September 16, 2008 § Leave a comment
The following is very worth reading. It puts the current financial crisis in a perspective that helps, and a proposal that is radical enough to make a difference. That is, problem caused by excess liquidity, and proposal: to prevent banks from creating money.
September 15, 2008 § Leave a comment
So this morning, Lehman played its last card. After 158 years in business, Lehman has filed for bankruptcy. We pity the judge who gets this one… Lehman has over $613 billion in debt. Anyone still holding Lehman shares today is wiped out.
Reporters and tourists alike were gawking at Lehman employees exiting the building this morning with boxes full of desk trinkets, picture frames, nameplates and pen sets. As many as 25,000 will follow suit, effective immediately.
I will be leaving tomorrow for three weeks in Italy, painting in Umbria, and will probably be slow in posting till I am back. The struggle over the presidency is getting, really for the first time (?), at the real issues. Still a ways to go. McCain is a non-serious candidate.
September 14, 2008 § Leave a comment
The train engineer missed the signal because he was text messaging (perhaps). Missing one signal for another. is this a metaphor for modern life? Shifting from real consequences to trivial?
On the Inaugural speech in January..
I don’t think the speech makes a mark unless it deals with “system”, the interconnections among things: energy, climate, economy, debt, distribution of benefits, war, …
perhaps it has to be a speech that situates the US NOW in the context of the whole post WW2 experience: the influences, the GI Bill, the rise of the college educated under employed. And creates a new image of a new future that touches all institutions deeply.
today’s NYT, Ben Stein
OR look at the current financial madness caused by wildly imprudent lending by major banks and investment banks. Basically, a major piece of deregulation, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, overturned most of the laws that had kept commercial banks and investment banks separate. This made it much easier for monster-size banks to lay down enormous bets on the direction of housing prices.
When these bets turned out to be wrong, the losses to the banks and their stockholders were staggering. (Naturally, those who approved these wagers left, if they left at all, with monster-size severance. You and I will pick up the monster-size bill in many different ways.)
Also from the Times Magazine
Published: September 12, 2008
James, then 10, had been given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder two years earlier. He was attending a therapeutic day school in another borough and riding more than an hour each way on a school bus, so he came home after Claire. Until James’s arrival that April afternoon, Claire was showing me sketches she had drawn of her Uglydolls and chatting about the Web site JibJab, where she likes to watch goofy videos. At the sound of James’s footsteps outside her bedroom door, she flattened herself behind the barricade. There was a sharp knock. After a few seconds, James’s angry, wounded voice barked, “Forget it,” and the steps retreated.
“If it’s my brother, I don’t open it,” Claire said. “I don’t care if I’m being mean. . . . I never trust him. James always jumps out and scares me. He surprises me in a bad way.”
I left Claire’s bedroom and found James with his mother, Mary, in their spacious living room, which has a sidelong view of the Hudson River. James is a fair, athletic-looking boy with a commanding voice and a restless, edgy gait. He began reading aloud a story he wrote at school called “The Mystery of My Little Sister.” It involved James discovering Claire almost dead, rescuing her and forming a detective agency to track down her assailant. He read haltingly, often interrupting himself. When his mother asked a question, the roil of frustration that nearly always seethes just under James’s surface, even when he is happy, sloshed over.
“If you listened on the first page, it says it!” he scolded her, then collapsed hopelessly beside the coffee table. “You don’t get anything. Now I lost my place. Forget it. I give up.” He crossed his arms on the table and rested his head in them. Mary waited quietly in her chair. Sure enough, a minute or two later James began reading us a list he had concocted of 50 ways to get rich. The next time his mother spoke, he bellowed: “I wasn’t talking to you! I’m not reading it now!” He threw the paper down and stalked out of the room.
The baby-sitter arrived, a 27-year-old preschool teacher whom Mary hired to come in a few hours each week and help maintain harmony when both her children were home. It wasn’t easy. There was a basic rhythmic pattern to the afternoon: James reached out, craving attention and engagement, then stormed away in roaring frustration only to return, penitent and eager to connect, cuddling and hanging on to his mother in a way unusual for a boy his age.
At one point Claire appeared in the next room, and James hurled a ball at her, missing. Claire shrieked as if she’d been hit, screaming, “What did you do that for?”
“Wow, I’m scared,” James said. “I’m scared, right, Claire?” He threw the ball at her again, then asked, “Want to have family time?”
“No,” Claire hollered. “I want James to get away from me. Get away!”
James made a series of loud, taunting sounds, which induced more hysterical cries from Claire. “James, you’re provoking,” Mary said evenly. “Claire, you’re overreacting.”
Claire rode out of the room in her wagon. James sat with his stockinged feet in his mother’s lap and played his Nintendo DS, though it rarely held his attention for more than a few minutes.
“The therapist says that Claire is in crisis,” Mary told me, referring to a social worker the family sees twice each week. “James is feeling better, James is feeling happier, so Claire, who has always been easy, is letting it all out now.”
Is depression a swing of the body, or is the body the site of the drama of a lived life? Big pharma wants it to be the body. The loss is the situation of a person in their story.
What is the chance that the media much prefers McCain-Palin because it requires less work, less understanding of issues, and promises melodrama, sitcom realities, the death of a president and the movement to the office of a kupie doll?
September 9, 2008 § Leave a comment
Fannie & Freddie: Buying friends in DC
CNNMoney.com – 53 minutes ago
The two mortgage finance companies doled out $174-million over the past 10 years to Washington lobbyists, report says. By Allan Chernoff, CNN senior correspondent NEW YORK (CNN) — When it came to buying influence in Washington, Freddie Mac and Fannie …
Paulson placates China, Russia for now
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had little choice but to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with China and Russia holding large amounts of their debt. Doing nothing would have left no further reason for other countries to invest in US government-guaranteed obligations. That day of reckoning has now merely been delayed. –Julian Delasantellis
September 8, 2008 § Leave a comment
Starting over. The old site 1s 11 meg, and it is time to take on the new political realities..
Also i will now have the home page, the book, the wiki and the blog all on the same dougcarmichael.com domain.
September 7, 2008 § Leave a comment
Are places like the Getty threatened by declining share prices?
The two best political articles of the week
Billy couldn’t read Tralfamadorian, of course, hut he could at least see how the books were laid out—in brief dumps of symbols separated by stars. Billy commented that the dumps might betelegrams. . . “There are no telegrams on Tralfamadore. But you’re right: each dump of symbols is a brief, urgent message—describing a situation, a scene. We Tralfamadorians read them all at once, not one after the other. There isn’t any particular relationship between an the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books e depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.”SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE —KURT VONNEGUT, JR.
Nietzsche says that great action can only occur forgetting history, being anti-historical.. from Stern problem of values
The tragedy in Haiti
As Ike pounds Haiti with torrential rains today, it is clear that Haiti will need massive assistance to recover from this latest disaster. If you’re looking to contribute to the cause, I recommend the Lambi Fund of Haiti charity. I’ve been a contributor for a number of years, and have been impressed with their leadership and aims. The charity seeks not just to provide much needed temporary food aid, but to make investments in sustainable development in an effort to restore environmental integrity and reduce poverty. One of the main places my donations have gone is to fund the purchase and planting of thousands of trees on Haiti’s denuded mountainsides. These treeless slopes, missing more than 98% of their original forest cover, allow flood waters from hurricanes to rush down and cause the mind-numbing loss of life we’ve grown to expect with each hurricane that affects Haiti. If you’re looking to help out in the country in the Western Hemisphere that needs the most help, consider a donation to the Lambi Fund.
Figure 4. The flooded city of Gonaives after Hurricane Hanna, September 3, 2008. Image credit: Lambi Fund of Haiti.
note the simple humanity of protect environment and reduce poverty. the mantra for the 21st century.