Jack Layton is a Funny Guy! 
I love watching Jack Layton give speeches. Comfortable in the knowledge that he will never be held accountable, he can say absolutely anything he wants to in an effort to woo a few voters over to the NDP.

Today, I watched him talk about how he will forbid any credit card companies from charging over 5% over prime in interest.

That sounds great to the masses who won't think it through. It sounds especially great to those who have fallen on hard times and have been forced to take on credit card debt to keep themselves afloat. I'm sure it sounds even better to those financial wizards who carry balances on credit cards to fund discretionary purchases they can't wait for or can't actually afford.

But this isn't a rant on the financially irresponsible.

This is a laugh at Jack Layton making up stuff that can't possibly happen or that would hurt the people he's pretending to try to help.

Firstly, credit cards are not low interest borrowing products. They hold unsecured debt so that debt is expensive. It's expensive because there's a relatively high chance of default so they need to cover their losses. That's the theory anyway. This isn't a rant about credit card companies either, so we won't go into all the issues with the premise.

The fact is, without the high rate of interest, it would be a lot more risky to give everyone and anyone a credit card. If they had low rates, they wouldn't be so profitable, and so they wouldn't let just anyone have one.

So basically, the people who stand to benefit most from this change, which I assume don't qualify for a line of credit, wouldn't get to have them anymore.

Now this might save many of them from getting themselves into trouble they don't need to be in, but it will also hurt a lot of people who just need a bit of emergency money to legitimately carry them through some sort of temporary shortfall.

I guess Jack wants to push those folks to the payday loan people.

Way to go, Jack! Looking out for the little guy!

Now if I were in some sort of position of power, I'd make it part of my mandate to ensure that high schools have mandatory financial literacy classes required for graduation. But that's just me.

Here's hoping Jack promises to eliminate income tax. That would be fun to hear!

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IndyCar Racing is Back 
The IndyCar race was the best racing for this weekend. Maybe F1 should take some pointers with their double-file restarts and their push-to-pass system. It made for way better racing than F1's stupid moving wing did!

Congrats to Dario who's off to a great start! After a lot of chaos at the beginning of the race, things sorted out and Dario drove off to about the same easy victory that Vettel had in the F1 race, but the racing behind him was much more exciting.

The NASCAR race at Fontana was relatively boring... but it usually is. NASCAR has the best racing overall and thankfully has a lot of variety in the tracks. While this week was nothing to write home about, next week at Martinsville should be blast as it usually is!

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F1 Racing is Back 
I just watched the Australian Grand Prix. Vettel and Hamilton started 1st and 2nd. Vettel and Hamilton finished 1st and 2nd.

The only really interesting battle during the whole race involved Button trying for many laps to pass Massa, who was clearly slower.

He couldn't do it, and finally resorted to cutting a corner to get by. After a few laps of discussion and debate, he was given a penalty and that was that.

The stupid new adjustable rear wing and all the stupid rules about when it could and couldn't be used never really had any impact. I saw one pass in the whole race that could be attributed to its use. Big deal.

It looks like F1 is going to remain the most overrated form of racing yet again this year. I'll keep watching for a few more races to see if anything is really different, but it's not looking good to start.

Now I'm going to watch the opening of the IndyCar series and see if that's still better. I expect it will be.

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Fords are Fast! 
There seems to be an ongoing theme this season in NASCAR when it comes to qualifying.

The Fords are VERY fast!

Good for them, I guess. It's not necessarily translating to top finishes... or finishing at all for that matter... but they seem to have definitely found something unique.

It'll be interesting to see whether the other three catch up sooner rather than later.

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Japan's Nuclear Disaster 
There's been a lot of talk on the news about Japan's nuclear reactors melting down, or maybe melting down, or maybe nearly melting down, or some such thing.

Now, I happen to know a thing or two about nuclear reactors, so I had a lot of questions about what was actually happening and why the things I've been told are supposed to prevent this sort of thing weren't working.

I live near a nuclear power plant. I have good reason to wonder about such things.

The most basic question I had was why they couldn't just shove the control rods into the core to shut the whole thing down and call it a day. That's what I'd been told was the standard practice to keep everything safe when things are going all wrong.

Well... I did some searching and found an excellent explanation of what's going on that jive's with everything I knew about nuclear power, and seems to fill in most of the blanks about what I didn't know. If you're interested in such things, it's worth a read.

The information is written by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT, in Boston. Very well done, Dr Oehmen!

Note that this link is to the re-post where I originally found this. The related link, below, is to the original posting. I include the re-post because it is presented in a more readable format, while the original post may contain updates as the situation develops.

http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2011 ... ef-oehmen/

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