The banks knew they were selling crap

The problem was, none of this was based on reality. “The banks knew they were selling crap,” says a London-based trader from one of the bailed-out companies. To get AAA ratings, the CDOs relied not on their actual underlying assets but on crazy mathematical formulas that the banks cooked up to make the investments look safer than they really were. “They had some back room somewhere where a bunch of Indian guys who’d been doing nothing but math for God knows how many years would come up with some kind of model saying that this or that combination of debtors would only default once every 10,000 years,” says one young trader who sold CDOs for a major investment bank. “It was nuts.”

The global economic crisis isn't about money – it's about power.

The Big Takeover

The global economic crisis isn’t about money – it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution.

It’s over — we’re officially, royally fucked. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far. It happened when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was forced to admit that he was once again going to have to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars into a dying insurance giant called AIG, itself a profound symbol of our national decline — a corporation that got rich insuring the concrete and steel of American industry in the country’s heyday, only to destroy itself chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire.

The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history — some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That’s $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG’s 2008 losses).

via The Big Takeover : Rolling Stone.

Netiquette Song

While chatting, first greet happily
Use polite words in a cordial way
During the game always be open, honest and do the right thing
Be careful on the keyboard
I know who did it (be careful) I know
I am the internet guardian angel
I will be the first to protect
I want to be the first to protect
Though faces are unknown, it’s a warm neighborhood
Precious Internet friend
Precious Internet friend (friend!)
Netiquette!

From Videogum

Nesting Duck – 47/365

Nesting Duck, originally uploaded by :Duncan.

In the enclosed courtyard. It happened last year, too. The ducklings hatch and have a good space to explore safely. But as they get bigger there is not enough food and the pond is too small, so we have to let them out, ushering them through the dining room. Then they get eaten pretty quickly. We have been trying to shoo the ducks out so they are not tempted to nest here, but this one escaped our notice, hidden so well behind a bush.

An hedgehog that ain't got no sharp bits

He looks like a Clanger only not so coloured in.

We caught a hedgehog once, a spiked one. On a fishing line. By mistake. Inexperienced fisherboys were we, and left the rod outside the tent, with a worm the fish never ate still on the hook. Come the morning, the line is trailing off into them bushes! We follows it and what do we find? Not a sneaking land fish but a poor hedgehog who has swallowed worm, hook ‘n all. Oh no, it’s so sad, poor little blighter! There he was all rolled up and experiencing a hook inside him. Mum, Dad, what can we do? We snipped the line and hoped for the best. Later the hedgehog had scarpered. I hope it lived.

I like the name hedge-hog.

Sit Down, Open Up

Without turning it into a Major Series, I am sitting still every day for one (or two) periods of 20 minutes. Twenty minutes is do-able, not too off-putting, and doesn’t require any shifting around of anything else I want to do.

Why sit still? I don’t really know, except that the only thing I never do is to do nothing. And of course when I am sitting still I am still doing something, namely thinking and sitting. But the body is still and so it is more apparent that the mind is not. And a still mind is not the goal or aim.

Yesterday, day 1, was a doddle. I felt I didn’t want to sit but I also wanted to more than anything. I was in running mode, my standard mode for, oh, a couple of decades and more. Afterwards was the clear knowledge that I didn’t need to run, that there was nothing waiting for me within if I stop a while.

Today, straight after work, within a few seconds massive intensity across the forehead, into the eyebrows, an intense ache. So the question: am I doing this to my face? And it seems I wasn’t, but there it was, the tension tightening up my forehead, eyebrows, then nose, and acute pain into the lips even, all screwed up. Quite literally. The vanity kicks in: you can’t let your face do this! Even the old: what if the wind changes, you’ll be stuck like this! But vanity doesn’t know shit and if this tension is there and continues, it’s going to instruct the face to look that way. That’s what tension does. It’s tense, caught up, uptight, and so are we.

This tightening continued for about 15 of the 20 minutes and then it left as suddenly as it came, leaving tingling skin and hundred of facial muscles softening.

Sit down and shut up
Sit down and open up