The Global Pool of Money

I just finished listening to a podcast from "This American Life" about the financial crisis and man, I'm blown away by what I'm hearing. You know what a "NINA" loan is? It means "No Income, No Asset" so basically a "Liar's Loan". You know who gave these mortgages out the last few years...everyone!

Do yourself a favor...take some time and listen to this PODCAST right now.


"We are not responsible for the economic crisis..."

I cannot help but write another blog today on politics...because I cannot stand when people try to pin blame solely on another in a system of checks and balances. Even a 9th grader in US History knows the President does not have the enormous power Nancy Pelosi implies in the following...and she simply has forgotten the past.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked Tuesday whether Democrats bear some of the responsibility regarding the current crisis on Wall Street, had a one-word answer: “No.”Pelosi (D-Calif.) ripped President Bush’s “mismanagement” of the economy and a lack of regulation that led to the current situation. (TheHill.com)

Here's the past she needs to remember:

(NY Times 5 years ago) The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

(read the rest of the this HERE)

Is President Bush to blame for this crisis? Yes. Are the Democrats in the Congress to blame? Yes. Are large companies to blame? Yes. Are you and I to blame? Yes. Greed has gotten the best of us...and we are reaping its consequences. Easy money led to long term disaster...welcome to market correction.

The BIG DAY @ Four Corners Church!

Three times a year we have what we call at Four Corners a "Big Day" where we ask everyone to invite people in their spheres of influence to church. This past Sunday was our big day this Fall...we promoted for 6 weeks leading up to it, modeling it as staff (my family invited 32 people), equipping people with invitations and door hangers, had a huge sign in front of the church itself and refreshed the overall auditorium experience (you should see what Greg and his team pulled off...unreal!) so that this wasn't just a big deal...it was THE BIG DEAL.

We had been praying for 800+ people to come hear the first message in our new series "The Naked Truth about Parenting". But God is had bigger things in store...we had 913 people show up! Almost 200 kids, almost 50 middle schoolers and a packed auditorium. It was an amazing day!

It's about political philosophy (not a candidate)

I make no bones about it...I'm conservative in my political views but I believe these views have been skewed, hacked and bludgeoned these days (as I'm sure liberals believe their views have been as well). To me it is less about the politician and more about the political philosophy they align themselves with. George Will did a great job summarizing the difference between a conservative and liberal political philosophy of governing.

"The difference is this...the liberal and conservative argument has always been governed by the two polar values of Western political thought and that is freedom and equality. They are both important, both valuable and always in tension.

Today liberals tend to stress equality understood not as equality as opportunity but also equality of social outcome. And to that end, they want the government to be very busy fine tuning society and engineering it. To that end, they think the government should redistribute wealth and, therefore, they think the multiplication of entitlement programs is a definition of a public good.

Conservatives, on the other-hand, tend to stress freedom and are, therefore, willing to accept larger disparities in unequal outcomes in order to preserve freedom and tend to view of the multiplication of public entitlements are enemetical to the public good...subversive of the attitudes and aptitudes essential of a free society."


Review :: August Rush

The movie intends to capture the story pitch of "What if Mozart was born today?". At the age of 8 years old Mozart had written his first symphony as if music inhabited his very being. "August Rush" tries to capture the same feelings in Freddie Highmore's depiction of Evan Taylor, the orphaned son of 2 musical prodigies who hears music in all things as if an audible voice calling him to action. Part fairy tale, part drama, and a lot of melodrama saturate this film. Moving at times and sometimes over the top with its character depictions such as Robin Williams' character 'The Wizard' (who reminded me of Rufio in "Hook" all grown up). The film goes for the heart strings relentlessly and without apology.

PS: a word to the director...please remember that you're shooting a drama and not "Bourne Supremacy". The constant movement of the camera from cranes and hand-held everything tried to make too many scenes seem overly important. Use camera movement to emphasize, not simply as a default.


What if your life had an UNDO button?

I saw this peculiar little film the other day starring Zachary Levi ('Chuck') and Tony Hale ('Arrested Development'). Check out for yourself over at Delta's Short Film series (who knew?).

Worth quoting again...

Quoted this yesterday on my Twitter:

"Unapplied truth is like upapplied paint.  It doesn't do anyone any good.  The value of paint and truth is in the application." 

-Lane Jones


Review :: Lars and the Real Girl

There's so much to love about this little indie gem. Much as in the same vein as "Dan in Real Life", "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Juno" there's a compelling story with a world full of quirky, life-sized characters (and sex dolls). Ryan Gosling's performance is spot on as Lars, a social misfit living in the garage with a deathly fear of physical touch.

The story revolves around Lars' relationship with a sex-doll named Bianca. Now before you get all offended by this notion, the beauty of the story is that it deals with the idea the doll represents...a substitution for human contact with what one would imagine as ideal. He wants love and doesn't know where to find it and so manufactures it. The journey or "rite of passage" shown in the movie is often humorous and at times tragic...but touching throughout.

My wife and I loved it and the message. And to add to the enjoyment is the perfectly crafted soundtrack by David Torn. One film definitely worth an evening on the couch.

How does Pixar keep such a creative streak?

A friend just highlighted an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled "How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity" that talks about how the animation studio keeps the pedal to the metal on creativity. Some great insights to mull over and consider applying in all of our various creative enterprises.