Friday, April 30, 2010
I believe it's important to distinguish between those who pursue 'light green business-as-usual' [me-based environmentalism] as opposed to the real Greeners. Real greeners make real sacrifices. For example driving less, even though this might be less convenient. Eating less meat. It's not limited merely to outrage around furry creatures being wiped out or patched of ocean suffering oil slicks. Their beliefs manifest in their own lives, in the growing of vegetable gardens, having water storage tanks and making private and personal commitments to changing the world.
We have a large number of people who classify themselves as environmentalists. They have a very different view of the world, and what is important for the long term. One of their concerns is that beaches not be despoiled by what looks like asphalt from oil spills. But these people seem to have little concern about the long stripes of asphalt that are being used for interstate highways. They are very concerned about the tens of thousands of birds that have been killed by oil spills, but they are not concerned (or not very much concerned ) about the billions of fish that are being removed from the oceans by fishermen every year. It seems to me that a major part of their concern is not really for the environment--it is for maintaining business as usual (BAU). Having pretty beaches, now. A nice place for their (many) children. Their plan seems to be for a light green BAU.
Mr Zuma’s candour may have sent a less useful signal too. He has at least 20 children by at least eight different women. At his trial in 2006 for rape (for which he was acquitted) he admitted having unprotected sex with a woman he knew to be HIV-positive, saying he took a shower afterwards to fend off the virus. Although he may have encouraged people to take HIV tests, some may take Mr Zuma’s negative result to imply that his risky behaviour was not so foolish after all.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health reckoned that South African government policy had led to 330,000 unnecessary deaths. Now 5.7m South Africans—18% of adults—have HIV/AIDS.
Mr Zuma, whatever the ambiguities of his own example, is surely an improvement on Mr Mbeki.
Two weeks ago, a mentally ill man hacked to death a second grader and an elderly woman with a meat cleaver in southern Guangxi, and wounded five other people.
SHOOT: I still think South Africa's criminals put the rest of the world to shame.
SHOOT: An interesting if somewhat disturbing article this, on the source of vampire legends.
According to some sources, blood is also reputed for its mythic ability to maintain beauty. When Bram Stoker's fictional Dracula fed on blood, his appearance reverted to a handsome, youthful version of himself.
Anthropophagy (cannibalism) is another example of the symbolic (and literal) vitality derived from eating the flesh or drinking the blood of others.
“If we could just get Americans to reduce their weight to the same as they weighed in 1991, we could save $1 trillion and the U.S. could create $1 trillion of value,” the junk-bond billionaire-turned-philanthropist said on the panel, moderated by Matt Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News.
SHOOT: I like this analogy between debt and obesity. The keyword is self-discipline in terms of one's appetitie, whether greed for things or greed for food.
April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who forecast the U.S. recession more than a year before it began, said sovereign debt from the U.S. to Japan and Greece will lead to higher inflation or government defaults.
Almost $1 trillion of worldwide equity value was erased April 27 on concern that debt will spur defaults, derailing the global economy, data compiled by Bloomberg show. German
“The bond vigilantes are walking out on Greece, Spain, Portugal, the U.K. and Iceland,” Roubini, 52, said yesterday during a panel discussion on financial markets at the Milken
While a smaller euro zone “makes sense,” he said, “it could be very messy.”
Thursday, April 29, 2010
SHOOT: Energy prices are at the heart of these problems, and the energy death spiral has just started.
Nordegren: "This is the worst betrayal ever. I can’t believe you had sex with that girl in our own neighbourhood. That's it - I'm divorcing you."
If Portugal comes under intense pressure, contagion might then spread to Ireland, Italy or Spain, the other euro-area countries with some mixture of big budget deficits, poor growth prospects and high debts.
"The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest". A few weeks later, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein told the Times that he was doing "God's work".
SHOOT: At the heart of this debate is this question: are profits uber alles justified? Are you allowed to make money using tricky shennanigans? Is money respectable in and of itself? I think we know that Goldman's deals are ill gotten gains. Are the Goldman boys anything more than bogus overpaid secondhand car salesmen?
The Randian belief [belief in individualism espoused by Ayn Rand] is dangerous because it can seem rational and even logical. But individualism is a close cousin of narcissim, and vanity and from there arrogance, hubris and delusion in the name of enriching yourself [often by impoverishing others]. This isn't a sustainable or civilised act, especially not at the levels of self enrichment Goldman Sachs consider 'normal'. And let's be clear - anyone can make money by filching your investor or buyer over the short term. Buyer's remorse though, whether buying a dud car or anything else, is a bitch.
In the late 90s, Greenspan lobbied hard for the passage of a law that came to be called the Commodity Futures Modernisation Act of 2000, a monster of a bill that among other things deregulated the sort of interest-rate swaps Goldman used in its now-infamous dealings with Greece.
Both the Paulson deal and the Greece deal were examples of Goldman making millions by bending over their own business partners. In the Paulson deal the suckers were European banks such as ABN-Amro and IKB, which were never told that the stuff Goldman was cheerfully selling to them was, in effect, designed to implode; in the Greece deal, Goldman hilariously used exotic swaps to help the country mask its financial problems, then turned right around and bet against the country by shorting Greece's debt.
Sifting through hundreds of interviews Oprah has given over the years as well as her own interviews with dozens of Oprah family members, childhood friends and former teachers, Kelley succeeds in demonstrating how Oprah's early experiences helped lead to her becoming a TV host who frequently explored the taboo subjects
SHOOT: Personally I feel there is another level of truth to that which is proved or talked about. Simply look at the actions of a person. Are they married? How does what they say compare to the ordinary reality of their lives. With Michael Jackson and Oprah - if you don't detect a schism [reality vs claimed reality] you lack perception skills about other human beings.
Kelley paints a picture of a woman who learned early on how to suppress information that could hurt her and use the rest to advance her career — even if it meant cutting people out of her life or making them "weed[s] in her garden of grudges." So does Kelley get the goods on Oprah? Yes and no. Here are some hits and misses from Kelley's 544-page tome.
Sifting through hundreds of interviews Oprah has given over the years as well as her own interviews with dozens of Oprah family members, childhood friends and former teachers, Kelley succeeds in demonstrating how Oprah's early experiences helped lead to her becoming a TV host who frequently explored the taboo subjects of sex, rape and incest.
Although she has often claimed to have grown up dirt-poor, with hand-me-down clothing and cockroaches for pets, Oprah may have been exaggerating, says her cousin Katharine Esters
Ego and hubris — not particularly surprising from someone on Oprah's level.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
He really didn't have a good defense. As he was explaining them you could see the wheels churning: He realized that they sound ridiculous.
SHOOT: The mere fact that you have a group of people who invent games and financial ploys that no one can understand, creates a scenario perfect for arrogance. Arrogance is the same as cocky, and arrogant people have contempt for those around them. That contempt extends to cheating money out of investors and then using euphemisms and epithets 'dumbed down' to explain to the masses that 'we did nothing wrong' because you can't even understand what we do. Actually you don't have to understand the finer details to know whether you've been filched. The money trail is also a damning bit of evidence. At GS they breathe money out of thin air in a system none but a few have access to...a system above the law. Really?
He knew he was the smartest guy in the room—smart enough to know that he shouldn't convince people of that.
There wasn't a single second where he had to throw his weight around and say, 'You guys are just idiots.' He wasn't condescending, but I'm sure he was thinking, 'The people that have the power in this country really don't understand how the system operates.' Even more disturbing is that they-meaning the U.S. government-created the system.
SHOOT: Deny deny deny.
Goldman Sucks: Why did we bail out a cynical bank so desperate to make money they bet against their own clients
"Your top priority is to sell that s----y deal," Levin said. "Come on, Mr. Sparks, should Goldman Sachs be trying to sell a s----y deal?"
"I didn't use that term," the Goldman executive responded.
SHOOT: Here's what has to happen. Close the bank down. They're arrogant, they're dishonest, and it's not a case of 'too big to fail', but too big to be allowed to run Wall Street.
NYTimes: While Abacus was the best-known example of the “conflicts of interest” in the Goldman documents, it was not the only example; he cited an investment called Anderson Mezzanine Funding as another product that Goldman was going to bet against.