December 2011 archive


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

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

These featured articles-

This is an Open Thread

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Wealth on Film

David Brooks Speaks The Truth!

This goes beyond stopped clock into “Man Bites Dog” territory.

Midlife Crisis Economics

By DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times

Published: December 26, 2011

The United States spends far more on education than any other nation, with paltry results. It spends far more on health care, again, with paltry results. It spends so much on poverty programs that if we just took that money and handed poor people checks, we would virtually eliminate poverty overnight.

So, uhh…, why don’t we do that?


No Barking


DSCC Wastes $1 Million in Ads on Retiring Ben Nelson

By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake

Tuesday December 27, 2011 12:00 pm

Ben Nelson, Nebraska’s Democratic senator, will retire from the Senate next year, despite benefiting from a million dollars in early-cycle advertising funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

I understand that the ad money was meant to entice Nelson into running for re-election by showing him the support he would receive from national Democrats. I don’t understand why you would spend that money. Nelson has spent the last couple years voting in lockstep with the Republican minority on dozens of key issues, particularly around spending and debt. His vote to keep Harry Reid in the majority obviously meant more to the leadership than any of his votes on substantive issues.

What’s more, Nelson was going to lose next year. Polling showed him consistently under 40% in Nebraska, and unlike in some other states, increased turnout from the Presidential race would not help him. Senate observers were writing this one off all ready, and any money the DSCC sunk into this race would have been as wasted as money put toward re-electing Blanche Lincoln or Rick Santorum or any other doomed incumbent.

I once again put forth the proposition that I could vaporize money much more efficiently than any of our current banksters, political consultants, or pundits.

You know where to find me.

On this Day In History December 29

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.

December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are two days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1890, the Wounded Knee Massacre took place near Wounded Knee Creek (Lakota: Cankpe Opi Wakpala) on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

In the years prior to the Massacre, the U.S. Government continued to coerce the Lakota into signing away more of their lands. The large bison herds, as well as other staple species of the Sioux diet, had been driven nearly to extinction. Congress failed to keep its treaty promises to feed, house, clothe and protect reservation lands from encroachment by settlers and gold miners; as well as failing to properly oversee the Indian Agents. As a result there was unrest on the reservations.

On December 28, the day before the massacre, , a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M. Whitside intercepted Spotted Elk’s (Big Foot) band of Miniconjou Lakota and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota near Porcupine Butte and escorted them 5 miles westward (8 km) to Wounded Knee Creek where they made camp.

The rest of the 7th Cavalry Regiment arrived led by Colonel James Forsyth and surrounded the encampment supported by four Hotchkiss guns.

On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle claiming he had paid a lot for it. A scuffle over Black Coyote’s rifle escalated and a shot was fired which resulted in the 7th Cavalry opening firing indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their own fellow troopers. Those few Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the attacking troopers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but U.S. cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed.

By the time it was over, at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux had been killed and 51 wounded (4 men, 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Twenty-five troopers also died, and thirty-nine were wounded (6 of the wounded would also die). It is believed that many were the victims of friendly fire, as the shooting took place at close range in chaotic conditions.

More than 80 years after the massacre, beginning on February 27, 1973, Wounded Knee was the site of the Wounded Knee incident, a 71-day standoff between federal authorities and militants of the American Indian Movement.

The site has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

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