Monday, March 31, 2008
What can we do to save ourselves from this?
Nothing. The loss has already occurred.
Read it and weep. That junk paper, six times the combined value of all human real estate and all human commerce, is everywhere. Think it doesn't effect you? Got a parent with a pension? Do you hold a life insurance policy? Do you work for an enterprise that is publicly held? That has funded part of its operation with a bond sale?
The unwinding of this mess must come and it will be the financial equivalent of a neutron bomb; the buildings will be standing, but they'll be emptied of people and the associated commerce."
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Defense Secretary Robert Gates orders an inventory of all U.S. nuclear weapons and related materials.
The order comes in the wake of the discovery last week that four nuclear warhead fuses were accidentally shipped to Taiwan in 2006."
I am transgender, legally male, and legally married to Nancy. Unlike those in same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions, Nancy and I are afforded the more than 1,100 federal rights of marriage. Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire."
Mental-Physical Personality Description
rarely expressive of feelings
feelings subordinate to tasks
use words carefully
may need help connecting with others personally.
Factors Causing Stress
insufficient time alone
too many tasks at once
insufficient time for careful consideration of issues and for task completion
conflict with personal values
used with restraint
used to make points
often in the vertical plane (up and down)
Mental-Physical behavioral style makes up only 5% of the Western population. It is the most of all the Mentally Centered Principle.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
“If there’s any illness for which people offer many remedies,’’ says a character in Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” “you may be sure that particular illness is incurable.’’…
In one of his stand-up routines, British comedian David Baddiel asks why, when people hear he’s an insomniac, they say, “Really? ‘Cos I fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow.” He adds, “When I see someone in a wheelchair, I don’t say, “Really? ‘Cos I can do this…” and he hops around the stage on one leg. …"
About $460 billion of adjustable-rate mortgages are scheduled to reset this year, according to analysts at Citigroup Inc.
Financial sector losses and job cuts have been mounting since August, when subprime mortgage defaults began escalating, undermining the value of bonds backed by those loans.
Citigroup Inc. will cut 2,000 more trading and investment- banking jobs than previously announced, a person familiar with the plan said last week. That's on top of about 4,000 disclosed in January.
``This year we will have a larger number of reductions as we continue to strengthen the business and lower our expense base,'' the bank said in an emailed statement."
Wildlife biologists fear a significant die-off in about 15 caves and mines in New York, as well as at sites in Massachusetts and Vermont. Whatever is killing the bats leaves them unusually thin and, in some cases, dotted with a white fungus. Bat experts fear that what they call White Nose Syndrome may spell doom for several species that keep insect pests under control.
Researchers have yet to determine whether the bats are being killed by a virus, bacteria, toxin, environmental hazard, metabolic disorder or fungus. Some have been found with pneumonia, but that and the fungus are believed to be secondary symptoms.
“This is probably one of the strangest and most puzzling problems we have had with bats,” said Paul Cryan, a bat ecologist with the United States Geological Survey. “It’s really startling that we’ve not come up with a smoking gun yet.”"
Monday, March 24, 2008
Gen David Petraeus told the BBC he thought Tehran had trained, equipped and funded insurgents who fired the barrage of mortars and rockets.
He said Iran was adding what he described as "lethal accelerants" to a very combustible mix.There has as yet been no response from Iran to the accusations.
Friday, March 21, 2008
"I don't know how long I can do this, he said. I think the universe has different plans for me & we sat there in silence & I thought to myself that this is the thing we all come to & this is the thing we all fight & if we are lucky enough to lose, our lives become beautiful with mystery again & I sat there silent because that is not something that can be said."
The Fed, in a bold move Sunday, agreed for the first time to let big investment houses get emergency loans directly from the central bank. This mechanism, similar to one available for commercial banks for years, got under way Monday and will continue for at least six months. It was the broadest use of the Fed's lending authority since the 1930s.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Here’s how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 monthly payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain’t worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the “discount” they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. The Grinnings move into their Toyota.
Now, what kind of American is ‘sub-prime.’ Guess. No peeking. Here’s a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren’t stupid – they had no choice. They were ‘steered’ as it’s called in the mortgage sharking business.
‘Steering,’ sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called ‘fraudulent conveyance’ or ‘predatory lending’ under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.
But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hearty – it was OK now to steer’m, fake’m, charge’m and take’m.
But there was this annoying party-pooper. The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.
Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush’s regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of “federal pre-emption,” Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.
Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer’s investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush’s banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
It sometimes seems that my incessant thoughts go in waves or cadences. Sometimes the cadence is good and sometimes it is painful and chaotic. All beginnings are painful. So said Chaim Potok at the start of a good book. The problem with this concept is that things are always beginning. I am a devotee of vistas and where water meets land. I watch our world and try to be an actor in it to the best of my capabilities.
The world continues to, in my opinion, keep choosing pessimism, judgment and false walls. I still believe that their is power in conscience and living according to one's deepest held beliefs, but it is a fight and I wish it weren't so.
In the 1972 election, McGovern ran on a platform that advocated withdrawal from the Vietnam War in exchange for the return of American prisoners of war and amnesty for draft evaders who had left the country, an anti-war platform that was presaged, in 1970, by McGovern's sponsorship of the McGovern-Hatfield amendment, seeking to end U.S. participation in the war by Congressional action. However, during a meeting with Democratic Governors conference, Nevada Governor Mike O'Callaghan asked McGovern what he would do if the North Vietnamese refused to release American POW's after a withdrawal. McGovern responded, "Under such circumstances, we'd have to take action," although he did not say what action.
McGovern's platform also included an across-the-board, 37% reduction in defense spending over three years; and a "demogrant" program giving $1,000 to every citizen in America  that was later changed to creating a $6,500 guaranteed minimum income for Americans, and was later dropped from the platform. In addition, McGovern supported ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. An infamous incident took place late in the campaign. McGovern was giving a speech and a Nixon admirer kept heckling him. McGovern called the young man over and said "Listen you son of a bitch, why don't you kiss my ass!" Mississippi Senator James Eastland later asked the Senator if that was what he had said. When McGovern said yes, Eastand replied that was the best thing he had ever said in the whole campaign.
Anyone else find it convenient that the man who went after wall street was having his bank accounts watched?
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.
And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies — which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public — have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.
"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Members of the AP National Investigative Team reviewed hundreds of scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites and treatment plants and interviewed more than 230 officials, academics and scientists. They also surveyed the nation's 50 largest cities and a dozen other major water providers, as well as smaller community water providers in all 50 states.
Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:
_Officials in Philadelphia said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds.