Why is the Journal flubbing its biggest story ever?

“It did good work on the collapse of Bear Stearns a year ago, but for the most part it has done a mediocre job of explaining all that has gone wrong with our economic system.” — I’d have to agree, the Journal is not getting it done for me increasingly. Instead they are wasting pages on crappy sports coverage, movie/book reviews, etc. I can get all that content elsewhere.

via Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard » Blog Archive » Why is the Journal flubbing its biggest story ever?.

Economists on the bailout

From Marginal Revolution: Economists Speak:

As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:

1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses. Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, Americas dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.

Hear hear.

Online florists suck

I’ve had it with 1800flowers, with proflowers, with marthastewart’s site. In the past year I’ve ordered flowers from each and they have all resulted in various disasters — flowers never arrived, arrived damaged, or were pathetically bad.

From now on I am dealing with real human beings at local florists. Lindvall florist in Florida, Marion Flower Shop in Ohio.

This points out a large flaw in current SEO-crazed environment — pissing away a lot of money on SEO and SEM is pointless if you can’t back it up with a solid operation. You need to do something well, something of real value, before you start trying to slurp up traffic.

How do you recession-proof your career?

Ask The Readers: How Do You Recession-Proof Your Career? — some ideas from others.

In my first real job, a wise mentor who had lived through recessions and layoffs gave me this advice:

* Make sure you are working on a product that your company cares about. “Cares about” is generally equivalent to “important to the company’s overall profitability”. If the company doesn’t care that much what happens to your product/business, well, that is not good.
* You can either make things or sell things. These are the two functions that are relatively impervious to layoffs. If you are not directly involved in the making or the selling of your company’s product/service, well, also not good.

Consumers Against Higher Interest Rates

I don’t know what R-67 is, but I’ve seen this group — Consumers Against Higher Insurance Rates — running numerous inflammatory ads against it. Google reveals that one of these “consumers” is State Farm, who has given $284K to the campaign. Another is Professional Insurance Agents of Washington. Here’s the whole list — note that it is free for individuals to join, and they have a damn small list. And I wonder how many of these are employees/members of the insurance industry companies/groups?

The duplicity of this campaign pretty much convinces me to vote for R-67, whatever it is.

UPDATE: OK I don’t know why this ticks me off so much, something about these monied interests wrapping themselves in the cloak of consumerism. You can browse all the group’s filings here — you will quickly see that real washington consumers have donated maybe $300 while insurance companies (mostly out of state) have donated millions and millions of dollars to this campaign. The group founders are not consumers but come from this tort reform group. Here’s some Seattle news coverage about the media buying from earlier this summer.