More random.

Censorship: it's as American as, well, censorship.

From boingboing.net:

"A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in
Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the
perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you've got a child-porn
filter, you can censor anything:

'Child pornography is great,' the speaker at the podium declared
enthusiastically. 'It is great because politicians understand child
pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start
blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start
blocking file sharing sites.'

The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in
Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title 'Sweden — A Safe Haven for
Pirates?'. The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy
Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry
associations, like IFPI and others…

'One day we will have a giant filter that we develop in close
cooperation with IFPI* and MPA. We continuously monitor the child porn on
the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an
issue they understand,' Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole
being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium."

IFPI's strategy on porn.

* IFPI = International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. From their website:

"IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide, with a membership
comprising some 1400 record companies in 66 countries and affiliated
industry associations in 45 countries. IFPI's
mission is to promote the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights
of record producers
and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in
all markets where its members operate."

* * * * *

Book I just finished reading this book. It was absolutely fascinating — I read until 2 a.m. two nights in a row because I was so enthralled.

Markopolos was a quant — a numbers guy in the securities industry — who figured out after five minutes analysis (5 minutes!) in 1999 that Bernard Madoff was a fraud, either doing a type of trading that is illegal or, more likely, running a Ponzi scheme. Markpolos's boss at the investment firm where he worked wanted him to reverse engineer Madoff's trading strategy so they could duplicate it. They were losing clients to Madoff and wanted to be able to compete with him. 

From Amazon/Publisher's Weekly:

"Markopolos, the whistleblower who filed five unheeded complaints against
Ponzi king Bernie Madoff over nine years, has produced an astonishing
true-life whodunit set amidst the personalities, plots, and
international intrigue of Wall Street. Having collected damning
information on money manager Madoff — the respected co-founder of NASDAQ
who ran the largest financial scam in history — since 1999, Markopolos's
work as a chartered financial analyst and certified fraud examiner,
aided by an industry journalist and two colleagues from his days as a
derivatives portfolio manager, lays bare the Security and Exchange
Commission (SEC) as a tragically inept regulating agency that 'didn't
give a rat's ass about protecting investors,' and seemed to consider
Madoff 'just another guy cutting some corners.' Realizing he had not one
but two powerful opponents — 'Madoff and this non-functioning
agency' — Markopolos refused to give up, despite fearing for his life and
his family; accordingly, he transmits his team's determination and
fascination in contagious detail. The hows and whys of Madoff's eventual
arrest, Markopolos's subsequent appearances before Congress, and the
carnival of press coverage makes a satisfying conclusion to this strange
epic; Markopolos also includes complete documentation of his formal
submissions to the SEC, plus his recommendations for much-needed reform
at the agency."

Part of my fascination with this story stems from my professional history. I was an auditor for three years and by sheer chance ended up specializing in the securities industry. After that I spent seven years at a regional financial services firm. This was back in the 1980s and things have changed since then, but enough has remained the same that I recognized the industry I was acquainted with. Plus, after I had finished the book, I realized that a number of my tax clients probably had invested for years in one of the funds that had >$1 billion *invested* with Madoff; the head of that fund committed suicide two weeks after Madoff was arrested.

If you have any interest in the world of finance and/or fraud and/or government regulation — or you just like a good thriller — you should read this book.

* * * * *

This video brought back memories. Back in about 1987, when #1 Son was 2-1/2, he loved Labyrinth. He must have watched it 50 or 100 times. Srsly.

He would put on a pair of tall black dress winter boots with 1" heels that I had then (the boots were knee-high on me; on him they came up to his crotch) and carry some kind of stick to be a scepter/wand, just like The Goblin King. He would stand in front of the TV and [attempt to] sing along with "the baby song", all the while wiggling his butt and dancing back and forth in an imitation of TGK. I especially liked it when he would yell "Quiet!" at the goblins, right along with David Bowie.

Smokey sent this YouTube video to #1. We are waiting to hear if he remembers anything of those days.

* * * * *

Speaking of sons, #2 Son is, even as I type, hosting the No-Hater Rolling Dance Super Bike Mega Party 2010.0. Perhaps you remember the N-HRDSBMP2K9? Apparently that one was such a success that he is repeating it.

As you can see in the photos in the linked post, one Saturday night in last October he and about 20 others rode their bikes together through light rain and partied and danced (under bridges, where it was dry) until the wee hours. This time? As of some time last week there were already 248 people signed up to attend.

He got a parade permit from the City of Minneapolis, just in case.

* * * * *

On the knitting front, my multicolored striped top-down raglan now has a yoke, two sleeves, and a few — say, 3 — inches of body. I will definitely have it ready to wear by next winter. I hope to be able to wear it if necessary when we go camping near Glacier National Park in June.

Currently, I also have the second sock of two different pairs OTN and am having great fun making log cabin felted potholders for the Friends of the Polk County Libraries to sell this summer. I also have committed to at least one hat for a Relay for Life in fund raiser in June. Progress on all projects is being documented photographically. Stay tuned.

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This entry was posted in Biking, Books, Community knitting, Family, knitting, Multicolor striped topdown raglan, Rants, various, Reading, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to More random.

  1. Diane says:

    I’ve seen Markopolos interviewed a few times. I have to wonder what other schemes are out there waiting to blow up. There is no end to the scoundrels. Makes me want to put all my money under my mattress. 🙂

  2. gayle says:

    I’ll add the book to my list for next library visit.
    Both my kids loved Labyrinth. We wore out a VHS – have now replaced it with a DVD. (The youngest child is 21 – not just a kid’s movie!)

  3. Heather says:

    Oh, man – I haven’t heard that song in decades!

  4. Chris says:

    Yay, #2 Son!! 🙂

  5. marylou says:

    Off to the library web site to see if they have that book. I get so angry when I hear all these people (yes, you Alan Greenspan) saying the housing crisis could not have been foreseen. I am a lowly peon in the housing world, and I could see it coming. Lots of people tried to draw attention to it, but no one listened. GRRRRR

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