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Hinkle Goldfarb RSS Feed (R.R. 1 Highway 162, Butte City, California)

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The Big Short
The Big Short
DVD
Price: $14.99

44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough villains, February 29, 2016
This review is from: The Big Short (Amazon Video)
As far as it goes, the movie does an admirable job of explaining the lead-up to the financial crisis, which was its main focus. The movie gets a lot of things right, particularly the go-go attitude on Wall Street and the complicity of the rating agencies in the fiasco. By the way, that conversation with the rating agency representative never would have happened like that, but as a junior corporate attorney working on Wall Street (well, 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, but close enough) before the crisis, I can confirm that the attitude of “everyone knows the rating agencies won’t downgrade because the investment banks will take their business elsewhere” was absolutely pervasive. The scene did the best the medium could do to capture that mindset.

What I object to is the near-total failure of the movie to spread the blame evenly. There are two groups that must shoulder much of the blame but escape either unscathed or nearly so in the movie.

The first is the American public. Living down in Miami at the time the crisis hit, I can attest to the “stripper with five homes” scenario, although that is somewhat an exaggeration. But it comes down to the seven deadly sins, as so many of these crises do. In this case, two of them: greed and envy. The American public at large got caught up in the allure of something for nothing, easy money, and the desire to have what others have. So even though millions of people who never did anything wrong got hurt (like the renters in the movie), many millions more got their just deserts when the wave broke and it was followed by bankruptcies, default and bad credit.

The second is the government, particularly two aspects of it: the Community Reinvestment Act and Securities and Exchange Commission oversight. The SEC part is covered somewhat crudely but effectively in the movie. The CRA on the other hand…The CRA has the effect of encouraging / cajoling / forcing banks to make marginal loans under the guise of nondiscrimination. It was instituted under Jimmy Carter, and upped by both Clinton and Bush 43. Like so many statutory brainchildren in American politics, it began with a good impulse but became perverted by racial politics and crashed head-on into economic reality. Behind a significant portion of the non-performing loans was the impetus to not run afoul of the CRA.

As a person who has some experience in what led to the crisis (in 2001 I worked on some CDOs -- we called the Collateralized Loan Obligations), for my 2¢ I place the ultimate blame on the ratings agencies and on the investment banks and their attorneys, who should have properly analyzed and vetted the loan portfolios before turning them into CDOs and who should have had mechanisms to continually monitor their performance. There are elements of hubris, sloppiness and group-think on a vast, vast scale throughout the financial system.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 1, 2016 6:11 PM PDT


Melancholia [Blu-ray]
Melancholia [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Kirsten Dunst
Price: $11.79
29 used & new from $6.60

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh my God this movie sucked, October 2, 2015
This review is from: Melancholia [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I once reviewed "Aloha Bobby and Rose" and gave it the worst film of all time. After having dragged myself through two hours and 15 minutes of Melancholia, I must change my mind. The movie is the rock-bottom stupidest, worst movie I have ever seen. I even rewound the end of the movie so I could see SPOILER ALERT the planet killing the dreary, stupid, boring, lame, vapid people twice, that's how angry I was at having wasted these precious moments I have left on Earth watching this dreck.


Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World
DVD
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine, August 28, 2015
Existentialism is not an easy philosophy. Knowing that God will not save us is one of the hardest truths to embrace. No one is looking over our shoulder. No one will catch us if we fall. But at the same time existentialism is the most humanist of philosophies. It is up to us, only us, to find meaning in our lives. And the payoff is that if we do so, we can attribute it all to ourselves. When the end of the world comes, as it must for us all, we will be able to say “I did X,” not “X happened to me.” C.f. Matthew 25:21.


Advantageous
Advantageous
DVD
Price: $3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Future Shock, July 13, 2015
This review is from: Advantageous (Amazon Video)
If you ever wondered what the cross between Blade Runner and The Joy Luck Club would look like, well, wonder no more. There are important themes running through the movie that it half-heartedly attempts to address, ontological questions like what is essence, what is soul, what is mother. But the movie never really congeals and concentrates instead on forced emotions, primarily from mother to daughter, and substitutes imagery for philosophical thought. Blade Runner covered most of these themes much better.


Mr. Nobody (Theatrical Cut)
Mr. Nobody (Theatrical Cut)
DVD
Price: $2.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mishmash, July 3, 2015
What would get if you put Sliding Doors, Big Fish, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kramer vs. Kramer, Forrest Gump, The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind into a food processor, added an overgenerous amount of computer animation, and turned it on? You can guess the answer to that one: something palatable, but confused.

Overall, worth watching as a mediation on the human experience and contemplation of the road not taken. It’s also not too full of itself, which is an achievement in and of itself for these types of movies (e.g., K-PAX) However, before considering the movie’s philosophy too deeply, I would caution the viewer to remember the unalterable fact about reality, as expressed by Aslan in Prince Caspian: “To know what would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that." Nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal; as specks of dust, we’re universal.


Cassia Eller
Cassia Eller
18 used & new from $3.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Great energy, January 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Cassia Eller (Audio CD)
Great energy from Ms. Eller who belts out mid-80s rock in the mode of Joan Jett, the B-52s and even Bananarama. A good buy even for those who are not Portuguese speakers.


TurboTax Deluxe 2014 Fed + State + Fed Efile Tax Software [Old Version]
TurboTax Deluxe 2014 Fed + State + Fed Efile Tax Software [Old Version]

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Comcast of tax preparation software, January 23, 2015
Other reviewers have compared Turbo Tax's customer relationship to that of Comcast's. I would agree and add that Intuit thinks of its customers the way Eli Wallach's Calvera thinks of the villagers in The Magnificent Seven: "If God didn't want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep."

I bought Turbo Tax last year to track my account's work to see if her calculations came out to what I had. I was constantly stopped for pointless upgrade requests and by the company pushing useless software at me. After hearing about this year's scandal, I'm skipping Intuit's products from now on. They can go shear some other sheep.


The Logical Song
The Logical Song
Price: $1.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Internally contradictory, December 20, 2014
This review is from: The Logical Song (MP3 Music)
If you're going to have a song that's an ode to logic, then wouldn't it make sense for the song to be...logical?

The singer is a young man rebelling against the system, the classic kid who thinks he's a special snowflake and who doesn't understand that he is *part* of the system, but whatever. You can't have the singer whining about people telling him to watch what he says, and yet wallow in existential angst and ask out of the depths of his tortured teenage soul to "please tell me who I am." You can't get upset at people telling you what to think at the same time you're asking them to tell you what to think. Get a grip kid.


Disco Inferno (Re-Recorded)
Disco Inferno (Re-Recorded)
Price: $0.89

5.0 out of 5 stars For better or worse, the epitome of the disco era, November 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not to be reductivist, but if you're going to capture that era, from "Jungle Fever" to the Night Disco Died, I think this is the song you'd turn to. Self-referential, overwrought, frivolous, yet also catchy, pounding and hypnotic -- you don't get much more disco than this song.


Mens T Shirt - Big Kahuna Burger - Sky Blue - 2XL
Mens T Shirt - Big Kahuna Burger - Sky Blue - 2XL
Offered by 8Ball T Shirts
Price: $20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "That *is* a tasty burger!", November 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's been years now that I've preferred Big Kahuna Burger to McDonald's, Wendy's and Jack 'n the Box. With the pineapple in the burger, they may even the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.

Big Kahuna has fountain drinks available at reasonable prics as well, so you can get a tasty beverage such as Sprite to wash the burger down with.

So when you're in the L.A. area, I recommend patronizing Big Kahuna Burger. They are located exclusively within the 818 area code. Check your app when you're in the La Canada-Flintridge area for the closest restaurant.


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