Tagged: Open thread

Tonight the Oscars

It seems each year that I end up watching less of the movies represented by Academy pickers. As a result, I get less interested in who wins what. Treat this as an open thread for whatever’s on your minds.

Open Thread

Today’s musical guest is Sheryl Crowe, with the youtube clip of A Change Would Do You Good, and I’m speaking to you weather gods.

So in keeping with a rare Open Thread theme, what change would do you good?

It’s 2009 Open Thread

Happy New Year everybody.

Last year I started off the 2008 year with an economic analysis:

The local impact is not that hard to figure out. Real estate transaction sales help pad the Norwalk municipal budget, and officials are already gearing for a tight budget even with dipping into the rainy day fund. Meanwhile city service expenditures are ticking upwards. This budget will reflect a series of hard choices in an uncertain local economy. With so much riding on collecting property tax revenues, Norwalk, as many municipalities will face increasing costs without the benefit of increasing tax revenues.

The economy will be the story dominating news in Connecticut. Unfortunately statewide political flunkies keep insisting that Connecticut has a budget surplus. In fact, Connecticut is essentially bankrupt with unfunded pension obligations conveniently left off the “books” that the legislature uses. Until accounting reform takes place in Hartford, all discussions relating to the state budget should be off the table. Last week Rell hinted at the revenue shortfall expected in a plea for state agencies to look for cost savings.

And then I concluded with me saying that I said the same thing the year before. In fact, in 2007 I outlined the legislative priorities for Hartford; Roads are impassable, Taxes are too high and State spending exceeds revenue. Not surprisingly, rising electricity rates made an appearance in 2007 too.

I can’t bring myself to write the same stuff for the third year in the row. It all still applies, there’s a disconnect in Hartford about what state spending is and how much revenues the state actually takes in.  The accounting tricks they use is not not recognize liabilities, as in money they are mandated to spend in the years that they are supposed to be spending it, and accelerating the recognition of revenues they haven’t yet received. This is the type of financial manipulations we’ve seen in every financial market meltdown, whether WAMU, Lehman Brothers or Madoff. We’ve learned nothing since Enron.

The first legislative priority for Hartford is to adopt GAAP immediately. Then at least they can figure out how bad it really is, before launching into philosophical debate about how big the deficit really is. It’s big, guys and gals. Bigger than you can imagine, so start cutting spending. In plain English, Connecticut is essentially bankrupt, has been bankrupt for awhile and a bailout won’t solve the problem without addressing the fundamentals of the state accounting.

But before I chew through some more economic turmoil stuff, I want to instead focus on the local outlook of Norwalk for 2009.

Parts of Norwalk look like a dump. Much of which, unfortunately lies in our business districts. It seems that many business property owners on lower Main Ave. (south of the Merrit) have a cavalier attitude about maintaining trash free, snow cleared, unobstructed sidewalks. The heart of SoNo, is not immune to the issue as well. If Norwalk is to survive economically, we need to diversify our tax base. No one wants to shop in a run down, trashy looking junk yard of a town. And parts of Norwalk have become that.

I’ll offer up my outlook for Norwalk in 2009 in a subsequent post, but feel free to chime in.

Funniest music video of 2008

Sara Silverman, who ranks number three on the top ten Thinking Man’s Sex Symbols of 2008, won an Emmy for this screamingly funny (and – heads up – quite lewd) video that aired on her then-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel’s show. They’d been together for about five years at this point. There’s a whole back story / long running joke involving Kimmel goofing on Damon that this is kind of the culmination of.
Kimmel’s show is done live.



Yes, it is the very eve of 2009.

What are your bests or worsts for 2008?

Continue reading

Transsiberian

Ours, is not a gray world.
Under the bright light of truth, it’s a world of clear contrasts.
Black and white. Good and evil. Right and wrong. There is always a choice.
But with faith, the choice is an easy one. …
… reflect on this final thought: when you find yourself in the darkness of despair; when you’re struggling to get back into the clear light of God’s truth; remember what you’ve learned here, about the simple power of compassion.

Drugs, murder, intrigue, a good measure of sexual tension. Just believable enough. An exotic setting.

Ben Kingsley and Woody Harrelson demonstrate their versatility as character actors, and Emily Mortimer is entirely up to her role as protagonist in this well composed and edited flick.

Watched it once, then watched it again. You can see where it is going if you’ve got some street sense (keep your eye on the women) but it isn’t predictable.

Seen any good movies lately? Continue reading

Open Thread

The weather outside is frightful. Today’s youtube musical guest is The Secret Machine with Nowhere Again.

Take a read of the New York Times and struggling suburban downtowns.

Or read about Warner Music Group’s decision to remove music videos from YouTube. Apparently the concept that if they made it easier to find and buy songs they might earn a profit never occurred to them.

That bailout money going to financial institutions, 1.6 billion went to execs as salary and bonuses. For failure. Read all about it here.