Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Banks" Then and Now

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism responds to Paul Volcker's op-ed ("...made my stomach sink"):
The big reason banks are too big to fail is that they control infrastructure which has become critical to commerce. Most important, they control the credit markets. And credit is essential to any economy beyond the barter stage.

One reason it is hard to make this notion as explicit as it ought to be is that “banks” covers a very wide range of firms, ranging from ones that look like traditional commercial banks (they take deposits and make commercial and residential loans), to ones with substantial asset management businesses (State Street) to ones heavily involved in transaction clearing (Chris Whalen contends that JP Morgan is a $76 trillion derivatives clearing operation with a $1.3 billion bank attached) to global capital markets players like Goldman, UBS, and Deutsche Bank.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Problem Banks in Indiana

Calculated Risk posted an updated unofficial Problem Bank List.

The chart columns are sortable. Indiana has eight listed: in Dana, Elkhart, Evansville, Goshen, Griffith, Lafayette, Richmond, and Whiting.

Friday, January 29, 2010

California as a Failed State

West Coast Wasteland:

[The Nation]

University departments looking to pinch pennies are removing their professors' office phones. Judges in some counties have donated a percentage of their salaries back to the courts so that the courts will have enough money to stay open. And on furlough Fridays, downtown Sacramento--the capital city of the world's eighth-largest economy--is practically a ghost town. The restaurants are empty, the streets quiet. Nobody's at work.

Digby's take on the situation:

I don't disagree that California is a failed state, I just disagree a teensy bit about the causes. It's the anti-tax conservative and libertarian zealots who have made this state ungovernable by lying to the people about the costs of their cynical experiment in defunding government. The question is whether or not other states will continue to fall for it, and with Colorado's repeal of its restrictive tax referendum last year and Oregon's vote this week, it's just possible that the rest of the country has wised up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Corporate Person Sez

This quote of Sen. Charles Schumer --
The Supreme Court just predetermined the winners of next November's elections. It won't be Republicans. It won't be Democrats. It will be corporate America.
-- I'm hung up on the term "Corporate America." Who or what is that? In view of the way NAFTA functions, for instance, Coporate America could mean North America.

Supreme Court Justice Stevens:

In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters.
He says a Corporate Person doesn't have the right to vote -- but why not?

Under the majority’s view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech.”

"We, the Corporations" presents a thought from Molly Morgan (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom): "When you look at two-plus centuries of US legal history, the pattern is that people acquire rights by amendment to the Constitution — a long, drawn-out, difficult process — and corporations acquire them by Supreme Court decisions."
http://www.wilpf.org/docs/ccp/corp/ACP/Personhood_Talk.pdf

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Money Follows Fear"

"To put the breathtaking scope of this irresponsibility in perspective, the Bush administration's swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined. And its spending spree is the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving: Going forward, these unpaid-for policies will continue to add trillions to our deficit."
David Axelrod, Washington Post

Ah, memories:

In 2005, the St. Petersburg Times reported that the Weeki Wachee staff was "teaming up with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office to ‘harden the target'" -- as they attempted to access DHS anti-terrorism funds "allocated to the Tampa Bay region." ("'I can't imagine (Osama) bin Laden trying to blow up the mermaids,' [marketing and promotion manager John] Athanason said. ‘But with terrorists, who knows what they're thinking. ...'
Fear as a Money Machine, Tom Englehardt

Monday, January 11, 2010

Corporatocracy

This is from CorpWatch, an article called

The Manpowerization of Mexico:

...approximately 60 percent of the 400,000 workers in Mexico’s electronics industry work for temporary agencies, with some companies employing as much as 90 percent of their workforce through sub-contractors.
. . .
Manpower's offices are now practically as ubiquitous as McDonalds’ Golden Arches and as international.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Giuliani Clarified

Hair-splitters fussed about Rudy Giuliani's claim, "We had no domestic attacks under Bush."

As he very well, or rather well remembers 9/11 and the shoe bomber, clearly he meant, "We had no domestic attacks from underpants bombers under Bush."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Da Fed

Kevin Drum at Mojo:
"A year after the biggest bailout in US history, Wall Street lobbyists don't just have influence in Washington. They own it lock, stock, and barrel.

"When the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, it was designed to be an independent agency. But that only means that it's technically independent from Congress and the president. It's not independent from the finance lobby."

Monday, January 04, 2010

Jobs

Robert Reich projects 40-percent likelihood of a jobless recovery:
"Issue Number One ... jobs."

Paul Krugman: That 1937 Feeling

...the odds are that any good economic news you hear in the near future will be a blip, not an indication that we’re on our way to sustained recovery. But will policy makers misinterpret the news and repeat the mistakes of 1937? Actually, they already are.
Humor at Watchdog Blog:
Maybe CEOs can be embarrassed by the pay gap?