Monday, September 29, 2008

Eight Percent Lost

Washington DC

As the House of Representatives are pandering to the most resentful and least educated of their respective constituents, the economists on Wall Street started another sell off.

The results, about 8% loss. Of course, this depends on what index you are looking at, but 8% seems to be right about in the middle. The Dow is down 777 points or 6.98%. The Russel 1000 is down 8.69%. Nasdaq Composite is down 199 points or 9.14%

I also feel that there is some risk in the behavior of congress talking about bailouts. I get the feeling that some of the most recent bank mergers are so that companies with less exposure can gain more exposure, and get some of the bail-out pie. However, those are the breaks. The government either can get involved, and start buying companies that are "too big to fail" ... or the government can stop claiming that this is in the works.

For all the folks who are protesting about the largess of Wall Street and high rolling CEO types, keep in mind that it's not the CEO that approved his own golden parachute... the CEO merely signed up with the best golden parachute offered by the boards of directors that are out there. The CEO gets the golden parachute because they are being given a job where they know beforehand that they will be fired if something goes wrong. That's the nature of business, a certain amount of risk is necessary to move a business forward, and balancing that risk against safety is always a difficult proposition.

Any CEO or market manager who didn't try to take advantage of the forward market trends in real-estate (a rising trend for well over 10 years straight), was bound to get fired for not taking enough risk.

Either way, today is a day where the markets are down 8%. This is because of market panic, and the market panicked because it didn't expect that the government money was at risk of being taken off the table. Wall Street ALWAYS panics when something unexpected happens. I'm not an economist or anything ... I learned this from listening to radio shows.

Why have my congressional representatives not figured this out yet?

Full Text of current proposed law (as defeated today):
http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/28/ayo08c04_xml.pdf

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Micheal Moore - Slacker Uprising

The movie is available for free download. The download is, supposedly, US only - - yet the movie also has an official bittorrent tracker. Last I checked, torrent doesn't care about what country you are in.

I made a copy of the tracker, here.

Bittorrent is available for free download, too.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Argh Matey!

Happy "Talk Like a Pirate Day" to ya.

Why, Talk Like a Pirate day, you prey ask!?

Well, Because the markets are crashin' around us, the gov'ment is in turmoil, the 'lections are about change - but not the kind that jingles, and because, well, It's September 19th, yet again.

So, "Argh!", "Argh!", I say!

Also, a Happy Birthday to Dede. Tell her so, if ya see her.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This Day in Gary's History...

September 11, 2001

I was on a consulting assignment to help install and configure a web based software product at Caterpillar in Pontiac, Illinois. I arrived at the Bloomington, IL airport on the morning of September 10th, and was asked to visit the headquarters in East Peoria on September 11th. To save the customer money, another consultant agreed to lend me his pickup truck for the drive to East Peoria (on the other end of the state).

I left the hotel after 7 AM Central time, and was heading south on I-55, then West on I-74 towards East Peoria.

About 8:20 Central, I get a phone call from Minnesota. My wife was telling me that I had to get to a television set, and that a plane has struck the world trade center, and it's terrible. While she is talking, she stops mid-sentence, and then says it's an attack. Both buildings have been hit. If you look at the time-lines, both buildings had already been hit, but she didn't know it until that moment.

Picture this, me driving North-West along this stretch of corn-fields towards East Peoria.

I'm trying to explain that there's nowhere to pull off, there's nothing to do. Eventually she hangs up, and I find a Radio Station that is reporting the news.

Then the radio reports that the Pentagon was hit. She calls back. She again tells me that there MUST be some place where I can stop and watch a television. I'm not about to go knocking on a farmhouse door. Especially on a day when everyone is thinking of terrorists.

A little after 9:00 AM, Central time, I finally find myself in East Peoria. I park the truck in a parking ramp near the Caterpillar headquarters, and I walk towards the building.

The first thing that came through my mind is, how would a security director convince the company president that the security guards need to have Uzi sub-machine guns available. I can't imagine they went to the gun-shop and picked them up in the hour since the news had been heard, and there's no way Caterpillar is important or controversial enough to have armed guards standing outside all the time.

I cautiously walked past them towards the door, expecting that maybe I'll be challenged. I was carrying a laptop case, after-all. Then I walked in, signed in, and went up to the floor where my contact was waiting. I caught a few minutes of video of the destruction in NYC on a TV that had been set up in a break-room nearby. I spent most of the rest of the day, working on the customer's software concerns. The last 45 minutes I was there, I caught some more of the news coverage, and then I drove back to Pontiac.

My assignment in Pontiac was through the end of the week, and I had a ticket for Saturday the 15th. This happened to be the first flight out of Bloomington airport, and I've never seen such a small airport so crowded with people waiting for re-booking opportunities. I actually felt bad that the events on this day had not inconvenienced me, as if by not having been directly impacted by the events, maybe I was cheating.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back From New York

I've posted a few pictures online from the trip. Mostly business, didn't really get to see anything too exciting on such a short weekday only trip.

http://picasaweb.google.com/gary.vollink/NewYorkTrip