Links 11/28/11

Dear readers,

My e-mail problems seem to be fixed. It was my fault. I had used up my allotted disk space and needed to do some housekeeping.

In addition, some of you seemed concerned re my talk of a site redesign. Not to worry, what I have in mind is more like a site facelift. I want it cleaned up and streamlined further. That is one reason I’ve been so loath to move ahead. Most “web designers” seem to favor busy “look at me” treatments, when that it the LAST thing I want.

Big emitters aim for climate delay BBC

Phone Deals Raise Coverage Problems Wall Street Journal

Disruptions: Fliers Must Turn Off Devices, but It’s Not Clear Why New York Times. This is complete BS, they are on different frequencies. I never turn off my cell out of general cussedness, and I never have a signal in the air (if I have gotten any calls, I don’t get the message until I land).

‘Journalism, not truth, is the first casualty of war’ Tehelka (hat tip reader May S)

The Stench of Elitism in Defense Spending Winslow T. Wheeler, Center for Defense Information (hat tip reader Alexis). Two months old but still worth reading.

Pakistan has had enough Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

Greeks Balk at Paying Steep New Property Tax New York Times

Diary: In Greece London Review of Books (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

Reports Of IMF Package For Italy Not Credible – International Financial Officials eFXNews (hat tip reader SteveA)

European rumourthon misses the mark MacroBusiness

IMF Says No Talks Under Way With Italy Bloomberg

Central Banks Ease Most Since 2009 to Avert Contagion Bloomberg

The eurozone really has only days to avoid collapse Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

High school student reprimanded by principal for tweet criticising Kansas governor Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window ACLU (hat tip readers Andy B and Parvaneh Ferhadi)

Bank debit card fee plans face Justice Dept. antitrust review Los Angeles Times. OMG, the DoJ is gonna wake up and actually do something?

Occupy LA await eviction deadline BBC

Banks scramble to plug capital deficits Financial Times. Typical stupid pro cyclical behavior. Where the hell were the grownups in 2009 and 2010? Why weren’t the regulators making a stink about dividends and pay levels then?

Hedge fund chief backs transaction tax plans Financial Times

Wall Street Pay Hits a Wall Wall Street Journal. The securities industry is supposed to be a high-risk, high return arena. But high risk means downside. I guess everyone thought the real deal was looting, which is a much safer business.

Antidote du jour (I think this is from reader Helene. I grabbed the photos from her message when forced to downsize my mailbox and failed to record her name. Apologies if I got it wrong):

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  1. Kevin Smith

    I always turn my phone off when I am in the air, because when you are in an area were there is no signal the phone will go to high power “hunting” mode and run down the battery looking for a signal.

    No point landing with a run down phone battery.

    1. Sock Puppet

      I put mine in airplane mode to conserve battery.
      Alaska has on board wifi. You have to pay for it of course,

    2. ScottS

      They want you to listen to the safety briefing and listening to the PA in case there is an emergency. And as Kevin says, cell phones will go into “hunting” mode and drain your battery and give you extra radiation for no good reason. Airplane mode is a good thing.

      But no, the idea that a cell phone will bring down a plane is absurd. Think — what else gives off radio signals on the same frequency as cell phones?

      Cell phone towers. Slightly more powerful than the phones they communicate with.

    3. bob

      The original analog phones would make and take calls at altitude. The call would drop quickly because of the speed/ lack of time to jump towers.

      It’s nonsense that it is required, just like hospitals. Isn’t that doc on a cell phone?

      1. Fraud Guy

        Actually, hospitals tend to either use in-hospital communications, or set up necessary equipment to operate not near cel frequencies to avoid disruption. I’ve seen both models work locally, though the latter is less “disruptive” to visitors who want to keep their cels.

  2. Vikas Saini

    I often leave mine on, but this summer when I did I got a call up in the air over Bar Harbor (admittedly a turboprop at only 5000 feet). It was startling, and I hit the ignore button rather than answer (for fear of freaking out the other passengers), but the plan didn’t fall out of the sky.

  3. raintonite

    Is today’s Antidote du jour allegorical? There is too little meat to thrown to the tiger (Euro banks/finance), and while the tiger inspects the wee mouse (the Euro populations) as a potential supplemental meal, the size of the mouse is also too small for satisfy the tiger’s hunger?

  4. craazyman

    All right. This does it.

    If I were Germany I’d just say “F*ck It!” and go back to the Deutschmark. No more handwringing about those poor Greeks or Italians or whoevers. Enough is enough. This is just a non-stop headache hearding flagrantly licentous and socially insane cats. Take the Joyman banks to the woodshed, now, and keep it all in the family..

    It’s just enough already. And then there’s the Fed and the bailouts that never end. It occurred to me this morning that the banksters are our Greeks. Our Greek elite. But we don’t have any Germans except the folks in Zucotti Park. Or at least the ones that aren’t shirtless with tatoos looking for a free meal. We don’t have any Germans in Congress either. They’re all Greeks there too. And in the Fed and in the Treasury. The entire city of Washington is Greek (except the Reskins, who are Americans, even Dan Snyder).

    It’s a strange world when the Germans are in Zucotti Park (or were) and the Greeks are evading taxes and handing out taxpayer bonuses on Wall Street.

    Who can make sense of this? Nobody can. I had thought the Italy ETF is a two-bagger from here, but after today’s news I think it’s going to $8 first, after the usual smoke and mirrors bounce.

    I think the Germans would have much more moral authority if it hadn’t been for Hitler, which is understandable. That’s the problem these days is that nobody has any moral authority. And so you look around and wonder who to believe and there’s nobody. And so you have to believe yourself because you’re all you’ve got — you and a few others here and there — and then you have to wonder whether even you yourself have any moral authority. That’s a bit scary because you have to earn moral authority and it’s hard to know when to stop earning and and relax. That’s about when I take the Xanax and hit the bottle. But it doesn’t stop the wondering, it only suppresses it for a while. This must be what the Germans are going through. LOL.

    1. tom allen

      You never know when the shirtless guy with the tattoo looking for a free meal today is going to have the next great idea for a revolutionary energy source or cure for addiction tomorrow. Just sayin’. :-)

      1. craazyman

        I’m just jealous. Some of those dudes have washboard stomachs and I have small paunch — not much, but I can tell — and every time I resolve to lose it, something happens & I hit the bottle and 1.0 mg Xanax.

        I understand Sarkozy more than Merkel. She’s so out of shape I don’t know how she processes her anxiety. Sarkozy exercises like a decathalon man — that I get — but she just seems to cruize through it all totally unperturbed, just wagging her finger around and glaring at people. If they could put that in a pill, I’d take it myself and wouldn’t have half the problems I have. Maybe I just need more money in the bank and that would give me the confidence. But taking the pill would be easier. :)

  5. rjs

    for all the weeping & gnashing of teeth that the defense hawks have been doing about the budget act sequestered cuts, these so called cuts arent even cuts at all; the defense budget had been expected to rise 23% over the period, the sequestered reductions would apply to that, and as a result, the defense budget would only rise by 16% over the ten year period…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s just marketing 101.

      You first mark up your product, say cable TV, @ $300/month and then you lure in unsuspecting customers by ‘giving it away @ 50% off.’

      It’s only $150/month now.

      What a bargain!

      This weekend only! Hurry!

  6. zephyrum


    Regarding cell phones on planes, respectfully it’s not complete BS. For one thing, cell systems are designed for ground-level handsets. In a plane a handset can occupy bandwidth in a much larger number of cells than (most) ground locations. This can reduce cell capacity while still not enabling your airborne phone.
    Second, while avionics are shielded it’s difficult to know the effect of dozens of transmitters simultaneously under all circumstances. This is particularly true of GSM where any noise from RF leakage is highly correlated by the 217 Hz TDMA timeslot modulation. You can hear that in audio devices sometimes.
    The position of the cell industry is that anything that picks up their 217 Hz noise is improperly shielded, but in real life shielding is not perfect and TDMA hits like a hammer. Check out , “When big revolutions occur there can be unintended consequences.”
    Finally, on a personal note, the cabin environment of airplanes is already loud. The prospect of having people yammering at high volume into phones in order to be heard is not attractive.

    1. propertius

      The prospect of having people yammering at high volume into phones in order to be heard is not attractive.

      Perhaps the regulations could be drafted to allow for summary defenestration of offensive cellphone users.

    1. FJ_2

      Didn’t see my comment show up yesterday. Maybe b/c I cited a link?

      Just be aware that google tracks everything you do through their apps and systems, seaches and email, and links it all back to you and keeps it forever.

      Please at least don’t help them track your site visitors/readers.

      1. margrave

        Log in to Google apps in one browser and use another browser for visiting websites, without logging in.

        When I noticed they were using my logging in to Google apps to track my browsing, I started using Firefox for Google apps and Chrome for browsing. When I visit Google with Chrome, they don’t seem to know who I am.

        1. IF

          That is one way of managing your privacy. You could use the incognito modes of Firefox and Chrome which wipe all cookies and help with tracking from by other companies. You could also change settings in the browsers to wipe all cookies on each browser closing. This will get rid of personalized ads from all websites, but also no website will remember you and your settings (which means logging on each time you visit). To return to Google, if you want to know more about what Google knows about you and change it use the Privacy Dashboard:

          1. tom allen

            And at some point, there is no “real” privacy given a large enough government and private surveillance apparatus, so do what fags and fools like me do and just use your real name and picture. Well, I can do it since I don’t have much to lose besides the respect of my friends and family nor anything much to hide besides my personal quirks.

            That’s the secret. I can take off my clothes and survive the laughter. If Versailles were to do so …. :-)

    2. Foppe

      You don’t need the business version for increased storage.. I pay 5$/year for 20GB extra (the storage is shared between picasaweb and google docs etc.)

  7. Airphone

    I assumed the electronic device restrictions on flights were for passenger safety in case of emergency. Imagine the flight attendant orders an evacuation, perhaps your plane is floating in the hudson, and half the passengers are busy checking email or chatting with cousin Mytle, they won’t pay attention to crew instructions.

    These devices are an unecessary distraction. Aren’t takeoffs and landings the most dangerous part of any flight?

    1. voislav

      I had been in a situation where an electronic device did interfere with the navigation system during the flight. It resulted in an interesting destination plot as it was a transatlantic flight.

      From talking to the crew during that incident it’s my understanding that it’s confined to the navigation system. While there is no danger of airplane crashing it does cost airlines money because even a slight deviation en route tends to burn more fuel. Takeoffs and landings are trickier because of airspace congestion over airports, this is why airlines are more paranoid about those.

  8. Hubert

    Strange divergence between news and equity markets in Europe.
    The News above say “no ITALY-IMF deal” in sight. But stocks say “deal coming soon”. In Europe the markets are up 4-5% and holding. I would say this means some deal for Italy will be out soon.

    1. Jim

      Even stranger divergence between equity and bond markets. Equities surged while the Italian (7.23% / 10-year) and Spanish (6.57% / 10-year) paper hardly budged.

      And you know what they say about bond investors vs. equity ones…..

      1. Sy Krass

        The divergence between bond and stock markets is simple, if they announce some giant bailout that’s a signal to dump bonds completely because only the suckers at the IMF will be the ones buying them.

        1. Jim

          But let’s say that you’re the CFO of the incumbent Italian telco. The country is able to raise new 10-year paper at 7.5%. Would you be subject to the sovereign ceiling? If so, how is your company viable when the country is growing at 1% nominal and you have to pay, say, 8.5% interest on new debt?

  9. Johnson

    Why are travelers so upset when asked to do some thing so simple as shut off their phones or other devises? Why be a jerk? Is it really needed especially as you say you don’t get messages when in the plane any way. Seems very juvenile. Also an attitude of the wealthy and privileged.

    1. lambert strether

      Well, yeah, but somehow I don’t think Yves is one of the “Hi, I’m on the airplane!” crowd. Those people make me want to rip out the traytable and brain them with it (making assumptions, there, I see).

  10. lambert strether

    Barney Frank won’t run and good riddance. He’s guilty of TARP, along with Obama, who whipped the CBC for it while President presumptive.

    The real sin of TARP, in my mind, is that the REAL bailouts took place earlier in the year, all those trillion dollar shell games played by the Treasury and the Fed, but they first were framed in the public consciousness when TARP came before Congress — with its “chump change” of $700 billion.

    In this way, the magnitude of the bailouts, the sheer scale of the looting, was concealed for a long time, and we also got disinformation campaigns like “It was a good deal,” “they paid it back,” “the American people made money,” and all the rest of it.

    Of course, TARP was salutary for two reasons: (1) It taught the valuable lesson that public opinion counts for nothing in our legislative process — calls ran over 90 to 1 against TARP — and (2) the Ds, without whom the bill would never have passed, are just as bad as the Rs, even if they are bad in different ways.

    Many lessons learned…

    1. tom allen

      One of which may be, get a fall guy for your failout … er, bailout. I dunno. I haven’t always agreed with Frank, but I’ve always really admired him, even when I’ve been on the opposite side.

    1. Helen

      There are some delicious quotes in the NYT piece. I’m basically a finance newb though, so I have to come here for a more nuanced reading. It seems like Judge Rakoff is not amused by efforts to game settlement amounts based on “will this pass the ‘uninformed public opinion test’?” rather than basis in the facts of the particular case. Hopefully he is in charge of reviewing the legendary (apocryphal?) “multi-state bank settlement” being crafted using the same method that the banks and the Obama administration so wants to complete.

  11. barrisj

    Daniel Gross deconstructs the realities of Big-Box/Mall bricks-and-mortar retailing, and describes an phenomenon called “Peak Mall”, analogous to Peak Oil, and asserts that Thanksgiving weekend scrums at shopping centres will be a declining aspect of the consumption culture. Now there’s an encouraging thought.

    Black Friday Boom Masks Physical Retailers’ Desperation

      1. barrisj

        Yes, and here is Kunstler’s latest screed:

        Your New American Dream
        By James Howard Kunstler
        on November 28, 2011 9:52 AM

        It’s really something to live in a country that doesn’t know what it is doing in a world that doesn’t know where it is going in a time when anything can happen. I hope you can get comfortable with uncertainty.
        If there’s one vibe emanating from this shadowy zeitgeist it’s a sense of the total exhaustion of culture, in particular the way the world does business. Everything looks tired, played out, and most of all false. Governments can’t really pay for what they do. Banks have no real money. Many households surely have no money. The human construct of money itself has become a shape-shifting phantom. Will it vanish into the vortex of unpaid debt until nobody has any? Or will there be plenty of worthless money that people can spend into futility? Either way they will be broke.
        This desperation may be why our recently-acquired traditions seem especially automatic this holiday season. Of course the “consumers” line up outside the big box stores the day after the automatic Thanksgiving exercise in gluttony. That is what they’re supposed to do this time of year. That is what has been on the cable TV news shows in recent years: see the crowds cheerfully huddled in their sleeping bags outside the Wal Mart… see them trample each other in the moment the doors open!
        The biggest news story of a weekend stuporous from leftover turkey and ceremonial football was a $6.6 billion increase in “Black Friday” chain-store sales. All the attention to the numbers was a form of primitive augury to reassure superstitious economists – more than the catatonic public – that the automatic cargo cult would be operating normally at this crucial testing time. The larger objective is to get through the ordeal of Christmas.
        This holiday season spend a little time musing on what the re-set economy will be like in your part of the country. Think of what you do in it as a “role,” or a “vocation,” or a “trade,” or a “calling,” or a “way of life,” rather than a “job.” Imagine that life will surely go on, even civilized life, though it will be organized differently. Add to this the notion that you are part of a larger group, a society, and that societies evolve emergently according to the circumstances that their time and place presents. Let that imagining be your new American Dream.

        1. James

          DOH! How the truth hurts! Amazing that even some Americans – lost in denial as we are – can still get it. Is there still “hope” for us all yet? I wouldn’t go THAT FAR just yet, but I MIGHT be willing to admit that there’s still some small hope for satire on our way down. Sorry folks, that’s as good as it gets these days. Take your kibble where you find it, ya mutts!

  12. Sock Puppet

    Black Friday etc.

    I live on an island. I have to get the ferry to visit a mall or even a big box store. I pay for garbage pickup. Really helps in buying only what you need, local, and with minimum packaging, recycling, and composting, because I have to live with it or pay to get rid of it.

    Truth is we all live on an island – a larger blue-green one – but the only thing we get “off island” is sunlight, and we can’t ship our garbage to the landfill on the mainland.

    Keep having this dream that one day we’ll get it. But I keep waking up.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Neo-Neanderthals like localism.

      To them, it’s meaningless to talk about the prettiest girl in the world or Miss Universe. The prettiest lass in the valley, now, that’s something they can actually see, compare and decide with certainty.

      One of their newest idea is to promote Micro-Tourism. One travels to one’s backyard to discover all the wonders of the world. Maybe you falsely believe you need a BBC documentary crew or one from the National Geographic, but really, anyone can do it. There, in the dirt scooped up in the palm of one’s hand, one stares into heaven or eternity or something like that, in an infinity of an hour.

      Thus, one cuts out the need for public transportation all together…well, at least for vacationing.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        While no one can tell yo what to do with your cellphone in your own backyard, it’s better (you get more out of your vacation) if you leave it in your living room.

          1. Sock Puppet

            Second thoughts, as my phone knows which room it’s in, better leave it in the living room so the drone strikes there…

      2. Susan the other

        To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower; hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour… was that Yeats?

      3. scraping_by

        To them, it’s meaningless to talk about the prettiest girl in the world or Miss Universe. The prettiest lass in the valley, now, that’s something they can actually see, compare and decide with certainty.

        It’s also true that the prettiest girl in the world might be nothing but a paint job, a lighting arrangement, a film speed, an hour with Photoshop, and/or a dozen puff piece articles in the ‘people’ press.

        While the prettiest girl in the valley is at hand to date, to bed, perhaps even to wed. Without an infrastructure of illusion, she’ll also have to be interesting worth the time if she wants to be more than a one night stand.

        But that means you man up, too. One handed magazines are certainly less work.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    More than 1 in 5 Americans are economically insecure – CNN Money 11/28/2011. (that’s like 20%.)

    A while back, there was a link about one third of Americans being one paycheck away from homelessness. (that’s like 33%)

    Healthy optimism?


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I haven’ thought about that.

        I am curious what other think – are we in denial or are people just being optimistic?

        I think we are mostly the latter with maybe a bit of the former.

    1. James

      Homelessness. Just one step away from anarchy and the new revolution. Relax, it’ll only hurt for a moment… And that salty taste… There, there… Quite pleasant now, isn’t it?

  14. John M

    “This is complete BS, they are on different frequencies. I never turn off my cell out of general cussedness, and I never have a signal in the air (if I have gotten any calls, I don’t get the message until I land).”

    I hope you recognize the complete BS in the cellphone claims of 9/11 then.

    1. Sock Puppet

      Have we solved the mystery of Flight 93 in this thread then? It was Soott Beamer’s cell phone that crashed the plane?

      1. John M

        No, we haven’t solved it in the least. Not in this thread. Just called BS on the claimed cellphone calls.

        There’s still the issue of Flight 93’s transponder turning on during the battle for control of the cockpit, about a minute before Flight 93 crashed.

        “1406:24: Doug to John, They confused that, they think the Northwest now is the UA93.
        J o h n :
        T h e 9 3 w e a re n o wre c e iv in g at r a n s p o n d e r o n h e is a t
        8 2 0 0fe e t,S Eb o u n d s till

        1. John M

          I’m not sure what happened, but the comment got submitted before I completed reformatting the cut-n-paste from the link.

          John: The 93 we are now receiving a transponder on he is at
          8200 feet, SE bound still

  15. Hugh

    So the IMF deal which wouldn’t have worked anyway was just vapor, something to goose falling markets. How many times have we seen that show? And at some point like Wiley Coyote 20 feet beyond the cliff face markets will suddenly realize that there is no there there under their feet and begin to fall again, fall that is until the next rerun of this same tired episode.

    As for Pakistan, with Saudi Arabia, these two countries are our biggest “allies” in the war on terror, and also the two biggest sponsors of terror aimed at the US. The real geopolitical question is Pakistan is a failing state and what will, not we, but India do in response to its failure?

    You have to understand that the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers is a political event for the regime, not a humanitarian one. This is the same government that a year or so ago abandoned something like 20 million of its citizens during floods in the country. So the lives of its citizens don’t mean much to it. For us, we should recognize that we have no policy reason to maintain a 100,000 strong army in Afghanistan and get the hell out.

  16. Darren Kenworthy

    The story from the ACLU might be misleading. I don’t doubt their good faith, but I wonder if they have been spoofed. The Udall amendment looks like it might be an attempt to bring about the situation the ACLU hopes to prevent, in that the existing language of the sections Udall’s amendment is aimed at excludes citizens and resident aliens. I need help sorting through this.

  17. eyesoars

    Re: airline interference…

    The presumed danger of electronic devices is interference with the landing navigation systems. These use multiple frequencies, some just above the commercial FM bands, and others much higher.

    When these rules were first promulgated, there were a number of devices that did cause inteference. Portable FM radios in particular used to use primarily “high side” BFO injection, heterodying an oscillator typically about 10MHz higher in frequency than the desired signal. This typically put the BFO (beat frequency oscillator) operating in the low navigation band signal area. Such oscillators are quite weak, but they’re also inside the plane, and may have signal strength comparable to marker beacons. Further, they usually operate even when the device isn’t being used for FM radio reception when they’re part of a tape-player/FM-radio combination.

    Some laptops turned out to be much worse, with huge amounts of signal splatter from their CPU clocks, and radiated significant amounts of RF power up into the higher-frequency navigation bands. (Their clocks are typically ‘square waves’ and had high harmonic content up into the GHz ranges even when the CPU clocks were only in the tens of MHz.)

    As far as en-route navigation goes, there is probably not much hazard from these devices: there isn’t much to run into, and radar/en-route services are likely to notice an airliner wandering off a jet route. In terminal navigation (landing), however, it’s not well known what the effects actually are or might be in practice. Nor is it easy to test all the actual possibilities.

    It’s much simpler to tell people to turn off all their potentially RF-generating devices below 10,000′, and hope that minimizes any problems. If it did cause a crash, we’d likely never know, and the authorities would have their butts pre-covered.

  18. Brett

    What are the chances that after that cheetah gets done kissing that hamster, he/she doesn’t just gobble it up the instant after that photo is taken?

    1. James

      How hungry is the Cheetah? How fat is the hamster? What is the price of tea in China? What time is it and where the fuck am I? I dunno! Thanks for asking!

  19. D

    Love your analysis of news and events. I tend to view the news out of Europe from a very US-centric point of view, and my knowledge of the treaties that created the euro and European politics is badly limited. Watching this tug of war over debt play out, I’ve had one lingering question. Who wins and who loses based upon the potential end-game scenarios involving the euro? In other words, if we assume the euro is going to fracture, is it more advantageous to the peripheral countries if they initiate their own departure from the euro currency or is it to their advantage to be thrown out. And similarly, which scenario is in the best interest of the core countries? (And is it even possible for a nation to be expelled?)

    I ask this because, given the long term prospects for the countries in the Euro, it seems fairly apparent that maintaining this marriage while it edges toward disaster is in no one’s best interest. Yet both the peripherals and the core European countries seem to take every opportunity to proclaim that continuation of the Euro is to their benefit. When I hear this type of posturing between negotiating parties, I assume there must be some factor that I’m not aware of that makes neither side want to be the first to opt out.

    In any case, if you or one of your contributors were to post on this topic (Or if you have a link to an existing analysis), I know I would be a happy reader. And surely I’m not the only person out here who’s too thick to figure this out.

  20. Valissa

    Investment bankers move in on Iraq

    Safety remains a big concern. Visiting bankers must travel with contingents of security personnel. When in Baghdad, they reside in the heavily guarded “Green Zone”, or in containerised housing units – rudimentary, converted shipping containers – on the outskirts of the city.

    Undeterred, investment bankers from institutions including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Citigroup and BNP Paribas are still flocking to Iraq. Mandates on offer include advisory work on a sovereign credit rating, stock flotations, billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and project finance, and in the longer term, potentially Iraq’s first publicly sold sovereign bond.

    “Iraq is a compelling opportunity for us,” said the regional head of a big global bank. “With all the oil wealth Iraq has, everyone sees the opportunity. It’s virgin territory for the big international banks.” The first significant deals are likely to be the initial public offerings of Iraq’s three phone operators. Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek are required by the authorities to offer a quarter of their shares on the Iraq stock exchange by the end of August, and could raise more than $3bn if the flotations go smoothly.

  21. Black Smith

    Re: Redesign

    I am the unknown author of “Hermitbook” a social networking site for hermits. My design featured NO place for status updates, NO friendships, NO messaging, and NO posts.

    Hermits the world over would have told me how fresh and clean my design was if they had the ability to do so.

    So, yes, I’m all for clutter reduction.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I love your idea.

      Mine is similar. I like to introduce shy people who are too shy to meet with strangers.

  22. Typing Monkey


    Paulson explained that under this scenario, the common stock of the two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, would be effectively wiped out. So too would the various classes of preferred stock, he said.

    The fund manager says he was shocked that Paulson would furnish such specific information — to his mind, leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.

    There’s no evidence that they did so after the meeting; tracking firm-specific short stock sales isn’t possible using public documents.

    And law professors say that Paulson himself broke no law by disclosing what amounted to inside information.

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