Gongol.com Archives: October 2008
Brian Gongol

October 17, 2008

The American Way Toyota goes for a kill shot
While GM, Ford, and Chrysler are laying off thousands of workers because the companies are having trouble staying afloat (GM, for instance is losing bucketloads of money), Toyota is spending a quarter of a billion dollars in a new advertising blitz. Auto sales are down everywhere, including at Toyota, but since the company has almost $19 billion in cash, it's making a smart move by aggressively trying to capture the market that's out there. It's like what Nestle did during World War II: Even though chocolate was rationed and in very short supply during the war, they continued to advertise heavily -- even though customers couldn't buy much of their product. They built demand when times were slow, then pounced when the economy turned around.

Broadcasting Would a Democratic Party with both Congress and the White House re-impose the Fairness Doctrine?
Sadly, it sounds like there's a good chance it might. By how much on how many other planes would a non-divided government (should the election turn out that way) lead to a Leviathan government?

Health "Stayin' Alive" apparently serves as a great CPR tool
The pace of the song has almost exactly the right number of beats per minute for the proper administration of CPR. And it's a serious earworm.

News Tribune Co. tells AP it's leaving
That adds the Chicago Tribune to a list recently joined also by the Cedar Rapids Gazette

Water News 61 Nebraska communities will decide on fluoridation next month

Business and Finance Money is now almost free
That is, the cost of borrowing is practically zero -- even in nominal terms, as central banks like the Bank of England consider 1% nominal interest rates. After inflation is factored in, the cost of borrowing actually becomes negative. Bad news for savers, but it sure sounds like the central bankers are trying to avoid a repeat of the banking disasters that led to the Great Depression -- during which the Federal Reserve tightened the money supply at just the wrong moment. But there's plenty of room for things to go much more wrong than they already have: Suppose, for instance, that governments in market economies start trying to tell private firms how to set their prices. It didn't work for Richard Nixon, and it won't work now. Fortunately, at least for prudent value investors, this could be the greatest stock-buying opportunity of a lifetime. Some think this is like getting the best deal since the 1980s.

Humor and Good News A whole history of the brass monkey