The truth about the state of the economy

No one seems to know the real state of the economy or rather agree on where the crisis stands or where its headed. The stock market is doing fine, yet unemployment is at an all time high and the dollar seems to be on a steady decline. The entire world is keen to learn the answer but it’s interesting to note that even the experts are unsure and can’t agree on this issue.

A perfect example of this confusion is reflected in two articles in today’s NY Times, one by David Brooks for praising Obama’s economic team headed by Tim Geithner, the other by Paul Krugman, criticizing the same team for failure.Both seem to agree though that public opinion on the overall state of the economy is negative. I suspect the Mr. Brooks given his conservative credentials is thankful that Mr. Geithner and co. didn’t swing so far to the left and go on a nationalizing binge, while Mr. Krugman is very much focused on the technicalities of the financial mess.

Mr. Krugman…

For the economy is still in deep trouble and needs much more government help. Unemployment is in double-digits; we desperately need more government spending on job creation. Banks are still weak, and credit is still tight; we desperately need more government aid to the financial sector.,….

So here’s the real tragedy of the botched bailout: Government officials, perhaps influenced by spending too much time with bankers, forgot that if you want to govern effectively you have retain the trust of the people. And by treating the financial industry — which got us into this mess in the first place — with kid gloves, they have squandered that trust.

While David Brooks…

Well, the evidence of the past eight months suggests that Geithner was mostly right and his critics were mostly wrong. The financial sector is in much better shape than it was then. TARP money is being repaid, and the debate now is what to do with the billions that were never needed. It now seems clear that nationalization would have been an unnecessary mistake — potentially expensive and dangerously disruptive.

Top 10 reasons why Sarah Palin wrote a book

10. She had banned so many books the Wasilla library was running out of books.
09. A 400+ page book sounded like the right size to hit Levi on the head.
08. Writing a book is the only way she could get on Oprah
07. The book advance was her personal bailout package and a stimulus rolled into one, and it was not from the Federal Govt.
06. She thought she could be the first to tap into the Russian market given that she could see the bookstores from her porch.
05. She wanted readers to get a feel for what its like to be before a death panel.
04. Doggone it, she wanted to be the first Joe Six Pack to write a book for all Joe Six packs.
03. Writing a book was so fast and easy she wouldn’t have to quit mid-way.
02. She was “Pallin’ around with publishers”
01. She didn’t cut it as a pitbull with lipstick, so she settled for a book that was all “bull” instead.

Movie Review: Unnai pol oruvan

Language: Tamil (also released in Telugu)

Starring: Kamal Haasan, Mohanlal, Lakshmi

This film is the Tamil re-make of the successful Hindi film, A Wednesday. The Tamil version sticks to the Hindi version for the most part except for a few twists to suit the south Indian context (CM sounding like Kalaignar, for instance, Lakshmi as the chief secretary, Mohanlal as the malayali cop etc.). Like the original, this film is an engaging thriller that keeps you guessing to the very end. Its a film based on the topic of terrorism, though there is very little violence per se. The film revolves around a terrorist threat to the city. The terrorist calls the chief of police and informs him of bombs he has placed across the city and communicates his demands. The entire length of the film revolves around the frequent communication between the two. The twist at the end adds a nice touch.

Mohanlal as the lead cop handles his role well as always. His Tamil with a strong malayali accent is fun listening to especially if you know both languages. Kamal Hassan handles his role with his usual aplomb. As always the most annoying part of his acting is his frequent use of English (as he does in most films). I could still live with his English but what I find most irritating is his American (like) accent when he speaks English. In this film he is supposed to be a regular guy and yet he couldn’t resist the American accent! (Oh, please…).

There is no question that this film is very different from anything Bollywood (or Kollywood) has turned out in recent times. It is definitely worth a watch, either in Hindi or in Tamil.

Movie Review: Pazhassi Raja

Language: Malayalam (dubbed in other languages Tamil, Telugu)

Starring: Mamooty, Sarath Kumar, Manoj K. Jayan, Padmapriya

Saw a Malayalam film in the theater after a long time. Pazhassi Raja, a magnum opus by Kerala standards, is a historical film and the costliest Malayalam film ever.  The movie is based on a King named Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja who ruled in the northern part of Kerala in 17th century prior to most well known struggles against the British rule in India.

Mamooty handles the lead role as Pazhassi Raja with ease. The supporting start cast is given plenty of screen time unlike a typical big star dominated film. Sarath Kumar, Manoj K. Jayan, and Padmapriya all perform brilliantly. Sarath Kumar in particular, stood out in his role as the Kings’s right hand man.

The sets, locales and photography were impressive.  There is plenty of violence as one would expect and there is a good measure of martial arts and clever camera work to add to the special effects. The songs were a disappointment (thankfully there were only a couple) especially considering that the same team of movie makers had terrific songs in their previous film(Vadakan Veera Katha) several years back. Despite being a fairly long film the makers have managed to keep the audience engaged right through. If you are in the mood for a period film this one is worth watching.

Thanks to this film, I now know of a one more King and his struggles against the British. 🙂