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Christmas Eve Open Thread

by Helen Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 09:56:32 AM EST

Keep on loving while your love is strong.


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Fur Santa : Ein Klein Nachtmusick

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 09:57:58 AM EST
Nice music.

But there is no Santa coming here, we do not have a Santa tradition on Christmas. He was already here on December 6th.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 10:16:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really !! In some parts of Scotland he's not here till January 6th. So much for doing everyone on 24th, he takes a whole month over it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 11:14:45 AM EST
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LOL, makes sense taking a month, there are a lot of places he needs to show up. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 11:21:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He always was a show-off.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 01:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission's accomplished - The Washington Post

It is commonly said of Snowden that he broke an oath of secrecy, a turn of phrase that captures a sense of betrayal. NSA Director Keith B. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., among many others, have used that formula.

In his interview with The Post, Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the ­classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere.

"The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy," he said. "That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not."

People who accuse him of disloyalty, he said, mistake his purpose.

"I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA," he said. "I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don't realize it."

by Bernard on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 10:29:48 AM EST


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 11:33:11 AM EST
Just playing around with the notion of the antipodes of where I'm from : I was aware it was somewhere in Andalucia. Specifically, as it turns out, in the hills about halfway between Seville and Marbella.

This is amazingly close (in the overall scheme of things) to where Madame is from (less than 150 km).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Dec 25th, 2013 at 05:58:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

In the course of my geographical play, I learned that the place I was born was demolished last year. (But all in the good cause of increasing urban housing density).

Actually, the building was supposed to be jacked up and towed out of town, but the owner couldn't get a permit for it at the new location. Which saves me from a metaphysical dilemma of where my birthplace is.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Dec 25th, 2013 at 06:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The effects of money on personality; intriguing.



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 01:20:09 PM EST
Wah, wah, wah!!  Why must these damned liberals pooh all over us job makers!  Why I have a notion to take my millions and ... well ... gee wiz .. if I don't invest I can't make more (never mind).

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 01:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merry Christmas to us:
Puerto Rico's Senate by the thinnest of margins has approved an overhaul of the Caribbean island's deficit-ridden Teachers Pension Fund, which U.S. credit ratings agencies have said is essential to it holding onto its investment-grade bond ratings.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 01:21:31 PM EST
Good news!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 01:35:56 PM EST
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Tongue in cheek, right?

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 02:35:29 PM EST
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Christmas cheer, or something.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 05:46:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wall Street Pirates of the Caribbean: Puerto Rico's Public Pension System Teetering on Collapse as Retired School Teacher's Face Cuts:
Former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno's decision not to mention his current and future potential cliental for Puerto Rico's potential commonwealth securities is troubling. But Fortuno's law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP in the past represented CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein in relation to mortgage fraud in 2012 that resulted in no criminal charges for the banking institution after a year-long investigation. That should win the hearts and minds of the Puerto Rican people!


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 02:34:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will ask in all ignorance why the credit rating of a retirement fund is an issue. How could borrowing help a pension fund. It would seem that either the fund was or was not set up on a sound basis at inception and after that it is either well or ill run, i.e. at least holding on to its contributions via its investments, hopefully growing them modestly, or losing them to some investment scam. At this point issuing bonds would seem truly to be a Ponzi scheme.

In a ZIRP environment it would seem that this fund is doomed, and it would seem that directors made highly hopeful assumptions about growth rates of investments to allow people to retire at 50! They could well spend more of their lives as retirees than as employees. And I will bet that the required contributions have only recently risen to even 9%.  Municipal police and fire fighters retirement plans face similar problems everywhere.

They are going to run out of money! Who could have known? Oh, actuaries? Where were they? Ignored or cowed into silence? If proper assumptions give rise to plans with too little payout and too high contribution levels it is too easy to just adopt improper assumptions if the consequences are twenty or thirty years into the future.

And just how did the teachers alone end up not participating in US Social Security? Who benefited from that brilliant decision?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 04:14:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there has to have been a mephistophelean moment when hedge funds and derivatives were taking off where some sharp-talking con artist sold this Great Idea to all the municipalities, pension fund managers.

"psst, why leave all that lovely lolly lay fallow at 2% interest when if 'wisely' invested it can make 20% or more? it would be a crime to deprive the pensioners and little old widows of the benefits of the Great Free Market and leave them in the lurch when everyone is getting stinkin' rich, now wouldn't it?

they could get bigger pensions and retire earlier, what's not to like?"

no obvious downside, right?

'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 Tue Dec 24th, 2013 at 07:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It all began in Rhode Island.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Dec 25th, 2013 at 06:18:28 PM EST
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