Daily Archives: May 10, 2010

Monday miscellany…BusinessWeek on Hawaii’s auction rate investment, Kent State update, countering right-wing lies, faces of dementia

If you were frustrated by being unable to open this site yesterday, you weren’t alone. It was down for hours Sunday morning before service was restored. And thanks to everybody who emailed to let me know about the problem.

Businessweek.com reported critically last week on Hawaii’s continued bond deals with Citigroup “even after one of the bank’s brokers sold the state $1 billion in auction-rate securities that have lost a quarter of their market value and cannot be redeemed easily.”

The company has continued to earn fees from the state for underwriting state bonds since the collapse of the auction rate securities market put nearly $1 billion of state money into limbo. The state holds the bonds and has collected interest but can’t sell because the market for them has evaporated.

The article is critical of the state’s failure to use its current contracts with Citigroup as leverage to force a resolution that would free up the cash from this investment.

It’s surprising that Hawaii hasn’t barred Citigroup from underwriting bonds as a way of pressuring the firm into settling over auction-rate investments, said Thomas R. Ajamie, a Houston- based attorney who represents some individual holders of the securities but does not have any business with Citigroup or the state.

“We always tell our clients, ‘If you want to show you are upset, let your money do the talking,’” Ajamie said in a telephone interview.

The Lingle administration sounds lame with its “oh, we don’t really need the money, so no problem” approach to the issue.

Thanks to Denny McPhee for this link to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s latest report on the 1970 shootings at Kent State. The findings: National Guardsmen were given an order to shoot, according to an enhanced version of video of the event.

And Mike Middlesworth sent over a link to from Truthout.org, “Why the Left Has No Answer to the Right-Wing Lie Machine.”

The oligarchy that owns and runs our government and controls our mass media has learned Goebbels’s lesson well: A lie unanswered is a lie believed – more so if the lie is repeated, over and over again.

Accordingly, a successful propaganda campaign must accomplish two essential and coordinated tasks: (a) tell the lies, and (b) see to it that they are not effectively refuted. The six media conglomerates that now control most of the US media accomplished both tasks supremely well.

Give it a read!

And the media group FAIR had an interesting blog post last week about the NY Times reliance on what was described as a “conservation group” for views playing down the impact of the Gulf oil spill. Turns out the group’s directors include a number of oil industry representatives, including one from Transocean, the company that owns the drilling platform that is now spilling millions of gallons of oil.

Finally, from one of the participants in a photo group that I follow, “the beautiful faces of dementia…”

Mother’s Day Brunch: Photo gallery

Mother's Day BrunchI would say that the Mother’s Day brunch was a success.

I managed to keep a camera handy and get pictures along the way, often with the camera in one hand and a cooking utensil in the other. So click on the top photo and follow along with the cook.

The timing wasn’t quite what was I was expecting, and the final product was a little short of perfection. But it tasted great, and it made for a bit of performance art in the kitchen.

It was a lot easier to cook with guests because the cats disappeared as soon as they heard someone else approaching the house. A cat-free kitchen has its benefits.

My motherAnd here’s the day’s guest of honor, Helen Lind, with some mother’s day presents. She celebrates her 96th birthday later this week. As you can see, she’s doing remarkably well.