Friday, September 19, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

His legacy will as "the guy who made Hoover look not so bad by comparison" This week saw the collapse of an investment banking system that had survived both the Civil War and the Great Depression. “Bush runs a real danger of going down as a Herbert Hoover in this scenario,” said Beverly Gage, a presidential historian at Yale University. “He could be seen as the man held responsible for what is happening who stood by and didn’t forge a clear direction at a moment when a clear direction is what was needed.”

Isvestia Fox jockeys for January Fox has sent a "cease and desist" order to the McCain campaign for the unauthorized use of a Fox correspondents voice in a web ad. This sort of thing is becoming par for the course for these jackasses, isn't it?

Bernanke warns of an 'extensive recession' Bernanke and Paulson conducted a conference call with House republicans and impressed upon the members that they had “no choice” but to grant the authority for massive bailouts because the strain on the financial system is so significant. "If we don't get this (authority), it will be nothing short of a disaster for our markets,” the participants quoted Paulson as saying. Bernanke called the current problems the "most severe financial crisis" in the post-World War II era. Investment banks are seeing "tremendous runs on their cash," Bernanke said. "Without action, they will fail soon.”

Not a ringing endorsement Haley Barour, Governor of Mississippi, doesn't appear to have a lot of faith in Roger Wicker's ability to hold Trent Lott's seat, vacated when Trent left to become a lobbyist. Wicker is in a tight race with former Democratic Governor Ronnie Musgrove. Barbour thought he had a work-around cyphered out, but it was cheating and called as such. He had the bright idea to put the Senate race at the very bottom of the ballot, even though state law mandates the order races appear. Barbour and his republican Secretary of State tried to get away with putting the race at the bottom of the ballot, under state, county and local races, in the hope that the election would just get missed by most voters. Today the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled against the scheme.

She isn't cute any more. Now she's just scary She may have fired up the batshit crazy wingh=nut base, but she sure has pushed a lot of fence-sitters to the left. My friend Kevin has a dandy chart showing just how fast the bloom is fading from her rose.

And people wonder why I'm so cynical! John McCain is using the same attorney who helped him craft the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law to help him violate the spirit if not the letter of the law that bears his name.

Screw Wall Street--give all that cash to this kid and let him run wild with it: a 12 year old boy in Beaverton, Oregon recently developed a new type of 3D solar cell that makes other solar cells look inefficient by comparison. William Yuan's 3D cell can absorb both visible and UV light. According to his calculations, solar panels equipped with his 3D cells could provide 500 times more light absorption than current commercial solar cells and nine times more light than existing 3D solar cells.

Yeah, don't panic, peeps: This week started off rough. Merill Lynch agreed to be purchased by Bank of America, Lehman brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, and AIG looked about fifteen minutes away from also filing for bankruptcy protection. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over five hundred points, it's largest drop in six years. Five hundred points… or around 4%. It wasn't alone though, all the other major indices posted huge losses too and were quickly followed by all the major Asian indicies who fell 5-6%. That's when I logged into my Vanguard account to check out my retirement accounts. They were all red. The sad thing wasn't that they were red, they've been red since last year, but they were in deep. That's when I realized something… don't look at my retirement account balances. Just don't. I can't touch those retirement account assets until I'm sixty, which is over thirty years away for me. I rebalanced them late last year and my target retirement date is around 2040, so these swings (even though they're huge) shouldn't affect my thinking.

This is not a typo... John McCain will return to his alma mater on Saturday for his 50th class reunion. The Republican presidential nominee graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958. McCain's public schedule has him attending the football game Saturday afternoon between Navy and Rutgers. It's unclear whether he'll participate in other reunion festivities. Jeebus! His FIFTIETH Class Reunion? As in Five-Oh? There's old and then there's ooooooollllld.

Specialized police planned in Mexico: The Mexican government has created a specialist police force to tackle the level of kidnapping in the country, among the highest in the world. The authorities say so far this year more than 650 people have been abducted in Mexico a huge rise on last year. Mexico's National Security Council says all 32 states will get an extra 11.5m pesos ($1.1m; £580,000) in funding to set up the anti-kidnapping units. The move was proposed at a security summit last month. They were responding to mass protests - triggered by the abduction and murder of a 14-year-old boy - which brought 100,000 people on to the streets of the capital last month calling for tougher punishment for serious crime.

Sendero Luminosa ain't going away: The leader of Peru's remaining Shining Path rebels has apparently rejected a call to surrender and demanded new negotiations with the government. In a radio interview, a man who said he was Comrade Artemio stated the leftist group would never lay down its arms. Instead, he said, a political deal and an amnesty were needed. The Shining Path wrought havoc in Peru during the 1980s and early 1990s, but violence fell after the arrest of leader Abimael Guzman in 1992.

Yeah, don't let it happen: Michelangelo's famous statue of David could collapse because of its exposure to mass tourism, Italian experts say. They say the massive statue of the naked boy-warrior is in danger because of its size, shape and the weakness of the marble from which it was carved. But they warn that the greatest risk comes from the footfall of many visitors who troop past it each day at Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia. The experts want to protect the statue by insulating it from the vibrations.