Great Depression: 2008?

Posted October 1, 2008 by SlimThug
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If you are a finance major, there is no way you are calm right now. Knowing what has happened the past few months you must be shaking with anxiety about the future. Let’s go back and review the events:

March 16th, 2008: Bear Stearns (one of the largest investment banks) is bought by JP Morgan Chase & Co. The deal was orchestrated by the government after Bear Stearns’ shares declined sharply, which lead to a lack of confidence in the company.

Why was it important? These were the first signs of economic turmoil following the first reports of the home mortgage crisis.

July 17th, 2008: The government seizes IndyMac Bank due to rising foreclosures and decreasing home prices.

Why was it important? This was the first government seizure of any publicly traded bank in America.

September 7th, 2008: The government takes over Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) in order to stabilize the downward spiraling housing market.

Why was it important? These 2 organizations own about half of the mortgages in the United States. A once publicly traded company was now in the hands of the U.S. government.

September 10th – September 14th, 2008: Lehman Brothers (another financial-services firm) goes up for sale after reporting $4 billion in losses. The government decides not to bail out Lehman Brothers. Due to this, Merrill Lynch & Co. decide to be bought out by Bank of America.

Why was it important? When one of the largest firms in financial services says it is up for sale, that is not a good sign. It was clearly a sign that they needed help from the outside but the U.S. government was unwilling to buy them out. This made the government’s stance unclear because they bought out IndyMac but not Lehman Brothers. Merrill Lynch also didn’t want to be in a position where they had to depend on the government to bail them out of problems because they were unsure of what action the government would take. That is why they decided to let another bank buy them out before they would have to declare bankruptcy or ask for help from the government.

September 15th, 2008: Lehman Brothers declare bankruptcy. This leads to people looking around to find the next failure waiting to happen. All fingers point at AIG due to their falling stock prices.

Why was it important? The government was unwilling to help Lehman Brothers and they were forced to declare bankruptcy. Many people lost their jobs, lost their investments, lost their money. Also, now that people had identified AIG as the next to fall, customers of AIG were now nervous about their securities.

September 16th, 2008: The government issues and $85 billion emergency loan to AIG in order to help the ailing company. Their argument for this was that the failure of AIG would lead to more problems in an already delicate market.

Why was it important? Once again, the government gives reasoning for their actions but fail to provide logical reasoning as to why AIG was helped but not Lehman Brothers. The government slowly starts taking over the financial sector in America.

September 25th, 2008: Washington Mutual is run out of business due to the large amount of bad debt in mortgages.

Why was it important? WaMu becomes the largest bank to fail in American history. People start to wonder whether their bank will go down or not. People always say that banks are “too big to fail,” but if a bank like WaMu can fail, who says that JP Morgan and Bank of American can’t?

September 29th, 2008: The House defeats the $700 billion legislature that would provide emergency funds. This leads to a 780 point drop in the Dow Jones for the day.

Why was it important? The Senate had approved of the bill, but the House would not let it pass. This meant that the crisis would stay just the way it is. Also, the Dow’s drop of 780 points is the most EVER in one day… EVER…

So what does this all mean for us? To put it into a few words, lots and lots of inflation, loss of confidence in our banking system and a difficult time finding jobs in financial markets.

All I can say is, if you are a senior finance major, better pick up something else. But the good news for people who are just starting their college careers in finance is that there will be a void when the financial markets do stabilize. And this should bring about lots of opportunities for people who graduate in a few years when they want to bring the economy back to the days of the early 2000’s.

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Big Shot Bob

Posted September 30, 2008 by SlimThug
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As a prep for next week’s discussion about who the greatest athlete of the last 20 years is, I wanted to share about one of my favorite athletes (and who I think is a great athlete although many disagree) of all time. Let’s rewind to a little over 6 years ago.

Game 4 of the 2002 Conference Finals. Lakers vs. Kings, Kings leading by 2 with less than 10 seconds to go. If you are a Kings fan, there is only one person on the other team you don’t want shooting the last shot. It’s not the future MVP Kobe. It’s not even the unstoppable monster in the paint known as Shaq. Not Fisher nor George nor Rick Fox (who would want Rick Fox shooting the last shot of the game anyways? Maybe if you’re throwing the season away for high hopes in the lottery…). As the ball gets tipped out after Kobe and Shaq both miss their chance to be the hero, it takes a long hop right into the hands of the 6’10” forward sitting at the top of the key. He releases the ball with a less than perfect form from behind the arc and at that moment, time slows down. The ball seems to be slowed down by the gaze of 19,000 pairs of eyes, fixated on the orange sphere that flies through the air at one end of the Staples Center. As the ball swishes through the net, Robert Horry becomes an instant legend.

This shot is just one of many that he will eventually have in his career. His ability to hit these types of shots and bring this intangible quality to whatever team he is playing for has allowed him to win 7 championship rings (1 more than Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar and Cousy, and the only player not part of the 1960’s Celtics to win that many rings) and make the playoffs every year of his 16 season career. He also holds the record for most playoff games played (surpassing Abdul-Jabbar in the 2008 playoffs), the most 3 pointers made in NBA Finals games (53, Jordan is 2nd with 42), and the most 3 pointers in a playoff game without missing (7 against the Utah Jazz in 1997). His season averages of 7.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 2.2 apg don’t scream Hall of Fame (HOF), but you cannot deny his ability to make other teams squirm with anxiety whenever he takes the court in a playoff game.

He is the epitome of clutch. When a game comes down to the final seconds, his blood turns into ice and he shoots every shot with a calm that most athletes could never have.

So is he HOF material? Is it really coincidence that he won 7 championships with 3 different teams? Did he just get lucky? I’m not saying that Robert Horry was THE reason why those teams won the championship, but I believe you cannot call it a coincidence either. The 1960s Celtics were just a dominant team that was playing in an era where no one was able to challenge them. To win that many championships in the league today while changing teams, where the draft and talent levels has leveled the playing field, is an incredible feat. I’m not arguing that he should be in the HOF next to Jordan, Russell and Chamberlain when he retires, but I think they should make a new wing for players like Horry. For admission into that part of the HOF, you must meet the following criteria:

1) Win at least 3 championships on 2 different teams (if you win 3 on one team or 2 on two teams, you’re not in yet)

2) Hit at least 3 game winning or game changing shots (not an exact science, but you’ll be able to tell that kind of shot by the number of hits on youtube)

3) Make it to the playoffs at least half of the season in your career (self-explanatory)

This would allow players like Posey or Fisher to make it to the hall of fame and become NBA legends, even though their regular season achievements may not warrant it. Although you need a good regular season to make the playoffs, postseason play separates the men from the boys. The people who have this extra gear in May and June deserve to be credited with their ability to step up in the playoffs.

My final point has to be that almost no other athlete has a song written strictly for him/her. Below is one of my favorite videos about Horry that shows the infamous shot I mentioned above as well as other highlights of his career.

I wasn’t sure what to write about for this blog entry, but once again, as always, Robert Horry saved the day (just watch the video and you’ll get it).

P.S. If they ever make a movie about his career, they HAVE to use Will Smith…

Enough is Enough!

Posted September 29, 2008 by Dan Choi
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Have you ever had someone repeat the same joke over and over again? I mean, yea, the first time it’s like..”HAH!, good one,” but when a joke is repeated a little too much, it gets annoying. Seriously, did you see Matt Damon’s expression at the end? “F**K YOU!” I’m sure every one of you has a joke that is commonly used that just rattles your cage, presses your button, shivers your bones, whatever you want to call it…it just pisses you off. For myself, every time I hear this joke, I just have to stop and think…”Did he/she actually say it?” Literally, time stops and I’m frozen with shock about how terrible that line is.

This is that joke:

Don’t get me wrong, I love The Office and I love Steve Carrell. Honestly, Steve should be the only person ever to be allowed to say that line. I don’t think I go throughout the day without that infamous line popping out at least once. The worst part of people using that line is that most of the people that use it, don’t even watch the show!

Maybe I’m being a little too dramatic over the issue, and I just need to relax. A joke is just a joke, and how hard is it to ignore a simple line? …pretty hard…“That’s what she said!” …pitiful (shaking my head). Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say, is not to take things so seriously and relax and smell the roses! For the people that overuse certain lines, well, you guys have more of an impact on continual flowing conversation than you guys think. So, next time your about to drop a lame line, step back and think…am I being funny or retardedly annoying? Even after that thought, you still want to say it; be my guest, just take things in moderation because nobody likes an unoriginal deadbeat. CHEESE! =)

Why Didn’t I Do Anything?

Posted September 28, 2008 by Cephas
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The Parable of the Good Samaritan:

30 A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. 36 ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ 37 The expert in law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'”

[Luke 10:30-37]

Now in the story above about the Good Samaritan, how many of us stood back for a second to contemplate the actions of the Priest and Levite. We all know that what they did was wrong, but why? Is it their fault if they didn’t stop to help the man?

In contemporary society, many of us stand by as people commit sins and transgressions. We do nothing to stop them, so how are we any different from the Priest and the Levite? How many of us listen as others gossip about other people and how many of us do nothing as friends around us indulge themselves to physical sins as well? All of us, as Christians, have an obligation to stop these misdeeds yet we do not because we are all accustomed to such actions. It is the hard choice to stop your friends from gossiping about another person, but is it not the right choice? If your mother had a tumour, wouldn’t you tell her to get it removed as a person who loves her? As a Christian who should love others, we should stop the hatred and evil amongst our brothers and sisters from spreading by halting these actions. If we do nothing but stand and watch, we are at the same, if not, greater fault.

We Christians, who have the gift of knowledge that the one and only savior died for us on the cross, should possess the courage to stop any transgressions from happening. If you think that you are liable to become an outcast amongst your friends because of your justful actions, so be it. Those who are condemned for acting according to God’s will, will be rejoiced over all. Often times, we hear that a man’s actions is what gives him character. but turn the sentence around and definitely think of the other possibility that a man’s un-actions are also what characterizes him. Do not stand back and cower under what is normal in society, but be brave and approach the obstacle head on. Once again, as a Christian, I admit to these sins, but shouldn’t there be a time when we should change? Shouldn’t there be a time where we say enough is enough and stand for what is right? I, for one, believe that Christians should fear nothing in this world just because God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit has our back. Let us all commit ourselves to the actions as well as the un-actions that we perform and take responsibility.

Sing, Sing a Song!

Posted September 27, 2008 by Dan Choi
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These are two rising artists that we believe you’ll absolutely love. Whether, you are a fan of HipHop or Indie; check out the bios of these amazing stars:

Click on either of the pictures below

If you want to hear their music, check out our Limitless Player on the right sidebar!

Priscilla Ahn

Posted September 27, 2008 by Dan Choi
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Artist: Priscilla Ahn

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Genre: Indie/ Folk

Record Label: Blue Note

Album(s): A Good Day (2008)

Interesting Facts:

-She was born in Fort Stewart, Georgia to Harry and Kay Hartranft.

-She later, changed her last name according to her biological mother who is Korean.

-She lived in South Korea as a child, then moved to Reading, Pennsylvania where she learned how to play the guitar at the age of 14.

-After graduating high school, she decided to skip college and pursue her music career by starting off playing live music in local bars. A college professor advised her to pursue in song writing instead of going to college. This gave her the inspiration to move to L.A., California with nothing but two guitars, clothes, and some other junk.

-In L.A. she was a struggling waitress with no offers until she was asked to be the opening act for Joshua Radin at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood.

-She was signed on by Blue Note Records in 2007

-Two of her songs were featured on two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy

-Her single, Dream, was on the Disturbia soundtrack

-Her song, I Don’t Think So, came out at the end of Knight Rider‘s premiere episode

Priscilla Ahn has a very soothing voice that really mellows the mood of any room. Her music is great to just play, sit back, and relax. Ahn’s style of music can resemble Jack Johnson‘s cool attitude mixed with the beautiful sound of Corinne Bailey Rae. I definitely recommend everyone to check out her music because she is on a very fast rise to stardom.

Casely

Posted September 27, 2008 by SlimThug
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Artist: Casely (Birth Name: Jean Carlos Casely)

Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Genre: Hip-Hop

Record Label: Epic Records

Album(s): I’ll Be (2005), 1985 (2008)

Interesting Facts:

– Gets his inspiration from Prince, Michael Jackson, Deathcab for Cutie and John Mayer

– Performed in musicals such as Jekyll and Hyde, Pippin and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

– Attended Berklee College of Music in Boston

Casely has catchy synthesized beats along with a heavy bass line that makes for songs that just make you want to dance (See “Countdown”, “Crush” and “Prisoner of Love”). But the beats aren’t the only thing that make his songs so spectacular. As he shows in his song “Unsong Hero,” which is his song dedicated to the victims of Katrina, he shows his soft yet powerful voice that is able to carry its own on a softer, slower track. His resurgence into the hip-hop world after a 3 year hiatus should be something hip-hop enthusiasts should be excited for.