Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sudan is mad as hell now

Khartoum is down the Nile from Cairo and they're not happy either.

Police clash with students in Khartoum

And if you're wondering about that referendum, 99% of South Sudan voted for splitsville.

So much for the NFL being recession proof


At least 16 NFL clubs have announced they will not raise prices for their 2011 tickets, with two teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers, rolling some prices back.

The Bears have not made a decison on an increase, spokesman Scott Hagel said. For some teams, the sting of empty seats from the past season may affect the decision. The Buccaneers had all eight of their games blacked out because they failed to sell out, while the Chargers (three blackouts) and Cincinnati Bengals (four) had similar woes.

For other teams, such as the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots — who all made the playoffs and still decided to forgo price hikes — the ongoing fight over the soon-to-expire collective bargaining agreement, and the potential for a work stoppage, may be influencing the decision. Last year, 18 teams raised prices.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Charlotte Airport somewhat unclear on securing the premises

On November 19 2010 (week before Thanksgiving) an undercover TSA agent bribed a JetBlue agent in Charlotte NC to sneak a bag on board and assign it to a different passenger.  How much did it cost?  $100.  Life's cheap in the South.

This would be bad enough except the week prior to this Charlotte had another security misadventure.*  A North Mecklenburg HS student, Delvonte Tisdale, snuck onto the tarmac, climbed into the wheel well of an airplane, and then the mutilated body fell to the earth when the plane prepared to land in Boston.  Guess that high school kid was smart enough to outwit TSA (sure, that's setting the bar pretty low), but failed to account for the fact he'd freeze to death at 35,000 feet.

*I say misadventure, you say breach.  Law enforcement also says breach.

The Italians aren't happy, and worse - they're starting to figure things out

PressTV


[January 27] is held in Italy as a memorial for those who died fighting against Benito Mussolini's fascist government before and during World War II.

Davide Boni of the Northern League Party told Press TV, “People have been talking out against the Northern League and Silvio Berlusconi for years but nothing ever changes. It is just a tactic to sell more newspapers and divert attention away from other problems. The Left plays a part of this game as they are the ones who keep bringing this question up.” 


Italy has seen a wave of protests directed at the Berlusconi regime. On Wednesday, a nationwide transportation strike caused heavy delays as workers protested government spending cuts for public transportation.

Davos soldiers on

No pun intended.

They're still talking smack at Davos, while Tunisia showed support for Egyptian protesters.  British PM Cameron went out on a limb, telling the Davos World Economic Forum it that it was "frankly ridiculous" that the Doha round of world trade talks had so far limped on for a decade.

Good for you, Cameron.  Don't let the fact North Africa is on fire divert you.  Or that Cairo police beat up a BBC correspondent with steel pipes.  Or that ElBaradei was hit by police water cannons.  Reportedly he's under "house arrest" now.  Whatever the fuck that means in a Cairo under siege.

Syria's panicking, Mubarak calls out the military

Being reported:  Syria shutting down internet access.  Syria, did you notice how that did not stop things in Egypt?

UK Telegraph with every other major media outlet is reporting that Mubarak has called in the military, including tanks, and other sources report shoot-to-kill orders are issued.  From the Telegraph:
Protesters cheering the police who joined them and hoisted them on their shoulders in one of the many dramatic and chaotic scenes across Egypt on Friday.

After chasing the police, thousands of protesters were able to flood into the huge Tahrir Square downtown after being kept out most of the day by a very heavy police presence. Few police could be seen around the square after the confrontation.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's over, it's all over

The Illinois Supremes voted 7-0 to put Emanuel back on the ballot.  Does this mean the two Appellate justices who took him off are in TROUBLE?

The Sun-Times is happy.  The Tribune is happy.  The CME, CBOE, Citadel, and assorted hedge funds are happy.  The fucking suburbanites are happy.

Who's not happy?  I'm not happy.  That fucking jagoff.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Protests in Egypt

Reuters links it to the Tunisian protests which began December 17 2010 when a man immolated himself in response to police harassment.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia on January 14 2011.  Protests today in Cairo and other cities were preceded by lawyer Mohamed Farouk Hassan, 52, protesting rising prices before setting himself alight on January 18.

From December 2010 through today
Protests erupted in Tunisia's neighbor, Algeria in the wake of Tunisia's crisis and focused on food prices.

In Jordan, hundreds of protesters chanted slogans against Prime Minister Samir al-Rifai in the southern city of Karak on January 14.

Sudan saw student protests against cuts in subsidies to sugar and petroleum products.

Oman saw protests against government corruption.

Banks and cops - who's in more danger

I jest of course - it's the cops in more danger.  Meanwhile, on the bankster front, Ambac has a bone to pick with Bear Stearns/JPMorgan.  Included in the lawsuit is this statement:
JP Morgan personnel understood that the loans underlying the transactions were in fact – to use one JP Morgan employee’s unequivocal if impolite words – a “sack of shit.”
Back to the cops.  In the 24 hours from Sunday (1/23/11) afternoon to Monday (1/24/11) eleven officers were shot.  Sunday afternoon saw attacks against officers in Indiana (1), Oregon (1), and a Detroit police station (4).  Monday had attacks in Washington (2), Florida (3 - 2 fatal).  From the Examiner:
"It's not a fluke," said Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations. "There's a perception among officers in the field that there’s a war on cops going on."
I'd be hard-pressed to disagree with that statement.  The break-ins conducted by cops on the wrong houses; wounding or killing innocent people by cops; failure to investigate, arrest, indict, and convict the rampant lawlessness in the financial community (start but don't end with FRAUD).  And that's without touching on the TSA (no pun intended).

Yeah, the American people aren't really wild about the law enforcement community.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Left one thing off the to-do list

Picture it:  Rahm Emanuel at a table with his campaign advisors, going over the To-Do List.
Election Hearing?  Check.
Circuit Court?  Check.
Burt Odelson?  Ah, who cares about that guy - he's done.
Well, to be sure we should send someone to talk to the Appellate Court.
Rahm, Rahm Rahm - it's in the bag!

Cut to Monday, 24 January 2011.
“We ... order that the candidate’s name be excluded (or if, necessary, be removed) from the ballot,” Judge Thomas Hoffman wrote in the opinion upholding the requirement under the state’s municipal code that candidates for mayor in Illinois must have “resided in” the town where they are running for a year before Election Day — in this case Feb. 22. Hoffman was joined by Justice Shelvin Marie Louise Hall.  [Sun-Times]
Rahm Emanuel's unofficial reaction:  What the !  Who's the who told me it was in the bag?!?!  Somebody's going to be !

The FT reports

The Illinois appellate court determined that Mr Emanuel did not fulfil the one-year residency requirement for mayoral hopefuls since he moved to Washington in January 2009 to become President Barack Obama’s chief of staff and lived there until last October. Monday’s decision came just a week before early voting in the race is due to begin January 31. 
Ha HA, you lousy slack-jawed rat!
And FT goes on to say:
Mr Odelson, who was a member of George W. Bush’s legal team in the Florida recount effort during the 2000 presidential election, argued that Mr Emanuel was ineligible, since he has been living in Washington and his house in Chicago had been rented out. Mr Emanuel’s lawyers countered that he always considered Chicago home and was exempt from the residency rule since he was in Washington on the business of the nation.
 Once again, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let the cannibalism commence!

When only the big boys are the only ones left with money, how long does it take before they turn on each other?

Bloomberg reports:
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMC Mortgage, facing homeowner lawsuits over foreclosures, was sued by the trustee of a mortgage portfolio for refusing to turn over documents detailing the quality of loans bought by the trust.

Wells Fargo & Co., the trustee, is seeking access to files for more than 2,000 underlying mortgages in the Bear Stearns Mortgage Funding Trust 2007-AR2, according to the complaint filed today in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington.

“The trustee has repeatedly requested that EMC provide access to the subject documents,” Wells Fargo said in the complaint. “EMC has played proverbial ‘rope a dope’ and otherwise continued to drag its feet, and has produced nothing.”

Claims of wrongdoing by banks and loan servicers triggered a 50-state investigation last year into whether hundreds of thousands of foreclosures were properly documented as the housing market collapsed. Lending practices have also pitted mortgage-bond investors against banks over misrepresentations such as overstatements of borrowers’ income and inflated appraisals.

Christine Holevas, a spokeswoman for New York-based JPMorgan, declined to comment.

Wells Fargo said it needs access to the documents to answer “serious” questions raised by investors in the trust about whether EMC breached representations and warranties regarding the quality of option-adjustable rate mortgage loans the trust bought.

In the Aug. 31, 2010, letter to San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, Grais said he had investigated 1,317 of the loans held by the trust and determined that EMC appeared to have violated its representations with respect to 938 loans, according to the complaint.
71.2% percent FAIL rate - how do you like them apples?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So glad Springfield didn't piss off this constituency

[Sun-Times] House Rejects $1.01 Cigarette Tax Hike
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Jan 12, 2011 01:06AM
The Illinois House rejected a $1.01-a-pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax, dealing a setback to efforts by Gov. Quinn to pass a revenue package that will help the state out of its $15 billion budget hole.

The vote was 51-66, but the measure was kept alive through a parliamentary maneuver. The cigarette tax increase would have earmarked $375 million for education.
So glad the 14 smokers left in Illinois aren't getting screwed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I was a spy for the government because I think out-of-the-box

This combo of NY Daily News article and comments is pure comedy.

Author Brad Meltzer was recruited in government agency, 'horrified' at how easy it is to attack U.S.
I was a real-life secret agent. [I]n 2004 I was recruited by the Department of Homeland Security for its Red Cell program.
Red Cell was the government's way of trying to anticipate how terrorists would next attack the United States. To do that, the government brought together what they called "out-of-the-box thinkers."
I'm not allowed to tell you what the targets were. Or where they were. But I can say that we'd destroy major cities like my hometown, New York. In minutes. And when I went home at night, I felt horrified, because I saw how easy it was to kill us.
Sure, there were "real" heroes, members of the FBI and CIA, who helped us with vital facts. But there were far more professors and transportation employees, musicians and software programmers - regular people whose names will never be known and whom you'll never hear about.
And now for some comments:

Lenscap comment: psy-op

Dick Myers comment: Unknown to Brad Meltzer, I am the secret spy coordinator he has been reporting to. FYI, your "Decoded" series is boring.

Factchkr comment: This is a remarkably fact-free piece of writing.

realistic22 comment: Doesn't sound like you were a secret agent. It sounds like you were a bureaucrat.

And so many more good ones.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

No, really, you're different from the others

Piggybacking on a Der Spiegel report, Reuters had this Saturday 8 January 2011:
"BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany and France want Portugal to accept an international bailout as soon as possible in order to prevent its debt crisis spreading to other countries, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday."

That might mean something if they were saying it for the first time.  To the way-back machine!

Greek debt crisis spreading 'like Ebola' and Europe must act now, OECD warns

"The Greek debt crisis is spreading “like Ebola” and Europe must act now to  protect the stability the financial markets, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. "

On to Reuters, 16 November 2010:

"Ireland's Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said on Tuesday it would welcome help in fixing the problems in its banking system but financial assistance to the country is not inevitable.

Euro zone ministers have agreed to send a joint European-IMF mission to Ireland that could prepare the way for a bailout to prevent its debt crisis spreading to other countries."

Debt Crisis Spreading to the Heart of Europe as Belgium Bond Yields Surge

"Europe’s sovereign crisis is spreading to the heart of the 16-nation bloc as investors question Belgium’s ability to cut the euro region’s third- highest debt load, overshadowing its economic performance.  

The Italian spread climbed to a euro-era high of 186 basis points. 

The European Union’s 85 billion-euro ($111 billion) rescue package for Ireland has failed to quell market turmoil as investors shift their focus from peripheral states[.]"