Feed on

I’m probably not going to have very much time in the next two weeks for political analysis, with school and work and everything (somebody has to contribute to GDP and pay taxes to pay for the bailout). The way I see it now, I think Obama will when the election. I hope I’m wrong, but here are some of my thoughts:

  1. The financial meltdown. I think when the economy goes bad, people will vote with their wallets. They’re more likely to give “the other guy” a shot at running it for the next four years. But, I think McCain’s strong suit is the economy/tax policy and hopefully people realize that.
  2. Obama’s campaign appeals to people’s feelings. Hope and Change are the two big buzzwords from Obama’s campaign, but what does that mean in concrete terms? Even all of his campaign material is done in a “happy warm fuzzies” kind of way. I think younger voters are especially swayed by this kind of marketing. It’s what makes them feel good. The facts and policies matter less.
  3. The Republican party has moved away from conservative ideals. There’s no such thing as a small, limited government anymore. There are no free market principles. Like the article linked to a few days ago, I think the Republican party needs a wake up call to gather around the core principles, and a humiliating loss is probably the only way to do it.

I hope I’m wrong, but I guess we’ll see in two weeks. I would be okay with an Obama presidency if we had a Republican majority in Congress, but the idea of a Democratic president and a Democratic super-majority scare me (same thing with Republican president and Republican Congress)…the government works best when divided and all that, you know.

Just thought I’d throw out a link to winkflash. Sarah and I got some photos made of the wedding and used them. We were pleased with the results. We first ordered a small batch with and without their “image enhancement” to compare and we both agreed that with image enhancement looked better. Also, I thought the option to add a white border around the edge of the photo was a nice addition.

An Obama win does have it’s bright side. From here:

Which brings me back to why the Republicans need to get throttled: A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road.

Those principles are definitely not in the Republican party today and it pains me.

I’ll try to post some interesting things around the web I’ve found that do a good job of explaining what’s been going on recently.

  • This American Life, The Giant Pool of Money. Very interesting, a few months old. Describes why the banks started to make so many loans to people that probably wouldn’t pay them back.
  • Financial Crisis Simplified (a whiteboard presentation). How these mortgages got marketed as a great deal, when really they were not.
  • The Subprime Primer. A little old too, but pretty funny. (Some bad language)
  • Newt Gingrich is against the bailout. This was before the bailout passed, but he has a great point which looks to be true now that the markets have continued to fall: “Well, after we throw away $300 billion on housing this summer, we’re now going to throw away $700 billion on Wall Street. If this fails after a trillion dollars, what’s the next request?”
  • Money as Debt. A 45-minute video describing how the basic role of money and what it represents has changed over the past several hundred years.

Article from 1999 in the NY Times (emphasis mine).

Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

It sucks because Fannie Mae was one of the “Good to Great” companies I’m reading about in Good to Great.

Poking around at Economist.com and I found some interesting charts, like this one that shows how many weeks of pay a company has to give an employee for letting them go. Talk about crazy…in Zimbabwe a company has to give out over EIGHT YEARS worth of compensation to an employee. Why would you even remotely care about doing a good job? You’d probably even want to be work a few months, get fired, then take an 8 year vacation. 

America, New Zealand and Tonga are among the most company-friendly countries, requiring no penalties or compensation to fire a full-time employee of 20 years. By contrast, a business in Zimbabwe must shell out well over eight years’ worth of pay to sack a worker. But companies in Venezuela and Bolivia are even more tied—workers there cannot be fired at all.

Dave has a plan for the bailout. It’s almost an 8 minute audio clip, but very interesting. He’s saying we can change a law that lets these mortgages become marketable again…the “mark to market” law in Sorbanes Oxley, I believe. The government can insure these mortgages and that lets them become saleable again. It’d be about a 95% savings over the $700B loan plan. Sounds good to me.

The best comment I’ve read today about the oil/bailout stuff today is from badbanana on twitter:

The price of oil has jumped a one-day record amount due to anxieties caused by the financial bailout designed to alleviate anxieties.

Hmm, I see according to Michael Hyatt on twitter, that Tennessee (well, Nashville, more specifically) is out of gas. I wonder if this is because of anti-price gouging laws? If you can’t raise the price high enough to deter demand, then you end up with shortages. I couldn’t believe this is happening when I saw it.

The same mistakes

About every semester I make the same mistake, and I usually waste 30 minutes to an hour to try and figure it out. When I do, I feel like an idiot. So I’m writing this in hopes that I’ll remember next time.

Every semester I’ll have a program to turn in, and I’ll have to compile it on the school UNIX server to turn in. When we get our preference of language, I usually choose C++. I open up Visual Studio and write my program, debug it and get it all working. I try to keep everything very general and remove all Microsoft-specific code. Then I FTP it to the UNIX server and try to compile:

# gcc prog1hw.c
Undefined                       first referenced
 symbol                             in file
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::basic_string[in-charge](std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> > const&)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::operator=(std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> > const&)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::append(std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> > const&)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::basic_string[in-charge]()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::~basic_string [in-charge]()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::operator+=(char)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_ios<char, std::char_traits<char> >::eof() const/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::basic_string[in-charge](char const*, std::allocator<char> const&)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_fstream<char, std::char_traits<char> >::open(char const*, std::_Ios_Openmode)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_fstream<char, std::char_traits<char> >::~basic_fstream [in-charge]()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_fstream<char, std::char_traits<char> >::basic_fstream[in-charge]()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_istream<char, std::char_traints<char> >::ignore(int, int)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::allocator<char>::~allocator [in-charge]()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::length() const/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::at(unsigned)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::cout                           /var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_ios<char, std::char_traits<char> >::clear(std::_Ios_Iostate)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::ios_base::Init::~Init [in-charge]()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 __gxx_personality_v0                /var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_istream<char, std::char_traints<char> >::get()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_fstream<char, std::char_traits<char> >::close()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_istream<char, std::char_traits<char> >& std::getline<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >(std::basic_istream<char, std::char_traits<char> >&, std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >&)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_fstream<char, std::char_traits<char> >::is_open()/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::insert(unsigned, char const*)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::cin                            /var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 std::basic_ostream<char, std::char_traits<char> >& std::operator<< <char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >(std::basic_ostream<char, std::char_traits<char> >&, std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> > const&)/var/tmp//ccNHY1WB.o
 ld: fatal: Symbol referencing errors. No output written to a.out
 collect2: ld returned 1 exit status

What strange stuff is this? It looks like something isn’t being included correctly. Okay…so I go back and start changing stuff. Do I need to add .h on my includes? No, same error. Do I need a newline at the end of the file? No. Maybe I didn’t FTP it correctly…maybe I used binary mode instead of ASCII mode. Nope. Is there something with the compiler? Maybe I need to try a certain switch…after 20 minutes of reading man pages…nope. It’s not finding the string class…have they removed the string class for some reason? What’s going on here?!? And I spend about 30 minutes to an hour trying to figure it out until I realize…

I’m using gcc instead of g++. I’m using a C compiler for a C++ program. Do’h! And I KNOW why I do this, it’s because when I first had any real interaction in a UNIX environment at Cameron University, they set up a symbolic link so gcc was really calling g++. So whenever I want to compile a C++ program in a UNIX environment, I always go for gcc first. ARGH.

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