The $7 trillion secret loan program

The $7 trillion secret loan program: The government and big banks should be punished for deceiving the public about their hush-hush bailout scheme. – Slate Magazine:

So what to do? The revelations of the secret loan program may provide the opportunity for Occupy Wall Street to suggest a few concrete steps that would be difficult to oppose.

First: Demand a hearing where the bank executives have to answer questions—under oath—about the actual negotiations, or lack thereof, that led to these loans; about the actual condition of each of the borrowing banks and whether that condition differed from the public statements made by the banks at the time.

Second: Require the recipient banks to use this previously undisclosed gift—the profit they made by investing this almost interest-free money—to write down the value of mortgages of those who are underwater. The loans to the banks were meant to solve a short-term liquidity problem, not be a source of profits to fund bonuses. Take back the profits and put them to a public use.

Third: Require the government officials responsible for authorizing these loans to explain why there was no effort made to condition these loans on changes in policy that would protect the public going forward.

Fourth: Ask congress to examine every filing and statement made to Congress by the banks about their financial condition and their indebtedness to see if any misrepresentations were made in an effort to hide these trillions of dollars of loans. Misleading Congress can be a felony, and willful deception of the Congress to hide the magnitude of the public bailouts should not go unprosecuted.
Finally: Demand that politicians return all contributions made by the institutions that got hidden loans. Pressure the politicians who continue to feed from the trough of Wall Street, even as they know all too well how the banks and others have gamed the system and the public.

[Incredible. For me, beyond belief. This is not the change I want…]

Fred Blunt’s heartening work

This time of year is rife with Pagan rituals “According to this pagan tradition the mistletoe dart was plucked out of Balder’s fatal wound and given to the goddess of love, Freya. From this, came the custom that a man may kiss a woman if he sees her under the mistletoe.” Seems like as good a reason as any.

Dig Fred Blunt’s work:

Christmas kiss

Writers discover focus. Film at 11.

iPad 2 as a serious writing machine (how-to):

This is liberating for a writer, and I find I can write more, and better, on the tablet system than on a “real” computer. There are no menu options competing for my attention, no updates needing to be run, just an app on the screen. Those of us who write for a living know how precious it is when you get “in the zone” while writing. The zone is that mental place where the words just flow as fast as you can type them. I find I get in the zone far more often on the iPad than on other computers. I attribute that to my focus being forced to the task at hand, and that is priceless.

[So everyone that writes this mentions the above “focus” thing and the battery life (it’s very long compared to even a current laptop). But here’s the thing. Running any app full screen will provide the focus of which they are all so enamored. Some writing apps (for the Mac) were built with exactly this in mind, and completely hide the screen. It’s now fairly common on the Mac as many apps support Lion’s “full screen mode” which takes the menus off the top, the dock off the bottom or side, and eliminates tool bars etc. So again, other than cool factor, and battery life (what did all we do until now? The horror!) these articles are simply “look at me, I’m cutting edge.” articles. I agree that adding a keyboard transforms the feel of an iPad (or iPhone) entirely. And the battery life is gloriously freeing if you’re used to the dance of power cords, and timing, and outlets. But the focus thing strikes me as people who had no clue about what as available to them for years. The change, if you can consider it one, is that the iPad doesn’t provide a choice about “one thing at time”. It is that design decision that they’re actually praising. They’re embracing the constraint and saying “behold the beauty”, even if there are plenty of times it feels in the way. For example, working on a web design where switching back and forth between editor and browser is a back and forth whip saw like action that repeats many times.) But I’m so glad that all these writers who apparently are so undisciplined that they cannot ignore the flashing of their tweets, or the siren call of menu choices have found nirvana. Now if they would just write about something worthwhile, instead of informing us of their modern version of a #2 pencil.]

PS Don’t misunderstand. I love the combination of keyboard and iPad or iPhone, it’s a really great way to go for writers and some types of tasks. But it doesn’t replace a big screen for everything. It’s just a tool, albeit a great one for some tasks.

FBI Says Carrier IQ May Be Used in ‘Law Enforcement Proceedings’

FBI Says Carrier IQ May Be Used in ‘Law Enforcement Proceedings’:

Andy Greenberg:

After a video surfaced that seemed to show the software logging
keystrokes and monitoring data traffic on the more than 140
million phones on it’s installed by default, Morisy had asked the
for any “manuals, documents or other written guidance
used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or
deployed by Carrier IQ.”

The FBI responded that the material couldn’t be provided, and
cited an exemption to the Freedom of Information law for
situations in which handing over documents “could reasonably be
expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings.”

Ugh. Not sure how to see this as anything other than confirmation of our worst fears about this Carrier IQ stuff.

[Me either.]
Source: Daring Fireball