Bill Cutshall’s Weblog

June 22, 2010

Facebook is Making Me Stupid

Filed under: Politics,Whimsy,Wisdom and Trivia — billcutshall @ 11:33 am
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I should qualify that.  Facebook is making me stupid-ER and I am sure it is the “status update’s” fault.  I used to think.  I used to try to string ideas and concepts together into coherent points, arguments, hypotheses, ideas, and sometimes even fiction.  Now I simply dump snippets of stuff into my Facebook status and move on with the rest of my day.  It’s making me rusty; a fact that attempting to write this paragraph serves to painfully illuminate.  I need to do something about that. (more…)

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October 14, 2009

Steve Thinks We Need Insurance Reform Too

Two months ago I wrecked my brand new car.  You know those rumble strips next to the freeway that are supposed to let you know when you get too close to the edge?  Well, I was texting my friend Steve and the noise from those things startled me so bad I dropped my coffee, swerved off the road, and hit a tree.  I was fine but my car was completely hosed.  I called around to three different car insurance companies to buy an insurance policy so I could get my car fixed but not one of them would pay for the repairs.  Worse still, none of them even offered me an affordable policy.  They said I was “high risk” (like that’s supposed to make me feel better).  It got me thinking that with all this talk about reforming our health insurance industry shouldn’t we take a good look at what these bastard car insurance companies do and force them to stick to the same standards. (more…)

May 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Karl Marx

May 5th, 1818, saw the birth of Karl Heinrich Marx, a revolutionary thinker (literally).  Marx was a philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, humanist and revolutionary and is credited as the founder of communism.  In his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program he states that once society reaches its Communistic ideal, it can proudly hang a banner proclaiming “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”  Happy Birthday you brilliant crazy dead Communist. (more…)

February 20, 2009

More of the Same

Should I be worried that our nation’s calls for change are being answered with more of what got us into this mess coupled with depression-era economic strategies?  Should it concern me that FDR’s failed policies are being touted as the roadmap for how we are going to turn our economy around?  Should the fact that the most liberal-voting member of Congress has become our President and is taking 50 billion dollars from people that *can* pay their mortgages and is giving it to people that can’t cause me concern that we are becoming a socialist nation? (more…)

February 17, 2009

Evil Geniuses or Incompetent Idiots

Right now I am trying to figure out whether the current Financiapocalypse is a result of Democratic subterfuge, Republican conniving, or just plain old-fashioned incompetence.  Sliced any way the situation still looks bad. (more…)

January 12, 2009

OJ and Illinois Hate Consequences

As much as the whole Rod Blagoyevich circus dismays me, there is another more concerning undertone to the situation developing.  As Americans we live according to a set of rules.  Lots of sets of rules, actually.  Some are regional, some are contextual, and they are all subject to change in conditions where we find common agreement that it is warranted.  Just like steel, flexibility is one of the things that makes America strong rather than brittle.

What dismays me is the seeming growth of the idea that it is acceptable to ignore current rules and laws if adherence to them creates an unpopular or uncomfortable situation.  (more…)

December 23, 2008

What Comes After Zero?

Filed under: Economics — billcutshall @ 5:33 am
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With the Federal Reserve’s interest rate near zero some may wonder what tools are still available to bolster our economy and return it to health.  For those interested in monetary policy (and that’s a pretty small percentage of the population even in these times) Robert E. Lucas Jr. has written one of the best quick summaries of what is happening to our economy, what is being done to change it, and why it should work that I have read lately.

My poor summary of the explanation is that people are currently uncertain, risk averse, and looking for high-quality investments as stable as cash.  The Fed’s response is to buy up high-risk investments with cash thereby reducing the quantity of out-of-favor risky instruments and increasing the availability of in-demand stable government-backed instruments like cash and T-Bills.  The theory is basic economics, really.  When something is in demand (safety is in demand) increase the supply.  When demand for a good falls (risk is out of fashion) reduce the supply.  By swapping quality securities (cash and T-Bills) for questionable securities (CMOs and other popular modern villains) the Fed will keep the money market moving and prices stable.

My explanation is a poor substitute for the actual article though.  Read Robert E. Lucas Jr.’s article in The Wall Street Journal for a much more complete understanding.

December 17, 2008

Still Teflon(TM) Coated

Considering the proximity to the Rod Blagoyevich situation both in number of days and political distance from Chicago it seems like a bad idea for Barak Obama to engage in any sort of arrangement that might seem like a quid-pro-quo.  Joe Biden’s choice for his Director of Communications seems problematic and risky in the current environment.  Obama is still new in office and despite the Blagoyevich arrest his Teflon(TM) coating still seems to be intact. (more…)

December 12, 2008

Good is Good, Bad is Bad

Filed under: Economics,Politics — billcutshall @ 6:43 pm
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Good is good and bad is bad.

Or is it?

During his presidential campaign Barak Obama hit hard on the fact that he would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.  He campaigned on the idea that everyone should pay their fair share and wealthy Americans weren’t doing that.  Now he seems to be retreating from that position stating that in these hard economic times a tax increase on the wealthy would have a negative effect on the economy. (more…)

December 9, 2008

Rod Blagojevich is an Ass

Filed under: Politics — billcutshall @ 11:50 am

Right on the heels of my rant regarding the mediocritization of our society, the Chicago political machine provides me with a great example of the effects of our tolerance for bad decisions.

In case you haven’t been following the national news, we are in the middle of some financial hard times the results of which are apparently being experienced by the Republic Windows and Doors company of Chicago.  Recently Bank of America reviewed the line of credit they have extended to Republic and decided to freeze it.  Basically this is similar to when a credit card company freezes the account of a person who misses their minimum monthly payment even though they are below the limit of their credit line.  Republic, as a consequence, did not have enough liquid funds to meet their liabilities, particularly those to their 240 employees, and had to close down giving their workers 72 hours notice which is 57 days shy of their obligation. (more…)

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