In 2008 both the U.S. and the U.K. spent big bucks bailing out their banks.
At the end of last year the US government announced that it had made a profit from its bank bailouts. The UK, on the other hand, probably won’t. So what did the Americans do right and we do wrong?British business blog Flip Chart Fairy Tales tries to account for the difference. [more inside]
Killing Them Softly - Trailer(Youtube) - is based on a 1978 novel by George V. Higgins (Boston's Balzac), set in Boston. The movie was filmed in New Orleans and set in 2008. [more inside]
Once the financial sector achieves a certain size, its continued expansion reduces economic growth, according to a new study by two senior economists at the Bank for International Settlements, Stephen Cecchetti and Enisse Kharroubi, using a large international data base stretching back more than 30 years.
In 2008, the National Journal released The Hidden History of the American Electorate, an analysis of exit poll demographics conducted by multiple news organizations from US presidential elections between 1988 and 2004. The study looked for "pressure points in the electorate": trends which were likely to decide the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. They've released an update for 2012, by adding exit poll results from the 1980, 1984, and 2008 presidential elections. It gives a more comprehensive look at voting trends over a 32 year period of the groups whom they believe are likely to influence the outcome in November. Charts: Voting Preferences of the American Electorate, 1980-2008
September 18, 2008 - Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy four days earlier and the Federal Reserve had authorized the New York Fed to lend up to $85 billion to insurance giant AIG. That afternoon, Nancy Pelosi called Henry Paulson to ask for a full briefing the next morning. "They said, 'That will be too late. That will be too late. Tomorrow morning, 9 o'clock will be too late.' ... 'We were not allowed to tell Congress, but since you called, we're going to answer your questions.'" The Bush administration prohibited its own top officials from briefing Congress on the financial crisis.
The 25 best comics covers of 2008 - from Robot 6, the new home of the old blog@Newsarama team. [more inside]
Have a Happy New Year and a Crappy Old Year. 2008 was the worst: year ever, for Wall Street, for movies, for restaurants, celebrities, malware, for women, for children, for relationships, for newspaper history, for the environment, for Arts, for ad revenue, for CDs, IPOs, MMOs, the GOP (duh!), for hurricanes, (almost) for weather related disasters, number of disaster victims, the nerd elite, Italian military helicopters, the vain and the venal, for guerillas and bear encounters.>
The Wired Vaporware Awards, an institution since 1999 has taken some heavy hits this year, and has had to resort to some pretty naked padding to make a list (products in late beta whose release date has merely slipped? come on) – however, if there is anything that remains constant in these uncertain times we live in it is that one game rules the list, debuting in the No 2. slot in 2000, it then latched on to the top spot, with only editorial edict able to to shift it. Ladies and gentlemen, Duke Nukem - FOREVER.
How To Do Almost Anything With Social Media from Mashable. All kinds of practical tips and tons of useful link resources for personal or business uses. At the bottom of the page are additional links to things like 24 Most Underrated Websites of 2008 l How to Find a Babysitter Online l How to Find Your Way Around Any New City.
The Top Ten Top Ten Top Ten of 2008; NY Times blog, Social Citizens, Swan Fungus, lifehacker, PC World, Tynan, Something Else, The Exploding Barrel, Technorati, Google, Toptentopten.
Slumdog Millionaire was named the best film of 2008 by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Is it a rapturous crowd-pleaser or is Danny Boyle a TV-slick fraud?
DJ Earworm does it again - Like last year, he's made a year-end mashup and accompanying video featuring the top 25 hits of the year (as calculated by Billboard). Can you name most of the songs included? Are you more or less hip than last year? [more inside]
The year 2008 in photographs (boston.com, parts 2 & 3 coming tomorrow and the next day)
With the advent of December comes the annual ranking of the book industry's over-saturated market. Along with the garden variety Best Books of 2008 lists, niche critics weigh in on the best cookbooks (baking and regular), most trustworthy business publications, best children's book illustrations, safest bets for literary holiday gifts, and, of course, the prettiest book covers.
NYRB-filter: The Truth About The Election by Elizabeth Drew
The conservative (post-election) Crack-Up. In the wake of their recent defeats, many American conservatives have formed a circular firing squad, with some arguing that the GOP needs a little less GOD, while others say it's just a matter of returning to their roots. At this point, it looks like the party is headed for civil war and electoral disaster. Democrats and liberals may be enjoying the show these days, but what does the future hold for the GOP? (Previously.) [more inside]
The GDT's* European Wildlife Photographer of the Year; winning image is NSFW. (2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001) *Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen [more inside]
How Obama Did It: an in-depth look behind the scenes of the campaign, assembled by a special team of reporters who were granted year-long access on the condition that none of their findings appear until after Election Day.
At 12:00am EST, in the Ballot Room of the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the 2008 Presidential Election began.* The vote was 15-6 Obama -- the first time a Democrat has carried the village since 1968. Despite their "first in the nation" status, though, they have only picked the winner 50% of the time. [more inside]
This f*cking election. A babble tower.
Donna Brazile Is Not Going to the Back of the Bus. Stirring remarks from an October 4, 2008, New Yorker panel discussion, "If I Were Running This Campaign." [more inside]
Nobels for Physics announced. The prize will be shared between three individuals, including one American teaching at the University of Chicago. The other two winners are from Japan, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa .
2008 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge "The winners -- in categories including photography, illustration, informational graphics, and multimedia -- captured the crystalline beauty of diatoms, the expanse of the human circulatory system, a fairy tale tea party re-invented, and the dynamic life of a plant cell." (previously)
Nate Silver, the proprietor of the fantastic electoral projection site FiveThirtyEight.com, notices that the presidential betting market on Intrade is behaving very oddly: "[S]ome individual trader or some small group of traders are shorting all the Obama contacts in bulk and resetting the entire market. The markets then organically climb back upward until the rogue trader strikes again six or eight hours later." [more inside]
Photos of the 2008 Paralympics. Sadly the Paralympics rarely garners the coverage of the Olympics, but thanks to the internet you can witch videos of the competitions at Universal Sports (though it may be region-blocked, require registration and only seems to work on Windows).
Despite his carefully cultivated “maverick” image, McCain is playing it traditional and conservative by using HTML 4.01, the W3C spec from 1999.
What was the mysterious green backdrop behind John McCain last night? Was it an attempt to restart the Colbert/McCain Green Screen Challenge? The lawn of one of his houses? Or possibly just a screw-up?
"On the weekends, he favors two-hour bicycle rides at a Secret Service training facility outside Washington, where he sometimes asks companions and agents to ride behind him so that he can have the illusion of riding alone." With all the focus on the upcoming election, what of George W. Bush?
On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party to be their Presidential candidate with a speech so well-crafted that Pat bloody Buchanan couldn't stop raving about it, and had to be cut off by his fellow broadcasters. It was an occasion so historic that McCain chose to release an ad congratulating his opponent.
"There are half a dozen [economic] issues today, each one of which is as important as the most important issue at the beginning of most presidential terms." Larry Summers became so well-known during his brief and contentious tenure as President of Harvard that it's easy to forget about his real job, as a much-lauded academic economist with a history of real-world service at the World Bank and in the Clinton Administration. In this month's Harvard Magazine, he summarizes his view of the economy (grim) and what the next president is going to have to do about it (a lot.)
At the risk of heresy, let it be said that setting up the two presidential candidates for religious interrogation by an evangelical minister -- no matter how beloved -- is supremely wrong. [more inside]
Some of the female Chinese gymnasts are apparently under-age. It wasn't their skulls, their chins or their eyes that gave them away: it was the internet.
Yang Wei, the 2006 and 2007 mens gymnastics world champion, and number 13 on Time Magazine's 100 Olympic Athletes to Watch in Beijing 2008, is a symbol of absolute power and coordination. He stands 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 121 pounds.
Opening the Olympic Ceremony with a bow to ancient Chinese tradition, 2,008 Drummers on the traditional Fou drums. [more inside]
The Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the United States Military Academy, West Point, has published another report in their analysis of captured al-Qa'ida documents: Bombers, Bank Accounts, and Bleedout: al‐Qa`ida’s Road In and Out of Iraq [pdf] (note to UK readers). [more inside]
Misc-Olympics-Filter. Google's 2008 Olympics page (gadget can be added to your Google homepage). Former Sudanese refugee chosen as US flag bearer for opening ceremonies. And a scandal after BeijingTickets.com (now shut-down) fails to deliver tickets that they sold: BeijingTicketScam.com
Humorist and candidate for the US Senate for Minnesota Al Franken draws a map of the United States from memory.
The Mercury Prize shortlist for 2008 is: Adele - 19 | British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music? | Burial - Untrue | Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid | Estelle - Shine | Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim | Neon Neon - Stainless Style | Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea | Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns | Radiohead - In Rainbows | Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand | The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement [more inside]
Former White House spokesman Tony Snow developed colon cancer in February 2005 thanks to having suffered from ulcerative colitis for much of his life; he died today from that ailment. Snow was a "Fox News Sunday" anchor, a Fox News Channel political analyst, a guest host for Rush Limbaugh's radio program, the host of Fox News Radio's "The Tony Snow Show", and a NPR commentator. Chief of Staff Josh Bolten told staffers that unless they could commit to staying the full remainder of Bush's term, they should leave by Labor Day 2007, prompting Snow's resignation (due to what he said were financial reasons), where he was succeeded by Dana Perino. He played the guitar, saxophone and flute and was in a band called Beats Workin'. "Bush's wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back against the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Wilson," said Snow in a column. "The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment."
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