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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Just as you'd peel an avocado or scrape a sticky price tag off a new vase, today you have to work to get rid of some undesirable things in your life.
Toss out what isn't needed, what doesn't feel right and what isn't flattering.
This could include something as simple as a pair of old shoes or as complicated as a romantic partner who just doesn't have his or her heart in your relationship.
Kick it to the curb and walk away -- without looking back!

 Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Munich, Bayern, germany
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Queenstown, Singapore, Singapore
Crawley, England, United Kingdom
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Delft, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Doncaster, England, United Kingdom
Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Seragoon, Singapore, Singapore
Amersfoort, Utrecht, Netherlands
Morini, Morini, Comoros
Bath, England, United Kingdom
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
London, England, United Kingdom
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Delhi, Delhi, India
Bangkok, Krung Thep, Thailand
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Barnet, England, United Kingdom
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Hanover, Niedersachsen, Germany

as well as Slovakia, Malta, Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Maldives, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland

and in cities across the United States such as Arvada, Kalispell, Seward, Winona and more!

Today is:
Today is Friday, November 11, the 315th day of 2011.
There are 50 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There isn't one.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur



Today is Veteran's Day

Far-Out Friday


And I Quote


The Occupy Movement is about "going on strike" against this "fiendish, rigged system"

This is brilliant. It captures the Occupy Movement perfectly — what it's about, what it "wants," and why people on the left and the right, each for different reasons, have been perplexed by it.
Matt Taibbi, writing in Rolling Stone, starts with this admission:
I have a confession to make. At first, I misunderstood Occupy Wall Street. ... I loved the energy and was amazed by the obvious organic appeal of the movement, the way it was growing on its own. But my initial impression was that it would not be taken very seriously by the Citibanks and Goldman Sachs of the world.
Then he saw the light ...
But I'm beginning to see another angle. Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance.

It's about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street, but everything. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become.

If there is such a thing as going on strike from one's own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it's flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left. ...

People want out of this fiendish system, rigged to inexorably circumvent every hope we have for a more balanced world. They want major changes. ... It's about dropping out ... and trying something new, the same way that the civil rights movement of the 1960s strived to create a "beloved community" free of racial segregation.
The rest of the article details those reactions, left and right, and then describes in more detail (and classic Taibbi prose) the deadening soullessness of a life lived to feed bankers' endless need for endless money.

Of special note is his discussion of the role of the NYPD (and other cop guardians). He flatly states that it's clear from their behavior who they work for, and tells them what they should be doing instead (no, not that). I'll let you find that part for yourself.

All in all, a very smart piece, and very much worth your time.

Deaths mar Occupy protests

A murder, a probable suicide, and drug overdoses add to concerns about the movement's future. 

FYI ...

... just read a see how the economy grows like crazy amid high taxes.

Did you know ...

To start off - a little piece of knowledge ... Fahrenheit 11-11-11.

The Tennessee Lt. gov. calls unemployment "a lifestyle".

Is Obama winning back the rustbelt?

It's official: the rich really are screwing the poor.

Finally, a judge stands up to Wall Street

The headline is the news. The elements of the back-story are all too familiar by now. The crime, repeated far too many times, looks like this:
■ Wall Street bank creates made-to-fail derivative product.

■ Bank sells this product as known-good to its large second-tier customers (foreign banks, your pension fund). Volume is key to commissions.

■ Bank buys highly leveraged bets against its own product and stashes those bets in its own account.

Optional: Bank clues its first-tier customers to join the sure-thing bet it just made.

■ Product fails (i.e., performs according to spec); bank makes hundreds of millions; consumers and taxpayers clean up the mess.

That's all there is to it. Five quick steps to Easy Money.

Where's the SEC? you ask. If you answered, "Captured, complicit or impotent," there's a Federal judge who might agree with you.

Matt Taibbi on what this judge is up to:

Federal judge Jed Rakoff, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s office here in New York, is fast becoming a sort of legal hero of our time. He showed that again yesterday when he shat all over the SEC’s latest dirty settlement with serial fraud offender Citigroup, refusing to let the captured regulatory agency sweep yet another case of high-level criminal malfeasance under the rug.

The SEC had brought an action against Citigroup for misleading investors about the way a certain package of mortgage-backed assets had been chosen. The case is very similar to the notorious Abacus case involving Goldman Sachs, in which Goldman allowed short-selling billionaire John Paulson (who was betting against the package) to pick the assets, then told a pair of European banks that the “designed to fail” package they were buying had been put together independently.

This case was similar, but worse. Here, Citi similarly told investors a package of mortgages had been chosen independently, when in fact Citi itself had chosen the stuff and was betting against the whole pile.
John Paulson, if you rmember, was the guy who made an estimated $2.3 billion in 2009 — because that is  just how much harder he works than the rest of us. (For all that, he only made fourth on the list; the top guy nearly doubled that number.)

Back to this year's perp, Taibbi tells us that "Citi made a $160 million profit, while its customers lost $700 million." That's $860 million in damage, if my math is right. (After all, if Citi lied to its customers, what story was it peddling to its counterparties?)

And the SEC's settlement request was tiny — just $285 million, less by almost half than in the much less egregious (but still arguably criminal) Abacus case linked above. No wonder the judge rejected it. (Nice. A wise judge; an honest judge; a Daniel come to judgement — for a change.)

The article is a good find; it's up to Taibbi's standards for both clarity and research.

He closes by looking at the corrupt legal and financial landscape that calls itself Wall Street and asks, "Are people with backbones really that rare?" Must not be a Penn State fan; I think they could answer that.

MF Global's dive shows few changes on Wall Street

After countless new rules designed to make Wall Street safer, it's come to this: Another securities firm has collapsed from risky, poorly disclosed bets.


And that doesn't help our economy, as we (and every other European trading partner) will likely see exports to Europe drop, thus hurting our economies even more, causing us to buy less from Europe, which hurts their economy even further. It's a big vicious circle in this interconnected world. And all of this doesn't take into account what will happen if things go south on the Greek or Italian debt deals.

Wash Post:
Europe may be slipping into a “deep and prolonged recession” as high levels of government debt, financial market turmoil and political paralysis stoke a dangerous downward cycle, the European Commission said Thursday.
The commission’s latest survey emphasized that there is no safe haven from the slowdown. Even the euro region’s large economic stalwarts, France and Germany, will see growth plummet to less than 1 percent in 2012, far slower than the commission forecast in the spring.

Utilities Turned Off in Homes of Alabama's Undocumented Immigrants

A utilities provider in Alabama has begun turning off water, electric, and gas services to homes that cannot confirm they are legal residents of the United States.

Mexican cartel plotted attack against US

The leaders of a powerful Mexican cartel, frustrated that U.S. law enforcement was interfering with their lucrative drug business, plotted a military-style attack on a U.S. or Mexican government building to "send the gringos a message," federal prosecutors allege in documents filed this week.

Worst words for a resumé

Including the phrase "salary negotiable" is just a waste of valuable space.

Ten Ways To Make All Your Coworkers Hate You

Remember when you were a kid and your parents and teachers tried to get you to play nice with the other children? You didn't listen, did you? If that describes you, then you're probably still doing the same thing, except now, you're doing it at work.

Dollar store deals and duds

No-name batteries can wind up costing you more than pricier name brands.  

Baby boomer money secrets

Their kids will be in for rude surprises if they expect to receive big inheritances.

Avoid sneaky Web scams

A new variation of the "Nigerian Prince" email deception is making the rounds.



France's elaborate trick

There is renewed interest in an elaborate scheme to protect Paris from wartime bombs.

The most expensive photo in the world?

This 1999 photograph provided by Christie's shows the Rhine river by German artist Andreas Gursky.

Snow White: Not Just A Fairy Tale

Snow White is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. A cute little tale that got even cuter once Walt Disney got in hands on it in 1937, right?

It may have been more than a tale, and the true tragedies the fairy stories might be rooted in are anything but cute. Two young German ladies have been identified as possible inspirations for the story of Snow White and her jealous stepmother.

Awesome Pictures


Beaches with stories to tell

Tales of smugglers, pirates, and shipwrecks add intrigue to these idyllic spots. 

Travel spots to test your ESP

One Arizona town is famous as a "global power spot" filled with vortex energy.

Pyramid shut amid 11/11 talk

Egypt buzzes over reports of rituals meant to harness "mysterious powers" on rare date.

What makes 11/11/11 special

Las Vegas gamblers aren't the only people banking on the rare calendar occurrence.  

All Elevens

Today is November 11, 2011, or 11/11/11. The hype for these special dates is building across popular culture, with films and stories being made and news reports about expectant parents eagerly waiting for their children to be born on these dates. Dates such as 11/11/11 are also popular for weddings, product or service launches, and other planned events as the date is easy to remember.

It's also Veterans Day in the United States, Remembrance Day in Australia, and Remembrance Day in Canada. Many people in these countries have a moment of silence at 11am local time to honor soldiers who fought for their country.

Nine Geeky Equations You Should Know

I'm sure everyone has heard of the most famous equation: E=mc2. Einstein's mass-energy equivalence states that, taken together, matter and energy are conserved throughout the universe. The famous equation underpins the production of energy in nuclear reactors and the bellies of stars as well as the destructive force in an atomic bomb.

But what do you know about the Drake Equation, te Shannon-Hartley Theorem, or Ohm's Law? Here are 9 geeky equations you should (at least pretend to) know.

Are Older Siblings Smarter?

Apparently so, according to a new large-scale study that found older brothers, statistically speaking, actually have higher IQs than their younger siblings:
The study, detailed in the June 22 issue of the journal Science, analyzed the IQs of nearly 250,000 Norwegian 18- and 19-year-old draftees and found that older siblings had higher scores than younger siblings.
Another study, by the same authors of the new Science study but published recently in the journal Intelligence, looked at more than 100,000 Norwegian brothers and found that first-borns on average had an IQ 2.3 points higher than their younger brothers (the IQs were all taken when the brothers were 18 or 19, so they compare the older brother’s score at that age to the younger brother’s score when he reached that same age).

Bizarre tricks to lose weight

Get yourself a blue ribbon and you may be able to put two of these ideas to use at once.  

Striking pics of Mars volcano

Enhanced images of one of the most stunning features on the barren planet are released. 

Daily Comic Relief


The colonel's other secrets

A KFC employee stumbles upon an unpublished book loaded with cooking secrets.  

Thanksgiving sticker shock

You might be stunned when you do your turkey day shopping this year.

Rituals to make your day better

Take a few moments in the morning to savor your coffee and set the tone for what's ahead.  

Tricks to make dieting easier

Bring a list and skip the center aisles at the grocery store to stay on track.

Ways to help pets live longer

The most common major health problem for cats and dogs isn't obesity or poor nutrition.

Location of your waiter


Pomegranate already prevents heart disease, relives stress ...

Pomegranate already prevents heart disease, relives stress, and improves sex life, now it's natures elixir of youth, claims study...



Animal Pictures