What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dis and Dat

There were just so many things to comment about recently.

Endeavour is back in space. And what is it about the Canadians and their robotic arms? I'll have to ask Karl Schroeder when I see him next. They're also delivering the first third of a science/experimental module designed by the Japanese. It's a space bound double wide!

Evil Monkey is throwing some interesting advice to beginning writers. While most commentors focus on "(4) Read books you don’t like" my personal fave is "(7) Nothing worth doing is easy." Sure, reading what you don't like can teach lessons, and I used to do that. Until I realized I was studying the wrong work. Life being short, I decided my time would be better spent studying and dissecting works I liked. However, I did learn more dissecting skills reading things I didn't like, that enjoying the heck out of what I was reading. On this vein, I also sometimes watch commercials (it's a habit) and try to imagine the conference room sales pitch of those I hate. I have also been known to tune in "Deal or No-Deal" just to figure out what's so interesting to people. The only thing I can get is the faux tension (gee, Howie went to commercial just when he's about to reveal something, go figure) and the chicks in baby-doll dresses.

The Governor of NY seems about to self-implode over a sex scandal. Seems he paid $4300 for a $5500 call girl (which, hey, good negotiation skills, very important in an executive) and then traveled over state lines. What, Washington DC doesn't have hookers? Yeah, I don't believe that. Then there's the moving of large sums of personal money between private accounts (not illegal as far as I know), but the banks had to notify the IRS because of those wonderful 80's drug laws. So, other than being a schmuck about it, a little to previous self rightous out it, and then juggling badly, is going on here. Sure, that kind of money seems way to high for me to contemplate, except on the "I wonder what all you get for that?" But now the Republican Leader of the House is calling for impeachment. What is it with Republicans and sex scandals (in the opposite party) that they get all hot and bothered about? And still, way too much to pay. Maybe that's what their upset about.

And then finally, there's this new bond fund the government is starting. Banks will be allowed to purchase government backed bonds with the devalued "subprime" mortgage securities they hold. WTF? Isn't this like taking out a home equity loan (secured debt) to pay off credit cards (unsecured debt)? And doing this right before declaring bankruptcy. Not a Good Idea(tm). So, we'll give a good investment vehicle (government bonds) in exchange for the same securities that have been bringing down the value of everything (bundled subprime mortgage backed securities). And Wall Street is happy about it. Hell, they should be. "You'll take this crappy thing that's losing value hourly off my hands and give me a sure return." I'd be happy about that.

And somebody in the news finally figured out that the government has been cooking the numbers on inflation. Mostly it's been on the cost of milk kinds of stories.

Also, gas was $3.45 a gallon on the way home. Yippie! Devalued dollar (a declared strategy of the Bush Administration, seriously, it was a part of his stump speeches during the 2000 election) repercussions here we come!


Todd Wheeler said...

Banks will be allowed to purchase government backed bonds with the devalued "subprime" mortgage securities they hold.

Can't remember; is that how the savings and loans disaster got resolved as well?

Nathan said...

On Spitzer,

This one really doesn't count as a Republican/Democrat thing.

It's about hypocrisy: While the guy was an attorney general prosecuting escort services and then as Governor "cleaning up Albany", he was spending tens of thousands of dollars on hookers. It wasn't an isolated incident. It wasn't some poor tramp on the street. It was money going to a highly profitable criminal enterprise.

Its about stupidity: As a former Attorney General, he certainly knew that money transfers of the types he was making get reported by the banks...and that they're usually the very red flag to get himself investigated.

Its about Arrogance: Spitzer got elected with almost 70% of the vote. He then proceeded to piss off everyone on both sides of the aisle with misguided initiatives and bullying behavior. He launched an investigation into the ranking Republican solely out of malice. Shortly after taking office, he was on the phone with another State Senator and while attempting to get the guy to go along with him, said, "Listen, I'm a f - - - ing steamroller, and I'll roll over you and anybody else."

Yeah. Not sorry to be rid of him.

Steve Buchheit said...

Todd, nope we just allowed them to die. We did give the banks loans to try and keep them afloat. Or at least that's what I remember.

Nathan, oh sure. Yeah, all those things pretty much lead to him to resign. I mean, it was pretty much a given that he would have to leave. However, having the Republican Leader of the House shouting that f he didn't resign by Friday he was going to impeach, and practically be overflowing with glee didn't really help that side. It was way too vengeful. Sure, NY politics is a contact sport. Having been a part of a recall drive, once you're assured of victory, it's best to just be quiet. Victory laps quickly turn into walking out the door (just like Spitzer's prosecutions). Your own petard is a rough thing to be hoisted on. While the House Republican Leader may be cheering thinking it's just Spitzer's downfall, he's creating his own petard.

While I wasn't hoisted, I did screw up by not confirming the existence of other people available to step into the council seat. To be fair to me, a different councilman resigned earlier than was expected, opening two seats. Then I had to cowboy up. Five years later and I'm still cowboy-ing up. Unintended consequences.