Lessons from the Financial Crisis 
Saturday, November 8, 2008, 02:25 PM
Ever since Rupert Murdoch took over the Wall Street Journal, the Op-Ed page has largely served as an annex for deposits by the editorial board. When editorials stay focused on business they remain spot on, but those that delve into politics sound strikingly similar to Fox News. It was refreshing, in the midst of all this, to see an excellent opinion piece written by Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone. He provides solid advice on how to ensure crisis like this do not happen in the future, and reminds us once again that maxim the majority political party in Washington would be wise to keep in mind: If there's anything worse than no regulation, it's bad regulation.

You hear that Mr. Barney Frank? Your bad regulations encouraged the issuance of mortgages to unworthy borrowers. You would think that Representative Frank would step up and acknowledge his error -- or at least remain silent while this crisis sorts out and we figure out how to overhaul our regulatory structure. Instead, the Democrats have appointed him their point man in dealing with this mess he helped create. Not exactly confidence inspiring.
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Saturday, November 8, 2008, 02:16 PM
The name of a delicious drink, but also the name of a columnist for the New York Times. She is, once again, absolutely hilarious.

On Sarah Palin:
The Republicans are being way more nasty to Sarah Palin than the Democrats are to Lieberman. They’ve been portraying her as both a shopaholic and a woman who walks around in nothing but a bath towel, a hillbilly who’s also a prima donna. The leakathon climaxed this week when Fox News’s Carl Cameron announced that Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Palin says this is untrue. But the worst part is that if these people get any meaner, we’re going to wind up feeling sorry for her. This is not something we are looking forward to, Republicans, and we will resent you for it.

On those calling for Senator Lindsey Graham to follow through on his promise to drown himself if South Carolina went for Obama:
...you cannot be angry with Republicans for supporting the Republican presidential candidate. It’s like getting angry at squirrels for climbing trees.

On Lieberman:
I am thinking of McCain’s other BFF, Senator Joseph Lieberman, who not only endorsed the Republican ticket and spoke at the Republican convention but also said, in the course of the campaign, that unlike McCain, Obama did not always put his country first. Since Lieberman is part of the Senate Democratic caucus, all this is not normal like squirrels climbing trees. It’s more like squirrels breaking into your house and setting fire to the sofa.

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Still One Of My Favorite Songs 
Thursday, October 16, 2008, 08:16 PM
dream about me
on the phone to me

tell me no truth
if it is bad
there's enough in my life
to make me so sad

just dream about
color fills our life
just dream about
someone else tonight
just dream about
color fills our song
just dream about
how i will let go

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The Brits Don't Get Us 
Sunday, October 5, 2008, 04:15 PM
From The Economist's take on the VP debate:
At other points Mrs Palin was baffling. Mr Biden criticised the Republicans for having too much faith in drilling as a solution to the energy crisis. “John McCain has voted 20 times against funding alternative energy sources and thinks, I guess, the only answer is drill, drill, drill,” he said. “The chant is 'drill, baby, drill',” she corrected, playing some kind of gender card against herself.

To tell the truth, sometimes I don't get us.
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Daylight Savings Time 
Sunday, October 5, 2008, 09:03 AM
Can't make sense of when daylight savings time begins this year? The U. S. Naval Observatory has a very interesting history of daylight savings time that also includes information on when the time change occurs this year. (Answer: for 2008 daylight time begins on March 9 and ends on November 2.)
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iPhone Email 
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 04:49 PM
Having email on my iPhone is life-changingly great. However, whoever decided that all forwarded emails should be intended 3/4 of an inch -- as a technique to minimize readability over multiple forwards -- should be taken out back and shot. Okay, maybe not shot but certainly kicked in the shorts.

It appears that Apple has stolen a page from Microsoft and is now implementing it's own special way of (poorly) formatting emails.
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On Being A Coward and Other Such Common Occurrences in Our Nation's Capitol 
Monday, September 29, 2008, 11:24 PM
On the House Republicans who declined to prevent a massive 1930's style depression:
House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party.

How can the 435 people we elect from a nation of 300 million be so stupid as to allow the nation's financial system to fail just because some uninformed morons on the sidelines are making too much noise?

"I work 9-5 and I don't want to see my money going to bail out some wall street rich guy - I'm glad the bailout failed" said an average citizen, quoted in NYT or BBC (can't remember which). Hey you stupid moron when your firm can't borrow enough money to finance its daily operations and lays your incompetent ass off, you won't be working 9-5. And then you'll get a little bit more time to contemplate on whether ignoring economic experts and doing nothing to fix a broken situation was the right plan.
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Last Night's Presidential Debate 
Saturday, September 27, 2008, 01:07 PM
The primary debates were largely hosted by cable news hacks, anchors who were unable to hide their partisanship long enough to fairly moderate an exchange of policy views. It is fitting then, of sorts, that the first general election Presidential Debate was hosted by Jim Lehrer with the solemn dignity so is so often lacking of late from the news business. It will be good to see Tom Brokaw on the next debate.

Overall I was rather disappointed, especially on the economic issues. Both candidates were asked point blank whether or not they supported the economic bailout plan. Obama answered his response in a manner that made it sound like he took the plan as a given, but skirted giving a concrete answer by saying he hadn't seen the actual language. That's rather funny, because Secretary Paulson's overview of the plan he drafted is two (2) pages long. McCain wouldn't give a solid answer either, providing instead a dismissive "yes" as he moved on to another question.

There was a real leadership opportunity here to come out in favor of what is by all rights a plan of last resort, or to clearly indicate the flaws in the plan and propose an alternative. Imagine if one of the candidates had said "I solidly support this plan as critical to restoring the health of our financial system and challenge my opponent to put partisan considerations aside and act swiftly to bring stability to our nation's financial markets."
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On Promoting the Occurance of the Moral Hazard 
Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 09:18 PM
I tempted to -- but will refrain from -- delving into a detailed rant on the recent actions by the Fed and Treasury. I will, however, steal a couple lines from friends of mine:

Eric Yao:
I didn't know that AIG's insurance company was the Federal Reserve.

My father:
And they didn't have to pay any premiums

...because the taxpayers were footing the bill.

The real problem here is that there is now no consistent standard for who is going to be bailed out -- it's just a giant guessing game.
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On Necessity 
Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 04:22 PM
So this guy develops this tool that "automatically steals IDs of non-encrypted sessions and breaks into Google Mail accounts." He's an academic (of sorts) and so naturally he presents his findings to the general public so that Google can fix itself and so that we can all be more careful.

So far so good. Two weeks from now, however, he plans to release a pre-compiled easy to use version of this tool to the public. To which I respond: Is this really necessary? Is this the only way to prove a point, or does he just think it's funny when people's accounts get hacked?
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