Monday, 24 September 2007

In Passing

They never stay with us long enough

Denny says goodbye to Ashley.

"No matter how long we have them, it always seems too soon." - Nancy, in the comments thread.

Later:  Also from the comments:  Tribute to Dainty Feet.

Linked by "christheprofessor" at LGF. Thank you.

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Saturday, 22 September 2007


Man, you've got to watch them EVERY MINUTE!

I swear, I want to revise "legalpad's" quote to include the whole damn federal government!


Nearly 10,000 people from countries designated as sponsors of terrorism have entered the United States under an immigration diversity program with relatively few restrictions, a report released on Friday said.

The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the State Department's inspector general warned in 2003 that the Diversity Visa Program posed a significant risk to national security and recommended it be closed to people from countries on the U.S. list of state terrorism sponsors.

But four years later, the program remains open to people from those nations and little is known about what becomes of them once they enter the United States, the GAO said.
The GAO said the State Department expressed disappointment with the report's findings and rejected recommendations that the department compile more comprehensive data on fraud activity and formulate a new strategy for combating it.-- Reuters, September 21, 2007 [highlighting mine - o.g.]
Ah yes, the State Department: "Looking out for everybody's interests except America's."

TWO: It's amnesty! And it's alive! Again!:
The problem with this bill is not just that it's apparently been drafted as a stealth mechanism to allow lots of illegal immigrants to claim they qualify and thereby achieve legal status, although it has... [But that] it would inherently create an incentive for further illegal border crossing (namely by telling potential illegals to bring their kids across the border when they are young)... Now that the government is finally (seemingly, at least temporarily) trying to remove the "jobs magnet" for continuing illegal immigration, this is not the time to activate an alternative "kids magnet." -- Mickey Kaus [bolding and link in the original - o.g.]
Sigh! Time to write our Senile Senators AGAIN! The bill number is S.774.

THREE: Various corporate weasels[1] want to screw up our chocolate!
The current legal standard to call something "Chocolate" is that it be made of:
  1. Chocolate Liquor*
  2. Cocoa Butter**
  3. Real Sugar
  4. Real Milk solids (for Milk Chocolate)
*Chocolate Liquor (or unsweetened baking chocolate) is the meat or nib of the cocoa bean which has been ground into a smooth paste. It contains more than 50% cocoa butter.

**Cocoa Butter is the vegetable fat found in cocoa beans which is released when Chocolate Liquor is pressed.
Today, whenever you see the ingredient "chocolate" on a package, it MUST be made of these, and only these ingredients.

The proposed, lower standards would allow for cheaper, non-cocoa-bean vegetable fats to be substituted for cocoa butter, and still allow manufacturers to call the resulting brown stuff "Chocolate".
Basically, they want to make the chocolate equivalent of Velveeta...but not be required to call it "processed [chocolate] food". [highlighting mine - o.g.]
The Food and Drug Administration is the agency involved in this mess. Address, fax number, and sample letter here. (It's Docket 2007P-0085.)

[1] The weasels: American Frozen Food Institute, American Meat Institute, Chocolate Manufacturers Association, Food Products Association, International Dairy Foods Association, Juice Products Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Fisheries Institute, National Meat Canners Association, North American Millers’ Association, and Snack Food Association, along with the Grocery Manufacturers Association. I'm not going to chase links to all of these, but if anyone has some spare time, it might be interesting to find out why the various "meat" associations have signed on to something involving chocolate? Hmmm?

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You'll wonder where the money went...

...when you give it to the gov-ern-ment![1]

Teresa runs the numbers on the federal government's "do-not-call" database.

[1] And anyone who finds himself matching a tune to the headline (1) is far older than he appears, and (2) qualifies for membership in the Lileks 1950s Trivia Scholars League.

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Clipfile: September 22, 2007

"Liberty is scary because it allows people to do things you don’t want them to do, think things you don’t want them to think, say things you don’t want them to say, and be things you don’t want them to be." -- "dicentra," in a comment thread at Protein Wisdom

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Friday, 21 September 2007

In Passing

Half empty, half full - again

From OpinionJournal's Best of the Web Today:

...At the same time as Antarctic ice was at a record high, Arctic ice was at a record low. What's interesting is that the Times led with the Arctic's record low ice rather than the Antarctic's record high ice. This is just bad news judgment: The Times had a man-bites-dog story but played it as yet another environmental-dogma-bites-man story.  [story link added by O.G.]
I'd guess they didn't want to confuse people by giving undue emphasis to something that contradicts the accepted narrative.


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Thursday, 20 September 2007


Gathering storm?

Two scary articles in the Telegraph:

  • September 20: Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright
    Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve for the first time, signalling that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom is preparing to break the dollar currency peg in a move that risks setting off a stampede out of the dollar across the Middle East.

    "This is a very dangerous situation for the dollar," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas.

    "Saudi Arabia has $800bn (£400bn) in their future generation fund, and the entire region has $3,500bn under management. They face an inflationary threat and do not want to import an interest rate policy set for the recessionary conditions in the United States," he said.

    The Saudi central bank said today that it would take "appropriate measures" to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg.
  • August 10: China threatens "nuclear option" on dollar sales
    Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.
    Described as China's "nuclear option" in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.
    A bill drafted by a group of US senators, and backed by the Senate Finance Committee, calls for trade tariffs against Chinese goods as retaliation for alleged currency manipulation.
Note that today the Canadian dollar hit parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time in 31 years:
The Canadian dollar rose as high as $1.0008, before retreating to 99.87 U.S. cents at 4:16 p.m. in New York. It has soared 62 percent from a record low of 61.76 U.S. cents in 2002. The U.S. dollar fell as low as 99.93 Canadian cents today. The Canadian currency last closed above $1 on Nov. 25, 1976, when Pierre Trudeau was Canada's prime minister.

UPDATE 070921 23:05: Some discussion of the China story at Daily Pundit.

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The Press

Dan Rather sues CBS

...says network made him a "scapegoat."

Beldar has read the complaint, and isn't impressed. If this actually goes to trial, it will be one of those "wasp landing on a thistle" situations: Somebody is going to get stung, and you don't care who.

UPDATE 070922 02:14: Neil Cavuto at Fox thinks CBS will fold instead of fight, effectively paying Rather to go away.

...because CBS, in its media heart of hearts, can't be bothered with it.
Please tell me the upside for CBS going back, rehashing documents, and interviews, witnesses, and story time lines. If you're CBS, do you really want to get key players talking about this again, under oath? The same players you booted and had sign confidentiality agreements?
(Update HT: Daily Pundit)

UPDATE 070924 03:16: Beldar now has an analysis of how the litigation might play out.
By failing to fire Rather for cause, by whitewashing his personal responsibility while only firing others, and by enabling the shattered fragments of his journalistic reputation to keep stumbling along for almost two more years before he finally staggered away from the Tiffany Network on his own two feet, CBS has put Dan Rather in a position from which he may very well be able to effectively blackmail the network into a settlement.
Don't bother with the comments, though, unless you want to revisit all the dreary old arguments -- raised by the same dreary old trolls.

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Wednesday, 19 September 2007


Republican suicide watch

Another political stumble by the Bush administration. This idea should have strangled in its cradle:

In a move that has stunned New York, the Bloomberg administration is in discussions to escort the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to ground zero during his visit to New York next week, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said today. -- New York Sun
(And yes, I know that as of now Bloomberg is "not Republican." That's not the point.)

UPDATE 070920 14:18: NYC police rejected the request, but...
A law enforcement source says the Iranian mission to the United Nations has informed the Secret Service that the Iranian president intends to visit Ground Zero Monday at 10 a.m.

The source says regardless of the NYPD's rejection of the request for a Ground Zero tour, Iran's president and his entourage will be accompanied by a Secret Service protective detail, a detail provided to all heads of state when they visit the United States. -- WABC report
(ABC link from Michelle, who is reporting on efforts to organize a protest demonstration.)
Naming names:
City of New York, Mayor's Office:
U.S. State Department: phone 202-647-4000

Via: LGF and Hot Air

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Monday, 17 September 2007

In Passing

Interesting times continue

The Northern Rock bank run continued today. The BBC:

The government has said that it will guarantee all deposits held by the embattled Northern Rock bank. The pledge by Chancellor Alistair Darling is an attempt to reinforce confidence in the beleaguered firm.

More than £2bn has been withdrawn by customers since the bank applied for emergency funding from the Bank of England last week...

Banks are already covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which protects 100% of the first £2,000 in any bank account and 90% of the next £33,000 - giving a maximum payout of £31,700 if a bank did go bust. But under the measures unveiled by Mr Darling, Northern Rock savers would not lose a penny, regardless of how much they had deposited.

The chancellor reiterated comments made by the Treasury and financial services watchdog the FSA that Northern Rock is a solvent business. However these reassurances have not stopped anxious savers from queuing outside branches of the bank to make withdrawals...
And to add to the fun, here comes Alan Greenspan with a warning about the U.K. housing market:
Britain's housing market is heading for a painful correction, according to the world's most renowned economist and central banker.

Alan Greenspan, the former head of America's central bank, the Federal Reserve, issues the prediction in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph today.

He warns of "difficulties" ahead for UK home owners, as rising interest rates bring house price growth to a shuddering halt. --
When Greenspan was in charge of the Fed, nobody could get him to talk. Now that he's got a book out, you can't shut him up.

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Saturday, 15 September 2007

In Passing

Living in interesting times

I haven't posted about the housing/subprime credit mess, mostly because others who know what they're talking about are covering it better. (Some links below.) But this afternoon's bank run raises the stakes:

Anxious customers of British bank Northern Rock rushed to withdraw their savings Friday, forming lengthy queues in front of branches after the lender was bailed out by the Bank of England.

Shares in Northern Rock, which issued a profits warning on Friday, plunged 31.46 percent to 438 pence at the close, dragging the European banking sector lower as investors fretted over potential difficulties elsewhere.

The Bank of England (BoE) on Friday came to the rescue of Britain’s fifth-biggest home loan provider, which said it was facing severe difficulties raising cash to cover its liabilities amid the ongoing global credit squeeze. -- AFP report at
Add this, from the Financial Times:
Northern Rock revealed that it had £325m invested in so-called structured investment vehicles, off-balance sheet schemes that debt investors have baulked at refinancing over the summer.

Mr Applegarth [Adam Applegarth, ceo of Northern Rock] said the bank had invested in the SIVs as part of a balanced portfolio investment approach and urged other banks to reveal their exposures. Northern Rock did not have an off-balance sheet conduit – vehicles similar to SIVs but run purely for banks – and did not invest in asset-backed commercial paper.
(The U.K. has depositors' insurance for deposits up to £30,000 £35,000, but unlike the U.S. system it is two-tired, with 100% coverage of the first £10,000 £2,000, and 90% coverage of the next £33,000. [Figures corrected 070915.] )

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