log (2008/09/26 to 2008/10/02)

I'm surprised how insular and obnoxious all this Bailout stuff makes me. So when I read the Australian Prime Minister saying about the US Congress

The call that we need to make is for them to put aside party politics and to pass this package because it is necessary for the stabilisation of US financial markets and global financial markets.

or a European Union spokesman saying

The United States must take its responsibility in this situation, must show statesmanship for the sake of their own country, and for the sake of the world... We expect that the decision will go through soon.

my immediate gut reaction is

Ha ha ha ha ha ha bite me!

Run your own fucking country, assholes.

If your economy depends upon the US government stealing a trillion dollars from its citizens, then as the lolcats say, U R DOIN IT WRONG.

[rude sounds]

This is of course a horrible reaction! I should be telling myself that we are all in this together, that the world is an interconnected place, that if some other part of the house is on fire I should not begrude the use of my extinguisher.

Or, given that I think the bailout would be equivalent to paying the blackmailer, I should comment in calm tones that while this looks like something that would help the world out of this tough situation, in fact I think it would be a mistake for all of us.

But in fact my reaction is full of rude noises and cursing. The mind is an odd thing...

A reader reminds us in this week's comment box that saying No to a bad thing isn't always a good thing:

What's going to happen is we're going to spend the money anyway, but we're going to get a whole lot less for it. (Actually what's going to happen is the plan will be revised into something acceptible to another dozen or so of the Republicans who bolted but probably less good than the one they rejected.) Distance from Russia: less and less.

Well, yeah. But it was nice to be amused for a little while.

I'm off to write my elected officials again, for what it's worth...

So wow, I think this is maybe the first time I've skipped two whole weeks of weblog. My my! Hope no one has been worried; things are fine, just very very busy, and I've been doing lots of other stuff and not weblogging.

To get Big Important World News out of the way first, I have to say that I take great delight in the defeat of the Huge Very Important Really Critical Bailout Package by sufficiently many stubborn US Congresscritters to actually stand up and vote against something that Dubya and the leaders of both parties wanted them to vote for.

I mean, after Nancy Pelosi's speech about how

Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. No longer will the U.S. taxpayer bail out the recklessness of Wall Street. I mean, we'll give you the seven-hundred billion dollars this one last time, but if you do it again, oooh, we will be so angry!

(roughly), and Sarah Palin's emphatic:

...like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Helping the -- it's got to be all about job creation too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans and trade -- we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as competitive, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today -- we've got to look at that as more opportunity.

(and yeah she actually said that, that isn't from the Tina Fey sketch, although the two are very similar), after those two compelling arguments to the contrary, that a sufficiently large body of congresspersons could stand up and say "um, no, not really", gives me an element of hope and delight.

This bailout would be like paying a blackmailer; it's awfully tempting in the short term, but he's just going to be calling again next month, that breathy voice on the phone, disguised with a dirty T-shirt wrapped around the handset, saying that now there's a terrible crisis in I don't know the market for Collateralized Inverse Credit Card Debt Obligations, and this time it'll cost two trillion dollars to save the world economy.

And then what do you do?

Yeah, the stock market went down 777 points; that's the blackmailer sending us a crude sepia print of the incriminating photographs. But if we say, if those brave whackos in Congress say, "sorry, bub, do your worst", and stick with it, it may be a little embarassing when the pictures appear in the local newspaper, but in a few months everyone will have forgotten them, the stock market will be back at 11,500 as the market says "darn" about not being able to buy all those new yachts and private jets and gets back to business, and we'll all be able to look back with relief.

And can we like fire Hank "may not be reviewed by any court of law" Paulson while we're at it? I mean my gawd.

So that's the boring (if world-shaking) stuff. On more interesting fronts, the little daughter is still all excited by school, and even has a cool job, as well as vast amounts of work, and is learning to write Computer Programs and other things dear to her ol' Dad's heart. (And boy do I envy her sometimes when I'm sitting here writing PowerPoint that will influence the course of computer science research worldwide; in the right mood, being a college frosh seems far preferable.)

Good ol' Spennix is level 64, and now has skill level 375 in First Aid (Heavy Netherweave Bandages ftw!), as well as her Epic Mount (a Swift Grey Ram), and is busily exploring the mysteries of the Outlands. Dale has been doing various things in Second Life, I'm getting over (touch wood) a slight but annoying cold, M went off to an event at a Local Needlework Store (which is, I understand, a technical term in the international online cross-stitch community) the other day so I got to bond with the little son (by, mostly, playing online video games in adjacent rooms), who is doing Just Fine in high school.

And here's an article on Solving Every Sudoku puzzle using about 100 lines of Python.

And there's a bunch of other things in my "to maybe log someday" file, but, well, you know. So much else to do!

(rushes madly off, stage right)