protect his own honor. Is disowning her not enough?

In the end i am saying that as much as i like to encourage honorable actions that means encouraging actions of those who think they are honorable. I think i can live with that. I do wish the law was more flexible. Should i face jail for hitting someone once after they untruthfully slurring members of my family repeatedly to put it nicely?

More Obama Speach

Its early and we will see how it all plays. As i said their were to many loose ends.(Didn't see a permalink so you got the whole thing.)

Reactions, Yours and the MSM's (Gee, I Wonder If They Liked It! I'm On Pins and Needles and Hanging On Tenterhooks!)




Ok, let me see if I understood this speech correctly:

1. I was in church when Wright said some bad things.

2. I didn't like the bad things he said.

3. I never, ever spoke up about how I felt about the bad things.

4. I continued to go to the church even after he said the bad things.

5. All of which is irrelevant because my grandmother used some racil epithets.

Did I get it right?

Yeah that's right.

/David Puddy

Their are so many parts to this thing its hard to get a handle on. I look for good ideas where i can find them. that usually means having to ignore a lot of bad ideas. i would not have stuck around with the kinds of thing that were said or what ever the equivalent for me would be. Even if it were just a faint strain of victimization. the ideas would have to be very very useful and informative. May be Obama feels that way. I would never take my kids though. I gets old trying to sort out good, bad and really bad ideas and for 20 yrs, not me. It may not have been all that difficult if you know the source well but trying to explain it to the public or your kids. Just one aspect of this.

Black Liberation Theology, the Doctrine of Barack Obama's Church

If this is what the church believes that he needed to make a much strong repudiation of the church it self not just the Wright. And he took his kids?

Here is the text of the speech. (1st place i found it) I may try to parse it some more latter .

Obama: We can move beyond some of our racial wounds

He does give Wright a bit of a pass. If you listen closely he does have of a point. It is a fine line that i think will be lost by most. I hope that Obama isn't trying to just dodge the whole thing or what his real views are. i just don't think it's going to be enough.

Fox 2 short stories and CNN running the #1 issue show. a little odd for the 1st hour after.

Obama Speech reaction

It did for me what it needed. I have said that a black candidate would need echo the sentiments of Bill Cosby some years ago. Obama at this point made it clear that the victim playing isn't constructive. It has and does though shape opinions and feelings. i wish he had made that point more clearly. Some of the useful examples he uses are what i consider a kind of political trick. they help make the point but feel convenient for the one using them.

He slides back into Democratic dogma. Heath care, the war, and immigration etc. The people with a different color skin are not the problem, the big corporations and lobbyists are. That dogma is what it is. he believes it and thats a big part of why i would never vote for him. Politicians with no vision, no leadership, short sightedness, and ability to say i was wrong or let's try it and if it doesn't work will try again are.

It explained the race divide. It left to many openings for attack from all side, not meaningful attacks but attaks none the less. And as you would expect a strong Democratic and socialist overtones.

as i watch fox now at 10:52 they seem to be avoiding the whole thing.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In Depth, John McWhorter

I freely admit I don't have the depth of knowledge i should, specifically with people i should have at least a passing awareness of. I only became familiar with Hitchens after seeing him on In Depth. John Mcwhorter falls in to this category. I really do find those not easily put into a camp or ideology to be worth the time. New ideas come for those places.

I have alway thought that a victim hood mentality is self defeating. I never understood why leaders would continue to claim to be victims and never how to work past or around it. I will admit to being one of those wide eyed white people he mentions, that said i am still not convinced that large amounts of help is all that useful until some change in mentality happens in at least a few more people. The Obama and his church issue this week might shed some more light on this. He also talks about the tangible mistakes that lead to the race issues. the more recent, last 40 yrs or so mistakes not the hundred plus ones that little can be done about now.

Insights into writing proses, language and being a senior fellow are points of interest as well. I wonder if the senior fellow pay much and if they are hiring. I do find the work done by some of these think tanks of interest. I'll try and get a list together, most of there work is online and easy to find. Any who, John McWhorter In Depth, very relevant and worth the time in light of events this week.

Friday, March 14, 2008

JAG, 6 years and Frustration

I have been trying more sleep at night, so I am up in the morning and have has the chance to watch the reruns of JAG, the latter ones. The show has been off the air for some time but they are talking about the war on terror and 9/11. Just saying its been 6 yrs doesn't sink in with out some sign post to look at. I remember a conversation, just one, with my grandmother about Bush and the war. I think the news was on and she made a comment. She was in the war is bad always camp, except for WWII of course. She has been dead for two years and that was 2-3 yrs before that. i can't believe so much has happened my life and the life of this country in last 6 yrs.

It frustrates me that we have tried to do so much and have achieved so little. i am not saying we haven't had any accomplishments, we have. I just thought at the beginning we would fight this head on and have it mostly wrapped up in ten years and under control in 15-20 years. It looks as if we talk big and in reality are just slowing the progress of the terror agenda. i don't understand the general apathy. Why we didn't bring our diversity of thought, technological achievements and just general ingenuity to bear on this thing (and still don't and probably won't) and get it over with, i haven't got got a clue. i get a hard felling in my chest every time i think about it. It is not anger any more. It might be a frustration that i can't get past or understand. I am hopping it is not an acceptance of our weakness, of a slow slide back, or that people are only so strong, so bright and because of that history is a cycle that we will repeat over and over.

General Rant part 2

I checked the news just to see if any thing had blown up overnight. In five minutes i was yelling no at it again, seems to be an increasing habit. Ok, Obama statement on his pastor. He calls him kind of his crazy uncle. Really!? how about crazy? part of the problem? after he said those thing i had to question everything he has ever said and will no longer listen to what he has said. This guy married them. did he take his kids to listen to this hateful nonsense. The pastor plays directly into the victim crap that is one of the big problems. how about preaching ways to succeed instead of poor me crap.

A 1yr stop to earmarks couldn't even get passed last night what a surprise. oh and may be we shouldn't mess with the tax code right now as things continue to spiral downward. Leave the Bush tax cuts alone for good or bad, just for the sake of stability if nothing else. More spending on heath care and education. No new money for education. If i recall correctly D.C. spends about the most per student and has the worst educated students. the pace is a pit, not just because of the education. More for heath care. there is going to be more just because of increased cost. but no new programs till we figure out how to keep the costs in check, that should be the goal.

They need one of those children at play signs for the capital!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vacuous Nonsense

I used to love watching the news channels. The endless useless political nonsense that dominates news is pissing me of more and more. Glen Beck (Don't endorse him completely) opened with the idea that he's not covering the politics any more. They are all going in the insane direction, not doing us any good, the politicians. the coverage is a vacuous distraction from any real solutions to any thing.

Governor Spitzer Apologizes After New York Times Reveals Link To Prostitution Ring I don't care we have been down this type of road before, the stories are the same and you know who is going to say what. If there is some sort of government mismanagement or what ever prosecute him and be done with it.

Kos Kidz Freaking Out Over Geraldine Ferraro kos bs oh fun
Obama, Clinton Unqualified to Serve as CINC
McCain works to refill campaign coffers ok so

and on and on I was hopping for some issues with it being an election year

Friday, March 7, 2008

Libertarian investigation

I have been trying to, well find a label that encompasses my view of the world. Labels aren't the best route to go, but it be nice to point to an ideology that i mostly agree with. Any who there is this: Why I am not a libertarian. I have been acquainted with libertarian thought in passing. Basically a constitution first party, there is more to it but for now we will leave it there.

This article is dense and just about over my head so maybe i missed something.
"If you are not a libertarian, and if this sub specie aeternitatis thing strikes you as somehow dubious or shady, I feel no hesitation in informing you with absolute confidence that the common concept of progress, which perhaps you are operating under, is a lie and a delusion and a snare. At least inasmuch as that term applies to the problem of human government, and not physics, oil painting, or backgammon. There is no reason to think the political designs of 2007 are any better than those of 1907, 1807, or 7. In fact, there is quite a bit of reason to think that the truth is just the opposite."
If you reach back far enough you arrive at a tribal model, i think we have progressed past that a little. As for the 20th century learning what doesn't work i think of as progress.
"And this is the first reason I am not a libertarian. Libertarianism is, more or less, basically, the ideology of the American Revolution. And the American Revolution was, in my own personal opinion, more or less, basically, a criminal outrage of the mob - led by leaders who were either unscrupulous, deluded, or both."
He may have a point. Don't contribute to conspiracy what you can to incompetence. Incompetence on the English part, and contributing conspiracy on the American's part. I don't know enough of detailed history to know for sure. I think it would have been pretty hard to get any real representation an ocean away in those days. So some of both?

After slogging though all that he goes into property. i know vaguely that libertarians have a view on property. i never quit got a clear picture of it here, but it was a different way of looking at it for me. Over all it was in lightning, not that i blindly buy it all. He has a rather entertaining style that i enjoy even if it is over my head from time to time, yes i had to look up words.

Take a look around, there are several other in lightning an entertaining post if you can make it though them.

More bad news

I woke up to news of a 60,000 job loss, more foreclosures (some 900,000 right now), oil prices, more bad weather, and a lack luster stock marked to say the least. I am sure there are any number of other things. Oh the string of odd kidnappings and murders of families and kids that are taking a bake seat to the glorious election of the next dear leader. I am not sure how odd but i keep hearing little tidbits over the past 2-3 wks.

I don't have any real suggestions any more. It does look as if Washington isn't helping the matter. At this moment maybe they should at least talk as if they are going to make some server cuts, make it look as if they finally understand that the debt is a noose around all our necks. Start moving interest rates back. Stop the dollar bleeding, literally stop printing money. yes is more symbolic than anything else but couldn't hurt much now.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

14 Characteristics as part of Fascim

I ran across this some time ago and decided to let it go but is come up several more times. Lucky for me others have taken it on.

The original list i think and more in depth from the same guy.

From the liberal side of things, the complete crap and A little more in depth

i think there is a some what better argument from the right.

And finally more to the point and a fine site to.

and this, it was the last place i saw it and were some of the links came from(in the comments)

As for Jonah Goldberg (my earlier comments) he is a conservative and may be throwing it at the liberals a little much.

The list of 14 characteristics are to me an outward manifestation of fascism and Goldberg' take, yes i realize that he's not the first and maybe not the best, is more about the philosophy behind it. One is fascist actions the other is fascist philosophy or motives. Using military to patrol the streets, fascist action( i haven't seen that). Requiring everyone to have health insurance, fascist idea(Mass.?). It may be good for you but you have no choice and of course thats how it starts.

20 Things This Guy Learned from His Life

I like list like most so there is this: 20 Things I'm Glad Life Taught

Starting on a dark note, I for a long time didn't really understand what causes one say to take their own life. I have, i think, gotten some idea in the past two or three years. Not that i have "stared into the abyss" but i have seen the edge. There is real darkness in people. I don't think you can get a understanding of the world, people and your self until you get some glimpses of it.

These list aren't as useful as you might think. The thing to you have to know is hinted at in the comments and intro and only recently become crystal clear to me. That is these thing do not soak in just reading them or even understanding them in a literal sense. Until you come to the idea repeatedly on your own it has far less meaning and is not part of your character, part of your consciousness or the way you approch the world. Call it wisdom? I have been wanting to write on the matter for a while so I'll stop thinking past whats in front of me, and pick it up latter.

There is wisdom in most things. No exception with this but it is a little to bright and shiny, new agey and to me is not all that deep. Not saying there it's all wrong, just some observations.

Hitting the high/low points:
3. Where you are doesn't determine where you can go: can be used as an excuse for allowing current failures

9. You have many talents: how do you define talent, many things can be learned and practiced till they may resemble talent but i think that is in all of us

10. Don't work hard with out reward: very slippery slope, does delayed gratification ring any bells

11. Money does bring happiness: he's not saying money= happiness, more like money make happiness easier to a point (more discussion in the comments)

12. Someone always has it worse. We have all said that. Is it useful? Does it help? its never really helped me. Okay there is a guy with cancer right now, that doesn't relate at all to my day at work.

16. Most people are nice: Doesn't mean i what to know them. "would you like some tea. Aren't the bows in Mr. Fluffy's hair so nice. i just..." I.Q point right out he window. And i doesn't mean they aren't insane. "Would you like some tea. Boy that Hitler was so misunderstood we should bring that back..." Do i run or figure out how to have them committed, decisions, decisions.

17. Words and thought control everything: i from earth where are you from? There is a minuscule gain of truth but should never be stated this way or with out a couple paragraphs of explanation.

18.Your view is reality: "If you see something as exciting and positive, then that's what it is." I moved in with my grandmother 2+ yrs ago to, as it turns out, watch her die of cancer 3 months later only to be called away one day, month before she died, a couple of weeks before Christmas, to a little later carry our family dog in my arms, still haveing seizures to the vet to be put to sleep. WTF? Exciting and positive? An extreme example but still WTF?

20. You can change the world: If i piss on my front yard that changes the world. It is a matter of degree. If you really dramatically change the world you won't live long enough to see it. I don't mean you will be killed for it. I mean big changes take time and effort, usual a lot of both.

Read through the comment and make your own judgments on how deep, insightful, useful and/ or wrong it is.

Two other links i may tackle another day from the same place.

Do You Recognize the 7 Ingredients of Maturity?

Things I Wish I Knew...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ohio and NAFTA

I can't speak to the facts here but i have no reason not to accept them. The Dems have been making an argument, cheered on by the some people in Ohio that NAFTA is the cause of all their problems. As they always do they have an answer, another useless and ridiculous one. The facts that i accept. the decline in the manufacturing losses in Ohio started in the early 80's, before Bush, before Clinton and before NAFTA. Ohio has the fifth highest tax rate in the US and has gotten there on a pretty steep incline.

Given that, NAFTA is not to blame. It is the fault of the people in Ohio and little can be done on the federal level to change that. The second complaint is the large number of foreclosures. That in the end is on the heads of the individuals. they signed the papers, not the sate or fed. There may have been some hard sell or a little misdirection but little to no illegal acts and in no way wide spread.

The solutions, well i am unclear exactly what they are but we have to include global warming and pollution as part of the fix. What does that have to job and housing loss in Ohio?

So media ( i am really starting to hate that term) have spent how many days on this? Was it a complete waste of time? Candidates for the President of the United States are having an argument over an issue, you have to cover it even if it is completely ridiculous. How many silly little tiffs have there been? The picture. The plagiarism charge.

These things are not only pointless and distracting they are they slowly over time warping our perception of issues, of what's important and, the worst reality.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Free Lunch

Caught this on Book Tv. Should be at he top but won't post the video till Monday.
David Cay Johnston, author of "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You With the Bill)"

I try to say away from those that are blaming the rich or corporations for problems. I am willing to listen to the reason behind a subsidy thought i often think that it is a bad idea. He doesn't blame them. It sounds to me from this that mainly we are and to a lesser extent our government are stupid or fell asleep on the job, also stupid. Companies are out to make money, they are not evil they just do what the are supposed to do. We all know that so if we offer them free money they will take it. From what he is saying and i am to young to know better that around 1980 we decided that it was okay for health insurance to go from non profit to for profit. What? Why? i don't know and care. just fix it.

He also references numbers from other countries and how they work on various subjects. this scares me, but he wasn't pushing the single payer for health care, although it seemed to be the one he favored. He cover a variety of subject and covers problems well, the solution i might disagree on, but very informative.

There is also a web site with some small out takes

The Reason interview and one from NPR