August 10th, 2011


This Wouldn't Have Happened if They Had Further Deregulated the System to Legalize Fraud and Robbery

So I Cant Haz Cake and Eat It Too?

Bank of America death-watch

One of the most mesmerizing aspects of the market rout of the last week is the decline in Bank of America's stock price. It fell a stunning 20% yesterday, and even with a strong rebound today, it closed over 22% below its level of two week ago. That puts it well below half of the book value, which is a serious vote of no confidence. An even more troubling sign is that its credit default swaps, which strongly influence the bank's cost of raising new funds in the bond market, have also shown considerable decay.

Yet officials at the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which had an emergency conference call last night, as well as many equity analysts believe that banks in general, and Bank of America in particular, have good liquid reserves and are in a much better position than they were going into the crisis.

So why is Bank of America at risk? The short answer is that it may be insolvent even if it is liquid. Consider two individuals. One makes only $30,000 a year but spends $50,000. He inherited 20 Picassos worth at least $1 million each even in a terrible art market. He has arranged to sell one which he figures will cover his expenses for a very long time. However, the buyer, who pretended to be from a reputable gallery, instead absconds with the painting. Until the owner sells a second painting, he is scrambling for cash. No one doubts that he will be money good, but he is having trouble raising the funds right now.
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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Bachmann’s ‘Must-Read’ List Included Book That Claims Blacks Were ‘Better Off’ Under Slavery

Bachmann’s ‘Must-Read’ List Included A Book That Claims Blacks Were ‘Better Off In Nearly Every Way’ Under Slavery

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) has already made one slavery-related gaffe during her presidential campaign, signing a pledge produced by the Iowa FAMiLY LEADER that included language suggesting black children were better off under slavery than they are now. Bachmann offered half-hearted apology at the time, saying she had only signed the “candidate vow,” not the part that included slavery, and compared it to “economic enslavement” brought on by taxes.

But in his profile of Bachmann released yesterday, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza revealed that Bachmann’s “worldview” on slavery goes much deeper. In 2002, then-state Sen. Bachmann’s campaign posted a “must-read” list of books on her web site. Included in the list were the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and a book titled, “Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee,” authored by J. Steven Wilkins. The Lee biography includes this apologetic passage:

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I can't even.
Stock - Pink Sakura

Warren Jeffs Sentenced to Life in Prison

Nearly a week after he was convicted of two counts of child sexual abuse, polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

Jeffs, 55, was characteristically silent as the San Angelo, Texas, jury's verdict was read, reports the Associated Press.

According to prosecutors, Jeffs engaged in sexual abuse with two girls ages 12 and 14. A key piece of evidence against him was an audio recording of Jeffs having sex with the 12-year-old.

The trial turned into a spectacle when Jeffs decided to represent himself in court. He said he was "at peace" at last week's summation following his conviction.

Jeffs considers himself the prophet and leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an offshoot banned by the Mormons, which requires men to have three wives to be admitted to heaven.



California DNA Collection Law Declared Unconstitutional

Collecting DNA From Arrestees Is Unconstitutional, California Court Says
A California appeals court is striking down a voter-approved measure requiring every adult arrested on a felony charge to submit a DNA sample.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said Proposition 69 amounted to unconstitutional, warrantless searches of arrestees. More than 1.6 million samples have been taken following the law’s 2009 implementation.

“What the DNA Act authorizes is the warrantless and suspicionless search of individuals, before a judicial determination of probable cause to believe they have committed a crime, for evidence of crime unrelated to that for which they have been arrested,” [link goes to PDF] the court wrote. “The United States Supreme Court has never permitted suspicionless searches aimed at uncovering evidence of crime outside the context of convicted offenders.”

The California appeals court distanced itself from other rulings on the issue, holding that DNA collection from arrestees’ inner cheeks is not the same as taking fingerprints. About half of those arrested in California are convicted.

“The question this case presents, which is increasingly presented to the courts of this state and nation, is the extent to which technology can be permitted to diminish the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment,” the court wrote.

California argued that DNA evidence is an effective crime-solving tool. The court, ruling 3–0, found that argument immaterial.

“But even if DNA testing of arrestees was demonstrably valuable to law enforcement, the effectiveness of a crime fighting technology does not render it constitutional,” the court wrote.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris‘ office declined to comment Tuesday about whether Harris would appeal last week’s decision to the California Supreme Court.

Nearly every federal and state court to hear the issue, however, has upheld the collection of DNA samples from arrestees. Legal battles over the constitutionality of DNA collection for those convicted of crimes has long been resolved based on rulings that convicts have diminished constitutional rights to privacy.

That said, California’s high court is not obligated to follow federal rulings upholding the constitutionality of taking DNA from arrestees. That’s because the states may afford its citizens more constitutional protections than does the federal government.

California’s DNA samples, like those from other states, are made available to law enforcement nationwide. Those arrested for federal crimes are also required to submit a DNA sample.

According to the most recent data available, at the end of 2010, California’s DNA database held 1,680,038 samples that were taken under the law. That DNA led to 15,550 matches related to other crimes.


ETA: Second source, which analyzes the decision a bit more:
The court decision makes clear that comparing DNA testing to fingerprinting is "blind to the nature of DNA," though it noted that the limited information the database would collect, called a DNA profile, does not contain "any significant amount of personal, private data."

Instead, it focused on the invasive nature of the blood test or cheek swab, which would fundamentally contain the entire human genome, even if that information would remain unrecorded. No standards have been determined for how the DOJ's lab is required to collect or store the specimens, it said.

The court also cited a stigma associated with DNA sampling, saying it is viewed "not just as a badge of crime, but as a badge of the most dangerous crimes," such as rape and murder. Fingerprinting, the court stated, has long been stripped of a similar stigma.

Midwestern Mom Sends Wall Street a Message by Plane

This afternoon, the administrator of the American Banker Twitter feed spotted what, even in New York City, constitutes a startling sight: An airplane buzzing past the Lower Manhattan office of S&P--which recently downgraded America's credit rating--and pulling a banner that read, "THANKS FOR THE DOWNGRADE. YOU SHOULD ALL BE FIRED."

When Fortune's Dan Primack finally tracked down the person who paid to fly the banner, he learned that she actually was trying to send a message to Wall Street and Washington, not S&P. The anonymous Midwestern broker told Primack that she diverted the plane to New York when she learned she couldn't fly it over DC.

"I chose Wall Street instead, but didn't specifically intend it to fly over S&P," she noted. "I'm just a mother from St. Louis who feels the only reason we got downgraded was people in politics."

The Observer learns that the woman is a single mother of two from St. Louis and an investment banker.

A friend tells the paper that the woman "woke up pissed about everything in Washington, especially now with the downgrade," adding, "She called me up to have me talk her out of it, and of course, I didn't because I think it’s funnier than shit."

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Panic on the streets of London & Nothing 'mindless' about rioters

Nothing 'mindless' about rioters
Speculations circle as to why the London riots have become so big, but the answer is quite obvious.

I'm huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Last night, Enfield, Walthamstow, Brixton and Wood Green were looted; there have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries, and it will be a miracle if nobody dies tonight.

This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain's inner cities to go home.

Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

Obvious denouncement

In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who is watching Croydon burn down on the BBC right now. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder "mindless, mindless". Nick Clegg denounced it as "needless, opportunistic theft and violence". Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron - who has finally decided to return home to take charge - declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was "utterly unacceptable".

The violence on the streets is being dismissed as "pure criminality", as the work of a "violent minority", as "opportunism". This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

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Nothing 'mindless' about rioters
Although riots are complex social phenomenona, the recent unrest in England has inescapably political roots.

Civil disturbances never have a single, simple meaning. When the Bastille was being stormed the thieves of Paris doubtless took advantage of the mayhem to rob houses and waylay unlucky revolutionaries. Sometimes the thieves were revolutionaries. Sometimes the revolutionaries were thieves. And it is reckless to start making confident claims about events that are spread across the country and that have many different elements. In Britain over the past few days there have been clashes between the police and young people. Crowds have set buildings, cars and buses on fire. Shops have been looted and passersby have been attacked. Only a fool would announce what it all means.

We can dispense with some mistakes, though. It is wrong to say that the riots are apolitical. The trouble began on Saturday night when protesters gathered at Tottenham police station to demand that the police explain the circumstances in which a local man, Mark Duggan, had been shot dead by the police. The death of a Londoner, another black Londoner, at the hands of the police has a gruesome significance. The police are employed to keep the peace and the police shot someone dead. This is a deeply political matter. Besides, it is conventional to say how much policing in London has changed since the Brixton riots of the early eighties - but not many people mouthing the conventional wisdom have much firsthand experience of being young and poor in Britain's inner cities.

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No Enbridge
  • romp

Everyone's a Looter in the London Riots

Whether driven by criminality or something more, we'll all take what we want from this riot.

The London riots should be no surprise. Nor should the reaction. The threat of popular uprising has worried ruling classes for thousands of years, and increasingly so in recent centuries.

After all, ancient Byzantium was periodically shaken by battles of the fans of the Red and Green chariot-racing teams. That tradition of sports-inspired violence runs unbroken, right up to the June 15 Vancouver riot.

Baron Haussmann, when he redesigned Paris around 1870, knocked down blocks of tenements to make his magnificent avenues. Those avenues were to ease traffic and to give the army a clear field of fire against its own citizens. It was too easy, after all, to barricade narrow alleys in the slums.

The same idea was behind the armories of New York City and other American cities. After the horrendous Civil War riots in New York, the state government built urban castles as the headquarters for National Guard units. But they would also be refuges for the rich if and when the underclasses rose again.

But race, not wealth, has provoked most North American riots. Detroit saw a ghastly race riot in 1943 that lasted three days before federal troops ended it. I well recall the Los Angeles Watts riots in the summer of 1965, which were put down by National Guardsmen. And I also recall the summer of 1963, when as a young member of the Congress of Racial Equality, I heard a black colleague tell a TV news reporter that Watts had a riot every weekend that the media never mentioned.
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Not an in-depth or up-close look at the riots but I liked the history lesson in this. He doesn't get everything right and oversimplifies IMO (race/class, those damn Vancouver hockey "riots", success=money=stuff). And, for once, I recommending reading the comments!
absinthe, wormwood

War =/= peace? You'll be saying freedom isn't slavery next.

This piece outlines some of the differences between policing in London, and policing in New York. Obviously there are wider factors than just police tactics which affect the outcomes, but it is a good starting point for discussion. I have tried to include all links from the original article in case people want to read further.

Unarmed Officers on London’s Front Lines

As British officials promised to end days of widespread riots with “more robust policing,” and 16,000 officers fanned out across London, American readers might be surprised to learn that most members of the force charged with ending the rioting remain unarmed.

Of the more than 32,500 officers in London’s Metropolitan Police Service, just 2,740 were “authorized firearms officers” at last count. Outside the capital, the entire territory of England and Wales is policed with the help of just 4,128 more armed officers.

That might help to explain this striking video, posted online by a blogger named Mike Jelves, which showed rioters charging at police officers and driving them back with apparent ease in one part of London on Monday.

Video recorded on Monday in London showed rioters charging at police officers.

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Source Edited to add updates. Sorry for repeated edits and html fail.
  • dkwrkm

Nickel and Dimed (2011 Version)

by Barbara Ehrenreich

On Turning Poverty into an American Crime

I completed the manuscript for Nickel and Dimed in a time of seemingly boundless prosperity. Technology innovators and venture capitalists were acquiring sudden fortunes, buying up McMansions like the ones I had cleaned in Maine and much larger. Even secretaries in some hi-tech firms were striking it rich with their stock options. There was loose talk about a permanent conquest of the business cycle, and a sassy new spirit infecting American capitalism. In San Francisco, a billboard for an e-trading firm proclaimed, “Make love not war,” and then -- down at the bottom -- “Screw it, just make money.”

When Nickel and Dimed was published in May 2001, cracks were appearing in the dot-com bubble and the stock market had begun to falter, but the book still evidently came as a surprise, even a revelation, to many. Again and again, in that first year or two after publication, people came up to me and opened with the words, “I never thought...” or “I hadn’t realized...”

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We live in such happy times... :(
Chanel #3

Ann Coulter Joins Board of Gay Conservative Group GOProud

Pundit Ann Coulter has joined gay conservative group GOProud as Honorary Chair of its Advisory Council, the group announced today:

Coulter’s official title will be “Honorary Chair and Gay Icon.” “Ann Coulter is a brilliant and fearless leader of the conservative movement, we are honored to have her as part of GOProud’s leadership,” said Christopher Barron, Chairman of GOProud’s Board. “Ann helped put our organization on the map. Politics is full of the meek, the compromising and the apologists – Ann, like GOProud, is the exact opposite of all of those things. We need more Ann Coulters.”

“I am honored to serve in this capacity on GOProud’s Advisory Council, and look forward to being the Queen of fabulous,” said Coulter.

Coulter joins Margaret Hoover, Grover Norquist, Andrew Breitbart, Liz Mair, Chuck Muth, Lisa De Pasquale, Christian Josi, Roger Stone, Andrew Langer, Kathryn Serkes and Bob Carlstrom on the GOProud Advisory Council.

My head just... I... yeah. No.

SOURCES : 1  |  2
Disney // Zip your howling screamer

Giorgio Mammoliti continues to be a disgusting asshole, news at 11

Ford administration wants homeless removed from streets

Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti believes the best way to deal with the homeless is transitional housing. He just doesn't think the city should pay for it. In the meantime, he wants all homeless people to be removed from Toronto's streets and placed in hospitals until the federal or provincial governments fork over the cash to house them.

"It is a huge problem and this administration knows it's a huge problem - a problem we can't afford," Mammoliti told CityNews on Tuesday.

"We do need to take them off the streets and we need to do it forcefully."

The outspoken and often controversial councillor has been chosen by Mayor Ford to chair a task force on homelessness in September. Mammoliti is hoping to push for a policy change before the new year, saying he wants the province to alter current legislation, giving Toronto police the right to remove individuals from the streets.

"We need to change the necessary bylaws and the Act provincially to enable us to do it."

A crackdown on aggressive panhandling already seems to be underway. In 2010, Toronto Police laid 15,500 charges under the Safe Streets Act --- marking a 600 per cent increase from 2004.

Mammoliti says the tickets are virtually useless because they usually go unpaid.

"They rip them up, and in many cases they are certainly not in the frame of mind to understand it."

"I would rather use those police resources and actually take them off the streets and put them in the hospitals, and continue to put them in the hospitals until the province recognizes it's best to give the municipalities the money that they need to be able to deal with this long term - which is resources and housing."

"Jail is not the place to put them because it costs us $3000/day per person."

An individual can currently only be taken off the streets if they are assessed and believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Mammoliti thinks that criteria is too stringent and costly.

"It's a huge resource, a huge bureaucratic nightmare to get them off the streets. We need the piece of legislation changed to enable our police officers to do it right away."

The Ford administration, ironically, has its own hat out, begging for money.

"The funding has to come from the federal and provincial government, there's no other way to do this," Mammoliti stressed.

Source has an equally infuriating video report

I honestly can't with this. Mammoliti again acting like a petulant bully, wanting to 'forcefully' remove the homeless from public streets, but not cart them off to jail, though he would like to. Mammoliti shows such a lack of understanding of poverty, the role of all three levels of government, basic civil liberties, and human compassion.

Is comedy just someone else's tragedy?

When the comedy "30 Minutes or Less" opens in theaters Friday, one small group of people will be sure to avoid it.

That would be the surviving family members of Brian Wells, the 46-year-old pizza delivery driver who was killed when a metal bomb collar he was forced to wear while robbing a bank exploded in Pennsylvania eight years ago.

The movie's handlers acknowledge the screenwriters were "vaguely" aware of Wells, but say the movie — in which two ne'er-do-wells force a pizza driver to rob a bank while wearing a time bomb vest — isn't based on the infamous Pennsylvania collar-bomb case, and especially Wells' grisly, tragic death.

Still, Wells' sister, Jean Heid of Erie, said the movie isn't funny — whether or not it was inspired by her brother's sad fate.

"It's hard for me to grasp how other human beings can take delight and pride in making such a movie and consider it a comedy," Heid said in an e-mailed response to The Associated Press. Heid asked to respond by e-mail because she wanted to choose her words carefully. "I don't think it's funny to laugh at the innocent who are victimized by criminals, who care nothing for human life."

"Neither the filmmakers nor the stars of '30 Minutes or Less' were aware of this crime prior to their involvement in the film," Steve Elzer, the senior vice president who handles media relations for Sony Pictures' Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, said in a statement. "The writers were vaguely familiar with what had occurred and wrote an original screenplay that does not mirror the real-life tragedy."

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  • scolaro

Right-Wing Extremists Tricked by Trojan Shirts

Fans at a recent right-wing extremist rock festival in Germany thought they were getting free T-shirts that reflected their nationalistic worldview. But after the garment's first wash they discovered otherwise. The original image rinsed away to reveal a hidden message from an activist group.

With a skull-and-crossbones logo and the message "Hardcore Rebels - National and Free," some 250 black T-shirts given away at a recent right-wing extremist rock festival were quickly snapped up. But there was more to the tough-looking image than met the eye.

Once the rightist rockers washed their new shirts, they were dismayed to find an entirely different message: "If your T-shirt can do it, so can you. We'll help to free you from right-wing extremism." The offer, complete with contact information, came from a group called Exit Deutschland, which helps people get out of the neo-Nazi scene.

The group sent their "Trojan T-shirts," disguised as a donation from an anonymous party supporter, to the organizers of the Aug. 6 event, which took place in the Thuringian city of Gera and was sponsored by the right-wing extremist NPD party. Exit Deutschland has been pleased with discussion the initiative prompted in online neo-Nazi forums, co-founder Bernd Wagner told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday.

"Why didn't we think of that?" one forum member reportedly asked.

Still, the initiative to outwit the neo-Nazis is unlikely to prompt immediate re-evaluation of their values, Wagner said. "But our name will be stored in their minds. And when they consider leaving the scene at some point, they will remember us," he told the paper. The group's main goal was to reach young right-wing extremists "in a situation where they would hopefully be alone at home."

A marketing expert in Hamburg, who wished to remain anonymous, came up with the idea together with his colleagues, the paper reported. His firm paid for the T-shirts to be printed.

Exit Deutschland was founded in 2000 by Wagner, a criminologist, together with Ingo Hasselbach, a former neo-Nazi leader. According to the group's estimates, they have helped some 400 right-wing extremists to escape the scene.

Silly sauce


What a brilliant idea! And the funniest thing that happened here in a while! ^_^
dawson/shay | cf ~ still

Birmingham riots: intense anger after deaths of three young men

Community leaders appeal for calm after three British Asians rammed by carload of suspected looters in Winson Green

Community leaders in Birmingham are working all-out to calm intense anger in the city's British Asian community over the deaths of three young men who were rammed by a carload of suspected looters.

West Midlands police arrested a man near the scene and recovered a vehicle, which forensics experts are examining. They later launched a murder inquiry.

Groups of residents in Winson Green, the inner-city area where the men were killed as they tried to protect local businesses in the early hours of Wednesday, openly warned of inter-communal violence if the murder inquiry fails to produce rapid results.

Their anger was passed on by the local Labour MP for Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood, and the Bishop of Aston, Rt Rev Anthony Watson, who joined a meeting at Dudley Road mosque, which locals claimed was on looters' hitlist of targets where money might be found. The victims, brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Mussavir, 32 and 30, and Haroon Jahan, 21, were among some 80 young men who turned out after a gang tried to ransack the nearby Jet petrol station on Monday night.
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Guardians live feed | Source

In the aftermath of the London riots, this might help people understand the reasons behind them.

Documentary telling the stories of some of the 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK. It is one of the worst child poverty rates in the industrialised world, and successive governments continue to struggle to bring it into line. So who are these children, and where are they living? Under-represented, under-nourished and often under the radar, 3.5 million children should be given a voice. And this powerful film does just that.

Eight-year-old Courtney, 10-year-old Paige and 11-year-old Sam live in different parts of the UK. Breathtakingly honest and eloquent, they give testament to how having no money affects their lives: lack of food, being bullied and having nowhere to play. The children might be indignant about their situation now, but this may not be enough to help them. Their thoughts on their futures are sobering.

Sam's 16-year-old sister Kayleigh puts it all into context, as she tells how the effects of poverty led her to take extreme measures to try and escape it all.

Poor Kids puts the children on centre stage, and they command it with honesty and directness. It's time for everyone to listen.


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Obligatory Mean Girls Parody
  • kangofu

What is the world seeing when looking at the UK riots?

England riots: The global reaction
By Olivia Lang
Source - BBC News

The riots in British cities have unsurprisingly dominated headlines in domestic papers. But there has also been extensive coverage overseas. So what does the rest of the world make of the unrest?

"Everyone is just very shocked," said Ravi Somaiya, a reporter with the New York Times.

Mr Somaiya told the BBC's Today programme that the riots had been a big story for the US, dominating the front pages of his paper for several days.

"I mean a couple of months ago Britain was Harry Potter and the Royal Wedding. Now it is phone-hacking and riots in the street.

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