Links 9/19/08

Political views ‘all in the mind‘ BBC

Comrade Paulson seizes the economy’s commanding heights Paul Krugman. Before we all get too excited, remember that this is the man who gave us the MLEC, the Hope Now Alliance, the purchase of Bear for $2 a share, and China opening its financial markets.

Fear and loathing in the financial markets Willem Buiter

Why Have the Government Bailouts Involved Only a 79.9% Equity Position? Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. It’s not the reason you think….

Household Net Worth Drops 0.8% Wall Street Journal. That number seems light.

The Swedish banking crisis response – a model for the future? Ed Harrison

How Wall Street Lied to Its Computers Saul Hansell, New York Times (hat tip Felix Salmon)

The Role of Auditors in the Financial Institution Crisis Linda Beale

Tighter Credit Transforming the Economy Louis Uchitelle, New York Times. We have said for some time that no savings and consumption accounting for over 70% of our economy is not sustainable. More savings (paying down debt) means less consumption. And even though no US politician wants to ‘fess up, lower consumption means a lower standard of living.

Greenspan’s sins return to haunt us David Blake, Financial Times

How SEC Regulatory Exemptions Helped Lead to Collapse Barry Ritholtz

Antidote du jour. Some readers were not happy with the inclusion of a melted plastic cow possibly masquerading as a bull, so we return to our usual programming:

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  1. fatbear (from home)

    Yves – it wasn’t a melted plastic cow – it was a plastic sculpture, a representation of a melting cow popsicle (notice the stick) – I kid you not – in fact, a little Google and:

    A blue cow sculpture in the form of a melting ice cream, complete with a stick emerging from its posterior, caused a storm when it was erected in front of St Istvan’s Basilica in Budapest.

    The Budapest Sun reports that the blue cow “ice-cream” is the most extravagant piece of Budapest’s Cow Parade, which has already toured Prague, New York and London.

    However, some Hungarian Catholics have already shown their displeasure with at least one part of the project, by removing the blue “melting cow.”

    The sculpture had been placed in front of the Basilica on 1 July but was moved to the Liberal headquarters a few days later by a group calling itself Deminem.

    Although the artists and the organisers of the event claim not to have intended to offended anyone’s religious beliefs with “the plastic animal showing an ice-cream only,” members of Deminem argued that “the cow’s location was derogatory and the fact that its back was pointing towards the Basilica is obviously against the Catholic Church.”

  2. doc holiday

    I can't think anymore, someone help; this seems to be a visual metaphor relating to coming up for air:
    FYI: Understandably, competition around air holes can be intense. When male seals are nearby, other males appear restless when breathing at a hole, peering down and only occasionally taking a long, deep breath. If a hole fits only one seal, that animal may dive when another comes up, or he may reverse position and face down to prevent the intruder from surfacing. In this head-down fighting posture, a male keeps his eyes facing forward, his foreflippers extended, and sometimes opens his mouth. If a hole is large enough for two seals, and the breathing male refuses to leave, the newcomer may surface anyway, sparking a fight. Swimming under the holes, males clack their teeth as they pass one another. Large bulls use long trills to establish and maintain territories.

    Confusing story: Alaska governor questions science of polar bear listing
    March 4, 2007
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP)– Officially, the state of Alaska has not decided whether to back a federal proposal to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

    "There's not a credible polar bear biologist in the world who would make that statement," he said Friday.

    Cunning's testimony followed the lead of Palin. Two weeks after taking office in December, Alaska's new governor voiced concern for the state's economic health in a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

    "Listing polar bears under the Endangered Species Act has the potential to damage Alaska's and the nation's economy without any benefit to polar bear numbers or their habitat," Palin wrote.

  3. doc holiday

    Now wait a second, this is weird, we have comments tonight about the photo last night, am I behind the curve here?

    See: In a Lorentzian manifold, a closed timelike curve (CTC) is a worldline of a material particle in spacetime that is “closed,” returning to its starting point. This possibility was raised by Willem Jacob van Stockum in 1937 and by Kurt Gödel in 1949. If CTCs exist, their existence would seem to imply at least the theoretical possibility of making a time machine, as well as raising the spectre of the grandfather paradox. CTCs are related to frame dragging and the Tipler time machine, one of the many interesting side-effects in general relativity.

  4. dh

    FYI: Emergency orders…4Act/ sec12.html

    The Commission, in an emergency, may by order summarily take such action to alter, supplement, suspend, or impose requirements or restrictions with respect to any matter or action subject to regulation by the Commission or a self-regulatory organization under this title, as the Commission determines is necessary in the public interest and for the protection of investors–

    to maintain or restore fair and orderly securities markets (other than markets in exempted securities); or

    to ensure prompt, accurate, and safe clearance and settlement of transactions in securities (other than exempted securities).

    An order of the Commission under this paragraph (2) shall continue in effect for the period specified by the Commission, and may be extended, except that in no event shall the Commission’s action continue in effect for more than 10 business days, including extensions. If the actions described in subparagraph (A) involve a security futures product, the Commission shall consult with and consider the views of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In exercising its authority under this paragraph, the Commission shall not be required to comply with the provisions of section 553 of Title 5 or with the provisions of section 19(c) of this title.

  5. Independent Accountant

    Beale’s an idiot. “Independent audits by the SEC”, she writes. Is Beale insane? Which SEC? The Chris Cox SEC? The Harvey Pitt SEC? The SEC that lets a useless organization like the PCAOB “regulate” the CPA firms? Her’s is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve seen in years.
    What makes it even funnier, is that you also provide a link to Barry Ritholtz who notes the SEC’s exemptions from the capital rules for some large investment banks.

  6. Richard Kline

    There is a simple test of Gov. Palin’s contention regarding whether or not polar bears are threatened under present climatic and land use conditions, and thus merit endangered status: She should immediately canvass this constituency, personally and muzzle to muzzle. If the bears prove that they are hungry, then they merit protection; if not, not. Sarah, report back on this to us by week’s end, wontch pronto? Do your part for science.

  7. Anonymous

    Outstanding fuzzy animal picture. It is emblematic of the common man’s plight in America today.

    The seal (citizen?) , being crushed by forces beyond his control attempts
    to gain understanding of the patch of sky the power elites have allowed him.

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