In banking, few values count more than consistency and integrity. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe, however, appears to have watered down those values in the case of some banks. The International Accounting Standards Board has stated that some European banks used the value provided by the Greek government in determining how much value Greek bonds should be counted in the assets of the bank. That would mean the bonds would be worth about 21% less than than the original valuation. Those bonds on the open market, IASP Chairman Hans Hoogervost wrote in a letter to the European Securities Markets Authority — the organization responsible for regulating securities valuation — have much lower values than that. “This is a matter of great concern to us” the August 4th letter, which was made public on August 29th, warned. “It is hard to imagine that there are buyers willing to buy those bonds at the prices indicated by the valuation models being used.”
One of the terms of the recent debt ceiling deal between Congress and the White House was that Congress would vote on, but not necessarily pass, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. The deal did not, however, specify the language in the amendment, giving legislators plenty of opportunities to sneak in loopholes that might very well render any amendment that does pass meaningless. One Senator, in fact, is doing just that. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has proposed an amendment with more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese — “the worst idea of them all,” according to Colin Hanna, president of the Pennsylvania public-policy organization Let Freedom Ring. While Udall’s amendment does require the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, it also provides Congress with several ways to skirt the same requirement for the budget it passes. For instance, if 60 percent of both houses of Congress votes to override the balanced budget requirement for the current fiscal year, it’s a goner. (Hanna notes that this “effectively applies only to the House, since the Senate typically requires 60% for nearly everything already.”)
Two federal officials have been reassigned and a third has resigned in the wake of controversy over "Operation Fast and Furious," the controversial sting that is also known as the "Gunwalking Scandal." Kenneth Melson, acting director for the past 28 months of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will become senior advisor on forensic science in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Programs, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, who approved the flawed operation that allowed weapons to be delivered to drug gangs, submitted his resignation to President Obama effective immediately. Emory Hurley, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, has been reassigned from criminal cases to civil casework. The reassignments appear to be an ongoing shakeup at ATF, where two assistant Special Agents in Charge of the operation, George Gillett and Jim Needles have previously been reassigned to other positions, CBS News reported. "Fast and Furious" was reportedly designed to gather intelligence on gun sales as ATF agents observed sales of thousands of high-caliber weapons to alleged middlemen for drug cartels operating on both sides of the Mexican border.
Despite accusations by some that Ron Paul is being ignored by the mainstream media, there has been an uptick in coverage of the good doctor’s campaign. Scan the channels and you're likely to see Ron Paul's face more than once. The fact remains, however, that many subsidized media outlets dismiss Ron Paul’s candidacy as a chimera is indisputable, though. Even a cursory review of the headlines in scores of newspapers and magazines reveals the prevailing wisdom that Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Mitt Romney are all more viable choices then the congressman from Texas. Evidence of such relegation to second banana status on the part of the traditional sources of news is everywhere. Take for example the fact that CNN spotlighted a Sarah Palin appearance instead of covering a speech by Ron Paul, a declared candidate for president. As the U.K.’s Telegraph put it:
The decision of local union bosses to ban Republican politicians from this year’s labor-day parade in Wausau, Wisconsin, is sparking nationwide attention and criticism, adding even more fuel to the political turmoil in the state following months of partisan battles over the power of government-sector unions. In addition to the national outcry from activists on both sides, locals are fighting back as well. Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple, who is not affiliated with either party, said the union organizers would have to foot the bill for the parade themselves if their decision to bar the GOP stands. “The banning of a political party from participation at any event co-sponsored by the City is against public policy and not in the best interest of all the citizens of the City of Wausau. And therefore, we encourage the event organizer to invite all interested parties, or reimburse the city for other costs,” the Mayor said in a statement.
On September 11, 2011, a solemn memorial service will take place at Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of that fateful day when 3,000 innocent Americans were killed by an attack on the United States by radical Islamists. It will remind us that although Osama bin Laden was killed by American Navy Seals, the war against radical Islam continues. Indeed, it has simply entered a new phase, the nature of which will be determined by the outcome of the Arab Spring. As in memorial services in previous years, the names of the dead will be read by their relatives, who still suffer their losses. And it is important that we should be reminded of that day, which destroyed our delusion that the fall of the Berlin Wall would usher in a new era of world peace and happiness. Instead, we now face, for the indefinite future, a global war declared by radical Islam. Several years ago, a PBS Frontline film showed, for the first time, people leaping out of the windows of the World Trade Center, hurtling their bodies to sudden death.
First there were this summer’s “Slut Walks” featuring young, scantily-clad female exhibitionists bearing signs such as “I’m a slut. Don’t assault me!” The ostensible message was that aggressive sexuality is not a provocation. Then, there were the colorful, size 28AA padded bras for 8-year-old girls. Initially marketed by Abercrombie & Fitch as kiddie bikini tops, the idea had, by late summer, morphed into must-have underwear sold in department stores for Back-to-School — alongside 4-inch high heels, extreme-low-rise jeans and transparent tops (the bra absolutely must show through to be “fashionable”).
In the wake of criticism over privacy issues on Facebook, the social network has responded by indicating it will make significant changes to its site in order to protect individual privacy. In fact, Facebook officials went so far as to pay hackers — whom they call “independent researchers” — $40,000 to find holes in the site’s security system to assure that they have addressed all issues. According to Facebook’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, the social network has launched a “Bounty Bug Program” in order to discover any flaws in the system’s software due to “software complexity, programming errors, changes in requirements, errors in bug tracking, limited documentation or bugs in software development tools.” Facebook posted the following explanation of the program:
President Obama has nominated Princeton University’s Alan Krueger for Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), and if approved by the Senate, Krueger, a labor economist and the Treasury Department’s former chief economist, will replace Austan Goolsbee. "I am very pleased to appoint Alan and I look forward to working with him," Obama stated, shifting his eyes between two flat-screen teleprompters during a statement on Monday. "I have nothing but confidence in Alan as he takes on this important role as one of the leaders of my economic team."
Not surprisingly, reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is running out of money have surfaced. The fund’s capacity has been maximized by the most recent natural disaster, Hurricane Irene, which is estimated to cost billions of dollars. Chron.com reports: With less than $800 million in its disaster aid coffers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been forced to freeze rebuilding projects from disasters dating to Hurricane Katrina to conserve money for emergency needs in the wake of Irene. Lawmakers from states ravaged by tornadoes this spring, like Missouri and Alabama, are especially furious.