August 25, 2011 archive

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Another Dow(n) Day on Wall Street

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Yes, I know the financial markets are only peripherally connected to the actual economy and the Dow is a poor indicator even of that but it’s sometimes amusing to watch the numbers at the big casino.

Thursday is jobless day and once again the number of newly unemployed is over 400,000 with an upward revision of last week’s much better number so that they are now even worse than this week.  Green shoots, Recovery Summer don’t you know.

But these titans are not so much worried about that as they are once again about Greece.

Greek Bond Yields Climb to Record High on Speculation Bailout Will Fail

By Emma Charlton and Keith Jenkins, Bloomberg News

Aug 25, 2011 10:49 AM ET

Greek bonds slumped, with 10-year yields rising for an eighth day to a euro-era record, amid concern Finland’s demands for loan collateral jeopardize Greece’s second bailout package and may trigger a default.

“Markets are doubting whether the second bailout package will ever be ratified by all the euro-region member states,” said Marius Daheim, a senior fixed-income strategist at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich. “There’s not much that can worsen the situation from where we are now.”

Greek 10-year bond yields rose 49 basis points to 18.38 at 3:44 p.m. in London, after climbing as high as 18.55 percent.

The two-year yield jumped 185 basis points to 45.88 percent, extending a 5.6 percentage point increase over the past two days. It earlier reached a euro-era record 45.91 percent.

The cost of credit-default swaps insuring Greek debt rose three basis points today to 2,253 basis points, the highest in more than a month, according to CMA.

Greek Default Fears Rise

By RIVA FROYMOVICH And MARK BROWN, The Wall Street Journal

AUGUST 25, 2011, 11:33 A.M. ET

BRUSSELS-Euro-zone policy makers appeared nowhere near settling a dispute Thursday over Finland’s collateral demands in exchange for participating in a €109 billion ($157.1 million) bailout for Greece, raising concerns the Mediterranean nation may default.

Under that deal, Greece would pay Finland hundreds of millions of euros from its bailout loans as collateral against those same loans at the expense of other euro-zone countries. Since Finland is set to contribute just 2% of Greece’s total rescue package, guarantees from the richer euro-zone nations would be going directly to Finland.

Which leads to headlines like this one in The Telegraph

Market crash ‘could hit within weeks’, warn bankers

A more severe crash than the one triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers could be on the way, according to alarm signals in the credit markets.

By Harry Wilson, and Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph

9:50PM BST 24 Aug 2011

Credit default swaps on the bonds of Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Intesa Sanpaolo, among others, flashed warning signals on Wednesday. Credit default swaps (CDS) on RBS were trading at 343.54 basis points, meaning the annual cost to insure £10m of the state-backed lender’s bonds against default is now £343,540.

The cost of insuring RBS bonds is now higher than before the taxpayer was forced to step in and rescue the bank in October 2008, and shows the recent dramatic downturn in sentiment among credit investors towards banks.

“I think we are heading for a market shock in September or October that will match anything we have ever seen before,” said a senior credit banker at a major European bank.

Here’s a bit of video from the BBC of an interview with Nassim Taleb-

(I wanted to include a quote from Robert Alexander Dumas at MyFiredog Lake, but it’s crashing the piece so I’ll try and figure it out later.)

But you shouldn’t worry or fret.  Warren Buffet just dropped $5 Billion of new capital into Bank of America so my advice is that you take all the money you have in the world and view this downturn as a buying opportunity to get long in banks.



Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Police Department has been aggressively gathering domestic intelligence. With help from the CIA, the department’s intelligence unit dispatches undercover officers to keep tabs on ethnic neighborhoods – sometimes in areas far outside their jurisdiction. Keith discusses the details with Associated Press reporter Matt Apuzzo, who exposed the story with his colleague Adam Goldman.

NYPD CIA Anti-Terror Operations Conducted In Secret For Years

NEW YORK – Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Police Department has become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government, an Associated Press investigation has found.

These operations have benefited from unprecedented help from the CIA, a partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying.

The department has dispatched undercover officers, known as “rakers,” into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They’ve monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even when there’s no evidence of wrongdoing.

Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which has given NYPD more than $1.6 billion since 9/11, is told exactly what’s going on.

Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD’s intelligence unit.

My City Council representative will be getting a call, so will Mayor Bloomberg


Pied Piper Porky

On This Day In History August 25

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 25 is the 237th day of the year (238th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 128 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1768, James Cook began his first voyage to travel to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. This would be the first of three voyages that would be hailed as  heroic by the scientific community.


The routes of Captain James Cook’s voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The route of Cook’s crew following his death is shown as a dashed blue line.

In 1766, the Royal Society hired (James) Cook to travel to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. Cook was promoted to Lieutenant and named as commander of the expedition. The expedition sailed from England in 1768, rounded Cape Horn and continued westward across the Pacific to arrive at Tahiti  on 13 April 1769, where the observations were to be made. However, the result of the observations was not as conclusive or accurate as had been hoped. Cook later mapped the complete New Zealand coastline, making only some minor errors. He then sailed west, reaching the south-eastern coast of the Australian continent on 19 April 1770, and in doing so his expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline.

On 23 April he made his first recorded direct observation of indigenous Australians at Brush Island near Bawley Point, noting in his journal: “…and were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach they appear’d to be of a very dark or black Colour but whether this was the real colour of their skins or the C[l]othes they might have on I know not.” On 29 April Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula, which he named Botany Bay after the unique specimens retrieved by the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. It is here that James Cook made first contact with an Aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal.

After his departure from Botany Bay he continued northwards, and a mishap occurred when Endeavour ran aground on a shoal of the Great Barrier Reef, on 11 June, and “nursed into a river mouth on 18 June 1770.” The ship was badly damaged and his voyage was delayed almost seven weeks while repairs were carried out on the beach (near the docks of modern Cooktown, at the mouth of the Endeavour River). Once repairs were complete the voyage continued, sailing through Torres Strait and on 22 August he landed on Possession Island, where he claimed the entire coastline he had just explored as British territory. He returned to England via Batavia (modern Jakarta, Indonesia), the Cape of Good Hope and the island of Saint Helena, arriving on 12 July 1771.

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.

There is just one life for each of us:  our own. 


Art Glass 39

Late Night Karaoke

CERN Experiment Likely Shows Recent Global Warming Due to Sun, Not Man.

When I came to this board a year or so ago, I predicted that a CERN experiment in progress would show that most of the recent global warming was due to the sun and not man made CO2.

Ever since I heard of Henrik Svensmark’s theory four or five years ago, over and over for the last several years, I have cringed when people on progressive and liberal blogs made comments about how stupid Republicans and conservatives are because of their refusal to accept the claim that the recent global warming was man made.  I was afraid we would have lots of crow to eat.  Seems like that may be the case.

Svensmark’s theory is that cosmic radiation affects cloud formation.  His theory states that when the sun’s magnetic field is strong, it better shields the earth from cosmic radiation, so fewer clouds are formed by cosmic radiation, and thus the earth heats up.  Conversely, when the cosmic radiation is high due to a weak solar magnetic field, cosmic radiation bombards the earth in higher numbers and causes the formation of more clouds, cooling the earth.

The CERN experiment called CLOUD, has confirmed that cosmic radiation seeds clouds.

During the 20th century, the sun was the most magnetic it had been in centuries, perhaps as great as it has been in the last eight millennia.  Curiously though, after 2000, the sun’s magnetic field has been in serious decline and since about 1998 world temps have either stayed the same or gone down.

To see a review of the paper by a CERN insider go here:…

All proponents of the “CO2 causes global warming” camp have always assumed the sun, because its solar output of light and heat is so constant, could not have caused the recent global warming.  What they failed to consider is that the sun’s magnetic output is quite variable and it turns out that the sun’s magnetism directly influences the cloudiness of earth.

The Tar Sands Protests Continue

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The protest of the Tar Sands pipeline that would carry the dirtiest oil in the world across the US to Mexico, damage the ecosystem and water supply extracting it, continued with more notable arrests

Canadian actors Margot Kidder and Tantoo Cardinal have been arrested while protesting in Washington to stop construction of an oil pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Texas.

Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the first four Superman movies, and her friend Cardinal, who starred in North of 60 and the film Dances with Wolves, were taken into custody near the White House.

They were among dozens arrested Tuesday morning on the fourth day of daily demonstrations against TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline project.

Kidder, born in Yellowknife and now living in Montana, was arrested first, according to photojournalist Shadia Wood, who witnessed the incident.

“We’re the first state the pipeline goes through,” the 62-year-old Kidder said before she was cuffed. “It’s bound to leak, there’s no way it’s not going to…. They always assure us these things are safe, and they never are.”

Environmental activist and organizer of the two week protest, Bill McKibben, who was arrested on Saturday and finally released without charges, appeared on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” to discuss the protest and the attention that this is finally getting in the media.

We can support the protests and tell President Obama to Stop the Pipeline by signing the petition

My Little Town 20110824: “Funny: Scout Leader

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

This is an installment about my fifth grade teacher and Boy Scout leader.  I was a bit hesitant to write about this, as I am not sure that he is quite dead yet, but my doing the maths places his age at at least 80 years, give or take a couple.  The last part of the post may be disturbing for some, and is not suitable for little ones.

I attended Hackett School from the end of first grade through the seventh grade.  The school was quite dismal at the time.  In all fairness, the district has greatly improved over the years, I am told, so any comments about it are strictly from those days from around 1964 to 1970.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 8.23.11

Find out why Roger Ailes from “Fixed” News is WORSE, Gov. Jan Brewer from Arizona is WORSER, and Tea Party chair Sherry Lanford Smith is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for August 23, 2011.

Becoming a Friendly Voice at Congressional Offices

Cross-posted at DailyKos.

This is an action diary. A surprisingly simple action that the biggest sunrise is the fact that progressive groups have not been exploring this method for years. Not the statement of being arrested to be heard but a connected method that could lead to a little less lobbyist and a little more people in the lives of our elected Democrats.

The action is not “in your face” going against the elected but promoting Democratic talking points, outside of their own offices. Friendly activist greeting visitors to the offices of the members of Congress while handing out printed information about our social safety that does not seem to be getting out to the general public.

This is not an action for one single person. You will need a group and you will need to convince others in that group to participate. Then the group will need to agree on the bullet points for the handout and the proper way to address the people coming and going. Really, at least for me, that is the hard part but the group can be as small as two. After that, my limited experience with this sort day, exchanging ideas out in the fresh air has been a very good one.

With just under two weeks before Congress returns to Washington perhaps this is a bit late but this could be the sort of action that we should be promoting and discussing while Congress is at recess. Perhaps this is not for you but it is hard to imagine anyone thinking of this as being counterproductive or being unworthy of the time it would take to promote. Please read what I have in this diary and consider the positive effects of engaging others in the campaign to protect our social safety net.

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