Rocky TopOn Florida Saturday (anyone up for Gator meat today??), a little montage of Greatest Moments I found to get us all psyched up...
That agency, a Mortgage and Financial Institutions trust, would work with the
private sector and regulators to identify institutions that are weak and fix
them before they go broke.
As Memphis FBI agents began to investigate the hacking of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account, state Rep. Mike Kernell declined Thursday to respond to online allegations his son was responsible.
"My son's the one in question, and I can't comment on him," said Kernell, a Memphis Democrat.
In Nashville on Thursday, Rep. Kernell would neither confirm nor deny his son was involved in hacking Palin's e-mail account. Although Kernell said he was aware of claims his son was responsible, the politician would not address any of them.
"Father-son relationship," Kernell explained.
"I can't comment on my son," he repeated.
Asked if he has been contacted by investigators, Kernell responded: "Me, no."
"I can't say about my son," he added. "That doesn't mean he has or hasn't been contacted."
David Kernell, now a student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, could not be reached.
An FBI and Secret Service investigation into the hacking, launched Wednesday, now involves agents in Memphis, said C.M. Sturgis, a spokesman for the Memphis FBI branch.
"All I can say is that a matter was referred to us from the Anchorage, Alaska, office. An investigation at this time is being coordinated out of FBI headquarters in the Department of Justice," Sturgis said.
Federal investigators want to speak with Gabriel Ramuglia of Athens, Ga., who operates an Internet anonymity service the hacker used. Ramuglia told The Associated Press on Thursday he was reviewing his logs and promised to turn over any helpful information
To be fair, we can't blame Mike Kernell all that much for not wishing to admit that his son is under federal investigation. Knoxville TV station WVLT is reporting that David Kernell may indeed be the target of investigation. State Representative Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) says that from what he knows of Mike Kernell, the Memphis Democrat would not approve of his son's alleged actions.
The World was told of the possible involvement of Kernell by a confidential source in Nashville roughly 30 minutes before it made the online newspaper editions of the News-Sentinel and the Commercial Appeal. The news hit the wires just as we were returning from afternoon business to write of the affair.
The FBI and Secret Service have launched a joint investigation into the apparent hacking of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s private e-mail account after a widely-read Web site published screen grabs from it on
The article posted on Gawker.com revealed snapshots of e-mail exchanges the Alaska governor had with colleagues as well as private family photos. The gossip site says the email account has since been shut down.
The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet. The AP did not comply.
The Gawker article boasts about the lengths to which the reporter went to verify the account, saying he or she even called a phone number listed for Palin’s teenage daughter, Bristol, which apparently went to her voicemail. The site also
listed dozens of contact e-mails from the account.
The U.S. government seized control of American International Group Inc. -- one of the world's biggest insurers -- in an $85 billion deal that signaled the intensity of its concerns about the danger a collapse could pose to the financial system.
The step marks a dramatic turnabout for the federal government, which had been strongly resisting overtures from AIG for an emergency loan or some intervention that would prevent the insurer from falling into bankruptcy. Just last weekend, the government essentially pulled the plug on Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., allowing the big investment bank to go under instead of giving it financial support. This time, the government decided AIG truly was too big to fail.
The U.S. negotiators drove a hard bargain. Under terms hammered out Tuesday night, the Fed will lend up to $85 billion to AIG, and the U.S. government will effectively get a 79.9% equity stake in the insurer in the form of warrants called equity participation notes. The two-year loan will carry an interest rate of Libor plus 8.5 percentage points. (Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is a common short-term lending benchmark.)
The final decision to help AIG came Tuesday as the federal government concluded it would be "catastrophic" to allow the insurer to fail, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Feds obviously believe that AIG's demise would precipitate a larger economic collapse because AIG is one of the largest insurers in the world. That supposition is probably true-AIG going under would lead to an immediate and almost certain catastrophe in the economy. However, the federal government has been more than a bit selective in deciding what companies it will bail and what companies shall be allowed to destroy themselves. (Oh, and Democrats should not decieve themselves into thinking that a Democratic administration would not have done the same thing.)
I realize that I am going to sound like Mr. Mean here, but I don't believe the federal government should be bailing out any of these companies, even though so many Americans are invested in them in some fashion-especially a firm like AIG. To do so encourages both companies and people to engage in the same irresponsible fiscal behavior that got our country into the present economic crisis, because it sends the message that if the company you invest in is large enough, the government will certainly bail them out of trouble.
That is not a free market economy, and it is the wrong recipe for economic recovery.
Until recently, Matthew Figured, a Sunday school teacher at the Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church here, could not decide which candidate to vote for in the presidential election.
He had watched progressive Catholics work with the Democratic Party over the last four years to remind the faithful of the party’s support for Catholic teaching on the Iraq war, immigration , health care and even reducing abortion rates.
But then his local bishop plunged into the fray, barring Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, from receiving communion in the area because of his support for abortion rights.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it very clear that those who support abortion, either directly or indirectly, commit a grave offense:
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. 75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. 76
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," 77 "by the very commission of the offense," 78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. 79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
2322 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.
The U.S. government, which bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a week ago and orchestrated the sale of Bear Stearns Cos. to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in March, played much tougher with Lehman. It refused to provide a financial backstop to potential buyers. Without such support, Barclays PLC and Bank of America, the two most interested buyers, walked away.
"When we were appointed this morning, quite bluntly there was no cash because of the group treasury function," Mr. Lomas said, adding that his team would tell employees as soon as possible "whether or not there are funds enough to pay." Mr. Lomas said "a couple of dozen" of Lehman employees in London have been told definitely that they no longer have jobs. The rest should know by Wednesday, he said. The Lehman insolvency will be "larger and more complex" than similar proceedings for Enron and MG Rover, Mr. Lomas said.
Treasury and Federal Reserve officials gathered the reigning titans of Wall Street and told them that the solution to the problems some had with insufficient capital had to come from within the private sector. No such solution was forthcoming. And now there are two fewer independent investment banks. Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old firm that started by trading cotton, is bankrupt, and the thundering herd of Merrill Lynch brokers will now answer to bosses at Bank of America.
These two giants will be missed. Even so, this was the right time for the government to draw the line.
The reality of the whole matter, of course, is that neither the federal government nor the Federal Reserve ought to be bailing any of these companies out. An argument may be able to be made for a bailout of FannieMae and FreddieMac since the federal government created those firms to begin with, but it is a precarious argument at best.
Now one of the country's biggest insurance and investment firms may be near the end of its ride. Many Americans have insurance, investments, pension plans, or 401 (k) plans insured with the investments of American International Group, or AIG. New York State gave AIG a possible $20 billion cushion yesterday, but it may not be enough to save the company:
The insurer received a $20 billion liquidity cushion when New York state said it could access funds tied up in regulated subsidiaries. AIG is also looking to secure a lending facility of as much as $75 billion arranged by J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.
Investors have been growing increasingly concerned about the futures of AIG and Washington Mutual after both suffered brokerage downgrades after the markets closed Monday. AIG, which has been racing to restructure its business and raise fresh capital to avoid a downgrade of its credit ratings, lost 35% before the bell after plunging 61% Monday. Washington Mutual lost 16%.
Goldman Sachs shares slid about 10% after the firm posted a 70% drop in fiscal third-quarter net income. As the two remaining large investment banks, greater emphasis has been placed on Goldman's results and those of rival Morgan Stanley, who reports on Wednesday. With the number of big players on Wall Street dwindling, traders have said it remains to be seen where and for how much longer the ill effects of soured credit bets will continue to surface.
Lehman's bankruptcy and AIG's precarious position have prompted fears of forced selling that will lower the value of mortgage-related assets. A drop in the value of those mortgage assets could force other financial firms to write down the value of their holdings, in turn forcing them to raise cash that's not readily available.
It may be too much to ask our presidential candidates to quit demagoguing the economy, when both are ready to discuss the woes of Wall Street without admitting that those problems began because of bad credit and banking practices that began under the previous administration:
In his reaction to the Wall Street meltdown, John McCain is playing the part of Teddy Roosevelt, man of the people: Don't use taxpayer money to bail out greedy financial titans, he says, and don't be afraid to regulate Wall Street.
Barack Obama is playing the part of -- well, Barack Obama, man of change: This mess proves what I've been telling you, he's saying, that the team in charge of the economy has to get off the playing field. Oh, and I saw this coming, and they didn't.
That's the picture that emerges from the campaigns' initial reactions, and conversations with some key advisers, in the wake of Wall Street's weekend walk on the dark side.
The problems that plague major Wall Street firms actually began under the Clinton Administration. If we are going to play politics with our present economic crisis, we might as well blame the man in power when the mess began. The rotten fiscal practices that led to the current meltdown began and became common practice when Bill Clinton was residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Barack Obama will blame "Bush McCain" (What the H-ll is that? It sounds like a landscaping tool of some kind), while John McCain blames "greedy" people on Wall Street while playing a game of How to Sound Like a Liberal.
The truth is that neither Bush, McCain, or Clinton are to blame for the present crisis if we parse it down to the root. The problem which started it all was poor lending and financial practices on the part of our nation's banks and creditor institutions. Further, the American people are at least somewhat to blame (yes, I said it) for taking out credit that many of them could not afford to finance and loans at terms that no reasonable person could afford to repay. Irresponsibility on the part of banks and the public at large can have a massive and terrible economic price.
The people of this country have been living well above our collective means for entirely too long, and now the piper is calling to be paid.
“Kelli is going through some very serious personal issues at this time.
I have deep regret for whatever part her association with me and my campaign may have played in those problems. I wish nothing but the best for her. She is a special person to me.
See, despite our tendency to act as though we own the moral high road, we
do understand life is messy, unexpected, has jagged edges, people screw-up, make
bad decisions and chances are we’ll all be caught at least once with our ass in
a sling, hand in the cookie jar, skirt-tail in our pantyhose, husband in the
flophouse with his mistress… or mister, our kid in the jail or we might get
lucky - and just die without our good underwear on. That’s life. In life, sh-t
So, you clean it up, apologize for the smell and keep moving on. And we’re
fine with that.