Archive for October 1, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #297: Countdown

October 1, 2008

There are now only three days left.

All Chronicles of Depression 2.0 posts.

From Space:1999 To Space:2099

October 1, 2008

Looking for a clip from the first episode of Space:1999, Breakaway, I came across some YouTube videos of something called Space:2099.

It has its own website.

I played hooky for a total of several hours today watching this. Some of it is simply spectacular!

They’ve enhanced the special effects — and it’s all seamless!

They’ve done things I didn’t know were possible, like revising the Year Two titles with the classic Barry Gray/Vic Elms theme music and visual editing of Year One:

Those title shots never existed!

And they’ve given the date a breathtaking dynamic animation that has to be seen!

They’ve even corrected mistakes, like this classic error, which was originally the dark side of the Moon:

They also redesigned the Travel Tube to conform to the standing set!

This is all professional-level work. The sound editing especially surprises me. You’ll think they had access to the multitrack masters! They insert new music and it’s as if it was always in the episode!

They’ve also changed the chronology to integrate a coherent timeline (something the original series lacked big time!) and created a brand-new episode out of two of them!

I disliked this kind of thing when CBS did it to Star Trek. My sentiments here are different because this is a labor of love, created by Eric Bernard. I’d probably feel it was a desecration if it was a commercial product (which is actually Bernard’s hope!).

I wonder if Gerry Anderson has seen this?

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #296: SCAM!

October 1, 2008

This link is for the PDF of the bill the Senate will vote on tonight.

This is the Bailout Bill.

I want to you to look at just one thing that’s in this bill. These are two screen snaps from Adobe Reader:

Click = big

This is just the part I highlighted in red:

Click = big

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Hello, McFly! This is a bill to try to stave off the collapse of the entire world’s financial system yet some son of a bitch is thinking about wooden arrow shafts?!

Wooden fucking arrow shafts?!!?

In a time of urgent global crisis?!

This is the wording of it, on page 300:

23 (a) IN GENERAL.—Paragraph (2) of section 4161(b)
24 is amended by redesignating subparagraph (B) as sub301

[new page]

1 paragraph (C) and by inserting after subparagraph (A)
2 the following new subparagraph:
4 ARROW SHAFTS.—Subparagraph (A) shall not
5 apply to any shaft consisting of all natural
6 wood with no laminations or artificial means of
7 enhancing the spine of such shaft (whether sold
8 separately or incorporated as part of a finished
9 or unfinished product) of a type used in the
10 manufacture of any arrow which after its as11
12 ‘‘(i) measures 5⁄16 of an inch or less in
13 diameter, and
14 ‘‘(ii) is not suitable for use with a bow
15 described in paragraph (1)(A).’’.
16 (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by
17 this section shall apply to shafts first sold after the date
18 of enactment of this Act.

Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt going before Congress after Pearl Harbor and requesting a Declaration of War and some dim bastard tries to sneak in a paragraph about tax breaks for wooden arrow shafts?!

Who put that in there?

Why was that put in there?

The person who did that should be thrown out for trivializing his oath of office! This person not only has no goddammed business being in the Senate (the Senate!!), but he has shown no appreciation for the crisis at hand — and therefore should be made exempt from all other duties, post-haste.

I hope the person is found out and resigns in shame and disgrace.

You disgust me.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #295: Lehman

October 1, 2008

Some interesting and disgusting points about the collapse and bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

Lehman’s Fired Staff Get 800 Pounds, Bonus Doubtful (Update1)

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) — The 750 Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. U.K. staff that lost jobs today are guaranteed 800 pounds ($1,426) under law and must line up with other creditors if they hope to get any of their discretionary bonus, lawyers said.

They’ve been told they will get their pay for the last month and they take their place with all other unsecured creditors,” said Ronnie Fox, London-based partner with Fox Lawyers, whose firm has received several calls from former Lehman professionals.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Lehman’s U.K. bankruptcy administrator, said yesterday that the jobs will be eliminated in Lehman’s European fixed income and personal investment management units. The bank employed about 4,500 in London’s Canary Wharf.

Former Lehman bankers, who generally earned at least 60,000 pounds a year plus a discretionary, performance-based bonus, are eligible for so-called statutory redundancy pay up to a maximum of 9,900 pounds after 20 years of service although that isn’t guaranteed. It could be years before it’s known whether money is left over for redundancy pay or bonuses, lawyers said.

Emphasis added by me.

It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the greedy bastards deserve nothing. But I know people who have worked in Wall Street firms. They had nothing to do with trading. They were in support services. They also got year-end bonuses (at salary percentages that staggered me!). Those kind of people are getting screwed too now.

And it’s all “legal.”

Here is an astonishing statistic:

Lehman, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns Cos. paid about $50 billion in salaries, benefits and bonuses in 2007. The bonus portion, estimated at 60 percent of the total, rose to $29.8 billion from $26.1 billion.

There are entire countries in the world that don’t have that as a national budget!

And then there is this jaw-dropper:

Lehman’s $8B Transfer of Funds to US Irks Brits

(Newser) – An $8-billion transfer from Lehman Bros.’ European headquarters to its New York headquarters on the day the firm declared bankruptcy is raising issues on both sides of the Atlantic. As the sale of Lehman’s US operations to Barclays was approved Saturday, the administrators of the company’s bankruptcy filing in Great Britain were demanding that the money be returned, reports the Wall Street Journal, saying it belongs to clients and employees.

Emphasis added by me.

Say what? And this seems to be the other shoe of the pair:

NY Lehman Crew Gets $2.5B Bonus Pool

(Newser) – Some 10,000 New York Lehman Brothers employees will share bonus pay of $2.5 billion, sparking anger among the investment bank’s European workers and critics of unfair compensation in the imploding finance arena, the Independent reports. The money was arranged before Lehman declared bankruptcy. Lehman’s British staff, who are bracing for the loss of jobs or pay rates, called the bonus pay a “scandal.”

Emphasis added by me.

What the hell went on at Lehman’s? One report said this $8B was a “routine transfer.” Yeah — like the last helicopter on the roof of a hut during the fall of Vietnam!

The people in charge of Lehman knew the day they were filing for bankruptcy. Do they dare to try to declare ignorance of eight billion dollars?

Shit like this is not simply bad PR, it will increase the resentment and create an outright hatred of financiers of all kinds.

There is especially no place for shit like this during a crisis.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #294: OMG

October 1, 2008

FDIC seeking temporary unlimited Treasury loans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is seeking temporary unlimited borrowing authority from the Treasury Department, according to a copy of the final Senate bailout legislation on Wednesday.

In the bill, which is expected to be voted on by the Senate later Wednesday, the FDIC is seeking the borrowing authority through the end of 2009.

The FDIC currently insures up to $100,000 per depositor and up to $250,000 per individual retirement account at insured banks.

The increase would be a big boost for the FDIC’s ability to insure bank deposits and send a message of confidence to individuals and businesses thinking twice about leaving their money in their banks.

The agency has access to a total of $70 billion in short- and long-term lines of credit. It can also charge banks higher premiums.

Emphasis added by me.

OK, that just upped my fright level.

That has to be the biggest bet every made.

I thought what just happened in Ireland was breathtaking — they just insured everything.

The state guarantee exceeds 200pc of Irish GDP, marking a new phase in the escalation of the crisis.

Emphasis added by me.

My friends and I marveled at how West Germany had the money to basically buy back East Germany from the Communists after the Berlin Wall fell.

Now Ireland has just said it will buy its GDP twice over.

I am getting the vision of scary men sitting around a table, each holding a hand of poker, and no one dares call — they all keep raising and raising and raising.

Where is the call going to come from? When will it happen?

All Chronicles of Depression 2.0 posts. Better read them.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #293: Truth!

October 1, 2008

That encapsulates my gut feeling about it.

I still think the government should set up something — an agency, a corporation, whatever the proper legal entity needs to be — and draft Warren Buffett to fix all of this. It takes a money expert to fix a money mess.

iPhone/iPod Touch Stand = One Paperclip!

October 1, 2008

Via Twitter from UrmiRaj14

iPhone Paper Clip Stand

Website for PDF template

Writers With Lottery-Like Money

October 1, 2008

The World’s Best Paid Authors

J.K. Rowling, of course, tops the list. She’s sold over 375 million books. Think about that. That’s a fraction of a billion books.

At the bottom of the article is a link to what the MSM considers a slideshow of the writers. Some slideshow! It reloads the entire damned page. S-l-o-w-l-y. Get a clue of how Web 2.0 works, willya?

Blog Notes: Contents Will Be Late

October 1, 2008

After having the entire frikkin world economy on my back this week, I’m disinclined to do actual labor. Which is what doing the monthly Contents is.

I’ll probably do it tomorrow.

Eh, sue me.

Or I can just give you back your blog admission money.

Quote: Rex Hammock

October 1, 2008

Who’s to blame?

If I were in a sinking rowboat out in the middle of an ocean and the only way to save the boat was to throw an ideologue overboard, I would not hesitate to do so.

I’m still cackling as I type this.