Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ta ta Wamu

So my bank was recently vaporized. I mean just a few months ago, WaMU was the bank of my state, and now.... Poof, gone in a Wall Street land grab.

How did we get here?

To be fair I started writing this sitting in a dark house watching V for vendetta, and reading about the fed bailing out wall street I came to two conclusions 1 the worlds gone mad, and 2 Natalie Portman is hot. Even with no hair, still hot and she has had at least one good quote that I find myself applying to the economy.

[I] laugh. I’m not saying I don’t cry but in between I laugh and I realize how silly it is to take anything too seriously.

Wamu was seized and JP Morgan gained for $1.9 billion assets that were worth over $310 billion based on Government estimates. I fail to see how the private auction that ensued can be construed as anything other than cronyism, I realize that several companies had passed on a public buyout/merger/investment but most of that was likely fueled by the continuous talks of a potential bailout from the Feds. Everyone was waiting to make sure that the most toxic of the loans would not be picked up in whatever deal they made, and let Wamu wither as a result.

Writers note the rest of this piece is mental masturbation:
Not productive, but it passes the time and feels good.

I wonder if the same courtesy bailout have been made available to Enron had the bailout minions known it was coming? Given the previous hedge fund bailout in 1998 I am kind of surprised that it didn't happen. The parallels are fairly easy to draw as Enron tried to paint itself as a market provider, it happened to be energy rather than Money it was a market for so maybe in that sense FDIC and Greenspan didn't have it on their radar to save.

As the bailout winds it way through Congress I feel bad, as the ones that needed the bailout in the long run will never feel the benefit of the $700 Billion that Congress is asking us to foot the bill for. Rather than helping people afford houses that have upside down equity, and getting into the messy business of helping real people that will be loosing their houses by forgiving the value of the loan that they are upside down on allowing them to keep paying what they can and keep living in the house. People that raked in huge sales and salaries of bad mortgages will walk away with out the sting of failure on their careers. The architects (The Clinton administration and Fannie Mae) will never see direct fall out, while real people that took great pain to look for an affordable, and attractive purchase in an overheated market. To say that these architects raised the cost of owning for me in real dollar terms of nearly $50-$100k had the available loans not been extended. No doubt, I would have waited an additional 2-3 years from deciding to buy. It is hard to say 100% but here is an interesting link to historic home values in the US. Pay particular attention to the unadjusted media home price acceleration from 1990 to 2000 versus 1980 to 1990.

So now that we are on our 3rd bailout in a decade, I think it is time for some serious thinking about what went wrong. It seems the biggest veering off the path was done in the spirit of progress through deregulation (under a democrat of all people). This administration had been beating the deregulation drum for sometime now perhaps some of our leaders could take the long view and examine the realistic potential fallout of all the deregulation that we have done in publishing and a few other markets, and consider as we slip along toward the Marxist future of socialism or its uglier sibling Fascism. Given that at least one of the contenders for the American presidency and their co-runner have very serious fascist tendencies in their party...

Just say that V was right:
People shouldn't fear their governments, governments should fear their people.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Creative writing

It feels hot even now in September, with the heat laying on enough to sweat through my shirt. Soon enough it will by raining and cold, but for now the summer hangs on heavy. The market if filled with the smell of body, urine and fish. None of which are helped by the heat, the fetid bouquet only broken occasionally by the waft of fresh flowers and smells of the cafes wares. The contrast is sharp. It's $2.75 for a loaf of bread, and it is clear from the display that they only sell bread as a last vestige of being a bakery, as the sweets span the entire length of the display, and a full 4 feet tall; a true life dingy version of a child's sweets fantasy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weird red lines in Google reader

The attached image is something weird that is happening with my Firefox when I use Google reader on XP and Vista. Every FF3 browser I use gets these lines, IE7 does not. I don't know who's issue it is, but it is starting to drive me crazy.

Edit for Piss poor grammar.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

System Admins are not stupid hacks (generally) pt.2

Continuing on from my past post, I am going to be addressing the remaining points to the Wall Street Journal offers to work around your IT department.

This is really an extension of #5 and #1. You are taking a file that would otherwise be simple to keep track of and spreading it all over, making every cpu it touches, and service that hosted it included into the scope of e-Discovery.

I actually am a fan of this is theory, but would rather the suggestion was to email from their own private phone that is not connected to the work network. I have a data plan on my phone and receive emails on it continuously through out the day, none of which is on the company pc's so I don't have to worry about it. Simple and elegant.

Outlook web access, otherwise figure out how to get them to buy the blackberry, as forwarding your emails makes your email accounts and all their sorid contents subject to eDiscovery. Seriously you you don't want them to know about those Casual Encounters posts on Craigslist now do you?

I actually am less concerned about this one, viruses for your blackberry via email? Maybe when they aren't running a custom embedded os, until then I am less concerend about this, and like how BB deals with the personal emails showing up in their own mail box. I figure they pay for the plan, and your very unlikely to hurt anything so whatever.

The suggestion they have is exactly what I have to say

Get back to work.

I would like to summarily say that the real trouble here is the decision to not take up your issues with the IT department to seek a working solution that meets your needs and the companies needs is the biggest mistake you can make. Any C level manager following the advice the WSJ offered up is very likely to get his company in hot water, and the cause of many IT Departments nightmares. If you approach your IT department you may be surprised to find that they wanted to implement a solution to your problem, but have been unable to generate any interest in getting a solution (vpn for instance) implemented. You may find that it is management preventing IT initiatives from getting complete, or even started. So really strike up a conversation, you will be surprised in many cases to find lucid and friendly people that would like to help you find a work flow that works.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

TouchSmart does not Signal a move away from Windows

I find it amazing the absolute state of denial some Linux users live in. I saw this article posted on and really just had to shake my head. Given that the Touch UI runs on Vista, and makes use of the .Net platform (specifically WPF) I have to assume that this person just assumed that because make can make stuff pretty, and windows doesn't seem to that the UI had to be made for Linux.

Don't believe that this leads to tighter not looser MS integration? How about you read about the evolution of the UI from one of the developers. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 .

Short form, is the fanboys need to take a hit of oxygen, as the brain cells are dying up there.