Friday, April 30, 2010

Financial Reform Proposals


"Criminal and Civil Charges" possible for NY Fed

March On Wall Street: Unions Grab The Bull By The Horn

Sam Stein by Sam Stein

Thousands of people marched on Wall Street on Thursday afternoon in a major protest of financial sector greed and lending practices by big banks.

Taking to the streets of downtown Manhattan, an expected gathering of 10,000 AFL-CIO union members shouted and jeered at the offices surrounding them, demanding three major changes to Wall Street culture. The first is to call off the lobbyists fighting regulatory reform. The second is to stop the incessant focus on market speculation over business lending. The third is to chip in money for job creation initiatives.

"Our history and our heritage teach us that America is about more than making easy money and looking out for number one. Our lives and our livelihoods are all bound together. And we are all paying the price for those who knew no limits on their greed," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was to say, according to advance remarks. "Eight and a half million lost jobs -- that's the price of greed -- that's the real cost of bankers' bonuses and private jets and cute tricks like the one that got Goldman Sachs in trouble last week."

The remarks were far more condemning in tone than those offered by President Obama last week during a speech at Cooper Union, in which he urged financial industry titans to join him in passing reform. But the underlying message was largely the same: the mess made by Wall Street still needs cleaning.

The rally, one of the largest in recent memory to take place at the epicenter of the financial world, was timed to begin at 4:00 p.m. on the dot, the same hour when the trading bells close. Dozens of individual unions were expected to be in attendance, with a slow march planned down a six-block route followed by Trumka's speech at the iconic bull at the corner of Wall Street and Broad.

"He's going to grab the bull by the horns, figuratively speaking," said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale.

Three-year-old boy arrested as suspected terrorist in France

By Peter Allen

bgA three-year-old was arrested as a suspected terrorist and held at a French police station for more than two hours, it emerged today.

The child – identified only as Daniel – is the son of an illegal immigrant from the Paris suburb of Juvisy.

Last Thursday the pair were arrested as they returned to their car after visiting a leisure centre.

Police officer claimed they were carrying out routine vehicle checks before arrested both father and son.

They were taken to Juvisy Police Station where, after 20 minutes, they were split up.

The father, who is from a North African background, was questioned about links to radical groups possibly linked to Islamic terrorism. Both he and Daniel were formally placed under investigation.

Daniel's mother then arrived at the station and Daniel was finally released after two hours,  but local social services said he was in a 'severely traumatised state after his ordeal.'

A spokesman said: 'He can't sleep and he's crying constantly. He's a terrified little boy. The whole thing has been an absolute nightmare for him.'

Do not burn the oil on the sea in the Gulf of Mexico. Do not drill other wells into the existing B P well.

By Chris Landau

Do not burn the oil on the sea. Do not drill other wells into the existing BP well in the Gulf of Mexico.

These actions will burn people, boats and property. Wind gusts will blow the flames out of control. The heat from the flames will create their own winds. This is just making a bad situation worse. Is there nobody handling this situation that is thinking of the consequences of their actions?

Do not drill more directional wells into this well. It will blow out the formation, loosen the casing and create a permanent ocean floor leak.

But of course, nobody will listen. Everybody wants action without thought.

As everybody is going to be sued in this case, they are protecting themselves when the questions get asked in a year at the hearings. "Why did you not do this or do that?" I wonder if they will ask the question "Was that a rational strategy?"The idea is not to look busy, but be effective and to have a well thought out plan. Does anybody have a logical step by step plan?

Seal the spurting casing first. Clamp larger bi-sectional pipes over the existing casing. Anchor these firmly to the existing casing. Build the new casing in sections until the casing end is reached. Bring the casing to the surface. Extend it. Anchor the casing firmly. Pipe the gushing oil into oil tankers and let it flow until the pressure in the rock formations abates in a few months.

Do not allow oil drilling in the 3000 mile fault zone off Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Shut down all wells immediately to avert another environmental disaster. Earthquakes, tsunamis and oil wells do not go well together. Somebody needs to start thinking about the illogical dangerous oil pumping in force off coastal Southern California. If not for the environment, stop the oil pumping and future drilling to save peoples lives. Triggering an earthquake and tsunami will kill thousands.

Chris Landau (geologist)

April 28 2010

Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Do not burn the oil. Do not drill directional wells. Stop pumping oil out of the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles fault zone.

Ten Animals Most at Risk From Gulf Oil Spill

Sea turtles, oysters and shorebirds are all in danger from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Julia Kumari Drapkin

Buenos Aires, Argentina — Oil is spreading across the Gulf of Mexico — the result of the sinking of an oil rig last week. A spill of this magnitude so close to the wetlands, estuaries and national fisheries of south Louisiana is unprecedented.

Though it's unclear how badly wildlife along the Gulf Coast will suffer, the timing of the spill couldn't be worse. This is peak spawning and nesting season for many species of fish, birds, turtles and marine mammals. Many species remain in set breeding areas during this time and there's less instinct to move away from danger.

Disturbances to nests, fish spawning grounds or key links in the food chain might have lasting effects on species already at risk, commercial fish stocks and the people who make a living harvesting them. Minor oil spills are relatively common on the Gulf Coast, but this one has biologists, wildlife agencies, conservation groups and fishermen particularly concerned.

Here's a selection of animals at risk in the open water, along the coasts and in the wetlands.

1. North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

The Great Bluefin Tuna, prized for sushi and sashimi, is one of the species most in danger of slipping into extinction. Traveling down across the Atlantic seaboard, bluefin tuna spawn in the Gulf of Mexico between mid-April and mid-June.

2. Sea Turtles

Five of the world's seven sea turtle species live, migrate and breed in the Gulf region. Kemp's ridley is the world's most endangered species of sea turtle, and one of its two primary migration routes runs south of Mississippi. Loggerhead turtles, also endangered, feed in the warmwaters in the Gulf between May and October.

3. Sharks

Shark species worldwide are in decline. The grassbeds south of the Chandeleur Islands are very close to the oil spill. These grasses are a known nursing area for a number of shark species, which are now beginning their spawning season in the Gulf. Whale sharks, the world's largest fish, feed on plankton at the surface of the water and could also be affected.

4. Marine Mammals — Whales, Porpoises, Dolphins

Oil spills pose an immediate threat to marine mammals, which need to surface and breathe. Not only does the oil pose a threat, but also the nasty toxins that the oil kicks off into the air. A resident pod of sperm whales in the spill area could be at risk along with piggy sperm whales, porpoises and dolphins.

Previously 'Dead' al-Qaeda Leader Back to Pupa Stage

By Lori Price

Well, he's back again from the grave - to live to fight another day --or, at least live to be re-killed again when Obama needs more troops and killer drones to fight in the Af/Pak undeclared war!

'If he is alive, it won't be the first time Mehsud, believed to be in his 20s, has defied reports of his death.' Pakistan Taliban chief said to survive US attack 29 Apr 2010 Pakistan and U.S. intelligence wrongly reported the death of the head of the Pakistani Taliban in a CIA drone strike and the brash, ruthless commander is now believed to be alive, Pakistani spies said Thursday in an apparent propaganda coup for the insurgents. The reports that Hakimullah Mehsud survived the January missile attack in an area close to the Afghan border will raise questions about the quality of the intelligence being gathered in the region.

In Washington, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said he had seen "no evidence" that Mehsud "is operational today or is executing or exerting authority over the Pakistan Taliban as he once did." [Right, he's dormant again, so he can be 'killed' when Obusha seeks more funds for US mercenaries and killer drones or to open a military tribunal kangaroo court.]

"So I don't know if that reflects him being alive or dead, but he clearly is not running the Pakistani Taliban anymore," Morrell told reporters. [Yup, the CIA has that job.]

The Taliban had always claimed Mehsud was alive and dismissed the earlier reports of his death as lies. The militant network said it was not going to offer any evidence such as a video recording because doing so could help security forces hunt Mehsud down. But until there is proof he is alive, questions may linger about his fate, given the apparently patchy nature of intelligence in the tribal regions lying sacks of sh*t at the Pentagon].

Why Pants Are Legal in Kansas

Scott Westerfeld

While writing Leviathan, I did a fair amount of research on women who passed as men to serve in the armed forces. I also checked out the laws about women wearing men's clothing, to find out what would happen if Deryn were ever caught in her deception. Armed with this knowledge, I can inform you that this is a very important day . . .

It's the hundredth anniversary of the Explicit Legalization of Pants in Kansas! (Otherwise known as ELPK Day.)


As you can see, the word "Explicit" is very important in Explicit Legalization of Pants in Kansas Day. Pants were already legal for women to wear, after all. But note that last clause: "there was no law prohibiting a woman from wearing men's trousers, especially if she were the head of the house."

In other words, it's legal to dress like a man, but really only acceptable if you're already an honorary man—i.e., a widow and a breadwinner. (Seriously, since when is something especially legal? Either it's legal or it's not, dude.) ELPK Day comes with certain restrictions, it seems.

Research gems like this one are what makes writing historicals so strange and wonderful. Every detail of this article reveals a bit more about the tenor of the times, and about how actions may be strictly legal, and yet still cause a stir.

I mean, clearly this woman wasn't writing the governor of her state for fun, or for fashion advice. Was she getting hassled by her neighbors, or even the local cops, for wearing pants? And note that she wasn't wearing pants for jury duty, say, but to work in her own damn garden.

Even more intriguing, this little story from Kansas gets a mention in the New York Times. So these sorts of conversations about the proper role and place of women must have been happening everywhere. So ELPK Day isn't just in Kansas anymore, it's going national!

Of course, it's easy to laugh at this, and reassuring to think that we no longer live in a world where women have to get legal advice for something so simple as wearing men's clothes, right?

Well, um, wrong.

Because just a few days ago, on almost exactly the 100th anniversary of ELPK Day, a student named Ceara Sturgis has found herself erased from her school yearbook. Why? For wearing a tuxedo in her senior photograph. And when I say erased, it's not just that the school administration wouldn't print the photograph. No, they actually deleted every mentioned of Ceara from the yearbook, even though she's an honor student, the goalie of the soccer team, and plays trumpet in the band.

By the way, she's also a lesbian. So wearing this tuxedo wasn't about flouting some imaginary dress code, but about who she is. That's what clothing means in all these conflicts.

New book about Funnyman, a Jewish superhero from the Golden Age of Comic Books

Funnyman Cover Adam

Feral House has a great new book coming out about Funnyman, an unusual and short-lived comic book series created by Superman's Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Funnyman was a clown-like superhero who used gags, pranks and Yiddishisms to defeat his humor-deficient enemies. He was a dead ringer for Danny Kaye, one of my favorite comedians. The comic book was a total flop. It ran for six issues and went out of business. Siegel and Shuster tried to keep it going as a newspaper strip, but gave up after a year. The team never worked together again. (Joe Shuster went on to illustrate seedy little bondage booklets, barely scratching out a living. You can read all about it in Craig Yoe's book, Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster.)

Graveyard of Past Deadlines