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Last Visit 2011-01-17 23:04:23 |Start Date 2004-11-03 18:51:40 |Comments 1,935 |Entries 529 |Images 250 |Videos 22 |

09/17/08 12:39 - 65ºF - ID#45707

Stress Relief

You know what I find works best? Old fashioned manual labor. No matter how rich I become or where I go, there will always be a part of me that will revert back to my working class upbringing, which instinctively compels me to work with my hands. I like working with ideas to get paid, but I like working with my hands to keep my soul at ease.
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09/15/08 11:48 - 61ºF - ID#45686

Vegetarianism - A Track To A Small Brain

While I was warming my hands with the fire on Wall St. this morning I ran across this story. Scientists have allegedly proved it! Eating a meat-free diet makes you up to six times more susceptible to brain shrinkage.

Regarding the blowup on Wall St. - I wanted to make a comment since (e:jim) said something in the chatter that made me consider it. The thing about investment banks is that they are generally not lending institutions, but borrowing institutions. They do not affect the everyday life of Americans in the same way as a lending institution. I don't think there is any doubt that more regulation on Wall St. is needed, and regardless of who is elected it is definitely coming. However, there is no divine right for investment banks to be in business. It was their own incredible stupidity for backing these so-called strategic investment vehicles (or whatever the term is, depending on the company) with bundled mortgages that were never going to be paid back. If they crash and burn, so be it.

I don't want today's confusion to necessarily worry people who are wondering what this all means. The most damage to everyday Americans has been caused by lending institutions, who gave out money freely to people who clearly couldn't afford what it was they were borrowing. Even worse, many of these companies encouraged this type of reckless borrowing. Investment banks like Lehman borrow money just like individuals do, except at much larger scales and for different reasons. Their mistake was in borrowing money to make investments backed by what is now essentially bundled junk debt. They couldn't borrow more money to keep the ship afloat, which is exactly why Lehman is walking the plank. This is also why Merrill Lynch sold up before it got too late.

Consumers can begin gulping if a big boy like Citigroup folds. Having the financial sector in turmoil is bad for the economy, and therefore is bad for America, but Lehman is not a Fanny or Freddie, whose decisions directly affect millions of lives. It is ironic that it is the lending institutions are getting bailed out, since they were the ones who really made the big mistakes that are costing people their houses. I would never advocate for an investment bank to be bailed out. Bear Stearns was bailed out, but according to some circles they are "too big" to be allowed to fail. It remains to be seen how many more banks fit into that category, but based on the government's mood I wouldn't count on any more bail outs for publicly traded, mismanaged companies in the future. Free markets are about survival of the fittest - I think I'm going to nominate Lehman Bros. for a Darwin Award, if at all possible.
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09/12/08 06:15 - 71ºF - ID#45658

My Friend In Houston

My friend Brandon, who used to live downstairs, is in Houston and did not evacuate. I really, really wish that he did, but now that there is pretty much no running away he is bunkered down. He got supplies and stocked up, but according to him power should be out by midnight.

I'm really worried. I tried to call him but getting a line is pretty much impossible.
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09/11/08 04:11 - 73ºF - ID#45642

Interesting Politico "Arena" Entry

The Politico, which is a site I read multiple times daily, has recently posted in its "Arena" page a group of statements from experts commenting on the strange focus on the trivial. What causes it and to what degree is the media responsible?

It is a worthwhile read and a lot of salient points are made. Personally, I'd suggest that the media certainly is complicit in focusing on silly stuff. If the topic isn't about politics then it is about "celebutards" such as Paris Hilton and such. News is sensationalized for the same reasons in the US as they are anywhere else - to make money. It isn't as if the mainstream guys are doing good business, particularly in print. I think the media is desperate to compete for attention and are generally willing to extend remarks on the most trivial of topics if it means gaining an edge.
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09/09/08 11:43 - 60ºF - ID#45613

McCain: 15-pt. lead among independents

Gallup Poll: McCain Rides Wave, Opens Gaping Lead Among Independents

I have to admit, I'm very surprised by this. I expected McCain to get a bit of a bump after the convention, but a 15-point lead? Truly unexpected. There are a variety of factors that contribute to this shift, but it is a fairly obvious statement that Gov. Palin and her appeal has drawn more voters to the GOP. Love her or hate her, obviously she's been effective at getting middle America and political independents on John McCain's side.

Actually, if you read the data you'll see that among voters that are purely independent, McCain has a 20% increase over Obama among those individuals.

At this point the parties are entrenched in their choices, so very little shifting is going to occur. It remains to be seen how many conservative Democrats will shift over - according to this Gallup data the number of conservative Democrats favoring McCain over Obama has increased from 15% to 25%. Also unknown is how much further the numbers will increase on the GOP side as a result of additional enthusiasm among conservatives, who have helped to pull McCain's numbers higher as well.

Former Mayor of SF stokes Democrat Fears of the "Palin Effect"

Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco, is one of the most colorful and interesting politicians you'll ever meet. If you ask me, it is too bad that SF term limits allowed Gavin Newsom to slither into office. The man has had a very interesting political career in California that started in the 1960's. Anyway, he wrote a piece that appeared in the SF Chronicle that very much surprised me.

Overall I thought Willie was astute in his analysis of the Palin effect, love it or hate it. The only thing I really would take issue with is Mayor Brown's assertion that the press will treat Palin as the have Obama. Beeeeeeee Essssssss. That has already been proven wrong.

As an aside, Willie has a funny entry at the very bottom, addressing the recent string of restaurant robberies in Oakland (think Pulp Fiction):

By the way, there's a new dining tip for people going out in Oakland.

Be sure to order soup.

That way when the robbery starts, you can slip off your jewelry and drop it into soup so the robbers won't see it.

Ok, now that is funny. I wish we had more politicians capable of social commentary like this. It might actually endear them to us!
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New Site Wide Comments

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...