Friday, October 10, 2008


In light of Paulson's lobbying to remove the net capital rule for brokerage firms ( US SEC Clears New Net-Capital Rules For Brokerages - 04/28/2004 ) and then later asking for our own capital to shore up these same institutions, the movie, Pickpocket, caught my attention as an appropriate film to transition away from the news in the Northeast. In the end, the movie was less interesting for the specifics of the story than in how it was telling it - an avoidance of the dramatic, unexpected editing and framing, etc. Paul Schrader has an excellent commentary of the film, which is partially shown below (part 2 of the interview is in a thumbnail at the end). The Fuller / Bresson comparison reminds me of a Jackie Chan interview - after being a stuntman for Bruce Lee for so long and having always to be in the subordinate role, he found his own identity by being what Bruce Lee was not. Jackie was saying (paraphrasing): 'If Bruce is going to be serious, I will be funny; if Bruce kicks high, I will kick low. Whatever Bruce Lee does well, I will do the opposite.' In this case the situation is reversed and Bresson already had a reputation for his particular brand of filmmaking, but perhaps that was worth mentioning. At any rate, though the emotionless storytelling in Pickpocket grabs one's attention, particularly for a person coming from a Disney background, in terms of the visuals of French minimalist movies, the cinematography of Jean Charvein & Henri Deca├ź in Le Samoura├» is probably a bit stronger in a classical sense.

Gary Indiana has a great piece in the liner notes: "Pickpocket, like all of Bresson's films, records the expiration of humane feeling in the modern world, the impossibility of decency in a universe of greed. This is amply illustrated in Au hasard Balthazar (1966), a film about the sufferings of a donkey so painful to watch that if you can see it through without weeping, you deserve to be hit by a Mack truck when you leave the theater. For Bresson, the casual destruction of life, any life, is the damning imperative of the human species."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Newshour 2006

You gotta love Yardeni's sentiment that if you yourself are doing okay, everything is alright in the world. He then goes on to remark that people are "stupid" to spend beyond their budgets without considering that perhaps people might end up spending beyond their budgets unwillingly - i.e., having to pay for medical expenses which are now being collected with interest by privately run debt collectors ( Hospitals Put Patients' Debt Up for Auction - )or because of someone being laid-off, etc. He also didn't consider that home prices may've been even lower than what was listed on paper because sellers were throwing in extras to sweeten the deal (No Bubble Trouble - )( popular incentives that might catch a home buyer's attention - MarketWatch) -no wonder this guy was wrong on Y2K.

Hoover Institution - Facts on Policy - Consumer Spending

A visual essay: post-recessionary employment growth related to the housing market

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So Happy to Buy Toxic Assets

I'm so glad that we're going to be buying up all of these empty condos and "efficiently" built homes in prime locations because this was such a good idea in the first place. There are of course thousands of fixed-income retirees and well-heeled people working in theme parks and fast food restaurants who are just jumping at the chance to pay the asking price for these places. If there's no room in one of these condos, they might look into living in one of the huge water-guzzling homes set out in the middle of a desert. The government should get preferred shares from the banks for what we chip in...

Miami Condos

Polluted waters become developers' dollars --

Pricy Las Vegas homes quickly lose their luster - Los Angeles Times

Who's running this place? Eight alternatives to a $700Bn giveaway:

Ten Steps To Recovery -

Lessons from Another Crisis: Why Providing Debt Relief for Households is Not a Good Idea - Brookings Institution

Edward Leamer - Alternative

Lucian Bebchuk - A Plan for Addressing the Financial Crisis by Lucian Bebchuk

Andy Xie - alternative

Wilbur Ross - Alternative

James K. Galbraith, "A Bailout We Don't Need"

Avinash Persaud: Paulson's bail-out plan places too much burden on taxpayers instead of creditors | Comment is free |