TEOTWAWKI. Come as you are

Unplugged even.

FASB 157 gets a “clarification”

The much maligned accounting principle of “mark to market” accounting has received an important clarification today from regulators at the SEC.

“When an active market for a security does not exist, the use of management estimates that incorporate current market participant expectations of future cash flows, and include appropriate risk premiums, is acceptable.” source

FASB 157 came about as a result of the Enron scandal and subsequent regulations contained in the onerous Sarbanes Oxley Act.

Hopefully this is a first step toward its full repeal.

It is important to note that the SEC is NOT saying that cooking the books is now an acceptable accounting practice. That would be the last thing that corporate America needs in order to restore public confidence. Transparency is necessary, and the SEC’s clarification will help investors to see a much truer picture of the financial health of the corporate balance sheet. Perhaps, after the debacles of Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill, Wachovia, Wamu, and AIG, the SEC sees this as a way of acknowledging that many of the weaker players and their related toxic assets have been identified and dealt with, and it’s time to protect the healthier players that remain.

It becomes crucial as the Treasury anticipates buying some $700 billion in mortgage-backed securities, and in effect, establishing a market price for illiquid assets. A direct consequence would be that the remaining banks would have to take a write down on their assets to reflect the new market price.

This is an important clarification from the SEC. It will have an important and immediate impact.

more: At cnbc.com, Lee Brodie asks, “New rules, same game?”

Sarah Palin is better than Obama

Moving Forward, Without My Buddy!

MY BUDDY
(Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson-1922)

Life is a book that we study
Some of its leaves bring a sigh
There it was written by a buddy
That we must part, you and I

Nights are long since you went away
I think about you all through the day
My buddy, my buddy
Nobody quite so true

Miss your voice, the touch of your hand
Just long to know that you understand
My buddy, my buddy
Your buddy misses you

Miss your voice, the touch of your hand
Just long to know that you understand,
My buddy, my buddy,
Your buddy misses you.

Your buddy misses you…yes I do

A friend told me about this song yesterday. Friends do help, at times like these.

These past five days have been difficult, and I don’t wish to bore others with my grief.
I am fortunate to have a friend that allows me the opportunity to express myself on his blog, and this post will be the last on the subject of ma’boy Buddy.

I have been dealing with this grief by forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other, and trying to maintain my focus, which is much easier when I am away from home, either working, or visiting with family and friends.
But today I was home all day. I still miss him. I miss telling him that I loved him.

Driving home from my brother’s, after burying Buddy, was one of those tasks I knew I had to perform, and went about it perfunctorily. I never reached the speed limit, knowing that I would get back to my empty home soon enough, and was preparing for what I still had to do. There were many pieces that needed to be picked up. Arriving home, I slowly went room to room, pausing and remembering his presence in each, and looking at all of the things that were his.
This was the time for crying, and I didn’t hold back.
Slowly, I began to take the steps I knew I needed to take. I got a large trash bag out, and started collecting all of his things. His food dishes and water bowl, his litter box, his toys, his grooming aids, his medicines, his pillow, they were all put in the trash bag, but not after having flashes of each item, and of when and where I got them. After moping around the house, expunging all the little reminders of him, so they wouldn’t ambush me in the future, I realized it was nearly four a.m., that I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before, and it didn’t matter. I went to bed, knowing I still had much to do. I took the day off that day, Tuesday, and stayed home. I began cleaning the house, and got out the carpet cleaner. There were some spots on the carpet near where his litter box had been, where he had had some accidents, in the last week of his life. I got down on the floor with a brush and foam stain remover, and lovingly removed the spots, as lovingly as I had cleaned him. Then I shampooed the carpet, sighing often.

Since that Tuesday, slowly I am feeling more like myself. I had asked family and friends to not contact me for a few days, as I needed to deal with my pain alone. Since then, I have talked with some of them, and it has helped, though I still can’t say the words out loud, that Buddy died, without becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Expressing my loss, and how I feel, is beneficial, and I know that, but I also know time and distance between where I am now, and the event, has a healing effect. For the first few days, I had constant replays in my mind, of the last hour of Buddy’s life, before that final moment, when I felt his heart stop. The replays were never in sequence, just short clips, and they were just as painful as the actual experience. I was fearful that they would never end, and they may not, but for now they have subsided.

My grief is personal, of that I am aware, but I have experienced it before, as have we all.
So I go on, one step, one breath at a time. I’ve tried to resume normal habits, such as when I sleep, and eat. It occurred to me earlier this evening, that eating has become another perfunctory task, and I hope that one day soon the pleasure in preparing and eating a good meal will return. I tried this evening, with a roasted chicken breast, sweet corn, and a tossed salad, but it only satisfied my need to survive.
Nothing tastes good when I’ve been eating pain for five days.
If only pain tasted like chicken.

Friday Night Crop Circles

Obama grant being probed

from Chicago Sun-Times

A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Although decried by Chicago mayor Bill Daley, McCain’s recent ad about Chicago machine-politics seems to be right on the mark.

All together now, look real surprised.

+++++

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President Bush addresses the nation

Here is the text of the President’s address to the nation:

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. This is an extraordinary period for America’s economy. Over the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future. I understand their worry and their frustration. We’ve seen triple-digit swings in the stock market. Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse, and some have failed. As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending. Credit markets have frozen. And families and businesses have found it harder to borrow money.

President George W. Bush addresses the nation from the East Room of the White House, Wednesday evening, Sept. 24, 2008, on the nation's financial crisis. President Bush has invited legislative leaders from the House and Senate, including both Presidential candidates, to a meeting Thursday at the White House to discuss a bipartisan plan to rescue the economy. White House photo by Eric Draper We’re in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the federal government is responding with decisive action. We’ve boosted confidence in money market mutual funds, and acted to prevent major investors from intentionally driving down stocks for their own personal gain.

Most importantly, my administration is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets. Financial assets related to home mortgages have lost value during the housing decline. And the banks holding these assets have restricted credit. As a result, our entire economy is in danger. So I’ve proposed that the federal government reduce the risk posed by these troubled assets, and supply urgently-needed money so banks and other financial institutions can avoid collapse and resume lending.

This rescue effort is not aimed at preserving any individual company or industry — it is aimed at preserving America’s overall economy. It will help American consumers and businesses get credit to meet their daily needs and create jobs. And it will help send a signal to markets around the world that America’s financial system is back on track.

I know many Americans have questions tonight: How did we reach this point in our economy? How will the solution I’ve proposed work? And what does this mean for your financial future? These are good questions, and they deserve clear answers.

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