Monthly Archives: February 2008

Bank of America Asks Government for $739 Billion

Context and commentary from Mischa:

“The proposal warns that up to $739 billion in mortgages are at “moderate to high risk” of defaulting over the next five years and that millions of families could lose their homes. To prevent that, Bank of America suggested creating a Federal Homeowner Preservation Corporation that would buy up billions of dollars in troubled mortgages at a deep discount, forgive debt above the current market value of the homes and use federal loan guarantees to refinance the borrowers at lower rates”

The reason they are at “high risk” is twofold. Prices are too high and Congress and this administration is spending too much money weakening the dollar. Home prices need to come down, the war in Iraq needs to be stopped cold turkey, and Congress needs to stop bailing out banks and homeowners when they do something stupid. While we are at it, we need to abolish the Fed.

Obama Defuses Right-Wing Attacks

No screaming, no shouting, just plain common sense:

He’s not on the defensive at all. Instead, he’s swatting away these slurs with the dismissive contempt they deserve, and then eagerly and aggressively engaging the debate on offense because he’s confident, rather than insecure, about his position: “A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed, or were sending troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans’ benefits that these troops need when they come home, or are undermining our Constitution with warrantless wiretaps that are unnecessary? “That is a debate I am very happy to have. We’ll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism.”

British Special Forces Soldier: “Government knew about extraordinary rendition”

The UK’s role in assisting the US in kidnapping people gets worse:

Last week, the Foreign Secretary David Miliband apologised to MPs in the Commons and admitted that two US rendition flights transporting terrorists suspects for questioning by the US had landed on UK soil. The former SAS soldier, Ben Griffins, claims this “pales into insignificance” compared to British forces’ actions.

A special forces soldier has come forward to say

“We detained individuals and carried out our own interrogation before handing them over to the US. We were under no illusion as to what awaited the individuals handed over by us.”

US’s Fire on Dead Satellite Could Hit Int’l Space Station

1 in 1000 chance:

The ‘shot’ — that’s what Ambassador James Jeffrey called the decision to use an an Aegis SM-3 to try to shoot down satellite USA 193 in the next 3-12 days. Last I checked, the Space Shutle’s PRAN (probability risk assessment number, of complete loss of life) was 1 in 100. Extrapolating, there would be only a 1 in 1000 chance of wiping out the ISS.

Indiana Jones Trailer Censored for US Audience

From Ain’t It Cool:

If you have to treat intelligent adult audiences this poorly on a regular basis to “protect the children,” I’d say you’re spectacularly shitty at your job and someone else should be given a chance to run the system. It’s been said before and said better, but it bears saying again: the MPAA is broken beyond repair, and the way they insult the consumers they are supposed to serve wouldn’t be allowed in any other industry.

Egypt Increases HIV Arrests

Egyptian police have stepped up arrests of persons suspected of having HIV, detaining four men this month in a crackdown that violates basic human rights, two international rights groups said Friday. Police denied making any HIV-related arrests but one police official speaking on condition of anonymity said there is a campaign to get persons registered in hospital records as HIV-positive into treatment in “special clinics.”

Isn’t ‘special clinic’ just a word for quarantine?

World Markets Lose $5.2 Trillion in January

World stockmarkets lost 5.2 trillion dollars (3.6 trillion euros) in January thanks to the fallout from the US subprime crisis and fears of a global economic slowdown, Standard & Poor’s said Saturday. Standard & Poor’s said the world’s equity markets lost a combined 5.2 trillion dollars as emerging markets fell 12.44 percent and developed markets lost 7.83 percent to register one of the worst starts to a new year.