First Impressions

25 Jan 2015 04:07 pm
[personal profile] transposable_element
Filia, aged 9, just finished reading The Last Battle a little while ago. She looked up at me and said, "I wonder what happened to Susan."

I asked her what she thought.

"I think she probably just lived a normal life."

I pointed out that she was probably really sad for a while. Filia agreed.

Then she started wondering if Susan really did remember Narnia, suggesting that maybe she hadn't forgotten forever and it was just a stage, and one day she would remember it again.

My Valentine

25 Jan 2015 06:58 pm
kalloway: (Saihate Miku)
[personal profile] kalloway
I just found a decent stack of Valentines (like, the thin paper sort kids exchange) all filled out but never given. I wonder why... And here's half a letter to [personal profile] gnome about (Legacy of) Kain's penis. I should finish this and mail it, for lulz. (And get back to that wang, seriously...)

A few of the Valentines are to (long former) coworkers, the rest are to fandom friends. And out of the pile, I think I've only lost touch with three. And these are from ~2004.

Why didn't I give/mail these? Why?

I guess I'll never know. But I'll try to mail the ones I can and use the others to decorate a notebook or something.

Greek games and scenarios

25 Jan 2015 11:04 pm
[syndicated profile] crooked_timber_feed

Posted by Daniel

Early news reports seem to be pretty clear that Syriza has won the Greek elections, so I thought CT readers might be interested in the following note, which I sent to my professionals’ mailing list a few weeks ago. Since I wrote it, there has been a lot of rather contradictory comment on what the party’s negotiation strategy might actually be, but nevertheless, it certainly seems that the “ultimatum” approach to debt reduction is very much on the table, and in any case, a dogmatic refusal to continue with past agreements on structural measures would end up having the same effect.



In the last issue in this series, I made a few predictions around the general theme of my prediction that the resolution of the European stress tests would remove a significant supply constraint and lead to credit growth in 2015e that would surprise everyone. Specifically I was looking for a) large takeup of the second tranche of TLTRO, b) a step jump up in measures of bank sector risk appetite and c) strong lending growth starting Q1 15e. I count that so far one loss, one win and one yet to be decided. The sector is so awash with cheap funding anyway that TLTRO excess was hardly needed (and the carry trade is unprofitable given higher capital charges and lower yields on government debt), so it was always a bit of a daft idea to make that a success criterion. But the risk appetite measures and lending surveys are all going in the right direction. So I am still broadly happy to be predicting a strong credit recovery for Euroland in 2015e.


But the clear risk to that forecast is another go-around with a sovereign Eurocrisis like we had in 2011-13. And in turn, the clear risk of that is that Syriza wins the election early in 2015 and starts on the program of “create a load of chaos in Euroland in order to get concessions” which it has been indicating (and occasionally and rather scandalously, pretending that it isn’t). So it’s worth wargaming out what the various parties might be thinking and how their strategies might interact.


One thing it’s important to make clear is that the European policy makers aren’t stupid. I have lost count of the number of articles I’ve read where some opinion columnist or other acts as if the fact that Greece’s debt burden is unsustainable and cannot ever be repaid is some special insight available only to readers of his newspaper, and that the benighted fools of the Commission, ECB and Eurogroup are so ideologically blinkered that they can’t see this obvious fact. Often enough, this piece of pontificating is attached to some distinctly dodgy theorising about the peculiar national characteristics of “Germans”.

The fact is, everyone knows that the total burden of Greek debt is too big to be serviced by the Greek GDP, and that if it isn’t written down, then Greece will always be reliant on an increasing stream of official financing to meet its roll-overs. Everyone also knows, although some of them might not be ready to admit it to themselves, that an indefinite commitment to financing the roll-over of an ever increasing debt burden is a fiscal transfer in all but name. The thing is, though, while the Eurosystem bureaucrats know this at least as well as anyone else, they have jobs in which they can’t simply bemoan the fact in print, then submit their copy and go off to think about something else.

Don’t think of the Greek debt burden, either in cash € terms or as a ratio to GDP, as an economic quantity. It basically isn’t an economically meaningful number any more. The purpose of its existence is as a political quantity; it’s part of the means by which control is exercised over the Greek budget by the Eurosystem. The regular rituals of renegotiation of the bailout package, financing of debt maturity peaks and so on, are the way in which the solvent Euroland nations exercise the kind of political control that they feel they need to have if they are going to be fiscally responsible for the bills. There’s more than a couple of Germans I’ve spoken to over the last few years who have pointed out that although Germany got massive debt relief in the twentieth century, it got it in the context of an equally massive national admission that the entire political system was rotten and needed to be totally restructured with foreign help; this was also the basis on which the integration of Eastern Germany was managed in the 1990s. Seeing the peripheral Eurozone debt in isolation from the politics of European integration is a sure way to lead yourself up blind alleys.

It is, therefore, totally inimical to the Eurosystem to hold out any hope of the kind of debt writedown that Syriza wants, as opposed to some smaller, cosmetic face value reduction or maturity extension. The entire reason why Syriza wants to get a major up-front reduction in the debt number is to create political space to execute the rest of their program. The debt issue and the political issue are the same issue. Syriza understands this, and so does the Eurosystem. The people who don’t understand it are the ones writing editorials in the business press which support the debt reduction but don’t think that Syriza should be given carte blanche to do everything it wants.


So, the question is – does Syriza have any way of getting itself into a position where it can make the Eurosystem do something that they really, really don’t want to do? It’s not that hard to see what Tsipras’ line of reasoning is:

i. The Eurosystem bureaucracy’s entire reason for existing is to ensure the continued existence of the Euro.
ii. If Greece leaves the Euro it will cause a financial crisis in Euroland
iii .A financial crisis in Euroland would immediately spread to Spain and thence to Italy
iv. In the event of a financial crisis in Spain and Italy, the Eurosystem would be at real risk of seeing the currency break up, and would have to agree massive and immediate fiscal measures to prevent this
v. So, present them with a fait accompli on the debt default, and gamble that they will not have the nerve to take measures which might have the effect of forcing Greece out of the Euro
vi. Specifically, default and then finance the deficit by selling short-term Treasury bills to the banking system, who will finance them at the ECB
vii. This effectively puts the ECB in the position of having to either cut liquidity provision to the Greek banking system (which triggers Greek euro exit), or to effectively finance the Greek deficit.
viii. In this doubly intolerable situation, you can presume that the ECB will preserve its own position by forcing the rest of the Eurosystem bureaucracy to come up with a fiscal solution that doesn’t involve the ECB.
ix. And Greece is small enough that it is always going to be less trouble to finance their problems than to deal with the consequences of not doing so.

As a strategy it is …cute. I think it might even have worked if tried three years ago; as far as I can tell, something like it was the unspoken threat under the table which led to the restructuring of the Irish bailout liability. You can see that it’s a blackmail game that is best played by a left-wing populist, because in order for the threat to be credible, it needs to be made by someone who is not susceptible to apocalyptic warnings and who is even prepared to dice with the prospect of actual bank runs. I can entirely see why it’s attractive to Syriza and why Tsipras has made it a constant theme of his recent rhetoric that Greece is in a stronger negotiating position than it realises.


But this isn’t three years ago, and I think that if faced with this sort of behaviour by a Syriza government, the ECB would definitely decide to call the bluff. Reason basically being that a huge amount of work has been done precisely to reduce the dangers of this sort of contagion:

i. The ECB is now lead supervisor for any bank in Euroland which it wants to be. Greece couldn’t simply rely on the local banks to take up the T-Bill roll.
ii. The rules on liquidity provision have been tightened up significantly since the days in which the Central Bank of Ireland was able to effectively act as lender of last resort and then tell Frankfurt what it had done later.
iii. Most importantly, banking sector collapses are much less frightening to the Eurosystem bureaucrats than they used to be.

That last point could probably do with a bit of amplification.


Here’s something which struck me when I was putting together an end of year review of developments in bank regulation. Euroland had a real, credible stress test and it wasn’t the one that we were all looking at. The real stress test in 2014 was the restructuring of Banco Espirito Santo.

What do I mean? Well, the key to understanding stress tests, as I’ve been saying for years, is to remember that they’re not a test of the banking system; they’re a test of the bailout system. The purpose of a stress test isn’t to bore the pants off us with megabytes of accounting data telling us things we already knew. The purpose is always to put the weakest banks in the system into a position where they need to be recapitalised, and thereby to demonstrate that the system is capable of dealing with capital shortages, and doing so without an unreasonable fiscal burden.

The AQR didn’t really do that – it was a perfectly good exercise of its type, and as I wrote in October, it performed admirably in giving a regulatory “seal of approval” to the solvent banks, but it didn’t really generate any self-inflicted crises, so it wasn’t able to demonstrate that the Euroland Banking Union was capable of dealing with crises.

On the other hand, the quick and brutal treatment of BES demonstrated that even in a comparatively large European bank, and even in one of peripheral Europe’s shakiest fiscal systems, it was possible to carry out a refinancing and resolution over a weekend, with legal certainty and without contagion to other banks or interruption of vital services. That’s the stress test which matters.

The successful outcome from BES must surely encourage the Eurosystem policy makers to think that Greek euro exit, if it happens, could be contained. It’s no longer all that likely that any Euroland bank has big enough Greek exposure to knock over its capital, and even if there is a genuine liquidity squeeze, the ECB can pour out liquidity support much more aggressively than it did in 2011, because it knows that its own balance sheet risk is small. In 2011, the ESCB’s unsecured funding was at risk of loss, because in the event of insolvency it would be just another unsecured creditor in most European legal systems. In 2015, the new structures of the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive means that the ECB, along with all other short term and interbank creditors, get to effectively jump the priority structure by putting banks into BES-style resolution, making themselves safe by hosing the long term creditors without ever letting them see the inside of a bankruptcy court.


So my guess is that Tsipras’ strategic chain described in section 4 above breaks own pretty early on – the ECB and the Eurosystem structure don’t think that he’s got a credible threat of being able to cause the kind of chaos that could lead to the Euro entirely breaking up. So game over? I think not because there are two further strategic wrinkles.

i.Although Greece can no longer destroy the whole Euro, they could certainly create a situation in which they end up being forced out themselves. This wouldn’t be disastrous, but it would be annoying for the Eurosystem bureaucrats. Their long term goal is, remember, for the Euro to cover as much of the EU as possible, and that goal has been going surprisingly well – in the last two years they’ve actually gained two members in Latvia and Lithuania. But if you lose Greece, my intuition is that you can forget about Poland. It’s worth remembering that the “ever closer union” is essentially an Empire-building project, and if you’re building an Empire, you don’t let yourself lose provinces just because they’re a pain in the neck.
ii.And given (i) above, it matters that Tsipras might not be aware that he is bluffing a pair of deuces. If he genuinely believes that the Eurosystem will give in, it is in his interests to create a situation in which Greece could end up being forced out of the Euro, even though this is an outcome that nobody actually wants.
iii.And of course, even if Tsipras understands that the game is up for the strategy in section 4, it’s in his interests to pretend otherwise.


So the situations worth considering are (in the event of a Syriza victory):

i. Syriza effectively crumbles. The radical version of their strategy, with doubling of the minimum wage etc, is given up on, in favour of some broad and face-saving qualitative adjustments to the program. There is no debt default, no meaningful face-value reduction and things continue much as they were in the status quo ante (which, recall, did actually have Greece getting back to growth).
ii. Syriza plays the “madman strategy” and Greece leaves the euro. This would be the mother of all buying opportunities, in my view, as it would surely be associated with a massive risk-off trade, but the market would be quick to subsequently realise that the actual effect on the Eurozone was heavily quarantined.
iii. Syriza plays the “madman strategy” and gets given meaningful concessions to keep it in the Euro. One would expect this to be associated with a lot of self-congratulation from the ECB and repetition of “whatever it takes” speeches, and the end result would be to either monetise or mutualise a load of the Greek debt burden. This would be very bullish too.

So my view is, I guess, that if you can close your eyes and open them again in January 2016, you buy Eurozone risk and hold it. How many of us are so lucky – not one in ten thousand I guess. So I would suppose that the best trading strategy would be to keep some powder dry. It should be noted in that context though that the risk in Greece is much more quarantined than people necessarily realise. So non-Greek peripheral credit looks like it could be cheap, and potentially a way of parking cash somewhere without equity downside but some share in the upside when things get resolved and the market snaps back.


26 Jan 2015 08:00 am
[syndicated profile] maru_feed

Posted by mugumogu


Maru:[Wow, she is in my box again.]


Maru:[All box is mine!]

Hana:[You are childish!]


ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls, inspired by this video. It also fills "The Heart of the Jungle/Forest" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

WARNING: This poem contains more violence than typical for this setting. The warnings are spoilers; highlight to read. Some Kraken supervillains on an illegal mission are taken completely by surprise. Out of a five-person team, three are killed, one has unknown injuries, and one escapes with emotional rather than physical injuries. This is what can happen when a critter has superpowers and doesn't realize how much damage it's doing. Support from surrounding characters varies. The PTSD on Hoon's character sheet below the poem is from this incident. Consider your headspace and tolerance for violence before reading onward.

Read more... )

V’s fifth year in pictures

26 Jan 2015 09:17 am
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement posting in [community profile] incrementum
Originally posted to Comment there unless you have a Dreamwidth login.

All the feels
V v train
Silly dance I
Archimedes' screw
"Dragon" skull
Go ski racer!
Lightning McQueen is the best
Bye tooth!
V leaves school with Rainbow
Yes well outtake

This year, he learned how to ride a bike, how to ski, how to read his name, and how to be a dork on camera. In conclusion:

Hanging with Pink (Madame Tussauds)

(no subject)

25 Jan 2015 07:53 pm
brooms: (bitchcraft)
[personal profile] brooms posting in [community profile] tv_talk
What past or present tv relationships intrigued you that you wish were better or more explored?

This post is inspired by Fiona-Cordelia-Myrtle from AHS: Coven.

Weiss Rewatch Pt 10

25 Jan 2015 04:38 pm
kalloway: (Default)
[personal profile] kalloway
And here we are to the end of Kapitel~

I know [personal profile] taichara is going to write a post sometime today/tonight to explain how we get from Kapitel to Gluhen, but I am in no rush as I have many other things to watch/play too~

Episodes 23-25/End )

i enjoy being a girl

25 Jan 2015 04:28 pm
musesfool: sara ramirez applying lipstick (pull on your pout)
[personal profile] musesfool
Okay, I have been waxed and polished and dyed and cut and blown out, so I am ready to roll with this trip. Sadly, I still have to wait a week, and a week which may contain a blizzard for that matter. As long as it's over and it's clear flying weather by Saturday (and maybe if we get a snow day), I will be pleased.

The hair cut only took two hours (almost exactly! I sat in the chair at 12:44 and I walked out of the salon at 2:45), which is good (and also because I didn't get highlights so no double process adding an hour to my time in the chair), and then from 3 - 4 was pedicure and brow waxing time. I know it's odd, but I really do find getting my eyebrows waxed kind of soothing, for all that it's got a sting to it. *hands*

Now I need to eat something, because my god am I hungry.


(no subject)

25 Jan 2015 06:58 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Oh my, a 100+ acre ranch with two homes for sale on Zillow under $600,000. Just a two hour commute! Tule elk and mountain lions. One route home would be over Mt Hamilton, which was, when we first moved out here, a white knuckle drive, but i think i've learned since then. My econobox car would never survive the commute. (We'd have to get a truck.)

Probably doesn't have high speed internet, so there's that.


25 Jan 2015 09:15 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

On Friday, as I decided not to go to the gym in the wake of an hour-long dental appointment, I made Gujerati Khichchari for supper (which had the advantage of being a nice soft thing to eat).

Saturday breakfast rolls: I made the Tassajarra recipe but instead of cinnamon and raisin, experimented with maple syrup and dried cranberries. These turned out okay but not spectacular, and latterly I have been finding that the texture with this recipe is not all that could be hoped and not as nice as it's sometimes been.

Today's lunch: as yesterday involved a Sekkrit Projekt Konklave, partner hunted and gathered the ingredients. There was a whole seabass, which I decided to try salt-baking (not quite that method: no rosemary and a somewhat hotter oven), although I think one probably needs actually even more salt than I had. It did turn out quite nicely, however; the only problem was around the dexterity required to dish it up without getting any of the salt on it (otherwise it is not at all unduly saline). For the cavolo nero I tried this recipe, albeit with dried rosemary and crushed chilli flakes, and it was okay but could possibly have done with slightly longer cooking (or maybe cutting the leaves a little finer?). I roasted the sweet potatoes (cut into think slices) with the chopped Romano peppers in pumpkin seed oil.

No bread made today but probably will need to during the course of the week.

[ SECRET POST #2944 ]

25 Jan 2015 04:07 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #2944 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 03 pages, 058 secrets from Secret Submission Post #421.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

War Is Kind by Stephen Crane

25 Jan 2015 04:06 pm
yodepalma: (Default)
[personal profile] yodepalma posting in [community profile] poetry
War Is Kind
Stephen Crane

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them.
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom--
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbles in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind!
rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Exiting Union Station proper for the Union Station subway, there's a narrow gap open to the sky that lets people look up at the towers of the Financial District and the Royal York Hotel.

Looking up from Union Station (1)

Looking up from Union Station (2)

Looking up from Union Station (3)


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

January 2015



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