Archive for May 14, 2012

D.C. Democrats Cry “Stop the Far Right” But Abandon Wisconsin Recall

The hubby and I got a note pad in the mail today from the dscc.org., i.e., the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“I am the FIREWALL.  STOP THE FAR RIGHT IN 2012.”

Hell yeah.  I’m on board.  Let’s go!

Then there’s this about how D.C. Democrats are abandoning the recall effort in Wisconsin, imho the most important vote between now and November:  EXCLUSIVE: Wisconsin Dems furious with DNC for refusing to invest big money in Walker recall.

So, yo dscc.org, are you committed to stopping the far right in 2012?  Huh?  HUH? or are we little people supposed to do it on our own?

 

 

May 14, 2012 at 8:13 PM 1 comment

Crazy-Making Headline of the Day

Who writes these headlines for god’s sake?  This from Rupert Murdoch’s DailyMail:

“Mason is revealed to be the hottest baby name,” but it isn’t. Jacob is.

Geezus.

May 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM Leave a comment

Imagine This Happening

This would be my Tweet of the Day but the screenshot has been sitting on my desktop since Thursday so I’m kind of cheating.

It still cracks me up:

May 14, 2012 at 5:47 PM Leave a comment

The Sunday Talk Shows Are Only Interested in “Fair and Balanced” Blame, Even if Untrue

Norm Ornstein is a Republican who’s as inside-the-Beltway as you can get so this is really something:

Last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published an Op ed and a book making the extremely controversial argument that both parties aren’t equally to blame for what ails Washington. They argued that the GOP — by allowing extremists to roam free and by wielding the filibuster to achieve government dysfunction as a political end in itself — were demonstrably more culpable for creating what is approaching a crisis of governance.

It turns out neither man has been invited on to the Sunday shows even once to discuss this thesis. As Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum note, these are among the most quoted people in Washington — yet suddenly this latest topic is too hot for the talkers, or not deemed relevant at all.

I ran this thesis by Ornstein himself, and he confirmed that the book’s publicity people had tried to get the authors booked on the Sunday shows, with no success.

“Not a single one of the Sunday shows has indicated an interest, and I do find it curious,” Ornstein told me.

Ornstein also noted another interesting point. Their thesis takes on the media for falling into a false equivalence mindset [also known as "fair and balanced"] and maintaining the pretense that both sides are equally to blame. … What’s more, some reporters have privately indicated their frustration with their editorial overlords’ apparent deafness to this idea.

“The piece focused on press culpability — it would be hard to find a more sensitive issue for the media than the question of whether they’re doing their job,” Ornstein said. “We got tons of emails from some of the biggest reporters in the business, saying, `We’ve raised this in the newsroom, and editors just brush it aside.’”

This is curious. Is “experts confirm that, yes, one side is more to blame than the other, and journalists should say so” really too hot a topic for the Sunday shows?

More…

This is so illustrative of the media’s obsession with presenting e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in a “fair and balanced” way.  Sometimes one side or another is more responsible than the other for a thing that happens but that can’t be acknowledged because the media is terrified of being called biased.  No, they’re terrified of being called “liberal,” thanks to Republicans jumping down their throat at any hint of that for the last 30 years. We live in an era of “he said, she said” or “Democrats said, Republicans said” journalism.

Facts are facts and Ornstein and his co-author Thomas Mann have made a case that Republicans are largely responsible for the deadlock in Washington but in the “liberal media,” that’s untouchable because it isn’t “fair and balanced.”

May 14, 2012 at 5:41 PM Leave a comment

Where to Get News About This Weekend’s NATO Summit in Chicago

The Occupy Wall Street people are planning big protests at the NATO summit in Chicago on Sunday and Monday (and possibly in the days immediately before then).

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “a riot is the language of the unheard,” and while I hope there won’t be riots, people should be allowed to protest but the Chicago Police Department is gearing up to be very heavy handed.  They’ve “invested as much as $1 million on riot-control equipment, including at least one long-range acoustic device, or LRAD.”

Here’s what those nasty things are all about:

Anyway, this is the long way of saying if you want the very best coverage possible, follow Tim Pool.  Here is his twitter feed.  He is a seemingly-tireless freelance journalist.  He will undoubtedly broadcast live coverage from his little ol’ iPhone on Timcast on USTREAM.

Seriously, he’s fantastic.

 

May 14, 2012 at 1:53 PM Leave a comment

Depressing News About Saturday’s Food Drive

 

I went to the food bank this morning to drop off some things we used while we sat at the grocery store on Saturday, begging people to make a donation to our local food bank as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers’ nation-wide food drive.  After I lugged the card table, a banner and a box of brochures, stickers and business cards inside I got to talking to Liz, the food bank manager.  I asked her if she had a total yet of the amount of food collected here in Boulder, all of which goes to EFAA’s food bank (Emergency Family Assistance Association).  She said she did but it isn’t pretty.

Bear in mind that EFAA gives out 50,000 pounds of food per month.  In 2010 the letter carriers’ food drive brought in 26,000 pounds of food.  Last year it brought in 20,000 pounds and this year?  A depressing 13,000 pounds.  That will stock the food bank for a week.  Horrendous news.

 

May 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM 1 comment

Obama, Stop Posing With Hamburgers

 

I think this is a great idea and one you’d think the Obama’s themselves would have thought of.  After all, Michele is pushing for healthier school lunches and the abolition of “food deserts” in poor neighborhoods:

(Image via CBSNews.com)

What could be more American than hot dogs and apple pie? Perhaps it’s no wonder that politicians spend much of their time on the campaign trail hamming it up with voters at diners, burger shacks and other eating establishments that aren’t exactly paragons of healthful fare.

But a group of doctors and activists will be calling on President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other members of the executive branch to refrain from turning calorie-laden pit stops into photo ops this election year. On Thursday, they plan to present the White House with a petition asking Obama to issue an executive order banning appearances with “carcinogenic or obesogenic foods.”

“Increasingly, the use of food in photo ops conflicts with important messages that public health officials are trying to convey in order to safeguard the health of the American public,” explains the petition from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, also known as PCRM.

More…

Ah yeah.  Seems like a no brainer to me.

 

May 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM 1 comment

J.P.MorganChase’s $2 Billion Loss Just an “Accident”

UPDATED @ 10:51 a.m. ET

There’s a lot of talk about J.P.MorganChase’s $2 billion loss this morning.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened; part of the challenge is understanding Wall Street lingo.  Last week I posted this explanation, but here’s an even simpler one:

The bank invested in corporate bonds, then bought insurance as a hedge against losses on the bonds.  The form of these insurance policies are those good old credit default swaps (remember them from the meltdown days?) where JP makes bets with other banks that pay off if the underlying bonds go bad.

Now, here’s where the trouble starts.  They then added another level of hedging, essentially selling insurance policies on the first hedge.  So now, if the firms backing the bonds do badly and the bonds default, JP is covered by hedge #1.  But under hedge #2, as long as the companies covered by the insurance do well, JP collects insurance premiums from investors betting the other way.

The bet on the second hedge grew so large that other banks recognized that if the economy were to look a bit more shaky, the underlying CDS index could flip and JP could lose big.  Remember, these are derivatives—securities whose value is tied to a price.  So for JP to lose money on hedge #2, they don’t have to actually pay out like a real insurance company.  They just have to make a wrong bet of the direction of the index.

JP had such large bets of hedge #2 that counterparty banks recognized JP would be cornered if the CDS index spiked.  And that’s just what happened.

More…

Notice the repeated use of the word “bet?”

That said, Wall Street is already white washing this thing.  I watched a few minutes of CNBC this morning and happened to catch an interview with Stephen Roach who retired in February as J.P.MorganChase’s “Asia chairman.”  He’s now with Yale’s “Jackson Institute.” He hilariously called this bet-that-went-wrong a — get this — “trading accident.”

Cute huh?  A “trading accident.”

UPDATE:  Oops.  I was just reviewing my note about this guy and he is Morgan Stanley’s former “Asia chairman,” not J.P.MorganChase’s.

May 14, 2012 at 8:05 AM Leave a comment


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