Much of what appears to be conspiracy is simply stupidity.
Sit Up Straight: Washington Mutual, one of the largest US mortgage lenders, has revised its bonus plan for 3,000 top executives. Losses from poor lending decisions will no longer count against their annual performance awards. Bonuses will be based on neatness and penmanship.
Pity The (Pretend) Rich: Thornburg Mortgage Inc., which specialized in loans to help people buy expensive houses they couldn't afford, failed to meet a $610 margin call - much like its customers haven't made their mortgage payments. The company says this has "raised substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern." Maybe they can just mail in the keys.
It Takes One: Turns out the treasurer of the National Republican Campaign Committee, Christopher J. Ward, has been forging audits of the NRCC's books for 5 years. He also apparently misallocated $65,000 of Republican Tom Reynolds campaign funds and $100,000 from Swift Boat Vets. 'Misallocation is a politicalese for 'stealing.'
By Dickens: Alton Logan has spent 26 years in jail for a crime which two lawyers knew, before he was convicted, he did not commit. 'Client privilege' prevented them from saying anything. If this country cannot find a way to prevent this sort of atrocity, then all the lawyers should be working at MacDonald's. The law most certainly is an ass.
Now What ? Health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund. However the government "has not conceded that vaccines cause autism." Just "autism-like symptoms." And the difference would be?
So He Says: Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Fisher: "I would discourage you from thinking that simply because of significant action in the credit markets, that suddenly we're going to have an Open Market Committee meeting, and lower Fed funds rate,'' said Fisher. "It doesn't work that way.' Strange, it has so far.
Going Going Gong! Countrywide auctioned off 575 houses in VA this weekend. A couple of weeks ago they had so much fun dumping 1000 houses in one county in CA they thought they'd do it again. The free babeque and balloons for the kids were a big hit. Less than 30% of the funds raised will go directly to Mozilo's performance bonus.
I t's They're In The Mail: In a very quiet "signing statement" in December, The Decider declared he had the right to open US mail. Under the Constitution, he does have the right to open mail - if it is addressed to him.
Outward Bound: The following interconnected problems will reach a critical stage within 15 years: Global warming, Environmental degradation, Fossil fuel depletion, Drought, Air pollution from fossil fuels, and overpopulation. First one with a solution to any one of these, raise your hand. With two, you get eggroll.
Bonanza! We are frequently reassured by the cornucopian pundits that billions of barrels of oil will be found in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. As of Friday, 60 rigs were working in the Gulf, down from 87 one year ago. Someone forget to tell the oil companies.
See Jane Run: Friday JP Morgan said that the banking system faced a "systemic margin call" of $325 billion. Last week's margin calls demonstrated that right now financial instruments are bringing 10 to 12% of their face value. To raise $325 billion banks will have to call in over $3 trillion in loans. Don't panic, it will take them a while to get to your loan.
On conservation: If you do not use a sufficient amount of gas or electricity, British Gas now charges you double the rate. Shortage? Global Warming? Profits!
East Side, West Side: Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)claimed the security situation in Baghdad was no worse than any American city. "Only more deadly," he added.