Archive for November 20, 2008

See Writer Tito Perdue In Person!

November 20, 2008

Southern Writers Reading – November 22, 2008

Saturday [this Saturday, November 22] afternoon Tito will read from his latest book, Fields of Asphodel, or perhaps from some unpublished work, in Fairhope, AL at Southern Writers Reading. The event is free to the public, so y’all come

This is a very rare treat and I sit in a puddle of envy over those who attend!

Tito has also put up two more excerpts of his latest novel:

Tito Perdue’s THE NODE – Excerpt #3
Tito Perdue’s THE NODE – Excerpt #4

Writer Jason Pinter Had A Great Time

November 20, 2008

School Daze

When you’re at a book conference, you inevitably spend a great deal of your time talking about publishing, marketing, everything that goes on once you close the word processor, and everything you’d prefer not to deal with. But students … man, they want to know everything about the books themselves. They want to know where ideas come from. Where you get your inspiration. How much of the characters are based on you, and how many are based on other people. It’s everything a writer really wants to talk about, to the hungriest audience there is.

Students don’t care about co-op. They don’t give a damn about genre wars, review space, or sales meetings. All they care about is what is between those two covers, how it got there, and for some of them, how they can do it too. You can always tell who the writers are in these groups. They’re the ones who ask question after question. At first tentative, hand raised just barely above their head, perhaps wondering what their fellow classmates will think of them. But as time goes on, the hands eventually raise higher and higher, they become more confident, more open. You have to purposefully call on other students sometimes because, near the end, that hand refuses to stay down.

Oh, man. That must have been such an incredible thrill for him.

I would have thought that with the Net, such person-to-person excitement was being lost, replaced by emails and blog Comments.

I’m glad to learn otherwise.

Quote: Writer Zoe Winters

November 20, 2008

Terror Level Orange

Gmail will flip out on you like a crazy ninja of communication if you try to send over a certain number of emails at once

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #427: 777

November 20, 2008

October 10, 2009: There is an important update to this post at the bottom.

All sink or all swim?

Deuteronomy 15: 1-11

At the end of every seventh year, cancel all debts. This is the procedure: Everyone who has lent money to a neighbor writes it off. You must not press your neighbor or his brother for payment: All-Debts-Are-Canceled—God says so. You may collect payment from foreigners, but whatever you have lent to your fellow Israelite you must write off.

There must be no poor people among you because God is going to bless you lavishly in this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance, your very own land. But only if you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, diligently observing every commandment that I command you today. Oh yes—God, your God, will bless you just as he promised. You will lend to many nations but won’t borrow from any; you’ll rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him. Don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don’t count the cost. Don’t listen to that selfish voice saying, “It’s almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled,” and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He’ll call God’s attention to you and your blatant sin.

Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.

This is God telling us: Mortal Capitalism doesn’t work.

Well, look, here are the choices:

1) Global financial collapse, millions starve, millions die, international upheavals. Gotterdammerung.


2) Wipe out all the debt. National, corporate, consumer. Just erase all of it. The assets still remain. Nothing really becomes zero.

Unemployment will stop growing, financing will begin again, people will shop again.

Tell me what the difference is! Write-downs are happening right now. Bankruptcies are happening right now. Just take one global eraser and wipe it all out.

Replace the fear and misery with jubilation.

Can any of you envision the worldwide happiness that would result?

Once that mess is gone, be ruthlessly honest in future transactions.

Economics is supposed to be about creating value, not cancerous debt.

Imagine what life would be like in just six years from now if this was followed.

The prosperity would be absolutely breathtaking.


As of October 10, 2009, I disavow this proposed solution. It is simply and entirely wrong.

The fundamental error I made is the one everyone is making: not getting to the root cause.

The root cause is the structure of the entire monetary system itself.

Wiping out all debt will still keep us trapped within that system and continue the boom and bust cycle for the benefit of a select few instead of the well-being of all.

If you are serious about finding a solution, then you will have to do some work of your own. I recommend a book as a starting point: Web of Debt, by Ellen Hodgson Brown. I have no connection to this book other than as someone who was lent a copy to read.

Pay particular attention to this quote by Benjamin Franklin, who was discussing the pre-Revolutionary American Colonies:

There was abundance in the Colonies, and peace was reigning on every border. It was difficult, and even impossible, to find a happier and more prosperous nation on all the surface of the globe. Comfort was prevailing in every home. The people, in general, kept the highest moral standards, and education was widely spread.

All of that was because of the kind of monetary system the Colonies had. They had divorced themselves from the brutal system that dominated English finance.

We can have that system again today. We have a tool — and a weapon — the Colonists lacked: the Internet.

Educate yourself about money — while there is still time to do so.

Don’t fall for “solutions” that will impoverish all of us.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #426: Unthinkable

November 20, 2008

Japan economists call for ‘Obama bonds’

TOKYO – Japanese economists, increasingly concerned that the United States might seek to pay its enormous and growing debt obligations in a weakened US dollar, are looking to the possibility of US Treasuries being issued in yen.

Emphasis added by me.

Stop reading. Re-read that. Let it sink in.

“There is no wonder the dollar will weaken,” said Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan’s former top currency official and now a professor at Waseda University. “The dollar now looks strong for a technical reason. The money the US financial firms had invested in the world is being repatriated into the homeland, causing dollar-buying. But once this conversion into the dollars is done, the currency will head south,” Sakakibara said at a forum in Tokyo on Sunday.

Faced with the unprecedented growth of the US budget deficit and the prospect of an increasingly weaker dollar compared with the yen reducing the value of Treasury debt held by Japan, economists in Tokyo are calling for the administration of president-elect Barack Obama to issue US Treasuries denominated in yen and other currencies. The issuance of foreign currency-denominated US Treasures would reduce the perceived risk of holding the debt.

Emphasis added by me.

This I didn’t know:

The idea of issuing foreign currency-denominated US Treasures is not new. The Jimmy Carter administration, buffeted by the two oil crises of the 1970s, sold “Carter bonds”, denominated in German marks and Swiss francs, in 1978 to attract foreign investors into Treasuries.

“The US will be forced to issue foreign currency-denominated US Treasures in its hour of need,” said Mizuno. “The US cannot finance its deficit by itself. The US financial system cannot survive without foreign investors. We will see ‘Obama Bonds’ in the future.

Emphasis added by me.

I didn’t know that had happened under Carter’s spineless Administration. I wasn’t paying attention to the financial markets then. But it figures! He was the pinnacle of 1970s-era shit on a stick.

“Obama bonds.” What scares me is that when I realized Obama had become Inevitable, I saw in my mind something called “Obama Bucks” foir dealing with Depression 2.0.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #425: Con Game

November 20, 2008

Pulling The TARP Over The Taxpayer Eyes

Lucky for us Hanky and Benny have deigned not to use any funds to stabilize the real estate market. Nor have they chosen to time bomb the 55 trillion dollar credit default swap time bomb. Their inaction virtually guarantees some combination of worldwide depression, hyperinflation, and eventually a worldwide currency collapse. Thankfully Hanky and Benny have save us from the moral hazard of socialism. Would you like fries with that?

Emphasis added by me.

This is a wonderful post that describes matters as they are — and not as D.C. wants you to believe.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #424: $1T MOAR!

November 20, 2008

Financials need at least $1 trillion: analyst

(Reuters) – The U.S. financial system still needs at least $1 trillion to $1.2 trillion of tangible common equity to restore confidence and improve liquidity in the credit markets, Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Paul Miller said.

Eight financial companies — Citigroup Inc, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Wells Fargo & Co, JPMorgan Chase & Co, American International Group Inc, Bank of America Corp and GE Financial — are in greatest need of capital, he said.

“Debt or TARP capital is not true capital. Long-term debt financing is not the solution. Only injections of true tangible common equity will solve the current crisis,” he said in a note dated November 19.

Currently, the U.S. financial system has $37 trillion of debt outstanding, he noted.

Combined, these eight companies have roughly $12.2 trillion of assets and only $406 billion of tangible common capital, or just 3.4 percent, the analyst said in his note to clients.

Miller said these institutions need somewhere between $1 trillion and $1.2trillion of capital to put their balance sheets back on solid ground and begin to extend credit again, given their dependence on short-term funding and the illiquid nature of their asset bases.

Emphasis added by me.

This is getting simply surreal:

The bulk of the capital will have to come from the U.S. government, Miller said. The government needs to take the initial steps to begin the process, and private capital and earnings can finish the job.

“The quicker the government acts, the sooner the financial system can work through its current problems and begin to supply credit again to the economy,” he said.

The U.S. government must declare a bank-dividend holiday and convert the TARP funding into pure tangible common equity to get the credit markets functioning.

Also, the government should support a centralized CDS clearinghouse that backstops all transactions and eliminates the cross-default problem, the analyst said.

Emphasis added by me.

Is this guy on drugs?

If these entities are such great risks and so necessary, why the hell isn’t private capital pouring in?

If private capital won’t do it, why should we get stuck with the tab?

The Final Folly

November 20, 2008


The (in)famous thread, which starts out with:

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.19pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Overdue account

Dear David,
Our records indicate that your account is overdue by the amount of $233.95. If you have already made this payment please contact us within the next 7 days to confirm payment has been applied to your account and is no longer outstanding.

Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.37pm
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Overdue account

Dear Jane,
I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead. I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter.

Regards, David.

I don’t believe it. I want conclusive, convincing proof that someone actually paid the ten grand.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #423: Iceland 8

November 20, 2008

IMF, Nordics pledge $4.6 billion loans to Iceland

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) — Four Nordic countries and the International Monetary Fund on Thursday pledged a combined $4.6 billion (euro3.64 billion) in loans to help Iceland recover from its economic meltdown.

Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark said they would lend the cash-strapped Atlantic island nation $2.5 billion, while the IMF approved a $2.1 billion support package announced earlier.

“We stress that, as outlined in the IMF program, an ambitious multiyear fiscal consolidation program will help Iceland stabilize the economy, including the exchange rate, and reduce public debt over the medium-term,” the Nordic finance ministries said in a joint statement.

Iceland’s banking system collapsed in October under the weight of the global credit crunch. The country’s currency, the krona, has lost half its value since January. Banking transactions to and from the island nation in the middle of the North Atlantic have seized up, leaving its population of 320,000 virtually stranded.

Emphasis added by me.

Still needs watching.

And there should be some very interesting fiction coming out of Iceland in a few years.

Reference: Overdrive Digital Media Locator

November 20, 2008

Overdrive Digital Media Locator

I didn’t know this existed. It’s quite wonderful.

Click at the left to discover if your public library offers eBooks (as well as audiobooks and possibly video too).

— via Twitter from top_book