Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ahmadinejad on Jews - Larry King

I love this guy.
You would think he might want to mince his words, but no...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Your Urgent Help Needed

Your Urgent Help Needed

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a
transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had
crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion
dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most
profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my
replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may
know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the
1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds
as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names
of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family
lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person
who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account
numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for
this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with
detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the
Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

HT: Angry Bear

Playing Poker with Lewis

Look on the Bright Side
By michael.lewis

One of life's rules is that there's bad in good and good in bad. The total collapse of the U.S. financial system is no exception. Even in the midst of the current financial despair we can look around and identify many collateral benefits.

A lot of attractive office space seems to be opening up in midtown Manhattan, for instance, and the U.S. government is now getting paid to borrow money. (And with T-bills yielding 0 percent, they really ought to borrow a lot more of it, and quickly.)

And so as Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer John Mack [2] blasts short sellers for his problems, and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein [3] swans around pretending to be above this little panic, we ought to step back and enjoy the positives.

To wit:

1) We finally get to see what's inside these big Wall Street firms.

We've just witnessed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and we know neither the inciting incident (though there is speculation that sovereign wealth funds decided to stop lending to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.), nor the deep cause. But there's now a pile of assets and liabilities [4]smoldering in New York awaiting inspection.

The assets include subprime mortgage-backed bonds and no doubt many other things that aren't worth as much as Lehman hoped they might be worth. But it's the liabilities that are most intriguing, as they include more than $700 billion in notional derivatives contracts. Some of that is insurance sold by Lehman, against the risk of other companies defaulting.

The entire pile might be benign, but somehow I doubt it. We may well find out that Lehman Brothers, in liquidation, has a negative value of hundreds of billions of dollars. In that case the natural question will be: How much better could things be inside Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, both of which were engaged in the same lines of business?

2) We are creating the financial leaders of tomorrow.

Remember when everyone believed in Alan Greenspan [5]? When John McCain [6], running for president in 2000, said that if Greenspan died he'd have him stuffed and propped up against the wall at the Federal Reserve, where he'd remain chairman?

No sooner did Greenspan shuffle off the stage and sell his memoir than the financial system he helped shape fell apart.

He's left not only a mess but a void. No matter how well- educated we become in our financial affairs, we still need public officials to look up to, unthinkingly.

And there's nothing like a government bailout to create new public-sector heroes. Hank Paulson [7], 62, is probably too old; in any case, he's tarred by his association with both George Bush [8] and Goldman Sachs. But 47-year-old Tim Geithner [9] at the New York Fed is perfectly positioned to make Americans feel as if their financial system is in good hands for many years to come.

I have no real idea if Geithner knows what he's doing and he may not either. (``Bail out that one. No! Not that one -- the other one!'') It doesn't matter. He's in the middle of great events and should, by the end of them, know more about what happened than anyone.

Whatever happens to the U.S. financial system someone is bound to get the credit for something even worse not happening and, as no one really understands what Geithner does, he's the obvious choice.

3) Ordinary Americans get a lesson in low finance.

It's been expensive but, then, so is kindergarten.

Our willingness to believe that we can hire some expert to tell us how to outperform markets is a big problem, with big consequences. It underpins Wall Street's brokerage operations, for instance, and leads to a lot more people giving out financial advice than should be giving out financial advice.

Thanks to the current panic many Americans have learned that the experts who advise them what to do with their savings are, at best, fools. Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. [10] and all the rest persuaded their most valuable customers to buy auction-rate bonds, telling them the securities were as good as cash.

Those customers will now think twice before they listen to their brokers ever again.

Many, I'm sure, are just waiting to get their money back from their brokers before they race for the exits and introduce themselves to Charles Schwab.

Bank of America Corp. will soon discover that the relationship between Merrill Lynch and its customers isn't what it used to be, but Bank of America's loss is America's gain.

4) We have lots of new houses [11].

Not all of them have people [12] in them, sadly, but that's a minor detail. Even better, no one has had to pay for them, and probably never will. I'm betting that the U.S. government will soon have no choice but to take the final step and guarantee every bad mortgage loan ever made by Wall Street.

I can hear you thinking: Doesn't that mean the taxpayer foots the bill? That's so negative! Sure, one day some taxpayer will foot the bill but if the government does what it does best, and continues to borrow huge sums from foreigners, it doesn't have to be you or me.

5) Huge numbers of Wall Street executives will have the time to raise their children.

For years now Wall Street has been far too lucrative for a certain kind of energetic and ambitious person to justify anything but the most perfunctory personal life. Now that the market for his services has collapsed, he has time to go home and figure out which of the children roaming around the mansion are actually his.

In time, he will learn to love them and they him, and they will gain the benefit of his wisdom and experience. Perhaps one day they will put it to use as traders and investment bankers, on the Wall Street of the future, where they will report to those exalted creatures of high finance: loan officers.

There, slowly, they can earn the money they will need to pay off the mortgages defaulted upon by their forebears.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Magi of the Fed Speaks (in 2005)

“Where once more-marginal applicants would simply have been denied credit, lenders are now able to quite efficiently judge the risk posed by individual applicants and to price that risk appropriately. These improvements have led to rapid growth in subprime mortgage lending.”

--The Magi of the Fed

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rogers Blocking Google?

Lately, when I go to use a Google ap or page I often get a 404. However, if I mistype a URL I get sent to a Yahoo/Rogers page. I've done some clicking around but I haven't seen it written anywhere.
Is anyone else finding this?

Pitch Perfect Palin

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

I’ve been in Alaska only a week, but I’m already feeling ever so much smarter about Russia.
--Maureen Dowd.

She left out Canada.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quote Du Jour

He's turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed.
--Robert Frost

Friday, September 12, 2008

Some good lines... Dead ponies and more.

"It's autumn in New York. The leaves are falling. Earlier today, John McCain admitted he doesn’t know how many rakes he owns."
---David Letterman
"There are only 56 days until the election. I saw that they’re selling Sarah Palin action figures. Sad incident at Toys R Us today---a Sarah Palin doll shot My Little Pony."
---Jimmy Kimmel
"Well, it's a very strange political campaign. I mean, out on the campaign trail, John McCain and Sarah Palin are talking about how they stood up to the Republican party, they fought the Republican establishment, and they battled Republicans. Their message: vote Republican."
---Jay Leno
"Sarah Palin has been getting briefed on what she needs to know to be John McCain’s vice president. The first thing they taught her was CPR."
---Conan O'Brien
"New Rule: Republicans must stop saying Obama is an elitist and just admit you don't like him because of something he can't help, something that's a result of the way he was born. Admit it---you're not voting for him because he's smarter than you."
---Bill Maher

"[Sarah Palin] knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America. ... And, uh, she also happens to represent, be governor of a state that's right next to Russia."
---John McCain on Palin's foreign policy experience

HT: The Daily Kos.

From Milquetoast; Rapper Naz on Fried Chicken

Rapper Nas on Fried Chickenfrom Milquetoast by Dylan
"After you shower, you and your Gold Medal flour
Then you rub your hot oil for 'bout a half an hour
You in your hot tub, I'm looking at you, salivating
Dry you off, I got your paper towel waiting

Don't know what part of you I love best / Your legs or your breasts...


The Colonel knew what he was talking about. Shame about what came afterwards.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Question: Who (for Love and Money) Will Have the Best Health Care in the World

Question: Who (for Love and Money) has the Best Health Care in the World?
Answer: The President of the United States.
What does this mean?
It means that there is no way (short of the impeachment or resignation of the Executive) that the President, even a 72 year old one, can possibly die whilst in office. The mandarins out of fear or inertia would never have it. Therefore, the VP will never become the P. I am not even sure an attempted assassination (a very real possibility and I have no doubt that the Secret Service will read this after I post the 'a' word) could ever be more than an attempt. The President's health care is that good.

Michael Moore on Palin

But before everyone gets all smug and self-righteous about the Palin selection, remember where you live. You live in a nation of gun owners and hunters. You live in a country where one out of three girls get pregnant before they are 20. You live in a nation of C students. Knocking Bush for being a C student only endeared him to the nation of C students. Knock Palin for having kids, for having a kid who's having a baby, for anything that is part of her normalness -- a normalness that looks very familiar to so many millions of Americans -- well, you do this at your own peril. Assuming she's still on the ticket two weeks from now, she will be a much tougher opponent than anyone expects.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Words Fail!

MacLennan Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, Contract No. 08FS-18S

Hello everyone, just a quick update on the bridge construction.

We are planning to open the bridge for Monday morning, September 8th, as planned, but the work on the bridge will not be fully complete at that time.

We have had a supply problem with the paint material for the railings. The railings have been built and galvanized, but the fabricator has run out of paint. The paint is a special order and is coming from the USA and there will be a delay in it being shipped, resulting in a delay to completing the coating and installation of the railings.

Currently, part of the ramp section has the railing installed and the contractor will be installing temporary fencing (approximately 6 feet high) along with pedestrian barricades at the areas where the railings are not yet installed. The temporary fencing and barricades will securely fastened to ensure the safety of the public. The available width of the pedestrian bridge deck will be somewhat reduced due to the fencing and barricades, but there should be approximately one and a half (1.5) metres of clear space between the barricades.

In addition, we will provide signs at the entrances to the bridge indicating that it is open, but to proceed with caution, since there will still be work occurring on the bridge.

The permanent railings will be installed as soon as possible after the paint material is available, tentatively scheduled for late next week. Work will proceed on the bridge, while maintaining public safety at all times.

Should you require any additional information, please let me know.