Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Monday, 28 January 2008
Friday, 25 January 2008
... It's reporting season in the states right now, and the write-offs on these debts that the big banks have been making have been GINORMOUS! Obviously the markets have been taking a big hit (and that's why Sandy has been so stressed of late.) Earlier this week, the Fed (US central bank) held an emergency meeting were they cut interest rates by 75 bases points (0.75%). That's a seriously big thing to do which shows that they were really worried about a big recession ahead.
Anyways, last night something came to light that shows that something else might have been causing some of the market turmoil this week that prompted this emergency meeting. A trader at Societe General in France called Jerome Kerviel had found out how to get past the banks checks and controls and had taken a massive unhedged forward position. This means he took a big, levered bet that the prices would rise. Well they didn't, and so he was screwed, and thus the bank was screwed, and thus the market..... you get the picture. You've heard this story before. They call this sort of a dumb-ass a rogue trader, and the most famous one to date was Nick Leeson (no not Ewan McGregor). But Nick only made $1.4bn in losses (and admittedly shut down Barings single-handedly), but Jerome managed to cause $7.14bn in losses.
This was only publicly announced last night as far as I know, but the bank has been aware since saturday, and presumambly the information had leaked into the market causing some of the turmoil earlier in the week. And the Fed was unaware that this was the reason. Thus very possibly, good ol J was also responsible for the biggest economy in the world' federal bank calling an emergency meeting for the 1st time EVER, and cutting rates by the biggest amount since.... fuck knows when!
He gets my vote for man of the decade.
Hands off Jacob Zuma!
Pule Malefane: COMMENT
23 January 2008 11:59
Should ANC president Jacob Zuma’s innocence or guilt be decided by the courts?
We might not all be law experts, but we fully understand the Constitution, because it is a product of public participation and represents the will of the people. We also expect the newly elected men and women of the ANC national executive committee to possess a minimum basic understanding of this supreme law of the land and to ensure that it is not undermined by anyone for political expediency. We have every right as citizens to ensure that the courts are responsible and to hold the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) accountable.
The NPA has abused the judicial process and as a result the state is not entitled to carry on with prosecuting Zuma. The courts should set aside the case, not on its merits, but because continuing the prosecution would damage the integrity of the justice system.
A judge has the power to dismiss a case if the defendant is unlikely to receive a fair trial. A court may also act where there is grave misconduct on the part of police, the executive or the prosecuting authority. The judiciary must have the respect and the support of the community it serves in order to properly administer criminal justice.
The courts should therefore intervene and demand that the NPA stop its oppressive behaviour. Zuma deserves a fair pre-trial process and a speedy trial, as guaranteed by the Constitution. Through its behaviour, the NPA has destroyed its chances of conviction on a “winnable case” and therefore Zuma cannot be allowed to be humiliated and projected as a common criminal.
It took the NPA 15 months after Judge Msimang’s ruling to complete a draft indictment for instituting another prosecution against Zuma. This, in itself, suffices for the court to dismiss the case with prejudice, as justice delayed is justice denied.
The Public Protector has also been critical of the conduct and behavior of the NPA, damning Bulelani Ngcuka for his irresponsible utterances, which infringed on Zuma’s constitutional right to dignity and caused him to be prejudiced.
What was strange was the sacking of Zuma as the deputy president of South Africa and Ngcuka being rewarded with the appointment of his wife to replace Zuma. As though this was not enough, the very same NPA embarked in a veiled effort to influence the outcome of the ANC’s Polokwane conference by constantly issuing media statements about Zuma’s pending charges. They did all this driven by arrogance and undermining the very same rule of law they are supposed to promote and protect only because they want to influence political outcomes.
The 13 additional charges against Zuma are in retaliation for the ruling by Judge Msimang. Simply because the NPA did not like the ruling does not give them the right to up the ante by filing charges that they would otherwise not have filed in the beginning. They want us to believe that their case matures like fine wine, which is ludicrous in law.
There is no case against Zuma. The ANC NEC should demand that the court dismiss this case and instruct the NPA to stop its shenanigans.
We members of the ANC are saying “Hands off Jacob Zuma” -- and if he should be the next president of South Africa, let it be so. The NPA has no business whatsoever in our leadership preferences.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
First, of course, about the US primaries. Apparently Obama and Hillary went at each other's throats in a big way during last night's televised debates. Got seriously personal. And if ever there was evidence of the need for an also-ran to just step aside: "The third Democratic contender, John Edwards, had to fight to speak." Get the scoop here. Perfect teeth and a winning smil are NOT enough to win a primary!
Franny I hoped you tuned in with popcorn!
Obama is also going after Bill I didn't enjoy the bloz Clinton these days, who is campaigning vigorously for his wife. My personal view is that criticising Bill Clinton is political suicide (Bill Clinton is a demi-god in American politics, 'first black president' and all that), but I guess Obama can't take shit lying down from some old guy that should've been impeached. And Obama would be right. But Americans do not like people attacking Bill. Just not allowed.
Second, Justin Yifu Lin, a Chinese national, is about to be appointed World Bank Chief Economist. He would be the first from a developing country. And Mr Lin defected from Taiwan to the mainland in 1979 by swimming across the Taiwan strait. But most interesting? He did a masters in Marxist political economy at Peking University, and then a PhD in neoclassical economics from Chicago, the capital of academic free-market thinking. Let's hope he's managed to sort it all out in his head.
Last, sovereign wealth funds (investment funds controlled by governments, not private entities) now control more assets than hedge funds and private equity combined. That's a LOT of money. China has the biggest (of course), and through it bought that big chunk of private equity group Blackstone last year. They also tried to buy CNOOC earlier, but Congress said no, no, no. So they're buying up less politically sensitive stuff now. Still, we've liberalised international capital markets because we understand the motives of privately-owned capital. We have no idea what publicly-owned capital might be chasing, since profits aren't a concern. Interesting times indeed! And no this is not conspiracy theory nonsense.
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Mitt Romney Defends Himself Against Allegations Of Tolerance
Bullshit still the number issue amongst US voters:
Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
Monday, 14 January 2008
Sunday, 6 January 2008
Saturday, 5 January 2008
Best TV series: Grey's - I'm addicted and we download weekly episodes from the States
Best new general knowledge trick(?): Naming all the states of the US
Best abitary achievement: Smashing a wooden board with my hand
Best reads: Bitter Fruit, Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Cloud Atlas, oh there are lots more, I have had a year of reading
Best historic place: Ponsavan & plain of Jars in Laos
Best shower: Kampot, Cambodia after staying on an island with no running water or electricity for 3 days
Best seafood: Pepper Crab, Cambodia
Best thing in my handbag: Credit Card for emergancy hospital visits
Best prize: iPod nano
Best wild animal: Blue lizards in Thailand (they are real Greg!)
Best gluten free discovery: Lemon Polenta Cake made with Ram
Best shopping: Hoi An, Vietnam
Best early morning coffee: Dench, Melbourne followed by Black Medicine in Edinburgh
Best discovery: eating snow
Likewise a lot of mine are simular to yours and I'm pleased we've had such a happy year. Here's too 2008, my lovelys!
Best achievement: Completing Bob Dylan's Chronicles. It took me 3 reads, so just edged out getting my CA.
Best Hikes: Inca Trail and the Grand Canyon
Best City visited: Buenos Aires
Worst Place visited: Puno in Peru. So fucking ugly and the people suck!
Best Live Acts: The Shins at the Electric Factory, The Rosebuds and Yo La Tengo at the Trocadero and the Arcade Fire at..... somewhere in San Diego.
Best High: Bolivia's finest
Best Beach: Lopes Mendes on Isla Grande, Brazil
Best Swim: Totem Pool
Best things about North America: The bridges
Best Street: South Street, Philadelphia (it'll go back to being long st next year)
Best clothing label discovered: Felix (thanks Eubel)
Best Book: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (to keep the Jonathan Safran Foer theme going)
Best Restaurant: Lolita in Philadelphia. A Mexican BYOB (doesn't have a liquor licence which is pretty common there). Took along a big bottle of tequila and they made us great margaritas. And the food was SO good.
Best Oppikoppi Experience: When the drummer from the Dirty Skirts stage dived and nobody caught him. I missed a lot of the Cmon and Kipsky set to catch it, but it was worth it!
Best songs: The National - Fake Empire, Kevin Drew - Safety Bricks, Feist - 188.8.131.52, Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass, Andrew Bird - Plasticities, Tokyo Police Club - Your English is Good, LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great,...... I could go on for a while
Best Dancefloor Track and Best Music Video: Justice - D.A.N.C.E
Worst Band: Gogol Bordello. It's like Corne and Twakkie doing Balkanology. Funny to see, but shit to hear.
Best Broadway Show I watched: The Producers (Only broadway show, but very good nonetheless)
Best Exhibition: Kentridge at the Goodman Gallery. Seriously mind-blowing.
Best Near Death Experience: Kerry's Hash Brownies. Mind blowing in a more literal way! Cycling down the World's Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia didn't even come close.
Best Super-Power gained from said near death experience: Telepathy
Here's to a good 2008.
I caught the last bit of Chromeo who were apparently really good, and saw the first bit of Spank Rock who sucked (though that was mostly due to the poor sound). Brian Wilson was playing at the domain, but that would have had 50 000 people at least, so i kept clear. They estimated there were going to be about 200 000 people on the streets in the city centre, which is quite a bit, because the city centre ain't so big (all the parties were in about a 3x3 block area). Anyway, it was pretty rad being at a huge open air concert among these huge buildings, and most of the crowd behaved (quite unusual for Sydney crowds) except for one naughty tortoise who got tackled by police. He had no shirt on and a glow stick in his hand so he probably deserved it.
Check out the uber-techno Plump DJ's being broadcast on the big screen...
And this rad star wars-style sculpture on the MLC building...
And this monstrosity (i don't even know what it is) looks retarded during the day but kind of cool lit up at night...
This was one of the small stages amidst the buildings...
Anyway, i'm off to bed, lots of travelling tomorrow...
Friday, 4 January 2008
Best Day out: Butterfly world, followed by sharing a lazy lunch under the trees at Bread and Wine in Franshoek, Haute Cabriere, chocolates and great friends
Best New Album/ artist I've been introduced to: Feist, KT Tunstall,
Best value for money lunch: Pick n Pay canteen
Best Purchase: my ipod
Best High: hash brownies
Best concert: 46664 ( the patriotic atmosphere not the music) and Jose Gonzalez
Most embarassing moment: finding myself in fishnets and a raunchy air hostess outfit selling cold over priced hot dogs in the Zingara Tent while Freshly Ground performed ( on more than 1 occasion!)
Best wine tasting: Waterford wine and chocolate (and it is so pretty!)
Most arbitary accomplishment: being able to navigate myself around the streets of Jozi
Best Art: William Kentridge exhibition
Most surprsing cultural find: The Taal Monument in Paarl ( it is actually very cool. see pic!)
Action with the most serious(and unknown) consequence: frollicking in the canola fields with Alex and Sophie - followed by spider bite infection
Best overseas visitor: Talya & Alex
Most missed Birthday Party: Paula's Fishhoek bash
Best 30th Birthday party: Simon (Camillas boyfriend) on a houseboat in Churchhaven
Series most addicted to: Greys
Best Bookclub: the one we started this year
Most enlightened discovery: Kundalini Yoga
Best movies: The lives of others, As it is in Heaven, Enconters Documentary Festival
Proudest moment: Saying goodbye to waitressing after 11 years (well almost) and climbing up the ropes on Lions Head (twice)
Best new weather experience: thunderstorms in Jozi
Most Challenging: entering the world of work in South Africa 5 years behind my peers
Best new life philosophy: living in the present and not in the past
Most memorable moment: learning to communicate without words
Do we think this could get really messy?
What is it with the defense team claiming that the timing of the charges is strange, at Christmas time when "everyone is at rest". Last time I checked the charges had been looming in one form or another since two years ago. and how convenient that Mbeki can now be made a scape goat, and that COSATU and the Youth League have been positioned as ZUMA stalwarts. Or am I missing the point? (which is also likely :))
Best food experience of 2007 : My first som tam in Bangkok. Hot damn!
Best Mix : I'll cheat here and say this Cut Copy mix i only got a few days ago. Its phenomenal, and way better than any other mixes i heard this year, except perhaps that disco mix by DJ Eli (i think i posted the link earlier in the year), but that was recorded five years ago so it doesn't count.
Best Election win : No, not JayZee, nor Kevin Rudd (new Labour Australian PM) but the ex-newsreader Maxine McKew who beat John Howard in his own electorate of Bennelong leaving him without a government to run, and not even a seat to sit in. Loser.
Best phrase or exclamation : Shityeah!
Best t-shirt purchased :
Best book : I finally read Vernon God Little. What kind of fucken life is this?
Best TV Series : Summer Heights High
Best podcast discovered just after the end of 2007 but was started during 2007 : The Erol Alkan podcast.
Best purchase of 2007 : Stopover in Thailannnn.
Best sale of 2007 : My surfboard. Surfing is the crappest sport ever. Behind golf, of course.
Best haircut of 2007: Nicole at Scar. I now get my hair cut by these clowns, and while they give you a beer while you get your hair cut (it's a Tooheys New though, which is only just a beer), the place is just propvol of fashion tragics and i feel retarded for having my hair cut there. Ja, ja Phil, i go there because i can't face spending $75 for the (cheapest) cut at Toni and Guy, where everyone is equally tragic.
Best Film of 2007 : Into the Wild.
Best musical rediscovery of 2007 : Spending hours watching Youtube videos of live Morphine performances. Sandman R.I.P.
2008 has big shoes to fill. Shityeah!
Thursday, 3 January 2008
Best Music Discovery: too many to mention, but i will a few, Feist, National(can't remember if that is actually an 06), Knife, Young Blood Brass Band
Best Book: Everything is Illuminated
Best Film: Lives of Others
Best Swim: Totem Pool at Beaverlac, Clovelly in Autumn
Best Cupcake: From Lazari on my Birthday
Best New Tradition: Beaverlac on New Years Day
Best Hike: Kalk Bay to Hout Bay
Best London Moment: Samba club
Best Sandwich ingredient: Feta and Herb Dip
Best Chip Flavour: Doritos Fusion (the red packet)
Best Wedding Crashed: (Gary's mates from London) Ed & Bianca's wedding in Drakensburg
Best Wedding: Brigitte and Jeremy's
Best SA Discovery: It is a close call between Nieu Bethesda, Rustlers Valley, Golden Gate and Drakensburg. We live in a beeeoootiful country
HAPPY 2008-and-great TO YOU ALL!
As I do not have any pics of the new years revelry i am borrowing from Hels' selection of our little camping expedition to Beaverlac in the interim:
The Great Gazebo Debate: poles numbered 1 to 6, hmm any ideas?
Who goes camping without tent poles?? Thank god for a tree and some rope eh?
Eubel and his mushrooms
This game of rummy got heated, a massage was the winning prize and it was hotly contested
Yoga under the aforementioned gazebo
Totem Pool's distinct rocks