Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 25 people at the heart of the financial metdown. As seen in London Guardian.

* Alan Greenspan, chairman of US Federal Reserve 1987 - 2006.

*Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England.


* Bill Clinton, former US president.

* Gordon Brown, British prime minister.

* George W. Bush. US president.

* Senator Phil Graham.

Wall Street/ Bankers

* Abi Cohen, Goldman Sachs chief US strategist.

* Kathleen Corbet, former CEO, Standard & Poor's.

* " Hank " Greenberg, AIG insurance group.

* Andy Hornbt, former HBOS boss.

* Sir Fred Goodwin, former RBS boss.

* Steve Crawshaw, former B&B boss.

* Adam Applegarth, former Northern Rock boss.

* Ralph Cioffi and Mathew Tannin, Bear Stearns.

Lewis Ranieri, The " godfather " of mortgage finance, who pioneered mortgage backed bonds in the 1980s and immortalized in liar's Poker.

* Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products.

* Chuck Prince, former Citi boss.

* Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial.

* Stan O'Neal, former boss of Merill Lynch

* Jimmy Cayne, former Bear Stearns boss.


* Christopher Dodd, chairman Senate banking committee.

* Geir Haarde, Icelandic prime minister.

The American public.

There's no escaping the fact: politicians might have teed up the financial syatem and failed to police it properly and Wall Street's greedy bankers might have got carried away with the riches they could generate, but if millions of Americans had just realized they were borrowing more than they could repay then we would not be in this mess. The British public got just as carried away. We are the credit junkies of Europe and many of our problems could easily have been avoided if we had been more sensible and just said no.

* John Tiner, FSA chief executive, 2003-07.

Dick Fuld, Lehman Brothers, chief executive.

... and 6 more who saw it coming.

* Andrew Lahde, a hedge fund boss.

* John Paulson, a hedge fund boss.

* Professor Nouriel Roubini, an economist from New York University.

* Warren Buffet, billionaire investor.

* George Soros, speculator.

* Stephen Eismann, hedge fund manager.

* Meredith Whitney, Oppenheimer Securities.
Lilly Ledbetter Act: The First Bill President Obama Signs »
The Huffington Post Rachel Weiner January 27, 2009 at 05:03 PM
President Obama is signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act. It is the first bill he is signing as president. Lilly Ledbetter, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and First Lady Michelle Obama are all present.
From the AP:
The bill is a response to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said a person must file a claim of discrimination within 180 days of a company's initial decision to pay a worker less than it pays another worker doing the same job.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The verdict.

You have spilled the blood of 4,000 American young people, and wasted a trillion American dollars, only to give Iraq to Iran as a free present!”

From " The Daily Beast"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can the Taliban be tamed?

Can Obama succeed where Alexander the Great, the British Empire and the Soviet Union failed ?

Read this stanza written by Rudyard Kipling ( yes ) in 1892 and decide for yourself.

From " The young British soldier."

When you're wounded and left
On Afghanistan's plains,

And the women come out
to cut up what remains,

Jest roll to your rifle and blow
out your brains,

An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

Friday, January 23, 2009


How did Merrill Lynch’s former CEO spend $1.22 million redecorating his office? The Daily Beast counts the ways.

This morning in a Daily Beast/CNBC exclusive, Charlie Gasparino obtained documents about $1.22 million of company money that former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain spent on his office, just as the financial crisis was hitting the firm. Thain announced his resignation this morning, less than a month after his brokerage firm was taken over by Bank of America. Does he get to take his goodies with him?

Below, The Daily Beast presents Thain’s top 16 outrages.

1) $2,700 for six wall sconces.

2) $5,000 for a mirror in his private dining room.

3) $11,000 for fabric for a "Roman Shade.”

4) $13,000 for a chandelier in the private dining room.

5) $15,000 for a sofa.

6) $16,000 for a "custom coffee table.”

7) $18,000 for a “George IV Desk.”

8) $25,000 for a "mahogany pedestal table.”

9) $28,000 for four pairs of curtains.

10) $35,000 for something called a "commode on legs.”

11) $37,000 for six chairs in his private dining room.

12) $68,000 for a "19th Century Credenza" in his office.

13) $87,000 for a pair of guest chairs. 14)

$87,000 for an area rug in Thain's conference room and another area rug for $44,000.

15) $230,000 to his driver for one year’s work.

16) $800,000 to hire celebrity designer Michael Smith, who is currently redesigning the White House for the Obama family for just $100,000.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This by Pastor Martin Niemoller, an early supporter of Hitler; by 1934 Niemoller had come to oppose the Nazis, and it was largely his high connections to influential and wealthy businessmen that saved him until 1937, after which he was imprisoned, eventually at Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. He survived to be a leading voice of penance and reconciliation for the German people after World war 11. His poem is well-known, frequently quoted. and is a popular model for describing the dangers of political apathy, as it often begins with specific and targeted fear and hatred which soon escalates out of control. Wickepedia,

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Friday, January 16, 2009



Former President Bush was welcomed to the inaugural podium with boos from the million-person plus crowd. The video below picks up some of the dissenting crowd. If you were watching the ceremony live, the boos were loud and clear throughout the mass of people.
Extract from The Huffington Post.

Bush Protest: Shoes Thrown At White House (PHOTOS) »

*President Bush was given an Iraqi-journalist-style sendoff on his last full day in office Monday, as tourists and demonstrators lobbed shoes, pumps, boots, sandals and Crocs from Pennsylvania Avenue onto the White House lawn.
Before launching the operation live, the shoe-chuckers took target practice in Dupont Circle on a 20-foot-tall blow up doll of the outgoing president, decked out in the flight suit he wore aboard the "Mission Accomplished" aircraft carrier.

* Rice shame-faced by Bush over UN Gaza vote: Olmert
Buzz Up

JERUSALEM (AFP) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was left shame-faced after President George W. Bush ordered her to abstain in a key UN vote on the Gaza war, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday.
"She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favour," Olmert said in a speech in the southern town of Ashkelon.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution last Thursday calling for an immediate ceasefire in the three-week-old conflict in the Gaza Strip and an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza where hundreds have been killed.
Fourteen of the council's 15 members voted in favour of the resolution, which was later rejected by both Israel and Hamas.
The United States, Israel's main ally, had initially been expected to voted in line with the other 14 but Rice later became the sole abstention.
"In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favour," Olmert said.
"I said 'get me President Bush on the phone'. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn't care. 'I need to talk to him now'. He got off the podium and spoke to me.
"I told him the United States could not vote in favour. It cannot vote in favour of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favour."
Bush has consistently placed the blame for the conflict on Hamas, telling reporters on Monday that while he wanted to see a "sustainable ceasefire" in Gaza, it was up to Hamas to choose to end its rocket fire on Israel.
But a US State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, denied Olmert's claim.
"Mr. Olmert is wrong," the official said.
Even if everything had gone according to plan, "she would have abstained. That was the plan," said the official. "The government of Israel does not make US policy."


Public Still Hates Bush
: Extract from " The Daily Beast "

* President Bush's imminent departure isn't generating many warm feelings among the American public: His approval rating remains in the cellar at 22 percent, according to a new poll by CBS News/New York Times. It is the lowest final approval rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began its surveys 70 years ago. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans still approved of the president, while only 6 percent of Democrats and 18 percent of independents did. Over the course of his presidency, Bush had both the highest and lowest approval ratings of all time—90 percent following the attacks of September 11, 2001, and 20 percent in November 2008.

Read it at CBS News
Posted at 7:29 AM, Jan 17, 2009

'Miracle on the Hudson' - Flight 1549
by The Daily Beast

"We've had a miracle on 34th Street—I believe now we've had a miracle on the Hudson," New York Gov. David Paterson declared yesterday after all 155 passengers and crew were rescued from a U.S. Airways jet that crash landed in the Hudson River. The plane lost an engine when it hit a flock of geese shortly after takeoff. It began heading for Teterboro Airport, when it hit another flock that knocked out the remaining engine and forced the landing in the Hudson. Within 15 minutes of the crash, 14 NY Waterway ferries were at the site, and they eventually rescued 142 of the passengers. 35 passengers were rescued directly from the water. The man of the hour is pilot Chelsey B. Sulberger III, "a respected authority on safety matters who has been a consultant to NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board," according to the New York Post.