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Polling Question 9/30/08: McCain – Palin September 30, 2008

Posted by Who? in Election 2008, Politics, Random.
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Should McCain ask Sarah Palin to step aside?

The long answer is…yeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssss.

Should Palin bow-out on her own? Yes.

Will it happen? Dunno.

Palin leaving would be admitting mistake and I don’t know if a presidential campaign can survive a debacle like that. I don’t know if it can survive a debacle like Palin to begin with.

Watching the Couric interview was awkward…and I can’t stand Palin. I want to see her trip and fumble over her own stupidity. McCain has been making some serious missteps in his campaign; nothing could make me happier. He looked like a GD robot giving his statement last night- eyes staring off in to nothing while he spouted off a broken fragments. He looked like the Manchurian Candidate.

Does it make you uneasy that McCain didn’t make eye contact with Obama?

I don’t know why but it makes me feel uneasy. I got the same feeling watching him last night. Part of it is because it just looks weird, but the other part is that it comes across like he is not being honest or genuine. Like if he made eye contact with someone, he would break character and unravel.

Anywho- polling question of the day?

Do you think Palin will bow out?

1) Yes.

2) No.

3) I hope for whatever keeps McCain out of the White House.

SNL video here if you haven’t seen it.

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McCain Owns How Many Homes? September 22, 2008

Posted by Who? in Election 2008, Politics, Random.
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I’ve been hearing about this for the last month or however long it has been.  Article from Politico here.  Two things in the article catch my eye.

First, McCain spends a lotof money on “household help”.  “The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain’s tax returns.”  How can you be in touch with the American public when you spend that much money on “the help”?  Most Americans won’t EARN that much in 4+ years let alone spend it on a luxury item in a SINGLE YEAR.

Second, McCain’s wife, Cindy, comes from a very wealthy family.  The article mentions several times that many of the McCain homes are purchased using Cindy’s trust(s).  This sets off the warning bells because at that level of wealth, the rules are different.  That kind of money allows you to operate in a completely different environment than the rest of us.  I need some caffeine before I can fully articulate this point, but I just don’t like the idea of elitist politicians.  They live in a completely different world.  When you have the connections, the money and the $900/hr attorneys, the rules are different.  Do we really want another elitist President?

Too big to fail: the Fed, the root cause and the bailouts September 18, 2008

Posted by Who? in Business, Politics, Random.
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Was reading about all the craziness with the financial markets and had an interesting question.  So a company finds itself in deep shit and realize that they aren’t going to be able to ride it out.  How does the dialogue start with the Feds?  Is there a Bailout Hotline?  How about a hotline for homeowners that are going to lose their home?  The more I think about it, I am dead set against bailouts.  At least in theory.  Reality is always in shades of gray.

I wonder what it would have cost for the federal government to bailout every single homeowner?  In other words, was the cost of the panic in the financial market greater than the cost if the Fed just paid to secure the underlying securities in the first place?  This is assuming that the deterioration in the MBS market was the root cause of the current panic.  This is probably an overly simplistic view but it seems rational that there is a root cause and that MBS’s were at, or very near, the core.  The market got greedy and ran leverage to unsustainable levels.  Then confidence in the stability of MBS’s got rocked and values plummeted.  And the downward spiral followed.

Here is another question- why can’t the SEC just shut the markets down and let this blow over?  In other words, what I’m saying is, I think that the panic itself is causing more decrease in valuation the underlying, strictly financial issues.  If that is “too unreasonable”, how about halting trading in “at risk” securities?  The reaction would be “No, no, no- the markets must be allowed to function!”.  Uhhh…I’m pretty sure the market is what got us to where we are at AND the market is what continues to push us deeper in the hole.  In theory, if you freeze the “at risk” securities and let the panic fade/give the economy time to recover you would be making an effort to limit the correction to the responsible parties.  In a bailout, the cost is immediately distributed to every taxpayer.  Why not give the taxpayer a free roll of the dice to have the cost limited to those responsible?  Too big to fail is bullshit; too big to fail means that Wall Street gets a free roll of the dice.  The taxpayer is now stuck with the cost and the particpants on Wall Street got the benefits.

I hope between now and the next panic, I will have two things in place: 1) cash and knowledge of how raise large amounts and 2) the network and knowledge of how to raise a distressed debt fund.  More on this later.

Irony & Democracy September 18, 2008

Posted by Who? in Election 2008, Politics, Random.
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Just had an interesting thought pop into that waste of space between my ears.  Let’s see if I can articulate this-

Obama says he is going to give tax breaks to the middle class.  One of the classic brain-washed responses from Republicans is the “the Dems just want to raise taxes, I want to keep my money!”.  What they fail to understand, ironically, is that the Republican Tax paradigm doesn’t help the middle Americans that vote for Bush– it helps the big boys.  Assuming Obama does what he says, which I hope he will, the people that rally around Bush/McCain on the grounds of lower taxes actually cost themselves that.  This, again, is one of the fundamental problems with factional politics and it is compounded by that ever-growing epidemic in this country, stupidity.  And it goes a lil’ somethin like dis-

“Excuse me Mr. Harvard Law, Smarty Pants Obama- I’m not voting for you.  I don’t want to pay more taxes.  I’m a Republican!”

“I will lower your taxes.”

“That’s not true.  Democrats raise taxes.  Republicans don’t.”

So ironic that Obama is offering to lower taxes for the people that deserve it, yet those same people will blindly vote Republican and the tax breaks go to big corporations.  Obama gets it.  The average American vote does not.  The Republicans have figured out the ultimate scam- all they have to do is say they are going to lower taxes/that the Dems will raise them, they win and get into office, they lower taxes for the big boys but the average American doesn’t really see a whole lot, next election they say they are going to lower taxes and they get voted in again!

I wonder what would happen if political parties were outlawed.  Would there be any improvement in the political process or will this country always be limited by the stunted mental capacity? Thoughts? Anyone? Bueller?

Palin’s Email Hacked September 18, 2008

Posted by Who? in Election 2008, Politics, Random.
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Just in case you want to send Palin a piece of your mind, her email address is gov.palin@yahoo.com

Would it be inappropriate to ask her out on a date?  I mean I know she is married and all.  Normally I would back off, but she lies so much that I’m wondering if maybe I have a chance.  I shouldn’t be so mean.  To be completely honest, I actually support Palin and her upcoming campaign…her 2010 reelection campaign for governor of the great state of Alaska.  Long live the lower 48…and Hawaii. 

Drop her a line and let her know what you think.  Tell your friends.  Spread the word– PALIN IN 2010…IN ALASKA.

Obama’s Plan for Change: Economic Plan Video September 17, 2008

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This video is another example of why I support Obama.

I don’t understand how anyone could watch this and then proceed to vote for McCain.  Just goes to show you how bad things have become in this country.  There is absolutely no comparison between Obama and McCain.  I wonder if McCain is going to embarass himself in the debate.

I haven’t had a chance to read the plan.  Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Obama September 17, 2008

Posted by Who? in Election 2008, Politics, Random.
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Check out the video.  Classic.  I wonder if Fox News will chop this us and make it sound like Obama is taking a stab at McCain’s ancientness. Is that even a word?  Whatever-if the President can make up words, I can make up words.  The First Amendment protects my rights to be a dumbass/American.

Twenty-six years in Congress?  Seven powerful lobbyists in charge of his campaign? One backwards VP nominee?Sounds like a Republican remix of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Fiiiive—thouuuuuuu-zand nuuuukes!!!

How can you be running for President and not understand email?  Is he going to conduct all his business with an inkwell, a quill and the Pony Express?  I know what you’re thinking- that’s ridiculous, McCain wouldn’t use the Pony Express.  And you’re absolutely right- he would probably use carrier pigeons because they kept him company when he was a POW.  Plus they can be trained as attack pigeons in times of war.  Maybe McCain is about change.

He is out of touch with the 21st century.  If I lived through WWII, Vietnam, Korea and the Cold War, every other word out of my mouth would probably be war too.  The man is old.  He barely has enough brain function left to keep his eyes open when he smiles.  It’s not his fault, he’s just old.

Just thought of an interesting question-

Would you hire McCain to run your company and serve as CEO?  Would you hire a 72 year-old man to make decisions about your company that would directly control whether or not you turned a profit? 

I would never leave my company in his hands- I think the affairs of this country are a little more complex than a single company.  Think about how out of touch your grandparents are with the modern world.  Would you vote your grandpa into office?  McCain is damn near old enough to have walked the Earth with the dinosaurs- at least according the the Palin Theory of TIme.

The War President: John McCain September 17, 2008

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Came across this post at Jon Taplin’s site.  This video scares the hell out of me; even taking into consideration that it is slanted and edited for dramatic effect.  The fact of the matter is that McCain has built his image on that of the fearless hero and that, my friends, is dangerous.  Give me the thinking man willing to go to war ONLY as a last resort not the guy born in love with war and his own, one-dimensional legend.  Not to mention the fact that John McCain was born in the 1930’s- I believe people largely define themselves and their view of the world somewhere in their 20’s.  That leaves ol’ Johnny boy with a world view stuck in the late ’50’s.  Wisdom and experience is great but I’d rather have someone that is a little more in touch with the modern world.  Things have changed quite a bit since then.  I’ll write some more on this topic later and how it affects the process of progessive change in this country- especially in Congress.

A while back, a random news story caught my eye and something hit me.  Donald Rumsfeld was speaking  on the news and the name bar read “Secretary of Defense”.  The Secretary of the Department of…Defense?  I think I also happend to be reading 1984 at the time- which might explain a lot.  I wonder how many Americans know that the Department of Defense was originally called the Department of War.  Just think about that for a second.  Think about the difference.  It’s doublespeak.  So what is the effect?

-They say this…we must defend this country! National security!

-But they really mean this…we must go to war!

The emotional response between the two is very different- one puts us on the defensive.  You feel justified in taking action when the message is framed by words like defense and security.  I’m all for defending this country WHEN IT NEEDS DEFENDING.  

I personally don’t want to live in a world, let alone country, where McCain has one hand on the Nuke Button and the other holding a copy of the Bush Doctrine.  Events could be put into place and America, possibly large parts of the world, could slip into nuclear winter if McCain is voted into office.  For the current administration, war was a means to an end, but for McCain it almost seems like war itself is the end.

“The statesman who yields to war fever is no longer the master of policy, but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” W. Churchill

HTC and Android: The gPhone September 17, 2008

Posted by Who? in Random, technology.
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Just saw an article about the Google phone.  I’m pretty excited to watch this unfold.  The rumor is that it will be called the HTC Dream but I like calling it the gPhone….iPhone v. gPhone the battle for the universe.

Currently, I have the Blackberry 8830; its got a couple quirks and bugs but, for the most part, it works well.  However, I’d love to upgrade to the new iPhone.  It will be interesting to see how the gPhone compares.  Part of me wants to ditch my phone entirely for a pager in hopes of going on the low-information diet promoted by Tim Ferriss.  But, I probably won’t.

I just can’t let go off the convenience.  Sure it doesn’t help to unwind at the end of the day when someone sends you an email at 10:30, but for now I just can’t give it up.  In no particular order, my top non-communication uses for my BB are: movie times, googling restaurant times/hours/contact info, reading the daily news from 5 different papers, BrickBreaker and note-taking.

The one that I probably could not function without is, surprisingly, note-taking.  If you happen to have the good fortune of knowing me, you know that I’ve always got random thoughts, questions, ideas running through my head.  Did you know that Memo files on the BB’s have a file size limit?  I do hahaha.  There are probably 20 different Memo files on different subjects in my phone.

Another function that I could not live without is the ability to search Google for one purpose in particular.  Settling arguments and bets.  This is a loose recollection of an actual convo- “Man, The Dark Knight was awesome.  Did you like it?”  “Yah it was alright.” “Alright! Are you crazy?” “Yah- I just liked the first Batman better.”  “The first one? What is this the ’80’s?”  “Dude the first Batman came out in the ’90’s.” “You wanna bet???”  And out of my belt holster flew my BB with blinding speed. 

Gooooogle says- 1989.  Winner.  Sweet, sweet satisfaction.  I thanked God and the Academy.  I hope open-source platforms will be the way of the future.  The MSFT/closed source approach to business is the way of the past. Sorry Billy.

The Law School Series: Law School is Big Business September 17, 2008

Posted by Who? in Business, Lifestyle Design, Random.
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The “I hate law school” traffic has been picking up lately…right on cue.  I don’t think I really started questioning things until second semester but I’m sure I had a couple random google searches along the way.  2nd semester searches mostly consisted of: I hate law school, should I drop out of law school, law school f*&%*$# sucks, why did I go to law school, why did you go to law school.  Trips to CareerBuilder and Craigslistto search for jobs were never far behind.

After having battled with the decision for almost 2 years, I think that the most important thing to pay attention to is this: if you keep coming back to the same thoughts/issues, you might want to consider taking some time off.  I think this stands as a general rule for any tough decision.  If you keep coming back to the same issue and reaching the same conclusion, there is probably something there.

For me, I kept coming back to the fact that I wasn’t happy.  I really enjoyed learning about the law but law school is not about learning.  Learning and intellectual rigor is a part of it, but first and foremost law school is a business.  The third year of law school is damn near useless; you learn the basics the first year, practice and refine your skills the second and they steal your money the third.  Well it can’t be useless otherwise law school would only be 2 years, right?  Put yourself in the position of the law school; a 3-year program means that they can grab an extra year of tuition from you.  If you’re thinking about law school, you need to understand this.  They are a business.  Their job is to maximize revenue.  Let that marinate. 

Take for example ohhh I don’t know…let’s say…Seattle University School of Law?  In my time there, I think the tuition was around $28,500, but that was 2 years ago.  For the 2008 academic year, tuition is $33,720.  So between 2006-2008, SU has raised their price by over 17%.  Law schools may be “non-profit” entities, but they are making big bucks.

The difference between a 2-year program and a 3-year program is $33,720 PER STUDENT.  The Prospective Students page shows this years entering at class is 325 students and total enrollment is 1,067.  So that means that a 3rd year at SU Law generates an additional…drum roll please…10.8 million dollars in revenue.  Ignoring school-sponsored scholarships and the difference b/w full and part-time students, SU Law generates 36 million dollars a year in tuition revenue.  Law school is about money.  I would be more than willing to bet that law schools are the most profitable units at any given school.

If you find yourself going back and forth about whether or not you want to be there- take some time off.  I know it doesn’t feel like you can, but you can take a break- you won’t be behind, you won’t be wasting time, you can and should do it if you are going back and forth.  Don’t be afraid of “wasting time” by taking some time to remove yourself from the environment and clear your head.  Be afraid of wasting an extra $30-$60,000.  Do you know what the reality of student loan repayment looks like if you don’t get that top job? 

No one at my school’s financial aid office ever sat me down and said “If you take out loans for the full cost of attendance (~48k/year), you will be paying $2,500+ each month for a very long time.”  And thats probably a low figure.  Think about that.  That is $30,000 a year AFTER TAXES.  MAYBE, if you are really good AND lucky, you’ll get a job that pays $90,000 a year.  But right off the bat you can subtract $43,000-ish off the top for student loan payments- before income tax, rent, food-anything. 

Bottom line is this: If you’re unsure, take time off.  Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll breakdown the debt/salary/workweek numbers and show you how insane it is to take on debt to pay for law school.