A rend in the equity money continuum…

It was a sleepy afternoon here in Cali until I glanced at the Google News headlines and saw what appeared to be signs of sudden freefall in key equity markets — and some pretty amazing futures activity, not surprisingly.

The post-morta are flying back and forth, worries about the Greek bail-out, spiraling international debt, the tendency for computerized “algorithmic” trading nodes to act like a covey of quail with a rock thrown in their midst… but one item that stood out starkly was what should have been a wee typo from a trader who was trying to put in an order for 19 odd million bucks worth of futures but slipped three extra zeros in, putting in an order for 19 billion worth of what were, in essence, bets against the future of the target company.

Other traders — and their cybernetic robo-trading sidekicks — apparently figured that the presumably newly jobless trader must have known something they didn’t know and the rest is Chicken Little and the “wisdom of the crowd” crushing each other in a rush to sell, sell, sell that would make a South American soccer riot look tame.

Shipping is a buy

The last time Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano spewing a cloud of fine, volcanic dust into the airstream — and shutting down air traffic across Europe (imagine flying your jet or turbine engine plane through a cloud of pumice, the volcanic stone derivative sometimes used for some industrial grinding and polishing) — erupted, back in 1821, it darkened northern hemisphere skies for two years.

CNN: Experts: No end to volcano ash in sight


Teacher teaches lying to get what you want

An Oregon middle school teacher, acting, he says, in his private time (although there are some questions about that), has pledged to disrupt tea party movement gatherings with a posse of people he says he’s collected to infiltrate the meetings and disrupt them by acting out what he claims are the worst aspects of the tea party movement.

Any reader of this blog knows its writer is increasingly wary of some pretty nasty traits among some members, and some depressingly predictable traits among what appear to be most. (Read my thoughts on the recent survey of tea party attitudes in my most recent post here.)

But — this — this is just so out of line.

Just because you don’t like someone or his/her policies, willful exaggeration, distortion, or outright lies about that person degrades the democratic process, deprives people of their right to the truth, and plants a seed of corruption and wrongdoing in the heart of those doing the lying.

Of course, that is a sword that cuts both ways.

Read more from Portland TV station, KATU.

Addendum: but — if you’re gonna go ahead and do it anyhow, this guide from Gawker offers some on point but nonetheless pretty hilarious ‘tips’ for would be agents provocateurs. KS2 Problema’s favorite, rather arch piece of pointed advice:

Guns: If you are planning on crashing a tea party event, be aware that many people will probably have guns. If you don’t want to be shot, you should also bring your gun. If everyone has a gun then no one will be shot. That’s how it works, right Teabaggers?

Gawker: Some Advice For the Tea Party Crashers

Tea party poll: tell me something I don’t know…

The New York Times and CBS pooled their allowances and bought a little public opinion survey targeting the media’s favorite population sector of the moment: those who identify with the various tea party movements — which turns out to be about 18% of Americans in this poll.

What did they find out?

That those who identify themselves as tea party members or sympathizers are richer, older, and whiter than most US citizens. They are no more afraid of losing economic position than other Americans. Surprisingly, perhaps, they mostly think they are taxed fairly.

Yet they are fervent in their demands for smaller government — even though they are equally dead set against giving up the entitlements of age: Social Security and Medicare. Two of the most expensive non-military items in the US budget — but don’t try to take them away, because then they’ll get really mad.

Tea party folks consider themselves conservative — they are considerably more conservative by most any measure than most Republicans — and they consider President Obama very liberal.

They also — in large part — either believe Obama was not born in the United States — despite everything from the assurances of Hawaiian state government, the Hawaiian paper that printed Obama’s birth announcement nearly a half-century ago, the news division of Fox News, the conservative Annenberg Foundation’s FactCheck.org — who have investigated the issue up one side and down the other, even going so far as to inspect the actual physical certificate — or they are uncertain(My favorite frequent quote from the tea partiers who flood the news blogs and newspaper comment sections: “Well, if he’s a citizen, why doesn’t he just show us his birth certificate?” It boggles the mind.)

So… most tea partiers are well-off, white, selfish, willfully ignorant, logic-challenged, and just a wee bit irrational.

Tell me something I don’t know already, huh?


Predictability personified

Win-at-all-costs strategy drives GOP leaders

This just in (yawn):

McConnell criticizes financial regulation plan

You know, I used to actually pay attention to what Republican lawmakers had to say about the current administration’s policies. I do not agree with everything the administration does, by a ways, and I would have liked to have been able to rely on GOP senators and congresspeople to supply meaningful, well-considered alternative views and analyses…

Sadly, it’s become clear that individual Republican legislators have all but abandoned the responsibility to provide a thoughtfully loyal opposition. Instead, they have embarked on a crass, win-at-all-costs political strategy that sells out principles of responsible democratic opposition in order to undermine all efforts of effective governance by the current president and his administration.

This policy has led to the mind-boggling situation of GOP leaders attacking the current president for supporting a health plan in large part strikingly similar to plans that Republican legislators put forth in the 1990s as an alternative to the Clinton health care proposals.

The Obama administration must have thought that floating a plan so close to that proposed by key members of the GOP would have been safe…

But apparently nothing is safe from the slash-and-burn, party-victory-at-all-costs GOP sell-out of the principle of putting the good of the nation ahead of the good of the Party.

Accused Pelosi stalker’s mother blames Fox News for son’s aberrant behavior

The mother of the man accused of a series of more than four dozen often threatening phone calls to the offices and home of US Senator Nancy Pelosi has blamed Fox News and others with “radical” political points of view for leading her 48 year old son astray.

Gregory Giusti’s 83 year old mother said he’d long had what she described as mental problems but did not think he was emotionally capable of carrying through on his violent threats against Pelosi and others.

San Francisco TV station KGO-TV quoted Eleanor Giusti:

“Greg frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas and that are not consistent with myself or the rest of the family, which gets him into problems,” Eleanor Giusti said. “I say Fox News, or all of those that are really radical, and he, that’s where he comes from.”

KGO-TV also provides more detail on Giusti’s run ins with the law and his campaign of harassment against the Baptist church he was forced to leave in 2005:

In 2004, Giusti was convicted of criminal threats. The San Mateo District Attorney’s office says he was trying to evade the fare on a Caltrain, and when the conductor tried to kick him off, Giusti started yelling and threatening the conductor’s life. As a result, Giusti was sentenced to one year in county jail and three years supervised probation. He was also ordered to undergo mental health counseling.

There is also a lawsuit filed in February by Hamilton Square Baptist Church in San Francisco. It says, “Giusti has engaged in and continues to engage in a campaign of harassment” against people at the church.

More: Accused man’s mom blames Fox News for behavior

Right wing anti-government activist who threatened Pelosi lived in federally subsidized housing.

The conservative, anti-government activist who attended tea party events and protests and who was recently arrested for a long series of threats to US Senator Barbara Boxer was plenty mad at free-spending big government — but that didn’t stop him from taking advantage of federally subsidized housing intended for the disadvantaged.

Turns out that 48 year old Gregory Lee Giusti wasn’t just mad at the liberal California Democrat.

In fact, it was another victim of his tirades and threats that helped authorities get the goods on Giusti — or rather victims, plural. In this case, it was the Baptist Church Giusti joined in 1999 but was asked to leave in 2005 because of menacing behavior. He’s apparently been harassing them in a series of anonymous phone calls over the last five years. So when the feds were looking into at least four dozen calls to Pelosi’s home and offices and found numerous calls from Giusti to officials with the church, they discovered yet another faced of the complex Mr Giusti’s activities.

Oh yeah, and he was also arrested in 2004 for threatening to kill a conductor after being removed from a train in San Mateo.

But, really, the cherry on top has got to be that Giusti, railing bitterly about big government, was the recipient of federal housing aid.

Sweet.

Get the whole ludicrous — but scary — story at the San Francisco Chronicle.