Wade Davis – student of Richard Evans Schultes – on disappearing indigenous culture.
I don’t remember how I found this (blog? twitter?), but thanks, someone!
Wade Davis – student of Richard Evans Schultes – on disappearing indigenous culture.
I don’t remember how I found this (blog? twitter?), but thanks, someone!
The Comics Reporter spins off a variation on a meme:
Leave Plain = Things I don’t have
Make Bold = Things I do have
Italics = I have some but probably not enough (optional)
Underline = I don’t agree I need this (optional)
1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics
4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
5. A Barnaby Collection
6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary
7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On
8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics
9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels
10. Several Tintin Albums
11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books
12. Several Significant Runs of Alternative Comic Book Series
13. A Few Early Comic Strip Collections To Your Taste
14. Several “Indy Comics” From Their Heyday
15. At Least One Comic Book From When You First Started Reading Comic Books
16. At Least One Comic That Failed to Finish The Way It Planned To
17. Some Osamu Tezuka
18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series
19. One Or Two 1970s Doonesbury Collections
20. At Least One Saul Steinberg Hardcover
21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped
22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can’t Explain To Anyone Else
23. At Least One Woodcut Novel
24. As Much Peanuts As You Can Stand
26. A Significant Sample of R. Crumb’s Sketchbooks
27. The original edition of Sick, Sick, Sick.
28. The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics
29. Several copies of MAD
30. A stack of Jack Kirby 1970s Comic Books
31. More than a few Stan Lee/Jack Kirby 1960s Marvel Comic Books
32. A You’re-Too-High-To-Tell Amount of Underground Comix
33. Some Calvin and Hobbes
34. Some Love and Rockets
35. The Marvel Benefit Issue Of Coober Skeber
36. A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue
37. A Nice Stack of Jack Chick Comics
38. A Stack of Comics You Can Hand To Anybody’s Kid
39. At Least A Few Alan Moore Comics
40. A Comic You Made Yourself
41. A Few Comics About Comics
42. A Run Of Yummy Fur
43. Some Frank Miller Comics
44. Several Lee/Ditko/Romita Amazing Spider-Man Comic Books
45. A Few Great Comics Short Stories
46. A Tijuana Bible
47. Some Weirdo
48. An Array Of Comics In Various Non-Superhero Genres
49. An Editorial Cartoonist’s Collection or Two
50. A Few Collections From New Yorker Cartoonists
Guess I just never recovered from my first encounter with Cooch Cooty…
I just updated the Booklist section of the roll with the current queued stack. There may be an addition tomorrow – keep your fingers crossed for me. S – the Hyperion books were a blast – thanks.
Dear American:I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to email@example.com so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson *
This isn’t intended for me, I don’t think.
It’s a missive from the edge of despair, I mean brink
of total desperation; the communication therein
says her hopes for survival are slim
and she’s writing to the Front, though we’ve yet to meet,
with a confidential matter ‘cause she’s heard I’m discreet.
And the urgency of her request for my aid
is matched by the depth of the trust she displayed.
“Don’t betray me like our oil minister did (staged a coup).
And I’m about to flee Nigeria soon
but I’ll never make it out,” she says, with twenty million
three hundred twenty thousand US dollars that are still in
her possession. She embezzled them, I guess.
Look, I don’t really know her so uh… that’s none of my business.
She’s the LADY MARYAM ABACHA, deposed.
These days, can’t even get her caps-lock key unfroze. *
Last week’s ripe moment turned out to be the Thursday night Washington photo op when Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chief Bernanke emerged from a huddle with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and just about every other legislative eminentissimo in an attempt to reassure the nation that its financial system had not turned into something like unto a truckload of stinking dead carp. I don’t know about you, but I got two distinct vibes from the faces in that particular tableau: 1.) abject fear, and 2.) a total lack of conviction that they knew what they were doing.
The product of that huddle was a cockamamie scheme for the US treasury to absorb all the losses from a twenty-year binge in which Wall Street created and retailed the most complex set of swindles ever seen on this planet Earth. The background music to the tableau was the whoosh of a several trillion dollars exiting the US financial system never to be seen again.
The next day (Friday) many particulars of that scheme began to emerge — such as the complete lack of oversight and review mechanisms for Treasury’s new power to monetize private business failures and frauds — and the stock market soared in response. Other new features of the reformed capital landscape also resolved later that day, like a new experiment aimed at eliminating the short sale as a way of guaranteeing that henceforth market bets could only be placed on the upside of the table. It will be interesting to see how that reform works out in the days ahead.
Over the weekend, all these various playerz retreated into their gilded bunkers to negotiate the details, and by Sunday night, among other things, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — the two remaining investment giants left standing — announced that they would metamorphose into regular banks in order to qualify for additional truckloads of government loans in exchange for any leftover fraudulant securities still lurking in their vaults. Another new provision had the Treasury rescuing swindled foreign companies, too — in effect, saving the world, which seemed at least, how you say, pretty ambitious.
And, lest I be accused of quoting exclusively from one side of the spectrum – and I’d remind folks that what with the current Republican administration having nationalized AIG, one may want to be careful about slinging ‘socialist’ as an insult – one from Daniel Larison at The American Conservative (AmConMag = paleocon in most taxonomies – it labors under the twin disadvantages of consistency and truthfulness):
During the months before the invasion of Iraq, I often heard or read the claim that we had to defer to the government, because they “knew more” than the rest of us, which meant that if they claimed a dire threat was on the horizon there really was a dire threat on the horizon. As it turned out, they knew scarcely more than the average well-informed citizen, and much of what they thought they knew was wrong. There was a broad, international consensus of supposed experts that did not doubt the severity of what turned out to be a non-existent threat, and this consensus held despite an acknowledged lack of reliable information. Indeed, the consensus thrived on the impossibility of proving a negative. Except for a relative handful of dissenters, who were either ignored or dismissed as cranks, the people in the relevant policy community acquiesced or kept quiet, and the average citizen looked at the near-unanimity of supposed experts acknowledging the severity of the threat and took it far more seriously than he would have ever done otherwise. Instead of asking who benefited from building up the threat, people were cowed into taking the threat for granted and accepting more or less unquestioningly government proposals for addressing it. To be part of the mainstream conversation, one had to admit first of all that the threat was real and serious, at which point the debate was really already over.
This strangely misplaced confidence in government expertise seems to have returned. This time people seem to be inclined to defer to government claims because the situation really is quite serious and the problem at hand is fairly complex, which makes it much easier to confess a lack of expertise, yield to expert opinion and say, “Well, we have to trust the government–the alternative is unthinkable!” If the last few years have shown anything, I would have thought they would have taught us to recognize this sort of browbeating as a means to shut down critical thought and skepticism. The people who sold a war of choice as a war of necessity are now telling us that yet another emergency measure is absolutely necessary, which makes me think that it is distinctly possible that it is not. The language of necessity in turn feeds the public’s fear that things must be so bad that they should not question the principle behind the emergency measure. They can, as half-hearted critics of the invasion did, quibble about means and process, and at this point that is all we are seeing from most members of Congress, but they are not supposed to doubt the necessity of acting and acting now.
I’ve already written about taking a deep breath and counting to ten – what about the current situation requires us to act NOW NOW NOW NOW? Weren’t we being assured a week or two ago that everything was under control – by the very same people who are now predicting total world economic collapse? Were they lying then? Lying now? Incorrect then/now/both? Why do they need all the money up front?
What I really really like is the idea of subjecting CEOs to the same petty humiliation everyone else gets treated to. I suggest that for every separate asset these CEOs sell to the government, they be required to write a Hardship Letter over a 1010 warning (that’s a reference to the statute forbidding lying in order to get a loan) explaining why they acquired or originated this asset to begin with, what’s really wrong with it in detail, what they have learned from this experience, and what steps they are taking to make sure it never happens again. Furthermore, the Treasury Department will empanel a committee of the oldest, most traditional, and bitterest mortgage loan underwriters–preferably those downsized to make way for automated underwriting systems–to review these letters and opine on their acceptability.
Now – I hope – back to dogs, bugs, birds, etc. On deck – ants! Zombie bears (and how do walruses relate?)!
Another bailout linkfest-rant is on its way, but meanwhile, a small diversion. I discovered this last weekend, following a commenter over at Querencia back to her blog. I want to be Bodhidharma+Jackie Gleason to this troupe (June Taylor Dancers, eat your hearts out) – all I lack is talent, the abilty to hustle pool, and spiritual insight. I am able to take train trips with showgirls (or Chinese Buddhist dancers), though. And awaaaaaaaay we go!
Kleptocracy. Just say no (or prepare to walk away – I’m doing both).
Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.
(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:
(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;
Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
The most obvious question: is how will paying market price for near worthless assets prevent the collapse of zombie institutions like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG? These institutions needed money. They won’t get it from selling mortgage backed securities, that are chock full of bad mortgages, at the market price. We already know this, because they already had the option to do so.
Unless the Fed is planning to buy assets at above market value—that is, to directly subsidize those same bankers and firms with taxpayer dollars, with concomitantly to make those risky assets “less” risky in the market and still providing no route or incentive to return to the “good” equilibrium—the “bailout” as discussed with have no positive effect on the health of the firm(s).
So what Henry Paulson is proposing has to be a direct subsidy to have any effect.
I hate to say this, but looking at the plan as leaked, I have to say no deal. Not unless Treasury explains, very clearly, why this is supposed to work, other than through having taxpayers pay premium prices for lousy assets.
As I posted earlier today, it seems all too likely that a “fair price” for mortgage-related assets will still leave much of the financial sector in trouble. And there’s nothing at all in the draft that says what happens next; although I do notice that there’s nothing in the plan requiring Treasury to pay a fair market price. So is the plan to pay premium prices to the most troubled institutions? Or is the hope that restoring liquidity will magically make the problem go away?
There are private investors willing to buy these troubled assets right now, but the banks do not want to sell at those prices. Why? Some banks believe the assets are worth more than the current bids (it all depends on future house prices, and different banks and investors have different projections). And many banks are unwilling to accept the current bids because the banks would then be insolvent. See Professor Krugman’s: Doubts about the rescue and Uneasy feelings. Also, even solvent banks would probably have to recapitalize (dilute shareholders) or reduce lending if they sold at current bid prices.
So how does the Treasury plan help? It isn’t clear yet. The first goal should be transparency of the troubled assets. What do the banks own, and what are the assets really worth? Transparency is surprisingly difficult: each RMBS and CDOs – even within the same asset class and origination year – can have significantly different values depending on the orginator and other factors. If the Treasury conducts a reverse dutch auction on a broad asset class, they will probably end up with certain New Century and Bear Stearns deals that are basically worthless.
To facilitate price discovery, it would probably be better to bid for individual mortgages from RMBS pools, but analyzing each mortgage would be a monumental task. We definitely do not want the Treasury to buy RMBS and CDOs at anywhere near the value on the bank’s books. Buying at those prices would help keep the banks lending, but it would also severely impact the taxpayers, it would be a transfer of wealth from the many to the few, and it would also encourage future excessive risk taking.
So determining price will be difficult. And what happens if a price can be determined? How does this help keep the banks lending?
What we have here is a soul test of several tendencies in American politics – progressivism, libertarianism, limited-government conservatism, principled defenders of managerial liberalism generally. This is as naked a case as we could imagine seeing of the state working to enrich the already wealthy at the expense of the many. The only theoretical defense of it would be a belief that the well-being of America’s wealthy as a class is necessary to the well-being of the country as a whole, and that this transcends any merit its members possess. That is, the business of America isn’t business, but businessmen. This is not an argument anyone is going to want to make in so many words.
If libertarians fail to oppose this bailout, they stand revealed as the hypocritical apologists for corporate power their detractors have always accused them of being. If Democratic leaders fail to oppose this bailout, they will prove to be the phonies and weaklings of stereotype. If managerialists go along with it, then every argument against the State as guardian of the general welfare will bear out. Right now a corrupt and spent corporate class is on the brink of getting a corrupt and spent governing class to perpetuate its privilege by almost dumbfoundingly transparent means. Anyone with a soul needs to oppose them.
I have no idea what set of circumstances would cause me to end up chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor, but, regardless, the excitement wouldn’t last long.
Another busy doggy weekend. A Reader’s digest report: what were supposed to be showers yesterday turned into one long (9 AM-ish till later afternoon) shower – one might even, if one were not feeling charitable, call it a steady light rain. Luckily for those of us doing the Natural Ability test, the rain held off until after we’d finished the bird field segment. I had visions of soaking wet quail and young dogs realizing they couldn’t fly, zipping down the field and taking the quail out without a point. This time at least, no nightmare scenario. Dinah did me proud – excellent pointing, some trouble with the track but once she solved the problem the best tracking performance I’ve seen from her yet, and big gusto in the water (I overheard one of the judges say something like “Now that’s what I want to see.”) She ended up with a Prize I – we’re going to spend the next couple weeks working on staunchness, then it’s off to find the real thing – paatridge and woodcock.
No probem with fear of the outdoors here. A little later a plastic kiddie pool was found. These three miscreants filled it (using paper coffee cups and hands) with café au lait colored water (what my family calls ‘dog coffee’) and proceded to have a splashing contest. It was quickly discovered that sitting down hard produced a better splash than just jumping – luckily smart parents had dry clothes with them. I believe at one point – after the mud olympics were over – a couple trucks had piles of older bird dogs and children in them, snoring and steaming up the windows.
“One should not talk to a skilled hunter about what is forbidden by the Buddha” -Hsiang-yen
A gray fox, female, nine pounds three ounces.
39 5/8″ long with tail.
Peeling skin back (Kai
reminded us to chant the Shingyo first)
cold pelt. crinkle; and musky smell
mixed with dead-body odor starting.
Stomach content: a whole ground squirrel well chewed
plus one lizard foot
and somewhere from inside the ground squirrel a bit of aluminum foil.
and the secret hidden deep in that.
- Gary Snyder
First, a status checking site: Has the Large Hadron Collider Destroyed the Earth Yet?
Quickly followed by the essential sound effect.
(Check the source html on the LHC site.)