Friday, November 21, 2008

Secret of Life?

From an interesting article in the Times:

“We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy,” Dr. Robinson said. “TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less.”

But the researchers could not tell whether unhappy people watch more television or whether being glued to the set is what makes people unhappy. “I don’t know that turning off the TV will make you more happy,” Dr. Robinson said.
Is this really such a mystery?

I hosted a party recently and was slightly disappointed that half the guests sat in front of the tube for hours, watching one football game after another, switching between games to fill the emptiness associated with half-times. Another group collected in my dining room and entertained one another with conversation - the kind that produces frequent laughter.

What is the connection between the tv and happiness? Well, when my party ended, and all the guests went home, I know I was very happy that the tv was finally off.

Happiness, it turns out, is not such a mystery after all.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

CFO Magazine

Walter Isaac, Ronald Reagan's appointed head of the FDIC (and now a consultant to the banking industry) blames fair value accounting (FAS 157) for the financial crisis. In short, because the SEC requires banks to show their investments at fair value, rather than cost, the banks have had to report their weakened condition in their published financial statements, and this reduced their ability to make loans. If only we had had the wisdom to allow the banks to show their holdings at cost instead, all would be well, insists Isaac, in this CFO magazine piece.

Isaac rhetorically asked the participants how the financial system could have come upon such hard times in under two years. "I gotta tell you that I can't come up with any other answer than that the accounting system is destroying too much capital, and therefore diminishing bank lending capacity by some $5 trillion," he asserted. "It's due to the accounting system, and I can't come up with any other explanation."
So the answer to the financial crisis is to let banks pretend that these loans/investments are worth what they paid for them? What Isaac doesn't understand is that financial markets depend on trust and trust depends on honest accounting - any argument that we could have avoided this crisis by letting the banks post misleading financial statements is moronic.

Of course, Isaac is a Republican, so who can be surprised that he thinks regulations are to blame for the market meltdown, the bailout, and who knows what else? (Assuming Isaac were correct, then FAS 157 is also partly responsible for the election of Barack Obama!)

How does CFO justify publishing such nonsense? What should we expect next week - Nancy Reagan's astrological interpretation of the market decline?

The detachment from reason and reality that pervades Republican thinking is not new. It has been evident since the election of Ronald Reagan and came to full flower under the ignoramus from Crawford. It was evident in the selection of Sarah Palin, who thinks men walked with dinosaurs. But CFO magazine? I thought that we could depend on accountants to be rational.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Colin Powell gets it

This is a wonderful and very different kind of election. It is good to hear Colin Powell expressing what so many of us feel.

What a marvelous day this is in America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Good Night

It has been a good night - the best in a long time.

And the best part: Better days are ahead.



Happy! Happy! Happy!

Happy Days are here again!

President-Elect Barack Obama

Good Times

Feel like dancing!

Rockin' in the free world

Our eight years of darkness are at an end.

At long last.

Let the Good Times Roll

Littlest terrorist/socialist/whateverist

Found this picture at The New Republic and just had to post it here.

I just love this photo of our very scary Marxist-Muslim president-elect and his young accomplice in the conspiracy to redistribute white wealth to black people.

Their secret fist bump - notice how Obama crouches behind the car door to avoid the prying eyes of right-minded god-fearing white people - reveals their true identity as godless proponents of cloning, infanticide, sex education for kindergartners, an end to the moral crusade in Iraq, and - even worse - tax increases for the richest 5% of all Americans.

Recoil in horror if you must, but let this horrible image remind you of how much we lose as a nation when men of peace and goodwill like Bush and Cheney are not permitted to rule without regard to the Constitution or common notions of decency and human rights.

Yes, right-wing Americans and low-information voters everywhere, you are losing this election. Despite your maverick-and-mooseburger ticket, despite Joe the lipsticked plumber and Sarah the Neiman Marcus hockey mom, despite the brilliant economic policies of Bush and the marvelous war in Iraq - despite all the many wonders of the Christian Right's very own political party in power - you are going down, hard.

I am finding it SO hard to be sympathetic.

Celebrating Freedom

Voting feels so good this year. I felt such a big feeling in my heart this morning. I wanted to sing like Richie Havens:



After eight years of feeling that America was lost, of being embarrassed by my government - ashamed of the pushy fundamentalism; the incompetence and dishonesty; the cruelty, arrogance, corruption and bigotry, that comprised the governing model of the Bush White House, the K-Street Congressional machine, and their Evangelical political base - it is good to feel proud again of America.

Michelle Obama could have said it better, but I think I know what she meant. It hasn't felt this good to be an American in a long time.

Get Happy!

Let 'em roll

Good times are coming. Let the good times roll!

Celebrating the Election!

I voted about 5 minutes after the polls opened - the 8th voter in my district.

Now, it's time to celebrate.