Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
"Most of the lawsuits are brought by former employees of giant firms. Some plaintiffs have testified before members of Congress, providing examples of fraud they say they witnessed and the retaliation they experienced after speaking up.
Julie McBride testified last year that as a 'morale, welfare and recreation coordinator' at Camp Fallujah, she saw KBR exaggerate costs by double- and triple-counting the number of soldiers who used recreational facilities. She also said the company took supplies destined for a Super Bowl party for U.S. troops and instead used them to stage a celebration for themselves.
'After I voiced my concerns about what I believed to be accounting fraud, Halliburton placed me under guard and kept me in seclusion,' she told the committee. 'My property was searched, and I was specifically told that I was not allowed to speak to any member of the U.S. military. I remained under guard until I was flown out of the country.'"
The Aug. 20 letters from the Fed to Citigroup and Bank of America state that the Fed, which regulates large parts of the U.S. financial system, has agreed to exempt both banks from rules that effectively limit the amount of lending that their federally-insured banks can do with their brokerage affiliates. The exemption, which is temporary, means, for example, that Citigroup's Citibank entity can substantially increase funding to Citigroup Global Markets, its brokerage subsidiary. Citigroup and Bank of America requested the exemptions, according to the letters, to provide liquidity to those holding mortgage loans, mortgage-backed securities, and other securities.
So, how serious is this rule-bending? Very. One of the central tenets of banking regulation is that banks with federally insured deposits should never be over-exposed to brokerage subsidiaries; indeed, for decades financial institutions were legally required to keep the two units completely separate. This move by the Fed eats away at the principle."
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
the worst part and you know it,
there is a numbness,
in your heart and it's growing,
with burnt sage and a forest of bygones,
i click my heels,
get the devils in line,
a list of things i could lay the blame on,
might give me a way out,
but with each turn,
it's this front and center,
like a dart stuck square in your eye,
every post you can hitch your faith on,
is a pie in the sky,
chock full of lies,
a tool we devise,
to make sinking stones fly,
and still to come,
the worst part and you know it,
there is a numbness,
in your heart and it's growing.
To call it a rough week is kind. There are all sorts of things you should learn from experience. To be specific, I know that if I drink more than 3 cosmos in a night, I will regret said action in the morning. Most of the time I adhere quite easily to this known fact, but still at this late stage in my life I will occasionally down a volume of cosmos that render me utterly useless.
Then there is the stuff you really don't know. Why do some people end up Paris Hilton and others child soldiers in a war over resources? Now neither of these are appealing obviously, but the question plagues me. I've tried so many ways to approach the issue: Acceptance, Defiance, Inquisition etc. I've wrestled with the relative value of struggle, the reality that humans with control of vast resources are nearly always incapable of wielding said resources effectively. I mean fucking Oprah is now telling herself that her largess is as a result of positive thinking. Oh Oprah, how you have betrayed us, but I understand. The idea that your life, existence, the universe is in anyway attributable to luck is depressing. Luck is not only completely beyond our control, it is also a complete mystery. No one even has a theory on how luck gets doled out. Similarly, there is no quota for the suffering any one person needs to bear. Now, you may argue that my pessimism is in fact "creating" bad luck. My response to that lovely cop out, is fuck you and the bullshit you rode in on.
I may not be able to penetrate the mysteries of the universe with any particularly useful insight, but I have read others much more reasoned insights and I feel that it is safe to conclude that no one has any notion of why things work out the way they do. I mean you are just as likely to find your bliss in crystals as you are in the pursuit of power.
So yes I think I am unlucky in love and if there was a way for me to give an offering to the gods that would change my luck, I would gladly oblige.
"But, you know, it isn't just the power point parades or the pep rallies or the largesse being doled out to GOP candidates in trouble that's being investigated for Hatch Act violations. There's this, and if it has traction, it could open up a very interesting avenue into the big crimes: ...fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias revealed key new details about the Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) probe into Karl Rove and other White House officials reported today by the Los Angeles Times. Iglesias said that on April 3, he filed a Hatch Act complaint with the OSC, charging that Karl Rove and others may have violated the law by firing him over his failure to initiate partisan-motivated prosecutions. These Hatch act investigations may end up being more potent than anybody realizes. Remember, Watergate started out as a third rate burglary."
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
"Subprime US news (most relevant) * Federal Reserve finds US banks tightening standards on subprime ...
- International Herald Tribune - Aug 13, 2007
* The end of risk as we knew it - Economic Times - Aug 12, 2007
* When subprime debt's price falls, confidence will rise - Globe and Mail - Aug 13, 2007
* Milan shares rebound midday; subprime uncertainty persists - Forbes - Aug 13, 2007
* Easing subprime worries boost Toronto stocks - Reuters Canada - Aug 13, 2007"
It'll be us sucking wind not the rich assholes who did this.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
US given sexual orientation information on travellers- from Pink News- all the latest gay news from the gay community - Pink News
The DHS insists on the right to use the information for disease control, and there are fears that gay passengers may be singled out as possible HIV risks.
The plans involve upgrading information which is already sent by airlines to the DHS on the 4-million-plus Britons who visit the US every year, including payment details, home address and the passengers in-flight meal choice.
The agreement adds 19 possible new categories, including information on ethnic origin, political and philosophical opinions, credit card numbers, trade union membership, sex life and details of the passengers' health.
The information will be provided by passengers when making bookings.
The US is not required to provide this information about its citizens."
Sunday, August 05, 2007
As the Federal Reserve convenes for its latest meeting on Tuesday, the corporate credit markets are grinding to a halt. About $90 billion of bonds and nearly $250 billion of loans are still awaiting buyers, several high-profile hedge funds from the U.S. East Coast to Australia have failed, and a major U.S. mortgage lender this week closed its doors.
'All these people saying there is no credit crunch and no economic impact - 'Are you kidding me?'', said Jeffrey Gundlach, chief investment officer at TCW Group in Los Angeles, which manages assets worth $160 billion.
'Ask Goldman if there is no credit crunch, ask Bear Stearns if there is no credit crunch, call up American Home Mortgage and ask them if there is no credit crunch. Come on! It is staring you in the face,' Gundlach added."
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Democrats court liberal bloggers - Yahoo! News: "The Kos convention is a sign of the times.
Gone are the days when candidates and political parties could talk to passive voters through mass media, largely controlling what messages were distributed, how the messages went out and who heard them. The Internet has helped create millions of media outlets and given anyone the power to express an opinion or disseminate information in a global forum, and connect with others who have similar interests.
Clinton is viewed skeptically by the the blogging community, mainly for her history of hawkish views on Iraq. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of Daily Kos and spiritual leader of the convention, said Clinton still might be able to mitigate her problems.
'We may decide she's not our first choice, but she's not a bad choice,' he said.
Appearing solo at a session of bloggers before the debate, Clinton was warmly received, especially when she jokingly blamed a microphone malfunction on the 'vast right-wing conspiracy.'
One thing most bloggers have in common — regardless of their political leanings — is an intense frustration with the political establishment. And so it was a convention dripping in irony when liberal bloggers welcomed the living symbols of the Democratic status quo — seven presidential candidates."
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Why? Because lots of people are no longer convinced that a rising tide of trade lifts all boats— and there's evidence to back them up.
For three decades, the richest 10 percent of Americans have been growing even richer much faster than everyone else. Over the past five years, real wages for all the rest of American workers have been almost flat. Many blame globalization.
During a mid-July congressional hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke contended that education levels largely determine income inequality. But he was angrily interrupted by Rep. Barney Frank , D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who declared, 'Mr. Bernanke, that's simply not true.'
Frank said that the 29 percent of Americans who have bachelor's and even master's degrees haven't seen real income growth, on average, over the past five years. That's what Democrats in Congress are focused on, he said.
With a globalized capitalist elite comes a global economic order, enforced by a global political order. That global political order has one central requirement, namely, integration into the global economic order. The catch is that such integration must be on terms acceptable to the global capitalist elite -- which winds up meaning, on terms dictated by the global capitalist elite. This is the great sin of such regimes as Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, and of course, Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. Everybody asks why some authoritarian regimes like Saddam Hussein's, must be "changed," while others like the dictatorships still found in Central America or sub-Saharan Africa excite no particular concern. The reason is that some dictatorships benefit global corporate elites, while others do not. If Hugo Chavez permitted the continued exploitation of his nation's oil wealth on terms dictated by international oil companies, no one would have the least concern for any "tyranny" found within his borders.
As for the American working class, In the "good old days" of American affluence -- that would be the '50's and '60's -- the traditional division of the world between the "core" and the "periphery" permitted US elites to spread the wealth to American wage earners. This is classic imperialist theory, where national elites essentially buy off their own working classes. As national elites have gradually fused into one international corporate elite, the basic deal between elites and certain preferred elements of the working class has broken down.
Forget thinking that men are from Mars and women from Venus, 'the more we look, the more we find similarity,' said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. Goldstein, who wasn't part of Meston's study, said the Texas research made a lot of sense and adds to growing evidence that the vaunted differences in the genders may only be among people with sexual problems."