12.12.08

From Big Three to Bogged Three - Senate Rejects Bailout Attempt

If you are an optimist with full faith that the economy will soon bounce back, later today may be a great time to buy some stocks in the Big Three American Automakers - in all likelihood, they should be going cheap.


Um, make that even cheaper.






General Motors Corp. may be in bankruptcy within weeks, followed shortly by Chrysler LLC, after the U.S. Senate rejected a $14 billion rescue plan and the companies’ options for survival dwindled.


“I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor in Washington last night. “It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.”






Can't speak for you, but as I see it, between every election from 2000 on all the way to this big eco collapse we are all caught in the middle of a big, bad disaster film remake from the 70's. It's like Poseidon Adventure, meets Earthquake, meets Wall Street except that last one wasn't a disaster film the first time around. But this rewrite sure is taking a weird turn.


It's gone from "greed is good" to "greed is ghastly" all in one fell year.





President George W. Bush must now decide whether to let the companies collapse or find another way to channel government funds. Minutes after the vote, he was pressed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reid to tap funds from the Treasury’s $700 billion bank-rescue fund.





However, there is still debate concerning whether that $700 billion was enough to float the economic boat or if it was just optimistic window dressing. Spreading it even thinner couldn't make anything better. Could it?





Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd, who helped lead the negotiations, said the final unresolved issue in the Senate talks was a Republican demand that unionized autoworkers accept a reduction in wages next year, rather than later, to match wages of U.S. workers at foreign-owned companies, such as Toyota Motor Corp.





While I do not often share the sentiments of Republicans, be they elected or not, my guess is that these Republicans have a good point. As a basic lefty loony I've been cranked off by the amount CEO's, CFO's and the rest of them make. To pay the leaders 400 times what the linefolks make is ridiculous. However, it is probably safe to say at this point, that all Gods' children got to suffer - whether they be rank and file or management. I simply doubt the books will balance otherwise.


Let me close with what we can all appreciate as the season's best understatement, this from Senator Harry Ried -





“This is going to be a very bad Christmas” for many people, Reid said on the Senate floor last night.





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11.12.08

Stng Meets Orwell? Scientists Now "See" Your Dreams




The secret world of dreams has been unlocked with the invention of technology capable of illustrating images taken directly from human brains during sleep.





As if advances in home computing alone have not been boggling enough for old guys like me some crazy, brilliant SOB's in a Japanese lab have come up with a new invention straight off the pages of Star Trek's Next Generation...


Or a dystopian Sci-Fi novel.





A team of Japanese scientists have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.

While researchers have so far only created technology that can reproduce simple images from the brain, the discovery paves the way for the ability to unlock people's dreams and other brain processes.






Frankly, I can see how my government (among others) would see this as a great opportunity to re-allot money from water boards to circuit boards if they thought they could easily and literally see into another's head.


Right now the technology is not in an advanced state. According to a statement from a spokesman at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories this





was the first time in the world that it was possible to visualise what people see directly from the brain activity.

"By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams." The scientists, lead by chief researcher Yukiyaso Kamitani, focused on the image recognition procedures in the retina of the human eye.






This means that currently the technology promises no boon to humanity nor threat to civil rights. Still, when the 8086 PCs of 1985 who thought the powerful quad core units of today a scant 20 plus years way?


So we might well see that people taking an unwelcome peak into your head might be less than a generation away.


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14.11.08

I envy comic artists...



They find new ways to tell you what you already know...

30.10.08

Prayer Needed for Global Economies

If any of you have beaten me to the punch on this one I apologize for putting it up here again.  But this was so good I couldn't avoid sharing it with youse guys.






For these and other reasons Cindy is calling for a Day of Prayer for the World’s Economies on Wednesday, October 29, 2008. They are calling for prayer for the stock markets, banks, and financial institutions of the world on the date the stock market crashed in 1929. They are meeting at the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank, and its 12 principal branches around the US that day. 


“We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the 'Lion’s Market,' or God’s control over the economic systems,” she said.  “While we do not have the full revelation of all this will entail, we do know that without intercession, economies will crumble.” 








Please visit the image at http://wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/bullprayer2.jpg to enjoy a fine visual with your story.


As this whole thing is sort of disgusting I won't make complete comments on it but will offer instead the following keywords so you can make your own comments -



  • False idols

  • Spiritual, not financial, rewards

  • False Gods

  • Fat Bastards fitting through needles

  • MammonServing one God...


Add your own keywords as you feel the need...




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16.10.08

U.S. - "We're 29th!!! We're 29th!!"... and dropping on infant mortality rates

And what a sad thing to be 29th and dropping in.





The United States dropped to 29th in the world in infant mortality in 2004, the latest year that data are available from all countries, tying with Poland and Slovakia. The year before, it was 27th. In 1960, it was 12th.






The problem is twofold - other countries seem to be getting better, to their credit, while we have stagnated. According to this news brief our rates dropped from 6.89 deaths per 1,000 in 2000 to 6.86 in 2005. The good news is that we've started this century better than the last. In 1900 it was 100 deaths per 1,000 live births.


The bad news is that this story was only deemed worthy of a news brief by Mercury News.

I wait now with baited breath to see which comic siezes on this factoid to make the most offensive new "dead baby" joke.


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10.10.08

Will the market take the U.S. Government down with it?




Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The global financial crisis is turning into a bigger drain on the U.S. federal budget than experts estimated two weeks ago, increasing the deficit and the national debt.





It would be well worth your time to read this exclusive story from Bloomberg. It talks about not just what we've spent so far, but what we're going to spend like it or not. The numbers this comes up with are truly frightening.


For example, take in this quote





The 2009 budget deficit could be close to $2 trillion, or 12.5 percent of gross domestic product, more than twice the record of 6 percent set in a wider lead, according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday afternoon,1983, according to David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley's chief economist. Two weeks ago, budget analysts said the measures might push deficit to as much as $1.5 trillion.





In case you missed it, that's "Trillion" with a big fat "T". Had enough? No? Well chew on this





The additional borrowing could push the national debt well past 70 percent of GDP, the highest since the immediate aftermath of World War II, when the U.S. was still paying off war debt.





This takes into account what we'll be spending on shoring up financial institutions and states who are also destined to suffer. What makes things even worse is that human opportunism is still in high gear during times that call for restraint and sacrifice.





budget watchdogs say the sheer size of the interventions is making Washington more profligate than usual. To attract votes in Congress, leaders added several costly items to the $700 billion rescue, including extensions of some tax credits and tax breaks for makers of wooden arrows and stock-car racetrack owners.
[snip]The rescue legislation ``creates a mask for all sorts of fiscal irresponsibility,'' said Bixby. ``It covers up a multitude of sins.''





Re: WHITEY TAPE - NO JOKE louis farrakhan Calls OBAMA the messiah! Helter Skelter Obama Responsible for Mortgage Crisis U_S_ Debt Clock Runs Out of Digits

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7.10.08

LA man shoots family and then himself




A Los Angeles man who was beset with financial worries after having trouble finding work has shot dead his wife, three children and mother-in-law before turning the gun on himself.






I don't know anymore about this story than you do. That it is reminiscent of the suicidal stockbrokers crosses my mind, and perhaps it might cross yours too...





Michael Moore, the LA deputy police chief, described it as "a very tragic scene, total devastation inside this home.''
]skip]
"We believe that he had become despondent over financial dealings and the financial situation of his household and that this murder-suicide event is a direct result of that.''






I put this peace under "culture" rather than "world" because mass muder/suicide is not the natural response to financial despondancy but is more a culturally learned behavior.


During the Middle Ages the Western World had a distinctly Catholic flavor. Everything that was said, done written and thought out during the time was liberally flavored with Catholicism. Today, as we know, the flavor has changed. No longer Catholic we are now Capital in our concerns. To paraphrase the 70's Musical Philospher Grand Master Flash -


"It's all about money
Ain' a damned thing funny
You got to have a con
In this land of milk and honey."





Later, Moore described it as "this is a perfect American family behind me that has absolutely been destroyed, apparently because of a man who just got stuck in a rabbit hole, if you will, of absolute despair, somehow working his way into believing this to be an acceptable exit,'' he told the Los Angeles Times. "It is critical to step up and realise we are in some pretty troubling times.''





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27.9.08

What the Wall Street titans "earned"?

Over 20 years ago I "temped" on the third shift at Abbott Laboratories. My job was to use an experimental mold to stamp out pieces for a proposed product. This mold shot out just one piece at a time and cost $5,000 (in 1980 dollars).In short, by not paying full attention I set the mold into the press wrong and with a single press of a button crushed their proposed innovation into a paperweight. For my stupidity I was fired.


What I want to know is where is my compensation package? Heck, I only crushed a mold, not tanked a record sized bank. Doesn't frugality count for something?





If Wall Street executives want part of the $700 billion bailout proposal, they'll need to accept some curbs on their pay. The details have yet to be settled, but Congress and legions of irate constituents managed to push Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson into accepting some restrictions. Most likely they'll have to give up lucrative exit packages from filing firms.






And what were those pay packages exactly? Here's a partial list put together from Forbes -



  • Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Godlman Sachs, $74 million last year;

  • Richard Fuld, CEO Lehman Bros., $71.9 million, last year and $354 million over the last five years;

  • James E. Cayne, former CEO Bear Stearns, $49.31 million over the last two years;

  • Martin J Sullivan, former CEO of AIG $39.6 million in the last three years, with an exit bonus of $19 million after leading the company to two record loss quarters in a row;


Another fun fact from this article is that in 1989 CEO's were paid 71 times more than their average employee. In 2007 they made 275 times more.


This article goes on to discuss ways to make sure CEOs treat their companies with more long term care by not just go for the short term. The author suggests that bonuses not be paid quarterly but be spread out to respond to multiple year company performance.


All in all the author is quite gentile in his suggestions. My own suggestions are more radical and draconian though, as befits an opinion piece. Frankly, I believe we as a country should ask ourselves one basic question - W.W.C.D. - What Would Calligula Do?


With Calligula in mind, I have a few suggestons -



  1. Confiscate all their lands and properties to pay for the war effort

  2. draft their wives, sons and daughters into Nevada brothels to help offset bailout costs

  3. appoint a couple of their polo ponies to the reconsituted board of directors

  4. send the lot of them to work as farm laborers somewhere where it is hot, sunny and humid


No Banker Left Behind The Procession

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6.9.08

St. Paul... Where Politics and Street Theater were married...

Most of the coverage of the events in Saint Paul focused on one of two things – the RNC and the people protesting it. Yes, those are important things, the most important things, but they aren't the only things.


There is a certain light-hearted entertainment at virtually all of at these events if you know where to look for it. In the case of the RNC in Saint Paul the place to gather for lighthearted entertainment was at Rice Park, just outside where the delegates entered the secured Xcel Energy Center.


In the center MSNBC had erected a huge stage and set from which to broadcast it's convention coverage. People crowded around the fence guarding the set, waving signs, cheering and vying for the hats and other goodies the network's assistants doled out.


But that was not the show. The show is found all around – people dressed in costumes, passing out literature, selling mementos and performing street theater.


From the Northeast corner of the park - where the Missle Dick Chicks enchant passerbys and police alike with their stunning song, flowing dance and phallic costumes – to the southwest – where Vermin Supreme, a Presidential candidate whose campaign slogan is “Screw World Peace I Want a Pony,” lobbies delegates as before they enter the convention this is a irony encouraged zone.


In the middle of a week of politics and police actions, Rice Park provided a welcome respite.


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