Tag Archives: Economy

Over it yet? Me neither.

Barack Obama is the President-elect.
Sarah Palin is still hanging around.
Joe Biden reminds me of Samwise Gamgee.
John McCain seems as if he knew this was going to happen about 6 months ago.

When it comes down to it, it all feels so strange. Almost as if this is how it was supposed to happen. What, I wonder, could possibly come next? YTMND aside, I’ll be in the District for the Inauguration and I’m excited because I totally have an awesome camera with a big memory card. I was there for the Inauguration in 2000, so it should be interesting to compare the atmosphere of today to the violence and anger that so permeated that transition.

What the hell are we going to be posting about, now that the election is over?
I’m not sure about my associates here at Jasandbelle, but I have a few good ideas.

How about the Wars? Seriously, holy sweet mother mercy, will they ever end. I mean, come on, what the hell? It’s getting less violent, but people are still getting killed and the factional bitterness is just as strong as it ever was. A good example of why things are not as violent as they used to be in Iraq is the 1920 Revolution Brigade. The 1920 Revolution Brigade is an Iraqi group, formed in 2003 for one purpose – find and kill American soldiers. They are among the best in Iraq at  that. Al-Sadr’s militia is far larger and better trained, but they’re being controlled in the same way the 1920 Revolution Brigade is being controlled. We are paying them enormous sums of money. The 1920s operate out of the Diyala Province which, strangely enough, is still a pretty nasty place to hang out. We pay the militias anyway, mainly because we need someone to keep tabs on these guys. When we pull out, are these guys still going to get paid? If they aren’t, can the Iraqis deal with these armed groups? If they can’t, at what point does the United States become obligated to return? Is there any such point?
Change has indeed come to America. The question is, how much we can spread around to places where our soldiers are dying?

How about the economy? I don’t want to get into it. Screw the DOW. If you want an indication of how we’re doing overall, look at gas prices. They are absolutely falling through the floor. Don’t go thinking it’s a good thing. The reason it’s coming down is because industrialized countries all over the world are taking it up the proverbial tailpipe, so demand is going down. Gas should cost around 3.60 USD for a gallon of regular unleaded. I’m not going into it. We’ll be here all day.

George W. Bush is preparing to write his memoirs. Did you ever think you’d hear that? Believe it.

The new expansion for World of Warcraft is out today. The myriad swarms will, without a shred of doubt, seclude themselves for another year or so before emerging, gloriously, with yet another false sense of accomplishment. Believe me, I know, I’m a recovering addict.

Whatever. Quit freaking out.
There’s always sports!

~ Ivan


In the event of a water landing, you may be used as a flotation device.

I have returned to East Tennessee.
I’ve been very busy rearranging my apartment and looking for somewhere to work. I have submitted nine (9) applications for employment thus far, all of which are within biking distance. The price of operating my behemoth of a car has reached critical mass and I have, therefore, made the planning necessary to minimize my reliance on internal combustion engine driven transportation.
I’m sure that’s a whole lot of boring information you could live without.

On the fun side of things, I’ve been playing Rock Band 2 with my almost exclusively rhythm game oriented circle of friends. I am absolutely in love with the drum trainer. It’s an incredibly handy tool for anyone who’s trying to obtain a sense of rhythm.
Among the harder songs for guitar in the latest iteration of Rock Band are Master Exploder by Tenacious D and Chop Suey by System of a Down.
I havn’t had a whole lot of time to spend playing video games but I played RB2 enough to know these songs are very very hard.

You might not care a whole lot but North Korea turned 60 years old the other day! I have a particular fascination with North Korea as, in my senior year, I entertained ideas of defecting to the last great socialist regime and providing them with sub-par IT support. Actually, that isn’t true. It might be true. Not feasible, though. Or is it?

Speaking of socialism, has anybody seen Wall Street lately? Holy sweet mother mercy! Last week was comprised of an absolutely bewildering series of economic cataclysms, resulting in some very serious changes to the very fabric of the American Economic System, as it were. I’m sure the vast majority of our readership has no idea whatsoever of how it all went down and what it means for the future, so after consulting a OMG REAL LIFE FREDDIE MAC EMPLOYEE WHO SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS and still failing to understand, I asked the New York Times to put it in words my feeble mind can understand.
They totally delivered.

This bailout plan is going to cost 700 billion USD. That’s about $3,000 for every single citizen of the United States. This is a very serious situation. The implications for the future of American Consumerism are grave. The significance of last week will echo for years, perhaps decades, to come. Expect savings accounts to get owned, jobs to be lost, and the value of your home to bottom out. That is a very real possibility at this point, a very unhappy future that is no where near the worst case scenario.

It looks like our hour is up! I promised Belle a graphical overhaul at a self-set and very unrealistic deadline, but worry not, it is on the way. Take a moment sometime this week and be grateful that you live in a time of such drastic change. It may not be an optimistic time to be alive, but it’s definitely very exciting.


Sick of the Metro?

So I’m on the train this morning, listening to my favorite driver give us thirty-second updates on why, exactly, we are stopped right before Reagan, tilting to the right because the track is curved right here but that is where he chose to stop. Very precarious.

Apparently there were delays because someone was “sick on the train” at L’Enfant. I have heard of this phenomenon occurring so many times on other lines (the Blue Line, apparently, just can’t hold itself together today) and I still can’t figure out what that is code for. Could be anything! Has anyone else ever been on one of these cars? What happens to these people?

Anyway, everyone was groaning and muttering and whining and complaining and angrily checking their email, so I jumped on the bandwagon. Found some gems while I was very bizarrely leaning toward the right, and not politically, thought I would share:

DCist, Numbers for McCain/Palin Rally Questioned

So this is interesting: Bloomberg did a story on how no one can agree on the size of the crowd for the McCain/Palin rally in Fairfax last week. We were following the story after some controversy broke out over the initial location for the event, and went with the New York Times’s number of 15,000, which the paper said it got from “The Fairfax City fire marshal.”

Citizen Jane Politics, Talking Taxes: Is Obama or McCain Better for You?

$111,646 to $160,972– McCain: Cut $2,614 / Obama: Cut $2,204

$66,355 to $111,645– McCain: Cut $1,009 / Obama: Cut $1,290

$37,596 to $66,354– McCain: Cut $319 / Obama: Cut $1,042

$18,982 to $37,595– McCain: Cut $113 / Obama: Cut $567

Up to $18,981– McCain: Cut $19 / Obama: Cut $567

The Trail, Palin Impersonators Strip for Their Supper

While GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin drew a large and enthusiastic crowd today in Golden, Colo., she skipped another Denver-area event being held in her honor: the “Sarah Palin Strip Off” that will take place tonight at Shotgun Willies Show Club on South Colorado Boulevard.

The strip club event — which is not to be confused with the establishment’s “Body Art Wednesday” and “Thursday Amateur Strip Off” — is just a joke, according to the club’s doorman Matt. (Matt, for some reason, declined to give The Trail his last name but asked to be called “Doormat.”)

“When the DNC was here, Bill Clinton was featured for three nights in a row,” he explained, referring to a performer during the Democratic National Convention last month.

Politico, Wall St. Greed Hits Main St. Oh noes! People care about this shit now!

We have now found out, much to our dismay, that the stock market is not actually fueled by helium. It does not always go up. And, even more distressing, the real reason for the collapse of giant financial institutions still seems shrouded in fog. It can’t all be because a relatively small number of people took out some risky mortgages.

Kansas City Star, Applebees Diet Menu Called a Fraud God bless America…

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., accuses Applebee’s International of causing consumers to unwittingly consume higher-than-advertised fat and calories by mislabeling its Weight Watchers menu items.

The racketeering lawsuit, which also names Applebee’s parent company, DineEquity of Glendale, Calif., and Weight Watchers International of New York, seeks class-action certification. Among the counts listed in the lawsuit are fraud, unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy.

Pygmalion in a Blanket, the best the city has to offer, apparently I really, really agree with you, dude. There’s no way this will work.

It appears that Lifetime has started shooting their LNS-themed, unintentional parody of faux celebrity realism here in the most northwestern parts of north-west DC. My first instinct says it’ll never even make on the air. But if I’m wrong and in 8 months the network decides to air it, they will soon regret any amount of money they have clearly wasted. Lifetime would be better off leaving the restaurant right now and filming any garbage blowing down M Street. It already looks to be of better quality.

And, again from Politico, GOP gets no love from musicians LOL!

Cease-and-desist letters from musicians have rained down like confetti on Republicans over the years. But nothing compares to the virtual commune full of left-leaning artists who are mad at John McCain right now, though, in most cases, they have no legal basis to stop him from using their songs.

Have a fabulous Tuesday, everyone! I’ll be at my desk, trying not to lean one way or the other.

– Belle

Volatile Shifts

I, unlike some of the other posters here, do not live in what you would call a highly populated area. Having grown up in the shadow of the the Nation’s Capital, I can understand and relate to what my friends here experience on a (mostly) daily basis. However, I live in a relatively small town, in Tennessee, where the spectacle of rush hour beltway traffic and the possibility of a horrific terrorist attack are both equally unimaginable.

I have, therefore, what one might call a unique perspective here.

This is a time of volatility in the United States. It is visible in every aspect of our society. Anyone who owns a car or a home knows that the economy is undergoing vast shifts, at the very least.

Says Greenspan, yesterday, the 14th of September:

“Oh, by far,” Greenspan said, when asked if the situation was the worst he had seen in his career. “There’s no question that this is in the process of outstripping anything I’ve seen and it still is not resolved and still has a way to go and, indeed, it will continue to be a corrosive force until the price of homes in the United States stabilizes. That will induce a series of events around the globe which will stabilize the system.”

The volatility is not limited to the United States and the economy. The most complex and sophisticated machine ever devised by man was infiltrated by a group of hackers known as the Greek Security Team a few days ago. While there is no feasible way to remotely (or directly, for that matter) unleash devastating gravitational forces at the LHC, the fact that a group of individuals effectively hacked the ultimate Gibson is a little disconcerting.

This from the Greek Security Team, addressing (I’m assuming) the LHC IT Department:

“We’re pulling your pants down because we don’t want to see you running around naked looking to hide yourselves when the panic comes,” wrote the intruders in a note left on the Collider’s website.

The emergence of coordinated or even solitary offensive action utilizing computer networks as a medium is a phenomenon that is best characterized by the virtually limitless speed that a network of hackers can increase in strength and capability.

This fact made itself grossly apparent during the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia:

“Cyber attacks on Georgia began a day before the actual invasion. On Aug. 9 Georgia’s largest bank was attacked and all electronic banking was stopped. The attack was sophisticated — hackers broke into the information site of the bank and started to change currency rates, devaluing the Georgian currency… Also targeted were the Web sites of the Georgian president and other governmental bodies. The aim of the attackers was to shut down all Georgian news sites, and for the first two days of the war, Russia was the world’s sole source of information on the situation in Georgia.”

Total pwnij.

The best way to determine a system’s potential volatility is to quantify the level of complexity inherant within that system. If you consider the entire world as a complex system, it behooves one to pay attention to the myriad of metaphorical Canaries dropping dead.

It’s time for me to drive south. Wish me luck!

~ Ivan