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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 October

by Fran Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:20:35 PM EST

On this date in history:

1813 - Birth of Giuseppe Verdi, an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of Italian opera in the 19th century. (d. 1901)

More here and video


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by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:21:47 PM EST
German Finance Minister Rules Out Hasty Bank Nationalizations | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.10.2008
The German government should not need to bring any national banks under its control in light of the current financial crisis, said Finance Minister Peter Steinbrueck.

The minister painted a picture of Germany's banking sector as sound and afloat, but still vulnerable should any further financial turbulence trouble Europe's largest economy.

Despite his confidence in Germany's current soundness, the minister said that financial markets the world over, Germany's included, were still operating under a dense cloud of uncertainty and that he could not guarantee against any future nationalization plans for the nation's banks.

"So far I don't see the need for state takeovers in Germany. The German banking sector has been hit badly by the financial crisis but less hard" than in other countries, Steinbrueck told the Handelsblatt daily.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:23:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, I had no time to post this: Steinbrück has a plan to save capitalism from itself.

(Note that current federal finance minister Steinbrück is a longstanding top 'reformist' in the SPD, who, back when he was Northrhine-Westphalia PM, even co-authored the (in)famous "Koch-Steinbrück paper" with Hessen PM Roland Koch/CDU, which is cited by reformists as the way to go ever since.)

Yesterday, he suggested this eight-point plan, which he will present at the G8 meeting (I condense it):

  1. Financial innovations must be supported with sufficient own capital ( = equity?) and appear on bank balance sheets.
  2. Banks must be ordered to maintain liquidity buffers of specified minimum size.
  3. International standards for stronger responsibility of bank CEOs (to prevent golden parachutes).
  4. Review of bonuses, which are linked to the insane push for high profit margins.
  5. Closer coordination between IMF and FSF
  6. Internationally agreed temporary ban on short-selling
  7. A ban on creditors handing over 100% of the risk to others
  8. Improve cooperation between national oversight bodies.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but nationalization willy happen anyway

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:13:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More communist talk in the FT:


Temporary full state ownership is only solution

How to get out of this bad equilibrium? There is only one way. The governments of the big countries (US, UK, the eurozone, possibly Japan) must take over their banking systems (or at least the significant banks). Governments are the only institutions that can solve the co-ordination failure at the heart of the liquidity crisis. They can do this because once the banks are in the hands of the state, they can be ordered to trust each other and to lend to each other. The faster governments take these steps, the better.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there no other way? Like the government ordering banks to start lending to each other, without nationalisation?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 09:48:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK calls for EU-wide rescue plan - EUobserver

In a sharp about face, UK Prime Minister Gordon has written to EU leaders encouraging the creation of a "Europe-wide funding plan" to tackle the worsening financial crisis.

As recently as last week, Mr Brown said his country was opposed to any EU-wide rescue package.

Writing to French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Wednesday (8 October), the British leader gave details on the UK's own £500 billion (€630 billion) plan announced yesterday morning and added that a "concerted international approach" was needed. The letter was also copied to other EU government leaders.

The UK now favours a pan-European plan to deal with the crisis

Speaking to reporters after announcing the UK plan, Mr Brown said he had also spoken to the French leader.

"We have invited other European countries to consider proposals we have put to them this morning on medium term funding and are in active consultation about how we can adopt a European-wide funding plan," he said.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having refused participation in the common currency, peed on the EU policies in general and aims and goals in particular, having tried to go it alone---now Gordon Brown appears, hat in hand.
There may well be some catty sniping around various capitals over this.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:00:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU-Russia treaty talks risk long delay - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Negotiations on a new EU-Russia treaty could be held up despite Russia's pull-back from Georgia "buffer zones" on Wednesday (8 October), with Lithuania pushing for Russian troop scale-back in South Ossetia and Abkhazia also before talks restart.

"[Lithuania] wants the EU to respect the agreements created by Sarkozy," an EU diplomat told EUobserver. "It is hoping for the company of other new EU member states, the Nordic countries and London."

Russian soldiers in Georgia - how far back is far enough?

Russian soldiers on Wednesday left two seven-kilometre-wide strips of land surrounding the Georgia breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in compliance with a peace deal between Russia and Georgia brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on 8 September.

But Lithuania wants Russia to also respect the earlier Moscow-Tbilisi-Paris peace accord of 12 August, under which "Russian armed forces will be pulled back to the line preceding the start of hostilities."

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
House prices fall at record rate - Europe, World - The Independent

House prices plunged at a new record rate during the year to the end of September - losing 13.2 per cent of their value, Britain's biggest mortgage lender said today.

The fall was the biggest ever recorded by the Halifax house price index, which posted a year-on-year decline of 12.7 per cent in August.

Annual house price inflation, which measures prices during the previous three months compared with the same period a year ago, also dropped to a new record low, with falls of 12.4 per cent, pushing the average cost of a UK home down to £172,108.

But on a brighter note, September saw the smallest monthly fall for seven months- with properties losing 1.3 per cent of their value.

At the same time, the fall of 5.2 per cent during the third quarter was in line with one of 5.1 per cent during the second quarter, suggesting the rate at which prices are falling could be stabilising.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:28:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If decreases are constant in percentage terms, then they are getting steadily smaller in absolute (£££) terms. The market is turning around, time to buy!!

</not snark>

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:15:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Video: Brown will punish 'irresponsible' fat cats - Times Online

Bankers and financiers who take irresponsible risks should be "punished" for their actions, Gordon Brown said today.

Following yesterday's massive Government bailout for the banks, the Prime Minister spoke of his anger at the way some in the City had behaved.

"I am angry at irresponsible behaviour," he told GMTV. "Our economy is built around people who work hard, who show effort, who take responsible decisions, and whether there is excessive and irresponsible risk-taking, that has got to be punished."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:29:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is anyone holding their breath?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mmph. Mmph.Mmm--Phew!
Ok, now that's over.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:02:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huge bonuses for City high flyers will be hard to rein in | The Guardian | 10.08.2008
In other departments average pay was still £1m a year. Even so, London bankers might consider themselves poorly paid. Those doing the same job in Asia, said the survey, were averaging £1.4m.

"If one bank holds down pay, then staff will leave and go to one that doesn't," said one fund manager. "And if London becomes badly paid then there will be an exodus to Mumbai, Shanghai or Dubai."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:03:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The obvious solution that won't be followd: Let them go, let them wreck other banks.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:08:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Bonuses May Fall in London

LONDON -- Bonus payout by banks in London's financial district will be about 60% lower this year, marking the emergence of a culture where bonuses will be smaller and based more on long-term results, the Centre for Economics and Business Research said.

"The million-pound-plus bonuses are going to be few and far between," Richard Snook, a senior economist at the think tank, said.

The research center said it expects the total bonus payout in the City, as London's financial district is known, to slump to £3.6 billion ($6.22 billion) this year from £8.5 billion last year. Next year, the researchers said, it will drop to £2.8 billion.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My bet - you heard it here first - The Japanese don't go in for this big bonus, masterbeater of the universe stuff. Their entry into ownership position in the game will chill the market to a marked degree.

Good people, for example in the pro video/broadcast/film world, go to work for Sony and Panasonic. But they don't make what the high flyers do in the industry...but eventually, they beat the rest of the industry and eventually the wages within the industry go down.

Now, we need someone to mark the bet, someone to bet against, a few people to buy insurance that either better will pay if we lose, a few side bets, and a few insurance policies on those, tranch a few of those together and sure, I'll buy a couple shares of those and a couple of shorts on them just to cover myself. but, I think the gory and glory days are gone for a long cycle...meaning, we won't see another criminal usurpation of the economy by nihilistic termites for 16 years instead of  8 years.

HT and apologies to whoever (was it rd?)  who explained RatBastardCapitalismTM in terms of racetrack betting.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
World must follow my example, says Gordon Brown - Times Online

Gordon Brown today calls on nations across the world to follow Britain in its "ground-breaking" moves to save the banking system.

The Prime Minister, writing in The Times, urges other governments to put money into struggling banks and offer similar guarantees worth hundreds of billions to persuade the banks to start lending to each other again.

Amid indications that the United States is considering such moves, Mr Brown calls for a global solution to a global problem. He says that he never expected to find himself taking a government stake in banks but that countries had to abandon "outworn dogmas" and embrace new solutions.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 11:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
World must follow my example, says Gordon Brown - Times Online

Krugman:

What should be done? The United States and Europe should just say "Yes, prime minister." The British plan isn't perfect, but there's widespread agreement among economists that it offers by far the best available template for a broader rescue effort.

And the time to act is now. You may think that things can't get any worse -- but they can, and if nothing is done in the next few days, they will.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:02:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is not "fat cats", it's "irresponsible fat cats". Since 'nobody could have predicted" this crisis, then they're not irresponsible.

Problem solved.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:16:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How quickly it appears that the unthinkable phrase a few weeks ago, "outworn dogmas," now has that Prime Ministerial ring.  But we can't say socialism yet.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better dread than red.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:31:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine's Orange revolution victors to become election rivals after coalition collapses - Times Online

Ukraine's pro-Western coalition succumbed to bitter personal rivalry last night after the President dissolved parliament and called a snap election.

The move pits President Yushchenko against his former ally Yuliya Tymoshenko in a struggle for political dominance. The feud between the leaders of the 2004 Orange revolution threatens to open the door for their pro-Russian rival Viktor Yanukovych to make a stunning comeback and tilt Ukraine back towards Moscow.

The election will be the third in two years as Ukraine has lurched from one political crisis to another. It threatens to derail the country's bid for Nato membership at the Nato summit in December and comes as the economy struggles in the face of the global financial crisis.

Mr Yushchenko launched a strong attack on Mrs Tymoshenko, the Prime Minister, in a pre-recorded television address announcing the dissolution of parliament. It was broadcast while he was on a visit to Italy. "I am convinced that the democratic coalition was ruined by one thing alone -- the ambition of one person, the hunger for power . . . and the dominance of personal interests over national ones," he said. The President can dissolve parliament if a new government is not formed within 30 days of the previous one collapsing.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:29:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU too divided to solve frozen conflicts, Azerbaijan says - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Oil and gas-rich rich Azerbaijan, home of another frozen conflict with its neighbouring Russian ally Armenia, does not consider the EU as a feasible peace broker in the region, Azeri deputy foreign minister Araz Azimov has said.

"The European Union is a powerful economic and political union of states, but in terms of acting in a united way, the EU is not there yet, especially in an environment that changes rapidly. The EU it is not able to act in an instrumental way", Mr Azimov said on his expectations of possible EU involvement in finding a solution for the frozen conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Black Sea and the Caspian Sea - where EU energy security meets frozen conflicts

The senior official made the comment at a conference organized in Brussels by the European Policy Center on Wednesday (8 October).

The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which still occupies the Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh, is currently mediated by the so-called Minsk group, created by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 1992 and headed by France, Russia and the United States.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:30:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dublin and Lisbon lead way in cutting road deaths - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Although the number of deaths caused by road accidents has been slowly decreasing in the past decade, no fewer than 24,000 people have died on the roads of the EU's 27 capitals alone, a new report has shown.

Dublin and Lisbon have reduced the number of accidents the most over the past two years - dropping respectively 12 and 10 percent per year, while in Helsinki, the figure has increased slightly, according to a survey published on Wednesday (8 October) by the European Transport Safety Council, a Brussels-based NGO.

Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users.

Sofia, Bratislava, Madrid, Bucharest, Warsaw, Paris, Copenhagen and Tallinn have also noted a reduction in accidents above the EU average yearly cut of 4.1 percent.

Vienna, Brussels, Amsterdam, London and Rome have on the other hand not decreased the number by more than three percent.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iceland is all but officially bankrupt - International Herald Tribune

REYKJAVIK: People go bankrupt all the time. Companies do, too. But countries?

Iceland was on the verge of doing exactly that on Thursday as the government shut down the stock market and seized control of its last major independent bank. That brought trading in the country's currency to a halt, with foreign banks no longer willing to take Icelandic krona, even at fire-sale rates.

As the meltdown in the Icelandic financial system quickened, with the government seemingly powerless to do anything about it, analysts said there was probably only one realistic option left: for Iceland to be bailed out by the International Monetary Fund.

"Iceland is bankrupt," said Arsaell Valfells, a professor at the University of Iceland. "The Icelandic krona is history. The IMF has to come and rescue us."

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial crisis: Gordon Brown to sue Iceland over near £1bn of frozen bank deposits - Telegraph

The Prime Minister is furious that 300,000 bank customers are blocked from accessing deposits in online bank Icesave.

There are also concerns that councils and police authorities might not be able to retrieve nearly £900m of taxpayers' money which is stranded in Icelandic bank accounts.

Mr Brown told a press conference: "We are taking legal action against the Icelandic authorities. We are showing by our action that we stand by people who save."

Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, added: "The Icelandic government, believe it or not, have told me yesterday they have no intention of honouring their obligations here."

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Greed.

They decided not to place their savings in local projects, went outside to gain more more more.

Risk got reward. Someone losses, someone gains.

Now they want to sue because Capitalism Worked.

Great Planet; Funny People

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 01:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
councils and police authorities

will, one hopes, be strictly regulated as to where they're allowed to put their money in future? If there's a future.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:57:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, added: "The Icelandic government, believe it or not, have told me yesterday they have no intention of honouring their obligations here."

Hey, Alistair, it's called default. Being chancellor I would expect you to be clued up enough in financial matters to be familiar with the concept.

Bozos!

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:08:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU countries may use economic crisis to ditch climate change commitments
By John Vidal and Juliette Jowit, The Guardian

Leaders of EU countries plan to use the global financial crisis as an excuse to renege on climate change commitments, according to sources close to energy negotiations in Brussels.

Papers seen by the Guardian suggest the EU council, which meets next week, propose dropping the previous commitment to an automatic increase in emissions cuts if the world gets a major climate change agreement next year. It also intends to allow countries to avoid having to cut their own emissions by letting them purchase a large proportion of reductions from overseas.

The current EU target of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020 will automatically increase to 30% if a global deal is signed. But the papers show that the EU is seeking a completely new legislative process if the EU target is to go over 20%. This effectively shelves the move to 30% and would take many years to complete.

The commission justifies its proposals by saying that EU countries paying for emissions cuts would transfer up to €42bn (£33bn) to developing and other countries from 2008-2020.

What's more important to survival? The planet or your stock and banking portfolio?

by Magnifico on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 04:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This planet will survive just fine, it's just humans and related species which are in serious trouble.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 05:33:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously, but I didn't come up with a quick way to capture that and make it pithy.
by Magnifico on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:18:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By which standard coral is a related species... ;-)

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it is.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:28:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Humans have extended relations.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:04:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As the Lakota begin and end prayers (and even greetings,) Mitakuye Oyasin , meaning All My Relations (or we are all related).  Aho!

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No prolonged mandate for Barroso, MEPs warn -EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - If the Lisbon Treaty is not in place by June 2009, member states should keep their word on slimming down the European Commission, centre-right MEPs have argued, warning that parliamentarians would be reluctant to support a prolonged mandate for the current team of commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Fewer MEPs, fewer commissioners, argues a Spanish deputy

"Time is against us," Spanish conservative deputy Inigo Mendez de Vigo from the constitutional affairs committee in the European Parliament told journalists on Thursday (9 October), following this week's visit by the Irish foreign minister Micheal Martin in Brussels.

Ireland was originally supposed to indicate what it wants to do about the Lisbon Treaty, a reform of the 27-strong Union that was rejected in June by Irish voters, to the heads of states and governments set to gather for a two-day summit on 15 October.

But Mr Martin confirmed to MEPs on Monday (6 October) that Dublin needs time for "comprehensive research" and only by December does the country "expect to be able... to outline the necessary steps to achieve our objective of continued full engagement in the Union."

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 11:03:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iraqi who risked all for Britain is left to his fate in Basra - Times Online

An interpreter employed by the Army in Basra for five years has been refused a place on a scheme to resettle Iraqi employees in Britain because he is deemed to be a security risk.

Mohammed Motlag, 47, had been told that he and his family could be among the first to be relocated to Britain under a fast-track programme to offer asylum to current Army employees. He has learnt, however, that his application for asylum has been rejected for "security reasons".

Mr Motlag, whose five-year-old son was kidnapped because of his work for the British, said: "It was very shameful to learn that the British did not accept me. My wife had to be taken to hospital because she fainted upon hearing the news.

"I cried. I have liked Britain since I was a child. I grew up reading Shake-speare and used to think, `What a civili-sation'."

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 11:04:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he must have missed the bit about 'perfidious albion'

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:25:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luc Chatel (speaker for the Government) is currently spinning the Sarkozy Toulon speech.

He's just said that when Sarkozy made this speech, people were interested by his new ideas but claimed that this was a non starter. And that they (and in that they he specifically mentioned the FMI president Dominique Strauss Kahn) are now coming to his position.

[Cyrille's Jawdrop™ Technology]

FMI had been saying that months before the French Government would admit that there was a crisis. Back then, Sarko was vehemently complaining that FMI was completely silly in its predictions because it was talking about a slowdown in France, and was going to the UK to worship -litterally worship- their model. We were all to emulate the brilliancy of the City.

Now Luc Chatel is explaining that Sarko was a precursor, speaking in the desert for increasing regulation, dismissing the cult of money and kickstarting a major reaction plan.

As usual, the journalist pretty much let that pass (his only objection was that despite the Toulon speech the stock exchange had stayed very nervous).

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 01:56:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, FMI in English is IMF

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 01:57:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And despite littérature, litterally is literally (I noticed a number of you French-speakers doing this over the past week)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:12:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One has the feeling that such drivel is for the consumption of the base- diehard supporters--a narrative that they can grab onto to ease their growing panic--

But ARE there still diehard supporters? Yes. The true authoritarian would buy the package if Sarko the Magnificent was caught buggering boy scouts in the Arc de Triumphe.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A huhe - HUGE - headline saying "79% of the French still trust their bank"

That smacks of desperation big time. They might as well put a headline saying "all is well, and anyway it's not Sarkozy's fault"!!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:19:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about "11% of the French no longer trust their bank"? What communist rag will print that headline?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if its mathematicians can't do basic arithmetic... ;-)

100-79=21

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:32:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

The remaining 10% don't know/didn't answer?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By headlining the question and using the word "still" (toujours), it validates doubt, and 79% isn't a smack-down figure (as Migeru points out).

What percent of depositors is needed to start a bank run?

Stupid and dangerous headline.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:25:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour peers urge Brown to back down in detention fight | Politics | The Guardian
Labour peers urge Brown to back down in detention fight * PM warned he faces heavy Lords defeat on 42 days
* Downing Street advised to avoid confrontation

The new leader of the House of Lords is to ask Gordon Brown to drop plans to force through the detention of terror suspects for up to 42 days.

A meeting of Labour peers on Wednesday night asked Lady Royall to tell the prime minister that it would be better to abandon the measure before a vote, rather than face a humiliating defeat when the clause is debated in the Lords on Monday.

Among previously loyal Labour peers expected to rebel are Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, and Lord Falconer, the former lord chancellor.

The Labour peers have warned the government not to start a new confrontation between the Lords and the Commons over the issue, and to avoid invoking the Parliament Act to get the clause on the statute book. As a compromise, Labour peers want Brown to set up a working group to examine the best way to fight terrorism and safeguard civil liberties without resorting to an extension of the present 28-day detention without trial.

According to sources at the meeting, a number of Labour loyalists who had previously supported longer detention of terror suspects indicated that they had changed their minds, and would be very reluctant to support the government on Monday. Ministers already face united opposition from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat frontbench in the Lords, as well as eminent crossbench peers including Lady Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, and the former lord chief justice, Lord Woolf .



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Ahtisaari wins Nobel Peace Prize

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been won by peace negotiator Martti Ahtisaari, the Nobel Foundation has announced in Oslo, Norway.
Finland's ex-president has been the UN special envoy for talks on the final status of Kosovo and mediated a 2005 accord in Indonesia's Aceh province.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:20:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meh... is it because the Nobel Peace Prize body is under the illusion that Kosovarian independence was a great victory for peace?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
or is that scoop code for recommended diaries has been secretly altered to ensure that J's banker CV is ever-visible at the top in these troubles times?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:21:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can send you a book on Surrealism... ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:27:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I have that front covered just reading the financial crisis news.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
....expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms!"



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:47:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Man, I don't have any of those weapons. I feel so inadequate.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:50:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the "baring bonker" diary got 31 recs, which partly explains the long run at the top. Only partly, of course ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 10:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC Mark Mardell's Euroblog: Get Ganley!

But Declan Ganley, the millionaire businessman who bankrolled and masterminded the successful "No" campaign in the Irish referendum, is a target all the same. Many in the European establishment would like to see Mr Ganley come a cropper, see his campaigning days terminated and his nascent political career liquidated before he can do any more damage.
The mysterious Mr Ganley is now talking about turning his think-tank Libertas into an EU-wide political party. He's been touring Europe looking for support for his campaign to turn next year's elections to the European Parliament into another referendum: on what he calls the anti-democratic Europe of the Lisbon Treaty. You remember - that's the one that so many say is just like the constitution the Dutch and French threw out.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:22:18 PM EST
UN Refers Kosovo Independence to World Court | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.10.2008
In a last ditch effort to maintain sovereignty over the breakaway republic, Serbia has challenged the legality of Kosovo's independence in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Serbian newspapers on Thursday, Oct. 9 announced a "great diplomatic victory" following a UN decision to seek an advisory legal opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.

"Serbia's first diplomatic triumph in New York," "Great diplomatic victory" and "Serbia's win: Kosovo at the Court of Justice," wrote mass-circulation dailies Blic and Vecernje Novosti.

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday voted 77-6 to send the request to the ICJ in The Hague, with 74 abstentions. The request read: "Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the provisional institutions of self-government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?"

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:24:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moves by states to block voters may be illegal - International Herald Tribune

Tens of thousands of eligible U.S. voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law, according to a review of state records and Social Security data by The New York Times.

The actions do not seem to be coordinated by one party or the other, nor do they appear to be the result of election officials intentionally breaking rules, but are apparently the result of mistakes in the handling of the registrations and voter files as the states attempted to comply with a 2002 federal law, intended to overhaul the way elections are run.

Still, because Democrats have been more aggressive at registering new voters this year, according to state election officials, any heightened screening of new applications may affect their party's supporters disproportionately.

The screening and trimming of voter registration lists in the six states - Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina - could also result in problems at the polls on Election Day: people who have been removed from the rolls are likely to show up only to be challenged by political party officials or election workers, resulting in confusion, long lines and heated tempers.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:28:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Calls for More Troops in Afghanistan at NATO Meeting | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.10.2008
The US has called on fellow NATO members to allow the alliance to attack the Afghan opium trade in an effort to weaken the Taliban.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the drugs trade brought windfalls of up to $80 million a year for the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

"We need to have the opportunity to go after drug lords and drug laboratories and try and interrupt this flow of cash," he told reporters at a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers which began Thursday in Budapest, Hungary.

General John Craddock, NATO operations commander, likewise appealed to the members of the 26-nation alliance for the authority to attack laboratories, trafficking networks and drug lords in Afghanistan to knock the wind out of the resurgent insurgency.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:31:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RIA Novosti - Russia - Russia stunned by UN-NATO cooperation deal

BISHKEK, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Russia was shocked the UN and NATO had secretly signed a cooperation agreement without all UN member states reading the draft.

"Before such agreements are signed, their drafts should be submitted to member states for reading. But in this case this did not happen, and the agreement between the secretariats was signed secretly," Sergei Lavrov told journalists after a CIS foreign ministers' meeting in Bishkek.

The Russian diplomat said he had asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon while at the UN General Assembly last month why such secrecy was needed but "received no comprehensible explanation."

He also said it was surprising that although the document implied cooperation between the two secretariats, its text contained provisions related to immediate prerogatives of member states, including the intention to cooperate in maintaining international security on the basis of the UN Charter and certain international directives.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we should find and play back the tapes
at proper time, place and rates
We'll hear and smell the hidden Cheney say
with sneers and in his most devious way

     Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse;
     Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;
     Finger of birth-strangled babe
     Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,--
     Make the gruel thick and slab:
     Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
     For the ingrediants of our caldron.
ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;
          Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

drab - prostitute
chaudron - entrails


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:18:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cheney = three weird sisters all in one! Frightening!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloomberg.com: U.S. Stocks Tumble, Sending Dow Below 9,000; GM, Insurers Slide  
U.S. stocks slid and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below 9,000 for the first time since 2003 as higher borrowing costs and slower consumer spending spurred concern carmakers, insurers and energy companies will be the next victims of the credit crisis.

General Motors Corp. tumbled 31 percent and Ford Motor Co. slumped 22 percent as the outlook for car sales worsened. XL Capital Ltd. lost 54 percent and led a gauge of insurers to a 13-year low on concern investment losses will curb results. Exxon Mobil Corp.'s biggest drop in 21 years accelerated the Dow's decline in the final hour of trading as oil retreated below $85 a barrel. Morgan Stanley plunged 26 percent as short sellers returned to the market after a three-week ban.

``People have lost faith in everything,'' said Philip Orlando, who helps manage $350 billion as chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors Inc. in New York. ``We're dealing with an investment community of atheists right now. Valuations no longer matter.''

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index retreated for a seventh day, losing 75.02 points, or 7.6 percent, to 909.92 to cap its longest streak of daily declines since 1996. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 678.91, or 7.3 percent, to 8,579.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 5.5 percent to 1,645.12. Twenty stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 05:14:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Grasping Reality with Both Hands: The Semi-Daily Journal Economist Brad DeLong

We--all of us from Nouriel Roubini to Lawrence Summers to John Taylor to Tim Geithner (except perhaps Ben Bernanke, who really did seem to believe in a long-run global savings glut)--were expecting a very different financial crisis. We were expecting the Balance of Financial Terror between Asia and America to collapse and produce chaos. We were expecting a free fall in the dollar's value that would push and be pushed by large-scale capital flight from America that would produce high interest rates and a collapse of construction and investment. We were expecting a collapse of imports into the United States that would produce a free fall in employment and in political stability in Asia. We expected the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury to be powerless--for we expected the safe asset that banks and investors would scramble for in the chaos to be anything but U.S. Treasuries and reserve deposits at the Fed. And for the avoidance of a catastrophic balancing-down of the world economy we expected the United States to have to depend on the kindness of, well, not strangers exactly but of a disorganized congerie of national Treasuries and central banks that were unused to a world without a Kindlebergian hegemon.

We are not having that financial crisis. And it looks like we will not have that financial crisis: if the past year's financial chaos in New York has not provoked a run on the dollar, it is hard to envision a scenario that would. Instead we are having a very different financial crisis: catastrophic failures of risk management throughout the entire banking sector have caused a relatively minor--by the standards of the global economy--collapse in housing prices in Riverside County, CA, Dade County, FL, and a few other places to freeze up global finance to a degree that has not been seen since the Great Depression. The first good thing about this situation is that it does not call for different central banks and Treasuries to do different things, but rather for them all to do the same thing in unison without fouling each other's oars.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Banks borrow record $420.2 bln per day from Fed | Reuters
U.S. banks' direct borrowing from the Federal Reserve climbed to a record for the second straight week as they continued to rely on the lender of last resort amid the most severe financial crisis in a generation.

Banks' discount window borrowings averaged a huge $420.2 billion per day in the week ended Oct. 8, beating the previous record daily average of $367.8 billion they borrowed the previous week.

Primary credit borrowings averaged a $75.01 billion per day in the latest week, 70 percent higher than the $44.46 billion average in the previous week.

Primary dealers and other broker dealers credit borrowings were $122.94 billion as of Wednesday Oct 1, down from $146.57 billion on Oct 1.

Loans in the "other credit extensions" category, including loans to insurer AIG were $70.30 billion as of Oct. 1, versus $61.28 billion a week earlier.

by das monde on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone have subscription access to this:

RGE - How authorization to recapitalize banks via public capital injections ("partial nationalization") was introduced - indirectly through the back door - into the TARP legislation

The reality is that the TARP legislation passed by Congress (formally the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act) does not in any explicit way allow for such recapitalization of banks via injection of public capital. The US Treasury has initially resisted including explicitly such authority in the Act for several reasons: the banking industry that helped drafting the legislation was against it; there was ideological resistance to the idea of the government taking equity - however preferred - in financial institutions; there was concern that being explicit about public recap of banks would lead to banks' resistance to participate in the toxic asset purchase program. That is why the Treasury formally resisted putting any explicit wording of public recapitalization of banks into the legislation.

So how come Treasury now says that its first priority is to inject public capital in banks? And where is Paulson getting such authority since there is nothing formally explicit in the Act to allow such recapitalization?

This is a fascinating story that is worth telling in full detail. Here are below those details...

I expect it will prove geezer in paris right, but it would be nice to read it directly.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 05:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]

...

So where did Paulson get the authority to do such capital injection when there was no such authority in the wording of the legislation? Several of us had been explicitly and feverishly talking to Congress and the Fed and other senior officials (last week before the passage of the legislation) to include such explicit wording in the legislation; such campaign included the October 1st column by George Soros in the FT where he strongly argued - as many of us had recommended - to design legislation that explicitly allowed for public capital injection in banks.

At first, Congressional aides we contacted were confused on whether the wording in the legislation did allow such public recapitalization was permitted or not. They pointed out to us that several sections of the legislation could be interpreted as allowing such public capital injection.

...

But we pointed out that this interpretation of "assets" as including preferred shares, left to itself, was a real stretch of the meaning of the legislation as preferred shares and common shares and sub debt are liabilities - rather than assets - of the bank. Thus, it was important to clarify that "any other financial instrument" was not limited to assets but also included institution's liabilities such as stock, preferred stock, subordinated debt, senior debt.

...

Since it was too late - by Wednesday last week - to explicitly modify the legislation to allow for explicit wording on this matter and since Treasury was resisting such late explicit changes (that would have jolted the banking industry) the tool that was used (in full agreement with the House and Senate leadership) to allow for such interpretation was to have Representative Jim Moran use the October 3rd House floor debate right before the final vote to put on the legislative record such interpretation. See the following important exchange between Jim Moran and Barney Frank that is now on the legislative record of the House:

Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I won't take that much time. I do want to thank the chairman for his masterful leadership on this bill, and I do want to clarify that the intent of this legislation is to authorize the Treasury Department to strengthen credit markets by infusing capital into weak institutions in two ways: By buying their stock, debt, or other capital instruments; and, two, by purchasing bad assets from the institutions, in coordination with existing regulatory agencies and their responsibilities under this legislation, as well as under already existing authorization for prompt, corrective action and leastcost resolution.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. MORAN of Virginia. I'd be happy to yield.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I can affirm that. As the gentleman knows, the Treasury Department is in agreement with this, and we should be clear, this is one of the things that this House and the Senate added to the bill, the authority to buy equity. It is not simply buying up the assets, it is to buy equity, and to buy equity in a way that the Federal Government will able to benefit if there is an appreciation.

...

So, all is well that ends well. A totally flawed and ineffective legislation that did not explicitly allow to do the right thing - recapitalize banks with public capital injections - and was rather aimed to do the wrong thing (wasting $700 bn of taxpayers' money to buy only toxic assets at an inflated price) was rescued at the last moment right before the House vote via an interpretation of the wording of the legislation in the record of the House that allowed such recapitalization.

...

They effectively and rightly allowed for a partial nationalization of the US financial system (the only solution that will prevent a systemic financial meltdown) without even exactly knowing that they were voting for this. So a huge plan that was sold as spending $700 bn to buy toxic waste of banks - and where the public discussion was all and only about this purchase of toxic assets - was finally and luckily rectified (with the hard and explicit efforts of many of us) to allow for a partial government takeover of such financial institutions.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:21:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See also this paper

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:38:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but they did it above the board and as publicly as possible, not under the cover and secretly as I had feared.  Democracy was not skirted or subverted to get this done, and there was no resorting to ends justifying the means.

However, I think Roubini is wrong on one point:  I am sure Barney Frank and Jim Moran knew exactly what they were doing, and they coordinated deliberately to make those statements on the House floor precisely in order to get this critical option on the record as being covered in the bill.

Thank you, Melanchthon, for posting this.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 08:26:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting - the legislative equivalent to a signing statement.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:53:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's just crazy. It means the text of the law as found, say, in The LIbrary of Congress is not enough to know what the law says?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:26:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a moral problem. It's always been a moral problem. If you destroy the moral and legal foundations for finance and government and remove all trust in democracy, in due process, in accountability and in personal and corporate good faith, an epic crash is the only possible outcome.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can't have spent years criticising Bush's "signing statements" to now say that an exchange on the House floor is okay.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We may discuss whether it is OK, but it sure is a lot better than a signing statement.
Legislative power must reside with the legislature. The House floor is part of it.

I would like all laws to be well written, appropriately and unambiguously. But I am more interested in the spirit of the law than in its wording alone. I don't want executive power abusing the letter of the law by deliberately promoting an understanding that, while it might be defended semantically, clearly goes against what the law was trying to say.

That's what a signing statement does. It says "I deliberately choose to misunderstand, and F you by the way".

Whereas an exchange on the House floor is pretty much saying: do we all understand that this is what we mean? Far better to have it in the text of the law, but if it's not possible for timing reasons, it at least comes before the vote and cannot be compared to a Bush signing statement.

"The womb that spawned that thing is fertile yet"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:41:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure it's crazy, and as I understand it (though IANAL), the written text of a law is just a starting point, even in non-Anglo Saxon jurisprudence.

Legislative intent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In law, the legislative intent of the legislature in enacting legislation may sometimes be considered by the judiciary when interpreting the law (see judicial interpretation). The judiciary may attempt to assess legislative intent where legislation is ambiguous, or does not appear to directly or adequately address a particular issue.

When a statute is clear and unambiguous, the courts have said, repeatedly, that the inquiry into legislative intent ends at that point. It is only when a statute could be interpreted in more than one fashion that legislative intent must be inferred from sources other than the actual text of the statute.

German jurisprudence seems to allow a comparable approach.

By the same token, a signing statement might also be considered a legitimate attempt to resolve an ambiguity.

The problem, of course, comes when these instruments are abused (as when unambiguous provisions are voided by a signing statement) or used beyond their appropriate scope (i.e. the Franks exchange would seem to be a very tenuous basis on which to establish legislative intent).

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obscurity is often intentional now, that is, the main legislative intent is... obscurity.

Legislative languages seem to have evolved intentionally more obscure, so that full understanding (even reading through) would be beyond capabilities of legislators. A very convenient way to pass or interpret laws "as needed".

by das monde on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:53:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure you're right that a lot of legislators cannot read the laws they enact, but I think that's there fault, and not the fault of the language.

Legislative language is by nature obscure because it is both old and has evolved a highly complex structure - the purpose being to minimize ambiguity.

I suspect that laws that at first glance seem readily comprehensible are those most subject to sweeping and arbitrary interpretation: "simple" terms like "antisocial behavior" can be (and was, under National Socialism) stretched to cover almost anything.

So I'll take the law framed in obscure language to one couched in accessible terms any day.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:30:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As there is much political battling around any legislation, obscurity can easily become a tool. It is also useful to hide contradictions in the whole set of laws - so that some come "prove" or do anything. Is there any force that would pull towards clarity in laws? Would anyone do something to set language precision?

A particular phenomenon is absurd length of some law acts, up to over thousand pages. You heard of the Patriot Act, numerous pork-barrel projects and "hidden" details in US lawmaking. Can we compare obscurity and length of laws in various countries, or of different times?

As a concrete example, ponder by what intentions The Second Ammendment is formulated like this:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

What is "Militia", why it is stressed first? How a right can be "well regulated"? Is "necessary to the security" a declaration or a condition?

by das monde on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:12:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a common form of sentence construction of the time, that was clearly understood.

'A well regulated Militia' meant (then) the temporary deputizing of citizens to train and fight to defend the state/territory - under military command and under military rules.

The right to keep and bear arms was to fulfill that duty of serving in the militia, not for any other reason - according to the amendment as it was understood at the time it was written.

Sentence construction changes. Vocabulary changes. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:40:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the mdern US, the "well-regulated militia" is the National Guard. That's the only way I make sense of the Second Amendment.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:43:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. There was also a logistical/budgetary consideration at the time of the 2nd amendment. Deputized citizens were expected to bring their own rifles -  Thus 'keep'. And 'bear' also had the meaning of display, rather than use.

Later in the 19th century, a 'posse' of deputized sheriffs would be formed under the same principles - they brought their own horses too.

The military draft is a form of deputizing, except you are not allowed to bring anything of your own ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 09:00:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did the horses have bear arms as well, or could they keep their legs and hooves?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 11:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely thats a whole level of transplant surgery beyond where we are even now?

horses with bears arms would be very scary though

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 11:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx: Legislative language is by nature obscure because it is both old and has evolved a highly complex structure - the purpose being to minimize ambiguity.

Does this apply to the phrase "any other financial instrument" as used in the TARP bill?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:56:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

"Instrument" solves the problem of using the word "Asset" since the same instrument looks like an "Asset" or a "Liability" depending on which side of the transaction you sit.

Generality removes ambiguity. It also gives greater discretion.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:59:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There usually is a logic to legal wording.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 09:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Roubini doesn't say Frank and Moran didn't know what they were doing. On the contrary, he says they agreed to play this role in full agreement with the House and Senate leadership. I think he refers to the other Senate and House members.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:11:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right.  I was definitely not reading carefully enough.

Do you think the striking vagueness/generality of "any other financial instrument" was intentional to start out with (i.e. in order to sneak the stock injection plan past the pack of resistant legislators)?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't kill the messenger!

...as I traveled from a Texas cotton farm to a Chinese factory, from Washington bureaucrats to a third-generation used-clothing dealer descended from Jewish immigrants, to Muslim importers in East Africa, I kept marveling at how well everyone got along. While bombs were dropping, these Muslims, Jews, blacks, and whites stayed friends because of my T-shirt. The yarn and cloth and clothing bound them together; world trade bound them together. They had no choice but to keep talking to one another. The little guys got along just fine while the big guys were fighting. Whatever the debates about trade, it was clear to me after my travels that trade is very clearly an instrument of peace and understanding. I feel privileged that everyone I wrote about is my friend now, and I hope the readers like all of the players in my T-shirt's life story as much as I do.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 05:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com - Beijing monitors foreign financial groups

Beijing has stepped up its monitoring of international financial institutions in the country amid fears that the failure of a large foreign group could see the global credit crisis spill over into a largely insulated China.

China's securities regulator has ordered all joint venture fund management groups to report on the health and financial position of their foreign partners and explain how the global turmoil could affect operations in China.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:17:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite the full-court press of policy makers, markets plunge again. Too late to sell?

By RANDALL W. FORSYTH Barron's Online, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2008

You don't need me to tell the carnage in the likes of General Motors (ticker: GM), which got hammered by 31%, or Morgan Stanley (MS), which was smoked by 26%.

What was stunning in Thursday's market was the beating taken by the bluest of blue chips in the market: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), down 7.7%; Procter & Gamble (PG), down 7.9%; Exxon Mobil (XOM), down 11.7%; Schlumberger (SLB), down 8.5%. And the iShares S&P Global 100 (IOO), an exchange-traded fund consisting of the 100 biggest companies on the planet -- also including the likes of global behemoths such as Microsoft (MSFT), BP (BP) and Total (TOT) -- fell 7.4%.

This suggests a climax likely is at hand. Lows are made when investors are forced to sell their best, highest-quality holdings to meet redemption or margin calls.

That doesn't mean this is the time to plunge in. But it's looking as if it's getting too late to sell.




"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 12:01:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
bear market trap?

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:21:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only time will tell.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 10:23:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asian Stocks Plunge as Credit Crisis Deepens; Treasuries Climb | Bloomberg

Asian stocks tumbled, driving Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average down 11 percent, and U.S. futures slumped on concern the deepening credit crisis will push the global economy into recession. Treasuries and the yen gained.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. plunged 8.5 percent after Moody's Investors Service said it may cut Morgan Stanley's credit rating. Neptune Orient Lines Ltd., Southeast Asia's largest container-shipping company, declined 12 percent on concern the region's exports will slow. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company, lost 7 percent after crude oil fell to the lowest level in a year. Indonesia's stock exchange delayed the resumption of trading, extending a two-day halt.

`It's pure panic,'' said Ivan Tham, Singapore-based head of funds management at Kuwait Finance House, which has about $24 billion in assets. ``You're seeing companies start to fail because they can't refinance. Good companies are being sold down aggressively with the bad.''

The inability of corporations to refinance and rollover debt is THE trigger of the financial meltdown oozing into the Real Economy.

If this isn't solved PDQ were looking at a global economic meltdown.

Sidenote, my 97 year old father-in-law is hysterical.  "This is how I remembering it happening back in '29," he keeps telling me.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 12:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an interesting name your elderly father-in-law has. At first I thought it to be proto-Norse, but now I think it is probably Hindi ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:30:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan seeks IMF help
JAPAN will propose the creation of a new scheme under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that would mobilise countries' foreign currency reserves to help fund emergency loans to emerging nations facing financial crises, the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday.

Tokyo will make the proposal at a meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs from Group of Seven (G7) advanced countries in Washington on Friday, the newspaper said, without quoting specific sources.

The scheme would be directed at small and mid-sized emerging countries, not G7 members or other large nations, it added.

Under the plan, the IMF would ask the country that was to receive the funds to draw up a plan for revitalising its financial sector including writing off its bad assets.

The new emergency loans would be funded by the approximately 200 billion yen (S$3 billion) contributed by IMF member countries plus loans from the foreign currency reserves of countries such as Japan, China and oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, the paper said.

by das monde on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:34:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More like "Too misleading headline".

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:33:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
   

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 09:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PR Consultant Helped Palin Grab Spotlight - washingtonpost.com

During her first months in office, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin kept a relatively light schedule on her workdays in Juneau, making ceremonial appearances at sports events and funerals, meeting with state lawmakers, and conducting interviews with Alaska magazines, radio stations and newspapers.

But this spring, Palin's official calendar chronicles an extraordinary rise to national prominence. A fresh face in Republican politics, she was discovered by the national news media at least in part because of a determined effort by a state agency to position her as an oil and gas expert who could tout Alaska's determined effort to construct a natural gas pipeline.

An outside public relations expert hired under a $31,000 contract with the state Department of Natural Resources pitched the "upstart governor" as a crusader against Big Oil, a story line that Palin has adopted in her campaign as Sen. John McCain's running mate. The contract was the only time the Palin administration hired an outside consultant to set up media interviews, a function performed in many states by government employees.

At the state Capitol, Palin agreed to be "shadowed" for days by some national reporters, and her dealings with the legislature dropped off so dramatically that some House and Senate members donned red-and-white "Where's Sarah?" buttons to show their disapproval. But her high-visibility campaign paid off, helping Palin win notice from political pundits, who began including her on lists of long-shot choices for the GOP vice presidential spot.

[...]

Palin's gubernatorial calendar, obtained by The Washington Post under the Alaska Public Records Act, adds to the understanding of Palin as a political phenomenon, a governor from an obscure state who exploded onto the national stage after just 21 months in office. While many factors played a role in Palin's rise, including her background in broadcast journalism and the appeal of her life story, she also benefited from expert counsel on how to take her message to a national audience.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:55:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The End Of American Capitalism? - washingtonpost.com

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is claiming another casualty: American-style capitalism.

Since the 1930s, U.S. banks were the flagships of American economic might, and emulation by other nations of the fiercely free-market financial system in the United States was expected and encouraged. But the market turmoil that is draining the nation's wealth and has upended Wall Street now threatens to put the banks at the heart of the U.S. financial system at least partly in the hands of the government.

The Bush administration is considering a partial nationalization of some banks, buying up a portion of their shares to shore them up and restore confidence as part of the $700 billion government bailout. The notion of government ownership in the financial sector, even as a minority stakeholder, goes against what market purists say they see as the foundation of the American system.

[...]

Given that the United States has held itself up as a global economic model, the change could shift the balance of how governments around the globe conduct free enterprise. Over the past three decades, the United States led the crusade to persuade much of the world, especially developing countries, to lift the heavy hand of government from finance and industry.

But the hands-off brand of capitalism in the United States is now being blamed for the easy credit that sickened the housing market and allowed a freewheeling Wall Street to create a pool of toxic investments that has infected the global financial system. Heavy intervention by the government, critics say, is further robbing Washington of the moral authority to spread the gospel of laissez-faire capitalism.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are these writers not embarrassed? They write these insipid articles as if we just woke from our opiate, incapable of remembering the GreedyBastardTechTM crisis of 8 or 9 years ago and the GreedyBastardS&LTM crisis from 8 or 9 years before that, and what was before that which we had to slow thru, that thing with Bush I that was stagnation for growing companies (at least it taught me how to game the system to prepare ourselves for the next one) and what GreedyBastardWarTM was before that...was it Reagan's destruction of the last few things that we held good at the alter of his puppet masters greed and wasn't capitalism failing (Beat Inflation Now; We don't take gold anymore, sorry) for Nixon until we found the right material for a stake to put in his heart so that would actually take him out of our misery.

That's the extent of what I've witnessed in my life in business, but certainly there were other failures of capitalism before that and after That GreatOne. And I have seen lists that show that the trend is similar from after the American Civil War through to then.

Now, I'm not a CentralControl person, for we have proved that we don't have the algorithms for that either, but what is it about capitalism that it gets revered? when most of us are only a few generations from being out of the freaking mines? Maybe because it accommodates more GreedyBastardsTM per capital suck, and more variations on GreedyBastardTechnologyTM.

It doesn't work!!! It needs to get bailed out!!!! Often!!!!

Admit to the need and build the bail-outs into the system, or neuter the greedy bastards who continuously make it go wrong, or declare the greedy bastard of the year as winner, reset the capital clock and start a new game so we don't have to let it get out of hand and destroy people future and daily lives.

</rant>

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Journalists" under 40 would likely have no personal memory of the S & L crisis and if they were properly indoctrinated in economics courses in college....

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 10:28:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Evening standard had a whole page the other day where they interviewed City traders about the British bailout plan. The piece introduced them as all "male, under 40" and "too young to remember Black Tuesday of 1987".

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 10:32:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about the Evening Standard's interviewer and the author of the article?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 10:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
40's not the benchmark.

I'm 32 and I remember Black Tuesday very well.

"The womb that spawned that thing is fertile yet"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 11:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So do I, but we were too young to be traders in 1987, weren't we?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 11:19:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

But it is a pity if people are only influenced by their work experience.
It would mean a total inability to learn from history, for a start.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Oct 11th, 2008 at 12:52:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Joint Chiefs Chairman Is Gloomy on Afghanistan - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- With security and economic conditions in Afghanistan already in dire straits, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that the situation there would probably only worsen next year.

"The trends across the board are not going in the right direction," the chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters. "I would anticipate next year would be a tougher year."

Admiral Mullen said Afghanistan was likely to continue what a nearly completed intelligence assessment called "a downward spiral" unless there were rapid, major improvements. Those improvements include curbing Afghanistan's booming heroin trade, bolstering district and tribal leaders to offset a weak central government in Kabul, breathing life into a flagging economy and stemming the flow of militants who are carrying out increasingly sophisticated attacks from havens in Pakistan.

Admiral Mullen struck a pessimistic note when asked whether it was likely such reversals would take place.

"Both the trends and the status specifically of where we are on those other things right now would indicate that the trends are going to continue," he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:59:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Dozens of Calls, Palins Pressed for Trooper's Removal - NYTimes.com
ANCHORAGE -- The 2007 state fair was days away when Alaska's public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, took another call about one of his troopers, Michael Wooten. This time, the director of Gov. Sarah Palin's Anchorage office was on the line.

As Mr. Monegan recalls it, the aide said the governor had heard that TrooperWooten was assigned to work the kickoff to the fair in late August. If so, Mr. Monegan should do something about it, because Ms. Palin was also planning to attend and did not want him nearby.

[...]

Two years earlier, the trooper and the governor's sister had been embroiled in a nasty divorce and child-custody battle that had hardened the Palin family against him. To Mr. Monegan and several top aides, the state fair episode was yet another example of a fixation that the governor and her husband, Todd, had with Trooper Wooten and the most granular details of his life.

"I thought to myself, `Man, do they have a heavy-duty network and focus on this guy,' " Mr. Monegan said. "You'd call that an obsession."

On July 11, Ms. Palin fired Mr. Monegan, setting off a politically charged scandal that has become vastly more so since Ms. Palin became the Republican vice-presidential nominee.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:05:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:22:49 PM EST
Mother Theresa Undeserving of Nobel Peace Prize, Author Says | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.10.2008
Mother Teresa and Al Gore may be considered peace activists to some. Their Nobel Peace Prize awards, however, violated the terms of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel's will, a lawyer who authored a book on the subject said.

In his 1895 last will and testament, Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist and philanthropist who invented dynamite, decreed that part of his vast fortune be used to create the awards that now carry his name, including the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Peace Prize, the only one awarded by a Norwegian committee, was to be presented each year to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Only 45 percent of the Nobel Peace Prizes attributed since World War II are in line with the spirit and terms of Nobel's will, according to Norwegian lawyer Fredrik Heffermehl, author of the book "Nobels vilje"  ("Nobel's Will").

"Disarmament and anti-militarism was what Nobel wanted to promote," Heffermehl told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten's English desk.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fish Story: First Salmon Caught in Basel in 50 Years - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

A Swiss fisher reeled in a surprise on Sunday. The Swiss environment ministry confirmed Wednesday that the hobby fisher had caught the first salmon seen in Basel for half a century.

A fish using one of the fish ladders in the eastern French town of Gambsheim. Fish ladders are one of many measures intended to lure salmon back into the formerly polluted Rhine River. A amateur fisherman in Switzerland made the catch of a lifetime last Sunday when he reeled in the first salmon seen in Basel in the last half a century. Experts hail the fish as a sign that efforts to help salmon return to Basel are working and that the species may soon find its way back to the landlocked country in larger numbers.

"It's crazy, I can still hardly believe it," Thomas Wanner, 39, told the local Basler Zeitung. On Wednesday, Switzerland's Environment Ministry confirmed to the press that the 36-inch (91-centimeter) fish was indeed a salmon, based on a photo Wanner took of the fish with his mobile phone before releasing it back into the Birs River near where it flows into the Rhine.

The size of the fish indicates that it travelled all the way down the Rhine to the open sea before returning upstream to spawn, Erich Staub, an official with the Environment Ministry, told the Associated Press. The round-trip journey is roughly 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) through Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:26:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wheee! Such a good che clean-up of the Rhine seemed impossible even when I left Frankfurt (a time when the river was already much cleaner than in the worst times).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do Chinese rivers have salmon?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:36:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mysterious Tracks: Debate Rages over 'Oldest Dinosaur' Find in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

A scientist in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt believes he has uncovered tracks from the world's oldest dinosaur. But the footprints at the center of the find have sparked a major debate among scientists.

Purported dinosaur tracks in Bernburg, Germany: Are the evolutionary "missing link" between reptiles of the Paleozoic era and the later, lithe dinosaurs? A massive creature tromped its way across an expansive limestone marsh. Horseshoe crabs scurried in its wake, and a reptile similar to a crocodile crossed its path. Weighing between 600 and 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds), the creature left impressive footprints in the limestone deposit. Shifting sand then covered the tracks. The creature's rear foot measured a large 35 centimeters (14 inches).

All this happened around 243 million years ago -- and it took until now for the fossilized tracks of this massive reptile to come to light again. The find was made in a quarry near Bernburg, a small city in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, and the first details were revealed last week. If the discoverer, paleontologist Cajus Diedrich, is to be believed, these limestone impressions will make for a research coup of global dimensions.

Diedrich believes he's found the world's oldest dinosaur, the ancestor of T. rex, Brontosaurus, Triceratops and all the others. The German weekly newsmagazine Stern obligingly reported the paleontological discovery was a "sensation," but a number of experts in the field believe Diedrich's theory is fundamentally wrong and an all-out scientific brawl is brewing within the profession.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:27:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the oldest dinosaurs in Germany were Edmund "Nuke" Stoiber and Wolfgang "Let Them Eat Coal" Clement.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:30:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of dinosaurs in Deutschland, how's this as atomic dispute for the E.ons.  Masterful framing.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Is anybody listening out there?

Messages have been sent to a planet 20 light years from Earth in the hope they will reach intelligent alien life.

Some 501 photos, drawings and text messages were transmitted on Thursday by a giant radio-telescope in Ukraine normally used to track asteroids.

The target planet was chosen as it is thought capable of supporting life.

Any reply to the messages - collated through a competition by the social networking website Bebo - would not reach Earth for 40 years.

The competition - A Message From Earth - invited Bebo's 12m users to send in missives they would like extra-terrestrials to receive.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:29:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ehm... 20 lightyears is pretty close. Oulr galaxy housing millions of civilisations? Hardly.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:13:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might be an interesting non-politico-economic argument.  :-)

The SETI people think it might be in the millions...

by asdf on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 10:40:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did they explain our dire situation in the message? We are looking for a bailout!

Do we deserve a contact with so much foolishness demonstrated in the last 20-30 years?

by das monde on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:08:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're being pessimistic.

Wouldn't an alien invasion be the perfect end to this year?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:38:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we'd have to demand to see them without the costumes, just o make sure it wasn't George and Dicks desperate last grab for power.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:20:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Electric Cars Get the "Green" Light in France | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.10.2008
French carmakers and the French government announced new programs Thursday to promote the development of carbon-free cars.

The French government will provide funds to subsidize the development and construction of environmentally friendly automobiles, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday.

"We will earmark more than 400 million euros ($550 million) of state funds over the next four years," Sarkozy said in an address at the Paris Automobile Fair.

The money will be used "exclusively" to fund the research and development of "carbon-free cars, that is vehicles with the least possible emission of carbon dioxide, whether electric cars or hybrids," Sarkozy said.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:32:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Canada Tops List Of Soundest Banking Systems : NPR
The credit crisis is forcing investors to ask, "Which banks are safe?" According to a survey from the World Economic Forum, Canada has the world's most solid banking system. Next on the list are Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia. The U.S. ranked 40th, behind Germany, Chile and Namibia. Britain, which used to be ranked in the top five, dropped to 44th place.


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 05:26:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Karajan conducts "Dies Irae, Dies Illa" from the Requiem Mass by Verdi



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 12:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indian Tribes See Profit in Harnessing the Wind for Power - NYTimes.com

ROSEBUD, S.D. -- The wind blows incessantly here in the high plains; screen doors do not last. Wind is to South Dakota what forests are to Maine or beaches are to Florida: a natural bounty and a valuable inheritance.

Rodney M. Bordeaux, the Rosebud Sioux tribal council president, said that with the proposed 30-megawatt wind farm, "We can become a major player in wind in South Dakota."

Native American tribes like the Rosebud Sioux now seek to claim that inheritance. If they succeed in building turbine farms to harness some of the country's strongest and most reliable winds, tribal officials like Ken Haukaas believe, they could create a new economic underpinning for the 29,000 tribal members whose per capita annual income is about $7,700, less than a third the national average.

[...]

In 2003, after erecting a 750-kilowatt turbine that powers the Rosebud Casino near the Nebraska border, the Rosebud Sioux tribal council set its sights on building the Owl Feather War Bonnet wind farm, a 30-megawatt project that could power about 12,000 homes, each about 1,200 square feet.

After five years of negotiations with a non-Indian developer, Distributed Generation Systems Inc. of Colorado, the tribal council president, Rodney M. Bordeaux, said Thursday that he expected to sign a construction deal that would bring in some $5 million to the tribe over 20 years. The total is about $1.7 million less than the developer's original offer because of an acrimonious last-minute dispute with the tribe.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:07:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for posting this, dvx.  DisGen is headed by the former CEO of Kenetech, the now-bankrupt company which gave the wind industry a giant black eye in the 90's, and even left some horribly under-performing turbines in Tarifa, Spain and The Netherlands.  The Lakota deserve better than this.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:34:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They could have asked you to do the due diligence... ;-)

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:38:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the article is basically good press relations work? What a shame.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:53:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a short discussion of Community Windpower in one of the diaries recently.  The same principles should apply to the tribe as well, they should be full partners in the windpark.

Some companies try to do it right, or at least include the resource stakeholders (landowners.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:26:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Temporary full state ownership is only solution - FT in English - Financial Times - Onet.pl - 10.10.2008
How to get out of this bad equilibrium? There is only one way. The governments of the big countries (US, UK, the eurozone, possibly Japan) must take over their banking systems (or at least the significant banks). Governments are the only institutions that can solve the co-ordination failure at the heart of the liquidity crisis. They can do this because once the banks are in the hands of the state, they can be ordered to trust each other and to lend to each other. The faster governments take these steps, the better. <...>

The recent decision of the US Federal Reserve to bypass the banking system and to lend directly to the non-banking sector by buying commercial paper is a step in the right direction. It allows companies to obtain cash by borrowing long; a service banks do not want to provide anymore. The step taken by the Fed is insufficient, however. The Fed cannot take over all bank lending operations. Only the government can do this by temporarily transforming private banks into public ones. It can then order the management of these state banks to lend to each other.

Such a transformation (call it a temporary nationalisation) will make it possible to jump start the interbank market and allow the normal flow of credit to be activated.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, I said that on October 5... Can I have a gig writing for the FT, now?
Re: Please, tell me what's next ?

Nationalisation of all banks across the OECD.



A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:24:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A CEO's Sequoia Meeting Notes | Force of Good: a blog by Lance Weatherby

Today, Sequoia Capital hosted a mandatory CEO All-Hands Meeting on Sand Hill Road. There were about 100 CEO's in attendance and let me tell you, the mood was somber. I'm not one to perpetuate doom and gloom or bad news, but let me underscore this for you: We are in a serious economic downturn and this is just the beginning. Immediate, decisive and swift action is required, along with frugal, day-to-day management of expenses and our business is required.

**Here are my notes from the meeting. Keep this note in your in-box and read it every day. I'm serious folks, this is for our survival.** <...>

Slide projected on the huge conference room screen as people assembled inside the conference center to take their seats: a gravestone with the inscription: RIP, Good Times. <...>

· We are in the beginning of a long cycle, what we call a "Secular Bear Market." This could be a 15 year problem. [many slides on historical charts of previous recessions, averaging 17 year cycles.] <...>

· There is significant risk to growth and your personal wealth.

Advice:

· Manage what you can control. You can't control the economy, but you can control everything else.

· Cut spending. Cut fat. Preserve Capital.

· Don't trust your models and spreadsheets. All assumptions prior to today are wrong. <...>

· A "V" shaped recovery is unlikely <...>

· This is a different animal and will take years to recover. <...>

4. Cash is king [have you gotten this message yet?] <...>

· Engineering: Since you already have a product, strongly consider reducing the number of engineers that you have. <...>

· Finance: Defer payments, what is essential? Kill cash burn. <...>

· Make your cuts
· Review all salaries
· Change sales comp
...
· Spend like it's your last dollar.

Get Real or Go Home.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:46:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shit
We are in the beginning of a long cycle, what we call a "Secular Bear Market." This could be a 15 year problem. [many slides on historical charts of previous recessions, averaging 17 year cycles.]
So, how do we make sure it happens?
Cut spending. Cut fat. Preserve Capital.

Engineering: Since you already have a product, strongly consider reducing the number of engineers that you have.

Of course, this will actually do nothing against
significant risk to growth and your personal wealth.
Idiots.

And, yes, it can last 23 years.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:48:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Made in China the U.S.A.

David Brooks - The Class War Before Palin - NYTimes.com


... Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.

Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts.

What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect.

Republicans developed their own leadership style. If Democratic leaders prized deliberation and self-examination, then Republicans would govern from the gut.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:23:30 PM EST
Nobel for literature goes to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio of France - International Herald Tribune

PARIS: Amid debate over purported bias against American writers, the Swedish Academy on Thursday awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for literature to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, a cosmopolitan French novelist, children's author and essayist regarded by some French readers as one of the country's greatest living writers.

An academy official called him a "citizen of the world", reflecting a canon of work depicted by the academy as distilled from experience in Mexico, Central America and North Africa and suffused with a quest for lost culture and new spiritual realities.

In its citation, the prize committee in Stockholm called him an "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization." The prize, won last year by the British author Doris Lessing, was worth $1.43 million.

"I am very moved, very touched. It's a great honor for me," Le Clézio told Swedish public radio.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will Le Clézio's Nobel prize cut America down to size? | Books | guardian.co.uk

The first paragraph of the New York Times, when they brought the good news from Stockholm to the Big Apple, said it all:

PARIS: Amid debate over purported bias against American writers, the Swedish Academy on Thursday awarded the 2008 Nobel prize for literature to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, a French novelist, children's author and essayist regarded by some French readers as one of the country's 20 greatest living writers.


Note the location in the first word - not the Swedish but the French capital. And that poisonously barbed qualification, "some French readers". The subtext: "we wuz robbed!"


And this is about a writer who's been living in Albuquerque, NM, for the past thirty years, not counting the years spent in Mexico and Panama...
by Bernard on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 04:22:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That said, even Reich-Ranicki is peeved -- he wanted it be given to Philip Roth, and he admits he never read any books by Le Clézio (LOL).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 06:17:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Diaries of former spy chief Yves Betrand reveal secrets of French leaders - Telegraph
The drug-taking habits, sexual appetites and even the face lifts of some of France's most senior politicians have been revealed in eye-watering detail after the secret notes of an intelligence chief were leaked.

Described by Le Point, the magazine which published the papers, as a "voyage under the skirts of the Republic", the extracts of the handwritten diaries of Yves Bertrand delve deep into private lives of France's political elite.

Mr Bertrand, 64, a former confidante of the former president Jacques Chirac, was sacked by President Nicolas Sarkozy when he dismantled the Renseignements Généraux (RG) police intelligence service.

His 23 spiral-bound notebooks, which he compiled between 1998 and 2003, contain a mixture of facts and baseless rumour. Le Point said they were "stored vials to be distilled like poison at the right time".

They suggest that the RG's notorious reputation as a tool for French presidents to keep tabs on and eliminate rivals - often using information gleaned from anonymous tip-offs - was fully deserved.

by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:46:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nicolas Sarkozy affair revealed in notes of ex-spy chief Yves Bertrand - Times Online

President Sarkozy had an affair with the wife of one of his present Cabinet members about four years ago, when he was serving as Interior Minister, according to the former head of French police intelligence.

The alleged episode was one of a multitude of damaging secrets reported yesterday from the private notebooks of Yves Bertrand, who was central director of the powerful Renseignements Généraux (RG) spy agency for 12 years until 2004.

The police chief, whose shadowy service had long been a political tool for French rulers, also recorded in 2003: "Chirac has been for a facelift in Canada."

The diaries, packed with potentially explosive accounts of drug-taking, illicit sex, blackmail and corruption among French leaders, were seized by judges recently as part of an investigation into dirty tricks. They were leaked to Le Point, a news magazine.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 11:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like Giuseppe Verdi has a problem with dying upstairs.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 01:18:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:-) Thanks!!!!
by Fran on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 01:45:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome! Living another 40 years was just too good to be true.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:50:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:11:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
President George W. Bush will address the world in a few hours.  Everything will be OK.  Have confidence in our President.  He cares about ALL of us and will take care of us.

Ahhhhhhhhh!  I feel Sooooo much better.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:39:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
dog
see more puppies

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:56:31 AM EST


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