Did any of you catch the Elvis Presley-esque “Viva Viagra!” commercial? How awful was that?
Well, I caught the last half-hour or so of the debate this evening and I have to say I dislike McCain even more now than I did before. First off, he just looks old, I mean real old; nasty old, the kind of old man who lives on your street muttering to himself and slipping razor blades into the apples he gives out on Halloween kind of old. And his constant default position anytime he’s questioned – I served in Vietnam! – gets pretty tiring. He’s a nasty bitter old crank who wants to do away with border security and the First Amendment. Someone explain to me please how he has an (R) next to his name? And believe me, if he is the nominee the MSM will suddenly discover the Keating Five and all his temper tantrums; they can’t wait for him to get it.
Romney improved in my view. He had a cool demeanor and reasoned responses to McCain’s whining. i only wish he had really attacked him.
Huckabee is one smooth talking snake oil salesman, that’s for sure. I really truly dislike how he has so closely tied his religious beliefs to how he claims he will govern, but he is certainly the best speaker on that stage.
Ron Paul is, well, he really is there solely for his entertainment value. Bring back the Gold Standard! End all foreign policy!
Anyhow, there’s a lot more interesting stuff at Hot Air.
for Fred Smith, who is trying to be the GOP candidate for ‘guvner, and all I can say is: The CAG has been instructed to never again sit us at the table with any life forms wearing a Ron Paul ’08 sticker or pin. Ye gawds, the Paulnuts/Ronulins are even worse in person. 2 people in the whole room with Ron pins, and I get stuck next to and across from them both. I now have a nasty scar on my wrist from the dull butter knife that I was trying to slit my wrist with.
…LAM” is. Can’t have those ugly un-truths filtering through.
Malaysia bans 11 books on Islam
Malaysia has banned 11 books for allegedly giving a false portrayal of Islam, such as by linking the religion to terrorism and the mistreatment of women, an official said Wednesday.
The government ordered the books — most of them released by U.S. publishers — to be blacklisted earlier this month “because they are not in line with what we call the Malaysian version of Islam,” said Che Din Yusoh, an official with the Internal Security Ministry’s publications control unit.
“Some of them ridicule Islam as a religion, or the facts are wrong about Islam, like associating Islam with terrorism … or saying Islam mistreats women,” he said. “Once you mention something which is not correct, it’s not proper.”
See? No mention of a fatwah for the authors! Now that’s civilized behavior.
But what I thought would be a polling place festooned as usual turned out to be…kinda pitiful.
Like a sick ET, or something.
Or having to vote for McCain.
…if we weren’t in an election year, with all its heaving, hyperventilating hyperbole (i.e.: recession, apartheid, ad nauseum).
December durable orders rose 5.2%, larger than the expected 1.6% rise. Excluding transportation, orders still rose a healthy 2.6%. This strong level of orders in December does not support the assertion that the economy is in a recession.
No one seems to understand their peaceful ways
A 37-year-old Birmingham man has pleaded guilty to plotting to kidnap and kill a British soldier.
Parviz Khan, an unemployed charity worker, intended to seize and behead the unnamed Muslim serviceman “like a pig”, Leicester Crown Court was told.
Three other men, Basiru Gassama, 30, Mohammed Irfan, 31, and Hamid Elasmar, 44, have admitted other offences connected with Khan’s plot.
The court heard Amjad Mahmood, 32, and Zahoor Iqbal, 30, denied involvement.
The jury was told how Khan, of Alum Rock, intended to kidnap the soldier while on a night out, behead him in a lock-up garage and then release footage of the killing on the internet.
“Behead him like a pig.” Nice.
Mr Mahmood denies knowing about Khan’s plot and failing to disclose information about it, while Mr Iqbal denies possessing a computer disc called Encyclopaedia Jihad, which would be likely to be useful to a terrorist.
I wonder if the “Encyclopedia Jihad” books are anything like the “Encyclopedia Brown” books I loved as a kid?
This doesn’t sound good
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Militants took hostage up to 250 Pakistani schoolchildren in the northwestern town of Bannu on Monday, the interior minister said.
Police had earlier said about 25 children had been taken hostage after the gunman took refuge in the school following a clash with police.
“There are 200 to 250 children in the school and about seven militants. The provincial government is negotiating with them,” Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told Reuters.
Link from Hot Air.
Update: Now there’s word they will free the hostages and ‘surrender’ to locale tribesmen.
…”If you don’t want to exercise too much,” asks Dr. Morten Gronbaek, epidemiologist with Denmark’s National Institute of Public Health, “can you trade it for one to two drinks per day and be fine?”
A study Gronbaek and colleagues just published in the European Heart Journal suggests the answer just may be yes. That finding, not surprisingly, has proved to be a crowd-pleaser.
And there was much rejoicing.
Tyson Wins Court Victory Against Poultry Competitors
…Sanderson Farms, Foster Farms and Perdue Farms filed a motion Friday for a temporary restraining order prohibiting Tyson from continuing its “Raised Without Antibiotics” chicken marketing program. They claimed the program, which is in the midst of a transition, contains incorrect information.
However, Judge Catherine Blake of U.S. District Court in Baltimore, denied the competitors’ motion…
…Tyson announced in December the company and USDA had agreed to a new and more informative labeling for the company’s Raised Without Antibiotics chicken program. The new label will include the following language:
“Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans.“
And here I thought they were trying to camouflage something.
…and it’s straight from the horsey mouth. (Proving, yet again, there is nothing too small for the maestro’s evil Rovian machinations.)
…Last spring, you were held up as a parody of environmental correctness when you proposed restricting the use of toilet paper to one square per bathroom visit. What was that about? I think it’s a fantastic and eye-opening example of how the media is operated by political figures, of how Karl Rove was humiliated in the media and how, within 24 hours, he was able to humiliate me and take any sort of credibility away from me.
What are you saying? You think Karl Rove leaked the toilet-paper story to the press after you and Laurie David sparred with him about global warming at the White House correspondents’ dinner? I cannot tie him directly to that leak, but within 24 hours of our exchange, as we were leaving D.C., it was on the CNN ticker tape: “Sheryl Crow has proposed that we legislate toilet paper to one square.”
Did you ever actually suggest that? It was always a joke. It was part of a shtick…”
Karl says you already know where to shtick it.
That was the nurse asking.
…Gavin Dempsey and James Alexander were serving on flag duty at Jackson Elementary School Friday morning, with the job of raising and lowering the school’s flags. They decided to see if their tongues really would stick to the cold metal.
Our squadron actually had its own version of this story enshrined in our memories, only it was Osan, -10° and…
…one of the 500 pounders hung on a ready-to-launch Intruder.
That was one lispy-assed plane captain.
Thank God they use hand signals.
From Kcruella, who emails to instruct me:
…and if you find me pass out, please call the paramedics before you call one of the olsen twins
I need clarification.
Do you mean call both of them, instead? Call one more than once…or…don’t call them at all?
Who says celebrity tragedies have no impact on the real life of us little people?
We can all learn something.
Via an email from our Secret Correspondent:
FRIENDS of rogue trader Jerome Kerviel last night blamed his $7 billion losses
on unbearable levels of stress brought on by a punishing 30 hour week.
Kerviel was known to start work as early as nine in the morning and still be at his desk at five or even five-thirty, often with just an hour and a half for lunch.
One colleague said: “He was, how you say, une workaholique. I have a family and a mistress so I would leave the office at around 2pm at the latest, if I wasn’t on strike.
“But Jerome was tied to that desk. One day I came back to the office at 3pm because I had forgotten my stupid little hat and there he was, fast asleep on the photocopier.
“At first I assumed he had been having sex with it, but then I remembered he had been working for almost six hours.”
As the losses mounted, Kerviel tried to conceal his bad trades by covering them with an intense red wine sauce, later switching to delicate pastry horns.
At one point he managed to dispose of dozens of transactions by hiding them inside vol-au-vent cases and staging a fake reception.
Last night a spokesman for Sócíété Générálé denied that Kerviel was over worked, insisting he lost the money after betting that the French were about to stop being rude, lazy, arrogant bastards.
We traveled to 10 different states and 15 locations across the U.S. to create the “America’s Marines” commercial.
I think they’ve left their heart…and their minds…in a black hole somewhere. I’ll never go back.
UPDATE: If you’ve never seen the Silent Drill Team, watch…and weep. It’s a thing of beauty.
A warm Swill Salute to Tizona.
…Kerry’s note was titled “Swiftboating” — a reference to Kerry’s own presidential campaign in 2004, which was famously sunk by falsities spread by the lobbying group Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth. Many politicos believe that Kerry’s decision not to “dignify” the rumors and fight them aggressively contributed to his campaign’s defeat in the general election.
What was ‘false’ about what the Swifties presented? I don’t remember hearing anything besides Kerry sputtering they were lying, or his supporters trying to prove they were, all the while refusing to release his service records. Remember this?
” In an irregular response to a government records request, the Navy’s letter referred Judicial Watch to the Kerry campaign Internet site for “Numerous responsive U.S. Navy service record documents, as well as service record documents not subject to disclosure requirements under the FOIA . . .”
And ~ as of Nov. 17, 2007 ~ according to the NY Post and T. Boone Pickens, he STILL hasn’t proved the Swift Boat Veterans told a single lie.)
Am I wrong here? Shouldn’t ‘The Swifties LIED’ be right up there with ‘The Plastic Turkey’?
As it clearly the intent, the Daily Mail is practicing diversionary stategery by the canny placement of OTHER news items alongside the report. Click on the pic to see what I’m talking about…
Oh, yeah. After that teaser, you’re really gonna read about the banker…
…until AFTER sentencing, eh?
A judge sentenced a woman to nearly the maximum prison term for negligent homicide after hearing a recorded jail conversation in which she made light of the cyclist she killed.
…[Superior Court Judge] Cruikshank said he found a telephone conversation between Arrington and an unknown male friend, a week after L’Ecuyer was killed, to be “breathtaking in its inhumanity.”
During the conversation, the man told Arrington that an acquaintance believed she should get a medal and a parade because she had “taken out” a “tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot.”
Arrington laughed. When the man said he knew it was a terrible thing to say, she responded, “No, it’s not.”
I’m sure we’ve all known someone at places we’ve worked who has cheated the company, be it via creative fudging on expense reports, using the company credit cards for private purchases or other forms of, well, stealing. But all of them look like rank amateurs compared to this as of yet unnamed fellow who managed to defraud Societe Generale of $7.1 billion
French bank Societe Generale says it has uncovered a fraud by a Paris-based trader which resulted in a loss of 4.9bn euros ($7.1bn; £3.7bn).
The bank said the fraud was based on simple transactions, but concealed by “sophisticated and varied techniques”.
It also announced new write-downs of 2.05bn euros related to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US.
The bank’s shares, which were suspended in the morning, lost 3.6% when they resumed trading.
The bank, one of France’s largest, will need to seek 5.5bn euros in new capital to offset the losses.
But it said it would still make a profit of 600m to 800m euros for 2007, despite the blow to its balance sheet.
“One trader… had taken massive fraudulent directional positions in 2007 and 2008 beyond his limited authority,” the bank said.
It added that the trader had “in-depth knowledge of the control procedures resulting from this former employment in the middle-office”.
“The transactions which involved the fraud were simple – taking a position on shares rising – but hidden using extremely sophisticated and varied techniques,” chief executive Daniel Bouton said in a letter to the bank’s customers.
The bank said that the trader had confessed to the fraud and was being dismissed. His managers were to leave the bank as well.
That’s “billion” with a “b”.
How the hell does something like this go on? Well, there’s a couple of ways. Firstly, I agree with this fellow
“I am sorry but I have a hard time buying the fact that a trader was able to set up a ‘secret trade’ of 4.9 billion without anybody finding out,” said Ion-Marc Valhi at Amas Bank.
There’s no doubt these trades were noticed; in fact, probably the next day. The real question is how they were explained and justified. My first thought was that this was accomplished via mis-valuation of positions. This sort of thing happens all the time in futures and commodities. Accountants know accounting; they have no clue about futures or options, so quite often when we are audited our auditors ask us to value the positions so they can figure out profits or loss, as absurd as that seems. It is therefore very easy for a dishonest (or just plain stupid) trader to float along for a few years showing ‘profits’ by over-valuing his positions; eventually it does catch up to you, of course, but you can get away with it for a little while.
But it seems that wasn’t the case here
The alleged fraud took place in Paris, and – in SocGen’s words – was carried out in “plain vanilla futures hedging on European equity market indices”. So there was no connection to CDOs or structured finance.
I simply can’t understand at this point how this was accomplished via regular futures trades without a lot of people involved. There’s just too many hands that these trades have to go through every day; someone should have said ‘wait a minute’ pretty early on.
UPDATE: According to this report he “did not directly benefit from the fraud.” So my curiosity has increased further. We trade on electronic machines, and it is very easy to enter trades you don’t mean to. So we have what are called ‘fat finger’ filters on our machines for an added level of protection, for as any reader of the Swilling will attest my typing is atrocious, and there have been many times where I have meant to sell, say, 10 lots of futures but my damned fingers typed 100…or 1000. And the filters make you stop for one second and confirm what you want to do, which has saved me thousands of dollars.
Having said that, I can’t imagine making a multi-billion dollar error. One guess is that he made a multi-million dollar error, perhaps, which is easy enough to do in stock futures trading, and instead of reversing it immediately and taking his relatively minor (albeit very painful none-the-less) lumps he thought he’d be cute and trade his way out of it and put on a huge option position which has gotten completely blown out by the worldwide stock downturn.
Update: All your croissant are belong to us
Where there’s a pander to be made you’ll find a Clinton
ABC News’ Eloise Harper Reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., flew across the country to receive the United Farm Workers endorsement in Salinas, California on Tuesday. The Union, founded in 1962 by Cesar Chavez, represents 27,000 farm workers.
The Senator took the stage with bleachers filled behind her with UFW members wearing red t-shirts chanting “Si Se Puede!” Clinton who rarely utters Spanish to Hispanic crowds, shouted back at one point during her remarks. “Si se pueda is right! That’s right, yes we can!” Clinton used the wrong tense of the the word “puede,” presumably accidentally to the crowd. Clinton has admittidly told audiences that her language skills are not her strongest suit and often referneces her french teacher from college who said to her her “Madmoiselle, your talents lie elsewhere.”
(Obviously language skills are also not Eloise Harper’s strongest suit: “admittidly”? “referneces”? These MSM folks are the professionals! Bow before their staffs and editors!) My Spanish is a little rusty, but isn’t “pueda” in the subjunctive, so what she said was more along the lines of “Yes! We can! Maybe!”?
The wall that those nasty evil Zionist Israelis built; who knew that the Egyptians had built one too
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) – Tens of thousands of Palestinians poured from the Gaza Strip into Egypt Wednesday after masked gunmen with explosives destroyed most of the seven-mile wall dividing the border town of Rafah.
The Gazans crossed on foot, in cars or riding donkey carts to buy supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade of their impoverished territory. Police from the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, directed the traffic. Egyptian border guards took no action.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel has no forces on the Gaza-Egypt border and, “therefore it is the responsibility of Egypt to ensure that the border operates properly, according to the signed agreements.”
I’m shocked that the Egyptians would have a wall segregating their Palestinian Brothers! And not do all within their power to end the “Israeli” blockade.
Gosh, it’s enough to make one think that maybe, just schmaybe there might be something, shall we say, undesirable about the folks that even the Egyptians want to keep them out.
Egypt has largely kept its border with Gaza closed since the Hamas takeover, amid concerns of a spillover of Hamas-style militancy into Egypt.
However, Hamas has orchestrated daily demonstrations on the Gaza-Egypt border in an apparent attempt to appeal to Arab public opinion and pressure Egypt to open the passage.
You don’t say.