Born today, Ellen Asha Knott, affectionately known as Milly.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
-- David Letterman, talking about John McCain
I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Bear Sterns and curse the short sellers; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Lehman's death, while tragic, probably saved firms and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves markets.
You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me buying bonds, you need me buying bonds. We use words like TSLF, PDLF, Super SIV. We use them as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick a sub-prime option arm bond and pay par.
Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."
Number two: there is a problem in terms of liquidity in some aspects. And the problem with liquidity largely stems from a lack of knowledge and a lack of regulation.
..it's interesting to me it's almost as though, it's very similar to the way in which we forgot the lessons of Vietnam immediately prior to Iraq. It's almost as though, enough time elapses, and things are stabilized and those lessons get suppressed, and we just keep making the same mistakes repeatedly."
read or listen here via angry bear who maybe rightly notes, "we really do not have to act like this is a fire alarm going off."
But as the night wears on, the music gets louder, the voices get more boisterous, and things begin to get a little out of hand. The neighbors can’t sleep, and one calls the police, but nobody comes.
The party gets louder, more out-of-control. A second neighbor calls the police. Again, nothing happens.
The party kicks into high gear. Drunks wander into backyards and urinate on the neighbors’ houses. A window is smashed. A fence is torn down. Neighbors call the police with lists of specific offenses, but are told the party-goers are all consenting adults, and the police have no reason to believe illegal drugs are being consumed.
In short, the policeman says, the partyers can handle themselves.
Suddenly, above the music and drunken singing comes a hysterical scream. A neighbor investigates and finds a fight has broken out, and somebody has been killed. The party-goers are in a stupor. They can’t agree on what to do.
911 is called and police cars come screeching to the scene of the crime. They discharge dozens of serious-looking cops who surround the premises, shine their flashlights in the faces of drunk and retching party-goers, count the empty liquor bottles strewn across the yard and throw towels over dazed, naked couples.
After carefully sizing up the situation, the officers make their move: they tell the drunks, “We’ll pay for the damages.”
And they arrest the neighbors."
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
So far, Bush and the Congress appear to have the wrong answer." alternet
From an article that, whilst maybe a little wingnut and on the long side, is a good read. As I've said before, some of the real juice to these articles is reading through the 'many' comments.
"The recession of 1929-1939 was initiated by financial collapse. However, a Great Depression was created by those who fought to save the financial industry and, in the process, destroyed the economy. The same is happening today. Paulson and Bernanke are engineering a second Great Depression." RGE monitor - a bit extreme - hat tip to Altus
I personally think Bernanke, Paulson et al have done an admirable job slowing down this crash. However, I am not sure it needed slowing. What the long term effects of their meddling are is question that I am unable to answer.
"John McCain is energy illiterate," Simmons is saying. "He's just witless about this stuff. As a lifelong Republican, I'm supporting Obama." "McCain says, 'Oh, we're going to wean ourselves off foreign oil in four years and build 45 nuclear plants by 2030.' He doesn't have a clue."
"There's no end in sight to higher oil prices, unless the world economy absolutely collapses."
McCain's midsummer move to begin campaigning on a platform of more offshore drilling has only hardened Simmons's position. "What a hypocrite," says Simmons. "Here's a man who for at least the past 15 years has strenuously, I mean strenuously, opposed offshore drilling. And now it's 'drill, drill, drill.' And he doesn't have any idea that we don't have any drilling rigs. Or that we don't have any idea of exactly where to drill." (As for McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, Simmons says: "She's a very colorful person, but I don't think there's a scrap of evidence that she knows anything about energy.")
For the record, Simmons has been advocating more drilling off the coast of the United States since the early 1990s, but now he says that treating it as our salvation is misguided. "I'm not saying we shouldn't do it," says Simmons. "We should, and the sooner the better. But we shouldn't think that it'll have any impact for a decade or two."
Matt Simmons interviewed in Fortune magazine.
"This is one of the worst bills to ever be proposed.
There is no mention of any accountability in this bill. Much like the problem that got us in this mess -- no oversight -- the exact same problem continues throughout the bailout.
Basically, the Treasury Secretary has the ability to determine anybody is eligible if be sees fit. It's hard to see Bernanke disagreeing on anything Paulson says.
The bottom line is this bill is replete with statements of "The Treasury Secretary's discretion". That's just not going to work when somebody wants $700 billion.
I would encourage you to please read what others have written. Every major econ blog has a post (usually two or more) on this very important bill. " bonddad
What's going on? Educate yourselves, ask questions and have an opinion.
And as the amount of carbon locked up in methane is believed to be greater than what is locked up in coal, scientists worried it could be the start of a climate catastrophe.
Well now it seems that it is becoming a reality. The Independent reports today how preliminary findings suggest that massive deposits of subsea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats." oilchange
Monday, September 22, 2008
In its final season, there was a campaign for President between Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits. Alda was an old, unconventional, maverick Republican who chose a religious conservative for his running mate. Smits was a young, ethnic, inexperienced politician who came out of nowhere and then picked an older, experienced party man as his Veep.
How did it turn out? Smits won, but the election was excruciatingly close, coming down to a single western state. Since it's very possible this election will hinge on the results in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, perhaps McCain should be worried." pg
I thought all seven seasons were like this.. always something in current affairs that you could relate to what was going on in the show.. excellent series.
Updated: Aaron Sorkin conjures a meeting of Obama and Bartlet here (thanks Gareth).
"The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it."
"Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence."
"Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too?"
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program “Good Morning America,” the congressional leaders were told “that we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.”
"Congress was stunned because Bernanke finally admitted the truth (or at least came closer to doing so). Congress ought to be reading blogs rather than listening to clowns like Paulson and Bernanke.
Bernanke did not really admit the truth, he only hinted at it. Congress was too dumb to pick it up. The truth is the US financial system is insolvent."
further reading from Chicago
and a little Ron Paul..
"There are about 2 months until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans.
To show our solidarity as Americans, let's all get together and show each other our support for the candidate of our choice.
It's time that we all came together, Democrats and Republicans alike.
If you support the policies and character of Barak Obama, please drive with your headlights on during the day.
If you support McCain, please drive with your headlights off at night.
Friday, September 19, 2008
But if you think the current economic, credit and financial problems are caused by shorting, you are simply a smoking too much dope."
Paul Kedrosky "This has nothing to do with naked short-selling. Repeat after me: The trouble is not with short-sellers. The trouble is not with short-sellers. The trouble is with an over-levered financial system built on a house of cards comprised of under-collateralized toxic paper that was applauded all the way up by "housing is the American dream" nutters who couldn't see that vast expansions in thinly-traded credit are a path to economic ruin. Focusing on the short-sellers will lead to completely wrong and counter-productive non-solutions to the current crisis."
"It's a great time to invest" click for video
Five reasons why short selling stinks.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"They drove up house prices and private school fees, but they also secured for Britain three quarters of the eurobond market, almost half the global derivatives market, a third of world foreign exchange business and a fifth of cross-border bank lending. The financial services industry's share of GDP rose to 9.4 per cent, from 6.6 per cent, in less than ten years.
When the Tories talked about sharing the proceeds of growth, they meant the City's; now they are going to have to share the contraction. Gordon Brown needed the City to fund the NHS and state schools they never used - not to mention the Labour Party itself.
The best French, German and Italian graduates wanted to compete in London, not New York. Some in the City pocketed bonuses by risking other people's money, but most did well by slogging their guts out. The mean salary in the City last year was £85,500.
As one headhunter told me yesterday: “Most of the high-earners have been doing incredibly punishing jobs, working untenable hours. They are often disliked by their clients and estranged from their children and wives. They have endured years of dog-eat-dog corporate politics and punishment, only to have their net worth wiped out over a weekend. It's not funny, it's painful to watch.
They may be able to downsize and retire, but most of these City people have an extraordinary work ethic. By crowing at the demise of the City, we are cheering on the end of Britain's Golden Age."
So, yes, Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Paulson have done a nice job of playing defense. But when will someone start playing offense?
At its core, the current crisis stems from two problems. Regulators, starting with Alan Greenspan, assumed that a real estate bubble couldn’t happen and that Wall Street could largely police itself. And households, struggling with incomes that haven’t kept up with inflation in recent years, said yes when those lightly regulated banks offered them wishful-thinking loans. No bailout can solve either problem."
The article is a good read, goes back to the original Chrysler bailout and how that has set the tone for economic crisies in the US to date. It is a theme I whole-heartedly agree with. It is one of the primary reasons why I stopped loving trading as a career - the goals all became very short term, daily p/l rather than monthly or annually. We have become focused on the here and now, not the there and then.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
"The myth of free markets ended with the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Actually, it ended with their creation." nyt
"It's a little scary that the world's largest insurance company hasn't planned for a rainy day." mr
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
LONDON & NEW YORK, Sep 15, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- BGC Partners, Inc.) , one of the world's leading inter-dealer brokers, announced today that it raised over $8 million for charity on its highly successful Fourth Annual Global Charity Day held on Thursday, 11 September 2008, bringing the total over four years to more than $23 million.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
BGC Charity Day - Thursday 11th September 2008
All global revenue today goes to a number of charities around the world.
This year, 2 children's home in Tokyo are amongst those charities selected.
Futaba Infant Home is a facility to raise young children between 0 years to school age.
St. Joseph Home is facility for children (between 2 and 18 years old), it provides them with a place to live, learning opportunities and emotional support.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The impetus to come back, he says, sprang upon him quite unexpectedly over the summer, in Colorado. Armstrong had an epiphany on August 9 after placing second at the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain-Bike Race—a 100-mile “Race Across the Sky,” which climbs to more than 14,000 feet. That ascent, cycling upward in a crosscurrent, tripped something primal in him. “It wasn’t a lightbulb going off,” he says, but a realization, combined with a gradual frustration “with the rhetoric coming out of the Tour de France. Not just the Tour on TV but the domestic press, the international press, the pace, the speeds at which participants rode. It’s not a secret. I mean, the pace was slow.
“Then Leadville, this kind of obscure bike race, totally kick-started my engine. For me it’s always been about the process.… The process of getting there is the best part. You start the season a little out of shape, a little heavy. You get in better shape. You lose some weight. I mean you’re just crafting this perfect program. For several weeks I [had] trained [for Leadville] and went riding by myself. Obviously beautiful territory and fresh air, just feeling fit, losing weight, getting strong—living a very healthy lifestyle. I thought, This might be fun to try again.”vanityfair
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
"Palin choice was brilliant politics — not because it rallied the G.O.P.’s shrinking religious-right base. America loves nothing more than a new celebrity face, and the talking heads marched in lock step last week to proclaim her a star. Palin is a high-energy distraction from the top of the ticket, even if the provenance of her stardom is in itself a reflection of exactly what’s frightening about the top of the ticket."
"I am terribly afraid that we are counting on good sense, and decency and it has gone the way of the ten cent subway ride.
She's not going to self destruct in front of an audience who likes these things about her. Who abhors the clarity and thoughtfulness of Obama. There is no drama in it. There's drama in teenage pregnancy, political scandal and moose hunting.
McCain seems to have known just what he was doing. Now the question remains, do we?"
"Some people, I think they're called racists, say America is not ready for a black president."
"But I know America to be a forward thinking country because otherwise why would you have let that retard and cowboy fella be president for eight years?"
"We were very impressed. We thought it was nice of you to let him have a go, because, in England, he wouldn't be trusted with a pair of scissors."
and a bit more..
"And I feel most sorry for that poor teenaged father. Boy. One minute, he’s just a teenaged lad in Alaska having joyful, unprotected sex. And the next minute: Get to the Republican convention. I think that is the best safe sex message of all time. Use a condom or become Republican! …That boy will spend the rest of his life masturbating while wearing a condom…"
Monday, September 08, 2008
When a newborn baby is placed on his mother's stomach so that she can embrace him, it is no accident that the umbilical cord is of just the right length - approximately 20 inches - to make this possible while the baby is still attached to the placenta.
2 THE BABY'S HEAD
The bony plates of a baby's skull remain separate after birth. Small gaps between them are covered by a tough, membranous tissue that is strong enough to resist all but a sharp, direct blow. The plates eventually touch, forming wavy sutures which become harder and stronger until the skull is fused; in most cases, this takes between 18 and 24 months.
3 BODY TEMPERATURE
A full-term newborn has a secret weapon - "brown" fat. This special type of fatty tissue, which burns calories, makes up five per cent of the baby's body and is located in the back, shoulders and neck. It liberates heat through a special chemical process if the baby's body starts to cool unduly.
If a parent presses their forefingers into the palms of a newborn baby's hands, his tiny fingers respond by curling tightly and clinging on. Amazingly, if the parent then gently lifts the clasped forefingers, the baby's grasp is usually so strong that his whole body can hang in mid-air, with his bent fingers supporting his weight.
The resting heart rate for an infant (115 pulses per minute) is about the same as that of an adult who has been performing strenuous exercise.
A baby can identify his mother by her unique body fragrance and a blindfolded woman has the ability to identify her child from a host of other babies by scent alone. A sleeping mother can identify the cry of her baby, too. She is programmed to wake only at the sound of her particular infant.
7 BABY FACE
Adults respond to particular features - found in their most exaggerated form on a baby's face. These include a large forehead, a button nose, big eyes, fine hair and a small chin. When an adult sees an unfamiliar baby face, so powerful is the instinct that the brain reacts within one-seventh of a second.
8 BIRTH WEIGHT
The average weight of a baby at birth is 7-8lb, but the smallest baby ever to survive (a premature one) weighed only 8.5oz at birth. The heaviest weighed in at 22lb.
The exact number of infant bones varies but there are usually about 270 at birth compared to an adult, who has 206. The reductions take place in the central skeleton, owing to the fusing together of bones in the spine and skull. A baby is born without ossified kneecaps - these do not develop until he is two years old.
During his first week outside the womb, a typical baby sleeps for 16.6 hours out of every 24 in as many as 18 separate naps. By the age of six months, his total sleep time is 14 hours, and by the age of five, it is down to 12 hours per day.
11 LEFT AND RIGHT
One in 10 children is left-handed; from studies of ancient axe handles, we know this bias has existed for at least 200,000 years. A clue may lie in the fact that the majority of babies lie in the womb with their right sides closer to their mother's body surface, therefore it receives more stimulation during pregnancy.
Girls are more sensitive to touch than boys - on average, girls just a few hours old react to a weak puff of air against their belly and squirm and cry more than boys when uncovered. Other investigators have found that plenty of skin contact produces babies who cry less and are healthier.
The brain of a child is much busier than that of an adult. In the brain of a newborn, there are about 2,500 synapses (connections between brain cells) attached to each of the 10 billion neurons or brain cells he possesses. In a two-year-old, this number rises to 15,000 - more than in the brain of adults, who lose some of these connections over time, as the ones that are used less are eventually eliminated.
When a toddler reaches the age of 15 months, a moment of truth arrives. He looks in the mirror, waves his hand, and the "other person" waves back in exactly the same way. The child realises that what he sees is himself and not another child. Apart from human toddlers, only chimpanzees, orang-utans, dolphins, elephants and just one gorilla have managed this with any certainty.
15 GENDER AND BRAIN
Even at the 26th week of pregnancy, it is possible to distinguish a male foetal brain from a female one. Male babies have brains that are more asymmetrical than female babies. They also have more white matter and less grey matter. In female brains there is more symmetry in the "higher association cortex"; the part of the brain that deals with complex mental processes.
Friday, September 05, 2008
'..the framework [is] handmade of carbon, the high-quality material with its special qualities: extreme weight reduction and superior cushioning properties." Also, the Neo Carbon's Y-shaped frame is handmade to order in Germany, then laser engraved with a serial number and a personalized name or message..'
As carbon fiber strollers go, the Neo Carbon is the hands-down carboniest. With a list price of EUR2200, depending on how you feel about sick, elite strollers, is either apocalyptic or awesome.
Like a boat party - paid for by chemical industries, a "pig roast and reggae" event paid for by the coil industry, and a National Rifle Association party that was provided with Hookers and Blow, the name of the resident band for the evening."
Sarah Palin Joke of the week:
Fox News: "She does know about international relations because she is up there in Alaska right next door to Russia."
Jon Stewart: "Alaska is also next to the North Pole so, obviously, she must also be friends with Santa."
Thursday, September 04, 2008
"In my favorite episode, The Church Lady brings her family on stage at a huge loud convention and reaches for her baby, turning around so the cameras can get a shot of his little Down Syndrome features. Too bad if he should have been shielded from the deafening noise and bright lights! He is a trophy now, just like the dead bears and wolves she loves to shoot.!"
McCain's Voice Mail to Palin.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
"Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant. McCain campaign claims he was aware of this before selecting Palin as his VP, despite evidence and rampant speculation that Palin was not seriously vetted. Governor Palin is a strong supporter of abstinence-only sex education. Tom Eagleton lasted 18 days before withdrawing from the McGovern ticket in 1972. My money says Palin doesn’t last that long."
Obama's statement: "I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be as clear as possible. I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people's families are off limits, and people's children are especially off limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics, it has no relevance to governor Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18. And how family deals with issues and teenage children that shouldn't be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that is off limits."
Definitely a class act. Well said.
"She may be John McCain's bad decision, but she chose to go along for the ride; she's just as responsible -- or irresponsible -- in this debacle.
Sarah Palin doesn't deserved to be railroaded, but what she does deserve is something the McCain camp apparently never bothered with.
She deserves to be properly vetted. "
Agree with this too..
Monday, September 01, 2008
Sarah Palin has been a governor of state inhabited by more moose than people for twenty months, and before that mayor of a town with a population smaller than two blocks of downtown Manhattan. Although she has barely exercised power, she is already under federal investigation for abuse of it. And while Ms. Palin is perfectly entitled to believe that evolution is a myth, that women should be barred from choosing to have abortions, and that global warming has yet to be proven, these views all run counter to the views of mainstream America.
In choosing Sarah Palin, John McCain has subjected the nation to an unnecessary risk, at the very time when America can least afford to take unnecessary risks. His choice of vice president should not be mistaken for boldness. It is irresponsible."