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An interesting comparison
Sep 30th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

From FerFAL in Argentina: A US Crash that Will Parallel Argentina’s?.

Hi James,

These are hard times, indeed.
The parallels between the days before our own economy [in Argentina] collapsed
and what’s
going on today in America today are very hard to ignore.
Our local television seems to be getting some kind of sick kick out of all
this.
They showing the comparisons, even editing politicians and economists speeches
showing how similar they were to the ones the American politicians and economists
are using right now. In some cases, they even said the exact same line, the
only difference being the language.
About the article “Letter Re: What Are the Economic Collapse Indicators
to Watch For?” I’d like to make a few comments.
Some of the signs we could actually verify during our own 2001 crisis;
*Limits to withdraw amounts per day. This happened just one or two days before
banks actually closed.
*Sudden inflation. A few weeks before, but careful, it only turned into hyper
after banks closed.
*Rumors of default. Those had been going on for a while and that’s when
we slowly started investing elsewhere and slowly moving the money out of the
accounts.
*Limits to moving fund out of the country
*Limits to the transactions. At the end you could just withdraw like $250
per week, if you found an ATM with money. Otherwise
you had to suffer the terrible lines at he bank.
It’s just impossible to know exactly when it will hit, when banks will
say bye bye, but careful, timing is everything.
In my case, we had dropped by the French Bank and asked for $2,000 USD.
The employee talked to the manager and the manager came to us looking nervous
and said they didn’t have that kind of money right now, to come back
tomorrow.
“Wait a minute.. you’re telling me you don’t have 2,000 lousy
dollars, in the entire bank?”
”No.”
That same day we went down town to other banks, closed the couple accounts
left and one or two days later the crash hit and banks closed their doors.
Just a few days later, my wife’s father lost a 6 digit figure, their
fallback life savings.
He was an elderly man, but the bank didn’t care at all of course. He
died without seeing that money returned to him.
Do not expect any kind of mercy or sympathy from banks. You wont be getting
any.
People needing medical treatment have died in this country before court orders
came out demanding the bank to give the money to the person because of life
or death situations.
Some people have died of heart attacks at the bank’s closed doors, hitting
them with pans and fists.
Not trying to be dramatic here, but it did happen that way, and it’s
important for people to understand how serious this is.
I know a run in the banks is something you’d like to avoid. But remember,
that money is yours, and banks won’t be giving it back to you if they
close, you’ll loose a rather big percentage, and if the economy goes
down, it will only be returned to you after months, even years.
Maybe it would be a good idea to take another look at the
Wikipedia page that summarizes our 2001 economic crisis
.

People should try to remain clam, but take the necessary precautions given
the circumstances.
Take care James. God bless you and all the readers, grant them the peace of
mind needed in these
trying times. – FerFAL

[SurvivalBlog.com]

Really weird capsule bio
Sep 30th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Space Tourist Simonyi Prepares For Second Flight. Toren Altair writes “Space Adventures announced today that Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., intends to train with the Soyuz TMA-14 crew in preparation for a spring mission in 2009 to the International Space Station. Simonyi flew his first space mission in 2007. He would be the first space tourist to repeat the experience. Space Adventures’ sixth orbital spaceflight participant, Richard Garriott, son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, is currently scheduled to launch to the ISS on October 12 of this year.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[Slashdot]

This post stands out for the rather odd way they refer to Richard Garriott. Also known as “Lord British,” Richard Garriott is one of the most influential game designers in history, responsible for both the Ultima series (which popularized computer role playing games) and Ultima Online, which started the Online RPG industry. Describing him as the son of an astronaut is like describing Howard Hughes as the son of a tool maker.

Cop humor
Sep 30th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Because You Can’t Make a Denver Omelet Without Cracking a Few Heads.

T-shirt handed out by Denver’s police union to commemorate the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

 

[Hit and Run]

I know, it’s all just an “isolated incident.” Or, based on the sales projection given by a representative of the union, “about 2000” isolated incidents. That’s one for every employee of the Denver Police Department, with a few hundred left over for family members.

A rare piece of good news
Sep 29th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Bailout Rejected by the House?.

The one body of government most hardwired to the American public just rejected the leadership of both major political parties, the president of the United States, his administration, the two contenders to his throne, and seemingly every talking head on cable television. The first tally was 228-205-1; but it looks like they’re keeping the vote open long past the allotted time, and now it’s at 226-207-1. "They’re just going to hold it closed until they can get enough Yeah votes," CNN’s floor reporter just said. That’s the same maneuver they used to create a huge new Medicare/prescription drug entitlement. Democracy!

C-SPAN today has been more gruesome than watching David Cronenberg’s Crash. Among the minute-by-minute horrors of crap economics, utterances of the phrase "inaction is not an option," and nausea-inducing bipartisanship, my favorite moment might have been when Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) quoted favorably, and without irony, Spiro fucking Agnew, as saying "the cost of our failure will far exceed the price of our progrees." Just one of scores of comments today that did not make any sense, at least not to me.

The Dow Jones tumbled down 650 points (more than 5 percent) right when the deal looked killed, but now it’s around minus-450 for the day and heading northward, though in a herky-jerky way.

More importantly, if this vote is allowed to stand, 132 House Republicans and 94 Democrats will have, at least for a moment, slowed the rush to nationalization that has shot through Washington like Hoof in Mouth disease these past days and weeks. I’m as apocalyptic as the next guy, but I never did understand how a temporary illiquidity in the mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps markets required the biggest government intervention since Richard Nixon’s disastrous wage and price controls.

UPDATE: Mistah bill, he dead.

[Hit and Run]

Life imitates art
Sep 26th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Is a bird? Is it a plane? First crossing of English Channel using jet-powered wings. A Swiss pilot becomes the first person to fly across the English Channel using a jet-powered fixed wing. [BBC News]

The craft he used looks a lot like the flying wing used by the title character in Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Why the mainstream media can’t be trusted
Sep 26th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Mad About Letterman. CBS News executives were red- faced yesterday trying to explain how David Letterman used unaired news footage of Sen. John McCain with Katie Couric to embarrass the Republican presidential candidate.

McCain canceled his appearance on Letterman’s show late Wednesday, several hours before he was due to appear – claiming he had to return to Washington to deal with the financial crisis.

But when Letterman discovered the Senator sitting down with Couric at the same time he was supposed to be taping “Late Night,” he unloaded on McCain.

[…]

Later in the show, Letterman showed an internal, live video of McCain being tended to by a make-up artist before the Couric interview. Both Couric and Letterman are on CBS.

Letterman said on the air that McCain had called him personally to apologize and said he was racing to the airport.

“He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?” Letterman told viewers.

[…]

But several CBS News executives – who asked not to be identified – said that the stunt did not go down well within the news division.

“If we had done something like that to him, someone around here would end up getting fired,” one said. [New York Post]

Thanks to the unnamed executive for illustrating why the mainstream media has so little credibility. A senator and presidential candidate gets caught lying and his reaction is that if someone in the “news” division did it they’d get fired? So why on earth would anyone take them seriously as a source of news?

Not a very sturdy platform
Sep 23rd, 2008 by Ken Hagler

McCain and the platform. Not that anyone pays attention to party platforms, least of all McCain, but a reader spots this rather unambiguous section of the platform just passed by the GOP:

We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself.

[Politico]

Of course it’s not just McCain, but pretty much all Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) who are pushing the bailout. The hypocrisy might be more funny if they weren’t on track to destroy what’s left of the economy, though.

Asking the wrong question
Sep 23rd, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Is Georgia About to Execute an Innocent Man?

Barring a U.S. Supreme Court intervention or an unlikely intervention from Gov. Sonny Perdue this afternoon, the state of Georgia will execute Troy Davis this evening at 7pm.

Davis was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1991 based on eyewitness testimony.  The problem is that seven of the nine people who testified against him at his trial have since recanted, saying they were pressured and coerced by the police.  Three other witnesses who did not testify at the trial have since come forward to say another man committed the murder—a man who happens to have been one of the two remaining witnesses against Davis who have yet to recant their testimony.

The Georgia Supreme Court granted a stay last year with Davis within hours of execution.  The same court voted 4-3 this year to proceed with Davis’ punishment.

So is Georgia about to execute an innocent man?  It looks as if there’s at least enough doubt that we can’t say for sure.

And that ought to be more than enough doubt to hold off on the execution.

[Hit and Run]

I have no idea if he’s innocent or not, but that’s the wrong question. The right question is, “did the police frame Troy Davis?” It seems pretty clear that they did.

Quote of the day
Sep 22nd, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I say to the gods and the sons of gods the things that whet my thoughts; by the wells of the world there is none with the might to make me do his will.

The Lay of Loki

I came across this quote in an online novel heavily influenced by Norse mythology–it interests me that such an idea exists in that religion. Over the years I’ve noticed that Christians invariably assume that if Atheists (such as myself) believed in their mythology, we would just automatically worship their gods. Wrong.

You can fool some of the people all of the time
Sep 21st, 2008 by Ken Hagler

‘Obey’ Street Artist Churns Out ‘Hope’ for Obama. The street artist known for the “Obey” guerrilla art campaign has entered the mainstream thanks to his two-tone prints of Barack Obama that have become synonymous with the Democratic nominee. But he hasn’t lost his radical edge. [Wired News]

The Wired article includes a photo of the guy. If I had any artistic ability, I’d create a two-tone print of him with the caption “chump.”

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