Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Divine Vida

What if Dante Alighieri had chosen to write Cantos of Heaven instead of Hell?

"You will not need any money for the next two days." -- Tia Dora's first words to me after we disembarked from the ferry to dine an the 'getaway isle' of Itaparica, Day 2 of trip.

"La vida dura." -- summary of life with the Lillios Brasilian clan which consists the above, along with a run on the beach, a dip in the bathwater ocean located about 1/4 a mile away from the house, naps in the hammock, churrascado grilled meat off the skewer, mouth-watering fresh mangoes gathered from the yard, and other freshly-made cuisine at our disposal on an ongoing basis.

"We have 5 computers for 4 people." -- Paulo, walking us through his swank urban Rio 4-bedroom pad left at the disposal of Tony and myself after he treated us to inordinate amounts of Brasilian beef and laughter before whisking out of town to be with his family.

These increasingly intense Cantos of Heaven scratch the surface of Brazil, December 2008.

Brasil, Dec 2008: Pelo to Itaparica

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I beg your...

"Extraordinary." -- former Justice Department Attorney
"Quite remarkable." -- (I'm lost as to whether this would be an offense or defense) attorney

This story just gets better and better as it unfolds:

Pardon Lasts Just One Day for Developer in Fraud Case

Administration officials and experts in pardon law said they were not aware of a prior instance of a president’s withdrawing a pardon after it was announced. “This is extraordinary,” said Margaret Colgate Love, who served as pardon attorney at the Justice Department in the 1990s.

The Justice Department official maintained that Mr. Toussie would have no grounds to argue that the president could not take back a pardon....

The Toussie episode comes as more lawyers appear to be going directly to the White House for consideration of pardons, rather than through Justice Department channels, according to people involved in the process. The most notorious recent instance came in 2001, when President Bill Clinton pardoned the fugitive financier Marc Rich, even though the Justice Department had not offered a formal recommendation.
Which, of course, preceded the other pardon Bill had to ask for.

It's heart-warming to know that even partisanship can be trumped by special interests.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


If the symphony of forces colluding to create our current economic meltdown isn't enough to get you down, throw in some gubnatorial malfeasance, medical misrepresentation and overt fiduciary egregiousness and (if you're anything close to human), you'll soon be in the same place of despair as me.

But the best antidote to despair: The Motor City! Where all things real become surreal.

"It's the Cadillac of mini-vans."
-- Chili Palmer

Friday, December 12, 2008

Economic rap-sody

  • Wall St./Main St.
  • Innovation/Regulation.
  • Short-Term gain/ Long-Term pain.
  • S&P. SEC. Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae. Fed-e-ral Reserve.
  • Overreaching homeowners. Mercenary mortgage brokers. Delusionary derivative creators. Rogue real estate developers. Parochial pension fund managers. Icelandic gubernators. United Autoworkers.
"God made humans upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes."
- Solomon

Today we bling, for tomorrow we die.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Admiration for all things prophetic -cntd-

Do you know his aol account?

I've admitted to geek adulation a few times here; the latest on the radar (though hardly new) is Michael Lewis:

Lewis: [Five years from now] ...a job at Goldman Sachs is about as glamorous as a job at the Chase Manhattan Bank was in 1985 -- it's just not what the brightest sparks want to do. The neatest jobs in finance are venture capital and private equity, but they are smaller, niche jobs. Generally, the financial services sector shrinks quite a bit. There are many fewer people making, taking financial risks.

Greer: And so Michael, I know after Liar's Poker, you had said that you hoped that "some bright kid, say at Ohio State University, who really wanted to be an oceanographer, would read my book, spurn the offer from Morgan Stanley and set out to sea." So are we going to see more oceanographers?

Lewis: I think they are not even going to want to read my book. I think this era on Wall Street will have finally come to an end, and people will look at Liar's Poker as a document from the distant past

I wish we could sell CraigsList postings on eBay....:

2008-12-03, 10:22AM EST
E1 Asset Management is a rapidly growing Wall Street firm with 175+ employees, excellent support staff and top of the line technology. US regulated (SEC, FINRA). We provide a safe home and a clean disclosure record to build and maintain your future business. We want to develop top producers for the long term. Ex-Mortgage, Insurance or Real Estate Sales professionals welcome. Excellent opportunity for recent college graduates! Must be authorized to work in the United States! Paid training & excellent "on the job" training. Send resumes to Rachel Ryu at or call her today at 212.425.2670. Learn what it takes to survive and flourish on Wall Street. For more information about our company please visit our website at

Blogerapy (or, Somebody Stop Me)

Elsewhere I've alluded to the allegedly therapeutic value of this potentially self-absorbed exercise currently known to us as blogging. A cursory glance at the number of my posts per month will prove instructive for anyone with actual interest in the degree of my internal angst in a given period (omit the travelogues from this analysis).

But hark: while both I and my external world seem to be leveling off (omit the Motor City and the economy :-0), I've undergone a change....insanity: I still need to blog! I MUST, in fact, blog!

This post is a perfect case in exists, despite me not really having anything to say....

Am I now officially and unhealthily dependent upon a medium that will never move me to a better place but just feels so good I can't stop?

It's free, though.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's a word thing

"Someone got access to [CheckFree's] account credentials and was able to long in," Wade said. "There was no breach in our system."
Maybe Wade thinks "access" is not a "breach" so long as it's done knowingly?
...or that "breach" only involves violence?
...or that "system" only involves software?

I'm trying, Wade, but these clarifications aren't making me feel better.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And then

Pre-entitlement-crisis bliss

This year's third trip to New York was going swimmingly:
  • Redeye care of EliteRewards: easier than ever.
  • JFK meetup with my transportation concierge and travel buddy Christina: seamless.
  • "Check-in" to Caspian's Castle aka the Dorman Brownstone Residence: smooth as silk.
  • Spin at New York City Sports Club 3 blocks up Columbus: endorphin-rich.
  • Times Square Church and Redeemer Pres and meeting up with friends: all good.
  • Coffee in Greenwich Village: realllyyy good.
  • Observing uninhibited breakdancing in subway: really FUN.
  • Ellis Island: wow. Required viewing for any anti-immigration American.
  • Moby's "Teany" tea shop in Lower East Side: though failing to satiate, swank.
  • Real Turkish kebabs next to Teany's: satisfying.
  • Central Park on a calm just-before-Thanksgiving day: dreamy.
  • The Met: Big. The Met's Renaissance art exhibit on love: replete with timeless themes.
  • Culture and thinking: everywhere.
  • Patty's new digs: phat.
And then....
I'd like to think that the theft of my iPhone was so destabilizing and disruptive for more erudite reasons than feeling the instinctive sting of injustice as a victim of theft...both by the NYSC member as well as AT&T, which does not provide insurance and locks you into a new contract when your uninsurable device is stolen but ah I digress...sort of....

No, I'm jonesing to claim more sophisticated reasons for my indignation, far better articulated by the indescribably sage media visionary Marshall McLuhan, who wrote that, in fact, our media "shapes and controls the scale and form of human interaction." Yes, of course! I was in fact so poignantly paralyzed by this loss precisely because media technology (of which the iPhone proves incredibly illustrative) "alter(s) our sense ratios (and) patterns of perception"....and "configure(s) the awareness and experience of each one of us."

AppleStore: cathedral of current-day thing-worship

Fortunately my umbilical cord to the modern world was restored within hours, after a trip to the divinely salvific AppleStore on 5th & Park and the calm, steady hand of Jonathan Clem, Genius helper, and ever-solid travel and life companion Christina who did the final iTunes hookups later on and thoroughly ignored my impudent whining (who is how old again?).

AppleStore professional Jonathan Clem Brechtan-ly takes on the horror of my loathesome prolifigate spending so I can stay in my happy place and focus on the mileage credit....

So by 3pm I was back. Back to perceiving, attuning, intuiting, processing, communicating and connecting the way I've so quickly become accustomed to doing and feeling fully justified for my reaction to the whole debacle given McLuhan's advanced observations.

And then....
I read about the Wal-Mart employee trampled to death on aptly-named Black Friday - a tragic picture of the sickness of our consumer culture which has led us to our current economic condition. Perhaps the grimmest thing I read:
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been in line since yesterday morning.'....They kept shopping."
At what point do we become so embroiled in our own existence that we lose all sense of right and wrong? Of the well-being of others?
I hope I will always be awake enough to avoid the gentle slopes and instead keenly identify where the signposts of my behavior are pointing to ensure ongoing, eternal course-correction.

NYSC: home to spin classes and iPhone thieves.

Re-connected and pacified at Rockefeller Center that evening.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bring on the new

Or maybe not so new.

Tony Campolo, for one, has been around forever. Yet I'm thrilled to report that his prophetic-while-pragmatic voice has remained consistent.* Campolo is mentioned in The Root's piece on faith implications of the New Administration...sample quote:
Where Bush has been a Christian imperialist, Obama will be a Christian pluralist.
Rather than "new", however, I'd prefer to think of this transition as a "correction": and not just back to the pre-Bush era, but a bit in, to about two THOUSAND years ago, when Christ ushered in an era where true change can and does only take place at the heart (and not at the political) level. 

Also not new is how much this approach disappoints zealots, and back then, too.

*and just learned Campolo's esteemed comrade Jim Wallis is a fellow Detroiter: hallelujah! We'll take what we can get! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Neural networks

I pride myself on the breadth of my network. There are, however, reassuring exceptions.

You and this LinkedIn user don’t know anyone in common.

You can only view the profiles of users within your network. However, as you add connections, you may discover people you know in common.

Am I reading too much into the color theme here?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's that time

The signs are evident:
  • Wincing at the offended glare when I gently brushed someone's foot on MUNI.
  • Asking the gym member for clarification when her "sorry" was supposed to be heard as "can you please move over?" (this direct request was never verbalized).
  • Becoming enamored with New Journalism again.

Yep: it's time for my New York fix. They seem to be getting more frequent.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Geek adulation o' the day

Current prophetic flava: Marshall McLuhan.

While he is most known for the "medium is the message" tagline, I'm learning that this man indeed left us with a vast treasure-trove of advanced and prescient observations with respect to media.* Space and A.D.D. constraints prevent us from doing justice to this man's thinking, so for now, let's apply his sagacity to some media du jour -- namely:

Facebook...and yes, a Palinesque shout-out to the beloved Blogger you find yourself currently reading. These partially constitute "Web 2.0"..."social networking"...which is likely now just a part of our daily lives (even for us luddites), and are creating whole new ways of engaging and interacting.

Of course, this is not news. That is, until you realize just how significantly the protocols and nuances of our communication are changing because of these new media:
  1. The development of what some social scientists have termed “ambient awareness" which is "very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye"...only digitally so via "pokes", news feeds and posts.
  2. The realization that this sort of micro-broadcasting -- like other forms of free speech -- will create conflicts. Even the idealistically liberterian founders of Facebook were confronted with that this week.
And so what?

So when I post something on Facebook, it gets "fed" - or pushed - to many many people who may or may not be up for seeing what I have to share (see video clip at the bottom of this post for a comedic but accurate portrayal of just how special "Facebook friendships" are :-). But, on the other hand, if you choose to "come" to this blog, that is more of a "pull" than a "push" kind of thing. Subtle? Makes all the difference. This became all too clear this election season, when people posted news articles, clips, videos, etc. that took ambient awareness to all sorts of levels because they were prolifically fed on "friends'" feeds with just one click.

But enough of my bumbling: I'd rather defer to my new flava Marshall, who used 4 questions ("the tetrad") to evaluate in a more lucid and structured way what the implications are of such media innovations. They follow here; my suggestion would be to fill in the blanks as you see them with respect to our current "Web 2.0" platforms....with a particular emphasis on #4:
  1. "What does it (the medium or technology) extend?" In the case of a car it would be the foot, in the case a phone it would be the voice.
  2. "What does it make obsolete?" Again, one might answer that the car makes walking obsolete, and the phone makes smoke signals and carrier pigeons unnecessary.
  3. "What is retrieved?" The sense of adventure or quest is retrieved with the car, and the sense of community returns with the spread of telephone service. One might consider the rise of the cross-country vacation that accompanied the spread of automobile ownership.
  4. "What does the technology reverse into if it is over-extended?" An over-extended automobile culture longs for the pedestrian lifestyle, and the over-extension of phone culture engenders a need for solitude.
* McLuhan predicted over 40 yrs ago that the world would be "connected" as a "Global Village"; analogous prophetic discoveries of late include Roubini for Tocqueville for Democracy...Mike Judge to America....

And the promised video clip:

Friday, November 14, 2008


oops wrong soundbyte. I meant to say:



U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling (who hails from the one other state besides Michigan that causes an inordinate amount of grief to our nation*), latched onto the "bailout" bandwagon when he told (more grief) Fox News: “You wonder where bailout-mania will end.”

Mr. Hensarling said American automakers should bear responsibility for their failed operations. “They are producing high-cost products that consumers don’t want to buy. And so now we have Washington on the verge of giving them a bailout simply because we have all heard of them and they have high-priced lobbyists.”

Ok sorry: this is where I must now intervene...and for reasons beyond a feral need to defend my beleaguered hometown. Because, not only is the above statement simply untrue (consumers DO want to buy gas guzzlers when gas is cheap), but there are several things that differentiate the Big 3 (an admittedly nostalgic descriptor these days) automakers from the financial services firms. Namely, the automakers have**:

  • high fixed costs for manufacturing
  • a heavily unionized workforce that adds a prohibitive cost element and restricts competitiveness globally
  • an extensive supply chain that impacts various elements of the economy (steel, textiles, electronics, manufacturing)
  • environmental implications which have only recently been uncovered and require regulation...nearly one century after the industry structured itself without these considerations
  • an aging labor demographic that, if abandoned by the existing pension commitments, stands to significantly...significantly drain the federal government's social services

None of the above conditions apply to the Wall Street firms. And, none of the above conditions are remotely likely to be re-created in another industry any time soon. And as such, the moral hazard moniker being used to avoid aiding the Big 3 simply doesn't stick here.

Oh, and isn't the proposal on the table for the automakers just for about $25B of the (as of today) $700B+ in assistance funds? So if moral hazard is irrelevant and just 1/28 of the $ set aside thus far is all we're talking about, what is the real story behind the lack of political will?

As much as I really wanted to get the hell out of Dodge (viva la double entendre) when I left the Great Lakes State, I sure don't want it to be a total black star.

*and provides yet even more grief in his role as chair of the paradoxically-named Republican Study Committee.

** credit for this list goes in part to Salon poster Elephantman who provided much insight into the unique history & economics of the auto industry

Monday, November 10, 2008

Geek Undoing

Thank you Nicholas Kristof for articulating so beautifully why the most intelligent people can still come up lacking for me:
An intellectual is a person interested in ideas and comfortable with complexity. Intellectuals ... appreciate ...that the world abounds in uncertainties and contradictions, and — President Bush, lend me your ears — that leaders self-destruct when they become too rigid and too intoxicated with the fumes of moral clarity.
Dingdingdingding: it's not raw intelligence, but rather it's that need to discover and pursue ideas that does me in. Partially because this belies a sense of humility in admitting to not commanding all the facts, and knowing that there is more that always lies beyond the grasp of the knower....

Talk To Me!!

And to my beloved interventionists concerned with my priorities: have no fear. I remain promiscuous in my infatuations! Latest exhibit: Nate Silver, who not only embodies all of the above (as do O and Rahmbo), but took it one step further:


And he also gets the bonus credit of rescuing my home state back from the clutches of obsolescence.

Go Tigers.

Flavah of the day: this fellow Michigander is geekdom, business and baseball all in one package! I'm undone.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I am no respecter of persons...

....when the person legitimately commands my respect.

Barely 48 hours in and no prisoners are being taken.

In 1651, Thomas Hobbes outlined the dangers of unadulterated libertarianism, stating it leads to a life that is "nasty, brutish, and short".*

In 2008, the New Administration is ensuring this doesn't happen. Act 1: Rahmbo, whom the Chicago Tribune has rather described as "profane, ruthless and savvy."

Bring it on, O!

While I have always appreciated the Brits....

....I am really growing in my appreciation of Israelis. Lest anyone accuse me of being starry-eyed for just ONE man.

*this phrase actually became emblazened in my memory as The Red Herring magazine's unofficial legal counsel circa 1995.... attorneys out there, please take no offense despite intent

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

Hope that I will no longer be flabbergasted.
Hope that I will no longer be reduced to a fetal-positioned wet noodle.

Despite the merciless, incessant, unrelenting inanity, I will remain....audaciously hopeful.

Please stay here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some things bear repeating

For example.... perfection. To resume my rhetorical questioning (albeit this time in the most positive light):

How often can we truly bask in the presence of greatness? I'm going to savor it as long as I can....images below selected from The Boston Globe:


Grace. Dang: our PREZ?

Cooollllllll factor on steroids. I mean again...our PREZ?

Possibility. The future is ours to lose.

Today my friend Teresa accused me of becoming an Obama Girl. I plead guilty.... but of course, on a far less hoochie and far more enlightened level.

Baracked indeed!

Results on state props not yet in and lalalala because for now: We Dance!

Listening with mirth to acceptance speech at Yerba Buena

Christina & I jam to the bit of good music to be had at YB before heading out to where the real partying was taking place....

....which of course would be...MY 'hood....we released the Obam-uppet from the fridge to join the fray.

NOW it's a party: me, Christina and Obamuppet

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Avert the eyes

When something or someone tries to be what they aren't it's like roadkill.

In this case: an epic (multi-million dollar) demonstration that MSFT Really. Doesn't. Get it.
Microsoft Corp., engrossed in multi-million dollar marketing blitz to counter comical ads from rival Apple, Inc., is now using a portion of its budget to fuel guerilla retail tactics near the Mac maker's stores.

Did they have to drag Jerry into this?....

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Finance is the new sexy

Theoretical? Abstract? Removed?

It's been over 9 months since I emailed some friends a snarky-yet-frighteningly-incisive piece laying out the intricacies of the current sub-prime-and-the-kitchen-sink crisis. Fast-forward to today, where the NYT tells the exact same story, detailing the tragic implications that this human propensity for denial has had on school districts, municipal authorities and local governments (and of course, all of their attendant constituencies = us) around the globe.

A sad taste of the destructive ripple:
...the transportation authority has already announced it will raise subway and train fares next year because of various fiscal problems, and may be forced to shrink the work force and reduce some bus routes. Some analysts say fares will probably rise again in 2010.
People have always wanted to be the exception. To not, as someone recently said, "be average" but to be "above average." This means timing the markets. Escaping risks that, while explained to you, don't really apply to you. This is not new. But, what has changed is the scope and the degree of interdependence that results from this behavior.

Time for financial literacy to get sexy!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Brits always say it better

Today The Economist officially endorsed Barack Obama as President of the United States.

The endorsement touches on a number of factors which led to my own transformation, but of course, elaborates on them more eloquently because, well, it's The Economist.

A choice excerpt reminds me of one of my key (and favorite) posts illustrating my fitful morphing from McCain-to-Obama:

If only the real John McCain had been running

That, however, was Senator McCain; the Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated. The fiscal conservative who once tackled Mr Bush over his unaffordable tax cuts now proposes not just to keep the cuts, but to deepen them. The man who denounced the religious right as “agents of intolerance” now embraces theocratic culture warriors. The campaigner against ethanol subsidies (who had a better record on global warming than most Democrats) came out in favour of a petrol-tax holiday.
The stars keep aligning. What options are left for us to sabotage ourselves now?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is consistency a virtue?

Take Alaska, which is making some pretty consistent choices these days.

The state is not only allowing a convicted felon to run for Senator, but also to vote. Based, of course, on one condition:
The Alaska Department of Law on Wednesday concluded that (convicted felon Ted Stevens) would retain his voting rights until he received a sentence.
Idiocracy, Part 4. This series will be a long, painful one....

To quote a state GOP official: "The situation's the situation." Must be that proximity to Russia.

Idiocracy, Part 3

I know I've referenced this brilliant film twice in the past 2 months, but as the election thunders its way ever closer, I can't help but think of this movie on an increasingly constant basis.

Tonight's trigger? Obama's 30-minute infomercial. Can you count how many times words traditionally ending in "-ing" were pronounced ending in "-in'"? And identify what U.S. Senator omitted the "s" from the already-conjuncted "wasn't"?

I love Obama but I'm sad he and his communications crew aren't standing in the way of the demise of multisyllabic* diction:

*link provided for those ahead of me

Monday, October 27, 2008

Knowing more than we should - part 2

The double-edged sword of knowledge.

There's the element of knowing stuff in advance, the pros & cons of which are expounded upon earlier here.

Then there's the element of simply knowing what perhaps just isn't meant to be known.

I mean...ew....Taking "TMI" to new levels: at Pennsylvania State University, a professor of engineering has captured a cough on film. The image was created by schlieren photography which “takes an invisible phenomenon and turns it into a visible picture.”


It's a good thing when it leads to potentially better outcomes.

Nouriel "Nostradamus" Roubini, my current geek idol (his Global EconoMonitor ("RGE") is on my blogroll to the lower right). Roubini has been led the economic community not only in making predictions but also proscriptions with respect to the recent economic meltdowns, the latest example being among the first to call the hedge fund disasters (even my intellectual and aesthetic equal Liz Ann only nailed that today).

It's a little scary when
it leads to utter despair.

Example: Mike Judge, the genius behind
Idiocracy. While this masterpiece had (and still has) me in tears, they are bittersweet tears: the film uncannily portrays the lamentable trajectory of American history, illustrating how tragedy and comedy are 2 parts of the same phenomena (i.e. things are just not as they should be).

Luke Wilson makes me cry, and I'm developing a strong affection for him.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rant refining and Rand renouncing

One movie, one webcast and one cocktail party later, I feel compelled to refine my previous allegations. Specifically, I'd chided our former Fed Reserve Chairman for using 40 years' prior experience as an excuse for his scandalous neglect of the U.S. economic system. But, you say, 40 years' experience sounds like a compelling reason to stay on the same trajectory? To that, I offer up three clarifications:
  • The "past performance is not an indicator of future results" truism can be gleaned straight from Statistics 101 (or is that 01?): when you flip a coin, it always has a 50% chance of being tails. Regardless of how many times it turned up tails prior. (brain refresher credit to "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" - fabuuuu kudos to Gary Oldman...sigh....).
  • AND: good economists must live by Mark Twain's wisdom that "history does not repeat itself...but it does rhyme". That is, while no two economic environments are exactly alike, overarching principles can be gleaned and applied to future conditions. In the current crisis, historical disasters amidst lack of regulation (but 2 examples: in the '30s up to Black Tuesday; in the '80s up to the S&L collapse) should have served as instructive examples (Twain quote credit to Schwab SVP Mark Riepe, who is emerging as one of my newer geek heroes).
  • I thus underscore my original charge: that Greenspan is a purist to the detriment of the globe. Specifically, his 40-year tryst with Ayn Rand led to a sorely misguided ascent to the unfettered rationalistic, meritocratic nature of humans, thwarting the rest of the world into the cataclysmic consequences of such distorted thinking. (credit to Haas mixer where I blurted this out in verbal form with only afterthought consideration as to whether other Rand-ists were present).

Yes, we have her to thank, too. "Objectivism" is an attractive philosophy not because it is true, but because it plays to our sense of pride. Why else would people eat up McCainistic lauds of "the American people" as being so virtuous when it was these people - not just corporate execs - who contributed to our current economic mess in living beyond their means (one example: embracing "Pick-A-Pay" negative amortization schemes...I mean, "negative amortization"??).

How much more roadkill do we need to accept that, when left to our own devices, we do NOT do the right thing?

Update on 12/11/08: my friend Jim just sent me an article which leads me to believe that Cardinal Ratzinger (aka The Pope) and I are somewhat aligned...

...and while I am not in 100% agreement with the entire article, I did find its assertion that "the market mechanism has a negative but not a positive function. The market cannot decide what innovations or practices are beneficial to society. It can only punish incompetence and inefficiency" to be incredibly thought provoking....I'll be gnawing on that one for a while....

Un-be-frickin'-lievable (or: the Post of Rhetorical Questioning)

Welcome to this highly evolved and erudite term - you saw it here first! - which I was forced to create because I've exhausted all other descriptors -- outrage (twice, even), shock, disbelief, audacity, indignation and flabbergasted(ness) .... even getting to the point of becoming "Blogless".

So, while Blogger really has saved on the therapy bills, we know that therapy only elucidates but does not transform. Hence the un-be-frickin'-lievability pounds on. In this case, the culprit: Credit Default Swaps were unregulated....???????? I mean, I could see how these new securities constituted uncharted territory (=they were "new") and, as such, the exposure they created for their holders wasn't fully realized* until it all unwound.

But....COMPLETELY unregulated????????

Free-market purists are so pure they fail to grasp human nature, which is not, of course, purely rational.

“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” Mr. Greenspan said. Referring to his free-market ideology, Mr. Greenspan added: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

Our former flavor-of-the-Administration went on to subtly defend himself....:
“I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that [this economic worldview] was working exceptionally well.”
But doesn't every Series 7 person know that 'past performance is not an indication of future results'? Reference my grasping to define character as being willing to course- correct....sometimes of course than can appear as waffling ;-)

I know hindsight is always 20/20 and it's easier to criticize retroactively than to formulate policy proactively. However, I'm being hard because, in this case being "wrong" has led to in, "tr"....of damage worldwide.

Somehow that adage of "asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission" just doesn't seem to cut it here.

*see #2, "Minute 14:40" reference in this post

Monday, October 20, 2008

Outsourcing has its limits

I finally get it. Sometimes it takes me a while.
Ergo Gitmo = parking lot for justice. The hallmark of the Administration's outsourcing of just one of its moral and legal failings (is "failing" adequate to describe the gravity?).

I thus remain outraged!!! Am I the only one?!?!?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Integration -cntd.-

"Integration" heretofore referenced indicated "internalisation and incorporation of new attitudes and behaviours into everyday life." (sic).

As my newly-attained integration has now been published for the masses, I feel the weight of accountability for these new, behaviours*....which as you will see, are fortunately not onerous to undertake. Some documentation:

Requisite raw materials needed to redeem the nature of "banking": New Mexico registered voter phone list, iPhone, and my Amelie-esque ever-present Obama puppet.

Just one more thing for us parochial elitists is needed: a listing of Obama's stances on key "rural issues" such as agricultural policy, gun law, and meth...for reals.

Now that we're All Systems Go, we grab our urban, dark blend fair trade organic coffee from hipster Four Barrels cafe in SF's Mission District and hide out in the back alley to get to work.

...but despite being fully equipped, I still have some reticence about calling up Jose (qua Joe) in Albuquerque on a Sunday night. I guess integration takes practice. Good thing there's still two more weeks!

*Sigh. I just love those Brits. This movie provides just some of the reasons why.

The bliss of full integration

In August I lauded the attempts of my near-intellectual and aesthetic peer to graphically convey psychological phenomena. That specific example pertained to macroeconomic moods and ensuing trends; today, I've stumbled across a graph that depicts my very personal journey in the political realm:

Alas: after much contrarian hemming, hawing and zig-zagging, I'm at last "in." I'm "fully integrated."*

*though the photo at top might indicate "assimilated" ;-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What language are you speaking?

Ok, there's 'negative' ....and then there's NEGATIVE. Truly, is an attack on McCain's health care plan equivalent to character assassination?

God love the U-Wisc. Advertising Project, but it does demonstrate the degree to which I've always believed "social science" to be an oxymoron. Despite its best intentions, it usually does a great disservice by trying to quantify the qualitative.

(forgive the alignment on the illustration below - full graphic at this link also included above >multimedia popup on the left - which has proven elusive in posting directly here):

The New York Times
October 18, 2008
The Content of the Campaign Ads

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