March, 2009 archive
Fascism and Socialism 0
The Booman lays compares and contrasts.
Worth a read.
Teetering on the Brink 0
From El Reg.
The moral of the story: Whenever you adopt new technology, do it with your eyes open.
Why We Need the ACLU 2
Playing doctor behind the barn is not the same thing as being a pornographer.
Without the ACLU, these kids might have felony records already.
A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked a prosecutor from filing child pornography charges against three northeastern Pennsylvania teenagers who appeared in racy photos that turned up on classmates’ cell phones.
U.S. District Judge James Munley ruled against Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick Jr., who has threatened to pursue felony charges against the girls unless they agree to participate in a five-week after-school program.
Support the ACLU here.
On the Republican Concept of Bipartisanship 0
What Digby said:
They Got Nothin’ 0
Dick Polman analyzes the current contestants for leading the Republican Party and concludes
Maybe the Republicans are simply hoping that somewhere, in a secret lab that refuses federal stimulus money, Ronald Reagan has been cloned. As if.
No surprises here. To lead, one needs ideas.
Republican Economic Theory is not an idea. It is an ideology, and, as an ideology, does not grow with nor learn from events.
Waiting to get bitten:
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released a list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in February. No administrative hearings are scheduled.
The FDIC processed a total of 45 orders in February. These included twenty-one cease and desist orders; seven removal and prohibitions; one order modifying section 8(E) order of prohibition; ten civil money penalties; one prompt corrective action; one termination of insurance; one Order Granting Permission to File Application and Approving Application for Consent to Participate in the Affairs of any Insured Depository Institution (Section 19); and three orders terminating orders to cease and desist.
The Los Angeles Times explains as regards the Cali banks listed in the FDIC press release:
The banks — two in Los Angeles County, two in Riverside County, and one each in Stockton and La Jolla — received “cease and desist” orders that spell out publicly what the banks must do, such as boost capital levels, beef up management and rein in risky loans.
Bottom line: It’s not over yet.
Mark to Market: Permission To Make Stuff Up Dept. 0
The changes proposed on March 16 to fair-value, also known as mark-to-market accounting, would allow companies to use “significant judgment” in valuing assets and reduce the amount of writedowns they must take on so-called impaired investments, including mortgage-backed securities. A final vote on the resolutions, which would apply to first-quarter financial statements, is scheduled for April 2.
Later on in the same article:
Citigroup had $1.6 billion of losses last year for so- called Alt-A mortgages, according to the company’s annual report. That loss would be erased with the new FASB rules, Dietrich said.
Bank of America Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported “income before income taxes” last year of $4.4 billion. The FASB proposal on impaired securities would increase that figure by about $3.5 billion, or the amount of “other- than-temporary” losses that the company recognized,
Now, I’m just a simple country boy–a simple country boy with a webserver, true, but a simple country boy.
It appears to me that, when this stuff is translated in to plain English, it means that companies can use “fair market value” to account for their assets . . .
. . . except when they don’t want to.
Drinking Liberally 0
Why “Cloud Computing” Is Not the Answer 0
I’m too lazy to write it twice, so read about it at Geekazine.
Travel Restrictions 0
The Pinochet Principle lives:
A Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation into allegations that six former high-level Bush administration officials violated international law by providing the legal framework to justify the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said.
The move represents a step toward ascertaining the legal accountability of top Bush administration officials for allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in the campaign against terrorism. But some American experts said that even if warrants were issued their significance could be more symbolic than practical, and that it was a near certainty that the warrants would not lead to arrests if the officials did not leave the United States.
For some idea of what they did, listen to the Mark Danner interview on Fresh Air. From the website:
The CIA administered an ‘alternative set of procedures’ to high value detainees, alleged al Queda operatives, in a “hidden global internment network,” or “black sites,” according to our guest, University of California Berkeley journalism professor MARK DANNER. Danner wrote about this from information he read from a confidential report made by International Committee of the Red Cross, that included interviews with fourteen detainees at Guantánamo Bay. You can read Danner’s report in the April 9th issue of The New York Review of Books.
Follow the link to the website and search for March 25, 2009, Hour Two, or listen here (mp3).
Via the Booman.
Petty. Vindictive. Pol. 0
Vacation Day 0
Omni National Bank, Atlanta, Ga.
The Galt and the Lame 0
Richard Blair at ASZ.
They Got Nothin’ 0
I would not want to climb Sideling Hill on US 30, so I’m glad I headed south, not west, this weekend:
A 65-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is to close for five hours starting late Saturday night so two bridges in Cumberland County can be demolished.
The closing affects the area between Breezewood and Carlisle. Eastbound traffic is to be diverted off the turnpike starting at 11 p.m. Saturday and westbound traffic at 11:30 p.m.
I know the Pa. Turnpike very well. It is an amazing feat of engineering.
No state other than Pennsylvania could manage to turn a road through some of the most beautiful mountains in the world into a tremendously boring and dreary ordeal. Except for the drop from the Laurel Highlands down towards Pittsburgh, it is sleep-inducing. And that’s for the driver.