December 30, 2011 archive

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Screwball Football

Mellon Heads

Well, what would you expect from a bank named after a tax cheating idiot plutocrat?

Internal BNY Mellon Documents Show Panic


DECEMBER 28, 2011

Five states, including Florida, and the Manhattan U.S. attorney have filed civil lawsuits over the past several months against BNY Mellon, seeking a total of more than $2 billion in damages. The suits allege the bank defrauded pension funds and other clients by systematically overcharging them on currency transactions.

At issue in the suits filed against BNY Mellon is its “standing-instruction” service. That is when pension funds and other clients allow the bank unilaterally to handle their foreign-exchange, or FX, transactions. Clients could instead negotiate their own foreign-exchange trades, but that would require staff and technology.

In the documents, Mr. Wilson described how a “transaction desk” collected currency trades for BNY Mellon’s “standing-instruction” clients and then later in the day set the price at which the bank would record those transactions. The prices often were at or near the day’s least-favorable exchange rates, state attorneys general and prosecutors allege, with the bank profiting from the difference.

And you may ask yourself ‘where have I heard about BNY Mellon recently?’  Why, they are the bank colluding with Bank of America to pay off Countrywide’s securities fraud at pennies on the dollar.

But this is a totally different scam for stealing from their customers.

Kicking the Debt Ceiling Into 2013

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

While he is on vacation in Hawaii, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to raise the debt ceiling for the third and last time under the agreement that was negotiated last August. The increase, which is expected to be made by December 30, can only be stopped by passage of a “resolution of disapproval” which the President can veto. That isn’t likely since the last resolution was blocked by the Democrats in the Senate and since Congress in recess until the end of January, well past the 15 days Congress has to vote in the resolution of disapproval.

Pres. Obama is expected to ask for authority to increase the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion which is within $100 billion of the current cap of $15.194 trillion. The motivation to request this raise now is mostly political and tied to the election next November, as noted by David Dayen at FDL:

In numbers that came out earlier this month, the deficit under current law for Fiscal Year 2012, ending September 30, is set to be right around $1 trillion. That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for the White House to get to the next election without having to deal with the debt limit again, especially if new measures like the payroll tax go unfunded. [..]

That seems to be the motivating factor here. The White House simply does not want to go through another bruising debt limit fight again before the election. That places a limit on borrowing in the next fiscal year. It explains why the “fight” over the American Jobs Act wasn’t that major a fight, because passing all of the measures without paying for them immediately would require raising the debt limit again. And paying for them immediately would make the stimulative effect irrelevant. A couple of the measures, like the payroll tax and unemployment benefits, could conceivably pass while allowing the Treasury to squeeze past the elections under the debt limit. But the numbers are pretty close.

David Weigel at Slate points out, with some amusement, another reason to make the request now:

Both parties like to vote against debt limit hikes, when they can — makes for good TV ads. The problem this time is that they may never get a chance. The Washington Post‘s sharp congressional reporter Felicia Sonmez points out that Congress is actually out of town until January 17. [..]

Congress is still playing the unconstitutional game of pro forma sessions to prevent the president form making recess appointments. Technically, the resolution could be passed but it would have to be by unanimous consent and that is just not going to happen. So as Weigel notes unless some renegade congress critter demands a vote, even Congress keep from getting near the “burning wreckage” of this fight.

On this Day In History December 30

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

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

Today history was made in in Parson’s Kansas where the last roll of Kodachrome was processed at Dwayne’s Photo Shop, the only Kodak certified processor of Kodachrome film in the world as of 2010. The final roll of 36-frame Kodachrome to be manufactured was tracked by National Geographic; it was shot by photographer Steve McCurry.

For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas By A. G. Sulzberger

PARSONS, Kan. – An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.

That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.

One of the toughest decisions was how to deal with the dozens of requests from amateurs and professionals alike to provide the last roll to be processed.

In the end, it was determined that a roll belonging to Dwayne Steinle, the owner, would be last. It took three tries to find a camera that worked. And over the course of the week he fired off shots of his house, his family and downtown Parsons. The last frame is already planned for Thursday, a picture of all the employees standing in front of Dwayne’s wearing shirts with the epitaph: “The best slide and movie film in history is now officially retired. Kodachrome: 1935-2010.”

A Color-Saturated Sun Sets on Kodachrome

I have fond memories of my 35mm Yashika and Canon cameras.

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.

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

–Ingrid Bergman


Late Night Karaoke