A combination of lost mental focus and the devastating news of the Colorado shootings means a post of hopefully interesting linkage. I was not going to post at all, but I thought this might help take my mind off things for a few minutes.
One of the best, if untended time capsules ever, The Paris Time Capsule Apartment
A Parisian apartment left untouched for over 70 years was discovered in the quartier of Pigalle a few summers ago and I’ve been meaning to share the pictures with you. Time to unlock the vault …
The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian left Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked.
The team that had the honor of opening what must have been a very stiff old lock for the first time in 70 years, likened the experience to ‘stumbling into the castle of sleeping beauty’. The smell of dust, the cobwebs, the silence, was overwhelming; a once in a lifetime experience.
Breathtakingly sweet and sad. The images seem to be copyrighted by Getty so unless I win the lottery I won’t be posting them here.
Of course my readers probably know all there is to know about the LIBOR scandal, but just in case, Q. and A.: Understanding Libor
The London interbank offered rate, more commonly known as Libor, is one of the most important numbers in the financial world. But until the Barclays scandal, it received scant public attention. Here is a primer.
Q. What is Libor?
A. Libor is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each other. London is mentioned in its name because the benchmark is set in that city.
Essentially, Libor is one of the main rates used to determine the borrowing costs for trillions of dollars in loans. Interest rates on some mortgages, student loans and credit card accounts go up or down when Libor moves. Often the rates are adjusted annually or quarterly, rather than every day.
[ ]…Q. Why is Libor important?
A. After more than two decades, Libor still remains one of the most highly cited benchmarks in the financial world.
The British Bankers’ Association has promoted the rate-setting process as highly transparent and impartial, making Libor a good benchmark for various financial products. The group has argued that no one institution can single-handedly alter the calculations behind the rate.
But amid the rate-manipulation scandal, the integrity of Libor has been called into question. In late June, Barclays agreed to pay $450 million to settle accusations by regulators that it had submitted false Libor rates to bolster its bottom line and deflect scrutiny about its health.
For the legions of liberal chart freaks, Behind the Libor Scandal.
SEPT. 13, 2006
“Hi Guys, We got a big position in 3m libor for the next 3 days. Can we please keep the lib or fixing at 5.39 for the next few days. It would really help. We do not want it to fix any higher than that. Tks a lot.”
— Senior trader in New York to submitter
new york subway photo from a series by bruce davidson circa 1980-1985. Davidson is an American photographer (b 1933). While a great street photographer whose influences include Robert Frank, Davidson is one of the great chroniclers of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. NYT did a good profile piece on him in 2009 - Like a Plant, His Roots Are Showing. This link includes a slide show.
The Lie This Time
The sleazy became the norm, so they’re cranking it up. This time, the lie machine is telling people  that President Obama said that business owners didn’t build their businesses, government did. What President Obama actually said was that businesses did not build the roads and bridges that help them get their products to markets:
Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.
The billionaire-corporate lie machine version? Heritage Foundation : Obama Tells Entrepreneurs “You Didn’t Build” Your Business.
[ ]… President Obama’s speech that Fox and Romney have deceptively edited,
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
The Wall Street Journal has also joined in. In the world of the WSJ and Romney’s bootlickers your typical businessperson gets up in the morning, cranks up their own electricity, they build their own road to work and a new road for each new customer and then roll up these roads after each use. The parts and supplies they use are transported via teleportation directly into the businessperson’s head and they use a special matter reassembling program on the computer they invented and built to resemble the product or the magical aura of the service. They have their own police, fire and military to protect their business. They train all their employees who also build their own roads everyday. OK, that’s me lying. They do not have any employees because they are god-like in their complete and utter self-sufficiency. They do not need customers either because customers would need jobs, education and police protection and infrastructure.
President Obama said something very complex. It has a kind of ying and yang quality about it, so no wonder conservatives are either lying or genuinely befuddled, “The point is, is that, when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together”. So success is composed of complimentary components. So intertwined, one might say, that one – especially in the modern sense that we understand an advanced technological society – is not possible without the other.
Here is a list of people the WSJ thinks built their businesses as lone wolfves, totally independent of the accoutrements of modern civilization: Bill Gates? Stole DOS and used hardware technology invented by others. used engineers that were educated at public universities. Steve Jobs? never invented anything. That is not hyperbole, just plain fact. He used UNIX instead of DOS. Wozniak built their first PC and all the hardware had been invented and based on technology by others. Ray Kroc founded McDonalds. Big deal. He did not invent anything. He marketed and sold the public on fast, though not great or particularly healthy food. Credit to all these people, but they hardly created or invented stuff out of thin air. Purveyors of social-Darwinism like Romney and the WSJ believe this is the natural order of things, REPORT: Bottom Half Of American Households Have Just 1 Percent Of Nation’s Wealth. If they were only doing 1% of the work and creating 1% of the value of our GDP, only then would that make sense.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. – John Donne, Meditation XVII
The Be Good Tanyas – Littlest Birds