Fabulous Fab's Fool's Gold(man)
So you bought a "synthetic" financial product from a trusted Wall Street giant, betting the billions in the bundled mortgages you now own will do well, unaware that the seller is laughing out loud and also betting billions, but that you'll lose your shirt. Akin to snatching a lemon off a used car lot, there should be laws against such behavior (fraud), but not when the situation involves Goldman Sachs, who was "surprised" by the SEC filing a civil lawsuit last Friday. Sparking a sell-off of the firm's soaring/suspect stock and erasing over $12 billion of its market value, the bank/demon is defending its behavior by saying no laws existed to prevent it from short-selling (betting a stock will fall) its "synthetic CDO" financial product named Abacus in 2007.
Ice, Ice, Baby!
Iceland's biggest export since Bjork is miles high and covering thousands of stratospheric miles. Eyjafjallajokull (a volcano irate about its impossible name) erupted a week ago (its third major eruption since 1612) grounding all flights and filling European airports with angry accents. The ash contains tiny glass crystals that will clog jet engines. Even Air Force One couldn't fly President Obama to Poland for the funeral of its lost president, first lady, and entire leadership after a plane crash in western Russia one week ago. Meanwhile, idle European economies are losing around a half-billion dollars per day. Known for fairies, aluminum refineries and stupid financial deals with firms like Goldman Sachs, Iceland's economic meltdown has been worse than Bend's (if you can believe that, and also due to the inane ideas of yet another right-wing leader) resulting in its currency, the krona, dropping by 80 percent last year and national debt jumping to nearly five times its total gross domestic product. Call it payback, or yet another reason not to trust tiny island nations with one celebrity and a big grudge.
Speaking of Grudges
Mercenaries worldwide are armed and angry after the former president of Blackwater Worldwide (now known as the kinder-gentler Xe Services) Gary Jackson and four others were indicted on Friday on federal weapons charges when a raid rounded up 22 unregistered weapons, including very effective yet very illegal AK-47s. Jackson has issues: His former company's employees/psychos slaughtered 17 unarmed Iraqis in 2007 (all charges were later dismissed due to "mishandled evidence") never mind revelations that Jackson bribed Iraqi officials to drop any investigations of the incident. In other ugly security news: Newly released e-mails have former CIA chief, Porter Goss, joking he "would take the heat" for approving the destruction of 92 tapes showing two terror suspects getting a spa treatment (a.k.a. water boarding) by CIA agents in Bangkok. Channeling Nixon, Porter said the release of the tapes would be "devastating" to the CIA then later testified that he was not aware of their destruction.
Holier Than Thou
Ok, this isn't another story about the Pope covering up priests sexually abusing children, yet even more proof of why Benedict has got to go: As reported here last year, ultraconservative British Bishop Richard Williamson was convicted of "incitement" in a German court for saying in a 2008 interview that Jews weren't killed in gas chambers during World War II. Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany (as is smiling and poor engineering) and Williamson has now lost his appeal, including 10,000 euros in fines. Williamson was excommunicated from the church (for questioning the Holocaust), but it was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI (an "involuntary" Nazi youth) and remains a bishop in good standing with the Vatican and probably will become Pope after God summons Benedict upstairs for a little chat.
On the 15th anniversary of some government-hating loser using fertilizer to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killing 168 people, isn't it swell that we still have freedom of speech in America? A place where a loser VP candidate can still sling manure for government-hating mobs to eat up... This whole Obama helping those who need help era really makes one wish for the good old days of enriching the few, invading former allies, and leaving the real work - and blame - to others.
This Week's Number:
That's how much Mt. Bachelor raised for local charities as part of its discounted ski weeks program this season. The figure brings the total raised by Mt. Bachelor's program over the past two years to more than $165,000. The fundraiser replaced Bachelor's "ski free" day canned food drive with a $25 weekday voucher that can be validated during one of two "charity" weeks. This year's proceeds will be split among Saving Grace, MBSEF, Sparrow Clubs, the Boys and Girls Club and Oregon Adaptive Sports.