February 17, 2011 archive

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

And these articles-

The Stars Hollow Gazette

from firefly-dreaming 17.2.11

Regular Daily Features:

Essays Featured Thursday, February 17th:

  • Thursday Open Thoughts from mplo are centered on Why is America producing such crap in music and in movies?
  • Cornucopia Thursday is Ed Tracey‘s weekly foray into news items outside the headlines, in the arts and sciences; foreign news that generates little notice in the US media and ….well, just plain whimsy…..  
  • Firefly Memories 1.0 is where (normally)Alma takes a look back at some of the Brilliant essays of our first years posts, highlighting those which exemplify our firefly-dreaming spirit and mission. Alma has an eye problem so Dreamer is filling until she’s better.

    Today:Yes You Can take on City Hall by…… Alma!!!  

come firefly-dreaming with me….

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – The Revolution Will Be Cartooned

Letter to the People of Egypt by RJ Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Buy this cartoon

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Matt Taibbi asks this interesting question in the current issue of Rolling Stone, and answers…

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy – but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.

And after describing the chummy atmosphere of an all-day conference attended by “1,500 or so of the country’s leading lawyers who represent Wall Street, as well as some of the government’s top cops from both the SEC and the Justice Department,” where the best and brightest of the million-dollar lawyers who represent Wall Street were Assistant U.S. Attorneys or “prosecutors” for the SEC only yesterday, before they started collecting their deferred bribes, Taibbi gets right down to the nitty-gritty…  

But the real fireworks came when Khuzami, the SEC’s director of enforcement, talked about a new “cooperation initiative” the agency had recently unveiled, in which executives are being offered incentives to report fraud they have witnessed or committed. From now on, Khuzami said, when corporate lawyers like the ones he was addressing want to know if their Wall Street clients are going to be charged by the Justice Department before deciding whether to come forward, all they have to do is ask the SEC.

“We are going to try to get those individuals answers,” Khuzami announced, as to “whether or not there is criminal interest in the case – so that defense counsel can have as much information as possible in deciding whether or not to choose to sign up their client.”

Aguirre, listening in the crowd, couldn’t believe Khuzami’s brazenness. The SEC’s enforcement director was saying, in essence, that firms like Goldman Sachs and AIG and Lehman Brothers will henceforth be able to get the SEC to act as a middleman between them and the Justice Department, negotiating fines as a way out of jail time. Khuzami was basically outlining a four-step system for banks and their executives to buy their way out of prison. “First, the SEC and Wall Street player make an agreement on a fine that the player will pay to the SEC,” Aguirre says. “Then the Justice Department commits itself to pass, so that the player knows he’s ‘safe.’ Third, the player pays the SEC – and fourth, the player gets a pass from the Justice Department.”

So the “incentives” which the SEC offers cooperating Wall Street insiders include immunity from prosecution by the Justice Department, but they can wait until the SEC tips them off that prosecution is imminent, before they come forward.

This is a reward for whistle-blowing that only gets paid when the DOJ has already made its case, and the “cooperating witness” is useless, but he or she gets a free pass anyway.

And that isn’t speculation from some left-wing conspiracy theorist in a tin-foil hat.

It’s right out of the mouth of Robert Khuzami, the Director of Enforcement for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.


Six In The Morning

We Accept Peaceful Demonstrations  

At least 2 dead as authorities regain control of main square; nation on lockdown


Bahrain military moves in after police storm protest camp

MANAMA, Bahrain – More than 50 armored vehicles were seen heading toward central Manama on Thursday shortly after police firing tear gas and wielding clubs cleared anti-government protesters from a landmark square.

Police destroyed a makeshift encampment at Pearl Square, which had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom,

The main opposition group Al Wefaq said at least two people were killed in the pre-dawn assault, which was littered with flattened tents, trampled banners and broken glass.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.

–John Stuart Mill

Mindful 2

Late Night Karaoke

Good News?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Sitting at the Stars Hollow News Desk is kind of draining most times.  It’s not really the 2 hours a day, which you get used to, it’s that the news is almost uniformly bad.

However since yesterday a few items have come to my attention that are at least somewhat encouraging.

Firstly, the Japanese "scientific research" whale hunt has been suspended about a month early and with only about 10% of the projected catch of 1000.  Japan is blaming Sea Shepherd for creating “unsafe conditions” for its crews, but in fact the decision is probably based at least as much on declining demand for whale meat (over 6000 tons, a record, is in cold storage and annual per capita consumption is a mere 4 sashimi style slices a year) and growing international opposition including a suit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague from Australia, a top Japanese trading partner, that is expected to be adjudicated in 2013.  This is a pleasant surprise after last year’s effort to raise quotas at the International Whaling Commission.

There are also rumors that David Patreus is going to be rotated out of his position as commander of the ISAF.  The down side of this is that he’ll probably fail upwards to Chairman of the JCS, the up side of this is that it will provide an opportunity for Obama to break with Patreus’ strategy of endless occupation and airstrikes.

Well, we can hope.

Finally, even though the controversial Patriot Act Extension passed, it will only be for 3 months.  As dday puts it-

Ultimately, this probably only means that the Senate will spend a week of debate three months from now and then extend the whole thing past the Presidential election. But it’s so rare that civil libertarians see even a minor speed bump in the rush to deprive liberty, and even with the three-month extension, that’s what this represents.

My niece works at a T-Shirt kiosk in the Mall and this year for Christmas she got me one that says-


… like that does any good.

Review of “Toilet Training the Retarded”


Amazon.com now sells used copies of Toilet Training the Retarded online for about $100.

There’s also one review.


I discovered this product and its one review by following an odd link from reddit.com on their page devoted to The Best Writing on Mathematics 2010

#17 on this list was…

Quite Possibly the Best Collection of creative writing on the entire internet, which links to…


Proporta Elephant Camouflage Kit – NEW by proporta

In stock.

Price: £1,175,000.00  

Dispatched from and sold by Proporta.

And one of the products that customers who viewed the Elephant Camouflage Kit bought instead was “Toilet Training the Retarded.”    

Got A Business Idea But No Money?

We each want to live a life of purpose, but where to start? In this luminous, wide-ranging talk, Jacqueline Novogratz introduces us to people she’s met in her work in “patient capital” — people who have immersed themselves in a cause, a community, a passion for justice. These human stories carry powerful moments of inspiration.

In her new book, The Blue Sweater, she tells stories from the new philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid.

So, why should you listen to Novogratz? Her bio at TED.com explains:

One of the most innovative players shaping philanthropy today, Jacqueline Novogratz is redefining the way problems of poverty can be solved around the world.  Drawing on her past experience in banking, microfinance and traditional philanthropy, Novogratz has become a leading proponent for financing entrepreneurs and enterprises that can bring affordable clean water, housing and healthcare to poor people so that they no longer have to depend on the disappointing results and lack of accountability seen in traditional charity and old-fashioned aid.

The Acumen Fund, which she founded in 2001, has an ambitious plan: to create a blueprint for alleviating poverty using market-oriented approaches. Indeed, Acumen  has more in common with a venture capital fund than a typical nonprofit. Rather than handing out grants, Acumen invests in fledgling companies and organizations that bring critical — often life-altering — products and services to the world’s poor. Like VCs, Acumen offers not just money, but also infrastructure and management expertise. From drip-irrigation systems in India to malaria-preventing bed nets in Tanzania to a low-cost mortgage program in Pakistan, Acumen’s portfolio offers important case studies for entrepreneurial efforts aimed at the vastly underserved market of those making less than $4/day.

It’s a fascinating model that’s shaken up philanthropy and investment communities alike. Acumen Fund  manages more than $20 million in investments aimed at serving the poor. And most of their projects deliver stunning, inspiring results. Their success can be traced back to Novogratz herself, who possesses that rarest combination of business savvy and cultural sensitivity. In addition to seeking out sound business models, she places great importance on identifying solutions from within communities rather than imposing them from the outside. “People don’t want handouts,” Novogratz said at TEDGlobal 2005. “They want to make their own decisions, to solve their own problems.”

Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion

TEDWomen, filmed December 2010, posted February 2011