Links 3/18/09

Chernobyl ‘shows insect decline’ BBC

Harlan Ellison ANGRILY Sues Paramount Over His Old “Star Trek” Script The Fiction Circus. I am a long standing Ellision fan (how many of you have read The Glass Teat, for instance?). A mighty fine rant.

A Little Flab May Weigh Heavily on Life Expectancy, Study Shows Bloomberg. The definition of “a little flab” is awfully generous.

Is AIG Insolvent? Angie Littwin. Lawyers weigh in on clawing back AIG bonuses.

Citigroup Dividend Payments Still Ongoing Huffington Post

Cuomo Discovers All Kinds Of Outrageous AIG Bonus Facts Henry Blodgett, Clusterstock

Just What We Needed — More Homes Jack McHugh, The Big Picture

January’s TIC data … Brad Setser

The Geithner Betting Line Paul Kedrosky

‘Covenant-Lite’ Loans Face Heavy Hits Wall Street Journal. Curiously fails to mention the biggest problem of cov-lite deals. Borrowings with normal covenants allow creditors to step in and force management to take remedial action at an earlier stage in the “company in trouble” process. Cov-lite means restructurings, more likely, bankruptcies, take place when the company is in more dire straits. That increases the odds that a company will not be able to use Chapter 11, but will instead be forced into liquidation, greatly increasing job losses.

Paying Workers More to Fix Their Own Mess David Leonhardt, New York Times. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour. There was a two legged dog in my neighborhood. It was blond, maybe 40 pounds, pointy ears that folded a bit. She would go out regularly in a stroller, sitting up like an overgrown toddler, and seemed very happy.

This is from reader Aaron:

Mrs. Voz pulled this puppy out from under a house in Hawaii, and I raised her…..

I would be honored if you showed her picture.

From reader Don:

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  1. Anonymous

    Compensation is not rocket science. If you have a decent company that’s a decent place to work, it has a future, and it pays a competitive salary then people will want to work there, and you won’t need pay people just to stick around or not to muck things up.

  2. esb

    Regarding Ellison, “The City on the Edge of Forever” is the clear winner, even though it was cut way back from the original teleplay to fit a single episode.

    It should have been allowed to air as a two episode miniseries.

  3. Anonymous

    To the pictures of animals or Antidote du jour. Have we come to the point in Humanity, that we wish were more simple and un-complicated as our lesser brethren, to reconnect with a past lost.

    Luck to them eh, to live and not be burdened with forethought of action relied. How far have we strayed from the truth of our surroundings. People lamenting natures gifts, with out having actually living with in it, but can read about it or have a holiday for a bit in it, as long as it safe.

    No wonder we bemoan the state of our affairs, we have created a construct of our minds, that has no relationship to the universe, that created us and that we live in.

    Mad creatures we are, intent on our own destruction, to fulfill childish dreams of who we are, before we know of our selves, in the light of truth.

    The worlds bounty supply’s us, and we diminish it, how will it end, bit like love eh, easy to to love animals, but not our own kind, for they transgress our beliefs, and not make a hole, care not, for we are here, and by our mere presence secure our future.

    Grosse pointe…may this civilization crumble and memory hold, to start afresh with curiosity and with out penalty prevail.

  4. Anonymous

    Santelli is right in some ways. Where is the outrage in Congress and the administration for the Trillion dollars of bailout funds ?

    What is the game plan ? The only public info is “trust us on this one” followed by payouts for essentially gambling debts.

    Obviously, the American taxpayer has been slow to anger, holding judgement and trusting the system to do the right thing. Patience is wearing thin and the bonus scandal and payouts to the likes of goldman sachs are bringing the pot to a boil.

    In the eyes of the American people, the whole thing looks the bailout of organized criminal organizations. There has not been a single indictment even though the obvious scale of fraud is breathtaking. Banks, hedge funds, rating agencies, accounting firms, management, all seem to have been, and continue to, act in an organized effort to defraud investors and the government. Now, what are we going to do about it ?

  5. Independent Accountant

    I read Littwin’s piece and having been saying AIG is insolvent since November.

  6. Anonymous

    The Dodd Amendment that permitted bonuses to AIG that was slipped into the Stimulus Bill

    ” (IV) For any financial institution that received financial assistance provided under the TARP equal to $500,000,000 or more, the prohibition shall apply to the senior executive officers and at least the 20 next most highly-compensated employees, or such higher number as the Secretary may determine is in the public interest with respect to any TARP recipient.

    `(iii) The prohibition required under clause (i) shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009, as such valid employment contracts are determined by the Secretary or the designee of the Secretary.”

  7. Anonymous

    Did Dodd and Obama really get that much political contribution money from the AIG folk?

    Maybe if we pool our pennies we could get them to work for us…..treasonous bastards.


  8. Anonymous

    AIG / Bankruptcy

    One of the core arguments why AIG cannot be allowed to fail is that in the event of a bankruptcy, the new bankruptcy law allows CDS counterparties to pursue claims against assets against all other creditors.

    In other words, CDS counterparties will be able to proceed against the insurance trust funds in the numerous subsidiaries of AIG, which would have been safe from creditors otherwise.

    That would have caused a collapse of the insurance markets as AIG policies effectively become worthless.

    There is a way out for this:

    The government could have seized not AIG, but all their insurance subsidiaries, leaving the core AIG as a “bad” company that have the liabilities for the CDS.

    That company could then be allowed to go bankrupt in a fashion no more destabilizing than the Lehman bankruptcy.

    Why didn’t Geithner think of this?

    What are his motives in committing the government to a virtually unlimited liability saving AIG as a whole?


  9. Anonymous

    My wife’s writer so I’ve had the pleasure of dining with Harlan a few times; he loves Hungarian food. Miracle Jones blaming Harlan for the poor treatment of writers is like blaming Joan of Arc for the bonfire.

    Mr. Ellison has made a career of going after publishers, studios and producers his entire life. He famously had his fans send postage due “bricks” to a publisher who was dragging out royalty payments. A different publisher, who did him wrong, received a dead gopher in the mail via parcel post. The reason you don’t see new Ellison works published is that he is essentially black balled.

    When James Cameron was interviewed about the success of The Terminator, he credited “The Glass Teat” as inspiration. Harlan successfully sued Cameron and the studios and much of his current income comes from all things Terminator.

    Miracle has no concept of the history of labor negotiations in the creative arts. Was Miracle alive when Ronald Reagan sold out the screen actor’s guild? The Writers Guild is a very weak union. Until they associate themselves with a larger union they will continue to get crumbs from the studios table. So Harlan has a valid point in suing both.

  10. Anonymous

    the link in the post a few above this one on The Dodd Amendment does not work – (time sensitive) to access the text of the Dodd Amendment that protects AIG bonuses, go to the following link:

    the Dodd Amendment is contained in Version 8 and is located at the bottom of the page under TITLE VII- LIMITS ON EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What is that thing from Don?

    Yves, I would love to see pictures of Riesen-Hasen or giant rabbits Herr Hans Wagner is breeding in Germany.

  12. vitaminkid

    The City On The Edge of Forever that aired was honed largely (as I recall, by Ellison’s own admission in his book about the script) by D.C. Fontana. She is one to whom credit is due. Her edited final version is true to the characters and it’s a beautiful thing. Harlan never did turn in a script that conformed to the Star Trek series guidelines and characters. His script — published in the aforementioned book — might have made a decent standalone science fiction movie. But it would not have fit congruently with the television episodes that came before it and after it.

    Harlan Ellison is a talented writer. And a litigious munchkin. I’m really tired of his yipping and yapping. It’s time to move on. It was time to move on 40 years ago.

    By the way, Harlan wrote a wonderful movie screenplay with Isaac Asimov for I, Robot, which will probably never be filmed. And that is a real crime. But you can buy the illustrated screenplay on the used book market, I think. I got a remaindered copy for $1.

  13. lineup32

    The Democrats and Obama have had an easy time blaming Bush and Republicans for what our problems and acting like Boy Scouts but the AIG bonus issue has suddenly put the spotlight on the Democrats. The sunshine is not kind revealing a den of liars intent on protecting the financial in crowd over main street. Could this be the beginning of the great unwind for Obama,will he back main street or wall street, will the Democrats forgo all that financial sector campaign money?

  14. Anonymous

    Is it really the Dodd amendment?

    “Fox News blamed the above de facto AIG exemption on Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), suggesting a possible connection to the fact that Dodd was the largest single recipient of 2008 campaign donations from AIG. But Jane Hamsher documents that the words above were inserted after the bill left the senate and went to conference committee. Hamsher proposes instead that pressure from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Head Larry Summers played a role in those words’ appearance in the final bill.”

  15. brushes9


    Thank you for your inspiring work. Your companion is courageous. I want to be more like you.

    You have something in common with this man:

    Here is the link to Pemba Sherpa’s
    actions in the K2 tragedy last year:


    Prelude (Mine) After coming off the mountain, he passed out in his tent. After a few hours sleep…

    “With his team in shambles, Pemba had to act fast. He heard over the radio that Confortola had been spotted midway up the Bottleneck. “I thought, OK, if we are lucky, I can rescue Marco,” Pemba says. So he began to climb, soloing through swirling snow up the couloir. “It was very scary, but I knew Marco was still alive,” he says. “I could not turn back.”..”

    Let us all be strong.

  16. Juan

    psychohistorian and D,

    AIG has simply been a ‘giant conduit’ used by a government apparently captured by financial interests and its own lack of concern re a citizenry which has proven easy to manipulate and coerce.

    Pretty basic from a class perspective and understanding of govts as mere managers…but [still] hard for many to admit.

  17. Anonymous

    Yves, you will probably have full coverage of this in a few hours, but I must comment now as I am aghast at the scale of the money printing announced today. Perhaps you will say we should have seen it coming, and we all did, but to see it really happen just sort of floors you.

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