January 31st, 2009

news

Who Crashed the Economies?

This article lists a number of people whose actions played a major role in creating the current economic crisis. I am pleased to see that it includes both liberal and conservative culprits, and spans multiple countries (America isn't the only place in severe trouble). Included are descriptions of what each culprit did and the consequences.

Sleeping over the Crisis

Guardian in a recent report revealed the perpetrators of the global financial crisis. It  revealed their names and photos too. The British Guardian newspaper on Monday published a list of people whose work has proved fatal for the world economy. Lies have been told by  both policy makers and business sharks.

The publication also listed visionaries who, warned us long before the actual crisis hit our shores.  Unfortunately for the all us, these people were not involved in the process of decision-making.

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Modular Robot Reassembles Itself When Kicked Apart

Here is a video of a modular robot being kicked into several pieces, followed by a description of how it reassembles itself as the pieces come back together. While still at a primitive stage of execution, this is a terrific conceptual advance for robotics, especially for space exploration.

Thank you, monster robot movies, for inspiring geeks to explore self-repairing robots.
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The Human Costs of the Economic Crisis

This long, detailed, and ugly article describes how the economic crisis is causing society to fray. Some people are simply pushed beyond their ability to cope, and break down. Others backlash more deliberately against a society that has let them down when they most needed support. These aren't deadbeats -- they are soldiers, homeowners, parents, taxpayers, workers -- core American citizens. Until the people in charge of America pulled the rug out from under them. This is what we get when people do not take care of each other. I don't like the way these numbers are developing. We need to fix this, and soon.

Meltdown Madness: The Human Costs of the Economic Crisis
 The body count is still rising. For months on end, marked by bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, and layoffs, the economic meltdown has taken a heavy toll on Americans. In response, a range of extreme acts including suicide, self-inflicted injury, murder, and arson have hit the local news. By October 2008, an analysis of press reports nationwide indicated that an epidemic of tragedies spurred by the financial crisis had already spread from Pasadena, California, to Taunton, Massachusetts, from Roseville, Minnesota, to Ocala, Florida.
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A Better Stimulus Plan?

The following article proposes a different response to the economy than the latest stimulus package:

A Better Stimulus Plan
There are ways to stimulate the economy in a more immediate manner wile avoiding the government bottleneck and without borrowing more money at time when our entire GDP for this year is already owed to a private banks and foreign countries.


Let's see ...

"With the current economic stimulus being argued in Congress and the Senate, except for the tax break portion, it will take two years before the money starts hitting the economy."

This is a serious flaw in the government's stimulus plan.

"The first step is to quit borrowing and quit giving the money to banks."

This is very difficult because so much of the economy is built around banks, it's almost impossible to get anything done without them. However, I have reduced my use of banks, because they won't friggin' protect your money anymore if someone feeds them the right numbers.

>>As banks close, forgive the debt they are holding instead of selling it to other banks for pennies on the dollar. The population generates 70% of the economy and this will cause people to immediately have more spendable income.<<

Now this is a fascinating idea. I'm in favor of letting banks close, because I believe that businesses should reap the consequences of poor decisions; the earlier bailout merely rewarded failure, with disastrous results. I like the idea of forgiving debt. I'm not sure if it would be feasible, or what drawbacks there might be.

"Issue $500 billion worth of tax cuts and don't borrow to replace the lost revenue. Cut the budget."

Forget it. We've seen tax cuts out the wazoo and they do not deliver promised benefits. Meanwhile, our kids can't read and our levees are collapsing. Budgets have already been cut so far that underfunded services are causing expensive problems -- some of which will continue to be expensive and problematic for years to come.

"Stand down and start pulling our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Close unnecessary foreign military bases, reopen ones here, and let our soldiers spend their money here instead of there."

This is a great idea. It would save money and is certainly doable. It would need some political pressure, though. Keep up the anti-war efforts! The military needs time to repair and recharge anyhow. Check out United for Peace & Justice if you need ideas.

"Stop passing regulations, especially federal regulations, that have an adverse effect on small business at the bequest of large business."

This is also brilliant. I've been alarmed by the constant march of regulation through cottage industries, wiping out ever more of the things people can do to make money that don't require expensive licensing and schooling to start. Because, you know what? If people can't make a living, they can't afford to buy stuff from those big businesses. Hello, Detroit. Anyhow, you can push for this one by promoting small business organizations.

"Stop issuing green cards and H-1B visas and start collecting illegal aliens and deporting them."

This is stupid; American immigration policy is stupid; one of these days I need to post about that. It wouldn't be a problem if all those people were just in the system openly.

Thoughts?
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Baby Born In Bay Area With 12 Functioning Fingers, 12 Toes

This is a cool piece of news:

Baby Born In Bay Area With 12 Functioning Fingers, 12 Toes
DALY CITY, Calif. -- A Daly City couple is beaming after becoming the proud parents of a healthy but incredibly rare baby boy this month. Baby Kamani Hubbard has six-fully formed and functional fingers and toes on his hands and feet. It's called “polydactyly” -- extra digits -- not an uncommon genetic trait, but Bay Area doctors say they've never seen a case so remarkable.


I'm familiar with this phenomenon from Celtic lore -- some illustrations in the Book of Kells have six-fingered hands -- but this example is in an African-American family. It's nice that people generally seem accepting of the variation of human form.
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Getting the Rats Off the Ropes

My exploration of the economic collapse is beginning to yield some useful ideas for improvement. One thing is -- when you've got rats gnawing on the ropes that hold up your circus tent, you need to gets those rats off the ropes.

Usurious credit card interest rates, fees, and other practices have driven many people unreasonably far into debt. Similar problems have plagued the mortgage field. This situation could be greatly alleviated by capping rates and fees, requiring companies to treat customers fairly, and instating a lender's bill of rights.
Cap on Credit Card Interest Rates Petition
Another petition from Green Change
The White House 2 -- Talking Point
Obama/Biden site mentioning their interest in resolving credit issues
Home Loan Learning Center