left right politics showbiz tech invest good life gossip fun hot
Mother Jones Hot Air Huffpo Variety Engadget Seeking Alpha Lifehacker TheSuperficial Daily Beast reddit
Daily Kos Michelle Malkin Politico Billboard Boing Boing TheBigPicture Luxist TMZ.com Fark BuzzFeed
ThinkProgress RightWingNews First Read CNN Showbiz Gizmodo FT Alphaville Joystiq Perez Hilton 4chan memorandum
Crooks+Liars Power Line CNN ticker E! Online Techcrunch Josh Brown Kotaku gamer Bastardly Post Secret Techmeme
TalkngPtsMemo Ameri..Thinker Swampland TV Guide Ars Technica 24/7 Wall St. TreeHugger Egotastic hascheezburgr Drudge
The Raw Story NewsBusters The Caucus Ent. News Mashable bloggingstocks Consumerist PinkIsTheNew dooce digg
Wonkette Wizbang fishbowlDC HlywdWiretap Google blog DealBook lifehack.org CelebrityBaby Someth'nAwful trends
Atrios Taki Magazine WashWhisprs DeadlnHllywd Read/Write Jeff Matthews 43folders GoFugYourself Neatorama PSFK
Firedoglake Big Hollywood The Fix MSN Ent. OReilly Radar PhilsStockWorld Autoblog Page Six Cool Hunter BBC
Young Turks IMAO Capital Gains Rot'nTomatoes GigaOM Daily Rec'ng Deadspin BestWeekEver stereogum Timespop
Americablog AceOfSpades Open Secrets Cinematical ProBlogger Zero Hedge DownloadSqd Dlisted CuteOverload media eye
Politicususa Redstate WikiLeaks law Cool Tools Bespoke MediaZone PopSugar Dilbert blog TVNewser
CounterPunch Jawa Report econ law.alltop Scobleizer BtwTheHedges Deviant ArtHollyw'dTuna gapingvoid BuzzMachine
TalkLeft Patterico EconLog Volokh Consp. Apple Blog Minyanville Gothamist x17online DailyGrail MediaGazer
Feministing Townhall.com Freakonomics Legal Insurrec.. Valleywag Fast Money Curbed DailyBlabber Prof. Hex Steve Rubel
PolitAnimal OutsideBeltwy CrookedTimbr Conglomerate mozillaZine RealClearMkts FabSugar Gawker OvrheardinNY MediaBlgNRO
Truthdig Moonbattery MarginalRevo SportsLawBlog Smashing W$J Mktbeat Gridskipper Radar Last.fm Threat Level
Alternet RealClearPoli crime W$J Law BlogTechdirt AbnormalRtrns Material Defamer kottke.org Seth's blog
Media Matters Instapundit CrimeblogsBalkinizationMAKE RandomRoger Sartorialist Jossip PumpkinChuckin mediamatters
The Nation Hugh Hewitt All Crime Credit Slips SrchEngLand Stock Advisors Drink'nMadeEasy Just Jared Maps Mania Newshounds
Maddow Blog PJ Media Smoking Gun FindLaw VentureBeat Slope of Hope Mark Cuban Celebitchy CollegeHumor FAIR

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Burn It To the Ground!


Nickelback Burn it to the ground (lyrics)

TheStar:
Canucks show sense of humour at Games closing -- During the performance segment of the show, Avril Lavigne swayed through renditions of My Happy Ending and Girlfriend, Alanis Morissette sang her fluttering Wunderkind and Nickelback chugged through How You Remind Me and Burn it to the Ground before a typically extravagant bit of pyro popped into the stadium air...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Goldman Sachs: The Great Robber Broker

Matt Taibbi / Rolling Stone:
Wall Street's Bailout Hustle -- Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren't just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy - they're re-creating the conditions for another crash

On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America's pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman's role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a "bailout tax" on banks. Maybe this wasn't the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. "In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines," he said, "I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative." ...

----
Bloomberg:
Secret AIG Document Shows Goldman Sachs Minted Most Toxic CDOs -- When a congressional panel convened a hearing on the government rescue of American International Group Inc. in January, the public scolding of Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner got the most attention.

Lawmakers said the former head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank had presided over a backdoor bailout of Wall Street firms and a coverup. Geithner countered that he had acted properly to avert the collapse of the financial system.

A potentially more important development slipped by with less notice, Bloomberg Markets reports in its April issue. Representative Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, placed into the hearing record a five-page document itemizing the mortgage securities on which banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA had bought $62.1 billion in credit-default swaps from AIG...
----
Zero Hedge:
For Those Who Chose Not To Heed My Warning About Buying Products From Name Brand Wall Street Banks -- Some of the top secret AIG bailout info is out. Guess who's at the heart of it, making money by creating straight trash, selling it to its clients then buying insurance to benefit from its inevitable crash? I have been warning about Goldman's ability to sell trash to its clients for some time now.

This is not a short post, for it is packed with a lot of supporting information, analysis and data... For everyone else who may be looking for deeper investigative analysis and the unbridled TRUTH for a change, please continue on...

I noted that Goldman often peddled horrible advice and products to clients that repeatedely lost tons of money, yet Goldman is still considered the best and the brightest on the Street...
----
Naked Capitalism:
When is a Fraud Not a Fraud? (Greece-Goldman Edition) -- The short answer to the question in the headline is “When there are no rules.”

A headline in a current Bloomberg story illustrates the problem: “Goldman Sachs, Greece Didn’t Disclose Swap, Investors ‘Fooled’.”

“Fooled” is an unusual choice of words, particularly when applied to to presumed grown-ups like institutional investors and international overseers. Bloomberg seems to be mincing around the more obvious F-words, like “fraud” (as in defrauded) or “fleeced.”

Although there is a considerable amount of well-warranted consternation about how Goldman sold swaps to Greece that allowed it to mask how bad its deteriorating finances were from the EU budget police, there has been perilous little discussion of why the fact that this was permissible says there is something very wrong with the rules in place...
related:
Credit Writedowns:
Inside the mind of an investment banker: Greece, Goldman and derivatives
----
NY Post:
Goldman’s Rehab -- Cranks up p.r. engine to turn sinners into saints ZUMA Press

Lloyd Blankfein is starting to worry about his legacy.

The 55-year-old chief executive of Goldman Sachs — three-plus years into his tenure — recently turned to a Texas corporate p.r. firm to buff the image of the tarnished Wall Street powerhouse.

Turning to outside consultants to gauge a firm’s “perception in the marketplace” is unusual for the 140-year-old firm. But that’s what you do, even if you are Masters of the Universe, when the national and international media accuse you of engineering and profiting from a back-door rescue of AIG, of using cash from a taxpayer bailout and cheap Federal Reserve financing to help finance lavish bonuses, and taking down the entire Greek economy...
----
Business Week:
Lovable Lloyd -- What can we do to make normal Americans more properly appreciative of Goldman? A few ideas...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Duke Rape Accuser Crystal Gail Mangum Arrested For Attempted Murder (Updated)

WRAL:
Duke lacrosse accuser charged with attempted murder, arson -- Durham police arrested Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Gale Mangum, 33, late Wednesday after she allegedly assaulted her boyfriend, set his clothes on fire in a bathtub and threatened to stab him.

Authorities charged her with attempted first-degree murder, five counts of arson, assault and battery, communicating threats, three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, injury to personal property, identity theft and resisting a public officer...

Crystal Gail Mangum arrested and charged with with attempted     murder, arson,  assault and battery, identity theft, communicating     threats, damage to  property-----
WTVD-TV:
Crystal Mangum jailed under million dollar bond -- The woman who was the center of the infamous Duke Lacrosse rape case has been arrested and charged with assault.

After a brief court appearance Thursday morning, a judge set Crystal Gale Mangum's bond at $1 million. She remains in the Durham County Jail...

In a 911 call, a girl who said she was Mangum's 9-year-old daughter called for help.
Click here to listen to the 911 call (.wav) ...
----
News & Observer:
Duke lacrosse accuser charged with attempted murder -- Durham police have charged Crystal Gail Mangum, 31, with attempting to kill her boyfriend early this morning. Mangum is the woman who wrongly accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape in 2006.

A judge this morning ordered that she remain in jail on a $1 million bond. Wearing a white jail jumpsuit, Mangum kept her head down during her court appearance today and said nothing as the charges from this morning’s incident were read...

Crystal Gail Mangum wearing handcuffsDefendant Crystal Gail Mangum enters the courtroom in the Durham County Jail Thursday morning, February 18, 2010 in handcuffs.
----
Crystal Gail Mangum mugshot following February 2010 arrestThe Smoking Gun:
Duke Rape Accuser In Attempted Murder Bust -- ... Mangum attacked Walker by "scratching, punching, and throwing objects at the victim," who was not arrested. She also threatened, "I'm gonna stab you motherfucker." ...

Mangum is being held in the Durham County jail in lieu of $1 million bail. A Durham Police Department arrest report notes that Mangum had not consumed drugs or alcohol before the 11:30 PM incident, and that she has a Mickey Mouse tattoo on her left arm and a Smurfs tattoo on her right leg...
----
Duke Chronicle:
Lacrosse accuser Mangum charged with attempted murder and arson -- Joe Cheshire, who represented David Evans, Trinity '06 and one of the three wrongly-accused players, said Mangum's arrest is sad and further shows the falsity of her claims against the players.

"From the first time in the lacrosse case, all of us knew that Crystal Mangum was a really troubled lady... and it just appears that nobody every listened to who she really was, the troubled nature of her soul, and nobody every tried to heal her, they just used her for their own purposes," he said...
----
TJN opinion:
Why is this not surprising? Just like O.J. Simpson, Crystal Gail Mangum's true character reveals itself. Hopefully she will spend some serious time in jail or an institution and her children will be well taken care of.

The Johnsville News profile of Mangum the unstable serial liar is here.
-----
Durham County Sheriff: Inmate Population
MANGUM, CRYSTAL, GAIL
Date Confined Date Released Statute Description Bond Type Bond Amount
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] RESISTING PUBLIC OFFICER NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] IDENTITY THEFT NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] COMMUNICATING THREATS NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] ASSAULT AND BATTERY NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] INJURY TO PERSONAL PROPERTY NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] ATTEMPTED FIRST DEGREE MURDER NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] FIRST DEGREE ARSON NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] FIRST DEGREE ARSON NO BOND $0.00
2/18/2010 [incarcerated] MISDEMEANOR CHILD ABUSE NO BOND $0.00
-----
discussion:
LieStoppers Forum: THE DAY HAS COME!
Free Republic: Durham woman (Crystal Mangum - DukeLax false accuser) charged with arson
Free Republic: Duke lacrosse accuser arrested, charged with arson, assault

KC Johnson:
Mangum Arrested (Updated) -- [for the] true-believers and their followers, whitewashing Mangum’s character is critical—the image of her is generally of an “honors student” and “working mom” who had no incentive to lie. Such an approach, of course, requires ignoring Mangum’s 2002 arrest, her habit of leveling major, unsubstantiated accusations against people even before the case, and the fact that she showed up to her meeting with the special prosecutors under the influence of various prescription drugs. Despite that background, it’s going to be hard for even the truest of true believers to continue to hail Mangum’s good character if anything like the incident as reported is true...

La Shawn Barber:
Duke False Rape Accuser Charged With Attempted Murder -- People believed what they wanted to believe. Disgruntled feminists and liberals of all stripes used this story as an opportunity to dump all their frustrations on “rich” white men, even though they knew the record showed Mangum was lying, and that she’d made a false gang-rape accusation in the past. Mainstream media set the “rich white boys raping black women” narrative, along with the “poor black woman who had to strip and sell her body for money to feed her children” meme. It was a disgusting display of race and class envy.

A bloody mess, the whole thing. Why Crystal Mangum wasn’t charged with something, I’ll never know...

The False Rape Society:
BIG NEWS: Duke false accuser arrested for assaulting her boyfriend. -- Will the progressives condemn this act of domestic violence? Somehow I doubt it If the progressives were truly concerned about gender equity (and most are not), they would use this an occsasion to publicize the irrefutable fact that men, too, are victimized by domestic violence. My guess is that they will instead use this incident to publicize their preferred narrative, that domestic violence against men is too insignficant to discuss, that this was an isolated incident, and that this shouldn't distract us from the real issue, that men routinely assault women...

TalkLeft:
Duke LaCrosse Accuser Charged With Attempted Murder

William L. Anderson:
Crystal Mangum's New Day of Reckoning -- It will be interesting to see if the horde of Duke faculty members, Durham racialists, feminists, and the Usual Suspects will rise up to defend the honor of Miss Crystal...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Southwest Airlines Changes Its Story (Updated)

Kevin Smith and his familyHollywood director Kevin Smith recently had a very public dust-up with Southwest Airlines over whether he is too fat to fly in a single seat. He was escorted off a Southwest Air flight from Oakland to Burbank on Saturday, February 13th, because Southwest said he was a "safety concern." That is Southwest's euphemism for being too fat for one seat.

Smith insists that he can fit in one Southwest seat and lower the armrests. That is Southwest's written and definitive gauge for a Customer of Size and whether they need to purchase a ticket for a second seat.

When Smith was escorted off the plane in Burbank he pleaded with Suzanne, the Southwest employee who removed him to observe that he could in fact lower the armrests and fit between them. However, he was told by Suzanne that it was the pilot, who had decided he was a "safety concern" because of his size. Smith was stunned. There was no way the pilot could see or even know Smith was on the plane from what Smith had observed. Smith insisted that it was someone else, other than the pilot who had arbitrarily decided that he was "too fat to fly." But Suzanne maintained that it was the pilot who made the call despite Smith's protests. Southwest stayed with that story. The story that it was the pilot who personally decided to throw Smith off his Greyhound of the sky was used in their first statement.

The first version of the incident that Southwest Air posted on their blog repeated the story that the pilot booted Smith in the third paragraph (the full original Southwest Air statement is found at Hollywood Grind):

Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank – as he’s been known to do when traveling on Southwest. He decided to change his plans and board an earlier flight to Burbank, which technically means flying standby. As you may know, airlines are not able to clear standby passengers until all Customers are boarded. When the time came to board Mr. Smith, we had only a single seat available for him to occupy. Our pilots are responsible for the Safety and comfort of all Customers on the aircraft and therefore, made the determination that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight. Our Employees explained why the decision was made, accommodated Mr. Smith on a later flight, and issued him a $100 Southwest travel voucher for his inconvenience.
However, after Smith started complaining publicly on his blog and Twitter about his mistreatment and humiliation Southwest had to change their story. Perhaps the pilot or the
Air Line Pilots Association also complained. They didn't want to get their reputation soiled in these fatty disputes or bellygate as one writer called it.

The new official version of the incident that Southwest Air posted on their blog now says this (3rd paragraph):
Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank – as he’s been known to do when traveling on Southwest. He decided to change his plans and board an earlier flight to Burbank, which technically means flying standby. As you may know, airlines are not able to clear standby passengers until all Customers are boarded. When the time came to board Mr. Smith, we had only a single seat available for him to occupy. We are responsible for the Safety and comfort of all Customers on the aircraft and therefore, we made a judgment call that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight. Our Employees explained why the decision was made, accommodated Mr. Smith on a later flight, and issued him a $100 Southwest travel voucher for his inconvenience.
Therefore it seems the Southwest Air employee did lie to Kevin Smith when she said the pilot "had made the determination that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight." It was now the more nebulous and hard to identify "we" who threw Mr. Smith from the plane. The Southwest employee collective was watching Smith and had decided he was too fat to fly. Smith believes it may have been a male employee in the jetway, who called him "revenue" and who made the call to target him. But he's not sure and Southwest certainly won't say.

Southwest also did not have any note that I could see indicating that they had edited their blog post changing the responsibility from the pilot to "we." The post was entitled Not So Silent Bob, dated Sun, 02/14/2010 - 14:57 and it was written by Christi Day.

This, of course, is a small footnote to the incident. But, it just demonstrates that you should never believe the first thing you hear or read from a corporate entity. The truth is often a casualty as companies seek to protect themselves. Smith has demonstrated far more credibility in his version of the incident than Southwest Air.

Bon voyage.
-----
references:

Hollywood Grind:
Kevin Smith Kicked Off Southwest Airlines Flight

Kevin Smith:
Running out of gas on this subject
SMODCAST #106: Go F**k Yourself, Southwest Airlines (audio)
SMODCAST #107: Thinicism -- In which Natali tells her story. (audio)
http://smodcast.com/finalwords/ (video)

Southwest Air:
Customer of Size Q&A
Not So Silent Bob
My Conversation with Kevin Smith

Gawker:
Update: The Kevin Smith Southwest Airlines Fat-Flight Tweakout of Epic Proportion
-----
Update: Director Kevin Smith sure has a good eye, because he spotted the exact same discrepancy between the two different versions of the Southwest Air blog statement that The Johnsville News found above, about 15 hours after this post went up. And he posted his final words about the incident. However, this changing of the wording by Southwest is not a "small footnote" in his book. No way, he says: "“AGAIN WITH THIS SOUTHWEST SHIT, SIR?” YES, SIR: BUT THIS IS JUST ABOUT THEIR LYING, SCUMBAG BUSINESS PRACTICES."

Kevin Smith / My Boring Ass Life:
I love you, Mom. I Hate you, Fake-heart.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Southwest Airlines Goes After the Fatties

Hollywood director Kevin Smith is fat, but he can still fit in a Southwest Airline's seat. However, he was thrown off a Southwest flight because they implied that he was too fat to fly. Smith does not need a seat belt extender, he is able to lower the armrests on his seat, and he says he is not "that fat." Yet he was escorted off Southwest Flight #106 from Oakland to Burbank because someone at Southwest determined that he was a "safety concern." Southwest, of course, is afraid to use the word "fat."

Kevin Smith's verbal account of the incidentSmodcast.com: Kevin Smith's verbal account of the entire episode (smodcast #106).

Smith also fired off a scorching Twitter storm against Southwest and their mistreatment of fatties. Smith wants Southwest to stop humiliating its overweight customers. He makes a very compelling argument.

Twitter/ThatKevinSmith:

Wanna tell me I'm too wide for the sky? Totally cool. But fair warning, folks: IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SOUTHWESTAIR.

So, @SouthwestAir, go f**k yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no "safety risk" (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And f**k your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don't embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don't sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir.

@pigz "I know several people bigger then u who have flown on other airlines" I saw someone bigger than me on THAT flight! But I wasn't about to throw a fellow Fatty under the plane as I'm being profiled. But he & I made eye contact, & he was like "Please don't tell..."

Dear @SouthwestAir, I'm on another one of your planes, safely seated & buckled-in again, waiting to be dragged off in front of the normies.

And, hey? @SouthwestAir? I didn't even need a seat belt extender to buckle up. Somehow, that shit fit over my "safety concern"-creating gut.

Hey @SouthwestAir! Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off!

TFTF = Too Fat To Fly???
And not just ANY paying customer: a paying customer who fit between the arm rests & was able to buckle his seat belt w/o an extender. TRUTH!

Dear F**ktarded PR-Challenged Fatty-Haters at @SouthwestAir: Your "apology" blog is insulting, redacted bullshit. FULL details in two hours.

Hey @SouthwestAir! Here are two more "recent recognitions" for your Twitter home page: "Loather of the Wide" or "Pissin' on the Portlies".

Hey @SouthwestAir? F**k making it right for me just 'cause I have a platform. I sat next to a big girl who was chastised for not buy-ing an extra ticket because "all passengers deserve their space." F**king flight wasn't even full! F**k your size-ist policy. Rude...

Hey @SouthwestAir! I've landed in Burbank. Don't worry: wall of the plane was opened & I was airlifted out while Richard Simmons supervised.

@3rdVentureBro "They're only apologizing because smith has a platform to express his displeasure." Bingo. It's disingenuous as f**k. Wait 'til you hear SMod story about the girl sitting next to me who was pulled aside & chastised for not buying an additional seat.

Via @SouthwestAir "Hopefully you received our voicemail earlier this evening" All lines checked, no voicemail message on any 323. Try again.
----
Herb Kelleher, @SouthwestAir founder, would get kicked off their planes" ARM REST TEST!

----
Related news coverage of the story:
LA Times:
Director Kevin Smith Kicked Off Southwest Flight for 'Being Fat'

USA Today:
Southwest offers Kevin Smith 'heartfelt apologies' -- Director Kevin Smith, who was escorted off a Southwest Airlines plane yesterday because he was deemed to big for the seat, is back on Twitter this morning explaining how he "passed the stinkin' arm-rest test" but still had to exit the plane...

CNN:
Kevin Smith 'too fat' to fly Southwest

ABC News Blog:
Southwest Picks Wrong Fat Guy in Kevin Smith -- Looks like Southwest Airlines may have picked the wrong fat guy. -- Kevin Smith, the film director behind "Clerks," "Mallrats" and others and the actor who played Silent Bob, was asked off a Southwest Airlines flight this weekend between San Francisco and Burbank for taking up more than one seat, in the airline's opinion, thereby threatening the safety of the flight.

The two sides of the dispute are described here by Smith in a (classically Kevin Smith) Smodcast and here in a Southwest Airlines press release entitled "Not So Silent Bob."
----
Southwest Air Apology:
Not So Silent Bob -- Many of you reached out to us via Twitter last night and today regarding a situation a Customer Twittered about that occurred on a Southwest flight. It is not our customary method of Customer Relations to be so public in how we work through these situations, but with so many people involved in the occurrence, you also should be involved in the solution. First and foremost, to Mr. Smith; we would like to echo our Tweets and again offer our heartfelt apologies to you. We are sincerely sorry for your travel experience on Southwest Airlines.

As soon as we saw the first Tweet from Mr. Smith, we contacted him personally to apologize for his experience and to address his concerns on both Twitter and with a personal phone call. Since the situation has received a lot of public attention, we'd like to take the opportunity to address a few of the specifics here as well.

Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank – as he’s been known to do when traveling on Southwest. He decided to change his plans and board an earlier flight to Burbank, which technically means flying standby. As you may know, airlines are not able to clear standby passengers until all Customers are boarded. When the time came to board Mr. Smith, we had only a single seat available for him to occupy. Our pilots are responsible for the Safety and comfort of all Customers on the aircraft and therefore, made the determination that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight. Our Employees explained why the decision was made, accommodated Mr. Smith on a later flight, and issued him a $100 Southwest travel voucher for his inconvenience...
----
updated:

Kevin Smith updates the story on his blog and reports Southwest still refuses to completely apologize and to say that he is "not to fat to fly."
... while Linda was kind and respectful, if they’re gonna stick with this “Well… he needed two seats…” shit, then we’re just back to square one ...
Linda Rutherford of Southwest Airlines who spoke with Smith offers their side.
My Conversation with Kevin Smith -- The communication among our Employees was not as sharp as it should have been and, it’s apparent that Southwest could have handled this situation differently. Thanks, Kevin, for your passion around this topic. You were a reasonable guy during our conversation...
----
other reactions:
The Wrap:
Bellygate: It Sucks to Be Southwest Airlines -- Now that the dust has settled somewhat on Bellygate, aka the Kevin Smith-Southwest Airlines drama, I wanted to offer perspective as a strategic, senior-level, mature, corporate-type PR executive...

Thoughts Before Nine:
I've had it with these motherloving fat guys on this motherloving plane -- So - we can allow Snakes on a Plane, but not Kevin Smith?

Daisy, JD (Just Daisy):
Judging You -- I fully stand behind any flight crew’s decision to remove anyone from a plane. Flying is not a right...
----
TJN opinion here:

The facts of the incident support Smith's argument that he should have been allowed to fly. He can fit in a 17" Southwest Airline seat, lower the armrests and buckle his seat belt without an extender. Southwest violated its own policy when it removed him from the plane. The ability to lower the armrests is their criterion to measure the need to buy two tickets.

Should a private air carrier have the right to violate their own written policy when they choose to do so?

As Smith has said, he is not "that fat." He usually sometimes buys two seats because as he said he likes his privacy when he flies. Smith took his standby seat in front where the people on either side of him were leaning away from the seat he took, and they indicated no discomfort when he asked them if there was any problem with him sitting there.

He made no scene and complied with all Southwest requests. He was embarrassed and as he left the aircraft he made eye contact with a much larger man 4 or 5 rows back, who looked scared. Smith wrote: "I saw someone bigger than me on THAT flight! But I wasn't about to throw a fellow Fatty under the plane as I'm being profiled. But he & I made eye contact, & he was like "Please don't tell..."

Smith also tells of a fellow women passenger sitting next to him on the his next SW flight who was also embarrassed when she was asked to leave her seat after boarding and told up front that in the future, she would have to consider buying two tickets.

It seems reasonable that these "fatty notifications" should be handled at check-in or somewhere before people are seated. Carnival rides have a line drawn to show how tall you have to be in order to get on the ride. Airlines should have a "measuring seat" near check-in that gives passengers a pass/fail at check-in. Why are these employees allowed to make the determination on a random case-by-case basis. Seems like the results will be random and inconsistent as the Kevin Smith incident has demonstrated. Consistency in policy enforcement would seem to be a good goal for a public transportation company.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bank of England Falsified and Manipulated Gold Data during 1925-1931

The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth — former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Blinder
This report about how the Bank of England falsified critical gold data 70 years ago gives more support to Federal Reserve critics like Congressman Ron Paul, who wants Congress to pass a Fed Transparency Act.

The BOE lied because it wanted to misrepresent the extent of inflationary/deflationary forces to the general public. If a central bank resorted to lying once, why assume that it's an isolated incident?

Zero Hedge:
Exclusive: The Bank Of England Engaged In Flagrant Gold Manipulation In The Interwar Period Via The New York Fed; Does History Repeat Itself? -- An article written by University of Tennessee professor John R Garrett, "Monetary Policy and Expectations: Market-Control Techniques and the Bank of England, 1925-1931", which describes in exquisite detail the gold falsification measures undertaken by the Bank of England in the interwar period in order to impact interest rates in a favorable direction, performed with the full criminal complicity of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, may mean paranoid "gold bugs" could soon be forever absolved of their "tin hat" wearing status as outright gold, and other data, manipulation by a major central bank is now proven beyond doubt. The implications regarding the possibility of comparable deceitful and treasonous acts by modern central bankers are staggering.
The Bank of England depleted its open-market portfolio by secretly sterilizing large gold inflows. Thereafter interest rates were influenced by manipulating reported gold flows.... A gold flow falsification was over two-thirds as effective as an open-market operation.
Falsifying critical gold data worked for Britain 70 years ago. Is it working now too? And is the BOE alone, or is Bernanke taking advantage of the Bank of England's experience? To be sure, the world was different with the Gold Standard the bedrock of monetary policy. Yet are the similarities between then and now not greater than the differences? With the shadow economy exposed as hinging on the investing community's desire to go with the prevailing "valuation" lie (a reason why the shadow economy in broad terms will take many years to return, if ever) the core asset is and always will be gold...

guess who was complicit in the BOE deception, and was used by the British central bank as a trading conduit? Why, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, of which Tim Geithner was president from 2003 to 2009...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dairy Farmers Are Hurting

NY Times:
The Morning the Milking Was Finished -- He left a note on the front door that warned the reader not to go inside but to call the police. Then he sat down in a chair and killed himself with a single rifle shot to the chest. He left behind a short suicide note scrawled on scratch paper that made reference to his depression over personal and financial issues. He expressed his love for his family but said he was “overwhelmed.”

Farmers live and die mostly in private, doing grueling, sometimes hazardous work, for long hours. But if there’s a face and a place for the quiet catastrophe facing many farmers, particularly dairy farmers still reeling from last year’s disastrous drop in prices, it’s hard to imagine one bleaker than the John Deere tractor pulling Mr. Pierson’s coffin atop a flat-bed truck, the death of one farmer but perhaps a requiem for a way of life as well...

----
related:
The Daily Mail:
Dairy farmer kills 51 cows and self -- Thursday morning, Copake dairy farmer Dean Pierson went into his barn with a rifle and killed all 51 of his milk cows before turning the gun on himself, ending his own life...

Fox23News:
New Details: Man Kills Cows, Then Himself -- Pierson only killed the cows that required frequent milking. His widow says she wants to save the farm so that her husband's work "doesn't go to nothing." ...
----
Meat Trade News:
USA - Tragedy of farmers suicide -- “The economic situation is one more piece of the puzzle,” said New York Farm Bureau Vice President Eric Ooms, who operates the A. Ooms and Sons dairy farm in Kinderhook with his father and brothers. “My father’s been a farmer his whole life. He said he’s never seen a year like this. It’s a year like no one has ever seen.”

Ooms said on average it costs around $17 to produce 100 pounds, or just under 12 gallons, of milk. In February of 2009 the price of milk dropped below $12 per 100 pounds for the first time since the 1970s. That dismal price persisted for much of the year until government subsidies pushed the price back above $16.

“The economic situation is just a perfect storm,” Ooms continued. “We are, more than we ever anticipated, a part of the global economy.”

Ooms said dairy farmers are hurting across the country and suicides are up according to NYFarmNet, a not-for-profit New York organization which runs a free assistance line for distressed farmers...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

American Apocalypse

An excellent and highly recommended book about the self destruction of the United States of America. How bad can a Great Recession get and how many "Gardeners" might spring up to trim back all the nasty weeds? Will there ever be a new Freya? Interesting ideas and characters in American Apocalypse that will stay with you long after reading this book.


The American Apocalypse:
... civilization is a great sheath of ice over a deep pond that contains all the bestial drives and desires we would indulge in given the chance. We skate along the top, refraining from looking at the shadows passing below us. We know sometimes it can crack, or a hole appears, and what happens then is never pleasant. We may even enjoy in a macabre sort of way watching it from a safe distance. The idea that huge sections may crack or even disappear is to scary for us to even contemplate. Scary because we may believe only "others" can handle what will appear. Or the fear that we will have to come face to face with our real selves. The bestial part. Or worse of all we will find we can only survive in a specialized and artificial environment. Then instead of being "Someone" we find we are only prey...

related:
Calculated Risk:
Book Review: "American Apocalypse"
----


----
Death of the Dollar

Western Rifle Shooters Association:
The Day the Dollar died -- "blovel" [blog novel] on the hours, days, weeks, and months following the collapse of the US dollar...

John Robb / Global Guerrillas:
THE TEA PARTY
"It's a leaderless movement" former House majority leader Dick Armey
The Tea Party movement in the US is an open source political protest. It emerged due to a substantial loss of government legitimacy (primarily from the mishandling of the global financial crisis) and continues to percolate as legitimacy continues to drain away from the government (health care, banking reform, unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcy, deficit, etc.)...

As a movement, it is very similar to open source warfare and therefore shares many of the same dynamics...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rolling Down the Slippery Slope: US Budget Deficits

David Sanger / NY Times:
Deficits May Alter U.S. Politics and Global Power -- By President Obama’s own optimistic projections, American deficits will not return to what are widely considered sustainable levels over the next 10 years. In fact, in 2019 and 2020 — years after Mr. Obama has left the political scene, even if he serves two terms — they start rising again sharply, to more than 5 percent of gross domestic product. His budget draws a picture of a nation that like many American homeowners simply cannot get above water.

For Mr. Obama and his successors, the effect of those projections is clear: Unless miraculous growth, or miraculous political compromises, creates some unforeseen change over the next decade, there is virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors. Beyond that lies the possibility that the United States could begin to suffer the same disease that has afflicted Japan over the past decade. As debt grew more rapidly than income, that country’s influence around the world eroded...

Obama's 2011 Budget Proposal - interactive graphic

Budget Forcasts usually miss the target - interactive graphic

related:
Zero Hedge:
Rep. Paul Ryan Slams Geithner, Tells The Secretary He Should Be Most Concerned By "Bond Vigilante" Criticism

Wall Street Journal: Deficit Hawk Plays Against Type

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia