Showing posts from March 31, 2013

Goodbye Mr. Ebert

I didn't always agree with his politics but he nailed it on this one:

"Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. "Wouldn't you say," she asked, "that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?" No, I said, I wouldn't say that. "But what about 'Basketball Diaries'?" she asked. "Doesn't that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?" The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it's unlikely the Columbine killers saw it.

The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. "Events like this," I said, "if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an…

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The Chinese economy explained.

Seriously this anecdotal but important. My belief is that the Chinese economy is in far worse shape than our own. Their books are closed so we don't know what level of spending and debt they've incurred. The boom China has been experiencing is a bubble. Specifically, you have an economy that started to grow due to a huge increase in manufacturing. That lifted many people out of poverty which, in turn, made those workers more expensive. That led to the manufacturers moving further west in China where labor was cheaper. Lather, rinse and repeat. The other bubble is the real estate bubble. Allowing citizens to buy property was the only way they could alleviate capital flight. The Yuan is non-convertible for individuals. Only banks can convert their money so the people had no place to put their money (other than the bank). So they let people buy real estate. Sounds good. But it created an insane boom of builders trying to do things on…