Gongol.com Archives: February 2011
Brian Gongol

February 20, 2011

Business and Finance Want proof that the housing bubble was highly specific?
A single chart illustrates how much real estate is "underwater" by state -- and five states (Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and California) are 30% or more in the red. Several others are about 20% underwater. But about a dozen (including Iowa) are at or below 10%. That's a yawning gap -- but the problem is that those markets that got into deep trouble are also very big ones, and it's disproportionately affecting the rest of the country.

Threats and Hazards Iran will send warships through the Suez Canal on Monday
They're en route to Syria, and Israel is officially quite unhappy with the plan

Threats and Hazards The little-reported attempted terrorist attack in Spokane
Someone left a remote-controlled bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade. It was discovered in time and the attack was thwarted, but very little has been reported about the incident.

News More protests spreading in northern Africa and the Middle East
What's especially interesting is that the process appears to be a cascade: The whole process started in Tunisia, and subsequently caught on in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen. That's a whole lot of instability in a very wide stretch of geography. And it's difficult for the United States to just give a blanket endorsement to all of the protests, because sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't -- Iran's popular revolution of 1979 hasn't produced anything good for America. And there's also a clear need for the right institutions to be in place for any country to start building a functioning democratic government, and those institutions aren't developed overnight (after all, it took from 1776 to 1789 for the United States to even settle on the Constitution).

Business and Finance Just in time for Lent
Long John Silver's is getting a new logo and slogan. They do look nicer, but a new logo is only a small bit of polish to put on a company.

Computers and the Internet Quite the guest list
President Obama just had a dinner with the heads of Twitter, Netflix, Apple, Google, Facebook, Cisco, and other companies that are hot in the technology sector. It was a closed-door session, though the quite obvious rivalries present in the room suggest that it probably wasn't exactly the kind of Earth-shaking meeting of the minds that the guest roster might have suggested.

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