Though Chryson belongs to a fringe political party, one that advocates the secession of Alaska from the Union, and that organizes with other like-minded secessionist movements from Canada to the Deep South, he is not without peculiar influence in state politics, especially the rise of Sarah Palin. An obscure figure outside of Alaska, Chryson has been a political fixture in the hometown of the Republican vice-presidential nominee for over a decade. During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.
Palin backed Chryson as he successfully advanced a host of anti-tax, pro-gun initiatives, including one that altered the state Constitution’s language to better facilitate the formation of anti-government militias. She joined in their vendetta against several local officials they disliked, and listened to their advice about hiring. She attempted to name Stoll, a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as “Black Helicopter Steve,” to an empty Wasilla City Council seat. “Every time I showed up her door was open,” said Chryson. “And that policy continued when she became governor.”
The final result in the settlement of the credit default swaps on Lehman Brothers was even lower than a disappointing early estimate, which leaves dealer banks facing higher than expected payouts on multi-billion dollar insurance contracts.
The recovery rate on the bankrupt firm’s senior debt was fixed at 8.625 cents on the dollar, just below the 9.75 cents published in the first estimate Friday. That means the sellers of insurance on these defaulted bonds are on the hook for the remaining 91.375 cents. That’s well above the approximate 88 cents envisaged earlier this week, when increased demand for paper to present in return for compensation inflated the market price.
The low final rate qualifies this as one of the most expensive defaults ever in the credit derivatives market. Following the default of Italian food company Parmalat back in 2003, its debt was valued at just below 10 cents on the dollar.
The result nevertheless shouldn’t come as a painful surprise for the sellers of protection on Lehman.
Since Lehman’s Sept. 15 bankruptcy filing, there has been considerable anxiety that dealers who had underwritten some $400 billion of credit default swaps on the bank would be caught short in a massive payout.
My mother had pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative lung condition, and we knew enough about the disease to know that dramatic turns for the worse were a possibility. She knew that pulmonary fibrosis would eventually end her life, and she’d done some research into just what sort of an end she could expect. It wasn’t going to be pretty. Her lungs were gradually filling with scar tissue. She would, when her time came, slowly and painfully suffocate to death over a period of hours or days. But eight weeks before she wound up in a sprawling, dung-colored hospital in sprawling, dung-colored Tucson, my mother’s doctors had given her two to five years to live.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Joel Connelly has written several columns—and several thousand words—blasting Initiative 1000, the November ballot measure in Washington State that would make it legal for physicians to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients. Connelly doesn’t like the measure because he believes the purpose of a “democratic society” is to “safeguard and enhance life, especially among the youngest, the weakest, and the suffering”; because he worries that the movement might next “seek to expand conditions for the legal ending of life, as has been done in the Netherlands”; and because out-of-state money has been collected by supporters of Initiative 1000.
“You don’t know how you’re going to feel at the end of your life,” the widow planning to vote for I-1000 says. “I want to have the choices available to me.”
Exactly. If I-1000 is approved by Washington State voters, the widow opposed to the initiative will not be compelled to end her life with the assistance of a physician. She can choose pain meds and the love of caregivers and die a “natural” death. (What’s so “natural” about pain management anyway?) But if I-1000 is rejected, the widow who plans to vote in favor of it will not have the same choice. She will not be able to choose to end her life, and end her suffering, if the pain becomes too much for her to bear.
That’s what the debate about I-1000 is really all about: your body, your death, your choice. The passage of I-1000 doesn’t impose anything on terminally ill people who reject physician-assisted suicide for religious reasons. But the rejection of I-1000 imposes the values of others on terminally ill people who would like to make that choice for themselves, who should have a right to make that choice for themselves.
The proper response to religious opposition to choice or love or death can be reduced to a series of bumper stickers: Don’t approve of abortion? Don’t have one. Don’t approve of gay marriage? Don’t have one. Don’t approve of physician-assisted suicide? For Christ’s sake, don’t have one. But don’t tell me I can’t have one—each one—because it offends your God.
Fuck your God.
Really there’s only one way to characterize the followers of each candidate.
If the statement “let’s think of creative and positive solutions, and work together to make this country better” appeals to you, you are probably voting for Obama.
If the statement “let’s hunt down the people responsible for these problems and punish them for their mistakes; and keep the outsiders from getting into our territory” appeals to you, you are probably voting for McCain.
Two completely different species of humanity.
Apart from a short dip in 2003, you have to go back to 1996 for get this low. And the Dow is trying to do the same…
Remember in late July when Barack Obama predicted John McCain’s attack strategy? Remember McCain’s howls of protest in response? Well, it turns out that Obama was right about McCain’s attacks. As it turns out, he knew McCain better than McCain knew McCain. I guess that means we can call him “Nostrobamus.”
“Uh, I, I just have to rely on the good judgment of the voters not to buy into these negative attack ads. Sooner or later, people are going to figure out if all you run is negative attack ads you don’t have much of a vision for the future or you’re not ready to articulate it.”
–John McCain on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2/21/2000
The wisdom of “adult” problem-solving is not so much about knowing the “right” answers and methods, but about increasingly effective knowledge of what *doesn’t* work. And from the point of view of any necessarily subjective agent in an increasingly uncertain world, that’s all there ever was or is.
Certainty is always a special case.
Julia Goldsworthy (Lib Dem, Falmouth and Camborne) asked whether it is true that Icelandic assets have been frozen under anti-terrorism legislation, and if so how this could be justified.
Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, confirmed in a casual tone that this was indeed the law which had been used, because “that’s where the power happened to be”, as if there was nothing odd in using such legislation for a purpose for which it cannot originally have been intended.
Aren’t those broad “anti-terrorism” laws that “will never be used for something else” great?
Already advertising at record levels, Barack Obama has scheduled a half-hour commercial for prime time on Oct. 29, six days before Election Day.
Obama campaign officials said the campaign had secured a 30-minute block of time at 8 p.m. on CBS and NBC. CBS already was juggling its lineup to accommodate the Democratic presidential candidate, moving back an episode of “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
Such a vast purchase of commercial time is a multimillion-dollar expense, but Obama has been spending dramatically on ads, overshadowing rival John McCain and the Republican National Committee.
They don’t call him President Bush in Venezuela anymore.
Now he’s known as “Comrade.”
With the Bush administration’s Treasury Department resorting to government bailout after government bailout to keep the U.S. economy afloat, leftist governments and their political allies in Latin America are having a field day, gloating one day and taunting Bush the next for adopting the types of interventionist government policies that he’s long condemned.
“We were just talking about that this morning on the floor,” said Congressman Edwin Castro, who heads the leftist Sandinista congressional bloc in Nicaragua. “We think the Bush administration should follow the same policies that they and the International Monetary Fund have always told us to follow when we have economic problems — a structural adjustment that requires cutting government spending and reducing the role of government.
“One of our economists was telling us that Bush has just implemented communism for the rich,” Castro said.
This August The Pirate Bay was “censored” in Italy following a decree from a public prosecutor. The Pirate Bay appealed the block and eventually won the court case. Earlier this week the Court of Bergamo detailed its decision, and ruled that no foreign website can be censored for alleged copyright infringement.
Italian law implements an European Directive, 2000/31 CE, which this means that this ruling should be valid in other European countries as well.
“Under Italian law, this is possible only for child porn and for unauthorized gambling, but there is no such provision for copyright infringement,” Pirate Bay’s lawyers Giovanni Battista Gallus and Francesco Micozzi explained to TorrentFreak.
Iceland’s financial system collapsed Thursday, and analysts said it was probably only a matter of time before the country would have to turn to the International Monetary Fund for help.
Such a move, which would make this small island nation the first sovereign state to fall victim to the credit squeeze that began last year, would require it to accept harsh measures to restore fiscal and monetary stability.
Iceland has tried desperately to avoid such a step. But the odds against it grew worse on Thursday when the government took over the last of three major banks and shut down the stock exchange.
Trading in the Icelandic krona ceased, with foreign banks no longer willing to take the currency — even at what seemed like bargain rates.
Battered by outrage over the $440,000 it spent on a luxury retreat less than a week after the federal government loaned it $85 billion dollars, the giant AIG Insurance Company says it has called off plans to hold a second retreat next week at the exclusive Ritz-Carlton Resort in Half Moon Bay, California.
They probably just compared the costs of the cancellation fees against the costs of lost image, and figured cancellation is cheaper. They don’t have a heart, but they do have calculators..
There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988)
Yesterday at 4:40AM east time, Nasa’s Messenger (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging spacecraft) flew by just 125 miles over the surface of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun and the smallest in the Solar System. This is the first time in history that the whole planet is going to be photographed in its entirety by an Earthling probe, with amazing resolution and ultra-crisp detail.
You could probably see this one coming. With all of the confusion and money involved you knew there would be cyber-vultures out there looking to cash in. Well the Federal Trade Commission today issued a warning that indeed such increased phishing activities are taking place.
Specifically the FTC said it was urging user caution regarding e-mails that look as if they come from a financial institution that recently acquired a consumer’s bank, savings and loan, or mortgage. In many case such emails are only looking to obtain personal information – account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers – to run up bills or commit other crimes in a consumer’s name, the FTC stated.
Also, look out for legitimate emails from banks — they are probably being sent by scammers too.
Europeans borrowed vast sums in dollars in the offshore money markets when dollar credit was cheap. This was leveraged by multiples of 50 or 60 to fund whatever craze was in fashion – Russia, Brazil, infrastructure. The credit crunch has left these banks floundering. They have to pay back a lot of dollars, yet the underlying assets are crumbling. They are caught in a self-feeding spiral of “deleveraging”. Even those European banks that stuck to stodgy investments are caught in a vice, since many rely to some degree on three-month loans for funds. That market is jammed shut. They cannot roll-over their loan books. This way lies sudden death, as Hypo discovered.
Who in the eurozone can do what Alistair Darling has just done in extremis to save Britain’s banks, as this $10 trillion house of cards falls down? There is no EU treasury or debt union to back up the single currency. The ECB is not allowed to launch bail-outs by EU law. Each country must save its own skin, yet none has full control of the policy instruments.
Germany has vetoed French and Italian ideas for an EU lifeboat fund. The former knows exactly where that leads. It is a Trojan horse that will be used one day to co-opt German taxpayers into rescues for less Teutonic EMU kin. One can sympathise with Berlin. But sharing debts with Italy and Spain was implicit when they agreed to launch the euro. A shared currency entails obligations. We have reached the watershed moment when Germany has to decide whether to put its full sovereign weight behind the EMU project or reveal that it is not prepared to do so in a crisis.
This is a very dangerous set of circumstances for monetary union. Will we still have a 15-member euro by Christmas?
Over on Boing Boing Gadgets, our John notes that watching Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray requires that you accede to over 120 pages of legal garbage in various EULAs before you can start the movie.
Disney has a sickness when it comes to abusive EULAs and contracts. I once had to cancel a speech at Imagineering because the legal department wanted me to sign something saying that I’d never use the word “Disney” in print again without permission. The Laugh Factory attraction at Disney World’s Tomorrowland had a ridiculous EULA on a sign (you agreed to the terms by passing under the sign) (!) in which you promised that any jokes you suggested were your own and that you would indemnify Disney from any copyright suits arising from the telling of the jokes (the sign was not a joke). As though eight year olds can form contracts (they can’t), by standing under signs (they can’t), and as though most jokes people tell are original (they aren’t).
People worry that Disney trains their kids to grow up to be princesses and whatnot, but that’s nothing next to the risk that watching Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray will lead your kids to believe that it’s normal to have to agree to hundreds of pages of garbage every time you want to experience culture.