Link 3/21/13

Rat may have caused Fukushima blackout, say officials Guardian. Yet another Richard Smith anti-antidote

Penis-Snatching Panics Resurface in Africa LiveScience (Valissa)

The gel that stops bleeding instantly BoingBoing (Howard Beale IV)

Live coverage: Labor leadership crisis ABC (Ed Harrison)

Record Corporate Insolvencies in Australia Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Budget 2013: Osborne ’employs his sneer technique to good effect’ Telegraph (charles s). That’s one of the things you get from a proper Oxbridge education.

UK government launches huge mortgage subsidies MacroBusiness

Affaire Tapie: Perquisitions chez Christine Lagarde à Paris 20 minutes

Will The Real Clowns Please Stand Up? Testosterone Pit

More Cyprus:

Bank industry chief warns Cypriot banks must reopen in days Reuters. Someone might clue the Troika in.

A Cypriot game of chicken FT Alphaville

Europe Plays I-Didn’t-Do-It Blame Game on Cyprus Bank Tax Bloomberg and The Cyprus bailout blame game begins Financial Times. This had actually started over the weekend.

Cyprus Parliament’s gift to the Eurozone Yanis Varoufakis

Cyprus crisis: The four scenarios

Cyprus bail-out: live Telegraph Financial Times

Why We Won’t Learn From Iraq Atlantic (May S)

Democrat mocks John Boehner for ‘epiphany’ about debt ‘charade’ Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Pentagon Papers lawyer on Obama, secrecy and press freedoms: ‘worse than Nixon’ Glenn Greenwald

Big-Project Binge Fueled Motor City’s Meltdown Bloomberg (May S)

Chevron Pipeline Leaks Thousands of Gallons of Diesel into Precious Wetlands OilPrice

More on the London Whale Loophole bills:

Is JPMorgan a farmer? Dave Dayen, Salon

Wall Street Deregulation Advances As Top Democrat Warns That Vote Could ‘Haunt’ Congress Huffington Post

Mortgage applications slide 7.1% Housing Wire

LO Compensation Based on Product Type? Warehouse Banks to Approve Comp Plans? More Views on Gfee Changes Mortgage News Daily. Get a load of this (emphasis theirs):

My informal information shows pipelines down 20-30% versus six months ago, even though everyone seems incredibly busy dealing with fewer loans. And we’ll see margins compress, compensation decline, and companies tighten their belts or else. The MBA’s application numbers this morning confirmed the continued slide, with apps dropping over 7% last week. Refi’s fell 8%, purchases were down 4%.

FedEx cuts forecasts and Asia capacity Financial Times. The market’s failure to react is surprising. Fedex is seen as an indicator of the economy, and it’s revenues fell even after a 5% price increase.

Freddie Mac and Its Regulator Faulted Over Servicer Complaints Bloomberg

Direct Deposit and Social Security: Not so Nice for Those who Owe: Part II Nathalie Martin, Credit Slips

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Richard Kline

    Regarding FedEx and the market’s non-read of the tea leaves, the market has nothing to do with the real economy and everything to do with neg real rates and Ben’s EZ Buyback Co. at the FedRes.

    Has anyone stopped, yet, to really think what it means that Ben Bernanke has gone bigger and worse than even Alan Greenspan? Yes, Greenspan blew serial bubbles in multiple markets, each bigger than the last. Ben Bernanke has now created a bond bubble while at the same time inflating a nascent equities bubble. I don’t use the term ‘bubble’ lightly in either case, or as a rhetorical exercise. All that free Fed money has pumped up both bonds and equities in grossly unnatural ways, and there is no possible unwind of one which doesn’t blow up the other; likely no possible unwind at all. We have a backcloth of real economic contraction since Q4 2012 as well. The timeframe to ‘an event’ is indefineable, but we’d be mad to think we’ll get even ten years of this, more likely half that at the outside, quite possibly two-three years more. Then, it’s the Devil _and_ the deep blue sea. That is where my thoughts have been since equities went verticle this Q1.

    Reality, who needs it when we’ve got Boozy Ben at the helm?

    1. Can't Help It

      Yep. Worse come to worse, the Fed can hire Fedex to ship cash around :) See what a Central Bank can do? Isn’t the last stage of a bubble always defined by one last extreme move to the upside? For now I am staying invested, but I am also protecting myself by buying volatility, it’s practically on sale.

    2. Bill Smith

      And with all Ben’s CB cohorts around the world matching printing press velocities , it’s a global bond bubble, then in the risk spectrum, all risk assets overpriced. For a little more to worry about you can start thinking derivatives like interest rate futures and counter party risk.

      The Titanic transmission only has a first gear, and there no reverse gear.

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      I was thinking more in terms of what the lead character would look like in an early-60s sitcom if it were written by Sophocles and had the title “Mr. Oed”.
      “Motherrrrrrr! I didn’t know it was Fatherrrrr!”

  2. Jim Haygood

    A changing of the guard far more important than a mere presidential election looms in ten months:

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s “spoken to the president a bit” about his future and that he feels no personal responsibility to stay at the helm until the Fed winds down its unprecedented policies to stimulate the economy.

    “I don’t think that I’m the only person in the world who can manage the exit,” Bernanke said when asked at a news conference in Washington if he’s discussed his plans with President Barack Obama. His term expires at the end of January.

    Bernanke’s comments yesterday meshed with the views of some of Obama’s economic and political advisers who said Bernanke, 59, after spending most of his seven years on the job battling a financial crisis and its aftermath, is exhausted and wants to return to private life.

    Bye bye, Bennykins.

    Like the Cypriots, the Bernank has painted himself into a hopeless, menacing corner with his $3 trillion check kiting spree.

    On the one hand, Ben can try to soak up his yellow ocean of incontinent liquidity, crunching the economy and plunging the Federal Reserve into negative net worth (known as ‘insolvency’ for us mere mortals).

    Or, he can just ‘let it ride’ with a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel, as the inflation tachometer lurches toward the redline.

    Obviously, the prudent thing for a bureaucrat in WAY over his head is to declare victory and leave. Happy landings!

    1. craazyman

      I’ve come to the conclusion — which isn’t very profound or original thinking I admit and I do agree with what I construe to be MMT here — that Fed solvency or lack there-of is purely a form of imagination and not reality.

      There is nothing other than imagination to say the Fed is solvent or insolvent. It could throw away all the drek it’s bought and tell the world it’s fully capitalized and overflowing with money.

      The only final reality are the forms of social cooperational structures that guide economic activity. The dead assets represent cooperational structures that were not sustainable — i.e. very loosely, McMansions and swimming pools on the mortgage side etc. etc. bought by those without the means to afford them or whose means was disrupted by the economic fallout. Let’s assume the Fed owns $1 trillion in worthless paper.

      It doesn’t matter, as long as current social cooperational structures can function in an ongoing way and replace the failed ones. It’s like a neolithic culture of 1000 souls who decides to go on a hunt and it doesn’t produce meat. They can agree to stop and hunt someplace else. If the 1st hunt was monetized through debt issuance, there would be an insolvency. Since it is not, the culture can drop it and move on, untethered to it, so to speak, by the imaginary constructions of debt and money.

      The Fed throwing away its bonds and rebooting is a negating of the failed imaginary construction, similar to an individual deciding to abandon behavioral habits that don’t produce healthy results. As long as the culture can employ other constructions to organize its activity in a productive way, the failure of the antecedent structures don’t matter. But it’s possible the antecedent structures could be too crucial and there would be catastrophe — but this is a problem of social organization, natural resources and cooperation.

      The real issue is the ability to transition, which is a political and social challenge, similar to the neolithic culture agreeing to change plans and move on. There’s an equivalence here — both in relation to a neolithic culture that doesn’t use money and to an individual psyche seeking to abandon habits that don’t sustain — that illuminates what money really is.

      1. Bill Smith

        First off, I’ll say that there is a good chance the Fed does just shred all or part of it’s balance sheet in the end. But that will ultimately mean the rich won again and everyone else lost.

        The way the global rules work right now in central banker/World Bank land is the Treasury would be expected to re-cap the Fed. The Treasury of course could “choose” to do that by raising a big “special” tax, or selling bonds at the free market rate (sans Fed, of course).

        If we step into Imaginary Cheney Space, where the USG is because. Then the Fed shreds everything. That means that there is now $4 trillion of base money floating around and the Fed no longer has any control over the volume of base money because it no longer has any bonds to sell on its balance sheet. To get an idea if this is a potential problem or not, pre-crash the Fed had a balance sheet of $900B, so we are looking at a 4x increase in base money. Given enough time, and for the sake of simplicity say “productivity” stays constant and real growth is low or zero, if the velocity of transactions returns to pre-crash levels, a big inflation problem is baked in the cake.

        One option the Fed would have in this case that doesn’t cost them anything is they could raise reserve requirements. The PBoC does that all the time. That could soak up excess liquidity and then we don’t get impoverished by inflation. The problem going this direction is that would be a major stress on our zombified-financialized-closely coupled-WMD banking sector.

        So once again, Zombies block the path.

      2. Thisson

        If you mean that losses are immaterial to a central bank that can print, we agree. However, there is still a cost to be paid. The losses are foisted off onto the holders of the currency in that their buying power is reduced through dilution caused by printing. So yes, the central bank is always “solvent” but their bad choices do still negatively impact the economy at large.

        1. craazyman

          there are many factors that affect the value of a currency. it’s not a given that this would at all.

          it seems like somebody should “lose”, I acknowledge that, but if winning and losing are re-framed as gaining or giving up discrete abstract increments of social cooperation — which is what money is, before it is counted — then the issue isn’t the quantity of money created or destroyed in the past, but the methods by which it is created/destroyed in the present, and the impact those have on social stability and sustenance (or creation) of cooperational structures that serve society’s needs. The idea of “social justice” is at the heart of all of this, and that’s hard to quantify. Cooperation creates money, money doesn’t create cooperation unless the cooperation structures already exist and then it only animates them.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When you print, or inject money into the system, there are two issues to considier

          1. new money might be distributed into the system in ways that exacerbate the current wealth inequality, with the 0.01% getting more than what they can claim now.

          2. If you print often enough and if by some miracle, the 99.99% get their fair share (thus ‘robbing’ the asset-owning 0.01%, for it is supposed to be more like scenario 1 above), it gets into their psychology to start raising prices on their products and services, even before the next round of money printing.

          Either way, it’s lose-lose for the 99.99% and that’s why the 0.01% are sending out their ‘experts’ to promote money printing.

  3. D. Mathews

    Either I or you are missing something here (likely me). When you say: “The market’s failure to react is surprising. Fedex is seen as an indicator of the economy, and IT’S REVENUES FELL EVEN AFTER A 5% PRICE INCREASE”, it seems contradictory to me. An increase in price that results in a drop in revenue is premised on a relatively elastic demand -> the percentage drop in quantity demanded outstripping the percentage increase in price. So wouldn’t it be incorrect to say the market ‘failed’ to react? It actually DID react with demand dropping substantially as a consequence of the price rise.

  4. AbyNormal
    FIREWALL – Thе Financial Crisis – Firewall Documentary Film 2013: Documentary traces thе history οf thе hyperinflationary blowout οf 1923 Weimar Germany. Calling fοr a freeze οn foreclosures fοr homeowners, аnd a firewall tο separate commercial banking practices lіkе thе selling οf mortgages frοm thе parasitical practices οf investment banks, hedge funds, аnd οthеr criminal enterprises thаt speculated οn those mortgages, thіѕ speculation threatened tο рυt millions οf homeowners out οn thе streets wіth a Weimar 1923-style hyperinflationary blowout οf thе whole Financial system. Thе US government hаνе committed themselves tο rewarding criminal banking institutions through unconstitutional bail outs, аnd іn doing ѕο, hаνе committed thе United States tο іtѕ οwn destruction.

  5. Goin' South

    Re: Motor City Meltdown–

    I hope that piece is included as a particularly egregious example of Harvard-based, neoliberal garbage.

    One thing about it: at least the role of the government as the servant of Capital is made quite open and explicit rather than any pretenses about democracy.

    1. Brindle

      The author is affiliated with the neoliberal, neoconnish’ Manhattan Institute. Gotta unleash that human capital with the help of for-profit, corporate schooling.
      How unsurprising.

      —“Detroit, like the rest of the country, can only come back if the power of its human capital is unleashed. That can only happen with better education, limited regulations and stricter rule of law. To improve education, Detroit should follow New Orleans and move toward a system that is primarily made up of charter schools.”—

      1. JTFaraday

        “limited regulations and stricter rule of law”

        A little contradictory there, no? I guess here we have white collar “regulation” and the “rule of law” that is unleashed on everyone else.

        You know, maybe we should stop “regulating” them. Institute a little zero tolerance.

      1. Thisson

        And no mention of the real problems that ruined detroit: the crippling taxes that drove out the productive and left only the recipients of public largesse.

    2. Klassy!

      If the guy is so against regulations, why not do away with the H-1B program rather than expand it?– no doubt American workers would be more competitive when they’re not up against indentured servants.

  6. direction

    Disgraceful! This is what happens when you use too much conditioner on the unicorn’s horn.

  7. carl

    Big-Project Binge Fueled Motor City’s Meltdown – the author’s fairly insightful on how Detroit got where it is, big capital projects like arenas are in fact little more than Potemkin Villages. But charter schools and food trucks as a fix? Come on, now.

  8. JGordon

    Well it only makes sense that Obama would be worse than Nixon on secrecy; there’s so many more crimes to cover up now.

  9. direction

    Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s an actual journalist!

    Dayden’s piece is excellent, do not miss it. He provides a direct link to the powerpoint presented to the Ag Committee so you can feel like you were actually present at the meeting.

    Fabulous source material for winning quotes like: “End-users do not use derivatives to take on risk for speculative investment purposes and therefore do not meaningfully contribute to systemic risk.”

  10. direction

    This is getting out of hand. Is it too disturbing for tomorrow’s links section?

    There was a long show on NPR yesterday addressing the problem and people were calling in to suggest that we send over drones to kill the poachers. (positive PR spin for the use of drones?) They were citing a dramatic decline in forest elephants, like 65% in the last 10 years, very sad.

  11. JTFaraday

    Well, well. Our politicians simply do not want people studying them:

    “The Senate, by a vote of 73 to 26, approved a measure to finance the government through the end of the fiscal year, on September 30. The bill is expected to win approval in the House of Representatives…

    And the Senate included an amendment that broadly restricts the ability of the NSF to approve any grants involving political science unless the agency can certify them “as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.”

    The amendment was proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican of Oklahoma who has sharply criticized the foundation’s spending priorities.

    Mr. Coburn sent a letter last week to the NSF’s director, Subra Suresh, listing a series of agency-financed projects he considered a waste of taxpayer money. His list included several involving political science, including studies of voter attitudes toward the Senate filibuster and of the cooperation between the president and Congress.

    Such subjects “may be interesting questions to ponder or explore” but aren’t necessarily the best use of taxpayer money, Mr. Coburn told Mr. Suresh. “Studies of presidential executive power and Americans’ attitudes toward the Senate filibuster hold little promise to save an American’s life from a threatening condition or to advance America’s competitiveness in the world,” he wrote.

    The Senate vote drew condemnation from Michael Brintnall, executive director of the American Political Science Association, who called it a dangerous act of political interference in science.

    “Basically, it’s shutting down a whole mode of independent federally funded research on the behavior of the government,” Mr. Brintnall said.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s the way power is structured.

      I study you.

      You don’t study me.

      Only those on higher up on the totem pole can study those below them. Thus we study ants and come up with ways to exterminate them but they don’t/can’t/don’t want to study us.

  12. jjmacjohnson


    From the Detroit piece at Bloomberg:

    “That can only happen with better education, limited regulations and stricter rule of law. To improve education, Detroit should follow New Orleans and move toward a system that is primarily made up of charter schools. “

    1. Ms G

      FYI all — the recreation of Detroit in the image of Kleptocrats is one of Michael Bloomberg’s main projects — and he’s a Chief Panzer of the Kleptocratic Charter School movement — it is not surprising that coverage is gaining steam as his interminable term in office comes to a close.

      This is the future, unless we find some effective way to say “enough” and delete these forms of domestic imperialism.

    2. Klassy!

      Yes– WTF? He’s the one I’d accuse of magical thinking.
      BTW–food trucks I think are the new posterboy for “burdensome regulations”. There was an editorial in my paper about the regulations on these small businesses that add so much to the character of the city, are drivers for job growth, blah blah blah. The writer was a lawyer with a local client. He was from “The Institute for Justice”– Wonder where their funding is coming from?

      1. Ms G


        ILJ — whoa, scary website.

        “Four Pillars: Economic Liberty, Private Property, School Choice, First Amendment, Other.”

        One of the “floating” quotations on the front page is from “Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate” (with a photograph).

        The images “talking heads” are creepy beyond belief — impossible to explain in a short post.

        Here’s the Board of Directors:

        Board of Directors
        David Kennedy (chairman): President Emeritus, Earhart Foundation
        Arthur Dantchik: Managing Director, Susquehanna Investment Group
        William A. Dunn: President, Dunn Capital Management, Inc.
        Bob Gelfond: CEO, MQS Management
        Kenneth N. Levy: Principal and Co-Founder, Jacobs Levy Equity Management
        Robert A. Levy: Chairman, Cato Institute
        Jim Lintott: Principal, Freedom Management Group LLC
        Chip Mellor: President and General Counsel, Institute for Justice
        Stephen Modzelewski: Managing Member, Maple Engine L.L.C.
        Abigail Thernstrom: Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; Adjunct Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

        The list of staffers (mostly attorneys and a bunch of “strategic management” and “coalition building” types) is too long to deep mine at the moment.

        Can’t find any info about funding on their site (ha ha). I have some fun googling ahead.

        1. Ms G

          The Milton Friedman fan-quote for Institute for Justice:

          “The Institute for Justice has become a major pillar of our free society. In area after area—economic liberty, school choice, private property rights — it has provided legal defense against assaults on human freedom. In the process, it has strengthened and deepened liberty.”
          —Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman

          If a guy with the phony Nobel says so, it must by TRUE!

          1. Klassy!

            Check out their first amendment cases. I think they all involve the right to be secret and the right to spend buckets of cash on campaigns.
            It looks like food trucks are the way they’re getting the creative class down with “economic liberty” (guess the Milt quotes aren’t doing it). It appears to be a big initiative of theirs:

          2. Klassy!

            Ms. G,
            Are you sold yet? Your donation to the institute is tax deductible. So let’s get out there and free the food trucks!

          3. Ms G

            @Klassy! I’ve rolled up my sleeves and am rearing to go save those food trucks.

            Meanwhile, it’s bizzarre. Because Bloomberg has used foodtruck licensing to deploy an army of “gourmet food” (belgian waffles, organic mexican, “pop up trucks” selling whatever costing double what a pretzel or a hot dog or a kebab would cost) trucks all over the city – these tend to be very nicely decorated trucks that are huge and gum up streets like you wouldn’t believe. So it’s as though he’s using Peter Pinguid Food Trucks to destroy People’s Food Trucks, but it requires licensing and regulations, etc.

            As I write, though, I think the chain of thought is: use the damn regulations to embed MY trucks, with MY Gourmet Pinguids in charge, have them Scream and Rant about too much regulation, and then make the Pinguid Trucks permanent by removing all regulations except my personal “Permitted Food Trucks List” — resulting in People’s Trucks (Hot Dogs, Pretzels and Kebabs) being wiped out and replaced by yet another Looting Class.

            It really is class warfare.

            I love “Liberate the Food Trucks” :)

          4. Ms G

            I didn’t look at all the 1st Am cases (the yoga teacher training one is hilarious though) but I love the emphasis of their First Amendment practice:

            “the free flow of commercial information is indispensable” to a free society. In 2004 the Institute for Justice freed online advertisers from complying with California’s onerous real estate licensing regime.

            LIBERATE CORPORATE SPEECH AT ALL COSTS! (Actually it’s not funny, because this camp has “speech” rights that have slaughtered not just our speech rights but the right to be free of fraudulent cash annexations.)

          5. Ms G

            Adding. And, obviously, this camp’s victories are most evident in the carte blanche regime of our DollarGov.

  13. Jeff N

    re: Africa – my friend who is in Peace Corps in Malawi recently posted this:

    apparently some child trafficking event happened in my village yesterday. A man went to a home and claimed he was from south africa and was sent by the husband of the family to collect money and the children. sadly, the wife gave the man money and two kids. When the kids reached a destination that was not agreed upon by their mom one of the kids called a relative and the village went crazy! I guess the south african had arrangements with another man to cut the penis off of the boys. village members attacked the man with a panga knife and beat him with sticks. They sliced his ear off and sliced his head in 3 spots. thats the news in nathenje.

    1. Zachary Smith

      I’ve read news accounts about how kidnapping and threatened dismemberment are ‘big business’ in Liberated Iraq. Just start sending back body parts until the relatives cough up the ransom.

      Regarding the “penis snatching”, the results of my search on instances of mass hysteria surprised me. It’s been quite common for a long while, even here in the US.

      I’ll wager the growth of social media like “texts” and “tweets” will cause this kind of news to become more common in the future. Not that it’s happening more, but the cases are better reported.

  14. Best in Show

    In case you were wondering who Obama’s handler is, now that Brennan went back to CIA…

    It’s genius. Think about it: it’s not hard to control your puppet ruler, when he’s an empty suit with no discernible achievements or integrity. But how do you keep him from looking pathetic while you’re putting him through his paces, rewarding him with Liv-a-snaps, making him hold still while the AKC tugs his balls?

    Just make sure his trainer is a even more of an empty suit! Rhodes is even more comically worthless for anything other than relaying his master’s voice. Kid brother of the stage manager for our last three fake elections. That’s it.

    A government of annointed nonentities anaesthetized to the popular will. Talk about kayfabe.

  15. Hugh

    Re Bernanke, for his services to the country, he should spend the remainder of his golden years basking in the warm sunlight of a prison yard. As it is and depending on how things play out his fate is likely to be more extreme, either living in honored, well paid retirement or hanging for the lamppost. I am not a vengeful person, but one of these definitely has a certain appeal.

    In a similar vein, if we had learned anything from Iraq, we would have impeached Bush and Cheney (and yes, they could still be impeached even after leaving office) and sent their cohorts like Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Stephen Cambone, Mike McConnell, Scooter Libby, and David Addington to share that same prison yard with Bernanke.

    Reading through the links, I could not help but think how well they represented the mix of corruption and looting that is kleptocracy.

    1. Goin' South

      Truth from strange sources:

      Harvard Lampoon tweet after Harvard beat New Mexico–

      “America, we are sorry for messing up your brackets and also your financial system and everything else”

      Bernanke (’75) and Blankfein (’75) are evidence enough.

  16. Valissa

    Meet the 6-legged robot lizards that may one day roam Mars

    Crow-Size Pterosaur Named After 9-Year-Old Fossil Hunter
    A new species of crow-size pterosaur has been named in honor of the nine-year-old fossil hunter who discovered it, a new study says. The new species of pterosaur—a type of flying reptile that lived alongside the dinosaurs—was dubbed Vectidraco daisymorrisae after U.K. youngster Daisy Morris.

    While exploring the U.K.’s Isle of Wight (map) in 2008, the then-five-year-old Morris came across blackened “bones sticking out of the sand,” according to the BBC. (Vectidraco means “dragon from the Isle of Wight” in Latin.)

    Scotland may allow Jedi to perform marriage ceremonies

    Fun photo of the day

  17. diane

    Jennifer McKenna, 03/18/13 No Accounting For Auditor PwC At Levin’s Whale Hearing

    You might think that when shareholders pay a firm $105.5 million in audit and audit-related fees for an opinion on whether the financial statements presented fairly, in all material respects, the financial position ofJPMorgan Chase& Co. and its subsidiaries, private equity funds, commingled trust funds and special purpose vehicles at year end, that audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, would also be held accountable when so many things about those financial statements and management’s assertions turned out to be so terribly wrong.

    You might also think that if a ‘failure’ such as that started looking like a method of operation (versus a negligent failure): those in control at that ‘most prestigious’ audit firm, of the Big Four [Oligarchy]!, might be fitted for orange jump-suits. You would, of course, be wrong:

    Banks, and auditors who are responsible for testing and giving an opinion on valuation methodologies and controls, should have learned a stern lesson from the prolonged dispute prior to the crisis – for more than a year – between AIG and its counterparty Goldman Sachs over widely varying marks on a Super Senior Credit Default Swaps portfolio.

    Oh, wait. That was PwC, too, then and now auditor to both AIG and Goldman Sachs, that did eventually push AIG to write down its marks, citing a material weakness in internal controls over its models that determined pricing. AIG’s eventual write down was so material for AIG, as you recall, AIG had to be bailed out by the US taxpayer to the tune of $180 billion dollars.

    (Some bolding mine.)

  18. john c. halasz

    Re: the leader of the U.K. Labor Party, head of the official opposition.

    “Ed Miliband then stood up to reply. His natural style is one of a man with a double novocaine injection.”

    Here’s a sample:

    To me, he seems like someone who failed his audition for the movie “Chicken Run”.

  19. Glenn Condell

    Shorter Labor leadership crisis:

    Australian Labor Party vs Rupert Murdoch.

    Murdoch won.

    1. skippy

      I see it as the [n]eoliberal labor vs the NLP Austrians and the old socialist labor faction just got crutched (as in bah bahhh). In addition Rudd will not stick his head into the inner sanctum until requested by a majority (me wonders why?)

      Skippy… And just remember… Julia is to Obama, what Shrub was to Bush, she is besotted by O’mans emptiness, she is just so thrilled to be there in the first place (un-elected battle field promotion).

      PS. Eddie Obeid was just – too crass – for her refined palate… some should remember to knock before entering… eh.

  20. diane

    Yet another reason not to buy Bezos’ Amazon Books:

    … a love letter to books…(and real bookstores):

    This project is my love letter (or mass e-mail) to books and bookstores. The Quixote is the germ and blueprint of all novels, so it made sense to me to put the pages [ ] inside other novels. Also, I love the occasional odd note or artifact you find between the pages of a used book. ….

  21. diane

    Priceless (I’ve been wanting to scream this for quite some time now, and now seems as good as ever), talk about a [Moneyed, Non Tax Paying, ‘Fair’ Skinned] ‘Mans’ World:

    New America Foundation’s Board Of Directors

    New America’s Board of Directors is chaired by Eric Schmidt, ….

    Oh, and tell those in the Central and South Americas, along with Canada that they are equally represented there, on that New America! Board of Directors ……


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