Its a subscription article at the Wall Street Journal – however, in light of recent legislation about the insider trading of Congress members and the SEC saying that insider trading laws apply equally to Congress members as to everyone else, I got to thinking about some things . . .First, is that non-elected people in financial institutions across Europe and America are running things they were not elected to run – including enforced austerity measures to cover their own games and losses.
And, second – that no group has ever called Congress on the carpet through our courts for their habitual and customary insider trading practices, nor has any agency including the SEC ever held them to account on these and other shady transactions which took undue advantage of their political position and inside information to personal financial gain.
And, third – I noticed this – which reminded me of how many hedge funds, banks, Wall Street trading firms, financiers and other financial decision-makers in Wall Street completely botched it up and lost tremendous amounts of money – who wants those people as the ones making the choices for entire economies across the United States, the World, the Eurozone, the European Union and in every state in America?
If I were losing nearly 50% of your money every year, you wouldn’t still give me your money – but no, not when its Wall Street – and then to take these groups of people as the decision-makers for everyone’s lives despite not having been elected and truly not being qualified to even sustainably run their own affairs?
The global elite, dining on Norwegian lobster and reindeer at the end of the World Economic Forum on Saturday, felt pretty chipper despite growing concerns about the inequality of the economic recovery.
`Mamma Mia’ Goes Dark, Bankers Stay Home as G-20 Hits Toronto
My Note –
Apparently as the G-20 is meeting this weekend, June 26-27 in Toronto, there are already expected to be 18 different protests including some that started on June 21. Executives and bankers are being told to wear casual clothing rather than suits by their companies concerned for their safety in the financial district where the meetings will be held.
Toronto’s financial services industry is the third largest in North America with its 223,000 employees and now it hosts a 12-block area with 10-foot high fencing and concrete barriers which has been protected for the G-20 meeting with 20,000 police and security officers.
Canada is spending $1.2 Billion dollars Canadian for the G-20 meeting that includes a G-8 mini-summit at a lakeside resort in Huntsville, Ontario. Recent summits have cost far less with the one in Pittsburgh and London costing $18 million and $30 million respectively.
Downtown restaurants, theaters, banks and businesses in the Toronto area have been shuttered through the G-20 summit with its draw of world leaders, protests, protesters. security personnel, economists, lawyers, staff, bureau heads, agency secretaries and staff, government workers and guests.
Those parts are from the article – (paraphrased from their information) – and my note is this one –
The whole advantage of hosting the G-20 meetings and similar meetings is lost if all the businesses are shuttered. There is no way to show off the city and its wonderful food, its wonderful culture and its wonderful environment nor for the cities businesses to enjoy increased inflows of customers with their expense accounts and customer references for those businesses when they go back home, if all the businesses and theaters and restaurants are closed.
The US state department is telling travelers to avoid downtown Toronto because of expected “violent and unpredictable” protests, according to the article and I think these world leaders look at the protesters as an enemy they are “at war with” rather than to consider listening to anything they are saying.
I noticed Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner at hearings this week on CSPAN and on a news segment here and there – along with financial reform and regulations efforts in high swing – should’ve known it was because the finalizing of these G-20 background agreements are being hammered out.
(And they probably wanted the US to be in a much stronger position to say that we’re working on it – rather than for things to look like the legislative process and lobbyists had bogged it down to a standstill, which is more likely the case. – just a note of what I’ve seen in the last three years of this economic disaster.)
Recently, I had noticed another news item or two about Russia’s entry into the WTO with Russian Prime Minister Putin’s name tied into the mix. It is a sure sign that a G-20 meeting and its backroom work is underway when things like that pop up here and there.
Here is part of it that I looked up today – This one from 06-17-10
Putin said that Chevron, alongside with other large U.S. companies including Boeing, set up a special group in 2006 to back Russia’s World Trade Organization (WTO) entry bid as well as to “eliminate such archaic obstacles for our cooperation as the Jackson-Vanik amendment.”
The amendment, named after Congressmen Henry M. Jackson and Charles Vanik, was introduced in 1974 to restrict trade with the Soviet Union and other non-market economies until they allowed free emigration, especially of Jews, and other religious minorities.
Putin told a meeting with the U.S.-based Chevron Corporation that such archaic barriers “were created in the previous epoch in relations [between the Soviet Union and the United States] and today hinder development.”
Bloomberg just had a story a little bit ago (before 9.46 am EDT) about Russian President Medvedev visiting the silicon valley and other high tech businesses of America today – right now, I suppose. They say he is tweeting about it.
How nifty. I wouldn’t be allowed to tour those facilities and neither would any other American citizen. Hmmmm…….
We are building our own competition. What a concept.
Companies, too, said they would take matters into their own hands this year, after initiatives like Russia’s long-running World Trade Organization bid continued to flounder.
“Everyone has noticed the change in mood compared with the talks held during the previous meetings,” said Renova Group billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, whom Medvedev recently tapped to oversee development of an ambitious innovation center in the Moscow region town of Skolkovo.
Last year’s forum saw a lot of criticism from the business community and politicians over legislative barriers, Vekselberg told reporters after a session dedicated to EU-Russia relations on Thursday.
“What I liked [about today’s meetings] very much was that state officials said they saw a clear priority from business. … It’s business that must initiate new political decisions through specific projects, through implementing specific initiatives,” he said.
“And it’s a crucially important change in the dialogue’s entire format,” he said.
Reiner Hartmann, president of the Association of European Businesses in Russia, said the tone at the forum had changed now that the hangover of the crisis is lifting. “Our partners are now more open for dialogue,” he said. “They see themselves more sober and realistic.”
One noticeable difference this year will be the lack of vodka and other hard alcohol at companies’ stands, Deputy Economic Development Minister Stanislav Voskresensky told Reuters.
“Beverages no stronger than wine” will be allowed on the grounds this year, he said. Medvedev has sought to improve Russians’ health and productivity through an anti-alcohol drive.
Medvedev’s speech Friday is expected to focus on his pet project of modernization, and forum participants said this issue was vital for Russia’s continued economic growth.
“I’d like him to say what he has been saying,” Andrew Somers, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, said, naming as examples Medvedev’s anti-corruption drive, efforts to improve relations with Washington and promotion of innovation.
Like last year, Putin is not on the forum’s list of participants, which includes French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who will make a speech with Medvedev on Saturday afternoon. Putin is scheduled to go to the Yaroslavl region on Friday to inspect a once-struggling engine plant and to meet with investors from Japan’s Komatsu.
“[Putin] created this event. I don’t think he wants to undermine it,” Somers said, when asked about the reaction to Putin’s headline-grabbing trip to Pikalyovo at the opening of the forum last year.
Forum participants also said it was time for business to push politicians for a final agreement on Russia’s 17-year bid to join the WTO. Last year, trade officials from Moscow, Washington and Brussels told the forum that the bid could be finalized within a year, only to see their hopes dashed when Russia began to work on a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
“Business is moving politics. That’s why if business tells them: ‘Move faster, have fruitful discussions and finally sign it,’ the talks will go better,” Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Slepnyov said.
Rusnano chief Anatoly Chubais berated Moscow for taking so long with the bid, saying no other country in the world had taken “such an endless and senseless path as Russia.”
“We have turned discussing [the bid] into a bad tradition. As far as I understand, it’s business — Russian and European business — that must speak out on this topic clearly,” Chubais told reporters.
Chubais also said this year’s forum stood out from previous years because of its modernization agenda, which he promised would be discussed in terms of specific projects. “The modernization agenda has never sounded like this before,” he said.
Slepnyov said the forum’s main goal was to make business “understand that modernization is serious and it’s possible to make money on it.”
Sixty percent of the forum’s agenda will be about modernizing Russia’s economy, Kremlin economic aide Arkady Dvorkovich told Vedomosti ahead of the forum. He said the rest of the time would be spend focusing on “a look into the future” — a mantra of Kremlin deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov — and global problems related to the economic crisis.
Staff writers Nikolaus von Twickel and Anatoly Medetsky contributed to this report.
Alexander Pikayev, 48, a leading Russian expert on nuclear nonproliferation, was found dead in his apartment in the Maltese town of Bugibba with a blunt head wound, local media reported.
Police have ruled out murder and said Pikayev simply hit his head on a door when falling, MaltaMedia.com, a local news web site, reported Saturday. Pikayev’s computer was still on when his body was discovered.
Alexei Arbatov, Pikayev’s colleague at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Pikayev died Wednesday but the incident was only reported Saturday, RIA-Novosti reported.
Arbatov said Sunday that the official cause of death had not been established. He said it would be announced by Pikayev’s widow, who was in Russia when her husband died but is now in Malta.
Kommersant reported that Pikayev had probably suffered a heart attack. But Nikolai Petrov, who worked with Pikayev at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told The Moscow Times on Sunday that Pikayev had not complained about his health in the months before his death.
Pikayev had worked at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations since 1984 and headed its Center for International Security in recent years. He was a consultant for the State Duma’s Defense Committee from 1994 to 2003 and had worked at the Carnegie Moscow Center since 1997.
Pikayev was also a much-cited media pundit and often commented on current events in The Moscow Times.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
(my note – that means he died on June 16, 2010 and he was a specialist in a lot more than nuclear non-proliferation, exceptionally in economic matters and other international interactions.)
EU diplomat: no details on Iran sanctions until July
17 Jun 2010 07:51 GMT
… opponent of the initiative. Cyprus, Greece and Malta, whose ports could lose income from Iranian shipping lines, … detailed discussions in the coming weeks. The UN last week, including Iran ally Russia and non-interventionist …[PDF]
Russia President orders Belarus gas supplies cut
21 Jun 2010 06:10 GMT
… MOSCOW, June 21 (Reuters) – Russia‘s President Dmitry Medvedev told the gas monopoly … monopoly Gazprom to cut gas supplies to Belarus, the Kremlin’s press office said on Monday. ..
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Jun 15, 2010 … Goldman Sachs 2010 Healthcare Conference. Jérôme Contamine. Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer. Los Angeles, June 15, 2010…
India eyes stake in Russian uranium field
‘India is evaluating the option of picking up stake in one of the world’s largest uranium fields in Russia. The possibility of a minority equity stake in the Elkon field in Russia’s Yakutia province, which is estimated to hold 344,000 tonnes of uranium or about 5.3 per cent of the world’s recoverable reserves, is being seen as a step towards securing long-term supplies for the country’s nuclear capacity, a Government official involved in the exercise said. Russia’s state-owned mining firm ARMZ Uranium Holding Company has the licence to the Elkon field, in which a stake was offered in the course of bilateral negotiations during the Russian Prime Minister, Mr Vladimir Putin’s, visit to India earlier this year. ARMZ Uranium Holding, which also has licences for uranium fields in Kazakhstan and Mongolia, had earlier said it is looking for a strategic partner to help it develop the Elkon mine.’
‘NEW YORK: A major Hong Kong-based company, partly owned by the Chinese government has quietly purchased a 5.1 per cent stake in the lone US-owned provider of enriched uranium for use in civilian nuclear reactors globally.
The Noble Group, that bought the stake in USEC, is the world’s second-largest commodities trading and logistics company after Cargill. One of its minority owners is the Chinese government’s sovereign wealth fund, the New York Times reported yesterday.
Noble said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had purchased the shares on the open market from May 25 to June 2.
Noble wants to become USEC’s partner in marketing uranium enrichment for reactors in Asia, particularly mainland China, according to Richard Elman, Noble’s founder and executive chairman. China could prove to be a ready buyer of USEC’s product. It has a major nuclear power plant construction programme underway to help meet its growing energy demands.’
China announced in late April the sale of two nuclear reactors to Pakistan. This deal is clearly against the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the spirit if not the letter of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) . Nevertheless, the United States has not and may not even register a protest to this sale in spite of its implications for regional stability.
(the last three listings are from this page of the CSIS website)
Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites Times of London by Hugh Tomlinson
Jordan’s Atomic Desires Test Obama’s Nuclear Agenda GSN
Jordan’s ambitions for a civilian nuclear power sector, while supported by the United States, also raise concerns in Washington about aggravating Israel and an arms buildup in the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday (see GSN, Aug. 9, 2009). Amman and Washington are preparing a civilian nuclear trade deal that would give Jordan access to U.S. nuclear technology and expertise.
I also just found these two nifty products for testing ocean water and other water temperatures and chemistry – very nifty for the Gulf of Mexico townspeople and fishermen to sue BP and have some real information to use.
Oh, that’s terrible but so true . . .
Marine Science Education Test Kits
HANNA Instruments is now offering a new series of test kits for use by educators and marine science students. These portable kits are specifically designed for teachers to get the most out of their classroom time with well constructed lessons and activities.
The backpack is designed with all the necessary components in one place, reducing the chance of misplacing an item. The durable backpack is ideal to take out in the field for on site measurements. The components are tied together by an extensive teachers manual that includes information about each parameter, classroom activities which are designed to introduce students to each parameter, and detailed field testing procedures. Using the supplied course of study in correlation with HANNA’s parameter test kits and pocket testers, the Marine Science Backpack Lab™ for Education proves teachers with a valuable tool in helping their students assess the water quality of marine environment.
The HANNA Instruments Backpack Lab™ is an example of our innovation and desire to respond to the needs of our customers. HANNA looks forward to supporting teachers with our continuing Backpack Lab™ series.
The HI 3899BP Marine Science Education Test Kit is supplied with the following:
110 tests each for Acidity and Alkalinity, 100 tests for Ammonia, Carbon Dioxide, Dissolved Oxygen, Hardness, Nitrate, Nitrogen, Phosphate, Salinity, Conductivity, Temperature and more.
My Note –
Isn’t that nifty? But for the petrochemicals and dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico right now, additional test chemicals might need to be added to the handy system they are offering. Its still nifty though.
(And this one – a little pricey but for the Gulf of Mexico spill and its impacts, it sure would be worth having – and for other polluted crap testing too.)
Waterproof pH/EC/TDS/Temp Meter
Click to enlarge
HI 991300 offers you the combination of pH, electro-conductivity, total dissolved solids and temperature measurements. To increase precision, you can select the meter which will work best with your range of conductivity, from purified to brackish waters. There are only 2 buttons, yet you can select from a range of calibration buffers and even the temperature scale (°C or °F) most familiar to you.
The housing is waterproof and rated for IP 67 conditions. The multi-parameter probe, HI 1288, includes pH, EC/TDS and temperature in one convenient, rugged handle. Other user selectable features include different TDS factors from 0.45 to 1.00, and a range of temperature coefficients (ß) from 0.0 to 2.4% for greater consistency and reproducibility. Also selectable are standardized buffer recognition values. To ensure against interference from transient electrical noise, a solid-state amplifier is integrated into the probe.
4 parameters with a single probe
Stability indicator and hold feature
Over 1500 hours of battery life
HI 991300 is supplied complete with pH/EC/TDS/T HI 1288 probe, with 1 m (3.3 ft.) cable, batteries, rugged carrying case and instructions.
Specifications HI 991300
0.00 to 14.00 pH; 0 to 3999 µS/cm EC;
0 to 2000 ppm TDS; 0.0 to 60.0°C or 32.0 to 140.0°F
This year’s Ocean Tech Expo opened under sparkling skies on the Newport, RI waterfront. The event held May 25-27, 2010 provided a wonderful opportunity for companies to display the latest in ocean technology management and exploration equipment. The expo took place at the Newport Yachting Center and this seaside location made it easy for companies to provide “in-water” demos of their products.
Last Updated ( Jun 11, 2010 at 05:51 AM ) Read more… Team Finds Subtropical Waters Flushing Through Greenland Fjord
Waters from warmer latitudes — or subtropical waters — are reaching Greenland’s glaciers, driving melting and likely triggering an acceleration of ice loss, reports a team of researchers led by Fiamma Straneo, a physical oceanographer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
Last Updated ( Apr 25, 2010 at 10:08 PM )
(from website above and this one is from their news today – )
Scientists Call for a New Strategy for Polar Ocean Observation
Jun 23, 2010 at 04:33 AM
Scientists Call for a New Strategy for Polar Ocean Observation
Cost-effective approach could help predict climate change impacts for all marine ecosystems
MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—In a report published in this week’s issue of Science, a team of oceanographers, including MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Ecosystems Center director Hugh Ducklow, outline a polar ocean observation strategy they say will revolutionize scientists’ understanding of marine ecosystem response to climate change. The approach, which calls for the use of a suite of automated technologies that complement traditional data collection, could serve as a model for marine ecosystems worldwide and help form the foundation for a comprehensive polar ocean observation system.
The complexity of marine food webs and the “chronic under-sampling” of the world’s oceans present major constraints to predicting the future of and optimally managing and protecting marine resources. “We know more about Venus than we do about the Earth’s oceans,” says Ducklow. “We need an ocean observation system analogous to meteorological monitoring for weather forecasting, but it’s harder to do in the ocean.”
In polar oceans in particular, including the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) where Ducklow and his colleagues conduct research as part of the NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research project at Palmer Station, high operation costs and harsh conditions restrict the coverage provided by research ships, where much of the data on this ecosystem is collected. To overcome these hurdles, oceanographers around the world have been developing technologies to complement traditional data collection by research ships. The coordinated use of these technologies will enable sustained observations throughout the year in the polar oceans and could form the foundation for a comprehensive observation strategy the team says.
In their report the scientists, led by Oscar Schofield of Rutgers University, describe a multi-platform approach to ocean observation, where data is collected by a host of automated sources including glider robots that measure ocean characteristics continuously for weeks at a time and tourist vessels, ferries, and other “ships of opportunity” outfitted with chemical and biological sensors. The authors also encourage the deployment of oceanographic instruments on animals such as elephant seals and penguins to provide information on animal behavior and oceanographic conditions. Recent tagging of Adélie penguins nesting near Palmer Station has helped scientists understand the link between nutrient upwelling and penguin foraging.
A Rutgers/Webb SLOCUM glider is deployed from a Zodiac near Palmer Station Antarctica. Automated glider robots can measure ocean characteristics continuously for weeks at a time. (Credit: Jason Orfanon_
“We’re looking for ways to use our existing capabilities to obtain data,” says Ducklow. “Our goal is to make things cheaper and get a lot of them out there. This will help to narrow down uncertainty about the effects of warming on the polar oceans in the coming decades to century.”
The team says the WAP is an ideal location for monitoring the impacts of rapid climate change on marine ecosystems and could serve as a model observation system for marine ecosystems worldwide. The rapid climate change in this region is driving large-scale changes in the food web, impacting everything from phytoplankton—the foundation of the food web—to Antarctic krill, to apex predators such as penguins, whales, and seals.
“The comprehensive deployment of these observational systems will revolutionize our understanding of how marine ecosystems are responding to climate change everywhere, not just in Antarctica,” says Ducklow. “With current observation methods, the data you collect, whether it’s from land or from a research vessel, is limited to access by people. Where we are only getting dozens of measurements a year from data collected by people, you could get hundreds or thousands each day with the use of automated technologies.”
This paper stems from work done as part of the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Program’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project at Palmer Station, Antarctica. Hugh Ducklow is the principal investigator of the Palmer LTER. Besides Ducklow and Schofield, the paper’s co-authors are Douglas Martinson, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Michael Meredith, British Antarctic Survey; Mark Moline, California Polytechnic State University; and William Fraser, Polar Oceans Research Group, Sheridan, MT.
Reporters may contact
for full text of this paper: “How Do Polar Marine Ecosystems Respond to Rapid Climate Change?;” O. Schofield, H.W. Ducklow, D.G. Martinson, M.P. Meredith, M.A. Moline, W.R. Fraser; Science 18 June 2010 328: 1520-1523 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1185779].
The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Americas. For more information, visit www.mbl.edu.
It seems those are the same gizmos being employed in the Gulf of Mexico to take test samples at different depths (and readings about temperatures, currents, oil plumes, dispersants and crude oil in the water column) from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Also found this wandering about –
From the Daily Press Briefing at the State Department on June 15, 2010
Visit of U.S. delegation of prominent U.S. technology companies to Syria
And in Syria, we have a delegation of prominent American technology companies in Syria engaging the Syrian Government and the local private sector, civil society, and academic stakeholders. The companies participating in this visit include Dell, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Symantec, and VeriSign. Leading the delegation is Alec Ross, the Secretary of State’s senior advisor for innovation, Jared Cohen from the Secretary’s Policy Planning staff and other State Department officials. The initiative is in line with President Obama’s Cairo speech of last year, where he called for expanding cooperation between the United States and Muslim-majority countries and promoting job creation, education, and technological innovation.
The meeting – the visit has several objectives: first, to advance U.S. commercial interests by opening a new and emerging market for U.S. technology exports; supporting access to technologies that facilitate communication innovation which are crucial to meeting Syria’s needs today and in the future; broadening our engagement with both the Syrian Government and people; and supporting the rights and values that Secretary Clinton spoke of in her speech on internet freedom late last year.
My Note –
I think it would be worth looking up that one.
And this is interesting from the same briefing above –
U.S. has received additional offers of foreign assistance in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill/Qatar has offered containment booms/Sweden has followed up on an earlier offer to include skimmers
From Today –
Coal mine owner sues federal government over ventilation regulations
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 23, 2010 9:57 a.m. EDT
Massey owns mine where 29 workers died in April
Company says agency overstepped its authority
Design of ventilation systems at issue
Use of scrubbers also at issue
(CNN) — Massey Energy Company, which owns a West Virginia coal mine in which 29 workers died in April, has sued the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration over ventilation regulations, the company said Wednesday.
The company is suing over the agency’s use of regulatory authority to control the design of ventilation systems and to limit the use of scrubbers in underground mines.
“We hope the principal beneficiary will be miners, who will have cleaner air, safer mines and more secure jobs,” Massey CEO Don Blankenship said in a statement.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, contends the federal agency exceeded its regulatory authority to enforce mine safety and health laws by effectively dictating the ventilation plan for each mine.
That’s what I said yesterday when that ninny judge in New Orleans decided that the US government has no right to manage the safety and other issues involved in the oil drilling and consequently by precedent of his decision – mining operations and the leases of these oil and minerals operations. This means that Republican appointed judge gave away the rights of the American people and the US government in our interests to oversight of these facilities.
Bloomberg showed Commndr Thad Allen announcing that two deaths have occurred today in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill event and its cleanup – one was on a vessel of opportunity and one was a swimming accident. I’m going to go look up those two.
– cricketdiane (my note)
(also – )
the containment cap has been removed – check the pictures on bloomberg right now – unbelievable.
Oil Spill: NOAA expands closed fisheries, video report of sharks near coast, marine deaths
After more than two months of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, the spread continues to impact marine life. NOAA was recently opened some of the fisheries in the region, but had to expand the closures once again. The tally on marine deaths continues to mount, and a reporter took his camera into the shallow waters to find that sharks are being forced closer to the shore where there is a better supply of oxygen. That video report can be found below.
On day 65 of the oil crisis, it continues to spill and spread. Coast Guard Adm Thad Allen did report that Tuesday crews were able to contain a record… Keep Reading »
Cap removed from leaking BP oil well
Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 11:18 AM Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 11:27 AM
The Coast Guard says BP has been forced to remove a cap that was containing some of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says an underwater robot bumped into the venting system. That sent gas rising through vent that carries warm water down to prevent ice-like crystals from forming in the cap.
Adm. Allen says the cap has been removed and crews are checking to see if crystals have formed before putting it back on. In the meantime, a different system is stilling burning oil on the surface.
Before the problem with the containment cap, it had collected about 700,000 gallons of oil in the previous 24 hours. Another 438,000 gallons was burned.
The federal judge who overturned the Obama administration‘s deepwater drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico reportedly has extensive investments in the energy industry, financial disclosure reports reveal.
Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history, with as much as 127 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.
Feldman’s other financial investments from the 2008 report include Halliburton, which was also involved with the Deepwater Horizon.
“If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing,” Feldman wrote.
The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has almost reached the two month mark and the oil spill is taking its toll on the Louisiana Gulf Coast and wildlife. …
My Note –
I’m going to start a new post with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill info and then see if I can find the news about what Adm. Thad Allen was saying, (where two people were killed or died today in the oil spill mess.)
The lead underwriter for Gazprom was Goldman, Sachs, …
also – just remembered from the hearings today about the credit ratings agencies –
1. noted by someone testifying at the end of the second hour –
The ratings agencies set the standards for what is AAA or BBB, etc. – as he suggested, it is like allowing a private enterprise to determine what is a “tall” building and then they define tall as 5 stories one time, ten stories another time and whatever else at some other time, etc.
2. how did they increase the cushion – the credit cushion in the derivatives – as the executives were saying?
3. the $376 million – in 4 tranches by Citigroup that was described by the Senator – expected to have 77% losses – which ended up being more than that but were rated as AAA
4. by not back reviewing the credit derivatives while claiming to be subjecting them to a new more conservative credit model (and publishing and publicizing that epprudent model was in us) – that is why the AAA ratings on old sets of credit products / derivatives were thought to have the rating based on the new standard when they didn’t – it means the company, its executives, managers and departments intentionally misled clients because their CEO & sales info says they were using the new models and updating the old securities’ ratings using it – when they weren’t
– they also depleted resources and refused to acquire the necessary personnel resources in the departments responsible for placing the old securities packages through the new models and re-rating them appropriately, they effectively hindered them from accomplishing that process and did so knowing the result would be to not have the new ratings model applied to the existing derivatives and previous products put in place by them in the marketplace and still being resold with the new model being touted as if it was used.
– cricketdiane, 04-24-10
About the Goldman Sachs / Abacus case SEC announced this week –
(from NY Times article)
[ . . . ]
The ABN Amro executives who were involved in the Abacus deal were, like Abacus itself, largely unknown. Many focused on “exotics,” that is, complex instruments that are virtually unheard of outside of financial circles.
These executives included Mitchell Janowski, the head of credit trading exotics at ABN; Richard Whittle, global head of credit and alternatives trading; and Stephen Potter on the trading desk, whose job it was to present the trade to ABN’s credit and risk committee.
At the furthest remove from the trade was Robert McWilliam, who was in charge of assessing the credit quality of ABN’s trading counterparties.
According to people involved in the transaction, Goldman and ACA Capital, a bond insurance company that also played a central part in Abacus, contacted ABN Amro because they needed a big bank to offset ACA’s risk in the deal.
( . .
Former ABN executives were divided on the merits of the case against Goldman. One person involved in the deal said that if ABN Amro executives had known of Mr. Paulson’s role in Abacus they might have had second thoughts about the deal.
But another former executive insisted that ACA, as an expert in this area, had a chance to reject the securities that Mr. Paulson had chosen for the deal.
“These guys were experts,” this person said. “If they were so good and thought the market was going to go to hell, they should not have put their name to it.”
A version of this article appeared in print on April 23, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition.
When the Abacus investment soured, Royal Bank of Scotland, under the terms of the deal, was obligated to cover the $840.1 million in losses. The British bank paid that sum to Goldman Sachs, which, in turn, paid John A. Paulson, the hedge fund manager who had bet against the deal. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman had devised the investment to fail from the start so that Mr. Paulson could wager against it. Goldman has vowed to fight the claims, which it has called baseless.
(from above NY Times article, 04-23-10)
A Routine Deal Became an $840 Million Mistake
By LANDON THOMAS Jr.
Published: April 22, 2010
Perhaps 60% Of Today’s Oil Price Is Pure Speculation
Jun 27, 2006 – The price of crude oil today is not made according to any traditional … of major oil trading banks such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley have any idea who …. US gasoline and heating oil futures on the ICE Futures exchange in London. … where we have both high supplies of crude oil and high crude oil prices. … www.rense.com/general81/pure.htm
(also from the 2006 – 2007 oil prices debacle – )
“We’re facing a new threshold and that’s $4 a gallon,” said Mr. Reed of Edmunds.com. “It’s going to be interesting to see at what point will people start making substantial changes.”
For an 800-mile round trip, the average during the summer, the extra cost of paying a dollar more a gallon at the pump adds up to $40 for a vehicle that gets 20 miles a gallon.
A third of all leisure travel takes place in the summer. This season, Americans will take 326 million trips, according to the Travel Industry Association, essentially the same as last year. The trade group expects Americans to spend $1,000 on each trip, but travelers are expected to save money on hotels, food and dining to make up for the higher gasoline expense.
Gasoline prices rose to record highs this spring on the back of a big increase in oil prices. After reaching a high of $75.17 a barrel in April, crude oil remains around $70 a barrel because of concerns over the security of supplies around the world.
Gas prices are directly affected by oil’s movements. A general rule is that a $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil adds nearly 25 cents to the price of gas at the pump.
Higher energy prices have eaten into incomes, wiping out almost a third of last year’s total wage increases, according to a new report by the United States Conference of Mayors and Global Insights. In 2005, energy expenditures accounted for 5.9 percent of consumer spending — up 20 percent from 2004, the report said. Households spent $287 billion for gasoline and $225 billion on other energy expenses, or 9 percent of all wages and salaries.
The Energy Information Administration of the Energy Department, in a recent report, said a lasting increase of 10 percent in the price of crude oil would lead to a 0.4 percent drop in domestic petroleum consumption over two years. While that may not seem like much for a nation that consumes more than 20.5 million barrels of oil a day, it can add up.
“So far, $3 a gallon is old hat,” said Jan Stuart, an energy economist at UBS in New York. “The question is, What kind of price levels do you need for people to stay at home?”
This is not to say that Americans are immune to changes in energy prices, whose effects are slowly spreading through the economy. Lower-income households, which devote a higher share of domestic spending to energy, are feeling the pain, certainly, much more than higher-income families.
(from the same article above – 2006)
By Labor Day, drivers will have logged more than 800 billion miles, or 8.6 billion miles a day, and will have consumed 36 billion gallons of fuel crisscrossing the United States, according to the Energy Department.
Gas Prices Aren’t Deterring Summer Travelers – New York Times
May 27, 2006 – After reaching a high of $75.17 a barrel in April, crude oil remains around $70 a barrel because of concerns over the security of supplies around the world. … http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/27/business/27gasoline.html
Gas Prices Aren’t Deterring Summer Travelers
By JAD MOUAWAD
Published: May 27, 2006
My Note – and considering the following – why were speculators in energy and oil futures allowed to drive up the prices of crude to over $100 per barrel?
CFTC Market Surveillance Program
The CFTC’s market surveillance program is intended to preserve the economic functions of futures and option markets. The market surveillance program’s primary mission is to identify situations that could pose a threat of manipulation and to initiate preventive actions.
Large Trader Reporting Program
The CFTC operates a comprehensive system of collecting information on market participants as part of its market surveillance program. The Commission collects market data and position information from exchanges, clearing members, futures commission merchants (FCMs), foreign brokers, and traders. The Commission and U.S. futures exchanges employ a comprehensive large-trader reporting system (LTRS), where clearing members, FCMs, and foreign brokers (collectively called reporting firms) file daily reports with the Commission.
Speculative Limits To protect futures markets from excessive speculation that can cause unreasonable or unwarranted price fluctuations, the Commodity Exchange Act authorizes the Commission to impose limits on the size of speculative positions in futures markets.
US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Department of the US Treasury
Index Investment DataSwap dealers and index traders that receive a “special call” (under CFTC Rule 18.05) must file monthly reports with the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight within 5 business days after the end of the month. Selected quarterly data from those reports is published below. Those data show the national values and the equivalent number of futures contracts for all U.S. markets with more than $0.5 billion of reported net notional value of index investment at the end of any one quarter.
The most recent quarter-end information generally is added about 4 to 5 weeks after the “as of” date. Once posted, the CFTC does not generally revise this information to reflect any amended information subsequently received, but may do so if the changes are extraordinary.
Does this mean that only a selection / a slice of the swap dealers and index traders are given oversight and overview by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission? Don’t they have just about the best computers and software in the world available to them? Or is that only one part of some bigger process that isn’t evident?
Treasury Financial Manual
Volume IV: Treasury Tax and Loan Depositaries
Treasury’s operating cash balance is maintained in a portfolio of four separate investment vehicles under investment authority codified at Title 31 U.S.C. Section 323. Currently, only financial institutions that are designated as Treasury Tax and Loan (TT&L) depositaries are eligible to participate in Treasury’s investment program.
Treasury’s Federal Reserve Account:
Represents Treasury’s checking account. The vast majority of payments and collections are paid out of and received into this account maintained at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Treasury does not earn explicit interest earnings on the account although it does receive implicit interest on the balances in the form of Federal Reserve earnings. Treasury generally targets a $5 billion end-of-day balance in its Federal Reserve Account.
Represents funds invested with commercial depositaries that agree to pay Treasury interest at the rate determined by the Secretary of the Treasury. Treasury has the ability to call TT&L funds on a same-day basis and place funds on a same-day or one-day basis depending upon each depositary’s designation (almost 90% of Treasury’s TT&L capacity is available on a same-day basis). TT&L investments may be placed as direct investments, dynamic investments, or special direct investments.
Term Investment Option (TIO) Investments:
The TIO is an investment opportunity offered to TT&L depositaries. Treasury will frequently auction excess operating funds to participants for a fixed term and rate determined through a competitive bidding process. Term Investments are normally placed toward mid-month and mature toward end-of-month. Acceptable collateral is typically TT&L collateral and commercial loans held in a Borrower-in-Custody (BIC) arrangement. However, Treasury reserves the right to restrict acceptable collateral to TT&L collateral only.
Repurchase Agreement (Repo) Program:
The Repo Program is Treasury’s newest investment opportunity offered to TT&L depositaries. Treasury will invest excess operating funds through Reverse Repo transactions for an overnight term. Repo investments will typically occur daily at approximately 9:15 a.m. ET. Settlement is Fedwire delivery-versus-payment. Underlying securities for a Repo investment must be U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, or Bonds. The Repo Program began as a pilot program in March 2006 and was designated a permanent program in the fall of 2007.
The Troubled Asset Relief Program, commonly referred to as TARP, is a program of the United States government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector. It is the largest component of the government’s measures in 2008 to address the subprime mortgage crisis.
Of the $245 billion invested in U.S. banks, over $169 billion has been paid back, including $13.7 billion in dividends, interest and other income, along with $4 billion in warrant proceeds as of April 2010. AIG is considered “on track” to pay back $51 billion from divestitures of two units and another $32 billion in securities. In March 2010, GM repaid more than $2 billion to the U.S. and Canadian governments and on April 21 GM announced the entire loan portion of the U.S. and Canadian governments’ investments had been paid back in full, with interest, for a total of $8.1 billion.
Anti-cartel enforcement is a key focus of competition law enforcement policy. In the US the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act 2004 raised the maximum imprisonment term for price fixing from three to ten years, and the maximum fine from $10 to $100 million.
These actions complement the private enforcement which has always been an important feature of United States antitrust law. The United States Supreme Court summarised why Congress allows punitive damages in Hawaii v. Standard Oil Co. of Cal.:
“ Every violation of the antitrust laws is a blow to the free-enterprise system envisaged by Congress. This system depends on strong competition for its health and vigor, and strong competition depends, in turn, on compliance with antitrust legislation. In enacting these laws, Congress had many means at its disposal to penalize violators. It could have, for example, required violators to compensate federal, state, and local governments for the estimated damage to their respective economies caused by the violations. But, this remedy was not selected. Instead, Congress chose to permit all persons to sue to recover three times their actual damages every time they were injured in their business or property by an antitrust violation. ”
In the mean time, Art. 81 EC makes clear who the targets of competition law are in two stages with the term agreement “undertaking”. This is used to describe almost anyone “engaged in an economic activity”, but excludes both employees, who are by their “very nature the opposite of the independent exercise of an economic or commercial activity”, and public services based on “solidarity” for a “social purpose”. Undertakings must then have formed an agreement, developed a “concerted practice”, or, within an association, taken a decision. Like US antitrust, this just means all the same thing; any kind of dealing or contact, or a “meeting of the minds” between parties.
and the corresponding provision under US antitrust states similarly,
“No person shall acquire, directly or indirectly, the whole or any part of the stock or other share capital… of the assets of one or more persons engaged in commerce or in any activity affecting commerce, where… the effect of such acquisition, of such stocks or assets, or of the use of such stock by the voting or granting of proxies or otherwise, may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.
What amounts to a substantial lessening of, or significant impediment to competition is usually answered through empirical study.
Then although the lists are seldom closed, certain categories of abusive conduct are usually prohibited under the country’s legislation. For instance, limiting production at a shipping port by refusing to raise expenditure and update technology could be abusive. Tying one product into the sale of another can be considered abuse too, being restrictive of consumer choice and depriving competitors of outlets. This was the alleged case in Microsoft v. Commission leading to an eventual fine of €497 million for including its Windows Media Player with the Microsoft Windows platform. A refusal to supply a facility which is essential for all businesses attempting to compete to use can constitute an abuse.
Jan 23, 2010 …Bankers scarce as Davos probes post-crisis dangers … CEO Lloyd Blankfein, a Davos regular before 2009, doesn’t plan to attend. Goldman President Gary Cohn, however, will be making the trip, a spokeswoman said. … http://www.marketwatch.com/…/bankers-lose-their-luster-at-davos-2010-01-23 – Cached
Bankers Return to Davos. January 24, 2010 12:01 a.m. … March 30, 2009 12:01 a.m.. Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs Group, talked to The Journal’s …
topics.wsj.com/person/c/gary-d-cohn/656 – Cached – Similar
Jan 26, 2010 … Ackermann and Sands will be the most visible bankers in Davos, …Cohn, Goldman Sachs’s president and the most senior executive attending … http://www.businessweek.com/…/davos-too-big-to-fail-as-bankers-recoil-in-political-backlash.html – Cached
However, I was trying to find the part where at Davos, the bankers and investment firms / bank holding companies / Wall Street investors and brokers / investment bankers all got together in a room to decide amongst themselves to provide a united front against legislation of financial reforms, etc. – which was on the news at the time. I don’t remember if it was at Davos 2009 – or 2010, but it was on just about every news show when they did it.
I’ll find it . . .
I do remember one of the panels that Cohn or somebody from the US financial system was on speaking before a packed audience at Davos in 2009 among other financial experts and leaders addressing questions – it was a complete embarrassment for the US and the Wall Street view of the financial crisis and what to do about it. I’ll see if I can find that video too. It has to be seen to be fully comprehended in light of reality.
(from BBC News – about Davos 2010 -)
Josef Ackermann, the boss of Deutsche Bank, proposed the creation of a B20 group of business leaders, to ensure the voice of business was heard when the G20 group of leading countries met again to co-ordinate economic policies and financial regulation.
(my note, if that isn’t a cartel – I don’t know what is)
Some of the world’s top bankers – including those at Deutsche Bank and Barclays – indicated that they might be prepared to pay a global financial insurance levy, so that the next bank bail-out would be financed by the industry, not by taxpayers.
Both Mr Sands and Mr Ackermann warned that there would have to be a trade-off between making the financial system safer and raising the cost of, or even limiting, the availability of credit.
(and on cable news and business shows there were a parade of interviews with a couple of financial / CEO people who continuously flitted around Davos and the media with those and other threats – insisting that everyone needed to treat the bankers much nicer and not assign blame to them for the mess, etc., my note))
Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) — For a sign of how the mood has changed at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, consider the speakers at an invitation-only client lunch hosted by Paul Calello, who runs Credit Suisse Group AG’s investment bank.
Last year’s panel on “Financial Market Dynamics” featured senior executives from financial companies JPMorgan Chase & Co., Blackstone Group LP, hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management and NYSE Euronext. This year clients will learn about “Leadership, Responsibility and the Recovery of the Financial System” from U.K. and Swiss regulators and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, an economics professor who has served in the U.S. government.
While those attending may represent banks that are too big to fail, they are not too big to keep a low profile. Citigroup Inc. CEO Vikram Pandit, Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack and the chief executives of Credit Suisse and UBS AG won’t be speaking at any sessions listed in the official program. Bank of America Corp. CEO Brian Moynihan and Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn are each participating on one panel.
None of them will be speaking at a session on “Redesigning Financial Regulation” on Saturday afternoon moderated by Barry Eichengreen, a professor of economics and political science at the University of California at Berkeley. That panel will include European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, the governor of the central bank of Mexico, the South African finance minister and the CEO of U.K. insurer Prudential Plc.
Financial companies continue to play a key role in the World Economic Forum, with more than 25 banks, insurers, exchanges and investment companies serving as sponsors of the annual meeting. They include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as the two biggest Swiss banks and HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered Plc from the U.K.
Two of the seven co-chairs of this year’s meeting run banks: Deutsche Bank AG CEO Josef Ackermann and Peter Sands, CEO of London-based Standard Chartered. Ackermann, who chairs the Institute of International Finance trade group, has positioned himself as a spokesman for the industry. He said at a conference in London last week that proposals to split up or limit the size of banks are “misguided.”
Ackermann and Sands will be the most visible bankers in Davos, with each participating in three sessions. On Jan. 30, Ackermann will take the stage as the sole private-sector executive alongside Summers, the finance minister of France, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund.
Offstage — in private sessions and dinners — bankers may wield more clout. Ackermann is one of a group of bank CEOs scheduled to take part in an “informal” Saturday morning gathering on global financial regulatory reform with central bankers and ministers, said Ackermann’s spokesman Stefan Baron.
“We have transformed the banking crisis into kind of a sovereign solvency crisis by buying up a lot of private securities and auto companies and so forth,” he said. “We’ve dealt with the consequences of vaporizing $3 trillion of private demand in the U.S. by providing a lot of public demand.”
( . . . )
Looking for Goldman
Banks typically reserve hotel suites and conference rooms throughout the Alpine town to hold private meetings with clients and to host cocktail parties and invitation-only dinners. Citigroup, the bank that is 27 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury Department, will be having a cocktail party on Friday. Jon Diat, a spokesman for the bank, declined to provide details.
In a sign of how little of the action at Davos takes place at public events, only two of the seven Goldman Sachs executives attending the forum are participating in discussions on the official schedule.
“This is a client-driven event for us,” said Samuel Robinson, a company spokesman. Goldman Sachs will host “a couple of small, private dinners” that will include “a range of clients.” He declined to comment further.
The bank’s delegation includes four executives from New York, two from London and J. Michael Evans, chairman of the firm’s Asian business, who is based in Hong Kong.
Cohn, Goldman Sachs’s president and the most senior executive attending from the firm, is scheduled to participate in a panel on “Rethinking Risk in the Boardroom” that will be closed to the media. The other Goldman Sachs executive making an appearance is Dina Powell, head of corporate engagement, who will be one of 12 panelists in a discussion on Wednesday.
Her subject: how business can address rural poverty.
For the previous few days, bankers and regulators had been shouting past one another over the Volcker Rule — President Obama’s surprising proposal to prevent commercial banks from engaging in proprietary trading and limiting their overall size — and what it would mean to the global banking system.
The bankers had gone on the offensive, with Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays Capital, taking the lead.
“You have to step back from the rhetoric,” he said. “I have seen no evidence to suggest that shrinking banks and making banks smaller and more narrow is the answer.” (Not all the chief executives were in agreement on that point, however. Several privately told me, as one said, that “size, by default, increases risk.” That seems a sensible assessment, but none of them contested Mr. Diamond’s point out loud.)
The more contentious discussions were around Mr. Obama’s plan to restrict proprietary trading. One hedge fund manager described the proposed rule by using more four-letter words in one sentence — as nouns and verbs — than I thought possible.
The biggest debate surrounded exactly how proprietary trading was going to be defined.
Mr. Obama had said, “Banks will no longer be allowed to own, invest or sponsor hedge funds, private equity funds or proprietary trading operations for their own profit, unrelated to serving their customers.”
( . . . )
A senior banker put it to me more bluntly: “I can find a way to say that virtually any trade we make is somehow related to serving one of our clients. They can go ahead and impose the rule on Friday, and I can assure you that by Monday, we’ll find a way around it. Nothing will change unless the definition is ironclad.”
Indeed, in the past week and half, banks have tried to estimate their proprietary trading, with most banks suggesting that it is a minuscule part of their business. JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and others estimated it at less than 2 percent of their business; Goldman Sachs said it was under 10 percent.
But as the chief executive of a global bank said to me, knocking back a shot of vodka, “The numbers you’ve heard about don’t include all the investments we make that are related to our clients. Nobody’s talking about that. That’s a much bigger number.”
The politicians and regulators in attendance, on the other hand, started the week off with their own fiery bursts, including this from Representative Barney Frank, who didn’t win over many bankers in the audience: “I think almost every American here pays much less in taxes than you ought to,” he said. “I’m going to go back and try to raise the taxes of most of the people who attended here.”
And so perhaps it was surprising that by Saturday, after many of the biggest names had already flown back in their private jets (yes, many took private jets, though it is worth noting that Mr. Diamond did not, nor did George Soros nor Eric Schmidt of Google, for those of you keeping score), the beginning of an agreement started coming together.
Government regulators from the United States and Europe laid out their financial reform plans Saturday before a skeptical banking industry, asking financiers for input but adamant that change was coming with or without their support.
Emerging from the two-hour meeting as its unofficial spokesman, U.S. Representative Barney Frank made it clear that governments were now calling the shots after spending billions to bail out the industry.
The meeting comes after days of tension at this Swiss Alpine resort over government plans for stricter controls on the financial industry to limit speculation and avoid a repeat of the 2008 meltdown that plunged the world into recession. Bankers have protested, saying the U.S. and other countries risk choking off a gradual economic recovery with regulation they see as heavy-handed.
The event was not on the forum’s official agenda, but quickly became the most significant development of the day.
“We are determined to do strong, sensible regulation,” Frank said, rejecting any notion that President Barack Obama’s administration could sink the economy again with too many new controls on the banking industry.
“That’s nonsense,” Frank told reporters. “What we’re trying globally to recover from is a total lack of regulation.”
On the government side, those at the meeting included Lawrence H. Summers, Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, British treasury chief Alistair Darling, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, which oversees the 16-nation euro zone.
Bankers attending the private talks included Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of America Corp. CEO Brian Moynihan and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman Jacob Frenkel.
The banks were asked for their input, Frank said, adding that he believed they got the message that tighter controls were coming.
“Frankly it doesn’t matter if they did or didn’t,” Frank said. “They aren’t in charge of this.”
I wish I could find that – it seems like it was on Wednesday or Thursday at Davos when the bankers in the afternoon were shown going into a room together for a private meeting and they all looked pissed as hell. I’ll keep looking but they intended to unite against and plan a strategy against whatever reforms and regulations, bonus diminishment, proprietary trading regulations, and higher funding against leverage requirements, etc. – I’ll keep looking –
(This one has some video – including three at the bottom of the page, one of which is titled – Bankers at Davos criticise Obama’s State of the Union speech)
A bust-up over US plans to curb risk-taking by banks again took centre stage on the last day of the World Economic Forum, with central bank chiefs huddling with finance ministers and officials, and top private bankers.
The banking issue has clouded the four-day Davos meeting, starting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s opening address in which he backed US President Barack Obama’s tough clampdown plans.
Chinese and Indian delegates have trumpeted their country’s healthy growth rates of nearly nine and seven percent respectively, and the United States hailed Friday’s unexpectedly-rosy 5.7 percent GDP growth figure.
But unemployment remains a worrying problem in the United States and Europe, which both have a jobless rate of around 10 percent, despite a return to overall growth.
“What we’re seeing in the United States is a statistical recovery and a human recession,” said Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economic advisor, commenting on the jobless recovery phenomenon.
Warnings of a double-dip recession — where nascent recovery fades back into a new slowdown — have abounded in Davos as leaders mull exit strategies from huge stimulus packages agreed to prevent a full-blown Depression last year.
Jan 29, 2010 …Davos bankers to lobby against Obama reforms | Business | guardian . … If so, wouldn’t this meeting be illegal under the anti-trust laws if it happened in the US? …. Comments are closed for this entry … http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/davos-bank-ceos-hold-priv_n_441624.html
Jan 28, 2010 … British and American banks at a secret meeting in Davos… between London-based bankers before presenting the UK’s position … tomorrow to
January 28, 2010
Davos: Top bankers to hold secret talks with Darling in bid to avert tough sanctions
Alistair Darling is to meet the chiefs of top British and American banks at a secret meeting in Davos tomorrow to hear their concerns about the introduction of tough new sanctions against the banking sector.
The Times has learnt that the bosses of HSBC, Barclays and Standard Chartered, and top executives from key American banks, including JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, will try to persuade the Chancellor that any moves to curtail the banks will have unforeseen repercussions for the global economy.
The talks will be hosted by Peter Sands, the group chief executive of Standard Chartered, one of the architects of last year’s banking bailout.
The bankers will also press the point that any perception that there could be an extension of this year’s tax on bonuses could damage London’s status as a financial capital.
Mr Soros defended Mr Obama’s plans to stop banks growing too big and to prevent them undertaking riskier activities such as proprietary trading and said that he had been unimpressed by the bankers’ response to it. “I think the banking community . . . is tone deaf. I think it is a very unfortunate reaction.”
Mr Soros’s broadside came minutes after three of the world’s most senior bankers had questioned the wisdom and practicalities of clamping down too fiercely on banks.
Bob Diamond, president of Barclays, argued in favour of large universal banks because they were liked and needed by big business, by governments and by large institutional investors, such as pension funds. “I’ve seen no evidence … that suggests that shrinking banks to make them smaller and narrower is effective,” he said.
Josef Ackermann, chairman of Deutsche Bank, hit out at politicians and regulators for failing to take their share of responsibility for the global financial collapse, a direct criticism of politicians that leading bankers have long held off from making.
However, even if the ratings agencies were duped, their participation in these complex deals gives the appearance of complicity. At minimum, Goldman and its competitors had a symbiotic relationship with the ratings agencies.
When Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein recently testified before the congressionally mandated Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which is looking into the causes of the financial crisis, he suggested that Wall Street banks were at the mercy of the ratings agencies.
However, in a McClatchy investigation late last year, former Moody’s officials recounted how Wall Street investment powers like Goldman played the three major ratings agencies off each other to get the ratings they needed to attract investors.
The carrot for the ratings agencies was a big reward, $1 million or more, for providing an investment grade to a complex deal.
Moody’s dominated the rating of “structured-finance products,” the general term for complex financial instruments concocted by Wall Street. Chief among these were collateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities.
Both involve pools of loans, most often mortgages, which were packaged into bonds that were sold to investors. Institutional investors such as pension funds and endowments are often restricted to purchasing only investment-grade securities, so Wall Street worked feverishly to win investment grades from Moody’s or its competitors, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.
McClatchy’s investigation documented how McDaniel promoted officials from the highflying structured finance division, and how he installed its architect Brian Clarkson as president and chief operating officer of Moody’s.
Officials who oversaw the process of giving top ratings to some of the worst deals were given top executive suites and jobs heading regulatory affairs and compliance.
During this era, former Moody’s executives said, ratings quality eroded as analysts were under intense pressure from Clarkson and McDaniel to maintain market share and a “business-friendly” environment.
During the Senate hearings on the credit ratings agencies, there was a place during the middle set (second of the series) when the adversarial and abusive tactics used by the investment firms was described by one of the three managers of the credit ratings agencies that were testifying. That is a form of extortion by intimidation, considering that they were literally yelling on the phone at the ratings committee members, threatening, intimidating, abusive and apparently it was a common practice over the course of the hundreds of thousands of credit derivatives that were rated by the agencies for them.
That shows a pattern of behavior. Just as the bankers, ratings agencies, Wall Street investment firms and speculative futures traders in every case, engaged in those kinds of pattern of behavior. They met together in secret. They knew all the details of the deals, because their organizations were the same ones making the mergers happen for companies. They were the same ones with the inside information about what institutional investors were doing because their firms were handling or advising on those portfolios and trades, then turning around and making the same speculative position purchases for themselves in both hedging plays and short sells and large trades to benefit their own profits. Hmmm . . .
They met regularly with their competitors, even going to Davos and other similar events to meet behind closed doors intending to create and support a united front to benefit their own profits and purposes. To what end is their good in this when such a massive population, including those populations’ joint resources have been not only jeopardized by this behavior but also depleted, lost or destroyed?
TARP allows the United States Department of the Treasury to purchase or insure up to $700 Billion of “troubled assets”, defined as “(A) residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before March 14, 2008, the purchase of which the Secretary determines promotes financial market stability; and (B) any other financial instrument that the Secretary, after consultation with the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, determines the purchase of which is necessary to promote financial market stability, but only upon transmittal of such determination, in writing, to the appropriate committees of Congress.”
In short, this allows the Treasury to purchase illiquid, difficult-to-value assets from banks and other financial institutions. The targeted assets can be collateralized debt obligations, which were sold in a booming market until 2007 when they were hit by widespread foreclosures on the underlying loans. TARP is intended to improve the liquidity of these assets by purchasing them using secondary market mechanisms, thus allowing participating institutions to stabilize their balance sheets and avoid further losses.
Yet, if the Capital Purchase Program warrants of Goldman Sachs are representative, then the Capital Purchase Program warrants were worth between $5-to-$24 billion dollars as of May 1, 2009. Thus canceling the CPP warrants amounts to a $5-to-$24 billion dollar subsidy to the banking industry at taxpayers expense.
The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced the termination of the enforcement action listed below. Terminations of enforcement actions are listed on the Federal Reserve’s website, www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/enforcement, as they occur.
Heritage Bank, Topeka, Kansas
Prompt Corrective Action Directive dated March 26, 2009
Terminated April 13, 2010
(which is included in part of the document for Ameri-National Corporation below, my note)
Release Date: April 20, 2010
For immediate release
The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday announced the execution of a Written Agreement by and between Ameri-National Corporation, Overland Park, Kansas, a registered bank holding company, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
The board of directors of Ameri shall take appropriate steps to fully utilize Ameri’s financial and managerial resources, pursuant to section 225.4(a) of Regulation Y of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Board of Governors”)
(12 C.F.R. § 225.4(a)), to ensure that National Bank of Kansas City complies with the Formal Agreement entered into with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) on May 20, 2008, and that Heritage Bank, National Association complies with the Formal Agreement entered into with the OCC on September 29, 2008, and any other supervisory action taken by the Banks’ federal regulators.
Dividends and Distributions
2. (a) Ameri shall not declare or pay any dividends without the prior written approval of the Reserve Bank and the Director of the Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation (the “Director”) of the Board of Governors.
(b) Ameri shall not directly or indirectly take dividends or any other form of payment representing a reduction in capital from the Banks without the prior written approval of the Reserve Bank.
(c) Ameri and its nonbank subsidiary shall not make any distributions of interest, principal, or other sums on subordinated debentures or trust preferred securities without the prior written approval of the Reserve Bank and the Director.
(d) All requests for prior approval shall be received by the Reserve Bank at least 30 days prior to the proposed dividend declaration date, proposed distribution on subordinated debentures, and required notice of deferral on trust preferred securities. All requests shall contain, at a minimum, current and projected information on Ameri’s capital, earnings, and cash flow; the Banks’ capital, asset quality, earnings, and allowance for loan and lease losses (the “ALLL”); and identification of the sources of funds for the proposed payment or distribution. For requests to declare or pay dividends, Ameri must also demonstrate that the requested declaration or payment of dividends is consistent with the Board of Governors’ Policy Statement on the Payment of Cash Dividends by State Member Banks and Bank Holding Companies, dated November 14, 1985 (Federal Reserve Regulatory Service,
4-877 at page 4-323).
Debt and Stock Redemption
3. (a) Ameri and any nonbank subsidiary shall not, directly or indirectly, incur, increase, or guarantee any debt without the prior written approval of the Reserve Bank. All requests for prior written approval shall contain, but not be limited to, a statement regarding the purpose of the debt, the terms of the debt, and the planned source(s) for debt repayment, and an analysis of the cash flow resources available to meet such debt repayment.
(b) Ameri shall not, directly or indirectly, purchase or redeem any shares of its stock without the prior written approval of the Reserve Bank.
NEW YORK (Reuters)—An analyst
at Goldman Sachs, a banker at
Merrill Lynch and a printing plant
worker were arrested, charged with
participating in an international insider
trading ring that netted $6.7
million and involved more than a
Authorities said the schemes involved
stealing pre-publication copies
of BusinessWeek magazine to gain advance
knowledge of share tips and persuading
an investment banker to pass
on details about upcoming mergers.
The U.S. Attorney said those under
arrest were Eugene Plotkin, a bond
analyst at Goldman Sachs Group
Inc., and Stanislav Shpigelman, a junior-
level investment banker at Merrill
Lynch & Co. Inc.
A third man, Juan Renteria, an
employee at a plant that printed BusinessWeek
magazine, was arrested
in Milwaukee. All three face insider
trading and securities fraud charges.
“These defendants developed their
sources of information in the hopes of
running that insider trading business
as a money-making machine, and for
a little while it worked, netting millions
of dollars,” said Michael Garcia,
the U.S. Attorney for the Southern
District of New York.
The case showed “there are still
some people out there even at the biggest
and best of Wall Street firms who
are motivated by greed, are willing to
put their careers and their liberties in
jeopardy,” Garcia added.
The case is linked to the arrest last
year of David Pajcin, a former Goldman
employee who allegedly made
stock trades from stolen pre-publication
copies of BusinessWeek. Pajcin
is cooperating with authorities, officials
The U.S. Securities and Exchanges
Commission said the schemes were
orchestrated by Plotkin and Pajcin,
who persuaded Shpigelman to provide
tips on upcoming mergers in return
for a share of trading profits.
In a second scheme, Plotkin and
Pajcin recruited two individuals, including
Renteria, to obtain jobs at a
printing plant, steal advance copies
of BusinessWeek and tip them about
the names of companies discussed. The arrests were the result of an
eight-month investigation that began
in early August 2005.
Plotkin, aged 26, faces a maximum
penalty of 70 years in prison; Shpigelman,
aged 23, could get up to 55
years; and Renteria, aged 20, could
be jailed for 15 years.
All three will be arraigned later on
Separately, the SEC filed civil insider
trading charges against Shpigelman,
Plotkin, Renteria and a number
of people who allegedly received inside
tips. These included Pajcin’s aunt
Sonya Anticevic, a former underwear
factory worker living in Croatia.
Plotkin and Pajcin allegedly recruited
Merrill Lynch’s Shpigelman
to pass along inside information about
various deals at the investment bank,
in exchange for cash payments.
Plotkin and Pajcin traded stocks
based on those tips, making at least
$6.4 million in illicit gains, according
to the complaint.
The deals included Proctor & Gamble
Co.’s acquisition of Gillette Co. in
January 2005 and Adidas’ acquisition
of Reebok in August. The Adidas
deal allegedly netted them more
than $2 million in profit.
In the other scheme, Plotkin and
Pajcin allegedly bribed Renteria
and Nickolaus Shuster, employed
at a Wisconsin printing plant where
McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc.’s Business-
Week was produced, to pass along
the names of stocks favorably mentioned
in the magazine’s “Inside Wall
Street” column, on the trading day
before it hit the newsstands.
The pair traded in approximately
20 different stocks on this basis,
earning $340,000 in illicit gains, the
complaint said. These stocks included
TheStreet.com Inc., PriceSmart Inc.
and Symbol Technologies Inc.
In order to boost their combined
profits, the pair allegedly tipped off
other individuals, including two people
A spokesman at Merrill said:
“These allegations, if true, represent
a serious breach of trust and violation
of Merrill Lynch’s fundamental principles.
We do not tolerate or condone
insider trading. This conduct victimizes
the company and the clients
alike. It is outrageous, if true. We are
cooperating with the regulators.”
The arrests were the result of an
eight-month investigation that began
in early August 2005.
Plotkin, aged 26, faces a maximum
penalty of 70 years in prison; Shpigelman,
aged 23, could get up to 55
years; and Renteria, aged 20, could
be jailed for 15 years.
My Note –
That seems way out of scale considering the billions of dollars involved in the scandals rocking bank’s shareholders, investors, pension funds and depositors, taxpayers, state revenues and budgets, endowments, trusts and other financial pools – which have sustained incredible losses –
The Reserve Bank will make up to $200 billion of loans under the TALF.
TALF loans will have a one-year term (with interest payable monthly), will be folly secured by the market value of high-quality ABS (subject to a collateral haircut), and will be non-recourse to the borrower. The term of TALF loans may be lengthened later if appropriate.
Substitution of collateral during the term of the loan will not be allowed. TALF loans will not be subject to ongoing mark-to-market or re-margining requirements. The U.S. Treasury Department – under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 – will provide $20 billion of credit protection to the Reserve Bank in connection with the TALF, as described below,
Eligible Collateral. Eligible collateral will include U.S. dollar-denominated ABS that have a long-term credit rating in the highest investment-grade rating category (for example, AAA) from two or more major nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs) and do not have a long-term credit rating of below the highest investment-grade rating category from a major NRSRO.
My Note – But aren’t they still making up those AAA ratings – is there any objective standard for what that !!!AAA!!! represents? Aren’t they still being rated by the same two corrupt companies that were making them all through the damages they helped to cause in the financial markets and economies around the world? Aren’t we still paying for their mistakes in every business, school system, state, family, community, employer and non-profit in the US and elsewhere?
About a week and a half ago, I was tracking the funds that have been going to Haiti over the course of many years. Tracking these funds indicate that when consultants and companies from outside Haiti are paid to participate, they take those funds back to their home country which improves its economy and not Haiti’s. The companies know ahead of time, how the funds are “earmarked,” what they are for, what the requirements for the funds are, how to access them, what the deadlines are and how to submit proposals for them.
They structure their business model and proposals to accommodate the requirements in a way that gives them access to those funds, sales of their products and services, consulting fees and contracts through those funds and use Haiti’s needs as an excuse for their own purposes to enhance their own profits. In the meantime, the needs of Haiti and Haiti’s economy are not served. Even when they are served in some measure, the game goes on without any real substantial improvement or change to the infrastructure and economy in Haiti. All of those moneys go to serve the interests of economies and profitability elsewhere.
Why would it make sense to pay over $156,000 dollars for a consultant to define a system of vocational and employment classifications for a country (Haiti in particular), whose unemployment is 80% and whose daily wage is a total of $2.00 per day as a minimum wage when people are employed? How does it help Haiti to pay over $150,000 per consulting firm to study whether adult vocational education would be of help when obviously it would and when it could be established for that sum of money?
Then, aside from the vast numbers of places where I found those funds for Haiti that have been streaming to them by millions and hundreds of millions of dollars for many years, I had been watching as the hedge fund managers across Wall Street had started making the same de-valuing plays which have been affecting economies around the world. About the same time, I noticed a real impact to a project off the coast of Portugal when I was looking up ocean wave generated power projects. Babcock and Brown had the money – they went belly up and the project sits in permanent limbo, neither benefiting anyone going forward nor being able to have its funding restored. Those funds were effectively stolen out from under the project.
As if that wasn’t enough, as I listened to bankers, financial investment firm CEOs and hedge fund managers along with their lobbyists saying that their “plays” haven’t hurt anyone and they shouldn’t be hindered by regulations that are being considered – I saw the note on bloomberg that the Yale endowment is essentially robbing the school’s funds in order to cover the losses from its bad bets. Are they kidding?
So, noting that the European Financial Affairs Commission is meeting on Thursday of this week, I thought maybe a few ideas could be considered to start making solutions to these problems –
In 2008, the US Securities and Exchange Commission banned short-selling and naked short selling. I suggest that capping the volume of blocks that can be moved, sold, traded or short selling plays that can be made as a block would go a long ways to stop the devaluing that occurs also. The prohibiting of these plays against the values that drives those values into the ground rapidly would have to be accomplished hand-in-hand across economies and across markets almost simultaneously by joint agreement between international regulating bodies. And, it would have to be done now.
The change in the huge volume blocks that can be manipulated in the same day or trading session or within the same week, along with the change that would ban short selling plays that should be illegal anyway, could save the values that underwrite the economies in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, the UK and around the world. Partly because where ever they are allowed, the hedge fund managers and brokers will play it out the same way there again next – those changes would need to be made quickly and as a united front across the markets and nations around the world. The Economic European Union would be a good place to take the immediate steps and Joseph Stieglitz had noted some good ideas that would work in tandem with the other two which were published in an article yesterday in SkyNews UK. (which is below, along with some 2008 news links about the banning of short selling that also describe the damage that hedge funds did before the ban could be made.)
The hedge fund managers and large institutional investors are hitting the economies of the world with short plays and bets against values in order to profit which are driving those values into the ground just as they did to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to General Motors, to other corporations and even to state governments across the United States and to the economic base of countries across the world. Using this particular group of “plays” has devastated economies, corporations, pension funds and bond values throughout the US and now they are playing it out against economies, markets, currencies, and assets around the world. The European Economic Affairs Commission is meeting in a couple days, and they need to take the immediate actions necessary to stop the process that is occurring before any more damage is done. Some of the things they can do are to take action that will stop the effects of this process are –
1. Arbitrarily change the number of shares that can be traded in one group, the value of individual plays made on the same day or in the same week and within the same trading session from any one player — these volume blocks need to be capped to prohibit moving huge blocks of shares at one move which can be used to manipulate values and absolutely does destabilize values and markets. The dramatic value shifts are occurring because individual fund managers can make plays which move tremendous blocks of shares or bonds or short plays at the same time which can devalue or re-value these assets in periods of time that are to short to be absorbed. This one thing could go farther to stop the immediate devaluations that are occurring than any one other thing which have been allowing them to hit and run and profit.
2. There needs to be an immediate end to the short selling, bets against the values in order to drive them down, dumping the bonds as huge blocks, and other plays designed to profit when the values plummet – these practices need to be prohibited or banned entirely and immediately. When these types of plays are allowed, they profit no other beyond the hedge fund player making these bets and does so at the expense of the entire economy and the overall markets. They have so far brought down entire corporations by doing it, destroyed the economic values of entire asset classes using this process and are now going from playing field to playing field around the world destabilizing economies by using it.
3. If anyone should be paying for the losses that have been created in this marketplace, to government treasuries, to states’ budgets, to national assets, to the values of national corporate assets – it is the very banks, financial institutions, investment houses and hedge fund managers that sold the world a bill of goods in order to line their own profits. They knew the risks. They knew the outcomes. They knew the real value of what they were selling and that the way they were suggesting it could be used to make money create more money was inherently destructive. They knew it would destroy currency and real property values and real asset values. They knew it could rob the money sitting in large pooled reserves that did not belong to them for their use as a gambling fund with no consequences to them for any losses they incurred. And, they knew that if and when those losses occurred, those pool values, fund values, share values, asset values, currency values, corporate substance values and property values would be stripped to nearly nothing while they profited personally and collectively. They knew and those profits were illegally, immorally and unethically acquired. Why should they keep getting to do it at expense of every citizen, family, community and nation in the world?
4. The note by Joseph Stiglitz makes sense which was printed in SkyNews, about a method of stopping the plays by the hedge fund managers and the damages they are causing which are currently undercutting the asset values of the economies in Greece, Portugal, Spain, the European Union, among others and that have already impacted Ireland, Germany and brought down Iceland’s economy and financial institutions to insolvency. The method he explains has been used in Asia effectively and could be used to stop the desirability of those specific plays which devalue assets, currencies and economies.
5. Deficits in state governments have been created from the same use of state funds to invest and leverage while using those increased value pools to cover actual operating costs and projects. This process only works when the return is positive and when the revenues to cover the leverage continue as income streams at increasing levels. This has now resulted in huge deficits that cannot be made up in any other way than operating at a very basic level of insolvency or not operating at all, as has happened across the board in every arena from state and local governments to corporations that now no longer exist to banks that have been absorbed by FDIC measures which seized assets and liquidated them in order to make good on the financial imbalance. This is not a game.
There are real consequences being born and experienced by every living person and community. Tremendously strong institutions, corporations, budgets, nations and assets that have been in existence for long periods of time and successfully survived every insult and danger in between have been brought to absolute destruction and been dismantled, bankrupted, and dissolved as a result of the recent economic and financial business, banking and investment methods. Money that is only used to make more money using leverage of 40 to 1 or 72 to 1, (or by using other people’s money to gamble and to hedge gambles and to cover losses on bad bets in the hundreds of millions of dollars with no vested interest in the process) has destroyed the economic stability of every country it has touched.
Stopping this process and recreating it in an appropriate financially sound manner isn’t a matter for bankers to decide nor for them to influence any longer – their vested interest is to continue participating in insider trading, being an internal hedge fund themselves and to refuse going back to their original business model where their core and primary profits were derived from lending money.
Babcock and Brown – the wind / ocean energy project that is on permanent no-go because the funds went into their investment group which is now insolvent and bankrupt. Off the coast of Portugal, there is no going forward with the project nor any way to recoup the funds that were hijacked by those investors which were intended for the project such that it can proceed. The project was intended to benefit the people of Portugal and to make progress on providing alternative energy production systems which is why the money was made available for it to be established. The only thing that money has done is to line the pockets of the investment group and Wall Street brokers who now live without consequence for having stolen it. This situation has been repeated over and over and over around the world, in every country, impacting every community and undermining progress in every single arena of worthwhile projects that were underway.
There has to be a way to prevent these investment groups from raiding funds and assets from companies, institutions, corporations, pensions, pension funds and state budgets. When these investment companies are created with the intention of buying companies to raid their assets, leverage against the companies’ future earnings in order to line the pockets of the investment group, and dismantling the future opportunities of the companies’ solvency AND PROFITS, they are doing it to the advantage of no one but themselves. They have to be discouraged from continuing in this process across the world.
They have no vested interest in the building of the company and its assets, neither originally nor at the time when they become involved with it, and the purposes, mission and intent of the companies are in no way aligned with their own. The goals of these investment groups are only to hit the company for all they can, dismantle as much as they can, leverage against the company assets as greatly and quickly as they can and to walk away with as much of the profits now and in the future as their own to use for their own personal benefits. The intent of these individual investors and investment groups is nothing more than to underwrite their lavish lifestyles, to tally a notch on their own status for having done it and to serve their ego for getting away with legally robbing the system blind at everyone’s expense without consequence.
The Yale endowment fund and other higher educational institutions which are national assets are stealing from the school’s programs, departments, capital projects, science centers, faculty chairs, services, scholarships, long-term viability and operating budgets, in order to cover the losses from their investments using endowment funds. Instead of starting from the value of the endowments as they stand now and rebuilding them, they are literally stealing from the school’s and education resources they are designed to serve in order to bring the endowment value back to the level where they started before they lost hundreds of millions and even in some cases, billions of dollars from it.
The newspaper article from Bloomberg and BusinessWeek indicated that 60% of the capital projects are being cut. There is literally a $1 Billion dollar science center that is being put on hold at Yale at a time when our national interests can only be served by continuing to be more competitive in the arena of a greater quality in higher education and in those educational institutions that provide them. At the time that we most need the brain trust and intellectual assets of these institutions to be confronting and solving the problems that our world is bowing under, their minds are worrying about whether their position will be cut or their department robbed of its funding or their buildings taken from them to use for a gymnasium instead that was stopped in the tracks of its building process.
Dartmouth is reported to be cutting staff and faculty. Other universities are likely doing the same thing. Departments are being stripped of their ability to provide a globally competitive education and to exist as a globally competitive educational institution of higher education by the insistence of these endowment fund managers and their investment account managers in Wall Street to use “robbing the school” to restore the endowments from their investment losses back to their original monetary level. This method as a solution will result in cutting the legs off these schools for the next ten years and maybe beyond, at a time when they are most needed to participate and be national assets.
We can no longer accept “business as usual” and the methods that are being applied do not take into account that the underlying facts of these economic and financial situations today are different than they were at any other time and during any other financial recession, depression, and economic crisis. New pathways must be made and uniquely suited combinations of previously used methods, parts of methods and new action choices must be woven together in flexible ways to create workable solutions that uniquely apply to the current crisis and its aftermaths.
Yale to Cut Capital Spending by 60% After Endowment Losses
February 08, 2010, 01:23 PM EST
By Michael McDonald
Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) — Yale University, the second-richest institution of higher learning in the U.S., will cut its capital program by 60 percent to $250 million next year after endowment losses, according to bond offering documents.
“Until greater funding becomes available, capital expenditures will continue although at a slower pace,” the university in New Haven, Connecticut, said in documents released ahead of the sale of $540 million of tax-exempt securities this week through the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority.
The school’s endowment, second to that of Harvard University, fell to $16.3 billion from $22.9 billion in the 12 months ended June 30. Yale will delay as much as $2 billion in capital projects over the next five years, university President Richard Levin said in a letter a year ago.
School endowments lost on average 18.7 percent in the year ended June 30, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The losses are forcing schools to rein in capital programs after boosting long-term debt by 54 percent in fiscal 2009, according to the survey of 842 of the institutions released on Jan. 28.
Harvard suspended work early this year on a $1 billion science center after the value of its endowment fell to about $26 billion in the year ended June 30, from a peak of $36.9 billion in 2008. The university in Cambridge, Massachusetts may cut its capital spending in half to $500 million a year, according to a report last year from Moody’s Investors Service.
Yale’s capital spending on facilities grew by almost six times between 1998 and 2008 to a record $568.9 million, according to its most recent annual financial report, and is on pace to reach $600 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30, according to the bond offering documents.
Levin and Provost Peter Salovey said in a letter last week that the school will cut more than $50 million from its 2011 budget, partly by freezing officers’ salaries, and is seeking another $100 million more in savings.
Tom Conroy, a Yale spokesman, confirmed the data from the bond offering documents and declined further comment.
–With assistance from Oliver Staley in New York. Editors: Stacie Servetah, Robin D. Schatz
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael McDonald in Boston at +1-617-210-4639 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at +1-212-617-1962 or email@example.com
First of all, the economics professors, financial academics, business school chairs and faculty members need to get nosy about these Yale and other endowment and operating funds. The account executives and managers handling these events are not in any way prepared for the reality of the situation that currently exists. This is not, nor has it been a six month downturn which quickly and effectively turns around. The methods they are using to resolve these issues are not adequate nor appropriate to the task.
The intellectual capacity of the academic community is needed right now to apply their uniquely suited knowledge and understanding to these real situational crises that have been manufactured by the overall economic gaming process. These skills that have educated the account and fund managers in the first place can be used to resolve the issues that have been created by playing with these funds in the way they were taught. These business and investment strategists have been operating under the “assumptions” that are the result of what they were taught.
Second, as with the state of California and its “budget shortfall” of minus $19.9 Billion dollars, any and every educational institution, pension fund, state budget or other corrupted financial book that has been caused by excessive losses in the investment pools – the answers to resolve the shortfall must start at the top, not at the bottom of the balance sheet.
Where the State of California, universities and others have over 80 lawyers on staff making $187,000 a year each in several departments, hordes of administrators making $300,000 a year plus, scores of departments with armies of account managers and investment managers making $500,000 a year and more in numbers resembling a steno pool rather than a team, the cuts at the bottom of the balance sheet simply create too little too late. Across too broad a spectrum cuts are being made which accomplish a vast destruction in solvency and competitiveness while not creating any real “savings” in costs and accomplishing too little, too late to make any real difference. The answers are available which will work and that will provide workable solutions. But the idea that broad, sweeping cuts in costs across the bottom and middle of these organizations will solve these economic and financial problems is costly in the long run while doing little to ensure solvency in the short run so long as the top highly paid members continue padding their pockets and insuring their positions with little merit to show for it.
The viewpoint that suggests it can be done that way relied upon two important assumptions which are no longer accurate. One of these is that “appearing to be profitable and solvent will insure confidence and work an organization through a short rough period.” And, two is that “cost cuts that result in a current bottom line profitability figure have no bearing on the long-term competitiveness, profitability or solvency of the organization.” These are false based on the current facts about the US economy and economic basis, and these are also false based on the new facts in play around the world and within the overall global economy. That is why, old methods of resolving these issues must be made into a different method and process which takes these new facts into account and new methods must be found.
The brain trust of our intellectual and academic communities can be applied to create these new solutions and to modify old solutions to make them more appropriate.
Now that the decisions of the endowment fund and investment fund account managers have destroyed the competitiveness of these organizations in order to cover the losses of their gambles with the funds, there is a school called Yale, which has no competitive edge as the best of the best. Why would anyone want to pay what it costs in tuition to go there? Now, that the state of California has become the land of poverty instead of the Golden State of Prosperity, why would anyone want to do business there, live there or create innovative opportunities there in the future?
Suggestions that I have which could help to absorb the short term losses are:
1. Increased revenues – for the state of California, this could include charging a higher percentage in royalties and higher fees to the resource licenses that the oil drilling platforms and the oil drilling companies enjoy throughout the state. These fee arrangements have always been unnaturally low and could cover most of the state’s deficit.
For Yale and other globally competitive universities, an increase in revenue could be found as a result of increased activity in research and technology transfer licenses and royalty agreements. Along with co-branding agreements concerning those technology transfer deals, the university endowments could be rebuilt quickly and effectively without stripping the colleges of their capital building projects and operating budgets.
2. Remove and cut costs at the top, rather than at the bottom – these institutions, organizations and state budgets were never intended to be operated like a hedge fund. The staggering number of administrators, lawyers, accountants and other highly paid white collar profiteers, including investment managers needs to be cut. Positions and departments serving the same purposes in these areas of attorneys, investment advisors, accountants, more lawyers, administrators to administrate administrators and other nonsense of the same ilk, need to be amalgamated (combined) into single contract teams that apply themselves to the tasks as needed. The continuing bonus pools, expensive perks and junkets, exorbitant salaries, obscene salary increases and per diem increases need to be stopped immediately. No one is going to Harvard or Yale at the costs that requires in order to make sure that a team of lawyers and investment managers have a job there. That is a misuse of the funds available there.
3. Co-branding, Co-leasing, corporate sponsors, increasing the patronage of the institutions, increasing the level of patronage of institutions (even states) – can also remove the shortfall losses. Alumni teams becoming more involved, and increased participation by corporate sponsors, as well as by accessing the Federal stimulus package funds, can all serve to cover the immediate needs of these organizations. Creative co-leasing agreements, franchising the name and brand of the institutions including the state of California, can create huge and immediate liquid capital and profits while remaining competitive. When it is done right, the competitive edge is actually enhanced insuring the future foundation and continuing economic opportunities for the organizations.
4. Change the thinking paradigm that insists on short term solutions to these inherently long term problems – there is no way that solutions used on historically situational economic crises are going to work in the same way when applied to this economic crisis and on the rippling effects of its impacts. The situation is different today, the economic factors are different, the economic facts are different, the world is a participant rather than an afterthought and the entire dynamic of time and value is different. This is going to require solutions created that may draw upon those previously used but cannot afford to be imprisoned by those ways of thinking. A solution which only accommodates a six – nine month downshift in the economy is not going to work on a total economic devastation that has already occurred which lasts far beyond a six – nine month window of time. The impacts are far deeper and broader than those kinds of solutions can accommodate.
WASHINGTON — Regulators on Friday shut down Colonial BancGroup Inc., a lender in real estate development, in the biggest U.S. bank failure this year, and also closed four banks in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
The closures boosted to 77 the number of federally insured banks that have failed in 2009.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of the banks: Montgomery, Ala.-based Colonial, with about $25 billion in assets; Community Bank of Arizona, based in Phoenix; Union Bank, based in Gilbert, Ariz.; Community Bank of Nevada, based in Las Vegas; and Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association, located in Pittsburgh.
The FDIC approved the sale of Colonial’s $20 billion in deposits and about $22 billion of its assets to BB&T Corp., which is based in Winston-Salem, N.C. The failed bank’s 346 branches in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas will reopen at the normal times starting on Saturday as offices of BB&T, the FDIC said.
The failure of Colonial is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund an estimated $2.8 billion.
The 77 bank failures nationwide this year compare with 25 last year and three in 2007.
[ . . . ]
The number of banks on the FDIC’s list of problem institutions leaped to 305 in the first quarter — the highest number since 1994 during the savings and loan crisis — from 252 in the fourth quarter. The FDIC expects U.S. bank failures to cost the insurance fund around $70 billion through 2013.
The May closing of struggling Florida thrift BankUnited FSB is expected to cost the insurance fund $4.9 billion, the second-largest hit since the financial crisis began. The costliest was the July 2008 seizure of big California lender IndyMac Bank, on which the insurance fund is estimated to have lost $10.7 billion.
The largest U.S. bank failure ever also came last year: Seattle-based thrift Washington Mutual Inc. fell in September, with about $307 billion in assets. It was acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $1.9 billion in a deal brokered by the FDIC.
Fed Signals No Rush to Curtail Stimulus as Slump Ends (Update1)
By Scott Lanman
Aug. 13 (Bloomberg)
Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent in July as a boost from the cash-for-clunkers automobile incentive program failed to overcome cuts in other spending, Commerce Department figures showed today.
The Fed reiterated the view from its June statement that the economy is “likely to remain weak for a time.” Efforts to revive the economy by the central bank and U.S. government should “contribute to a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth,” policy makers said.
[ . . ]
“The Fed’s footprint in the $6.8 trillion market of outstanding Treasuries is smaller than in the market for agency mortgage-backed securities, where the central bank is buying $1.25 trillion from a pool of about $5 trillion. A sudden end to the Fed’s purchases of MBS could be especially “problematic” for that market, Dudley said in the interview.”
The commercial real estate industry, under pressure from falling property values and maturing loans, called last month for an extension of the TALF program. Tumbling property values have made it difficult for owners of commercial real estate to refinance $165 billion in mortgages this year.
The FOMC noted yesterday that consumer spending “remains constrained” by job losses, “sluggish income growth, lower housing wealth and tight credit.”
Policy makers “cite a lot of things to suggest we are not on an upward trajectory yet,” said Robert Eisenbeis, a former research director at the Atlanta Fed who’s now chief monetary economist at Cumberland Advisors in Vineland, New Jersey.
To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Lanman in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Craig Torres in Washington at email@example.com.
Last Updated: August 13, 2009 11:19 EDT
How does their analysis indicate the “slump ends”? Where do they read that in the numbers? I want to hope for the best, but I’m not going to pretend everything is hunkey-damn-dorey if it isn’t. How is that going to help any?
The FDIC is often appointed as receiver for failed banks. This page contains useful information for the customers and vendors of these banks. This includes information on the acquiring bank (if applicable), how your accounts and loans are affected, and how vendors can file claims against the receivership. Failed Financial Institution Contact Search displays point of contact information related to failed banks.
This list includes banks which have failed since October 1, 2000.
document.writeln(” Click arrows next to headers to sort in Ascending or Descending order.
// ]]> Click arrows next to headers to sort in Ascending or Descending order.
Research & Analysis
Access FDIC policy research and analysis of regional and national banking trends.
Bank Data & Statistics
Use searchable databases to find information on specific banks, their branches, and the industry.
My Note – But, the best one is over in the right-hand sidebar –
The Statistics on Banking is a quarterly publication that provides detailed aggregate financial information as well as key structural data (number of institutions and branches) for all FDIC-insured institutions.
In addition to standardized reports, a user has the ability to dynamically generate customized reports for analysis. For example, reports can be created that consist of any combination of single institutions or bank holding companies, standard peer groups of institutions, and custom peer groups of institutions and bank holding companies. For further details, please refer to SDI Home above.
Select one from each of the five categories below:
It allows a search for all FDIC insured institutions by state and shows assets and liabilities from loans and securities to overall financial health of the institution. I would take it in perspective to the current economic climate but it gives some interesting insights to the overall financial situation of each state’s banking system.
– my note
Flaws halt work on Boeing 787 sections
Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:26pm EDT
By Kyle Peterson
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Friday an Italian supplier stopped production in June on two sections of its long-delayed 787 Dreamliner after structural flaws were found on fuselages.
[ . . . ]
Flaws were found on 23 airplanes, starting with the seventh in production, Gunter said. She said a solution has been designed and patches will be applied to all the planes built so far.
“They’re continuing to work on the barrels that they have already fabricated,” Gunter said.
“As we implement this change, we are not going to produce any new barrels until there is an engineering change that will keep the subsequent units from needing to be modified,” she said.
The revolutionary carbon-composite 787 airplane has been delayed repeatedly. On June 23, the same day as the Alenia Aeronautica production halt, Boeing announced another delay to the first test flight of the 787.
Considering things like the above story in the continuing saga of the Boeing pipe dream 787 – even real-time current numbers don’t mean anything is actually assured nor an appropriate projection in the economy / financial sector. – my comment
Climate Change The research covers issues of climate change impacts and adaptation for developing countries; national and international possibilities for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; and opportunities and challenges for international responses to climate change.
Economics of Conflict
This research studies three pivotal areas in post-conflict development: democracy and service delivery, powersharing and peace, and informed macroeconomic policy and development.
East Asia’s Economic Prospects This research aims to identify and analyze some of the principal drivers of current and future growth in the major economies of the region.
Finance and Private Sector Development
This research focuses on understanding the role of the financial and private sectors in promoting economic development, and reducing poverty and identifying policies to improve their effectiveness.
Human Development & Public Services This research examines factors that contribute to human development, especially in the areas of health, education and social protection, how to improve the coverage and quality of services and broader institutions in support of human development, and the effective use of aid.
International Migration & Development This researchincludes extensive data-gathering and analysis on the development impact of migration, so as to identify migration policies, regulations and institutional reforms that will lead to improved development outcomes.
Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS)
This research provides datasets and methodological lessons from the LSMS household surveys, important tools in measuring and understanding poverty in developing countries.
Macroeconomics & Growth
This research seeks to identify the factors behind the diversity in aggregate economic performance across the world and understand how it is affected by policy and institutional changes under different country circumstances.
Poverty & Inequality
This research aims to improve current data and methods of poverty and inequality analysis, and use it to better understand the effectiveness of specific policies to reduce poverty and inequality.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Tremont Group Holdings, which lost more than $3 billion investing clients money with Ponzi mastermind Bernard Madoff, is set to auction most of its remaining hedge fund assets in the coming weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Portfolios recently valued at $420 million, including some hedge fund holdings, will be sold off through an auction managed by investment bank Duff & Phelps, the paper said.
Tremont wants to return as much money as possible to clients in its fund-of-hedge funds business. This unit had a small portion of its client money invested with Madoff, but news of the scandal and Tremont’s exposure last December sparked an exodus by investors.
Madoff feeder Tremont to auction fund assets: report
Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:48pm EDT
My Note – maybe they didn’t hear the cable news experts explain how everything is okay now and its back to business as usual based on the end of the slump news from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other analysts . . .
Don’t they have any way to simply continue telling people how secure it is while gambling away their clients money like the rest of the Wall Street brokers, traders, bankers and hedge fund managers do and have done?
– “as it turns out . . . ” (maybe the name of a new soap opera that uses character references from the elite cream of the crop out of Harvard – since they are so good at knowing more of what works than reality can bear – just a thought.)
I just made up this title and it is very appropriate –
The IMF is on the move, the Federal Reserve suggests they will stand pat although they are busy buying up failed securities in the background, the Boeing pipe dream plane stalls from something else, the FDIC continues to arrange for banks failing to buy banks that have failed and generally the news is that it is all okay now – they must be taking some good drugs or have lead in the water or something – ”
Ah, to be paid as an analyst that has been as wrong as they’ve been and still get paid – no, never mind – that doesn’t work for me – that is a degree of insanity I don’t want to bear even though getting paid even after making critical errors as serious as theirs have been might not be too dire . . .
– cricketdiane, 08-15-09
I was going to add some other things I had found but, nah – it can wait until tomorrow, except for this –
Space review panel says moon, Mars out of reach
Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:27pm EDT
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – The U.S. plan to return astronauts to the moon by 2020 will not happen without a big boost in NASA’s budget, leaving only the International Space Station as a viable target for the country’s human space program, according to a presidential review panel.
The Human Space Flight Plans committee, which presented its preliminary findings to the White House on Friday, concluded that a human mission to Mars currently would be too risky.
Developing new spaceships to replace the retiring space shuttle fleet and bigger rockets to reach the moon would require about $3 billion more per year, the panel headed by former Lockheed Martin chief Norm Augustine said.
[ . . .]
The committee said the new U.S. exploration initiative — aimed at landing astronauts on the moon by 2020 — is doomed because its 10-year, $108 billion budget has been shaved by about $30 billion.
“We can’t do this program in this budget,” said panel member Sally Ride, a former astronaut. “This budget is simply not friendly to exploration.”
[ . . . ]
The only human space program affordable under NASA’s existing budget is an enhanced space station, one that has a side benefit of seeding a commercial passenger-launch services market, said the panel, which completed a series of public meetings this week.
NASA currently has no funding in place after 2015 for the space station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations.
Construction of the station is scheduled to be finished next year after seven more flights of the space shuttle, which orbits 225 miles above the planet.
After the shuttles are retired, NASA plans to pay Russia to transport crews to the station. The panel’s recommendations include adding $2.5 billion into NASA’s budget between 2011 and 2014 for commercial launch services to the space station.
Financial Education…..A Corporate Commitment The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) initiated a national financial education campaign in 2001 by launching Money Smart, a comprehensive financial education curriculum designed to help individuals outside the financial mainstream develop financial skills and positive banking relationships. The FDIC has far exceeded its original commitment to reach one million consumers. The FDIC is continuing to work diligently to form alliances with other major entities, including financial institutions, national non-profit organizations, community- and consumer-based groups, and federal, state and local agencies to promote financial education.
Money Smart Achievements
Copies of Curricula Distributed
***My Note –
About the Hollywood Prop Auction – it is going on right now –
A public auction will be held on-site and by webcast from July 28-Aug. 1, starting at 9:30 a.m. each day.
Hollywood prop auction ends 40-year career
Foam aliens, carousel horses, Roman sculptures all being sold off
IMAGE: 20th Century Props
A worker tags the inventory of 20th Century Props in North Hollywood, California. The prop house is auctioning off its inventory and plans to close.
updated 1:12 p.m. ET, Thurs., July 30, 2009
LOS ANGELES – When Harvey Schwartz left his job as an aerospace engineer and opened an antique shop, he ignited a passion that led to a 40-year career.
Harvey’s Antiques spawned Harvey’s Props, which eventually became 20th Century Props, described by Schwartz as “the biggest prop house in the world under one roof.”
But no more. Schwartz’s inventory of more than 93,000 pieces — including foam aliens, vintage furniture and appliances, carousel horses, Roman sculptures and other assorted props from film and TV — is being liquidated. A slowdown in the economy and Hollywood productions is forcing him to close his doors. He expects his 200,000-square-foot warehouse in North Hollywood to be “broom clean” by Aug. 15.
[ . . . ]
“That was the last straw,” he said. “We’re broke. We couldn’t hold on any longer so I had to put it up for auction so I could dig up the money to pay the debts.”
The auction is being held on site and online. Schwartz can hardly bear to watch.
“This antique roulette table that’s been in Hollywood for 80 years, with a beautiful hand-carved base, just a magnificent piece. I paid, at auction — I got a really great bargain, I thought — a few years ago, I paid $6,000,” he said. “And it just went up on the auction block for 350 bucks. It’s like a piece of trash. So it’s very painful to see these things go.”
Some of the buyers are collectors. Some own prop shops. Others are just looking for unusual items.
Huge Hollywood prop house closing after 40 years
Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:36pm EDT
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hollywood’s second-largest prop house is going out of business with its owner saying he has fallen victim to film and TV production leaving California for other U.S. states that lure producers with tax incentives and fewer restrictions.
20th Century Props is closing its doors for good at the end of July and auctioning off a collection of 93,000 props from such films as “Cleopatra” and “Titanic”, as well as TV’s “The X Files” and “Golden Girls” and music videos from Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Madonna.
Schwartz has run 20th Century Props for 40 years, claiming to be the second-biggest prop house in the world and the largest under one roof, a 120,000 square foot (11,150 sq meter) warehouse in suburban North Hollywood near Universal Studios.
He said business been slowing down for years as productions left California for Canada and other states that offered tax credits and eased rules about filming.
“They are also offering really low prices on filming on the streets and filming permits, where California raised the prices last year,” he said.
20th Century Props in North Hollywood, the largest prop house under one roof, is closing its doors after four decades of business. A public auction will be held on-site and by webcast from July 28-Aug. 1, starting at 9:30 a.m. each day. Preview dates are on July 25 and July 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: www.greatamerican.com
[Also – in New York City, not to be outdone by Los Angeles – ]
Huge multi-estate sale planned for Jul. 31-Aug. 2 in N.Y.
Around 1,200 fresh-to-the-market lots in a broad array of categories will be sold the weekend of July 31-Aug. 2 by Philip Weiss Auctions in Oceanside, N.Y. Then, in Sept., a 5-lb. pearl will be sold.
(OCEANSIDE, N.Y.) – Around 1,200 lots in a wide array of categories – to include toy trains, transportation, advertising, militaria, ocean liner, World’s Fair, railroadiana, automotive, Hollywood memorabilia, historical items and more – will be sold at a three-day event slated for July 31-Aug. 2 by Philip Weiss Auctions, in the firm’s spacious gallery facility located at #1 Neil Court in Oceanside, N.Y.
“We had several well-attended and successful sales in the first half of 2009, and now we’ll continue in the July 31-Aug. 2 auction with some of the best collections we’ve ever offered,” said Philip Weiss. Previews will be held on Wednesday, July 29, from noon to 5 p.m., and on Thursday and Friday, July 30-31, from noon to 8 p.m. each day. Online bidding will be facilitated by Proxibid.com.
The Friday, July 31 session (starting at 4 p.m.), will be dedicated to toy trains — about 450 lots, 95 percent of them mint in the box. Featured will be an important attic find of 1940s-’60s Lionel trains (most with original boxes and many outfit boxes), group lots of 1970s-’80s mint-in-the-box Lionel and other makers’ trains and accessories, modern Lionel trains, Rail King, MTH, K-Line, Weaver and more.
The Saturday, Aug. 1 session (with a 10 a.m. start time) will feature transportation items, advertising memorabilia and militaria, plus around 150 lots from the estate of Ken Schultz, a dedicated collector of ocean liner, World’s Fair and Hollywood collectibles. Ocean liner china and silver from other collections will be included as well. Also to be sold will be about 100 antique advertising signs.
The Aug. 1 session will continue with a nice selection of railroading items and automotive material, to include a run of vintage Pennsylvania Railroad calendars, lanterns, an original lamp from Grand Central Station in New York, stock certificates, 100+ lots of vintage advertising agricultural signs, vintage soap advertising and other related material. Additional items are being regularly added.
The Sunday, Aug. 2 session (also with a 10 a.m. start time) will feature 500 lots, to include Hollywood memorabilia such as celebrity-worn items, movie props and posters, autographed photos, a collection of Clarence Bull photos, and photos from the LOOK Magazine archives. Historical items will include the lock box belonging to Maj. Gustavus S. Dana (an organizer of Lincoln’s Honor Guard).
Also to cross the block Aug. 2: a nice selection of authenticated Civil War-era carte-de-visites (early photographic images), and an important archive of material pertaining to Charles J. Guiteau, the assassin of President James A. Garfield in 1881 (to include two actual pieces of the rope used to hang Guiteau, a cabinet card of Guiteau, letters written to him while he was in prison, an archive of Garfield photos (to include the earliest known daguerreotypes of him), illustrations, a strong box and more. Also to be offered: an original Apollo 10 flag and patch flown to the moon during an historic lunar mission.
Military material to be sold Aug. 2 includes a Thomas Griswold & Co.
Confederate officer’s cavalry saber, an authentic Civil War bugle, a U.S. percussion musket, and more items a collection that includes all major wars, highlighted by both World Wars, posters from World War I & II, and more. All purchases will be subject to a 13% buyer’s premium. Terms are cash, check and all major credit cards.
Sometime in September, on a day and time still to be determined, Philip Weiss Auctions will offer a truly unique object — a pearl weighing an incredible five pounds and measuring six inches in length. The brain-shaped specimen – a giant non-nacreous natural blister pearl – was found in the waters off the Philippines, in the giant clam Tridacna Gigas. It is one of the largest pearls ever found.
A team of expert gemologists analyzed the pearl, using digital radiography, close magnification and data provided by a hand-held X-ray fluorescence (XRF) unit. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime look at one of nature’s most unique treasures,” said Mitch Jakubovic, a gemologist with EGL USA. “A pearl this size is not only the largest one we’ve ever seen, it is among the largest pearls ever seen anywhere.”
David Bidwell, a senior appraiser with Universal Gemological Services (EGL USA’a appraisal affiliate), said, “This is clearly one of the most valuable pearls of its kind in the world today. I will be very curious to see what it sells for.” The pearl was consigned to Philip Weiss Auctions by its current owner. “To coin a phrase, you might say the pearl world is his oyster,” Bidwell said of the consignor.
sale planned for Jul. 31-Aug. 2 in N.Y.
Around 1,200 fresh-to-the-market lots in a broad array of categories will be sold the weekend of July 31-Aug. 2 by Philip Weiss Auctions in Oceanside, N.Y. Then, in Sept., a 5-lb. pearl will be sold.
Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them directly, at (516) 594-0731, or you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the company and its calendar of upcoming sales, to include the July 31-Aug. 2 auction, log on to http://www.prwauctions.com. Updates are posted often.
(That is the ugliest pearl I’ve ever seen, I don’t care how big it is.)
And from LA Daily News – (about the new film tax breaks / incentives) – which is too little too late for the Hollywood prop master whose business represents a total collection worth much more than he will ever receive on auction –
One entrepreneur who’s given up the fight is 20th Century Props owner Harvey Schwartz.
He began a five-day auction Tuesday of his 90,000 vintage movie props and memorabilia and spoke at the news conference about the impact of runaway production.
“People on the other side of the building are auctioning goods off that I’ve treasured here for 20 to 40 years,” Schwartz said beneath the baleful gaze of a T. Rex skeleton and rows of chandeliers dripping teardrop crystals.
“I built this to last forever and I thought it would. I was born and raised in Hollywood, but runaway production has made it so hard for my and a lot of other industries to survive.”
“In 2001, 82 percent of all filming in the United States was filmed in California,” Lippe said. “Now, it’s in the low 30 percent bracket.”
[Etc. – the article has a lots more about the tax incentives program along with 25 new films that are set to get that help – why couldn’t they have save the prop business or helped him put it online or something? It doesn’t make any good sense . . . – my note]
California’s month-old tax-incentive program appears to be keeping some film and TV productions from fleeing the Golden State, officials said Tuesday.
The California Film Commission, which oversees the program, has allocated nearly $67.5 million in tax credits for 25 film and television productions with a total budget of $347 million.
Flamingos wait to be auctioned at 20th Century Props in North Hollywood, CA July 28, 2009. Assemblyman Paul Krekorian held a press conference at the facility to unveil the latest figures from the state’s film incentive program. The press conference was held on the 1st day of the public auction at the business which is set to close after four decades in business.
[ . . . ]
Here are the first 25 film and television productions to qualify for about $67 million in state-funded incentives:
“1/2 Life” 1/2 Life LLC
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” Tiny But Mighty Productions
“Burlesque” Screen Gems Productions Inc.
“Christmas in Beverly Hills” Fast Lane Productions LLC
“Important Things with Dimitri Martin” Central Productions LLC
“Men of a Certain Age” Turner North Center Productions
“Naked Gun 4” Paramount Famous Productions
“The Perfect Family” Perfect Family LLC
“Priest” Screen Gems Productions Inc.
“The Raise” Unclaimed Freight Productions
“Second Wives Club” Paramount Famous Productions
“Slumdog Virgin” Steinbeck LLC
“The Social Network” Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.
“The Spanish Harlem Project” Mano Productions Inc.
“Takin’ It Back” Elixir Entertainment Inc.
Untitled Movie Close To Home Productions LLC
“You Again” Briarvale Productions Inc.
My Note –
There are numerous sales and auctions occurring all over the country but one of the best events coming up is the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, August 6 – 9, 2009. Now that should be some fun . . .
IEA’s G8 Programme – Aiming at a Clean, Clever and Competitive Energy Future
Following up on its participation in G8 events during the past four years, the IEA has been invited by the Italian G8 Presidency to take part in the G8 Environment Ministers meeting in April, the G8 Energy Ministers meeting in May and the G8 Summit in July. See the official Italian G8 web site: http://www.g8italia2009.it for more details.
Attending the G8 Energy Ministers meeting, in Rome from 24-25 May, the IEA presented its analysis on the impact of the financial crisis on global energy investments (read executive summary). The Agency also provided a background paper on climate policy (read report).
At the G8 Environment Ministers’ meeting in Siracusa on 22-24 April 2009, IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka presented a paper on presented a paper to the Ministers on the RD&D and investment needed to ensure that low-carbon technologies become viable, commercial technologies in the future. The IEA presentation emphasised that low-carbon technologies must play a key role in climate change mitigation. See Mr. Tanaka’s remarks, slide presentation and G8 paper.
The IEA G8 programme has identified new strategies for greater energy security and climate protection. IEA points to policies for speeding development and deployment of cleaner, more efficient energy technologies. The IEA has submitted a set of concrete policy recommendations for promoting energy efficiency that could reduce global CO2 emissions by 8.2 gigatonnes by 2030.
The IEA recommends that G8 leaders adopt and urgently implement this package of measures to significantly enhance energy efficiency. This package was developed underthe Gleneagles G8 Plan of Action, which mandates the pursuit of a clean, clever and competitive energy future.
Feedback, comments suggestions on this publication? Please contact us at this link.
Each month, access to information on supply, demand, stocks, prices and refinery activity is available through the Oil Market Report online service.
The OMR publication published each month can be found here on this website in pdf. Available along with it are over 3000 charts and graphs updated monthly. All of this is available to subscribers who choose to receive the Oil Market Report by email. The charts are available simultaneously with the release of the OMR. This web service is a perfect complement to the macro analysis in the report.
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Forecast global 2Q09 crude runs are raised 0.2 mb/d to 71.3 mb/d, as a result of higher April preliminary data in OECD countries, reports of high crude runs in China and marginally stronger global demand. But 3Q09 crude runs are forecast at 72.8 mb/d, representing an annual decline of 1.2 mb/d.
Prime Minister Berlusconi has summed up the first day’s proceedings at the Abruzzo Summit, stressing the agreement reached on fighting climate change, which is to be submitted to the G5 countries during the forthcoming sessions. The other topics on the agenda included the economic crisis and the need for new rules, development and food security.
08/07/2009 A new page entitled “Summit Documents” is now available online in the “Summit” section of the website. This new item on the menu, the first item in the “Summit” section, will contain all of the Declaration and documents from the L’Aquila Summit in Pdf format ready for downloading and printing.
Da sinistra: il Presidente giapponese Taro Aso, il Premier canadese Stephen Harper, il Presidente degli Stati Uniti Barack Obama, il Presidente francese Nicolas Sarkozy, il Presidente del Consiglio italiano Silvio Berlusconi, il Presidente russo Dmitry Medvedev, il Cancelliere tedesco Angela Merkel, il Premier del Regno Unito Gordon Brown, il Primo Ministro del Regno di Svezia Fredrik Reinfeldt e il Presidente della Commissione Europea José Manuel Barroso durante la foto di famiglia nel primo giorno del vertice G8 a L’Aquila. SitoG8/ANSA foto: Maurizio Brambatti
Welcome to Italy, and Welcome to Abruzzo
Many of the guests who will be coming to Italy during this year of the Italian G8 duty Presidency are already familiar with the country and its landscapes, its artistic heritage and the wide variety of cultures, dialects and aspects of the various italian regions. Many of them are admirers of the goods produced by italian creativity in sectors ranging from fashion to design and from machinery to traditional agricultural produce and leading-edge technologies. Connoisseurs of italian wine and cuisine, with their extraordinary variety of flavours and aromas, are also legion worldwide.
For several reasons, however, Italy is also a country that faces a large number of hazards due to the forces of nature and the way the land has been managed.
Around 40% of its population lives in highly seismic areas, and Abruzzo, the region that is to host the summit, was struck by a violent earthquake in April. The quake left 300 dead and razed a considerable portion of the architectural heritage of L’Aquila and the surrounding province to the ground.
The italian G8 Presidency decided to move the Summit venue from its original site in Sardinia to L’Aquila, both as a sign of sympathy and support for the people of Abruzzo and to draw the world’s attention, at this time of hardship, to an italian region with a wealth of history, culture and natural beauty.
L’AQUILA, Italy (CNN) — Leaders of the world’s most powerful economies pledged to seek huge cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions at a summit in Italy on Wednesday.
The Group of Eight leaders said they would “join a global response to achieve a 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050 and to a goal of an aggregate 80 percent or more reduction by developed countries by that date.”
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The government on Wednesday tapped nine financial firms to manage a scaled-down program aimed at helping the nation’s banks and said it would invest up to $30 billion to get it started.
Among those selected to serve as asset managers of the so-called Public-Private Investment Program were BlackRock (BLK, Fortune 500), AllianceBernstein (AB), Oaktree Capital Management, Invesco (IVZ), Angelo, Gordon & Co., Marathon Asset Management, RLJ Western Asset Management, The TCW Group and Wellington Management Company.
[ . . . ]
“While utilization of legacy asset programs will depend on how actual economic and financial market conditions evolve, the programs are capable of being quickly expanded if these conditions deteriorate,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and FDIC Chair Sheila Bair said in a statement.
[ Etc. ]
Treasury has said the program is intended to generate a return for private investors and protect taxpayers.
Under the program, banks and other qualified firms looking to rid themselves of assets will sell commercial mortgage-backed securities and certain residential mortgage-backed securities issued before 2009 and originally considered ‘AAA’-rated by two or more recognized agencies.
Each of the nine selected fund managers are required to invest a minimum of $20 million in firm capital in the funds they manage. At the same time, no single investor will be able to own more than a 9.9% stake in the PPIP funds.
It remains to be seen how effective the program will be in helping shore up banks’ finances.
[there’s more – but the next little bit says that a “key industry group” has long advocated for the program – gee, wonder who that is? – my note]
L’Aquila History and Region Information site – (not the most current – but very interesting and good information).
Altitude: 714 m a.s.l — Population: ca. 67000 inhabitants — Zip code: 67100 — Phone Area Code: 0862
province of L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy
L’Aquila (surface area 466,96 kmq, about 67,000 inhabitants on the whole territory of the Commune, about 45,000 only the town and suburbs), the capital town of Abruzzi and of the Province of L’Aquila, is situated on the left bank of the Aterno River, at an elevation of 2,150 feet (655 meters), in a valley surrounded by the highest mountains of the Appennines, the Gran Sasso and the Velino-Sirente, 58 miles (93 km) northeast of Rome. For its geographical position in the middle of high mountains the city has long, cold winters and abundant rainfall throughout the year, even if autumn is the wettest season. L’Aquila is the main historical and artistic centre of Abruzzi, has an archbishopry and is renowned for its University, Musical Conservatory, Arts Academy, Theatre and Concert Society, National Museum of the Abruzzi and the ancient Salvatore Tommasi library.Formerly a center for handicraft and agriculture, L’Aquila has nowadays become primarily an administrative center for its large province and partly for the region (regional bodies are divided between L’Aquila and Pescara). The economy of the town is characterized by chemical, mechanical and farming industries, the production of wine, cereals, saffron and dairy products, traditional delicatessen and craftswork; the nearby mountains also offer facilities for winter sports and excursions.
(more info on history and sites in the region found on this page – I don’t think it is the official site but it is a good one.)
The principles that the Republicans said they believed in and that they would protect, I believe in – we all do.
But they didn’t do that.
What they did was, after saying they believed in small business, the Republican Party policy makers robbed every program at the Small Business Administration and diverted those funds to local governments, to banks, to finance companies and to specialized non-profits that they largely controlled.
While saying that they believed in small de-centralized government, they literally spent more money, cut more services, raised more fees, raided more programs and built a bigger, more intrusive controlling government than we have ever had in the history of our country.
I should’ve known something was very wrong, when every woman had to be a size six with straight blonde hair in a shoulder-length page boy style with big boobs enhanced by surgery and pouty swollen collagen-enhanced lips, in order to get a job, have a life, be a wife, be accepted as a mother and to be considered a normal person who could fit in anywhere in America.
When the Republicans controlled this country, (and in many states and local governments, they still do,) the individual protections against unreasonable search and seizure were undermined and dismantled. That isn’t because the Republican Party as it is currently been constructed for the last thirty – forty years believes in what they’ve said about individual rights, freedoms and the Constitution.
The Republican Party dismantled the Miranda rights and made it commonplace for police raids to be warrantless, for police brutality to be rampant, for “knock and enter” bust down the door swat teams and local police to shoot 83 year old women in their own homes because they had the wrong house, and for there to be no accountability when those police decisions were wrong.
The concept of eminent domain and sovereign immunity for government entities, government workers and officials from the local government on up to the President was established, beefed-up and enforced during their control of our country, both by policy and by new laws that the Republicans used conservative think tanks to create. That doesn’t honor our Constitution. It doesn’t honor the Bill of Rights. It denied the very existence of the intent written in the Declaration of Independence.
While proselytizing that a free market economy was the Republican principle they wanted to protect – which it is but the way they did it, is not – they literally pumped billions of dollars into some businesses and industries at the expense of others who were competing fairly with them. They withheld those funds from others who did not feed them campaign contributions or weren’t members of their “class” of friends.
Policy choices were made by Republicans, run by conservatives, that were twisted, self-serving, big government, anti-family, anti-community, anti-freedom, against democracy and with contempt for the common man and the value of individual life while undermining individual rights in every community in America. Choices were made about policy and the applications of policy which served no one but them by the hands of the Republicans after saying they intended to protect, honor and implement those principles we all agreed were the foundations of our country and our Constitution. From AIG being bailed out to diverting the funds given to non-profit charities to help people in communities away from flowing into the community while instead using those moneys to fund their conservative think-tanks, the Republicans at every level of our local government through the previous administrations and legislatures have literally robbed our country of its standing in the world.
Its having its impact on us now and last year and in the number of rosy-faced cheeks across scores of little children across our country who are living at the homeless shelters now instead of in their own beds at home. The communities with malls, and strip shopping centers and office buildings that stand 80% empty are the result of these Republican Party policies through forty years of implementing what they said were good things for America.
Well, obviously they weren’t implementing policies that would result in the things that they said. The only thing these Republican policies created by conservatives did for certain, was to create wealth for them at the expense of our entire economy, at the expense of the global economy, at the expense of our future and at the expense of anybody having a job or a small business or employing themselves and at the expense of America’s prosperity and standing in the world community.
The Republican Party policies as they applied them, undermined companies and corporate structures that had been world leaders for over a hundred years. These policies undermined the opportunities for individuals to thrive with their own small businesses. It denied access to innovative ideas and destroyed companies that were providing innovation and competition in the marketplace. In fact, they managed to destroy entire industries which now offer the prosperity of their business models from profit to employment, in other countries around the world – but not in ours.
They turned the small business administration into a sales agent and clearinghouse to sell commercial loans for the banks and finance companies rather than its intended purpose as an incubator and support with grants and opportunities for creating and growing small businesses. They turned the opportunities for a higher education into a cattle mill for strapping every American family with a loan-shark rate credit liability while chaining up individuals with an albatross around their necks of money owed before even starting out in their lives. It is wrong.
Our roads are in disrepair, our bridges are rusted and crumbling, our dams are a disaster waiting to happen and some have already destroyed lives because they simply weren’t repaired when that money was diverted to some pet Republican project like a golf course, a yacht marina, a polo field or whatever other piece of nonsense that the public would never get to use while plowing our tax money into that project to do it.
The Republicans have spent more on one chair for their offices (which we paid for) – than they did to cover an entire year of social security income for an individual who was forced to live on it because of age or disability. That is insane. And, its partly because they’ve been robbing those funds every time they needed money. They borrowed against it, they pay the interest on the national debt out of it, they use it to leverage stock investments to play the stock market and on and on and on.
The social security system trust funds wouldn’t be broke if they hadn’t been stealing it to do other things – just as with many funds and systems in every agency, every state budget, every Federal budget and every locally Republican controlled city and county government. And they are still entrenched doing everything they can to abort, undermine and thwart any change whatsoever because they want to keep it the same where the only ones who ever have anything is them and their friends and their families at the expense of us all.
They spent $85,000 per square foot to build covered skyways from their parking deck that we also paid for and don’t get to use, so their precious little Republican hair styles and Armani suits wouldn’t be mucked up by the rain and they wouldn’t have to walk where the “common people” were walking down on the street. That isn’t because they honored equality and democracy, it was because they didn’t understand the principles upon which it was founded.
The Republicans diverted money from the food stamp program and nutrition programs for school children and elderly to put it into thoroughbred horse breeding programs, thoroughbred racing horse farms and horse farms that were profit-driven and needed no one’s support. They’ve managed to rob every last program that was intended and legislated to help within communities to support after-school programs, sports, arts, music, education, continuing adult education, anti-gang programs, elderly programs and senior community center programs, and programs to support people with disabilities, in order to use those moneys for pet projects that only served them and their rich friends.
They made it possible for police and social workers to come into any house in America at any time of the day or night without just cause, without a reason checked by anybody, and take anything and anybody they wanted for any excuse or none at all and that included the children and everybody else there. And they have done it.
They have made it such that no accuser is faced, no checks and balances exists, no accountability can be pursued to prove it was wrong or to have remediation made, and where American citizens have no protection or recourse from the government that the Republicans said they didn’t want intruding in people’s lives and businesses.
Apparently, they did something different than what they said they believed that bought votes and support for them. Their policies did not do what they said were important to them and to us. That is a problem.
And, it is still an entrenched power that is actively hindering change, is using the system to fund their own businesses, is still using our government resources to put their competitors out of business, is continuing to ignore the founding principles of our nation and is still undermining the Constitution which we all believe should be upheld rather than destroyed. That means, it is still a problem that affects all of us.
The ideals and principles that the political parties claim while doing something else are ideals and principles that most, if not all, of us agree upon. When the Republicans have held office and pervasive power over these last thirty to forty years and the party was being run by conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Ed Lazear, (whose wikipedia entry I’ve included below) – we have had more children killed in every state by poor judgments made by their judges, their social service workers and the departments of family and children services and child protection services than have been killed in entire wars across the world.
We have had more families undermined and destroyed, more communities that now stand diminished rather than thriving, more deaths and sickness from food poisonings and by mistakes made by “health care professionals” at hospitals and by doctors, nurses, medical specialists, hospital corporate administrators and pharmaceuticals / hospital pharmacies than the sum total of entire populations of some countries. They, the Republicans did that.
They removed the checks and balances which prevented it and they removed the funding which supported inspectors to keep standards safe and in use, and they removed the ultimate accountability which made it undesirable to disregard human life.
The fact is, that under the policies of the conservative Republican administrations and state governments, America has been a wasteland of crime and drug use and hopelessness and lack of opportunities for huge populations in every community across every state of this country. They have put a little over a third of the population in jails and prisons where it was made into a business to make a profit for their friends and their high class campaign donors.
They have created a mental health system that is barbaric and looks more like Cold War era Soviet or Chinese communist or Stalinist “behavior modification camps” of the 1950’s and even back during the 1930’s. The Republicans have forced “cooperation cocktails” of powerful health destroying, brain-damaging drugs on entire populations of people who think, act, believe, or dress differently than the preferred Barbie and Ken doll norm of the Republican Party and the conservative Christian Moral Minority that has been supporting them.
Our televisions broadcast materials that have been censored for content, language and appropriateness at the hands of the Republicans even to this day and there are stories around the world that they simply don’t tell us here – not because they aren’t important but rather that they don’t want us to know it or don’t want that interpretation of reality shown. It is partly prudish intent and partly to keep anything from balancing the perspective that the business community and the conservatives want portrayed in the way they want it to seem. Still doesn’t make it the truth, doesn’t even make it accurate and it doesn’t change the facts when it comes right down to it.
There is a greater world out there which could not be fully controlled by this fundamentalist gestapo mentality from the Republican party running the United States and nearly every state government and legislature in it. But they sure did try and are continuing to do so with the best of their efforts even now. And, I don’t mean to spread democracy and freedom – that isn’t it.
Their business friends are still selling derivatives to pawn them off on somebody when they will be worthless before its all over with. And, they are still insisting that the resuscitation of regulations along with transparency are foul to prosperity and growth when they will simply and justifiably be rules of the road so everyone can compete equitably and investors can see what they are getting.
We wouldn’t put up with roads that have no stop signs, either. But, “spin it,” they will, until no chance of being hindered from legally thieving, stealing and gambling other people’s money is considered and they can keep on doing what they’ve been doing this whole time which is to stand on us to get what they want for themselves.
There are all kinds of ways to do things and some of them result in desirable outcomes which support the principles and ideals we agree together to honor and some do not end up doing that no matter how good they sound on paper. It is a sad testament to the actions and policies of the Republican Party over the course of the last three years that they didn’t know the difference between their applied policies which yielded a result matching those principles and those which did something opposite of that.
But it is an absolute shame and a tragedy of international as well as national consequence that they didn’t know that difference for over forty years of doing it their way with every evidence of the destructive results of what they were doing, from atomic weapons testing on US soil to macro-economics Federal Reserve actions to business and corporate deregulation to insisting on taking children away from households who didn’t have a man and a woman acting out “Father Knows Best” from 1957. Who put those clowns in charge?
Most of his work has to do with motivating and compensating workers. One of his most famous papers, “Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts,” argues that in certain circumstances, it is in a firm’s best interest to rank its employees and pay particularly high wages to the top-ranked employees.
This helps explain why the highest jobs, like chief executive officer, often draw paychecks that are much higher than the next-highest jobs, even though the skill differences between those employees are not very high.
(My Note – and you thought it was because those people at the top actually deserved more than the rest of us or because they were doing such a special, important and critical job at the top that only they could do – yeah, right. It was because this intellectual giant and his Republican masters told them it was the thing to do to get people to work harder than God ever intended while cheating them out of any fair and reasonable compensation for it and doing so intentionally.
Then they gave that unfair gain to the top executives in extra pay and bonuses and stock options and perks and helicopters and planes and pensions and full health coverage and country club dues and greens fees and office suite amenities and hookers and health spa “conferences” and Las Vegas junkets for appearances – oh that must have really taxed their mental prowess and required sacrifice worthy of getting paid to do it. – cricketdiane note)
Most of his work has to do with motivating and compensating workers. One of his most famous papers, “Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts,” argues that in certain circumstances, it is in a firm’s best interest to rank its employees and pay particularly high wages to the top-ranked employees. This helps explain why the highest jobs, like chief executive officer, often draw paychecks that are much higher than the next-highest jobs, even though the skill differences between those employees are not very high. It also helps explain the partnership structure of law firms, in which associate lawyers compete to become partners and earn a much higher salary. He has also analyzed how peer pressure and mandatory retirement can help reduce principal-agent problems in companies.
Lazear has won a number of awards over his career. Among those that he has won are:
Edward Lazear is listed as a coinventor on 5 pending US patent applications. Some of these pending patent applications are considered to be tax patents. This has led to criticism of Lazear by organizations opposed to tax patents, such as Citizens for Tax Justice. Lazear, however, no longer has any ownership rights in these pending applications and cannot receive any royalties from them should they ever issue as valid patents. The full ownership rights to these applications are owned by Liquid Engines.
From watching the Quest Means Business Show on CNN today –
I didn’t see the name of the guy talking about the “artificial intelligence” search engine, nor do I want to know except in order to avoid it. He admits that there is purely data mining on personal preferences and previous searches to define what search results will be made available. (pick any three cuss words and insert here to describe the creepy thinking that man was propagating.)
Now, it is annoying enough when ads are structured to be about “Marietta” when I’m on a site about Great Britain or science or engineering. If I wanted to know what was available on yahoo – I’d be using it which I don’t and if I wanted to search for something in Marietta – I’d have put that into the durn search window, which I didn’t or look it up in a phone book. But, invariably any page will tell me an ad for Marietta and the address will be yahoo.com. I hate them.
A search engine that can answer the question, “What do I need to do tomorrow?” indicates a complete lack of ethics and a thinly veiled attempt to cull and sell very personal search preferences in a cumulative manner. But, today I may need to know what goes into a chemical reaction with chlorine and cesium 137 (whatever came from the atomic atoll fallout), to any positive end-product. Last week, I may have wanted to know about the 7.1 earthquake in Honduras or wherever it was in Central America. Don’t tell me that some search engine should take away the natural search results when I put the terms, “rapid prototyping” in the window tomorrow because it is trying to figure out what the question could be in consideration of the others that came before it.
Why is it that when something works – people like this search engine idiot on the Quest show today can’t just leave that alone and go solve something that doesn’t work at all?
– cricket diane
email to quest means business, on 06-02-09
So, I think it was yesterday that the BBC was kind enough to broadcast a show about how several very wealthy people specifically spent their money in a short period of time, how much it was for each of them, how they spent it and sort of why. It seems that there is a good reason why those who have the means to challenge really difficult problems aren’t doing it.
They are too busy buying sweaters that say “I’m a cutie” for their dogs, flying three continents away to have lunch, buying entire towns in Eastern Europe and having body modifications made to be more beautiful, more handsome, more buff, more sexy and more desirable than God actually made anyone.
No wonder little else is getting done out of those who have the money to do something productive – it isn’t even on the menu except as a tax haven or a way to mingle with others in the same class. I’m just teasing. I know there are many philanthropies which survive because of the gifts and bounty from both rich and poor, middle class and upper crust.
And, as self-absorbed as those shown on the BBC show and egocentric to an extreme at times, it is evident that no one considers anything they do as crazy. But, maybe they should.
There is likely no one who can explain to the rich playboy in their story that there is any other valid use or place for women than in his bed to stroke his fantasies into a life experience. That is probably useless information to him anyway and who would want a decent life partner of any sex stuck with him or anyone like him, regardless of how much money he makes. It isn’t just that money doesn’t buy real love nor a joyous life, it is that money doesn’t fix damn well everything either.
What is most nauseating about this show and about those who think and act like the people which the BBC producers were highlighting, is that – one, they genuinely seem to not know any better. And two, I think of the networks of people they know and resources that are accessible to them which are used for absolutely no productive purpose whatsoever – not to solve problems, not to produce anything to make the world a better place, not to make a contribution that is valuable which they are uniquely suited to offer or specifically positioned to support bringing to the world.
And three, that each of these people are given status and respect for what they say or think simply because they have money and resources that are unavailable to most people. What’s the use – they don’t think its important, then it must not be important. But, what if they really do only believe in buying what others cannot buy to flaunt their self-importance and there really is nothing else on the menu?
There are a lot of experts on tele news including CEO’s and those people described on the BBC show mentioned above that I wouldn’t trust to get me from my house to the Kroger without getting us lost – and Kroger is only a one mile walk from where I live. There aren’t but maybe one or two that I’ve seen on any of these shows, news analysts and experts, rich people, corporate executives, stock brokers, hedge fund managers and especially politicians from Washington’s Congressional delegations and our State governments that I would follow anywhere – not even from this side of the street to the other.
And, precisely because they’d get us killed or maimed or hurt or just plain lost by doing something that would only make sense in their rarefied little rich people worlds, like checking their reflection in a mirror while walking us across four lanes of traffic on foot. Or hiring somebody to carry us from here to the other side of the street who has to use a GPS navigator to find how to get there from here.
They’d likely take us through Tennessee to get from here to the other side of the street where I live by using the route on the GPS to figure it out. That comes from hiring somebody who gets paid to do something that they could’ve done themselves. It leaves the situation open to nonconstructive manipulated and opportunistic uses for undue gain by the person who being thus employed realizes the absolute stupidity of it.
The head jackass at the Bank of America makes more money that my mind can consider but who would trust that man to get them from here to Kroger, either in a car or on foot? I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t trust him to buy a list of groceries at that store without screwing it up or having to get somebody else to do it for him and he might blow a microwave to hell, if he figured out what the buttons could do besides warm coffee, which he would never have the occasion to do anyway.
How is it that anything he has uttered or said that he thinks about something during the last twenty years has been given the respect and unquestioned faith as if it has come straight from someone who would have to know and have it right? How could he possibly know when he and others like him haven’t been living with their feet touching the pavement or the rain touching their heads, don’t buy their own groceries, can’t cook a can of beans safely enough to serve anybody, don’t mow their own grass or know how to walk around a block without getting lost, hurt, robbed or killed?