The Dilettante's Dilemma
Automatic weapons and boundless love.
Sunday, March 7
Saturday, November 8
Monday, November 3
I'm no longer possessed of the time or inclination to blog these days; I'm much more inclined to post something to Facebook or Twitter or the like. So, rather than sit here and feel guilty because I'm not posting anything, I've decided to embrace the micro-blogging (r)evolution and move the Dilettante's Dilemma to a Tumblr site:
The Downsized Dilettante's Dilemma
Please make a note of it.
Labels: giving up the ghost
Tuesday, October 14
Seriously. Listen to this cover of Radiohead's "Optimistic" and see if you can tell who it is. I happen to think it's a great cover, and was totally shocked when I found out who it was.
By the way, I heard this on Brian Ibbott's excellent Coverville podcast. So, if you listen to Coverville and heard it there too (or if by some unbelievable coincidence you own this album), no fair guessing. And if you didn't, well, you should be listening to Coverville.
Saturday, October 11
Friday, October 10
Thursday, October 9
This is a fantastic speech by the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka, talking about racism, the election, and why it's the duty of every union member to vote for Barack Obama next month.
It's true righteous passion and it made me tear up a little, and also gave me a bit of hope for the future.
Friday, October 3
Too depressed after last night, when the Cubs lost and Sarah Palin didn't, to write up either my evening watching Grant Achatz or the cool new piece of software I've been playing with. Hope to get to both of those next week.
(UPDATE: Friends have pointed out that, in fact, a consensus is forming that while Palin exceeded expectations, she didn't win. So that's good. I'm waiting for a similar article to appear about the Cubs game.)
In the meantime here's a long, involved, and well-written article arguing against the bailout. The money quote, from the conclusion (and by "money quote" I mean "quote that agrees with exactly what I think but haven't been able to articulate"):
"Yes, we need to do something. But 'doing something' that will not work — with potentially dire consequences — is not the right course, especially when sensible and well-understood options remain."John Cochrane on Why the Bailout Plan Would Be a Disaster
Labels: i heartily concur
Tuesday, September 23
The best metaphor I've come up with for the $700B bailout of the financial markets (and how the President is selling it to the American people) is that it's like the Iraq War "surge."
We shouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place, and if those in charge of the decision had not relied on incorrect and/or fabricated intelligence, we wouldn't have been. But we were, and given that, the President told us it would be irresponsible to pull out and just let Iraq sort itself out. Doing that would cause chaos that could destabilize the entire region, so we had to increase our presence in order to stabilize the country, despite the tremendously high cost.
Similarly, the financial markets shouldn't be this fucked up in the first place, and if those in charge of the markets hadn't relied on confusing and/or suspect investing techniques, they wouldn't be. But they are, and given that, the government is telling us it would be irresponsible to do nothing and just let the free market sort itself out. Doing that would cause chaos that could destabilize the entire world market, so we had to increase government control in order to stabilize the market, despite the tremendously high cost.
Thursday, September 18
1. When it is announced that "the Fed" has loaned AIG $87B, where does that money come from? And as a related question, is the money being loaned by the Federal Reserve Bank, or the Federal Government (and is there any real difference)? Given that the U.S. government is in debt and is running a deficit, it's not like the money is just laying around, is it?
And yes, I know that no one cut a check, and no actual cash changed hands. It's all electronic. But still, what was that money doing last week? Was it just created (minted/printed), and if so, isn't that going to be problematic wrt inflation?
2. How can free-market, pro-deregulation Republicans (like, say, George Bush) be OK with this bailout? From my stand-point, I understand (and grudgingly agree with) the bailout, since I believe that one of the roles of government is to protect its citizens in times of crisis. But if you're a free-marketeer, aren't you supposed to just let the chips fall where they may? Some people win, some people lose; that's what happens in a free market.
And, if you believe that the government should stay out these sorts of things because the free market will sort itself out, but then the government has to step in in order to prevent the entire economy from collapsing, doesn't that sort of prove that your philosophy is flawed? After the last week, unfettered free-market capitalism has started to feel a little bit like Communism to me: interesting in theory, crappy in reality.
[UPDATE 12:20]: Slate's The Explainer answers many of the questions in #1.