April 25, 2010 archive

Derivatives: An Investment on Nothing!

Warren Buffet gave a prophetic pronouncement back in 2003 about the Derivatives market, seeing the exponential dangers of this “paper-thin” type of investment.

Buffet did not mince words. He called them “financial weapons of mass destruction“:

Buffett warns on investment ‘time bomb’

BBC – 4 March, 2003

The derivatives market has exploded in recent years, with investment banks selling billions of dollars worth of these investments to clients as a way to off-load or manage market risk.

But Mr Buffett argues that such highly complex financial instruments are time bombs and “financial weapons of mass destruction” that could harm not only their buyers and sellers, but the whole economic system.


Some derivatives contracts, Mr Buffett says, appear to have been devised by “madmen”.  […]


Climate:The Gulf’s Spreading Oil Slick & a History of BP

In oceania, no one can hear you seep.

The U.S. Coast Guard “discovered” 4 days after an explosion destroyed and sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 40 miles off the coast of Venice, Louisiana,  killing 11 crew workers, that indeed, oil does appear to be leaking out of the well head on the floor of the ocean.

From HuffPo this morning:


“We thought what we were dealing with as of yesterday was a surface residual (oil) from the mobile offshore drilling unit,” (Rear Admiral Mary) Landry said. “In addition to that is oil emanating from the well. It is a big change from yesterday … This is a very serious spill, absolutely.”

Coast Guard and company officials estimate that as much as 1,000 barrels – or 42,000 gallons – of oil is leaking each day after studying information from remotely operated vehicles (underwater) and the size of the oil slick surrounding the blast site. The rainbow-colored sheen of oil stretched 20 miles by 20 miles on Saturday – about 25 times larger than it appeared to be a day earlier, Landry said.

BP PLC, which leased the rig and is taking the lead in the cleanup, and the government have been using the remotely operated vehicles to try to stop the leak by closing valves on the well deep underwater.  If that doesn’t work, the company could drill what’s called an intervention well to control the oil flow. But the intervention drilling could take months.

The article says that the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker wreck in Alaska was 11 million gallons.   By dividing 11 million by 42,000 gallons, assuming the government is not lowballing this estimated amount, which seems like a nice, suspiciously round number, “1000 barrels,”  I’m coming up with 261 days before this is as big as the Exxon Valdez spill.  The regional director for the Federal government’s Mineral Management Services (the wonderful folk who let the companies bid on offshore drilling tracts) says that leaks have been repaired at this depth before, but it is difficult.  Bad weather is currently delaying the cleanup of already spilt oil.  

World Malaria Day: 2010


World Malaria day – A Day to Act

25 April is a day of unified commemoration of the global effort to provide effective control of malaria around the world. This year’s World Malaria Day marks a critical moment in time. The international malaria community has less than a year to meet the 2010 targets of delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to all people at risk of malaria, as called for by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.


Arizona: Papers Please/Papeles Por Favor

Please add the following update to your travel guides about visiting Arizona. It may be of assistance in avoiding unwanted, undesirable discussions with Arizona law enforcement, arrest and detention, and police harassment. If you already live in Arizona, something I wish on no one today, you already know everything I am about to write.  I am writing this so that others may reflect on your situation.

This is a bus stop in Tucson, Arizona.  I know it doesn’t look like a bus stop in New York, or Chicago, or New Orleans.  This is an Arizona bus stop:

tucson bus stop

There are some things that are very important if you are waiting for the bus at such a stop in Arizona.  

Sunday Soul Food (Open Thread)

All my “essays” are Open Threads… lol.

I’m sick of “politics”. Put a fork in it.

My house is a wreck of a mess.

I hate most people and I dislike the rest. Except for a few choice lucky ones. heh.

Tired of spinnin’ my wheels. My focus has been shifting, since I figure about last August actually, but more and more….

Wandering off in search of food for the soul… follow…

On This Day in History: April 25

In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery.

State Of Humanity

A companion piece and soundtrack to State Of The Climate…

Baraki Barak

Kolangar Logar Province

Two American soldiers (not yet identified by the Pentagon) died in Logar Province on Thursday, April 22, 2010, during an exchange of gunfire in an isolated family compound, on the road between Pul-e-Alam and the town of Baraki Barak.

Baraki Barak is the original homeplace of the Burki/Baraki/Ormuri, (historically also known as Barak, Baraki, Birki (of Baburnama), Barki, Braakee or Urmar), a Pushtun tribe now concentrated in Kaniguram. in South Waziristan, Pakistan.

Like other Pushtun tribes, the Burki (Barak, Baraki, Birki (of Baburnama), Barki, Braakee or Urmar) seek self-segregation from the outside world: thus the importance of Kaniguram as the historical focal point of the tribe and the continued effort to retain their native tongue (Urmar), which predates Pushtu.

The Barakis’ most celebrated chieftain was the warrior-poet Pir Roshan, who invented the Pushtu alphabet,  advocated universal education and equal rights for women, and led a rebellion against the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1582.

This rebellion continued for about 100 years, until the grandsons and great-grandsons of Pir Roshan finally made peace with the grandsons and great-grandsons of Emperor Akbar.

Docudharma Times Sunday April 25

Sunday’s Headlines:

Tornadoes flatten homes in South; several dead

Death and rebirth at a volcano in Congo


Graham Pulls Support for Major Senate Climate Bill

As Obama visits coal country, many are wary of his environmental policies


Charismatic judge who pursued Spain’s fascist assassins finds himself on trial

Art, and a Russian revolution

Middle East

US soldier apologises for attack on Iraq families

Gaza Strip moves to preserve its abundant ancient treasure


Bangkok on the brink as peace offer spurned

South Korean warship sunk by ‘close-range explosion’


 We were betrayed, claim mercenaries jailed after ex-SAS man’s failed coup

 Slum clearance, South Africa-style

Latin America

Colombia port proposal sparks concerns

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

The sound of the nation’s integrity hitting rock bottom.

The New Deal 2.0:


You’re fucked by the shadow ruling elite.

Here’s one of many dogs that did not bark in Obama’s speech on financial reform:

You see, there has always been a tension between the desire to allow markets to function without interference and the absolute necessity of rules to prevent markets from falling out of kilter…blah, blah, blah….

….And I read a report recently that I think fairly illustrates this point.  It’s from Time Magazine.  I’m going to quote:

 “Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm.  Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment.  A bill just passed… would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system… such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U.S. banking to its lowest level.”  

That appeared in Time Magazine in June of 1933.  (Laughter and applause.)  The system that caused so much consternation, so much concern was the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, also known as the FDIC, an institution that has successfully secured the deposits of generations of Americans.

Amid the laughter and applause, did you hear the silent dog?  

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