Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mitt got it Right

I have to admit, Former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney got it right, we should let Detroit go bankrupt!! Not only does he clearly explain the problem, he also offers a solution. Please take time to read the article in its integrality on the NY Times. In time of crisis like now, experience may come handy but it's judgment that counts. Mitt got it right!!.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Oh no, he didn't!! "Half of that sum, in a worse economy, simply isn't enough firepower", seriously?!!! You must be kidding me Hank!!(please, I hope you don't mind the familiarity, after all, I just gave you almost a trillion dollar of my money)! How much more of our tax money do you want to "rescue" your friends on Wall street? "More, baby, more" I bet that's your answer. After blatantly confessing your incompetence and I quote: "There is no playbook for responding to turmoil we have never faced", why should I trust you with more money? And don't get me wrong, as much deference I give you for your shrewdness regarding some economical matters (excluding the current crisis), as much disdain you'll get from me as you so openly mismanage this financial carthasis. Your Wall street friends should be held accountable for their unscrupulous deeds. Their assets should be seized and their offshore accounts frozen, then they should be prosecuted and be sent in vacation to ones of those FCIs. Thousands are seeing their retirement account shrink by the hour, some are forced to stay longer in the work force and others will just have to file for Chapter 11. And to your friend Bernanke who thinks "it will not be productive to disclose the names of the banks" that are lining up for a piece of the big pie (SERIOUSLY??!!) , I have a question: If any significant other of yours were to ask/borrow from you only $1million, wouldn't you inquire what they intend to do with the money and how and when you'll get it back? So what makes you think we, the tax payers, we, the people on main street, do not deserve the same respect? This is not about experience, PhDs and other big diplomas from Ivy League schools, it's about judgment, astute judgment and accountability.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Whose Bailout is it anyway?

How should the Bailout money be used?
No need to be a savvy to understand the current lockdown in our economy. As a matter of fact that's Econ 101, ok granted maybe Econ 102, but it was rather bemusing to notice how long it took Mr. Treasury Secretary Henry (Hank) Paulson to conclude that he needed a way to force banks to loan money again. For beginners, the financial market is in such deep doo-doo because of markets freeze on cash lending. Even an 850 fico score does no longer guarantee that you'll get a loan to pay for that new "beemer", and let's forget about that Heloc you thought you could tap into.
This whole mess started with the subprime mortgage. "Predatory borrowers" as would say Phil Gramm, bought houses with money they didn't have, took loans they couldn't afford, and got ensnared into payments they couldn't make. Gramm, who has been quoted lately, thus coining the phrase "a nation of whiners" referring to America, is a strong advocate of free market and an ardent forceful voice of market deregulation, argues that "subprime lending is the American dream in action" as he recounts how his mother, a young nurse working double shifts to support her family of 5, bought a bungalow as a "result of a finance company making a mortgage loan that a bank would not make".
On a slightly different note, Gramm goes as far to say it is hard for him "to feel sorry" for Social Security beneficiaries and has urged for a reduction, if not an extermination of the food stamp program. I used to think like him, more so as an Immigrant who has worked her behind off to get where I am today, until about two years ago I watched a video of this middle age woman who had to rely on such program and charity to support herself and her family to meet ends. She had two bachelor degrees and a master, had a good job, owned her house. Then one day she got ill, very ill and was forced to take some time off her job, then some more time off, ran over her FMLA and finally got axed because her company could no longer afford her absences. With her source of income been cut off, her medical bills started piling up, she had to get rid of her house (or did she lose it through repossession? I can't quite remember), finally found herself on the street. I had no choice but soften my views on federal aids and their recipients. Of course, there are some abuses and I would agree for some more stringent laws that can curtail them. However, no need for a PhD to figure out that GREED will break loose if not carefully "monitored". Greed got hold of Fannie Mae executives as they would fattened up their pocket books with bonuses as high as $11.6 millions in salary for its former CEO Franklin Raines, $86k in bonuses for 749 lucky as reported by Peter Miller from the Realty Times. Even at a microsystem scale, we've seen spouses kill their partner in a hope of cashing some life insurance money, or empty their bank accounts and flee to greener pastures with their "grinner" lover. We've seen people confessing of the most gruesome acts thinking they would not get caught. What's make Mr. Gramm & Cie think the same wouldn't not have happened with those big shots that, we, tax payers are now imposed on to bail out? With the "blamees" been identified, what about an effective solution to get us out of the ditch? Paulson has shown some modicum of intelligence by first stopping short from buying bad assets from those companies that need "help" and second by recognizing that banks need to resume lending. For a small illustration, this is what the lending freeze is creating. For a company that sells goods and services, their clients need to borrow money that will allow them to acquire the good or service (may it be a new software that enhances or improves in many aspects the way they conduct their business and overall increase profitability). Now if the banks refuses to loan the cash, the client can't purchase the good or service, the selling company no longer makes money, thus can no longer afford to pay its employees, which leads to some layoffs, and the laid off employee can't pay their bills, which leads to more credit card debts, ultimately bankruptcy. Third, Henry Paulson need to find a way to force those banks to lend again and let the economy flow. The law does not currently oblige banks to lend money, that's why the term "negociations" exist. Paulson could upon pouring our tax money into those troubled companies require them to:
- Fire all those execs who were incompetent enough to allow this mess to see daylight;
- Improve lending practices using regulatory methods that would still generate reasonable profits for them and permit small and big businesses to keep current jobs and why not, expand.
Home owners should definitely be given priority (although some of them should not qualify) as well. It would reduce the exponential rate of foreclosures, which in turn will help deserving homeowners to keep the value of their house if not higher than what they were bought for, then equal to their selling price.
Hopefully, this economical downturn will teach each one of us a lesson: America please learn to live within your means.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've learned to like/love my job

For those who don't know me, I'm a professional Software Engineer. My friends to tease me, call me a geek which I dislike but not so much now cause I've learned to love my job. It all started very recently. I had noticed I'd complain about work, long hours at the office, endless troubleshooting issues and little reward aside the little thrill one may get when a problem is solved. So I decided I had to do something about it.
First I tried to stop whining about it, to no avail until one day, I came across a great quote from my friend V. (she doesn't even know it): "I'm embracing my geeky side and I'm loving it" and it just dawned on me, instead of fighting it I needed to embrace my geeky side. After all that's why I went to school for. I could feel my neurons racing and dancing throughout my nervous system, and my frontal lobe thrusting its torso, I had just liberated them!!
I needed change, a change of attitude, a change of heart which sent me retracing my path on how I got there in the first place. For starters, I've never really dreamed of becoming a Developer although I've got both my Associate and Bachelor in Computer Science.
Back in the mid 90s when I was in high school, at the end of our freshman year, we, the students, had to choose between literature and science. I chose to do science cause I thought literature was too "easy", I mean, boring and frankly there was no interesting jobs in the field. After our sophomore year, we could or our advisers could choose whether we'd further our studies in Natural Science or Hard Core Science (Math, Physics & Chemistry). I chose the latter because I never had a thing for natural science, it required to carry around an encyclopedic book which students had to literally memorize in order to pass the national exam at year end. I'd prefer math and physics cause there's little to no memorization involved. Then came college time, I decided to go with Computer Science, I found it fascinating, mostly challenging. And this is when, I believe, the downfall started. In college, I had two jobs, one full time and one part-time while going to school full-time, all of this in order to pay for school tuition, rent and food. It paid off at last, I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Although I had good grades in school, it's until I got my first job as a Professional that I realized that I was just studying to get by, enough to maintain a certain level of knowledge. This time, I couldn't just do enough to get by, I became accountable for my deeds bad, good or in-between. The extra effort made me resent my job and everything that came with it, overtime, strenuous issues, the very thing I got trained to do became a source a profound distaste, it was clear and imperative that something had to change.
Upon my brain cells liberation, I felt a sense of betterment embalming my inner being. I knew I had just hit my golden pot. After all every success comes with sacrifices, it's just a matter of analyzing the cost/benefits balance. I weighed what it would cost me to right the helm that I had unconsciously let slipped away. The choice was evident and today I can confidently say I love my job.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Obama's Victory taught me

As the victory of the FIRST Black President of the United States of America was unfolding yesterday in front of my eyes, I started thinking back how it all started. I thought of the Primaries and remembered how strong and still he remained throughout the lows. Even as Senator Clinton realized that victory was slipping away from her by "throwing at him the kitchen sink", President Obama stood still, strong and true to himself, even as the famous Rev Wright "turned his back on him" he stood still, strong and true to himself, even when it appeared that the GOP VP's pick had galvanized not only the republican base but the undecideds, he stood still, strong and true to himself. There are times in our lives when all seem to go the opposite direction, when long time friends (like Rev Wright) turn their back on us, when every plan is unplanned and the ultimate decision that we face would either do us or undo us. What do we do then? Do we look inward to pull up that strength we need? Or do we look outward at disconcerting events and reacting to them? Do we look up upward to that Guy upstairs for discernment and wisdom? Or do we look at other people who may not have our best interests at heart? Do we stay true to ourselves and ideals, to our values and beliefs?
Barack Obama led the most amazing campaign in the history of American Politics. The dishes, the sink and even the Plumber were thrown at him, he dissociated himself with the troublemakers, he reasserted himself, remained true to the American people who have supported him and HE PREVAILED!!!


Monday, November 3, 2008

I did it at last...

As die-hard Hillary supporter, I was pleased to see that Senator Obama had a special spot on his site for her supporters. So, I finally did it, I donated to "The One". Below is the thank you note I've received from an automated system. One thing intrigued me as i was filling up the form, one of the check boxes said and I quote:
  1. I am a United States citizen or a lawfully-admitted permanent resident.
Does this mean that a political refugee or an International student or someone on a H1B visa, all of the above are some of the legal statuses in this country, can't donate to a campaign? After all, even they can't vote, the political decisions would also affect them same as a United States citizen or a lawfully-admitted permanent resident, so why the disclaimer?

Dear Patricia,

Thank you for your generous donation of $50.00.

From the beginning, this campaign has been built and funded by supporters like you giving only what they can afford.

In the final days of this election we need to work harder than ever to build our movement for change. Here's how you can get involved to make sure that on November 4th, we get the change we need.

* Give Barack a Day -- Volunteer in your home state or travel to a battleground state for the last four days before the election:

* Canvass your neighborhood or call from home -- Undecided voters need to hear from supporters like you, and our online tools make it easy:

* Vote -- Make sure everyone you know has the facts on where to vote, what to bring, and opportunities in your state to vote early in person or by mail:

Thank you again for your generosity,

Obama for America

P.S. -- Want to show your support with some Obama-Biden gear? There are plenty of great items at the Obama Store.

Right now, you can get 25% off your whole order with coupon code: 25OFF

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I cried...

I cried at a movie today, Fireproof was the title, a kind of movie a la Tyler Perry with Kirk Cameron as the lead actor and cuter than ever (Sorry Chels, your husband is just a cute guy). I'm not a big fan of tears even when it comes to my own challenges but what I watched was just very touching so to speak. Although I 'm not going to use this post to narrate the movie, a few weeks ago after I'd just seen Tyler Perry's the Family that Preys, I realized why people usually don't rush to see his kind of production. Tyler Perry's movies are very down to earth, they're about our everyday lives, the struggles we face, our failed or successful relationships, the influence of money of lack thereof and last but not least God. There are many reasons people watch movies, but one, if not the main is: to evade, to escape. To escape from that nagging wife, to escape from those noisy kids, to escape from that sick parent who needs care, to escape from that debt that keeps piling on, to escape and not have to think. That's why movies like The Matrix, SpiderMan, Batman, 27 dresses, The Devil wears Prada and so on are such hits. They help us get into this virtual world where their reality becomes ours for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. With Tyler Perry or movie like Fireproof, it gets personal. Any cheating wife, or dead beat father who has watched The Family that Preys would think they're in the dock. Any husband who would rush to work if there's an emergency or open their laptop to solve that service request but won't lift the finger when their own wife needs them whether it's for washing the dishes or just for quality time, would definitely feel uneasy while watching Fireproof. These kind of movies puts us on trial, they dare us to look at ourselves (or at least part of ourselves) into the mirror and to truly face our inner demons. There's no way to evade, no way to escape, oh yes there is, we can always get up and leave.

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