“In both cases, AIG was engaged in transactions that were meant not to reduce risk, but to hide the true nature of the risk in these companies from investors, regulators and the consumers who rely on these institutions for services. Keep in mind that while the SEC did act to address these issues, the parties involved received light punishments when you consider that these are all felonies that arguably would call for criminal prosecution for fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy and racketeering, among other things. Indeed, this is one of those rare cases where we believe AIG itself, as a corporate person, should be subject to criminal prosecution and liquidation.”
“As with the phony reinsurance contracts that AIG and other insurers wrote for decades, when AIG wrote hundreds of billions of dollars in CDS contracts, neither AIG nor the counterparties believed that the CDS would ever be paid. Indeed, one source with personal knowledge of the matter suggests that there may be emails and actual side letters between AIG and its counterparties that could prove conclusively that AIG never intended to pay out on any of its CDS contracts.” ”
Good read! And note that AIG’s tax shelter business is also being investigated via
Windows Vista gets a lot of grief both in tech circles and the general public — but one Texas lawmaker wants to make it a matter of public policy.
Democrat Texas state Senator Juan Hinojosa recently added a rider to Texas’ $182bn budget plan that would ban the state’s agencies from purchasing Vista (and all Vista-related technologies) unless they get written permission from the budget board.
The rider was added last week in the Texas senate finance committee, in which Hinojosa serves as vice-chairman. The senate’s version of the budget will be up for debate
Finally, an answer to the question consuming protocol watchers and tabloid reporters here: What did the Obamas give Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday when they arrived at Buckingham Palace?
Since Elizabeth is royalty, it should properly be called a wePod.
I wonder if the RIAA approves that the president gave away this music…
The gift issue had come up after Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the White House last month. Mr. Brown gave Mr. Obama a pen holder carved from the timber of an anti-slave ship, receiving in return a DVD box set of American movies, igniting a torrent of criticism in the British press.
I tried piratebay, but couldn’t really find that particular torrent. Anybody have a copy?
Banker Julius Meinl V, head of an Austrian coffee-roasting dynasty and chairman of Meinl Bank, was arrested late on Wednesday on suspicion of defrauding investors through secretive share buybacks.
The arrest follows 18 months of investigations by prosecutors and financial watchdog FMA, and mainly relates to Meinl’s role in the fall of Meinl European Land, a listed real estate firm started by Meinl Bank, Vienna prosecutors said.
Among other crimes, British-born Meinl is accused of having orchestrated a buyback in which Meinl Land bought 1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion) worth of its own shares to prop up the share price before it suddenly fell off a cliff in July 2007.
“The most serious is defrauding investors by buying back shares to prop up the share price,” said Michaela Schnell, spokeswoman for Vienna state prosecutors. “He was arrested because there is risk of escape.”
Oxfam has calculated that financial firms around the world have already received or been promised $8.4 trillion in bailouts. Just a week’s worth of interest on that sum while it’s waiting to be deployed would be enough to save most of the half-million women who die in childbirth each year in poor countries.
The 500 richest people in the world, according to a U.N. calculation a few years ago, earned more than the 416 million poorest people. It’s worth bearing in mind that the first group bears a measure of responsibility for the global economic mess but will get by just fine, while the latter group has no responsibility and will suffer the worst consequences.
A protester throws a metal barricade at a police line as Anti capitalist and climate change activists demonstrate in the City of London on April 1, 2009 in London
One of President Barack Obama’s campaign pledges on taxes went up in puffs of smoke Wednesday.
The largest increase in tobacco taxes took effect despite Obama’s promise not to raise taxes of any kind on families earning under $250,000 or individuals under $200,000.
This is one tax that disproportionately affects the poor, who are more likely to smoke than the rich.
Key lawmakers are pushing to dramatically escalate U.S. defenses against cyberattacks, crafting proposals that would empower the government to set and enforce security standards for private industry for the first time.
Addressing what intelligence officials describe as a gaping vulnerability, the legislation also calls for the appointment of a White House cybersecurity “czar” with unprecedented authority to shut down computer networks, including private ones, if a cyberattack is underway, the officials said.
It would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish “measurable and auditable cybersecurity standards” that would apply to private companies as well as the government. It also would require licensing and certification of cybersecurity professionals.
And any of us who went public with information on illegal/un-ethical wiretapping or gross incompetence would lose their license.
That’ll shut up those pesky security professional/privacy advocates.
“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.”
If there’s a formula to Apple’s success over the past 10 years, that’s it. Start with something simple and build it, grow it, improve it, steadily over time. Evolve it.
The iPhone exemplifies this strategy. There’s a long list of features many experts and pundits claimed the original 1.0 iPhone needed but lacked. Ends up it didn’t need any of them. Nice to have is not the same thing as necessary. But things the iPhone did have, which other phones lacked, truly were necessary in terms of providing the sort of great leap forward in the overall experience that Apple was shooting for.
Gall’s law raises hard questions. Where do you start? How small? How simple? Where do you draw the line between simple enough to make it work and complex enough to be interesting? That’s the magic. The one and only mind-blowing iPhone announcement was its debut on stage at Macworld Expo 2007. They nailed the initial system, absolutely dead-on nailed it. Everything since — and there has been quite a lot since, especially when including iPhone OS 3.0 developer betas Apple started seeding earlier this month — has been evolution and hard work.