People have started sending me their own work on the failed bail-out… thanks, Mat!
The House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue package, ignoring urgent pleas from President Bush and bipartisan congressional leaders to quickly bail out the staggering financial industry.
Stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was announced on the House floor.
If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.
This diskette has officially blown my mind.
A very quick and incredibly surprising ending to our work here: On Sunday morning we revisited the spot to see the results of the night, and when we reached the square we couldnt believe our eyes: All the coins were gone. Not one eurocent was left on the square. We were expecting everything, but not this fast and this complete. After the initial shock we found out the following: In the morning somebody showed up with a couple of plastic bags and started putting the coins into his bags. Apparently one of the neighbours saw this and thought this person is “stealing the artwork”, and called the police.
They showed up, talked to the guy with the bags, who had no problem with leaving everything right there. Somehow the police must have thought that is not enough to protect the artwork, and after trying to reach the owner of it, they decided to get into action themselves. They called a city cleaning company and cleaned up the whole square with brooms, and brought all the coins to a “safe” room at the police department.
So not more than 20 hours of completion of the work it was gone again already. And it was not removed by homeless people, not completely messed up by the youth coming back from clubbing. No, it was cleaned up by the authority, due to a big misunderstanding, to help and protect us and our work. Thank you!
Italian bloggers are up in arms at a court ruling early this year that suggests almost all Italian blogs are illegal. This month, a senior Italian politician went one step further, warning that most web activity is likely to be against the law.
The story begins back in May, when a judge in Modica (in Sicily) found local historian and author Carlo Ruta guilty of the crime of “stampa clandestina” – or publishing a “clandestine” newspaper – in respect of his blog. The judge ruled that since the blog had a headline, that made it an online newspaper, and brought it within the law’s remit.
So is this just a storm in a teacup? After all, if this law potentially affects some 5 million Italian websites, there are at least 4,999,999 that have not yet been taken down. Why was Carlo Ruta singled out?
One clue lies in the location of the court that found him guilty (Sicily). Another, in the fact that his blog contained much detailed research of links between politics and the mafia – always a sensitive subject in Italy.
Top bankers couldn’t simply ignore the computer models, because after the last round of big financial losses, regulators now require them to monitor their risk positions. Indeed, if the models say a firm’s risk has increased, the firm must either reduce its bets or set aside more capital as a cushion in case things go wrong.
“There was a willful designing of the systems to measure the risks in a certain way that would not necessarily pick up all the right risks,” said Gregg Berman, the co-head of the risk-management group at RiskMetrics, a software company spun out of JPMorgan. “They wanted to keep their capital base as stable as possible so that the limits they imposed on their trading desks and portfolio managers would be stable.”
One way they did this, Mr. Berman said, was to make sure the computer models looked at several years of trading history instead of just the last few months. The most important models calculate a measure known as Value at Risk — the amount of money you might lose in the worst plausible situation. They try to figure out what that worst case is by looking at how volatile markets have been in the past.
But since the markets were placid for several years (as mortgage bankers busily lent money to anyone with a pulse), the computers were slow to say that risk had increased as defaults started to rise.
It was like a weather forecaster in Houston last weekend talking about the onset of Hurricane Ike by giving the average wind speed for the previous month.
But many on Wall Street did even worse, as Mr. Berman describes it. They continued to trade very complex securities concocted by their most creative bankers even though their risk management systems weren’t able to understand the details of what they owned.
Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago — about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct — the teacher said.
Palin told him that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time,” Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said “she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks,” recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.
This week, 28 million copies of a right-wing, terror propaganda DVD are being mailed and bundled in newspaper deliveries to voters in swing states. The 60-minute DVDs, titled Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, are landing on doorsteps in a campaign coinciding with the 7th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Funding is coming from a New York-based group called the Clarion Fund, a shadowy outfit whose financial backers are unclear.
Although supposedly a 501 c(3) non-profit, this week the Clarion Fund’s website featured an article supporting John McCain. Yesterday, the Patriot-News in PA reported on the DVDs showing up in Pennsylvania, and noted:
“On Wednesday, though, there was an article on the group’s new Web site, www.radicalislam.org, that backed Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The article discusses both candidates and concludes: “McCain’s policies seek to confront radical Islamic extremism and terrorism and roll it back while [Barack] Obama’s, although intending to do the same, could in fact make the situation facing the West even worse.”
The DVD’s are having a real-world effect already:
Baboucarr Njie was preparing for his prayer session Friday night, Sept. 26, when he heard children in the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton coughing. Soon, Njie himself was overcome with fits of coughing and, like the rest of those in the building, headed for the doors.
“I would stay outside for a minute, then go back in, there were a lot of kids,” Njie said. “My throat is still itchy, I need to get some milk.”
Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.
Someone “sprayed an irritant into the mosque,” Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.
According to fire dispatch communications, a child reported seeing two men with a white can spraying something into a window. That child was brought to the supervising firefighter at the scene.
Wiley would not discuss that report, but said the investigation has been turned over to police. Police were not commenting.
The 300 or so inside were celebrating the last 10 days of Ramadan with dinner and a prayer session, but the prayer session was interrupted so those suffering from tearing, coughing and shortness of breath could receive treatment.
Wiley said an adult and juvenile were taken to area hospitals and others had their eyes or faces washed on the scene. He did not know how many people were treated at the scene.
2008 September 29
Explanation: Is there any place in the world you could see a real sight like this?
Pictured above is single exposure image spectacular near, far, and in between. Diving into the Earth far in the distance is part of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, taken with a long duration exposure.
Much closer, the planet Jupiter is visible as the bright point just to band’s left.
In the foreground is a cave housing a stone circle of unknown origin named False Kiva.
The cave was briefly lit by flashlight during the long exposure.
Nederland, België en Luxemburg kopen grote delen van Fortis. Nederland neemt een belang van 49 procent in het verzekeringsbedrijf van het geplaagde concern en betaalt daarvoor 4 miljard euro. ABN Amro wordt verkocht.
Dat is zondagavond bekendgemaakt na twee volle dagen van intensief overleg. Bos zei na afloop van de onderhandelingen dat Fortis een bank blijft waar het geld van mensen veilig is. “We voelen ons verplicht om een bank als Fortis in deze roerige tijden overeind te houden” , aldus de minister van Financiën.
“We hadden ook niet kunnen ingrijpen, maar de vraag was of Fortis dan de maandagochtend zou hebben overleefd.” Bos zei dat de deelname van de Nederlandse Staat in Fortis zolang zal aanhouden “als nodig is om het vertrouwen te herstellen”.
On Sunday, September 28, congressional leadership issued the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, posted online (in PDF) by Speaker Pelosi and by the House Financial Services Committee. This bill is the latest version of Congress’ gigantic taxpayer bailout of the financial sector, with a potential cost of $700 billion or more than $2000 per American citizen. We believe, as Justice Brandeis said, that “Sunlight is the best of disinfectants,” and that all legislation ought to be open to public comment and consideration in real-time, not just after the fact. So, as a public service, we’re posting the 110-page text for public comment.