It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goldman Sachs - The Enemy at the Gate

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi wrote a terrific piece about Goldman Sachs. Click here to read.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Down with a flu

I couldn't say I was "down with THE flu" - I even wondered about the A flu, just in case someone thought I meant Influenza A. In any case I don't know whether I had H1N1 or not. Three days ago I woke up feeling achy - I want to say "ague", but since it is a word only found in crosswords and I have no idea whether it is pronounced "A gu" as in guru, or "agyew" as in Agnew (and am feeling too shitty to find out) I fell back on "Achy".

Anyhow, I had all the symptoms: headache, diarrhea, aching muscles and joints, a temperature of 37.9C, nausea. As a school worker, I called it in and about an hour later got a call from the department head. After I explained why I couldn't come in she asked me, "So you can't come in?" I said, "No". I should explain that I work with "difficult" students. These are the ratbags nobody wants in their classroom but are legally bound to do something with - that's where I come in. They bundle all of them up together for me. The department head asked suggested I come in anyway and hopefully the students would get it too. She wasn't laughing.

Just to be on the safe side I telephoned the 1-800 number advertised nationally for those showing symptoms of swine flu.... I got an answering machine message that advised me to telephone my local district health board. I phoned them and they told me to contact my GP (general practitioner). When I called them they asked what my temperature was? I told them and there was an audible sound of relief: "We're only seeing people with a temperature over 39C," they said. So I'm at home, reading about flu. The national health department announced that they were no longer trying to contain Swine flu. Instead, they would just manage it.

So, I can't tell you whether I have THE FLU, or just a flu.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

US vs. UK

I am beginning to wonder if this global financial crisis is just the fallout in a game of chicken between New York and London. Britain stopped building anything a long time ago and North Sea Oil revenues allowed them the capital to reestablish their throne as the center of the planet for bankers. Wall Street fought back by engaging in the same chancey trading of shadow banking instruments. When current customers were sated they just created a new subprime market. The winner will only be declared when one cries, "Uncle" and cannot fool the world into buying more of their bonds.

The Financial Services Act, 1999 was America’s response to what was happening in London, where Glass Steagal didn’t exist in the first place. The UK can’t be blamed for trying to recapture the financial predominance Fleet Street enjoyed during the time of Queen Victoria, but it has to be acknowledged that the derivatives market was an invention of the Poms.

The lack of transparency in European accounting requirements allowed banks there to adjust their books to offset and postpone losses in a way US banks could not (until last April’s G20 Conference anyway). However, these losses will have to present themselves eventually. Timing is everything. It may well be a footnote in history that America survived by pouring enough cash into the financial bubble to wait out a more devastating European crash that followed.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A New Computer

Perhaps nobody noticed, but I havn't been posting recently. That's because my trusty old ASUS laptop packed it in. I purchased a netbook, a HP Mini 1128tu, and am going to try it out for my blogging. It is handy to tote around. Hopefully, this will result in more output.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I haven't been posting much since my computer packed it in. I have a new one on order and will be back before too long.