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July 8, 2009

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With rotted seeds and stunted weeds
When it rains thirty days in a row.

But neither subtle changes like a missing summer nor major ones like discovering the long sought after Northwest Passage because all the ice melted are enough to convince the oligarchs to to do anything about it.

Major polluting nations watered down their ambitions to tackle global warming at a G8 summit in Italy on Wednesday despite growing pressure to set tough targets to cut pollution.

The Group of Eight leading industrialised nations and other major economies — including China and India — dropped a pledge to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a European Union official said.

Going to have to grow some tentacles if this keeps up.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    July 9, 2009 5:52 am

    What a sad face that cephalo has. :(

    Here is something to add to his despondence, this story about how Squobama is going to allow the continuation of bad coal mining practice in Appalachia, but change the name to something other than mountain top removal, just as his predecessor changed clear cutting to “healthy forests” and air pollution to “clear skies” policies.

    Here’s Bobby Kennedy’s forlorn assessment A President Breaks Hearts in Appalachia

    • cometman permalink*
      July 9, 2009 6:57 am

      First the War on Terra became the Overseas Contingency Operation and now this. Somewhere George Orwell is having a good chuckle. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that the only way to get these people to stop their destructive ways is to do what those extremely brave people in Peru did a little while ago – draw a line and let the despoilers know they aren’t welcome, and if they try to cross it anyway, fuck ’em up.

  2. Stemella permalink*
    July 9, 2009 5:54 am

    Paul Craig Roberts says that Timmy the Elvin works for Goldman Sachs, not the people. Flat out.

    Hat tip to Zerohedge for the link

  3. Stemella permalink*
    July 9, 2009 7:01 am

    Breaking! Shocking! Flabbergasting in its astoundingness! Who could have predicted the following?!?!?!

    Goldman Sachs Trading Revenue May Beat Record


    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is on track to beat its 2007 trading-revenue record, enabling it to boost compensation by an estimated 64 percent from last year, according to Bank of America Corp. analyst Guy Moszkowski.

    Goldman Sachs has “unmatched risk-taking/risk-management skills in a market that strongly rewards these because of decline in competitor risk appetite,” Moszkowski wrote in a note to investors today. The New York-based firm “appears on track to accrue significantly more comp than ‘08, despite little change in headcount.”

    Six months ago, Goldman Sachs was supported by $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury and relied on government guarantees to issue debt. Moszkowski predicts the company will reap $26.45 billion from trading this year, a gain from $25.36 billion in 2007 when the firm shattered Wall Street profit records.

    Moszkowski said the firm will set aside 44.2 percent of total revenue to pay compensation and benefits, letting it pay workers $17.92 billion compared with $10.9 billion last year. Goldman Sachs had 27,898 employees at the end of March. If that number remains unchanged and Moszkowski’s compensation estimate is correct, it would mean an average of $642,447 per employee.


    pretty please?

    • cometman permalink*
      July 9, 2009 3:53 pm

      Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. They are doing so well because of a “decline in competitor risk appetite”?!?!?!?!?! It would be a lot more accurate to simply say a decline in competitors because Hank Paulson gave the Suxers a life raft and threw the rest an anvil.

      And then there’s the billions they got from the taxpayer and of course the entire month of December they just didn’t count in their reports.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 9, 2009 9:46 pm

      Wow. Durden rips that BofA analyst a new touchhole. He must read the Cephaloblog!

      Decline in competitor risk appetite? How about outright decline in competitors? And how about the unwillingness of competitors to directly engage GS in core fields in which the firm seems to have achieved a barrier to entry with a blessing as if from above?

      He finishes with a flourish:

      Zero Hedge, with its 1 share of GS will be proudly there[at the annual GS investor meeting], clapping and cheering in a roofied daze, pre-vaseline administration, clutching the Goldman Sachs Ethics Manual, which has long ago replaced the Bible, Koran, Torra, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Sermont on the Mount, among others, as our bedside soul cleansing material. Of course, if in the meantime the green shoots turn out to be green swans and the economy crumbles, one can bet that Goldman will be there, generating a cool 20% ROE.

  4. cometman permalink*
    July 9, 2009 7:06 am

    If lions can lie down with lambs, how about big hairy spiders with tiny little frogs.

    You might be surprised to learn that microhylids in Peru, India, Sri Lanka and perhaps elsewhere have developed close relationships with large spiders. One of the first published discussions of this phenomenon was produced by Crocraft & Hambler (1989). Noting a close association between individuals of the Dotted humming frog Chiasmocleis ventrimaculata and the burrowing theraphosid tarantula Xenesthis immanis in southeastern Peru (but read on), they suggested that the spider – well capable of killing and eating a frog of this size – used chemical cues to recognise the frogs. Young spiders have sometimes been observed to grab the frogs, examine them with their mouthparts, and then release them unharmed.


    Crocraft & Hambler (1989) noted that the frog seemed to benefit from living in proximity to the spider by eating the small invertebrates that were attracted to prey remains left by the spider. The frog presumably also benefits by receiving protection: small frogs like this are preyed on by snakes and large arthropods, yet this frog is protected by a formidable spider bodyguard. Hunt (1980) suggested that the spider might gain benefit from the presence of the frog: microhylids specialise on eating ants, and ants are one of the major predators of spider eggs. By eating ants, the microhylids might help protect the spider’s eggs. Hmm, interesting…

    Isn’t it nice to have friends…? :P Make sure to check out the pics at that link.

    And apologies if I’ve already posted this song somewhere here before –

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 9, 2009 7:54 am

      Those are some seriously hairy spiders. I’m normally not bothered, but if I saw a cluster of those things I think I might shriek!

      Speaking of shriek worthy. This song explains why the Beatles broke up. ;-P

      • cometman permalink*
        July 9, 2009 9:19 pm

        Yikes. Definitely not my favorite vocalist that Zappa played with. Just checked out a couple of the related videos and Yoko just sits there and shrieks in all of them and seems to be taking herself so seriously. Never really understood what her talent was supposed to be exactly- from what I’ve seen she doesn’t really have one. I wondered why Zappa would have wanted to play with them in the first place and ran across this interview where it seems that he didn’t. And Phil Spector was involved with it all!

        I bet Zappa had a few chuckles at the shrieking harpy’s expense over that whole incident.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    July 9, 2009 8:04 am

    Holy Mackeral, look at this superpod

    It’s a gathering of the clan, much like the tuna

  6. cometman permalink*
    July 9, 2009 9:21 am

    Somebody’s trying to fuck ’em up.

    U.S. and South Korean computer networks were besieged for days by a series of relatively unsophisticated attacks, possibly from North Korea, that were among the broadest and longest-lasting assaults perpetrated on government and commercial Web sites in both countries.


    The senior U.S. official said the attacks seemed to have come from South Korea, but it was possible Pyongyang was using sympathizers there. “We’re trying to assess whether this is some random attack or the North Koreans might be working through a proxy,” said the official.


    U.S. government Web sites attacked included those of the Defense Department, National Security Agency, Treasury Department, Secret Service, State Department, Federal Trade Commission and Federal Aviation Administration, according to the cyber-security unit of VeriSign Inc., a computer-security company, and others familiar with the attacks. The attacks appear to have occurred roughly from Saturday to Tuesday.

    Private sites attacked, according to a cyber-security specialist who has been tracking the incidents, included those run by the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, the Washington Post, and MarketWatch.

    Most U.S. federal Web sites appeared to be running properly Wednesday. In South Korea, several government sites were down late Tuesday and early Wednesday but many were back to normal by Wednesday afternoon.

    Now I’m no hacker but just how “unsophisticated” were these attacks if they hit lots of major government and business websites which presumably have some pretty high security, they lasted for several days, and nobody can figure out yet where they came from and the best they can do is blame the boogeyman in N Korea? Sounds a little more sophisticated than posting youtube videos to me.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    July 9, 2009 7:29 pm

    These two things do not go together ….

    AIG May Have Zero Value After Rescue

    American International Group Inc., the insurer bailed out four times by the government, fell the most in nine months after Citigroup Inc. said the firm may have no value left for shareholders after repaying the U.S.

    AIG plunged $3.62, or 28 percent, to $9.48 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest drop since September 2008. The insurer has lost more than half its value after implementing a 1-for-20 reverse stock split when trading closed June 30.

    AIG preparing to pay more bonuses:

    American International Group is preparing to pay millions of dollars more in bonuses to several dozen top corporate executives, after an earlier round of payments set off a national furor, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

    The report said AIG has been pressing the U.S. government to approve the payments in hopes of shielding itself from renewed public outrage.

    Does it ever feel like Groundhog day? like everyday? Phuckem up Punxatawney Phil.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 9, 2009 8:04 pm

      Wow. Three bucks and change per share after a 1-20 reverse split???? Take that away and it’s basically a penny stock at this point – would be about 18 cents per share. That sounds pretty worthless to me.

      From the second link:

      But AIG officials have been reluctant to move forward without political cover from the government, according to the report.

      They’re looking for cover before making it official, huh? – I bet you ten shares of AIG Congress gives them a nice knit quit and a big down comforter and charges the taxpayers for the yarn and feathers.

      I think I’m running out of medieval tortures to suggest for these people.

  8. cometman permalink*
    July 9, 2009 9:35 pm

    Nice article from Naked Capitalism on the history of the banking industry in this country and how things have changed over the years so that today the traders who were once looked down upon now have become the main profit engines for a lot of these “too big too fail” companies. Also discusses all the deregulation that allowed this to happen.

    Today’s investment banks look nothing like their brethren of yesteryear. For all intents and purposes, banks today are giant hedge funds – at least in comparison to what they once were. It is sales & trading that is dominant at today’s firms and that has great significance regarding risk and compensation.


    What is not evident in this history is that investment banks used to be dominated by dealmakers. The advisory work was considered the main focus. Look at any Wall Street book before “Liar’s Poker.” Almost none of them talks about trading. Sales & trading as considered the bucket shop department where guys whose knuckles were dragging the floor worked. These men – invariably from Brooklyn and sporting ethnic names – were looked down upon by the white shoe investment bankers.

    Back when Wall Street was run by partnerships, there was a bulge bracket of firms whose names came fist on any prospectus for bond or equity offerings. This group consisted of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Dillon Read, and First Boston. Names not on that list were Salomon Brothers (too much trading), Merrill Lynch (too much retail client focus), and Drexel Burnham (not classy enough). Clearly, the hierarchy was white shoe Investment Bankers first, knuckle dragging traders and middle brow retail shops last.

    This all changed, starting in the 1980s. There are a number of factors why, but the change in focus brought Salomon, Merrill and Drexel into the big leagues. As time went on trading became more and more dominant.

  9. cometman permalink*
    July 9, 2009 10:33 pm

    Good article from Danny Schechter here on how the markets are rigged by the insiders. A lot of it we’ve mentioned already but he does talk about a website I haven’t heard of before called Doesn’t appear to be the most active website in the world but there is OK stuff there. But I thought this video I found there was tremendous:

    You can watch Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

    Hadn’t heard a lot of that stuff before. It was a little disappointing that after excoriating the hedge fund managers and ripping into the SEC for doing nothing about it he suggests that we can fix the problem by writing to – wait for it – Congress! That’s one of the biggest chuckles I’ve had all day. He does ask people who may have information about all this to contact Michael Moore so he might put it in his upcoming movie. That might actually make some difference and now I really can’t wait to see it.

    • Stemella permalink*
      July 10, 2009 10:37 am

      Just catching up here. Those were great vids.

      I looked up a couple of sites that were mentioned in them and want to link for future reference

      Darkside of the Looking Glass: The Corruption of our Capital Markets

      Deep Capture

      I saw that Michael Moore’s new film will be called “Capitalism: A Love Story” haha such a snarker that Michael. I can’t wait to see it too, I think early October release.

      • cometman permalink*
        July 10, 2009 5:03 pm

        Thanks for posting those links. Just watched the first one and it is really interesting. Even if the guy who made that presentation isn’t right with all his assumptions, it’s pretty clear the SEC has a lot they are trying to hide. At this point it really seems like the markets are just a game of three card monte where the rubes can get fleeced any time the dealer wants. They only steal a relatively little at a time to keep the game going and keep new money coming into it – if they took it all at once the scam they were running would be too obvious. But as long as they can convince people to have some confidence in the markets, there will always be money for the taking to finance their yachts and penthouses.

        It was pretty amazing to watch the part where those who are supposed to be regulating claim that there is really nothing to all the talk about naked short selling and failure to deliver and then turn around and claim they can’t release the data about this illegal activity because if they did it would cause “volatility”. However you slice it, it seems pretty clear that somebody’s doing something reaaaaallllly crooked and the regulators have actually been protecting them.

  10. Stemella permalink*
    July 10, 2009 10:41 am

    Here’s another link to what looks to be a good read

    So Where, Exactly, Did Lehman’s $130 Billion Go?
    The Lehman demise refuses to go away.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 10, 2009 9:16 pm

      Lots of technical stuff in that article but it sounds like they are saying that the people in charge of Lehman’s bankruptcy may have let the hedge fund types walk off with billions of dollars before all the smoke had cleared so other parties wouldn’t be able to get their hands on it.

      And if you haven’t seen it, I also noticed a link to this video with Jonathan Weil discussing how the Suxers got the government to move so fast regarding the stolen code. That US attorney really put his foot in his mouth when he made the statement about how the program was so dangerous and could be used to manipulate markets.

      Here’s a link to Weil’s Bloomberg article on the same subject.

  11. cometman permalink*
    July 10, 2009 9:32 pm

    Here’s where Aleynikov sent the GS code –

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