Aug 25

Want to see something scary?

Check out this very major piece of banking news that is currently flying under the radar, for the most part:

Fed Bends Rules to Help Two Big Banks

Excerpt:

NEW YORK (Fortune) — In a clear sign that the credit crunch is still affecting the nation’s largest financial institutions, the Federal Reserve agreed this week to bend key banking regulations to help out Citigroup (Charts, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (Charts, Fortune 500), according to documents posted Friday on the Fed’s web site.

The Aug. 20 letters from the Fed to Citigroup and Bank of America state that the Fed, which regulates large parts of the U.S. financial system, has agreed to exempt both banks from rules that effectively limit the amount of lending that their federally-insured banks can do with their brokerage affiliates. The exemption, which is temporary, means, for example, that Citigroup’s Citibank entity can substantially increase funding to Citigroup Global Markets, its brokerage subsidiary. Citigroup and Bank of America requested the exemptions, according to the letters, to provide liquidity to those holding mortgage loans, mortgage-backed securities, and other securities.

Summary: In contravention of the current rules, the Fed is letting two ginormous banks lend a total of up to $50 billion to their brokerage subsidiaries.

For some analysis on what this might mean, see this thread:

Ticker Forum – Oh oh – Banks in MAJOR trouble

Or from the left, if you prefer:

Democratic Underground – Fed Bends Rules

Serious talk of major panic and financial disruptions… Bank runs and government seizures even… Or at the least, dozens of billions of dollars in handouts to some of the ultra-rich  investors who might otherwise become just a little less rich over the next few months.

Personally, I don’t know enough about banking and finance to say whether this is basically a nonevent economically, or the beginning of the next depression.

But one thing this tells us for sure: The Fed is absolutely, 100% in the pockets of the richest folks in the world — all at the expense of the taxpayers.  Maybe that’s not huge news, exactly, but at this particular juncture in our economy, it is quite disturbing.

Probably worth contacting your congressperson about, at the very least.

Aug 25

Some thoughts

thinking about blogging the future… and just decided to throw some stuff out

blogging the future tense
blogging the fourth wall
breaking the fourth wall
blogging the salon
thread bare
blogging the navel
blogging the gate
extreme blogging

i don’t know why i’m doing this because, while i LOVE titles, i am not good at them (or headlines)

but i love when two or three words can knock me on my ass

some observations:

why move out of dKos or other blogs? philosophy, sure… but now so many people, so many diaries there… how do we get heard

so much NOISE

can this blog be a good listener?

how do we acknowledge…

how do we let people know they’ve been heard…

buhdy is a master at creating a place within his writing, his diaries where people feel heard… acknowledged… and while they like what he has to say, the way he does it leaves room for others to react… comment

i don’t know if i’m expressing it right… or even if i’m the right track…

dKos… love that place, but it feels not just crowded (it was that way when i got there) but there’s just so much noise and it’s too easy to get lost there these days…

anyway… just thinking about intimacy and creating a space

i’m very good at it in real life… understanding relationships of color, pieces of furniture, lighting the room…seeing it in 360o degrees and how each thing flows to the next… i infuse all of my rooms with energy of plants and books and whimisical things… everything is a vignette, a story, but the room flows and fits together and the wood doesn’t match… not much does, and yet it all fits

and that can be created in the space of the mind as well

can we be comfortable, cozy AND edgy, exciting, and unexpected?

okay… that’s it…

Aug 25

I think this bear’s repeating.

The Dawn of the Information Age and DailyKos
by pinche tejano

Wed Aug 09, 2006 at 12:01:28 PM PST

I remember when I first came by here, it was off a link from Buzzflash!, which is still in my daily news rotation. Back then; I made the daily rounds of everything from Little Green Footballs to Crooks and Liars and the always the amusing Drudgereport. See, I plan to be a historical writer when I get long in the tooth, and I was looking for something, I just did not know what it was yet. I could see a subset of the Internet evolving into something, put since it did not exist yet, I could not put my finger on it. Then I came across DailyKos.

Arriving just before the post-Katrina user explosion, I gladly signed up and was assigned user 60118, and I recently heard DKos was about to break 100,000, which probably has happened during the epic CT-Senate week. It is said week that I was waiting for, because I have a good eye for picking horses, and I knew this is where Dkos was headed. Remember this day, this week my friends, because you, as community, have finally got your foot in the gate. Always knew you would. You, as a community, have combined all the right parts to make something special.

And it is a you, a we, not a he, which is why I am fascinated by this site. The mere fact that Kos has not cashed in on what he has created speaks volumes of the man. It is his sense that this is a community that sets it apart from other sites, blogs and online media outlets, which tend to breakdown into tryouts to become the next great pundit. It is his hands off approach that has let it achieved something I believe will be of historical significance. This is the first fully functional wiki/pagerank network-based community, which just happens to be geared toward politics.

The concept of a wiki here is not that we edit, delete or modify each other’s works, but actually each other’s concepts and ideas. And by the use of recommends and troll ratings, a PageRank for the importance of the information has been allowed to evolve and filter up or down data and issues according to central meme of the community. Combine these two things together, and you have one of the first truly functional public works of Information Age.

Since the Information Age has brought about instantaneous and disconnected communication to the fingertips of the American people, we now find ourselves at a real tipping point. Twenty years ago, we would not be here. Arguments can be made that even 5 years ago this would not have been possible. Roadblocks to the rational truth that use to stand for years under the antique model of network television and newspapers are now broken-down in the matter of hours, as HackerGate stunningly showed yesterday.

The average person now has countless sources at their disposals, and countless others in constant communication working with them to bring once hidden hands with hidden plans into the glaring light of justice and accountability. The search engine, though still just a baby, will be held in the same regard we hold the development of the printing press today. It basically unclogged a huge bottleneck in the flow of information and ideas, allowing them to spread all over the world at the instant they are requested.

Vast distances of both time and geography have also been solved, allowing DKos to become a town hall of the masses for the masses, where everyone has a voice, even if it is drowned out in dissent. And considering we are just in the dawn of the Information Age, there is no telling where the wiki/pagerank network-based communities will take us as technology advances. I, for one, am extremely excited.

As the Information Age seeps through the strata of societies and civilizations, other wiki/pagerank network-based communities will arise, and empower that group by the fashioning their memes through repeated discussions and counter-discussions. Hammering away, through troll ratings, recommended diaries, pie fights and keen eyes for stories slipping down the memory hole, DKos will continue to act a filter for the massive amount of information available to the average person, each voice.dairy helping to mold the overall shape of the Dkos community. 

I knew this was coming, I am glad it is here. But remember, I believe DKos is like a data shark, it most keep moving forward or it will die. Your foot is in the gate, now throw the locks and flood the halls and knock down the ivory towers, as a community. Always as community, which uses the gifts of the information age to pull the best and brightest of America together for the common goal of bringing democracy back to the people, for the people, by the people.

This is what makes the mainstream media and gatekeepers so anxious, even though they do not know why yet. Because with a wiki/pagerank network-based community, we gather and assimilate information together, deciding what the real issues and constructs are, how we should move forward with our collective idea, and they will never again be allowed to spoon feed us the party line. Because now the people can act as a we.

Guard against schadenfreude, and especially again laurel resting. And never, ever, forever-ever become a one-issue pony. That would break the model, which broke the mold.

I, and other historical writers, are watching and waiting.

Cross-published in my book, Life in the Americas at the Turn of the Millennium, set to be published in 2040.

Aug 24

peeders new site is up!

Based on a total Wild West NO moderator, flame wars encouraged policy.

FLH, hrh…and all your favs!

Should be fun …and instructional.

I have a diary up!
Can’t we all get along?

Political Flesh Feast

Aug 24

peeders new site is up!

Based on a total Wild West NO moderator, flame wars encouraged policy.

FLH, hrh…and all your favs!

Should be fun …and instructional.

I have a diary up!
http://politicalfles…

Aug 24

Scheduling

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Welcome to a brand new day.

We’ve arrived at some common consensus about the fact that we’re going to strive for some goals in our Front Page postings.

Front Page posters will remain active for 90 minutes to respond to comments (with mulligans)

I can see I’m going to have to explain mulligans for the golf impaired.

Umm…  When your $5 ball shanks into the water you tee up another and say “mulligan.”  Negotiation of mulligans is a very important part of the game.

If you can’t you can’t but if you consistently abuse your priviliges why do you have them?

Every Front Pager has committed to at least 1 diary a week.  Some are prepared to do more.  It’s not a lot to ask really, two and a half hours (not that I’ve ever thought I could compose anything diary worthy in an hour).

We’ve kinda sorta decided on a stucture for the day.  Jerome a Paris has advocated a Morning News Diary.  A bunch of people thought it would be nice to have a daily schedule.  I have decided to combine them and put that up around 7:30 am Eastern.  My diary discussing that is here.

Turkana suggested a Best of the Blogs/Top Comments post.  Evening is a good time for that.  9 pm ET is 6 PM PT, just when people are getting home from work.

Hmm…

I think we’ve started an outline-

* 7:3O/4:30 AM Morning News Digest/Upcoming FPs (for lack of a more original title)
* 9:00/6:00 PM Best of the Blogs/Top Comments Round Up

These are critical, bi-coastal times that represent when people get ready for, arrive at, leave work, and when they are looking for entertainment.

dK reserves them and programs them all and so should we.

What are critical times?  I say morning, noon, and night so in outline here they are-

* 7:3O/4:30 AM Morning News Digest/Upcoming FPs (East Coast Pre-Work/Early Work, Insomniacs)
* 12:00 Noon/9:00 AM (East Coast Lunch, Left Coast Work)
* 3:00 PM/12:00 Noon (Left Coast Lunch)
* 9:00/6:00 PM Best of the Blogs/Top Comments Round Up (East Coast Bored, Left Coast Home From Work)
* 12 Midnight/9:00 PM (Insomniacs and Bored People)

If you want to attack dK 6 am is a perfect time, the recs are all old and people are desperate for novelty.  Ask Jerome.

So you see how it goes.  As a site we’ll have to decide how to program the three slots that are empty-

1. Noon
2. 3 PM
3. 12 Midnight

But this is not really about that, it’s about you as Front Page Diarists fulfilling your commitment.

Site content should be fresh every 2 to 3 hours.  The above level of activity represents the bare minimum of an active site.  In reality there are at least 12 time slots a day without crowding.

In reality some are less attractive than others and Front Pagers can easily share because the attention is really unlimited.

We are encoraging regular time slots to build traffic on a low traffic blog (at least at first).  People need to know when they can expect their ekitude (the correct answer is all the time).  We are going to co-ordinate that the way they do with the Rescue Rangers- a private blog.

So say we all.

Let’s look at that on a typical day (all times EDT)-

1. 6:00 AM EDT Early Bird Front Page (Lucky you)
2. 7:30 AM Morning News Digest/Upcoming FPs (Site, shared already)
3. 8:00 AM
4. 10:00 AM
5. 12 Noon (Site, could be shared by a Promotion or an FP)
6. 2:00 PM
7. 3:00 PM (Maybe Site, shared already)
8. 4:00 PM
9. 6:00 PM (East Coast Go Home, Left Coast Mid-Afternoon, could be shared by Site)
10. 8:00 PM (Olbermann!!!, don’t expect me)
11. 9:00 PM Best of the Blogs/Top Comments Round Up (Site, shared already)
12. 10:00 PM
13. 12 Midnight (Site, could be shared by a Promotion or an FP)
14. 3:00 AM (Site- Insomniacs)

Midnight to 6 is pretty Wild West, and I suppose I owe you something for suffering with me this far-

So are all our holsters limbered up?

There are 10 slots each day, 70 for the week.

I want to develop an idea of who wants what when.

Subject is not so important, I want to know if you are willing to commit to a time.

Remember that 90 minute response time before you answer.  Remember that it’s every week unless you get a mulligan.

There is lots of slop in this schedule for enthusiasm, but as we grind it out over the long term are you willing to march with me?

buhdy asked me to post this-

Contributing Editors

* Armando
* breathingstill
* Cronesense
* exmearden
* Jay Elias
* Jerome a Paris
* kestrel9000
* ksh01
* LithiumCola
* melvin
* Nightprowlkitty
* noweasels
* occams hatchet
* On The Bus
* OPOL
* pfiore8
* pico
* pinche tejano
* srkp23
* Unitary Moonbat

Admins
* buhdydharma
* DDadmin (On The Bus)
* ek hornbeck
* soapblox
* Turkana

So Say We All.

Aug 24

Moderation ….a proposal

I have gone around and around on this and then finally it struck me why I could not write the FAQ on Moderation.

Under the roughly Anarcho-syndicalist community consensus system I have envisioned, it is not mine to write!

I see this place as somewhere where we all have a voice in what happens, where we all decide where we are going. Decide TOGETHER….as much as is humanly possible….a government by consensus. It might work, it might be chaos, but I think it is worth a try.

So the decision on how to moderate the site is not mine. It is all of ours. I have to set the structure….but the details are up to all of us! So consider this the beginning of the Moderation Wiki, which just like the rest of the blog is an ongoing experiment is community and consensus.

Here is my proposal for the structure.

I am the final arbiter, the court of last appeal, the breaker of ties. The top of the Pyramid. The buck stops…after a no doubt long and arduous and much debated journey….here. The community is ‘The Decider’ not me.

If the community is divided I will step in and make a decision…and take full responsibility for it.

So….that is one part of the structure. But we can discuss that too! It is MY (How Conveeenient!) opinion and observation that there needs to be someone who utters the final word when all other conversation has broken down. So proceeding from there….

Here is what I can see working.

A dreaded Hierarchical System.

The other end of the structure is ALL USERS.

‘Above’ that is Trusted Users.

‘Above’ that I propose a case by case Committee of Trusted Users, selecting ….if possible….folks who seem to be neutral on the current controversy and thus the most objective.

If consensus can still not be reached and the situation calls for resolution, I step in as Zen Dictator ( I like nifty titles, sue me) and render a verdict.

And that is how I PROPOSE we deal with stuff like trolls, banning or any other issues that divide or inflame the community. Polls and vigorous debate in essays and Open Threads, finally leading to enough of a consensus to be clear.

OK……it feels lame…but that is the best I can come up with besides stuff like…

Be Excellent To Each Other. Don’t Start No Shit, And There Won’t Be No Shit. Live And Let Live. There Is no Crying In CalvinBall.

The floor is now open for discussion!

[poll id=”

5

“]

Aug 24

Pooties

Ek said we have to have pooties. It’s time this blog got serious.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Feral cat warming itself on a spotlight at Trajan’s Markets on a frigid winter afternoon.

Aug 24

Comments about Comments

Use this thread to report issues with comments. 

The AJAX system is still having problems.
Where we stand with the AJAX Update

It looks like some of the bugs have been fixed but some SoapBlox sites have turned off AJAX until there is a fully functional version.  So it is a cause for concern.  We may have to do that too if it isn’t working properly before we launch.

I would like to get an idea of what problems, if any, people are seeing. 

pfiore8 reported strangeness with Safari.

just trying to leave comments but can’t… don’t know why and, fyi dear admins, there’s a black box following me around here… seriously i mean…

I’ve found some issues with getting my Comment Preferences to stick.  There is a checkbox to turn off AJAX at the user level but it doesn’t seem to work. 

I’ve been trying out some things with the comments and not sure if it is working correctly.  Can you try a couple things?  Go to your user profile–> Comment Prefs.
First see what happens when you turn of the Ajax.  Click Save and then go to a diary to make a comment.  Does it still work the same way?  On my browser (I’ve tried firefox 2 & IE 7) the setting doesn’t seem to take effect.  When I go back to my profile the box is checked again.

The other thing I would like you to try is the Comment Display. You mentioned somewhere else about having the comments minimized.  Try changing the Comment Display mode to Minimal.  Go to a couple of diaries and see how it looks.  Does it work?  I have had the issue where the first diary I go to looks minimized and if I open a few comments and go out to a different diary the setting reverts back to default.

If you answer yes to the poll, please post a comment with what is going on.  Please include your browser version and OS version…Mac, Windows, etc. 

[poll id=”

4

“]

Aug 24

Huh?

So what is this place, and why are there dragons and tigers and horses on the banner?

And I’m looking at the folks here and I find this is a motley crew of sarcastic overly enthusiastic over the hill kossacks (and armando) and I see this slogan about “blogging the future” like maybe someone has a time machine or something?

And we have to use html and there’s all this talk about schedules and times and mission statements and rating systems that are all ponies and pies and hidden secret stuff.

Well I dunno.  I’ll write some stuff if I can.  My thought is to do a kind of round up of blogs that are outside the “whitosphere” — and not one essay with seven jillion links, but one profile per essay.

I could do that once a week.  Fact is, the blogland we inhabit is very limited, I think, when it comes to points of view.  We may write about a myriad of subjects but the view is not always that different.  I hope to explain that by writing essays profiling blogs that are very unlike the ones we all quote over at Daily Kos ad infinitum.

Not about what our heritage is.  It’s the point of view.  So that’s my big fat idea for DocuDharma.

Ta ta.

(Did anyone else know that I had the power to edit other people’s diaries?  I didn’t – Jay Elias )

(P.S. NPK rocks the house!)

[poll id=”

3

“]

Aug 23

The Morning News

Please don’t promote or Recommend this diary.  It will last long enough anyway.

I think we have pretty much all accepted Jerome’s idea about having a Morning News Open Thread as a signature anchor diary each day.

As far as I know budhy has volunteered Turkana and I, as well as Magnifico if he can be recruited, to get the ball rolling on this project.  Here are my thoughts at the moment.

I think the best time to schedule this is 7:30 am EDT.  Why is that?  Early enough so you can look at it before work, late enough so that it will still be close to the top if work is where your broadband is.

I realize the time is not ideal for left coasters and expats, but though it may turn out to be a C&J style mojo fest for regular members YOU DON’T NEED MOJO.  You have better than mojo, you have a direct line to the boss.

One thing I’ve noticed with my style OND diaries is that they are big.  If posted entirely above the fold they would hijack the Front Page just as sure as lolligolli (whom I’m relieved turned out to be a troll).  Also they take a long time to scroll from bottom to top.

Magnifico’s summary presentation is clearly far superior in this regard, but it also makes the diary harder to write.  Original summaries are more time consuming than cut and paste, at least for me.

Along the same lines, melvin has suggested that we categorize the news for easy access.  This is very good for readers but also makes the diary more difficult to write and can make story selection harder.  Some days there aren’t any good Godzilla rampages for your ‘Pacific Rim’ section.

I also quite like the idea of including a list of the day’s scheduled Front Page posters and time slots.  Can’t tell what time to tune in without a TV Guide.

This is about as far as I’ve gotten in my thinking about it and now I need to eat and maintain my secret identity as a mild mannered kossack by day.  Your thoughts and contributions are welcome below.

Aug 23

Rating America’s Next Top Model Cycle 8 or so

This is something that maybe only me and Melvin care about, but meet the next hopefuls for America’s Next Top Models!

Didn’t mean to have that on the front page, we should look into changing that button.

Looks like another boring cycle for the Blondes, with only one of interest being Smallface leaning over in the middle. Though I think Blonde on the lower left has pretty facial features, I don’t think she can suck her stomach in for an entire season.

Looks like they also went with more Eastern Europeans this year, hopefully their broken English like a certain Russian from the last cycle will continue to make my prose appear to Shakespearean. I have never understood this girl’s obsession with pulling their hair back to expose Fiveheads.

The girl front and center is my early favorite, with the the redhead to her right being cute as a button too. But the long black hair and almond eyes of Elven queen in the middle just reminds me of the kind of woman you can throw up into the air and she turns into sunshine.

Kudos to the girl in the middle far right and left of nailing down two of Tyra’s favorite poses. Only thing you need to do is cry and you will find yourself deep in the competition!

I am also glad there are no stick-thin heroin-drug-addled looking girls this cycle, that shit was more tired than Miss J’s act.

Anyone else got any favorites? Melvin?

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