Sunday, April 5, 2009

Back to the Blog

It was a nice week away from one aspect of my computer life. This last week has been pretty interesting for me and I guess culture in general. Here is a rundown of things of interest to me:

1. How progressive is Iowa? First, the 2008 Iowa Caucuses gave President Obama the springboard to get into office. I'm still amazed by that. Now, the Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage. This should make Californians feel ashamed.

2. The Obamas in Europe. Do they cut a figure together or what? Their mere presence is doing a lot to repair the US world image. The fact that President Obama didn't get more economic stimulus from European countries makes perfect sense. Those countries possess the social safety nets to help their citizens. The United States does not have universal health care or cheap access to higher education. Michelle did what any human being would do if a someone gives you a hug, she hugged back. Get over the Queen thing people. Steve Jobs must love the fact the Queen has an iPod. I can't wait to see the commercials. And she gives the French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy a Gibson guitar. Who said music the music industry is totally dead?

3. I haven't really commented on the economic crisis. There are enough people taking all types of potshots at the Stimulus Package, the Bailout of the Banks, The Auto Crisis and so on. I am worried like everyone else, but it doesn't overwhelm my thoughts. I feel lucky to have finished my MBA in Finance from Summer of 2006 to Spring 2008. That education gave me the tools to understand the problems and the knowledge of where to go to research what I don't understand. For everyday tracking and simple understanding of these complex issues I recommend these resources:

NPR: Planet Money the Blog and Podcast

Slate: The Big Money
Marketplace from American Public Media

Check out this podcast from Fresh Air featuring Frank Partnoy. Great explanation of derivatives and the other financial instruments that have push us close to the edge.

4. Speaking of close to the edge, the newspaper industry is getting hammered by everyone. I work for one of the successful newspapers, The Austin American-Statesman. What irritates me about the discussion is the omission of 2 key facts with the newspapers that have failed. They papers were either in 2 papers towns (Seattle, Denver) or the ownership had the had massive debt (Tribune Company, Philadelphia Newspapers). Since the Statesman has been up for sale, there has been a lot of speculation and rumors. Over the past month, there has been a back and forth between the Statesman and the Austin Chronicle about what's going on. That will be a separate blog post.

5. We are getting a nice tax refund.

6. The Bulls are in 7th place in the East.

7. The Bears got Jay Cutler! Yes, I'm excited and I'm going to draft Matt Forte, Devin Hester and Greg Olsen in my fantasy league next year.

8. Damages had a great season ending episode. Season wrap-up post this week.

9. Opening day in baseball never gets old. Steroids, expensive stadiums be damned. Does anything ever really stop baseball, expect the war and baseball itself?

10. The latest LEOG is up. Check it out, if you dare...

11. I will be joining Soul Track Mind either this week or next week. Depends on how the bass player reacts to his dismissal.