Macbook Air 2010

Apple just announced some new hardware: the Macbook Air. I want one!

It’s probably high time I replace the one I’ve been using for a couple of years now. I’ve tried the 13-inch Macbooks but what really peeks my interest is the the 11-inch version of the Macbook Air. It can’t possibly have a normal sized keyboard now, can it?

Affording it though is another story. Buying anything that cost five figures just can’t sit well with my financial conscience.

 

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The Sky is Falling

Stock markets all over the world continues to decline. It began yesterday with the Shanghai market. The almost 9% loss in the Chinese market triggered a ripple effect in Europe and later, in the US. From what I remember, occasional declines in market performance are normal. But a sell-off this much in a single day can be very alarming for many investors. Although markets are not expected to bounce back just like that in the coming days, the hope today is that it would all level off soon so that investors would stop hitting the panic button.

What does this mean for us average citizens? The effects on the global economy does not always reach the masses immediately. But the perception of an economy is bad, people tend to believe that it is. Sometimes, far worse than it really is. And for me, a bad economy would eventually translate to the rising of basic goods and services. Meaning, that for the same amount of income, people have less buying power.

All this boils down to the markets’ perception of itself. If fear continues to be the dominating attitude of traders, no economic policy of GMA would instantly counter the slumping of global markets.

SONA 2006: A Business Plan

It does make sense when I think about it.

At first, I felt that Gloria’s recent SONA was more of a inspirational speech. It outlined what her administration had accomplished so far, while battling and out-politicking the opposition. More importantly, the SONA had outlined what they intend to accomplish in the near future. And to write frankly, it was considerably very promising. Given the financial achievements she mentioned, I could feel those promises actually materializing.

They were not mere individual plans and isolated strategies, but rather, every element made-up a Grand Vision for the whole country. It’s as if everything is connected to everything. It’s an attempt to develop individual sectors and areas towards a unified, better-functioning nation. If the Grand Vision was a paper, I’d say it was very cohesive.

Which brings me to this point:

SONA 2006 was not just a motivational talk for the people; it was also a business plan of sorts for those who will help fund and sustain the Grand Vision.

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Pork and Perk

The senators get the larger portions of the budget compared to what congressmen get. But I had no idea it was that big. Here's an excerpt from the news article.

Each congressman gets P70 million for his or her district each year.

By comparison, each senator receives P200 million in pork barrel funds annually or P1.2 billion in six years—P2.4 billion if the senator gets reelected for another six years.

Last year alone, the 23-member Senate had a total budget of P1.38 billion while the 236-member House had only P2.93 billion.

Both houses passed only six laws last year but spent P4.31 billion—the equivalent of P718 million for each bill that was enacted into law. [Manila Standard Today – Senate fears…]

My gulay! That's really how much they get? Every year??? And yet they were only able to pass 6 laws last year. Nice.

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Fight Against Smugglers

Here’s a news article that sort of gave me mixed sentiments. The 168 Mall in Binondo was recently raided for allegedly being a haven for smugglers. Gloria described it to visiting businessmen and officials from Washington as “the biggest raid in the history of the Philippines.” The obtained goods were mostly from China. Duh.

There’s are two sides to every story.

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State of Emergency Lifted

GMA lifts the state of emergency. Yay! 🙂

The peso continues to rally against the dollar. P51.22 = $1

Coincidence? Maybe. It got me thinking though. If the announcement of PP 1017 was so bad, as many had thought or continues to think, then why is the peso performing so well these days? This article explains it a bit.

The way I see it, I think that the public has over-reacted to PP 1017. Myself included. Most people perceived it to be another Martial Law. Warrantless arrests, curtailment of free speech, military activies here and there, rallies and demonstrations by various sectors. But overall, I think it wasn’t as violent as and as prolonged as it was during the time of Marcos. I had seen enough documentaries on tv and back during my student days. What happened the past few days was nothing close compared to what happened over twenty years ago.

Sure, the legality and the implementation of the proclamation are still questionable. Heck, the whole existence of this administration is questionable. Either way, the markets – both local and foreign – perceived all the recent events to be somewhat good. At least in terms of business and profits.

But what will it mean for the rest of us common folks? Perhaps, we’ll see in a couple of days when hearings on the proclamation and the destabilization charges begin.

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Another Meeting

A meeting initiated by the Makati Business Club was attended by big businessmen, Bro. Mike Velarde, Mrs. Cory Aquino, and a couple of anti-Arroyo personalities according to this article.

The business sector, it seems, is taking a more active role in all of this. Well, they should be. Although some businessmen have learned to “adapt” to the unending political crisis (read: set aside a certain part of the yearly budget to pay off corrupt government officials), I can only imagine how much the decent businesses are losing in terms of potential revenues and cost to operate effectively if only our country’s a bit more politically stable.

It is difficult to do business in a country where the political environment is filled with uncertainty. In strategic planning of companies, there has to be political stability in a country; or else, potential investors or fed up businessmen would rather bring their businesses somewhere else. And we all know that taxes are not enough to fund the government’s operations. Thus, it’s really up to the government as well as the business sector to attract the much needed money from outside as well as maintain the ones that we have here.

So, to the MBC, good luck. Although part of me is thinking that you just want your big businesses to be more profitable, I hope that that meeting (and future ones) will be beneficial to all Filipinos.

Let’s see if money really talks and if money makes the world go around.

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