The horrible oil spill off Tauranga in New Zealand affected vast numbers of birds, in addition to all the other catastrophes. Some of those birds are little blue penguins. Some of the birds could be cleaned off in time and have been saved.
But it’s essential to prevent the birds from trying to preen their crude oil-covered feathers before the people can bathe them. And for that, there are penguin jumpers. (Or, in the US, “sweaters.”)
I’m not sure why two self-important birds make me feel happy, but they do.
Crossposted to Acid Test
There is one song that represents this holiday for me…
Today’s reads are going to be on the light side, so let’s get the party…
Just could not resist that cartoon…for obvious reasons!
Now a few ghost stories:
Georgia has tons of haunted tales, especially in Savannah and Atlanta…but there are some creeps in Gainesville Georgia, and this Hunt for a haunt will take you there.
But what makes these frights so interesting for us…why do we need to be scared out of our wits? BBC News – The rise of the Halloween haunted house
For millions of people, no Halloween would be complete without a visit to a haunted house, another element in a seasonal industry that appears to be defying the recession. But what makes people pay good money to be scared out of their wits?
These people know their frights. But then Halloween has always been a big deal in the US – Americans spend $1.8bn (£1.1bn) on costumes alone – and a visit to one of more than 2,000 haunted houses around the country is increasingly part of it.
Haunted houses began in the 1970s at charity events and have since grown into a $500m (£312m) a year industry.
If Haunted Houses aren’t your thing…then maybe a tale or two?
I especially find the Civil War stories the most spooky…
It reminds me of a story my dad told me. He was working on an old house in Dunwoody, GA, that was on property occupied by the Yankees during the Siege of Atlanta. When my father was staying overnight on the grounds, he would hear a girl’s voice calling out for Ruby….Ruby….Come to the Bridge…
He would see a young black girl in a worn dress, something out of the past…and she would holler…Ruby, Come to the Bridge…After many nights of the same creepy vision and calls, he went outside and said Ruby was no longer there…she had gone…he never heard or saw the girl again.
Months later he was talking with the owner, and it turns out the house and grounds were part of the Underground Railroad, and there was old ruins of a bridge that would have crossed the creek that ran through the woods near the house…The ruins were hidden by foliage and brush in the same area my father saw the young girl calling out.
I wonder if Ruby every made it north, because someone has been searching for her near the bridge for a long long time.
So any of you have some scary tales, or stories of ghostly apparitions? Let’s hear them…post a spooky story below…and have a wonderful night!
Days after the shocking crackdown of Occupy Oakland members, a police action that resulted in serious head trauma to Marine Vet Scott Olsen, Google revealed US law enforcement requests, January through June 2011, to ban videos showing police brutality and/or allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. These requests were subsequently rejected by Google. From the Google’s released Transparency Report:
Observations on Content Removal Requests
- We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.
Had we not had access to the recent You Tube videos from Oakland, we would have been left in a ‘he said/she said’ predicament with no way of knowing how extreme the Oakland police were on the night of October 25 [unless, of course, you were an eye witness] or left to the mercy of the sadly slanted reports in the mainstream media. Traditional press outlets first ignored, and then quickly wrote off the OWS protests as lame complaints, coming from of a bunch of spoiled brats. There is little acknowledgement of the Movement’s growing support or the very real anger and disgust of the American public. The discontent is not difficult to categorize–corruption, malfeasance, and collusion of Government and Wall St. at the expense of ordinary people.
Add another ‘strange’ coincidence, this one noted at Cannonfire, header reading: “Ain’t That A Coinky-Dink.”
Joe Cannon tapped a brief blog piece indicating the weird, spectacular confluence of events: that ABC and CBS, both stations providing live feed to the October 25th night’s proceedings, just happened to require helicopter refueling at the precise moment the police prepared their attack on the protesters. And so, the major stations had no film footage of the actual melee.
Astounding, yes? Btw, this story was picked up and circulated around the Web, but I fail to recall the astonishing coincidence being reported by the MSM. I mean we get stories about the face of Jesus revealed on tacos, pistachios and ancient shrouds. But this? Nada. Inquiring minds might ask—Why?
Fortunately, we did have those videos taken by on-the-ground witnesses. We even have first hand accounts, the vast majority of which are like this one. Unflattering, to say the least.
But the magic of coincidence seems to come in bundles and bunches. In this case it’s the magic number 3 [although there certainly may be more lurking out there].
On Wednesday, October 26th the Protect IP [intellectual property] Bill S. 968 was released from the House without any appreciable changes that had been noted in the initial Senate version—vague language, broad application, all in the name of protecting copyright infringement. In addition, a companion piece of legislation Stop On-Line Privacy Act [SOPA] also coming out of the House would require internet providers to ‘disappear’ certain websites, effectively blacklisting domains, all under the aegis of IP protection. Even better, service providers would be required to ‘monitor’ and police their users’ activity.
From Open Congress the following Summary appears:
Open Congress Summary
“This bill would establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be “dedicated to infringing activities.” The DOJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against any site they deem to have “only limited purpose or use other than infringement,” and the DOJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. It would also make unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty up to five years in prison. This bill combines two separate Senate bills – S. 958 and S.978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act — into one big House bill.”
What could go wrong?
And what an amazing coincidence that Congress, a body that has been paralyzed, unable to pass any legislation for the benefit of the American public, has suddenly, so expeditiously gotten its act together to push through Blacklisting legislation that curtails and restricts Internet use. Not only that, but this legislation coincides with the precise moment that Americans around the country have gathered in our streets, courtyards, and before a variety of City Halls to give voice to public grievances, and ‘coincidentally’ effects the source from which we [the general public] primarily learn about these protests and view subsequent video.
Coincidence upon tumbling coincidence. I am gobsmacked, I tell you. Color me worried. And just a tad suspicious, too. What about you?
Bank of America has now jumped the shark, gone right over the top, past the frozen limit, and exposed themselves.
This ought to be unbelievable. It only makes sense if the bank robbers are running the bank. Bank of America has transferred assets it acquired during its takeover of the Merrill Lynch brokerage to its deposit-taking arm.
Let me unpack that a bit.
Banks, officially, put people’s savings into safe investments. The FDIC insures those savings in case the banks fail, but to prevent that outcome there are strict regulations about how banks can only put that money in safe investments.
Brokerages, officially, exist to broker any transactions on any market. Those can be the staidest of riskfree investments, like Treasury bonds, or interesting things like ultrashort inverse contracts derived from the SP 500 basket of stocks. “Derivatives” may be two, three, four, or even more meta levels above the real underlying things they represent, such as a stock or tanker load of oil. With some derivatives, you can make many times the amount of your own money that’s tied up in the trade, or, likewise, you can lose more than everything you own. That means (duh, right?) they’re risky. They have legitimate functions, such as hedging other risks or providing a way to bet on being right, but nobody ever pretends they’re safe.
Nor is there any universe in which it is up to the FDIC (=taxpayers) to make them safe by writing blank checks to cover them.
So what does BofA do? It takes bets made by Merrill Lynch — bets which were fine for a brokerage — and makes them part of the regular bank assets that are covered by the FDIC. By the magic of modern accounting, the taxpayer gets to cover wild stock market gambles that didn’t pan out.
There’s another wrinkle here. In the old high-flying days, financial institutions would sell derivatives to customers, e.g. one expecting price to go up, and then the institutions would, for their own account, buy the opposite derivative! There are two betrayals. It’s their fiduciary responsibility to tell their customers that the firm is itself investing in a fall in price. And it’s wrong to rake in money from customer commissions as well as customer losses on those same trades. It’s called a conflict of interest. It’s a big no-no.
After the crash, when it became clear that betting against the customer was fairly common in the financial industry, regulations were put in place against what’s called “proprietary trades.”
So what is BofA’s excuse for what it’s done?
Bank of America spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said the bank’s derivatives trades are subject to risk-management controls and are client-driven, not proprietary trades – meaning the bank is not betting with its own money.
In other words, it’s okay to stick taxpayers with the bill for somebody else’s failed stock market gamble because the gamble itself was not a criminal breach of ethics.
Hello? It’s the gambling that is not insured. We don’t really care who did it. And the fact that it wasn’t criminal gambling only makes it one of the few things for which BofA won’t need a lawyer.
The scariest part is that for all I know, the gross rip-off may be legal. Most of the laws for banks were written before they could turn themselves into FDIC-insured gamblers.
Bank of America posted a third quarter profit — i.e. just for the months of July, August, and September — of $5.9 billion.
During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.
The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.
In a series of comments over the past 10 days, Cain and his campaign repeatedly declined to respond directly about whether he ever faced allegations of sexual harassment at the restaurant association. They have also declined to address questions about specific reporting confirming that there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints.POLITICO has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.
Virginia Thomas’ now-famous phone call to Anita Hill has had at least one consequence that she can’t have intended. It’s prompted a former paramour of her husband’s to dish salacious and troubling detailsabout the Supreme Court justice’s past to the Washington Post. And many of those details are in sync with accusations that emerged around Clarence Thomas’ contentious 1991 confirmation hearings.
“He was obsessed with porn,” Lillian McEwen, tells the paper. “He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting.”
McEwen also said that the conservative Thomas was constantly on the make at work. “He was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners,” said McEwen. “It was a hobby of his.”
She added that he once told her he had asked a woman at work what her bra size was.