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Archive for April 16th, 2009

Why Thomas Friedman isn’t worried

Posted by Charles II on April 16, 2009

(Thomas Friedman’s wife’s fortune is from General Growth Properties, the largest mall owner in the nation)

Henny Sender, FT:

Credit default swaps, the derivatives instruments that have figured prominently in the global financial crisis, are now being blamed for playing a role in two bankruptcy filings this week.

Bankers and lawyers involved in restructuring efforts say they are concerned some lenders to troubled companies, such as newsprint producer AbitibiBowater and mall owner General Growth Properties, stand to benefit from a default because they also hold default swaps, which entitle them to payments in such events.

And here we thought they got into so much financial trouble because they were stupid.

Posted in sucker bet, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 2 Comments »

NSA: The Fourth Amendment grants No Such Authority

Posted by Charles II on April 16, 2009

DemocracyNow did an important interview of Thomas Tamm, a DOJ whistleblower today. Amy then added Glenn Greenwald (who had an article in Salon today about torture as well as an article on FISA). He had this, among much more to say on DN:

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn, can you talk about the significance of the Jewel v. NSA case?

GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, that was—that is an amazing case, because what happened was, in 2008, when the Democrats voted for that FISA bill, part of what the FISA bill did was it immunized the telecoms from the lawsuits that were pending based on this illegal spying. And what the Democrats said at the time was, “Well, don’t worry about the fact that we’re immunizing the telecoms, because we’re not immunizing government officials, the Bush officials who ordered the illegal spying. You can still impose accountability on them.” And so, the organizations that have brought the lawsuits against the telecoms took the Democrats at their word, like EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and they commenced lawsuits against the Bush officials who ordered the illegal spying. And that was a lawsuit commenced in October of 2008 called—that’s the Jewel case that you just referenced.

And in October 2008, the Bush administration said to the lawyers who brought the lawsuit, “Well, we don’t really have time to answer the lawsuit, because we’re going to be on our way out the door in January, so we’d like to extend the time to answer into April of 2009, so the new administration can be the ones who handle this lawsuit.” And, of course, the plaintiffs’ lawyers were ecstatic. They thought, well, of course we’d rather have Obama answer the lawsuit than Bush.

And yet, last Friday, the Obama administration, the Justice Department, filed the first response to this lawsuit, one claiming that the Bush administration illegally spied on Americans, and what Obama said was, number one, that the program that the lawsuit is alleging occurred. The activities that it’s alleging are too secret, and grave national security harm would result if the court looked at this program and ruled on whether it was illegal, and thus demanded its dismissal.

And then the Obama administration invented a brand new radical argument that not even the Bush administration had espoused that says that the government is completely immune from any lawsuits for illegal spying, unless they deliberately or willfully disclose to the public what it is that they learned. So they basically said government officials are immune, when they break the law, from lawsuits, except in the narrowest of cases. And so, the Obama administration sought to bar any lawsuits against Bush officials for illegal spying, after they spent the last eight months assuring the public that Bush officials would still be held accountable even though telecoms were immune.

I’m sorry to say, but this seems to be true. The Obama Administration will have to be forced to back away from asserting essentially dictatorial powers. How, given the self-congratulatory and defensive attitude of many Democrats, I don’t know. But no democracy can survive leaders who have the power to spy on anyone without consequences.

Bonus link: Naomi Klein on hopeovers, hopesickness, and other phenomena of the Obama era.

Posted in Barack Obama, Bush, NSA eavesdropping | Comments Off on NSA: The Fourth Amendment grants No Such Authority

Elizabeth Warren on The Daily Show

Posted by Charles II on April 16, 2009

Calculated Risk has the skinny.

Posted in financial crisis | Comments Off on Elizabeth Warren on The Daily Show

Don’t Let A Chiropractor Crack Your Neck

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 16, 2009

Not unless you want to risk stroke and/or death:

Stroke from chiropractic neck manipulation occurs when an artery to the brain ruptures or becomes blocked as a result of being stretched. The injury often results from extreme rotation in which the practitioner’s hands are placed on the patient’s head in order to rotate the cervical spine by rotating the head [1]. The vertebral artery, which is shown in the picture to the right, is vulnerable because it winds around the topmost cervical vertebra (atlas) to enter the skull, so that any abrupt rotation may stretch the artery and tear its delicate lining. The anatomical problem is illustrated on page 7 of The Chiropractic Report, July 1999. A blood clot formed over the injured area may subsequently be dislodged and block a smaller artery that supplies the brain. Less frequently, the vessel may be blocked by blood that collects in the vessel wall at the site of the dissection [2].

Chiropractors would like you to believe that the incidence of stroke following neck manipulation is extremely small. Speculations exist that the odds of a serious complication due to neck manipulation are somewhere between one in 40,000 and one in 10 million manipulations. No one really knows, however, because (a) there has been little systematic study of its frequency; (b) the largest malpractice insurers won’t reveal how many cases they know about; and (c) a large majority of cases that medical doctors see are not reported in scientific journals.

Click on the link for more. You’re better off seeing a licensed massage therapist or a doctor who specializes in sports medicine.

Posted in health care, health issues, science and medicine | 11 Comments »

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