Of all the energy-saving, eco-friendly, game-changing moves that America could make, which would pay for itself within a few years but also reap dividends for decades, it is "broadband lines that reach into rural communities." The benefits to rural communities would be enormous, more companies could locate there and more people could telecommute from there. America as a whole would benefit because more telecommuting means less traffic, less pollution, less demand for oil.
So I'm voting for the candidate who talks about this topic like he means it, the candidate who is smart enough to make it a priority and put it out there on the national stage. Yep, that's my candidate. Can you guess who it is?
Yes! It was Senator Obama who said "I also think that we're going to have to rebuild our infrastructure, which is falling behind, our roads, our bridges, but also broadband lines that reach into rural communities." (Check the debate transcript at CNN if you think I'm making this up.) It looks like we actually might have a presidential candidate smart enough to understand the difference between broadband lines and inferior alternatives like dialup and satellite. If my brother can get a 6Mbps line in a small fishing village in Spain, surely every village in upstate New York should be able to get the same.
As you know, under the Bush administration unregulated credit default swaps--which billionaire Warren Buffet describes as "financial weapons of mass destruction"--now exceed $40 trillion. Can you explain to the American taxpayer
a. What a credit default swap is;
b. Why credit default swaps are currently unregulated;
c. How a company with $1 billion of outstanding debt can have $10 billion of outstanding CDS contracts and;
d. How a default on $1 billion in corporate debt, assuming debt recovery at 40 cents on the dollar, becomes a $6 billion loss to credit default swap sellers.
Oh, and a follow-up if I may: What are your plans, if any, to regulate the CDS market in the future? Please be as specific as possible in your responses.
p.s. This is a closed book test, but candidates may refer to the Wikipedia article and this diagram.
A few posts ago I wrote about the need to have the right amount of air in our tires. I was going to make a witty reference to the song "Under Pressure," you know, the one with the wicked bassline that's been used in ad campaigns for everything from Propel Fitness Water to Zales Jewelry, and movies such as Grosse Pointe Blank, The Players Club, Stepmom, 40 Days and 40 Nights, The Girl Next Door, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and The Heartbreak Kid. It's the one that rapper Vanilla Ice sampled without permission for his big hit, "Ice Ice Baby."
My problem was not that I couldn't remember the name of the song but I wanted to say who wrote it and that's where things get tricky. Was it Queen or David Bowie? This was not immediately clear from my initial Googling. A few days after the post I realized that all I needed to do was to go to Wikipedia, where an entire page is devoted to the song at this URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_Pressure.
It seems that rock music is one area where Wikipedia is growing at a phenomenal rate, adding details down to a level that some people might think obsessive, but others, like me, find fascinating, and actually rather helpful. Thanks Wikipedia!
In the midst of hurricane season with oil rigs knocked off line and Nigerian rebels blowing up pipelines left and right, in other words, with supply in doubt, oil drops. Where are all those Wall Street talking heads who popped up to parrot the line that $140 a barrel oil "is simply a reflection of supply and demand"? My gut feeling is that they should be publicly stoned with Economics 101 textbooks (obviously it is not stoning when a wood-based material is used, and it probably wouldn't be deadly, just painful and humiliating).
Second reason this situation made me angry was that gas is still close to $4.00 a gallon in New York and it really should be a lot less. Let's say the price of a US gallon of gasoline topped out around here at $4.30 when crude was $142 a barrel (mid-July). That's a little more than 3 cents per dollar of crude. With oil at $100, gasoline should surely be about $3, not $3.85, which is what I paid yesterday. I realize that the finer points of this calculation vary by state, and some states have taxes that are per gallon and per dollar of retail value. But it seems to be that if oil is close to $100 a barrel then gas should be a lot close to $3.00 a gallon than it is. One thing's for sure, you can bet on another quarter of record profits for Exxon-Mobil-BP-Shell-Chevron-Etc.
Happy Labor Day!