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Member since: Tue Jun 17, 2008, 01:38 PM
Number of posts: 14,318

Journal Archives

Venezuelan bond buyers pack into Manhattan law office

The scores of money managers and analysts who crowded into Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s panel discussion on Venezuela last week are a testament to the deepening concern over whether President Nicolas Maduro can make good on the nation’s debt obligations.

During the two-hour event on the 39th floor of the law firm’s downtown Manhattan office, some 150 attendees pressed the lawyers on an array of potential scenarios if Venezuela defaulted, according to interviews with six attendees who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private. Among the topics debated were whether the state oil company’s U.S. gasoline stations could be seized as collateral and whether it was legally possible for Venezuela to restructure the producer as an empty shell to avoid bondholder claims, they said. For a country that hasn’t missed a foreign bond payment in decades, the questions reflect growing speculation the socialist revolution that transformed Venezuela over the past 15 years under Hugo Chavez and now Maduro has finally pushed the nation to the brink of economic collapse. Read more...


Should your Doctor be able to force you to "x" number of appointments?

I was recently unpleasantly surprised when my Doctor's office told me that I would be required to have at least one appointment every three months, rain or shine. If I didn't fulfill that quota I could be dropped as a patient.

I was also surprised at the number of comments I received on a posting about this which appeared to approve of this practice. Only a small number were shocked, as I had been. So this poll:

Do you agree that your Doctor can require you to a minimum number of office visits per year? (If you don't comply you will be dropped as his/her patient)

Obligatory doctor appointments?

We've used a sole Practitioner as our Primary Care Physician for some years now. He eventually retired and a younger doc took his place. Nothing much seemed to change, that is until I received a call from one of the office nurses reminding us that we hadn't been in in several months. I (naively, as it turns out) replied that, since my wife and I hadn't been sick we hadn't seen the need to see the doctor. That's when we were informed that a new company (part of the Humana group) had taken over the doctor's practice and that they had very specific rules for all patients. Chief among these is a requirement that every patient must be seen every three months, rain or shine! The nurses and office personnel are ordered to keep strict records and carry out reporting to the company on this. If you don't comply with this, the office will refuse to authorize refills on your prescriptions. Continue missing or rescheduling your 'mandatory' three month visit and the practice can drop you as a patient. When I grumbled something about 'maybe leaving', the answer was very clear: "For every one that drops out, we get four wanting to be seen".

Medicine in the new millennium - just keeps getting better and better.

Tweety demonstrates abysmal ignorance of

the most basic principle of American Law: An accused is innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to have effective representation by a competent counsel to ensure that the State prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Nowhere in that right is it required that the accused's counsel must first believe in the client's innocence.

Tonight Tweety and his pirennial favorite Michelle Bernard did a tag-team hit piece on Hillary based on a tape of an interview Hillary had with a local reporter years ago when, as a young court-appointed lawyer Hillary represented a man accused of raping a young girl in Arkansas. The audio tape of that conversation was the basis for this 'segment'.

Tweety had already (as usual knowing nothing about the actual facts) clearly decided that the man was guilty, and couldn't for the life of him understand how, as a court-appointed lawyer Hillary could possibly have made the State prove the charges against her client. He announced that he 'didn't like criminal defense attorneys' anyway and that he 'knew how they were supposed to behave - he's seen Tom Cruise films and TV shows". Honestly.

Tag to Michelle Bernard who, as an attorney herself, really knows better. She proceeded to go on a long harangue intended to crucify Hillary for having brought the Police's screw-up of losing the only piece of forensic evidence to the court's attention. Bernard spent all of her time (and most of Joan Walsh's) viciously attacking Hillary for having the audacity to represent a person who was accused of rape! Never mind that Hillary had not chosen to take the case but had been legally required to do so (Bernard falsely implied that Hillary had actively sought the case). Never mind that the accused passed a lie detector test. Never mind that the State royally screwed up the case by losing the only forensic evidence against him. Nope. It was just too shocking for her and Tweety that Hillary could effectively represent a person who Tweety and Bernard had already decided was guilty. And, since the man wasn't convicted, why it's obviously Hillary's fault and we need to roundly condemn her for having done so. The final, most damning evidence against Hillary? The audio tape of the interview with the Arkansas reporter has Hillary chuckling about certain aspects of the case as she was discussing it with him! Bernard seems to believe that this by itself is prima facie evidence that the tape is highly damaging and so is certainly going to 'be a big problem for Hillary' in the future.

Joan Walsh, the other 'panelist' was genuinely hard pressed to even get a word in edgewise. She did her best to attempt to explain to both Tweety and Bernard that Hillary had been required to take the case as a court appointed Public Defender. Walsh eventually got so frustrated by the blatant ganging up and totally one-sided presentation that she finally openly accused Bernard of giving a 'slanted presentation'. This prompted Tweety to talk over Walsh and rapidly end the segment.

The notion that any accused person in the United States has the absolute right to be defended at trial by a competent counsel who forces the State to PROVE its case obviously sticks in Tweety and Bernard's craw. In their eyes Hillary's client was already obviously guilty so Hillary should have ignored her oath as an Attorney and her obligation as an Officer of the Court and should have railroaded her court-appointed client because (according to them) Hillary may personally not have been convinced of her client's innocence. Sounds like something straight out of Hannity.

Maduro severs diplomatic ties with Panama

Saw Maduro's speech on Univision tonite where he severs diplomatic ties with Panama. No explanation given. Anyone know why DimSuccessor decided to piss off Panama?

Really sad after buying Girl Scout cookies.

Bought two boxes of Girl Scout cookies outside my favorite Publix today (bought them because a) I love them and b) I love even more rubbing the Fundies' noses in it by supporting the 'Evil" Girl Scouts.) There were four or five girl scouts selling them, all of them 5th graders from the local school. The cookies were $4 a box, so I tendered a $20 to the girl manning the cash till. She was unable to figure out how much to give me back, even after resorting to counting on her fingers to try and figure it out. Finally a (her?) grandfather with the group came up and told her how much to give me back. Unbelievable from a 5th grader.

If this is at all indicative of the state of basic education in the country today, we are royally and truly screwed.

To the DU'er who was so kind as

to give me a heart - Thank You! I'm not sure that anything I've written on DU deserves it but it is nonetheless sincerely appreciated!

Absolutely wonderful dialogue by Trudeau

"Watching Fox News is like getting your news from the Town drunk". Priceless.

Rachel damning the government

Just watched the re-run of Rachel's show tonite and was dismayed to find her doing as one-sided a piece of work as has ever appeared on Fox re the Justice Department's investigation of the A.P. leaks regarding Al Queda. Not only did she do a 'hair on fire' pontification on the virtue of the Press and the perfidy of the government (which she also asserts is bound to lose in the final analysis) but also had as her only guest the lawyer for the AP. Needless to say he completely agreed with her 'legal' analysis.

This is far from the clear, cut and dried case she so fervently wants to make it out to be. There are significant legal nuances as to whether the DOJ actually violated its own guidelines which she chose to ignore and, even if they did, what if any remedies there might be. A lot more will have to be determined before fault can be fairly laid at the feet of the government in this instance. But Rachel's totally one-sided exposition falls squarely under the title of "Fair and balanced". I for one expected better than her

Venezuela conducts de facto devaluation

Venezuela’s Finance Ministry sold $200 million on a new secondary exchange system without disclosing the exchange rate for winning bids. The auction awarded dollars to 383 companies, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website. Only companies registered with the Cadivi currency board could participate in today’s auction.

Acting President Nicolas Maduro’s government introduced the new foreign exchange mechanism ahead of an April 14 presidential election in a bid to halt the bolivar’s decline on the black market and reduce shortages of goods in local stores. The bolivar has depreciated 19 percent to about 23 bolivars per dollar on the black market since Feb. 8, when the currency was devalued 32 percent on the Cadivi system.

“The only reason not to disclose the FX rate is because they don’t want to concede a de facto second devaluation in the middle of an election campaign,” Benjamin Ramsey, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said in an e-mailed statement. “I think it’s safe to assume it was above the official 6.3, otherwise they would have disclosed.”

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