Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last Call

Aww LT, say it isn't so, man.
Hall of Fame football linebacker Lawrence Taylor was charged Thursday with rape and patronizing a prostitute in a case involving a 16-year-old girl, police in Ramapo, New York, said.

Taylor's attorney said the former New York Giants star denied the charges and will fight them.

"My client did not have sex with anybody. Period," Arthur Aidala said, adding: "Lawrence Taylor did not rape anybody."

Taylor appeared at an afternoon court hearing where a judge set bail at $75,000. Taylor was not asked to enter a plea and left the courthouse after posting bail.

Seeing television cameras outside the courthouse, Taylor said, "I'm not that important" as he walked away.
Taylor, 51, was arrested in a Holiday Inn room a few hours after the alleged rape took place, according to Christopher St. Lawrence, the town supervisor and police commissioner in Ramapo, about 30 miles northwest of New York City.

Police Chief Peter Brower said Taylor was charged with third-degree rape, a felony, for allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse with someone younger than 17. Taylor also was charged with third-degree patronization for allegedly paying the underage victim $300 to have sex, Brower said.

According to Brower, the rape charge carries a possible four-year prison term, and the patronization charge, a misdemeanor, could bring up to a year in prison.
Honestly.  You're Lawrence Taylor.  You have to go bang a prostitute?  Ugh.  Really.

Run For The Border

This Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the Arizona immigration law is pretty astounding.
Based on what you know or have heard about the new Arizona Immigration Law, do you favor or oppose it?
      Favor  Oppose  Not Sure
ALL     53      36      11
DEM     12      79       9
REP     89       7       4
IND     46      28      26

WHITE   63      26      11
LATINO  15      76       9
BLACK    8      80      12
Interesting stuff.  Yes, people do favor the law.  Whites favor the law substantially.  Look what happens when the results of the law are asked as a question:

Arizona now requires anyone passing through or living in their state to carry papers proving citizenship that can be produced at the command of any law enforcement officers. Do you approve or disapprove of this requirement?
      Approve  Disapprove  Not Sure
ALL      48        44         8
DEM      10        88         2
REP      85        11         4
IND      37        41        22

WHITE    58        35         7
LATINO    9        81        10
BLACK     4        83        13

Very interesting there too.  Still, people favor the law, but not quite as much.  Even a few Republicans shift gears on this, but still...Republicans overwhelmingly love them some government interference.

Here's my question: If you're a Tea Party Republican, and you hate you some come you love you some police state?

Epic Jail Break Fail Break Fail

I keep saying that we need to take the threat that wingers, birthers, and tenthers represent seriously.  now, as far as the wingers, borthers, and tenthers themselves....that's different.
Right-wing extremists who question the legitimacy of Barack Obama's presidency tried to take on local law enforcement recently -- and they seem to have come out on the losing end.

First, a Tennessee man was arrested after walking into his local county courthouse to try to effect a citizen's arrest of a grand jury foreman who had refused to investigate President Obama's legitimacy to serve -- an encounter partially caught on video. That enraged one Georgia-based member of the far-right OathKeepers group. Responding to a call from an extremist leader, he drove to Tennessee with an AK-47 in a bid to get his comrade released -- only to wind up getting arrested himself.

The bizarre sequence of events began on April 1, when Walter Fitzpatrick walked into the Monroe county courthouse in Madisonville, Tenn., and approached Grand Jury foreman Gary Pettway. "I'm charging you with official misconduct," Fitzpatrick calmly told Pettway. "I'm placing you under arrest. You must now come with me."

Why was Pettway targeted? Fitzpatrick, a retired Navy commander, is a leading member of the American Grand Jury (AGJ), a group of self-declared constitutional experts that seeks to convene a grand jury of citizens to indict President Obama for treason, on the grounds that he's not a natural-born U.S. citizen. Fitzpatrick had previously tried unsuccessfully to get Pettway, an African-American, to convene a grand jury to investigate charges of voter fraud in connection with President Obama's election, according to an online account written by Carl Swensson, another AGJ leader. In response, AGJ accused Pettway of violating state laws governing the length of time that a grand jury foreman can serve -- giving Fitzpatrick the basis for his attempted citizen's arrest.

And it all basically fell apart from there.  A member of the Oath Keepers named Darren Huff  then goes to rescue his buddy from Obama's fascist mind control camps the country lockup.  The state police did not take kindly to Huff bringing his AK-47 to the courthouse, and took his weapons.  Huff then is allowed through to the courthouse, and nothing happened.

Until Huff the next day goes on a radio show to recount his idiotic lecture to the staties, which the FBI hears, and then arrests Huff for incitement of violence.


Trading Error My Ass: The Mother Of All Dead Cat Bounces

A little after 2 PM this afternoon in New York, the stock market completely crashed and the Dow was down nearly one thousand points for a couple of agonizing seconds.  At 4 PM, the market closed down around 4% for the day, the Dow being off 348 points.  CNBC says it was...a trading error.
In one of the most dizzying half-hours in stock market history, the Dow plunged nearly 1,000 points on worries about the spreading European debt crisis before paring those losses in an equally rapid rebound.

A possible culprit for the drop was a trader error in which someone entered a "b" for billion instead of an "m" for million in a trade. Multiple sources confirmed the report to CNBC and
Oh suuuuure it was.  Gold hitting $1,200, the Euro falling at about a buck and quarter per and of course Greek Fire had nothing to do with it.  It was all a mistake, ladies and gentlemen.  Dow drops about 1,000 points, then jackknifes UP 700.

The fundamentals of our economy are strong!
The apparent trigger for the massive selloff, which began shortly after 2 pm ET, was the approval of austerity measures by the Greek Parliament, which sparked renewed rioting in Athens. 

"There is simply a growing recognition that Greece has got to default," banking analyst Dick Bove told "The riots in the streets showed the decision to repay the debt was not going to be made by the people in Germany, France and Switzerland—it's going to be made by people in Greece and they're not going to repay it."
You think?   Hell, Zero Hedge is down hard right now.  ironically reposted ZH's warning from John Taylor that the Euro was toast.
Europe is dead. The European nations are the victors, and the way ahead will be one hell of a mess. Without taxing and borrowing power, there is no way to square the inter-euro trade balances between the countries except ‘internal devaluation,’ which means years of deflation and poverty for the voters – and protestors – of the deficit countries. Our pencil pushers and Excel experts have made lots of projections on the Greek situation and can find almost no possibility of success. The EU/IMF team projects Greek debt at 149% of GDP when this rescue ends, but their nominal GDP estimates are incredibly optimistic when salaries and jobs are cut dramatically. We see a 20% decline over the three years as a good outcome, the debt would stay the same, and the ratio goes to 186% of GDP. Almost like Japan, but foreigners own the Greek debt – no way! This rescue reminds us of Bob Rubin’s rescue of Russia in July 1998, which lasted about one month before the whole house of cards collapsed. We knew that one couldn’t work, and this one can’t either. It might take longer, but the euro is finished. 

Goodbye euro, hello drachma, peseta, lira, and the others. The world had hoped for more, none more than the Europeans themselves, but now we are all left to pick up the pieces.
Scary, scary ass day, folks.  I'm betting that the plunge Protection Team stepped in as soon as this meltdown became apparent and made some BUY phone calls to some big, big people.  They came through, erasing two-thirds of today's burnoff.  it won't last real long.  For a brief couple of moments the whole world saw everyone else's poker hand and the game just about ended.

It's October 2008 all over again.  If you believe this trading error nonsense, you deserve what's coming.

Tomorrow is going to be real, real interesting.  The real story of what happened today from 2 PM to 4 PM on Wall Street is going to make a hell of a story for somebody in the business.  Been a while since I've gotten to drag out the Dead Cat Bounce tag, and there we are.

[UPDATE] CalcRisk's take:
There are two rumors: The first is that there was a trading error (fat finger of a E-mini SP future order), the second is that Euro banks are having a liquidity problem of some sort. Neither is confirmed.
I'm leaning towards two myself. Felix Salmon is leaning towards one.
It’s been a very impressive day to learn how the stock-market sausage is made: I think we just saw the largest intraday fall, in point terms, that has ever happened. But the bigger lesson is that in the short term, any market can fail temporarily. The question is whether the jitters from this afternoon are going to mean increased volatility and risk aversion going forwards. My feeling is that, yes, they both will and should.
We'll see what happens going forward.

Greek Fire, Part 17

Psst.  Hey you.  While Greece is on fire and burning a hole though the Euro like thermite through the steel deck of a boat, gold's up to $1,200 an ounce and rising.
Gold rose toward $1,185 an ounce on Thursday and held near record highs in euro terms on fears Greece's debt issues may spread, with cautious comments from the European Central Bank doing little to temper risk aversion.

In remarks after the ECB left interest rates at 1.0 percent, its chief Jean-Claude Trichet ruled out a Greek default, but added officials did not discuss buying government bonds to cut euro zone members' borrowing costs.  
Ruled out, huh?  Don't think you can actually do that without the money to back that up, JC.  Just sayin'.
"Despite the ECB, being confident that default for Greece is 'out of question', the market seems to be nervous," said Pradeep Unni, senior analyst at Richcomm Global Services.

"At this point in time, it is becoming evident that investors are hedging the recent euro zone and UK crisis equally in gold and the U.S. dollar," he said. 
Nooooooo.  Really?  Looks like another confidence crisis is brewing, folks.  The smart money is betting against Greece being able to pay back a damn thing.  The Greek Fire keeps on burning, and nothing is going to put it out...not even a lake of molten gold.

Drill Baby Drilling Down On The Poll Results

Rasmussen's looking to make a point for the GOP with their new poll saying 58% of Americans support offshore drilling.  The real news is that's a 14% drop from just six weeks ago.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of voters believe offshore oil drilling should be allowed. But that’s down 14 points from 72% just after President Obama’s announcement at the end of March that he was lifting the ban on offshore drilling for the first time in years.

Twenty-three percent (23%) now oppose offshore drilling. Nineteen percent (19%) remain unsure whether it’s a good idea or not.

However, while most support drilling, 69% are at least somewhat concerned that offshore drilling may cause environmental problems. That’s up from 49% in March.

Today, just 29% are not concerned about the possibility of environmental damage.

These current figures include 34% who are Very Concerned but only six percent (6%) who are Not At All Concerned. 
Considering Rasmussen considers a 4 or 5 point drop in the same period as a "steep decline" when applied to Obama, these numbers are pretty catastrophic for the oil lobby, especially since even Rasmussen finds nearly seven in ten of us are dirty f'ckin' hippies who worry that several million gallons of oil splattered all over red state beaches might be a real problem down the road.

Something tells me the real number of Americans who support this is lower than 58%, but if even Rasmussen is showing a 14 point drop in this from 2 months, I'm betting around July 4th when the pictures of oil-soaked everything roll across the screen daily, that number will be down even more.

Shorter post:  If Rasmussen's showing a 14 point loss in drill baby drillness among the Glenn Beck set, offshore drilling in general is in real danger here in the US.

The Blame Game

Steve M. has an excellent point here as the NY Post suddenly decides blaming the President's foreign policy decisions for the actions of terrorists is permissible now that the President in question is a Democrat.
Wait -- "driven to evil" by American deeds? Hasn't it always been an ironclad rule in Murdoch Land that nothing we do can be the reason for anything terrorists do? Isn't any statement that asserts or implies anything to that effect an example of a "blame-America-first" mentality?

Shouldn't the Post be denouncing this attempt by Shahzad to fob blame off on brave, freedom-loving America, which seeks nothing but peace and righteousness and good for all the innocent people of the world?

No, wait -- these are Obama's drones. So the Post thinks it's OK for Shahzad to blame America first.
It's so nice of the wingers to pretend for eight years that "They hate our freedoms" is the only possible reason anyone could ever have for attacking us and not "We killed their family, friends, and loved ones with remote controlled death from the sky and they are pissed off at us because of that."

When Bush was doing it, you were called an American-hating traitor if you thought this in 2003-2008.  It doesn't make the fact we're still doing it (this time in Pakistan) any better.  But for the Murdoch media machine to only discover this possibility because it's convenient to attack a Democrat in the White House is pretty despicable, even for them.

Having said that, Obama's foreign policy sucks.  We need to get out of the Middle East.

If It's Thursday...

New jobless claims down slightly to 444k, continuing claims down a smidge to 4.59 million.

Still not great news.  Tomorrow's April unemployment numbers will hopefully be as good as they are predicting.  Unfortunately we're going to need 2-3 times that 200k+ new jobs a month sustained for a year or more just to get back to 2007.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

It's a good thing that putting Times Square car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad on the terrorism watch list before 9/11 and keeping him there all throughout the Bush Warren Terrah years stopped him from going back to Pakistan to get trained by the Taliban, right?

Of course, one has to argue that the Taliban training really, really sucks, too, so I guess it's a wash.

A Lesson In Perspective

Over at Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden notes the GOP has figured out that the IMF is footing a pretty big chunk of the bill for the Greek bailout...and the American taxpayer is footing a pretty big chunk of the bill for the IMF.  The GOP's point man on this is South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who's pretty angry.

Right now, 17 percent of the IMF funding pool that the $40 billion bailout is being drawn from comes from U.S. taxpayers. If that ratio holds true, that means American taxpayers are paying for $6.8 billion of the Greek bailout. Although the $108 billion extra that Congress approved for the IMF in 2009 hasn’t yet gone into effect, you can bet that once it does Greek bankers will come to the IMF again with their hat in hand. And, if other European Union countries see free money up for grabs they could ask the IMF for bailouts when they get into trouble, too. If we’ve learned anything from the Wall Street bailouts it’s that just one bailout is never enough.

To hide the bailout from Americans already angry with the $700 billion bank bailout, Congress classified it as an “expanded credit line.” The Congressional Budget Office only scored it as $5 billion because IMF agreed to give the United States a promissory note for the rest of the bill.

As the Wall Street Journal wrote at the time, “If it costs so little, why not make it $200 billion. Or a trillion? It’s free!”
The problem is DeMint is complaining about $6.8 billion dollars when he should be livid with how much BP is going to be costing the American taxpayer thanks to their little oopsie.  Hey Jim, doesn't South Carolina have, you know, a coastline and beaches?

Better hope Magic Box works to stop that spill, otherwise you'll be asking for about that much just for your state in cleanup and damages.  I wonder if DeMint will be complaining when taxpayers are asked to clean up BP's mess.  Probably not.

Second, $6.8 bilion compared to the oh, $2 trillion or so in loans, bailouts and other Fed money promised to the banks is a drop in the bucket.  Maybe if you're worried about future bailouts Jim, you should be supporting the financial regulation bill instead of trying to block it.

You know, the bill that makes the banks pay for their own bailouts.

Oil's Well That Doesn't End Well For This Oil Well, Part 6

A lot of hype's being made about BP's recently assembled 4-story concrete box that will be used to cover the remaining gusher under the ocean and pump out the oil to waiting tankers.  Alternet's Daniela Perdomo reminds us that even if the magic box actually works, the damage already done will be catastrophic.
No one is quite sure just how many gallons of crude oil have been flowing freely into the Gulf since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and allowing for an entirely indefinite amount of oil to gush from a damaged well as well as from the rig itself. (Is it any wonder that Halliburton was involved?)

BP has publicly admitted that 5,000 barrels are likely being injected into ocean waters each day -- but at a closed-doors congressional hearing on Tuesday, executives admitted that as many as 60,000 barrels may be contaminating the Gulf daily. If the last big spill -- Exxon Valdez in 1989 -- is any indication, experts say the best clean-up scenario is to recover 20 percent of the spilled oil. (Only 8 percent of the crude oil deposited in the ocean and coastlines off Alaska were recovered in the 1989 spill clean-up.)

On Wednesday afternoon, BP touted its having capped one of the three leaks in the pipe from the mangled oil well as a great success. But a Coast Guard spokesman told the Washington Post that having stopped that leak would not reduce the rate of oil spillage, it would merely make the oil come out stronger from the other two.

BP is also hyping up three giant steel containment domes that will be used to collect oil streaming into the Gulf and transfer it to a waiting tanker. But the domes look rather flimsy in the face of what may very well end up being the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And then there's the question of whether the domes could make things worse -- some experts fear that they may further damage the underwater oil pipes.

Tyson Slocum, the energy program director at Public Citizen, is worried about the chemicals being used to try and remedy the damage. "We're injecting a whole suite of chemical mixtures in an effort to neutralize the oil spill," he says. "This has the potential to make an ecological disaster worse."

Environmentally speaking, the worst effects of the BP spill have yet to be felt. Most of the known damage wreaked by Exxon Valdez came when the spill contaminated 1,300 miles of shoreline. But the extent of the damage it caused to marine life is not totally known, even 20 years out. Indeed, each day will give us a clearer picture of what short-term ecological destruction Deepwater Horizon has wrought -- on- and off-shore -- but environmental experts believe the damage made to the Gulf of Mexico will be very long-term.
The Village has cautious optimism at best, and is outright dismissing the possibility of any environmental damage at worst.  Everything's fine, they scream at the top of their lungs.  There's been worse oil spills!  The oceans are fine, mother nature will clean up everything! 

Sure it will.  Gosh, we won't even have to pay for it.  You know, like Iraq.


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