“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Male and Female Brain. Finding Lucca.

Some time ago, I took a lady friend to Tuscany to relax, hunt and enjoy the pleasures of her company and rural Italy in off-season. Not necessarily in that order. One day we decided to take a meandering trip to Lucca, a charming ancient walled city founded by the Etruscans. I intentionally planned a back route so that we could enjoy the scenic trip and marked up a map and handed it to her. She insisted she was not good with maps and I insisted she would do just fine.

She is a bright and good humored woman and as usual she was right. It soon became obvious to both of us that her skills at navigation were not up to the task.

In frustration she refused to further humiliate herself and quit, forcing the map back on me. Unfortunately, I need reading glasses and could not both drive and read without getting us killed. A stop at a little cafe saved the moment.

Over coffee, I came up with a plan. Country road signs in Italy are quite good and reliable. I wrote down a list of all the places we needed to pass through on our route to Lucca. She happily accepted the list, and checked off each little village, one at a time, and we got to Lucca without a further wrong turn.

The Telegraph explains:


Why women cannot read maps and men lose their keys

Women's difficulty in reading maps and men's uselessness in finding things under their noses could be explained by new research, scientists claim.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent Telegraph
Last Updated: 6:48AM GMT 24 Feb 2009

Scientists believe the reason the sexes differ is due to their different roles in evolution.

Men had to hunt and stalk their prey, so became skilled at navigation, while women foraged for food and so became good at spotting fruits and nuts close by.
The theory emerged from a study which looked at the different ways in which men and women appreciate art.

Researchers discovered that a brain region called the parietal lobe, which governs spatial awareness, is active in both men and women when they admire a "beautiful" picture or photograph.

But while neurons on both sides of the brain were stimulated in women, only those in the right hemisphere were activated in men.

The left side deals with closer range objects while the right is better at co-ordinates.

The scientists, led by Dr Francisco Ayala from the University of California, and reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, believe differences in the way men and women appreciate beauty probably arose early in the evolution of early modern humans, say the researchers.

Hunting, traditionally done by men, required a "co-ordinating" ability to track animals accurately while on the move. Closer spatial awareness was better suited to foraging for fruit, roots or berries, a job mainly carried out by women.
"Women tend to be more aware than men of objects around them, including those that seem irrelevant to the current task, whereas men out-perform women in navigation tasks," the scientists wrote.

"Men tend to solve navigation tasks by using orientation-based strategies involving distance concepts and cardinal directions, whereas women tend to base their activities on remembering the location of landmarks and relative directions, such as "left from", or "to the right of"."


  1. ah, one of Mat's 'neighborhood clusters', where everyone gets to know one another, the rats breed like flies, every argument and every lovers spat and makeup is heard by all, and if someone drops a cigarette, the whole cluster goes up in smoke, cluster fucked, to the final great relief of the whole community.

    The design of my new development has a traffic circle, but not a round plaza like that, where you could, it looks like, have a neat little bullfight.

    My wife is great at naviagation, much better than I, and, once over a route, she never forgets the way. I've remarked on this ability several times to her, but she says it all seems normal. It could be that she is just normal, and I'm terrible, still a great gap is set between us. Or maybe like Doug says my mind is mush.

    In Hawaii they don't have maps, but just go to the sound of the drumming, kind of 'that way over there'.

  2. Agree with most of the observations on differences.
    The Evolutionary "explanations" seem shaky.

    Wife generally followed rules in school and elsewhere better than I, but the convention of always having North at the top of the Map is Sacrosanct for me, optional for the wife.

  3. I just listen for Sonia's Siren Song, al-Bob.

  4. Biggest sex-linked differences between wife and son and I are Guy Humor, which the wife generally finds banal.
    For some guys like me, the more banal, the better!

  5. My aunt had perfect navigation, except north and sout, east and west were always exactly backwards. Uncanny, and a source of humorous delight to all. You'd get there, you'd just have to circle the earth to do so.

    I just listen for Sonia's Siren Song, al-Bob.

    My point exactly, navigation 'by ear' :)

  6. She also can't understand why we laugh hysterically at stuff like that V-8 Unicycle Moron.

    By the same token, she doesn't understand why WE feel compelled to perform similar stunts.
    (or I did when I was our son's age.)

  7. From my daughter. My women are getting into the spirit of the 2nd Amendment these days. Here

  8. I too have noticed a difference in humor. I'll be laughing like hell, she'll say, "what are you laughing at" I'll say "look at this" she does, then says "you're all crazy".
    She always adds, too, "you don't even know those people".

  9. Wife told me @ dinner that son sold one of his rifles back to the guy he bought it from, because the guy's wife was mad @ him for selling it!
    ...I think it was the Nazi rifle, I'll try to remember to ask him tommorrow.

  10. I may have found a Native American gun dealer near here. Have an e-mail in to him. If so, I think I'll be able to avoid some taxes.
    Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms--all tax free! Your 'one stop' dealer.

  11. Kevin James says Oklahoma passed some Sovereignty measure today.

    Jindal's explanation for turning down Fed's $100 Million dollar bribe was perfect, and brilliantly articulated, as usual.

  12. sold one of his rifles back to the guy he bought it from

    Did he turn a profit on the transactions?

  13. That's what Gov. "Butch" Otter is concerned with--you accept the money, you're on the hook forever, looks like. We are turning some down here as well.

    "Butch", who fancies himself a real horseman, just fell off his horse recently, and broke his leg.

    Used to be married to Simplot's daughter, couldn't keep his pecker in his pants, even for all that money.

  14. Nah, son's a nice guy with his friends, kind of an asshole w/me, ...but like the song says,
    "He turned out just like me"

  15. Chip off the block, eh, the acorn don't fall far from the tree:)

  16. My child arrived just the other day
    He came to the world in the usual way
    But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
    He learned to walk while I was away
    And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
    He'd say "I'm gonna be like you dad
    You know I'm gonna be like you"

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin' home dad?
    I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
    You know we'll have a good time then

    My son turned ten just the other day
    He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
    Can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today
    I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok"
    And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
    And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
    You know I'm gonna be like him"

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin' home son?
    I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
    You know we'll have a good time then

    Well, he came home from college just the other day
    So much like a man I just had to say
    "Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
    He shook his head and said with a smile
    "What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
    See you later, can I have them please?"

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin' home son?
    I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
    You know we'll have a good time then

    I've long since retired, my son's moved away
    I called him up just the other day
    I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
    He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
    You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
    But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
    It's been sure nice talking to you"

    And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
    He'd grown up just like me
    My boy was just like me

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin' home son?
    I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
    You know we'll have a good time then

  17. Comet Lulin Pays A Visit To Our Neighborhood

    Up there somewhere around the planet Saturn right now, so they say.

    Is it a sign in the heavens of some coming event? Some preternatural upheaval? The overthrow of kings. The collapse of empires?

    The end of the world?

    Only the gods know for sure.

  18. Obamacide

    Was right by your youtube, al-Doug.

    "Onward to the comfort room"

  19. Obama is talking about cutting the deficit in half. Not that we weren't there before, but now we are really moving into the area of 'magical thinking', where wish is father to fact, and bunnies come out of hats. The sea level will be controlled before this comes to pass, with the spending going on. Obama's statements should become the butt of a national joke. Though the joke's on us.

  20. Magical thinking usually comes at the end of a regime, not in the first 30 days. This is very worrisome. The markets though, not given to magical thinking, will discount it, except they see it as a formula for much higher taxes, which will push prices even lower.

    Drinking A Dry Martini At The Department of Agriculture

    Bottoms Up!

  21. "This will not be easy," Obama told his White House audience.

    No shit.

  22. That's MY tuna. Bob. Per the terms of our agreement, you are not entitled to it until and unless Obama pulls us out of Afghanistan.

    But, here, have a little sheep's head jelly. (That might be what the housekeeper made for herself for breakfast. Whatever the hell it was, the smell of it drove me outside.)

    Early this morning I came across a phrase you might like: Pessimism porn.

    I got an earful of same last night over the phone. Not quite as titillating as the other kind.

    How much dreariness can be packed into a ten minute phone call? Let me tell you how much...

    More Hello Kitty, please. More Hello Kitty.

  23. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.


  24. Sound Investment Advice:

    If you had purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock, it would now be worth $49.00. With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1000.00. With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left. If you had purchased $1000 of Delta Air Lines stock you would have $49.00 left. But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of wine one year ago, drank all the wine, then turned in the bottles for the recycling refund, you would have had $214.00. Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle!


  25. Dang, was hoping to at least get one can of tuna.

    Thought Mat had turned over a new leaf till the last sentence:)

  26. Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist, said the other day Obama was wrong to send more troops into Afghanistan, thereby agreeing with most of the Bar.

    But will he blow up the Pentagon, this time around? Kill a few cops? They should have asked him that question. He was on one of the major networks.

  27. The most successful people are those who are have a Plan C.


  28. TARGET profit falls 41%...

    MACY'S reports 59% drop...

    OFFICE DEPOT shows $1.5B loss..

    Home prices post record decline...

    Consumer Confidence Collapsed to Record Low in February...

    Bernanke Hope: Recession will end this year...

    We're gonna need a Plan D, E, F, Mat.

  29. Paths to Repudiation

  30. The government is in talks to convert most of its $45 billion of preferred stock in Citi (C) to common stock, the WSJ says. Other preferred shareholders might follow suit.

    This plan would raise the government's ownership of Citi to 40%+ from just under 8%. Common shareholders would be severely diluted, especially if other preferred holders convert.

    The FT puts the total possible preferred conversion at $75 billion. Citi's common is currently worth $10 billion. So, at the current price, the conversion would give the preferred shareholders almost 90% of the common equity.

    The goal of these conversions would be to boost Citi's tangible equity (by converting preferred, which is a hybrid debt-equity security, to common stock).

    Bank of America (BAC) denies that similar talks are taking place with respect to its own stock, but the denial is far from categorical. They're probably coming.

    This would be the third--third--government move to save Citigroup in the past six months. Once again, it seems a weak half-measure. The goverment needs to just step up and solve this problem once and for all: By seizing 100% control of Citi, writing down its assets, restructuring it, and selling it off.

    To Ashley this is all mental torture. A chain of events following a confusing mangled logic.

  31. Wal-Mart Reports Financial Results for Fiscal Year and Fourth Quarter

     Q4 Reported EPS was $0.96, Exceeding Recent Guidance
     Underlying EPS was $1.03, Exceeding First Call Consensus Estimate
     FY09 Reported EPS was $3.35; Underlying EPS was $3.42
     Record Full-Year Free Cash Flow of $11.6 Billion

    BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 17, 2009 -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today reported sales and earnings
    for the quarter and the year ended Jan. 31, 2009. Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 were $107.996 billion, an increase of 1.7 percent from $106.208 billion in the fourth quarter last year. Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $3.792 billion, a decrease of 7.7 percent from $4.110 billion in the fourth quarter last year. Without a litigation settlement charge and the effect of unfavorable currency exchange rates, income from continuing operations would have been positive on a comparable basis.
    Reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations (“reported EPS”) for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 were $0.96, exceeding the company’s most recent guidance of $0.91 to $0.94. The underlying diluted earnings per share from continuing operations (“underlying EPS”) were $1.03. Underlying EPS represents reported EPS in accordance with GAAP, adjusted for charges from the settlement of 63 U.S. class action wage and hour lawsuits (the “litigation charge”) of approximately $255 million on an after-tax basis for the fourth quarter. A reconciliation of reported and underlying EPS (a non-GAAP measure) for the full year and fourth quarter is provided in a schedule at the end of this release.
    Last year, Wal-Mart earned $1.03 per share from continuing operations in the fourth quarter, which included a net charge of approximately $0.02 per share for real estate transactions and certain restructuring of its Japanese operations.
    Net sales for the fiscal year were $401.244 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent over fiscal year 2008. Income from continuing operations increased 3.0 percent to $13.254 billion, up from $12.863 billion in the prior year.
    Reported EPS for fiscal year 2009 was $3.35, up 6.0 percent from $3.16 in the prior year. Underlying EPS was $3.42, excluding the litigation charge.
    “Wal-Mart recorded the strongest sales result in its history in the fourth quarter, with $108 billion in sales,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. president and chief executive officer. “We achieved this through the hard work of our associates, helping our customers save money so they can live better.
    “Our performance relative to competitors was exceptionally strong in the fourth quarter and throughout the year.
    We expect this momentum to continue,” Duke said. “We finished the year with a strong balance sheet, record free cash flow of $11.6 billion and great inventory management. Our company created approximately 63,000 jobs worldwide this year, including more than 33,000 in the United States. In addition, Wal-Mart remains wellpositioned to continue to serve our customers in a challenging environment because of its strong price leadership.”

  32. I see a multi year head & shoulder pattern developing on WMT. This stock is going lower.

  33. 'Slumdog' cleans up at the Oscars

    MYGOD, how low have we sunk.

  34. Safari 4

  35. Bozo is up for a big speech tonight. I'm not listening. I'll hear about it.

    It'll be a speech of magic. Wand waving. Bunnies.

  36. If you don't have a woman with you to tell you which way to go just Put Red Fred In The Shed

    In fact, even if you have a woman with you, you might want to check Red Fred.

  37. And never forget, moss grows best on the north sides of the trees. Least in North America. Opposite would be true in South America. And, you all know where the north star is. Sun sets in the west, rises in the east. You'll do fine.

  38. FBI Director Warns of Mumbai-Style Attacks in U.S.

    Monday, February 23, 2009 10:12 PM

    FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III issued a new warning Monday that terrorists are prepared to conduct Mumbai-style attacks on U.S. soil.

    In a speech before the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., Mueller said that small terror networks "with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons to maximize their impact."

    The FBI director then added ominously: "And it again raises the question of whether a similar attack could happen in Seattle or San Diego, Miami, or Manhattan."

    Mueller said that terror groups could use homegrown radicals, rather than foreign terrorists, to infiltrate the country. He noted that there are "pockets of people around the world that identify with al-Qaida and its ideology" but act independently of its leadership.

    He revealed that a 27-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, Shirwa Ahmed, engaged in a suicide bombing in Somalia last year.

    "A man from Minneapolis became what we believe to be the first U.S. citizen to carry out a terrorist suicide bombing," Mueller said.

  39. “The day before the attacks in Mumbai, special agent Steve Merrill, our legal attaché in the Delhi office, was enjoying his first day off in nearly a month,” said FBI director Robert Muller at the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday.

    “He was on his way to Jodhpur to play cricket for the US embassy team in the Maharaja’s annual tournament. For the record, you do not need to know how to play cricket to work in the FBI’s New Delhi office, but it certainly does not hurt,” Muller said amid laughter from the audience.

    “The moment he learnt of the attacks, Steve made his way to Mumbai,” the FBI chief said. He immediately contacted his Indian counterparts and got to work.

    FBI Agent

  40. Lineman mentioned Mr Freeman a day or three ago, I recall, bob.

    Another part of the new America that was ushered into omni-partisan power, last Novemeber.

    Another brick in the wall, or off it, depending upon ones' perspective on the matter.

    Fits right into the Obama State Department ratification of the the advisory opinion of the ICJ [International Court of Justice] on the wall, [i.e., Israel's security fence], and the international protection of Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory."
    At least Ms Glick feels that way, about US and our actions.
    Mr Freeman, Ms Powers and a host of lesser players, all working on US policy, in a new light.

    As Mr Biden said while in Europe:
    ... it's long time passed for us to secure a just, two-state solution. We will work to achieve it. And we'll work to defeat extremists who perpetuate the conflict. And in building on positive elements of the Arab Peace Initiative put forward by Saudi Arabia, we'll work toward a broader regional peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and we'll responsibly draw down our forces that are in Iraq in the process.

  41. The camp's dry goods store opened only a day ago, but its windows are already greasy and smudged from the many faces pressed up against it. As workers stack bags of rice, lentils, and flour on crude wooden shelves, war-weary Tamil refugees stare longingly inside.


    Authorities say conditions will improve once more camps are built and international aid flows more freely. Sri Lanka has asked foreign donors to shoulder much of the cost.


    Devi Segaram, an English teacher, joined around 1,000 others who waited till dawn on Feb. 7 before cutting across a field that lay between the two forces. On their way out, they ran into a group of five LTTE soldiers, who fired warning shots to stop them.

    Detention in Camps

  42. The Big Test


    President Obama has concentrated enormous power on a few aides in the West Wing of the White House. These aides are unrolling a rapid string of plans: to create three million jobs, to redesign the health care system, to save the auto industry, to revive the housing industry, to reinvent the energy sector, to revitalize the banks, to reform the schools — and to do it all while cutting the deficit in half.

    If ever this kind of domestic revolution were possible, this is the time and these are the people to do it. The crisis demands a large response. The people around Obama are smart and sober. Their plans are bold but seem supple and chastened by a realistic sensibility.

    Yet they set off my Burkean alarm bells. I fear that in trying to do everything at once, they will do nothing well. I fear that we have a group of people who haven’t even learned to use their new phone system trying to redesign half the U.S. economy. I fear they are going to try to undertake the biggest administrative challenge in American history while refusing to hire the people who can help the most: agency veterans who are registered lobbyists.

    I worry that we’re operating far beyond our economic knowledge. Every time the administration releases an initiative, I read 20 different economists with 20 different opinions. I worry that we lack the political structures to regain fiscal control. Deficits are exploding, and the president clearly wants to restrain them. But there’s no evidence that Democrats and Republicans in Congress have the courage or the mutual trust required to share the blame when taxes have to rise and benefits have to be cut.

    All in all, I can see why the markets are nervous and dropping. And it’s also clear that we’re on the cusp of the biggest political experiment of our lifetimes. If Obama is mostly successful, then the epistemological skepticism natural to conservatives will have been discredited. We will know that highly trained government experts are capable of quickly designing and executing top-down transformational change. If they mostly fail, then liberalism will suffer a grievous blow, and conservatives will be called upon to restore order and sanity.

    It’ll be interesting to see who’s right. But I can’t even root for my own vindication. The costs are too high. I have to go to the keyboard each morning hoping Barack Obama is going to prove me wrong.

  43. ARM Netbooks Could Make OS X the Mobile OS to Rule Them All

  44. Most of Canada's 2,800 troops in Afghanistan are currently in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.

    U.S. President Barack Obama has said he wants to send 30,000 additional American soldiers to Afghanistan. Last week, he approved adding about 17,000 U.S. troops to the troubled region.

    During his visit to Ottawa, Obama stressed that he did not press Prime Minister Stephen Harper to extend Canada’s combat role in Afghanistan, slated to end in 2011.

    Presence in Afghanistan

  45. I'm really liking the font rendering in Safari 4. Very nice.

  46. Japan incurred a record trade deficit of 952.6 billion yen in January, posting a red ink figure for the fourth straight month, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.


    The trade surplus with the United States slipped 75.3 percent.

    The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustments for seasonal factors.

    953 Bil Yen in Jan

  47. Clinton said on Feb. 15 that she intended to discuss with Lavrov a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including the war in Afghanistan, plans for opening new arms control talks and cooperating to contain the spread of nuclear arms technology.

    The State Department declined to discuss Clinton's travel plans beyond the donors conference, where she will be joined by George Mitchell, who left Washington on Monday for his second tour of the region as the administration's special envoy to the Middle East peace process.

    Mitchell is visiting London; Ankara, Turkey; Tel Aviv; Abu Dhabi; the West Bank and Jerusalem, in addition to the donors conference at Egypt's Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheik.

    Mideast Politics

  48. Reid to Seek Federal Role on Power Lines

    WASHINGTON -- Democrats' eagerness to boost the use of green energy appears set to collide with one of Washington's oldest maxims -- that all politics are local.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that he plans to introduce legislation giving federal regulators greater power to approve the routes of transmission lines needed to convey electricity generated in remote rural areas to coastal population centers. The move raises the prospect of conflict between federal energy regulators and state and local authorities, which have typically wielded extensive influence over decisions on the construction and location of new transmission lines.

    Mr. Reid said he also expects the Senate to begin debating, within two weeks, a far-reaching proposal that would include a mandate that states derive a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. Mr. Reid's comments, underscoring Democrats' keenness to pass broader energy legislation before the spring recess in early April, came at a conference in Washington on clean energy attended by several of President Barack Obama's top aides. Also attending the event, sponsored by the Center for American Progress, was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.

    New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, has been trying for weeks to build Republican support for a wide-ranging energy bill. He told reporters that Mr. Reid's timetable was "pretty optimistic," and that a more realistic time frame for producing such legislation was four to six weeks.

  49. Georgia's Second District Congressman Sanford Bishop, who finds himself in the eye of the peanut industry's salmonella storm, has reportedly blossomed into a "go-to" guy after eight terms in Congress. "I've seen his transformation into being a statesman and the person who knows the ins and outs of the political process," says veteran state Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), the Georgia House Democratic Caucus chairman.


    Bishop admits that he is enjoying this political season because there is "absolutely" a decidedly different atmosphere in Washington.

    "There is a lot of excitement," he beams. "There is an era of change.

    Peanut Industry Politico

  50. Update To AIG Ticker

    In the "AIG: Inquiring Minds Want To Know" I asked the rather pertinent question regarding AIG's expected request for "more bailout" - who has been bailed out thus far?

    Well, Bloomberg answered some of that question today:

    The insurer made $18.7 billion in payments tied to swaps in the three weeks after AIG's Sept. 16 bailout, according to another person familiar with the situation. The largest recipients were Societe Generale SA, which got $4.83 billion, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. with $2.97 billion, Deutsche Bank AG with $2.92 billion, Calyon Securities with $1.89 billion and Merrill Lynch & Co. with $1.32 billion, the person said.

    So let me see if I got this right.

    The United States Taxpayer covered bad bets that Goldman Sachs, SocGen, Deutsche, Calyon and Merrill made?

    Who else?

    Now why do I call these "bad bets"?

    Because these firms knowingly and willfully failed to perform margin supervision nightly on AIG as their counterparty, they failed to provide their own supervision, and since they knowingly took this position aware of the lack of a central counterparty and systemic margin supervision they are the ones who are responsible for doing so.

    Having not done so, having been derelict in their responsibility to supervise the margin capacity of their own counterparties to these swaps, and as a direct consequence finding themselves with a potentially worthless contract we now as taxpayers are told by subterfuge that we must bail out AIG to prevent "systemic damage."

    The simple fact of the matter is that this is exactly akin to someone playing with gasoline inside their living room, spilling it all over the place, having it catch fire and then being pissed off when the fire department isn't there within 30 seconds to put it out.

    Let me be perfectly clear - I don't care who wants to trade with whom, provided that I as a taxpayer are not called to bail them out when they fail to supervise their positions.

    Since it is now clear that none of these firms will (or can) perform their own supervision of these positions there is only one answer that will work to prevent this sort of systemic damage: The trading of CDS contracts off a regulated exchange sans a central counterparty must be banned as a matter of federal law.


    I have argued for over a year that "private" (over the counter) CDS are an open invitation to abuse, are unsound in the first instance, encourage and overlook fraud (the willful writing of swaps you have no hope of being able to cover) and are impossible to supervise adequately, despite the protests of the ISDA and others.

    We now have proof - I'm right and they're wrong.

    How do we accomplish draining this swamp and putting a stop to the abuses, malfeasance and misfeasance?

    Go read the previous Ticker.

    This must be enacted into law, and it must be done now.

    Honestly, we need to line up these people against the wall and just start removing them from this planet. And the same for those that let them get away with this nonsense.

  51. "You need to do massive fiscal stimulus, Europe is not doing enough, Japan is not doing enough," Roubini said.

    "That's the risk right now, of an L-shaped recession. This is what we are facing right now, the risk of a near depression, and unfortunately policymakers are really behind the curve.

    It's time to act, right now."

    Market Friendly

  52. 80. blert:

    China is more bankrupt than America…

    I know, I know, that’s pretty hard to believe…

    You need to check out their INSANE over investment in commercial real estate. They’ve been ‘building Manhattan’ each year for years.

    Shanghai is now Hung-Lo…

    She has about a twenty-year supply of empty Class A office space for let.

    China is set to IMPLODE.

  53. The Mexican Mafia
    Tony Rafael

    Mexico: " Afghanistan w/Beaches "

    Phoenix has the second highest kidnapping rate IN THE WORLD.

    The Mexican Mafia

    The Mexican Mafia controls virtually every Hispanic neighborhood in Southern California and is rapidly expanding its influence into the entire Southwest, across the East Coast, and even into Canada. Riding a wave of unchecked immigration and seemingly beyond the reach of law enforcement, the Mexican Mafia is poised to become the Cosa Nostra of twenty-first-century America.

  54. In The Hat
    As if we needed any reminder that Mexico is about to achieve critical mass, here comes another story of multiple beheadings. Click on the link for the details.

    Drug war terror spreads in Mexico as bodies are dumped in tourist areas

    The Zs carved into the victims is the mark of the Zetas. Look it up if you're not familiar with that group. It's becoming clear that Mexico is a far more dangerous place than Iraq or Afghanistan if you're cop, citizen or a tourist. While the war it the Middle East seems to get the bulk of attention from politicians and the media, the homicide rates, kidnappings and general lawlessness in certain parts of Mexico make our troop presence in the Stans appear like a minor police action.

    Unfortunately, the dope wars, violence and all the collateral problems that come with it are not longer confined to south of the border. Hospitals in Texas border towns are compelled to accept the all too frequent gunshot victims driven at high speed from Mexico. When that happens, local Texas cops have to drop what they're doing and create a cordon sanitaire around the hospital to prevent follow-up homicides. As reported in Mexican media, cartel operators will often follow an ambulance bearing their victims to the hospital and finish the job with high velocity lead right there in the operating or recovery rooms. And recently, there was the not well reported incident where rogue Mexican Army soldiers invaded a rival drug house in Phoenix, Arizona.

  55. Eleven decapitated bodies have been found outside the city of Merida on the Yucatan peninsula, heightening fears that Mexico's recent descent into violence has reached even heavily protected tourist areas

    Perhaps inspired by the insurgency in Iraq, Mexican drug gangs have started to use mass beheadings as a macabre public relations tool.

    In an incident two years ago, several severed heads were rolled across the floor of a nightclub in the southern state of Michoacan. Earlier this week, four decapitated bodies were found in Tijuana, across the border from San Diego.

    The aim, according to government officials, is to create “an atmosphere of terror”.

  56. Accounts of Taliban atrocities are many. Bukhtawar Khan’s wife, mother and sister-in-law were all brutally killed by armed men inside their home on February 4 while he was at work.

    Laiba, his two-month-old daughter, lost her mother.

    Khan said the attackers were punishing his family for giving drinking water to soldiers manning a post near their home in the village of Matta Tehsil.

    Blood and Fear

  57. For you, LT:

    First Solar Claims $1-a-Watt 'Industry Milestone'

    By James Kanter

    First Solar The Tempe, Arizona-based maker of photovoltaic cells said government subsidies of the sort provided in Germany are helping to make the solar industry competitive.

    The solar photovoltaic industry has plenty of supporters, but wider uptake of the technology has long been hampered by cost.

    High costs have not just prevented consumers and companies plastering more homes and offices with solar cells. They also have bolstered the claim that large quantities of fossil fuels and nuclear power will be necessary in the future in part because solar panels do not provide value for money.

    On Tuesday, First Solar, a global photovoltaic panel maker based in Tempe, Arizona, said it had reached an "industry milestone" by reducing its production costs to less than $1/watt.

    In a statement — seen by Green Inc. on Tuesday — First Solar, which has produced modules for solar installations in several countries in Europe, said it had brought costs down to $1 from $3 over the past four years through economies of scale by increasing its production capacity by 50 times, and by passing-on those savings to customers and consumers.

    First Solar's chief executive, Mike Ahearn, tipped his hat to countries like Germany that have offered generous tariffs to producers of solar electricity.

    "Without forward-looking government programs supporting solar electricity, we would not have been able to invest in the capacity expansion which gives us the scale to bring costs down," Mr. Ahearn said in the statement.


  58. What is a brain? What is a mind? What is consciousness? What is Spirit?

    The Eye That Alters Alters All
    William Blake

    There is now a huge amount of data which shows that, as your level of consciousness changes, the perceiv ed world alters. There are descriptions of mystical experience in which the world is totally transformed. People who have had these experiences say that when they are in this altered state of consciousness the world has a quite different structure. Often, they will describe the world as being composed of love, and say that every element of the universe is alive and conscious.

    One way of interpreting these observations is to postulate a transcendent reality which coexists with and interpenetrates our ordinary reality. We see one reality when the brain is working one way, and another when it is working differently. Taking this as the model, it would not be too difficult to assume that there are other realities which interpenetrate our usual world and of which we may never be aware. If this were the structure of the universe, then the idea that souls coexisted with us would be perfectly tenable. An interpenetrating, transcendental reality would also provide an answer to the problem of what happens to the soul after the death of the body; it allows a location for the soul, coexistent with the material universe and yet outside it.

    We could make some predictions from this model. On page 302 for example, is an eyewtiness account by a doctor who saw something apparently leave the body at the moment of death. The theory of interpenetrating realities would suggest that what he saw was the transition of the soul from one material universe to another. What is interesting about his account is that he seemed to find it harder to see what happened towards the end of the process, as if there were a gradual change in materiality of whatever it was he saw, with a parallel change in it's visibility.

    The theory has further predictions. It suggests that there may be people who have differently functioning brains and who are able to be aware of a different level of reality. This, at least, is testable--and in an experiment we did some years ago we set out to test it. Twenty mediums agreed to be given tests of brain function. We compared the results with those of a control group of people who were given similar tests. For various technical reasons we predicted that the right temporal lobe would be functioning abnormally in the mediums, probably because it had been damaged. And this is precisely what we found.

    There are two ways of interpreting this. First, one can say simply that a damaged, malfunctioning brain produces a distorted view of the world. But equally valid is the suggestion that such a brain allows a different view of the world, opening a "window" through which a different reality could be seen. Recently, two patients in a head injury unit run by one of the authors of this book reported that after their head injury they developed some unwelcome precognitive ability; often when they passed people in the street they could see that something unpleasant was going to happen to them in the future. Both were upset by this, one so much that she would never go out.

    Modern experiments in parapsychology certainly provide evidence for precognition. But what kind of universe would we have to postulate to allow for knowledge of the future? Causality would be quite different in a universe in which the present could influence the future and the future influence the past. Events would not be random, as at any point the present might be interrupted by the future; synchronicity would be a normal characteristic of such a world. Reincarnation might also be a possibiltiy, with future lives running concurrently with present lives.


    What we believe does seem to structure the world that we create for ourselves. Most Westerners are now disinclined to believe in miracles in the New Testament sense. R. Gardner, in the 1983 Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, writes a most attractive article on miracles in which he quotes the following story, which illustrates the power of belief.

    When modern missionairies left some gospel books behind in Ethiopia and returned many years later, they not only found a flourishing Church but a community of believers among whom miracles like those mentioned in the new Testament happened every day--because there had been no missionaries to teach that such things were not to be taken literally.

    It is easy to look around us and say reincarnatin doesn't exist when it is our culture that has made it disappear. To come to a wider conclusion on reincarnation we need to stand well back from our culture so as to be able to take a different view. Because our currnt belief systems do not allow for miracles, we do not either experience them or see the evidence to support them. We have been converted to the new faith of science by scientific missionaries.

    The fortunate few hve some personal experience to guide them; for the rest of us there is only uncertainty. But perhaps we need some uncertainty about our chances of survival. As Martin Gardner, in The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener, points out: "If we knew that the Celestial Emerald City were around the bend of death, and knew it with the kind of certainty that we know the exisence of London or Paris, our lives would be disrupted by our impatience to get there. You must travel a road to reach the end of it, but jumping out a window will get you off the earth in just a few minutes."

    from "Past Lives"

    Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick

    Peter Fenwick is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He holds a research post as a senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He has a special interest in sleep and has been involved in research into lucid dreams.

  59. San Francisco Chronicle going down. Some paper in Philadelphia closes too, I read. Carlos Slim has saved the NY Times, for now.

    Our local paper here just laid off 10 employees, and is planning on publishing the Moscow/Pullman paper at the same time as the Lewiston/Clarkston one, to save bucks.

    Save a tree! Read the news on the internet!

    The day of the newspaper is passing.

    But what will we do for bird cage flooring, and fishwrap?

  60. Obama’s 3 Big Lies
    His Plan to Destroy the GOP

    Urgent Message From Scott Wheeler
    Executive Director

    Dear Reader:

    Let me tell you the real reason Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid pushed through the biggest spending bill in history — without proper debate, without Republican input, and without any public scrutiny at all.

    Simply, they are trying to turn the United States into a one-party country and to put the Republican Party out of business once and for all.

    The massive appropriation called a stimulus — some $787 billion of your money — is really a political war chest for the Democrats.

    They want to change the face of American politics forever, and they want to use your taxpayer money to do it.

    They want to use billions from our treasury to reward their political friends — and have huge amounts of cash to dole out before the 2010 and 2012 elections.

    Some people have wondered why, if the country is in dire need of emergency “stimulus,” most of the money appropriated by this law will not even be spent this year.

    Instead, spending will go on for five to 10 years.

    There is no mystery here, as the answer is simple: These billions in taxpayer funds will fund the Democratic political machine for many years to come.

    Chicago Machine Takes Over Washington
    You must remember — the media won't tell you this — that Barack Obama is a product of the corrupt political machine in Chicago headed by Mayor Richard Daley.

    Chicago is run as a one-party city. The Democratic political machine and the government are one in the same.

    Just like we saw recently in Congress, there is no real debate in Chicago. Deals are brokered in the back rooms among the ward leaders, the mayor and their cronies.

    What the political machine decides, the public has to accept it. The city council serves simply as a rubber stamp — much the same way the Congress just acted for Obama.

    And public money in Chicago is used to protect and serve the interests of the machine.

    Obama — as I will reveal to you with the stimulus plan — is simply replicating the Chicago machine in Washington.

    It is a frightening thought because our freedoms depend on a vibrant two-party system.

    But that's what you believe, not what Obama and his crew believe.

    Barack Obama and his Chicago gang, which includes his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, also a congressman from the Chicago machine, have a starkly different view.

    They want a one-party system headed by a strong man.

    We at The National Republican Trust PAC are deeply troubled not only by how much the stimulus plan spends but also the way it was implemented.

    We just witnessed how the basic and open democratic process of our republic was flouted.

    We fear that the actions by Obama and Congress that we just witnessed threaten the very foundation of our republic.

    Consider that we have long believed America is the greatest democracy in the world.

    Yet Congress passed the largest spending bill in its history — by essentially suspending vital democratic processes, including debate and public examination of the pending law.

    We know that the Democrats, working late into the night, secretly agreed to a “compromise” bill among themselves — and then refused even to share it with Republicans or the public until just hours before the bill went to the floor for a vote.

    The final stimulus bill was 1,079 pages long. We know Barack Obama never read the bill.

    Many members of Congress have admitted not one senator or congressman even read the bill before they voted for it!

    The Democrats say they suspended normal procedures because the country so desperately needed to avoid what Barack Obama said was an economic “catastrophe.”

    The bill apparently was so urgent that the Democrats even excluded Republican leaders from any involvement in negotiations on it.

    When, in our republic, does Congress simply vote on a bill when its members have no idea what it says?

    And, how could congressional leaders like Pelosi and Reid, as well as President Obama, present a monumental law but not allow even one day of scrutiny by Congress, its staffs or the public?

    Help us fight the takeover of Congress and Washington — Go Here Now.

    Big Lie No. 1: The Emergency

    They told us that the country is in such a dire situation that it was an emergency.

    That was Big Lie No. 1: The bill was not an emergency measure.

    This was a ruse. They falsely claimed it was an emergency bill to cut off all debate.

    The lie about the urgency was made clear when President Obama, rather than immediately signing the bill, went on vacation to celebrate Valentine's Day with his wife in Chicago. [Amazingly he had been in Washington less than a month before he took his first vacation!]

    In fact, Obama took almost four days to sign this “urgent” bill.

    Big Lie No. 2: Immediate Stimulus

    And then there is Big Lie No. 2: The bill offered immediate help to our ailing economy.

    The truth: The bill does not offer significant, immediate stimulus.

    Most of the stimulus money won't even be spent this year, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office!

    And the CBO has warned that the bill actually will hurt long-term economic growth.

    Infrastructure programs, including items such as $8 billion for a high-speed train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, will take a decade or longer to complete — if environmentalists ever let the project begin.

    Republican traitor Arlen Specter, who backed the stimulus bill, got more than $6 billion in the bill for “medical research” — another lulu that has nothing to do with immediate economic stimulus.

    Big Lie No. 3: Bipartisan Support

    Then there is Big Lie No. 3: This bill was a bipartisan effort to save the economy.

    It was anything but.

    Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham said bluntly: “If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed."

    Indeed, every Republican in the House voted against the bill, along with six courageous Democratic congressmen.

    In the Senate, almost every Republican opposed the bill except three liberals: Sens. Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter.

    Obama promised he would change the “old politics” of Washington. Instead, he is playing hardball partisan Democratic politics of the Chicago type.

    He has used the weakening economy as his Reichstag fire event to get to pass an incredible amount of money so he could funnel huge amounts of pork and political payoffs to his Democratic cronies and allies.

    And now, he is even talking about a second stimulus program! Why not? Congress just passed his first bill without even reading it! What a joke . . .

    Help us expose Obama's Big Lies — Donate to Our Campaign — Go Here Now.

    The Real Purpose: Abolish the GOP
    I have no doubt what the real purpose of the stimulus bill was.

    Simply, it was to lay the ground work of the remaking of America's political system into a one-party system.

    Yes, a one-party socialist state that destroyed countries like Mexico.

    We have seen what one-party rule has done to cities like Cleveland, Detroit, other cities — and corrupt Chicago.

    The media will never tell you this, but that's the real agenda behind the Obama stimulus bill.

    This is why so little of the stimulus is spent now, but spread out over several years.

    This means Obama and Democrats will have hundreds of billions to disburse to their supporters, creating a new party cadre that will help them win re-election in 2010 and 2012.

    Don't believe me?

    Well, we all know the fraud perpetrated by groups like ACORN to register Democratic voters.

    In the run-up to the 2009 election, millions of new “voters” were registered – and it clearly helped elect Obama – and gave the Democrats big majorities in the House and Senate.

    Their game plan for 2008 worked. Now they want to use public funds — our tax dollars — to pay for more of their political activities.

    For example, the final stimulus bill gives $3 billion to groups like ACORN.

    Consider that, in 2008, Obama claimed that he raised $750 million for his campaign. Compared with that amount, ACORN's $3 billion is staggering.

    No doubt, these billions will help ACORN in its political work of “community organizing” — a euphemism for Democratic activitism.

    We don't have billions — we need your help to fight — Go Here Now.

    But it's not just ACORN who is getting “stimulus.”

    The bulk of the Obama stimulus goes directly to the powerful government employee unions that helped get Obama elected and are the backbone, the shock troops, of the Democratic Party.

    Amazingly, it's been estimated that half of the stimulus appropriation directly benefits government employee and service employees union that played key roles in Obama's election.

    Second, the bill gives tens of billions to state and local governments to dole out to their cronies. This means there will be even less accountability by Congress.

    And then there are massive payoffs to the special interests to the Democratic Party, with giveaways such as $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $300 million for new cars for government bureaucrats, $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” tens of billions for “green, environmental and energy programs” — they even include $3.7 billion to help “green” military bases and another $125 million to restore “abandoned mines.”

    Shockingly, the bill creates 33 new government programs!

    The stimulus money will give the Democrats the opportunity to become the dominant political party for the next generation.

    Counter the Democratic machine by helping us today — Go Here Now.

    Our Plan to Stop Obama
    Despite the massive political payouts Obama, Reid and Pelosi are funneling to their allies across the country, they can still be stopped.

    The polls show Americans want a two-party system. They don't want corrupt, Chicago-style politics in Washington.

    They don't want their taxpayer funds used for political shenanigans and payoffs.

    We at The National Republican Trust PAC want to expose the incredible rip-off the stimulus bill will be to the taxpayers.

    If Americans knew that the bill would place an additional $9,400 in debt upon each household in America, they would be appalled.

    If Americans knew the extent to which this bill is going for political payoffs to groups like ACORN, they would be outraged.

    We know that Americans will wake up to what Congress has perpetrated on them with this stimulus.

    But we also know we can't rely on the media to tell the facts.

    This is why we want to keep up our media efforts to expose Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

    We now know they have a radical plan for the nation.

    There are already calls among Democrats for a new Fairness Doctrine to close down talk radio and hosts like Rush, Hannity, Boortz, Beck, Savage and others.

    The Democrats are already talking about legalizing 12 million illegals, making them citizens and voters overnight.

    They know that, if they do this, they will instantly change the political landscape in the nation for a generation or more.

    This is why your support for The National Republican Trust PAC is critical — Go Here Now.

    This is why we urgently have launched a media campaign in exposing Sen. Specter in Pennsylvania and Sens. Snowe and Collins in Maine. We want their constituents to know exactly how their senators voted against the public's best interests.

    We also have targeted Democratic senators like Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

    We are doing this because we know that Obama is passing sweeping legislation, and that we need to put these senators and congressmen on notice: If they vote for Obama's plan, they will pay a heave price back home among their voters.

    We at The National Republican Trust PAC have already played a critical role. We were a key factor in Sen. Saxby Chambliss' landslide victory in the special Senate run-off in Georgia.

    CNN has called us one of the most “powerful” political action committees in the nation.

    Dick Morris, the Fox News analyst, has called The National Republican Trust PAC the most important political force in the nation. He says we are now doing the work of the Republican Party.

    But our success depends on people like you.

    We don't have fat-cat donors and corporate sponsors.

    We depend on Americans like you who care about this country and who want us to keep fighting.

    Your donations help us not only to fight but also to prepare for the coming major battles ahead with Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

    We need your support today, please donate — Go Here Now.

    Thank you and God bless you.

    Yours for America,

    Scott Wheeler
    Executive Director

    P.S. As the full details of the stimulus come to light, the American people will be shocked, and many of the backers will regret their votes for this shameful bill. Our job is to expose those that voted for the bill. If we do so, it is doubtful Obama will have the votes in the Senate to pass more of his radical agenda. But we need your support to stop him. It's urgent you help us today, please do so — Go Here Now.

  61. Lotsa jihadis in that Emerald City.

    Pelosi is the very first one jump to attention all the time after the 'One' says something.

    I think I'm going to be sick.

  62. EL PASO -- Police are investigating threats against Juárez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, who moved his family to El Paso for safety, El Paso police Detective Carlos Carrillo said Monday.

    "We received information that the Juárez mayor lives in El Paso, and that possibly they were going to come to El Paso to get him," Carrillo said. "He has not asked us for our help, but it's our duty to protect any resident of our city who may be under threat."

    Juárez police said written threats against Reyes Ferriz and his family were left in different parts of Juárez after the police chief, Roberto Orduña Cruz, resigned Friday. The threats were written on the kind of banners and posters that the Juárez drug cartel has used to send messages to police and others.

    Meanwhile, Mexican authorities were unraveling a shooting Sunday in Chihuahua City that killed one of Chihuahua Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza Terraza's bodyguards.

  63. Is the One speaking now? Pelosi pissing her panties?

    I ain't tuning in.

  64. Has the One outlined the new euthanasia guidelines yet?

  65. Don't watch, Bob. I turned it off myself.

  66. I won't, even though I could, as the wife built an antenna she saw in a book, for the TV. We don't have cable, but this comes in great.

    Now she can watch "The Young and the Restless", her one vice, with perfect clarity, and keep me informed what's up with Vic. And there's always something up with aging Victor.

  67. Probly fixed your Deere for you too, huh?

  68. 29. Leo Linbeck III:

    The remarkable man from Manila
    Wrote a novel - a page-turnin’ thrillah

    It mixed love and war
    With erudition galore

    That cat is one urbane guerilla

    Congrats, W.

  69. Probly fixed your Deere for you too, huh?

    She helped at times, that's for sure. Some jobs require more than two hands, on the farm.

  70. Sleeper To Lose Cave

    Guy needs to go into hibernation until the Obama depression is over.

  71. Obama's gonna cure cancer!

    I knew he could do it!

  72. I'm telling you, the guy is going to cure cancer!

    When have we had a President that did that?

    This guy is great!

  73. Shit!

    Obama Says USA will rebuild and emerge stronger...

    Obama vows to increase number of soldiers...

    Obama vows to seek cure for cancer 'in our time'...

    Obama promises universal EDUCATION THROUGH COLLEGE...

    Obama promises universal health care...

  74. And, toward the end, when your mortal coil has wound down a bit--

    Obama promises universal euthanasia...

  75. Wonder if this covers Oil Also?

    US marine parks
    US marine parks Mining and commercial fishing will be banned in an area measuring 195,000 square miles

  76. Elect a Marxist, ya get a Marxist Government.

  77. The Republicans have zero credibility. It's just amazing that you believe in any of these criminals.

  78. Ron Paul is the only one I can think of that's not up to his eyeballs in this criminality.

  79. I agree with Mattie, Republicans have zero credibility. Zero sympathy.

    Let them twist in the wind.

  80. The Republicans are however the only game in town.

    If it had not been for the Idiot Libertarians we'd have Coleman in the Senate for instance, a big improvement over Frankenstein.

    Vote third party against the Republicans till the cows come home, all you do is make things worse.

  81. Key points:

    1. The TALF is meant to provide liquidity in the Asset-backed securities market to any company - hedge fund, foreign-owned U.S. subsidary, mutual fund, private equity fund, whatever — except Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). SWFs get the stick.
    2. The TALF covers AAA assets with a maturity under 5 years for credit card and auto loans.
    3. The TALF is non-recourse, meaning the government can seize the toxic assets if the borrwer doesn't repay, but the government has no other claim on the assets of the debtor. That means you can get a loan from the govenment in return for toxic assets, butif you do not pay the loan back, no penalty is exacted excep seizure of the assets. This is very much like a mortgage agreement.
    4. Seized toxic assets will be put into a Special Purpose vehicle controlled by the U.S. government. Translation: please dump your toxic assets with us. We will take them off your hands and have no recourse to any other assets you own.

    In short, the TALF is a way for any and all comers, domestic and foreign, with toxic U.S. asset-backed securities, to dump those assts on to the U.S. government at taxpayers expense. This is happening right now right under your noses and it smacks of crony capitalism. At least the Fed has the transparency to spell it out. But has anyone noticed?

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