27 January 2010

Hold the Line

We all know my personal thoughts on Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke. And now that he's up for a vote to take on another term as chairman, a lot of folks are chiming in. There's some great and varied opinions in the New York Times today, but Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism said some of the most understated, yet most important facts about Bernanke and the reason he should not be in charge any longer. Here's Smith's take:

Ben Bernanke, a major architect of the financial crisis, bears significant responsibility for our economic woes. He provided the intellectual justification for the Greenspan Fed’s bubble-stoking, dot-bomb era super-low interest rates.

He also embraced the Greenspan policy of letting the inmates run the financial system. For instance, even the bank-friendly Office of the Comptroller of the Currency took its responsibilities to monitor and restrain subprime lending far more seriously than the Fed did.

Mr. Bernanke’s “defense” is that having helped produce the worst meltdown since the Great Depression, his actions kept it from being as awful as it could have been. But he was slow to recognize the severity of the crisis, then engaged in emergency, ad hoc measures of dubious legality. We now have a financial system running on subsidies so extensive that it’s the equivalent of a patient attached to an oxygen supply, with 24/7 nursing to make sure nothing further goes amiss. Yet the Fed and the banksters stand united in proclaiming the industry to be healthy, a “diagnosis” based on ludicrously lax “stress tests.”

A “no” vote will rightfully challenge the Fed’s and the administration’s allegiance to Wall Street over Main Street.

All opinions are valid in many different ways, but it's refreshing to hear someone come out and and state so clearly that Bernanke has been nothing short of a true failure in protecting this country and its people.


15 January 2010

Shout At The Devil*

Many people are aware of the comments evangelist, Pat Robertson made the other day regarding the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti earlier this week. And those comments have greatly upset many Christians and pushed many non-Christians further away from a loving and compassionate God.

Personally, I feel that Robertson's comments were made as a way to scare people away from the devil, but I was very intrigued to read author, Donald Miller's (Blue Like Jazz) response to Robertson. It's deeply personal and comes from a person who completely understands our a God who is deeply compassionate and wonderfully forgiving.

It's a very quick read and a much better response than those provided by mainstream news pundits.

*I only thought that this title and song were appropriate for this post.

12 January 2010

Everybody That Was Hanging Out

New York, I Love You is easily one of the most romantic films of last year. And by "romantic" I do not mean Romantic Comedy starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner. It's simply romantic the way that poets like Keates, Blake and Wordsworth were romantic. Not gushy and sappy, but rather desperately passionate and deeply beautiful. And full of wonder and curiosity brought on by a city and a person and a circumstance.

The film is produced by the same folks who brought us 2006's Paris, Je t'aime and is the story of many writers, directors and actors. It's a compilation of short films that tell the story of people in a city (particularly a city that inspires love and romance). And each film is completely independent of the next, but there's a connective theme that holds them together as one.

Some of the talent that contributed to New York is some of the best in the biz. Bradley Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Cloris Leachman, Chris Cooper, Andy Garcia, Orlando Bloom and Natalie Portman (who also contributed as a writer and director of a short) all shared their talents in this collage of beautiful stories. And their passion, talent and dedication is evident in every scene.

If you saw and loved Paris, Je T'aime, then this one is a must. It's likely that it'll be something to get on DVD since it's limited theatrical release was this past October and is only still lingering in small, art-house theaters. But it's worth seeking out.


02 January 2010

I'll Never Let You Go

After completing the first two seasons of AMC's Mad Men, there's no doubt that this is one of the best television shows to grace cable TV. Accolades, reviews and awards aside, this is simply a fantastic show with brilliant actors and an acute attention to early 1960s period detail.

To dive too much into the plot of the show would be to give too much away, but I can say that the writing combined with the way they unfold the story is incredibly intriguing and perfectly mysterious.

There's not much more to say about Mad Men. Just check it out. It's the only show I would recommend as highly as I possibly can.