UPDATE: Despite the turmoil, the Giants beat Washington today (in Washington), 23-7.
The wide receiver accidentally shoots himself in a nightclub, and the middle linebacker tries to hide the gun. Could be felony charges ...
UPDATE: Despite the turmoil, the Giants beat Washington today (in Washington), 23-7.
The wide receiver accidentally shoots himself in a nightclub, and the middle linebacker tries to hide the gun. Could be felony charges ...
So said the indian commander in Mumbai. The Telegraph (UK) has very extensive coverage - more then the U.S. papers. The article below also contains links to other germane features -
It was in Rawalpindi that the 10-man team were briefed in detail with digitised images of their prospective targets – the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels, the Jewish Centre and the Victoria Terminus railway station. Each member of the team memorised street names and routes to each location. Kamal told his interrogators that most of the targeting information came from a reconnaissance team which had selected the targets earlier in the year.
From Rawalpindi, the team then moved to the eastern port of Karachi where they chartered the merchant ship MV Alpha and headed for Bombay.
It was during this crucial phase, as the cargo ship headed into the Arabian Sea, that the terrorists appeared to almost lose their nerve. The Indian navy, Kamal revealed, were very active, boarding foreign vessels and searching their holds. The terrorists thought their plan might be compromised so on the night of 15th/16th November, the teams used their inflatable speed boats to hijack a local fishing boat, the Kuber.
Kamal also admitted to his interrogators that three of the Kuber's four crew were immediately murdered, while the ship's captain was ordered to sail for the Indian coast. When the Kuber was within five miles of the coast, the terrorists slit the captain's throat and transferred back into their inflatable speed boats and headed for the lights of Bombay.
The expectation is that the death toll will reach 300.
A father and his daughter. Shot "execution style".
As they mourned the deaths, family and friends struggled to comprehend how a man defined by his quiet spirituality had met such a violent end -- along with the daughter who was raised in part by monks in the family-like atmosphere of the rural Synchronicity compound, 30 miles from Charlottesville.
Here's the flyer for the talk. I know, it's a little bit difficult to read, since the flyer is actually embedded as a photo in this posting. But I think you can get the gist of it. The forum is open to anyone.
And it's going to be an excellent and timely talk. Of course feel free to email me with questions - or call my business associate Judy Anderson at number below.
Wow. That's great, as my high school alma mater beats White Plains 29-14 on Thanksgiving. White Plains has a much bigger student body, and Stepinac had never won three years running before. Quite an accomplishment.
Easterling caught five passes for 86 yards, ran for three touchdowns and intercepted a pass, as Stepinac defeated White Plains 29-14 in the 38th Thanksgiving Day football game at White Plains High School yesterday.
They were both under 30. Their toddler son was rescued.
There will no doubt be many stories of heroic actions coming out of the catastrophe. Take a couple of minutes to hit the link and read this brief account -
"He looked young and did not speak to us. He just fired. We were in sort of a single file," Mangeshikar, a 52-year-old gynecologist, told Reuters. "The man in front of my wife shielded us. He was a maintenance section staff. He took the bullets."
We had a Thanksgiving similar to the past several years; my mother came over for the big meal in the mid-afternoon, and then we went to my brother Phil's house for some dessert and to crank up his four little children (to say nothing of the new dog) to a fever pitch.
Brigid did all the work, of course, and then started to get Joe going on his first effort to carve a turkey. And Joe did a great job. He's now got the role permanently - except for when Tim wants to do it. (I can't do any carving because I'm left-handed).
Here's the carving -
My Mom enjoyed the meal
And in the midst of things, Brigid called her sister Libby in England. Libby's son Tom (also Brigid's godson) and his wife Tamsin just had their second child two days ago. A son, who has been named Jude, to go with their daughter Ava.
Then it was off to Briarcliff, to see Phil, Ann, Luke, Catherine, Gregory and Mark.
Here are the stars of Briarcliff -
Luke is in the first grade
Catherine will be five in a couple of months
Gregory will soon be four
Mark is a bit over a year and a half. He decided that when he wasn't sleeping, Mom had to carry him around ...
All the Briarcliff cousins love Tim and Joe. And the feeling is mutual. Tim and Catherine
Last, but not least, here's the new dog Max. He's the replacement (if you can ever really replace a pet dog) for Logan and Bella, two labradors. They both died in the past year. Very sad. As you can easily see, he's a German Shepherd, a dog breed Farandas have a history with.
May have to do another posting on Max, who is not quite a year old, another time.
From a couple of days ago. An amusing opening, which I have excerpted, but read the whole op ed to see the last paragraph. A good reminder.
It's a safe bet, dear reader, that the title of this column has caused you to either (a) roll your eyes and wonder, What century do you think we're living in? or (b) scratch your head and ask, Yes, why don't we? Wherever you come down, the question defines a fault line in the civilized world's view about the latest encroachment of barbarism.
Year-to-date, Somalia-based pirates have attacked more than 90 ships, seized more than 35, and currently hold 17. Some 280 crew members are being held hostage, and two have been killed. Billions of dollars worth of cargo have been seized; millions have been paid in ransom. A multinational naval force has attempted to secure a corridor in the Gulf of Aden, through which 12% of the total volume of seaborne oil passes, and U.S., British and Indian naval ships have engaged the pirates by force. Yet the number of attacks keeps rising.
Why? The view of senior U.S. military officials seems to be, in effect, that there is no controlling legal authority.
Here is an interesting story relating to the beatification on November 24th carried out in Nagasaki.
The beatification of "Fr. Peter Kibe and his 187 companions" – as the title of the ceremony put it – was the first ever celebrated in Japan. The new blesseds joined 42 Japanese saints and 395 blesseds, all of them martyrs, elevated to the honors of the altar beginning with Pius IX.
The new blesseds were martyred between 1603 and 1639. At the time, there were about 300,000 Catholics in Japan, evangelized first by the Jesuits, with St. Francis Xavier, and then also by the Franciscans.
The initial flowering of Christianity was followed by terrible persecutions. Many people were killed, with an unprecedented cruelty that did not spare women and children. In addition to the killings, the Catholic community was decimated by the apostasy of those who abjured the faith out of fear. But it was not annihilated. Part of it went underground, and kept the faith alive by transmitting it from parents to children for two centuries, even without bishops, priests, and sacraments. It is recounted that on Good Friday in 1865, ten thousand of these "kakure kirisitan," hidden Christians, emerged from the villages and presented themselves in Nagasaki to the astonished missionaries who had just recently regained access to Japan.
The lead editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal
"Citi never sleeps," says the bank's advertising slogan. But its directors apparently do. While CEO Vikram Pandit can argue that many of Citi's problems were created before he arrived in 2007, most board members have no such excuse. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin has served on the Citi board for a decade. For much of that time he was chairman of the executive committee, collecting tens of millions to massage the Beltway crowd, though apparently not for asking tough questions about risk management.
The writers at the Deal Journal blog remind us of one particularly egregious massaging, when Mr. Rubin tried to use political muscle to prop up Enron, a valued Citi client. Mr. Rubin asked a Treasury official to lean on credit-rating agencies to maintain a more positive rating than Enron deserved. ...
Chairman Sir Win Bischoff has held senior positions at Citi since 2000. Six other directors have served for more than 10 years -- including former CIA Director John Deutch, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, foundation executive Franklin Thomas, former AT&T CEO C. Michael Armstrong, Alcoa Chairman Alain Belda, and former Chevron Chairman Kenneth Derr.
When taxpayers are being asked to provide the equivalent of $1,000 each in guarantees on Citi's dubious investments, how can these men possibly say they deserve to remain on the board?
A Thanksgiving tradition at the White House
My friend, neighbor, and local office-holder - whose name I will not post - forwarded me this in an email.
Well, that's a fantasy all right.
Tim really had a great football season. His team won their playoffs, with an overtime 39-38 win over Armonk, and then a 24-22 win over Bronxville in the finals. And he was one of four players selected from his team for the All-Star "Graduation Bowl" for sixth graders.
Here's a picture of his team after winning the playoffs.
And here are a couple of pictures from during the season.
The Eye of the Tiger shot ...
And the enveloping defense
And just like between the summer baseball and football start-up, there is no break. Tim had his first St. Augustine's CYO basketball game Sunday, which was a 30-27 win. He scored two points - Tim needs to shoot more. He tends to look for the open man and pass too much, not taking medium range shots. And he looked a little sluggish on defense. Managed to lead the team in fouls (4) though. Must be residual behavior from football season...
Gallup has been surveying poeple for years, asking them to rank professions for honesty and ethics.
Nurses came #1, lobbyists in last place. The survey lists 21 professions. Congressman are fourth from the bottom, clergy sixth from the top, right behind policemen. doctors do well (4th place), lawyers not so well (14th place, just behind labor union leaders).
Comprehensive and devastating.
Risk management took a back seat (in fact it was in the trunk) to Citigroup's quest for greater short term profits (and bonus money to the key people). This is really the theme for how the financial problems developed, as EVERYONE (CountryWide, FannieMae, Merrill, etc, etc, etc) looked to make short term money and worry about the risks later.
In many ways the most interesting part of this sad story is Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's part in providing advice to Citigroup. He received ten's of millions of dollars for providing "Senior Counselor" advice.
This feature prints out at nine pages, and takes 12 or 13 minutes to read. Highly recommended.
which I posted about here last night Citigroup rescue plan - Fed. government (that's the taxpayers) will pick up risk and losses beyond a cer... and updated this morning ... The Daily News is not noted for financial acumen, but you have to love the 100% accurate "Taxpayers to rescue..." headline.
The $20 billion cash injection by the Treasury Department will come from the $700 billion financial bailout package. The capital infusion follows an earlier one - of $25 billion - in Citigroup in which the government received an ownership stake.
Taxpayers will get preferred stock that pays an 8% annual dividend, officials said.
In addition, Treasury and the FDIC will guarantee against the "possibility of unusually large losses," the deal said.
It's worth pointing out that the earlier $25 billion cash injection disappeared. As of last Friday the total market value of Citigroup (that's share price x number of shares) was $20 billion!
UPDATE: Here's the Plan U.S. approves plan to help Citigroup weather losses - International Herald Tribune
The complex plan calls for the government to back about $306 billion in loans and securities and directly invest about $20 billion in the company. The plan, emerging after a harrowing week in the financial markets, is the government's third effort in three months to contain the deepening economic crisis and may set the precedent for other multibillion-dollar financial rescues.
The details are still being worked on -
The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department have been locked in discussions with Citigroup and other regulators throughout the weekend and a deal may be reached as soon as today, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. The plan under consideration calls for the assets to remain at Citigroup, with the government agreeing to assume losses beyond a specified amount, two of the people said.
The holdings that may be guaranteed are a portion of the $400 billion pile of mortgages, bonds, auto loans and corporate loans that Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit pledged in May to shed within three years, the two people said. While the amount to be covered under the plan is under discussion, the talks are focused on about $100 billion to $200 billion of the assets, they said.
“If anybody’s too big to fail from the financial system’s point of view, it’s Citi,” said Brian Barish, president of Cambiar Investments LLC in Denver, which manages about $6 billion and doesn’t own Citigroup stock. “The government doesn’t need to be in this to make money. If they lose a few bucks on this, but save the system, it’ll be worth it.”
And here's more from the WSJ -
The talks Sunday centered on the creation of what is sometimes called a "bad bank" -- an outside entity designed to hold some of a financial firm's worst assets. That structure would help Citigroup cleanse itself of billions of dollars in weak assets, these people said.
Under the terms being discussed with top Treasury Department and Federal Reserve officials, Citigroup would agree to absorb losses on assets covered by the agreement up to a certain threshold, people familiar with the matter said. The U.S. government would then absorb any additional losses, these people said. One person said the new entity is expected to hold about $50 billion of assets.
That would mean taxpayers could be on the hook if Citigroup's massive portfolios of mortgage, credit cards, commercial real-estate and big corporate loans continue to sour.
It was unclear Sunday night whether the government would take an equity stake in Citigroup in return for the support. Also uncertain was whether Citigroup would get a government loan to finance the facility. The government took that approach with insurer American International Group Inc. in late September.
Depending on the structure of Citigroup's deal, government officials could face requests from other banks for similar help shoring up their balance sheets. Banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms have urged Capitol Hill and government officials to restart the asset-purchase program in recent weeks.
"The problem is that other banks would want to get in line" for such government support, says Thomas B. Michaud,a vice chairman of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. "And is there enough money to do that?"
I saw this list in backpacker magazine a few days ago. Thought it was a pretty interesting personal preferences list put together by someone with a great deal of experience.
Then I went back to the article, and look at all the comments! obviously personal preferences lists start conversations ... and some of the comments do add to the article information.
The undisputed experts when it comes to key survival equipment? The rangers who save hikers who go astray. Jeff Webb, a SAR ranger at Yosemite National Park, has worked on more than 200 rescue missions. The 38-year-old has also seen action in Big Bend, Yellowstone, Canyonlands, Joshua Tree, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. This is the emergency kit he crams into the lid of his pack whenever he heads out into the wilderness.
Down another 20% Friday, to $3.77. Still difficult to understand the fundamentals of this collapse.
But this Bloomberg article is undoubtedly correct - Citigroup is one of the eight or ten financial entities the government simply won't allow to fail.
Citigroup has more than $2 trillion of assets, dwarfing companies such as American International Group Inc. that got U.S. support this year. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may favor a rescue to avoid the chaotic aftermath of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in September.
“There is no question that Citi is in the category of ‘too big to fail,’” said Michael Holland, chairman and founder of Holland & Co. in New York, which oversees $4 billion. “There is a commitment from this administration and the next to do what it takes to save Citi.”
While Citigroup executives say the company has adequate capital and liquidity to ride out the crisis, its tumbling share price may shake the confidence of creditors, clients and rating agencies. A similar scenario played out at Lehman, when Chief Executive Officer Richard Fuld declared the firm was “on the right track” five days before the firm went bankrupt.
“The market may be implying some sort of regulatory intervention,” Jason Goldberg, a former Lehman analyst who now works at Barclays Capital in New York, wrote in a note to clients today. “In situations where the government has stepped in, the equity holders have not fared well.”
And then there's this -
The good news for the Mets is they still have a name and a sponsor for their new stadium.
The bad news for a franchise that has had two straight late-season collapses is that it is now linked with a bank trying to stave off its own collapse.
The Times can laugh it up over the Citigroup problems, but with their stock at $5.34, the last laugh may be on them -
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Ochs-Sulzberger family's dilemma over The New York Times Co. grew starker this week, as the company finally cut the dividend that provides big chunks of their income and the stock price plummeted further. Shares in the Times Co. fell 6.64% today to close at $5.34. That's a 66.8% decline in one year.
Slashing the quarterly dividend to 6 cents from 23 cents will help the company save cash, reduce debt and improve its liquidity. It's a move that observers called for long ago, only to see the company increase the dividend last year to 23 cents from 17.5 cents.
"When they increased it last year, I thought it was a mistake, but I thought strategically the reason they did it was they were trying to separate themselves out of the pack," said Ken Doctor, a newspaper veteran turned media analyst for Outsell, the research and advisory firm. "They were saying we're a premium newspaper company. But events overwhelmed them."
Less than five years ago the stock was at 49.
Maybe not. There's a good chance it can be overdone.
The study, administered at the West-German Heart Center Essen, focused on male marathoners age 50 and up. Among its findings, while the runners had lower than average cholesterol levels and better blood pressure, they had more measurable coronary calcium buildup or plaque than the general population
The question begged by the German study’s findings — and now perpetuated by a study at the Minneapolis Heart Institute this autumn — is one that bucks conventional thought: Can athletic activities like long-term marathon training actually contribute to poor heart health?
“Running is a proven healthy activity, but we’re looking to find if there can be too much of a good thing,” said Dr. Robert Schwartz, the Minneapolis Heart Institute cardiologist heading up the study, which will look at about 50 men who have run marathons for more than 25 years straight.
A miner from upstate NY.
"I was a little upset," he said in an even tone. "The fellow that called, he apologized several times, but that was it."
For now, Gallup is living in a friend's finished basement and hoping to move his fiancée and her son to Montana.
He was back on the job hunt Thursday - and optimistic about the future.
"You've gotta keep your head up," Gallup said. "Life is a garden. You gotta dig it."
to see what's in store...
Here's what I posted this morning, before the markets opened. The continuing stock market meltdown
With today's drop, the S & P 500 is now down almost 52% from it's October, 2007 high. And the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. is down 47%, surpassing it's previous second worse drop, in 1973-75 of 45%. The all-time worse drop of course was the Depression, from 1929-32, with an 89% drop.
Citigroup after a 22% drop yesterday, fell an additional 25% today (even though some Saudi prince increased his ownership from around 4 to 5%), all the way to about 4.60 (It is back over 5 in after-market trading). Many institutions - pension plans, mutaul funds, etc - have rules against investing in stocks with a share price below $5. And tonight the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Citigroup is looking for a merger partner.
But aren't things out of whack in terms of fundamentals and real values? Yes, probably. The yield on ten year treasury bonds is 3%. The dividend yield on the S & P 500 is 4%. Stocks yielding more then a ten year treasury makes no sense, unless you really feel "the end is near" (for the world!).
Another example: tonite one of the talking heads reported he'd had a conversation with the highly regarded bond manager Dan Fuss (I have a good chunk of client money in funds he manages), and Fuss gave him an example of the craziness in the capital markets. Fuss is holding AAA rated corporate bonds with 6% coupons, trading around 70 cents on the dollar. Of course no one is selling them, because that is irrational. Means the current yield based on a price of around 70 is around 8 and a half percent.
So institutional panic seems to have conquered real value.
The reasons are complex: it's unclear what will be done for the automakers; no confidence in Citigroup's management; how long will the recession last; commercial real estate values and commercial mortgage backed securities; who will be on Obama's financial team... There are some of the issues.
in finance and investing, in the long run rationality beats fear and panic every time. The problem is - it can be a really long run. And tomorrow (Friday), with things up in the air over Citigroup, and the day before the weekend, it's not very likely that they'll be a one day rally.
With Wednesday's over 6% drop in the S & P 500, it is now down 45% from it's high in October '07. Among other sectors, the financials were crushed yesterday (Citicorp down 23%, to only 6 and a half bucks a share, despite already writing down non-performing assets, and lowering their work force by over 50,000. Hard to understand ...). And the commentators were using words like "irrational" and "panic selling" to describe things. Fully 20% of the S & P 500 - that's the 500 largest companies in the U.S. - are trading under $10 a share. Will the markets bounce back? Yes, of course, but no one can predict when.
The cause - probably twofold. (1) Uncertainly about the auto industry and (2) the federal reserve prediction that the business slowdown/recession will go well into 2009.
It looks more and more like there will be federal money going to the auto industry, but only after a chapter 11 (bankruptcy) filing. And of course the ramifications to companies that supply the auto industry, to car dealerships, to the one million people depending on the industry (directly or indirectly) for their jobs, and the millions of people, working and retired, whose health insurance is provided by the industry ... is murky.
Apropos to this, here is a Mitt Romney op ed in the NY Times on the automotive crisis, that is very good. I excerpted the beginning and end of the article; hit the link to read the whole thing.
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.
I love cars, American cars. I was born in Detroit, the son of an auto chief executive. In 1954, my dad, George Romney, was tapped to run American Motors when its president suddenly died. The company itself was on life support — banks were threatening to deal it a death blow. The stock collapsed. I watched Dad work to turn the company around — and years later at business school, they were still talking about it. From the lessons of that turnaround, and from my own experiences, I have several prescriptions for Detroit’s automakers.
It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. ...
But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.
The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.
In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.
More on the meltdown to follow - and I am giving a talk on December 4th in Croton, on personal planning entitled Financial Stability: Where do you go from here?
This is rich ...
This is very tough talk for a Cardinal. Of course it's years and years late. And it points to Obama's pro-abortion stridency. I never thought anyone could be more pro-abortion than Mrs. Clinton, but she's an amateur compared to Obama.
Unfortunately, people don't want to face up to where the President-elect is on the issue. Here Obama and the Born Alive Protection act - tough video but no gory pictures. And then, "the rest of the s..., here The "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA); #1 on Barack Obama's to-do list , and here Russell Shaw on what the Obama Presidency means for Catholics for afew samples.
Anyway, this from Cardinal Stafford,
“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” the cardinal said, “[…] a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”
"On Nov. 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake,” continued the cardinal. He pointed out that president-elect Barack Obama campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” and described him as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.”
Now Catholics will experience the Agony of the Garden through the next few years of Obama’s presidency, the cardinal said, and will have to endure the “hot, angry tears of betrayal.” He invited people to live this time “with Jesus, sick because of love.”
This is from Tuesday evening. Bailout discussion ...
Here it is - Look closely for the young Uhuru -
If you saw this When rabbits go bad, call in the chickens , you will be interested in the Hare vs. the Crow.
What happened to "Change"? What's the point of bringing all these Clinton people into his Administration? Isn't that the same-old-same-old?
Obama's big selling point in the Democratic primaries was that he opposed going into Iraq, while Mrs. Clinton in "the biggest foreign policy decision in a generation, got it wrong", to quote Obama.
So why would he want her as Secretary of State? Of course the whole "change" thing was BS, as Obama once again shows himself to be an empty suit, bereft of his own ideas.
Hre's the duel, on MSNBC.
In the NY Times. Obviously must reading if you are interested in the current financial turmoil (and who isn't?).
There is no playbook for responding to turmoil we have never faced. We adjusted our strategy to reflect the facts of a severe market crisis, always keeping focused on our goal: to stabilize a financial system that is integral to the everyday lives of all Americans. By mid-October, our actions, in combination with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s guarantee of certain debt issued by financial institutions, helped us to accomplish the first major priority, which was to immediately stabilize the financial system.
This has been viewed over two and a half million times on youtube -
Having yesterday posted a pro-bailout article A GM bailout or bankruptcy? , I figure I better be fair and balanced, so here's a pro-bankruptcy one.
To read the whole article, you may have to hit the link several times for it to open.
The social and political costs would be very large, but if GM fails after getting $50 billion or $100 billion in bailout money, it'll be just as large and there will be less money to soften the blow and even more blame to go around. The PBGC will probably need money to guarantee GM's pensions for its white- and blue-collar workers (pension support is capped at around $40,000 per year, so that won't help executives much). Unemployment insurance will have to be extended and offered to many people, perhaps millions if you include dealers, suppliers and communities dependent on GM as it exists now. A GM bankruptcy will make addressing health-care coverage more urgent, which is probably a good thing. It would require job-retraining money and community assistance to affected localities.
But unless we are willing to support GM as it is indefinitely, the downsizing and asset-shedding will have to come anyway. Even if it builds cars as attractive and environmentally responsible as those Honda and Toyota will be building, they won't be able to carry the weight of GM's past.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner says "bankruptcy is not an option." Critics of a bankruptcy say that GM won't be able to get the loans it will need to guarantee warranties, pay its operating losses while it restructures, and preserve customers' ability to finance purchases. While consumers buy tickets from bankrupt airlines, electronics from bankrupt retailers, and apartments from bankrupt builders, they say consumers won't buy cars from a bankrupt auto maker. But bankruptcy no longer means "liquidation" or "out of business" to a generation of consumers used to buying from firms in reorganization.GM would guarantee warranty support with a segregated fund if necessary. And debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing -- loans that provide the near-term cash for reorganizing companies -- is very safe, because the DIP lender has priority over all other claimants. ...>>>>>>GM as it is cannot survive without long-term government life support. If it gets that support, it can't change enough and won't change fast enough. Contrary to Mr. Wagoner's brave declaration, bankruptcy is an option. In fact, it's the only option that merits public support and actually has a chance at succeeding.
France vs. the Pacific Islands.
I don't think there was an intention to cause an injury (not gory; he was just knocked out) but it was a high, late hit. The red card means he was sent off the field and the Pacific Islands had to play a man down. The video is two and a half minutes long.
Here's a good article from Washington Post business and economic correspondent Robert Samuelsen. Having just put up a posting by a guy who's in favor of allowing a deep recession Here's an advocate for having a deep recession and get the pain over with and this from a few days ago How can the auto industry be competitive with numbers like this? this is a middle of the road view for handling a tough economic problem without crushing GM, it's employees, or it's suppliers.
No one knows what further havoc a GM bankruptcy might inflict. The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) estimates an initial job loss of 2.5 million. The logic: If any of the "Big Three" went bankrupt, many suppliers would also fail; because car companies share suppliers, all U.S.-based manufacturers would suffer parts shortages. American production would virtually stop until new supplier arrangements emerged. "It takes 6,000 to 14,000 parts to make a vehicle," says Sean McAlinden, CAR's chief economist. "If you don't have one, you can't make it."
This may be too pessimistic. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, GM would "reorganize." It would suspend many existing debt payments and continue normal operations. Perhaps. The snag is that even in "reorganization," GM would require new loans that might be unavailable. "Historically, when companies go bankrupt, there's 'debtor in possession' financing -- investors lend you money, but they get repaid first. That market has evaporated because of the credit crunch," says auto analyst Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank.
Why run these risks when the 6.5 percent unemployment rate seems headed toward 8 percent? Just to satisfy a purist "free market" ideal? It doesn't make sense. But neither does it make sense simply to heave taxpayers' money at automakers. The goal is not to rescue the companies or workers; it's to shore up the economy and improve the U.S. industry's competitiveness. A bailout won't succeed unless other things also happen.
First, auto companies' existing creditors need to write down their debts. Even with federal aid, companies will shrink. McAlinden estimates that the country has surplus assembly capacity of about 4 million vehicles, much of it owned by the Big Three and destined to be shut. GM will need a $25 billion government loan to get through the recession and cover closing costs, says Lache. But GM already has $48 billion of debt. Unless the old debt is sharply written down, GM would be overburdened, and its rendezvous with bankruptcy would merely be delayed.
Second, labor costs need to be cut. By Lache's estimates, GM's hourly compensation -- wage plus fringe benefits -- totaled $71 in 2007, compared with $47 for Toyota's U.S. plants. Health benefits for retirees (many in their 50s, having retired after 30 years) are expensive. But the United Auto Workers opposes concessions. Government aid, says UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, is needed "so that auto companies can meet their health-care obligations to more than 780,000 retirees and dependents." The bailout should be more than union welfare.
We are seeing the fallout of the open-ended $700 billion rescue of financial institutions. Boundaries need to be established. Who deserves support and why? Imposing tough conditions on automakers not only improves the odds of success but also -- by the sacrifices required -- makes the process sufficiently unpleasant to deter a stampede of other industries seeking handouts. In 1979, when the Carter administration rescued Chrysler from bankruptcy, the price was concessions from management, investors and labor. We should do as much.
Proving that Republicans aren't the only tacky people. My friend Judy sent me the link - uhhhh, thanks Judy...
Charles Morris is a former banker who's written a number of books, with disparate titles like The Coming Global Boom (1991) and more recently The Trillion Dollar Meltdown ... (2008).
Here he presents a position - which may be politically inspired - that it would be best for the Country if we simply have a deep recession and get over the pain quickly. I don't happen to agree with this, but I'm happy to post it -
Our economic model is broken, and trying to restart it will just dig us deeper into a hole. The massive changes that are required can be made only through the violent rejiggering that takes place during recessions. That may sound coldhearted, but there's a precedent.
From 1979 to 1981, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker masterminded a nasty slowdown that broke stagflation -- the noxious combination of rising prices and no growth. Among other moves, Volcker pushed the yield on three-month Treasury bills up to an unheard-of 20 percent, stopping the economy in its tracks. Millions lost their jobs; Volcker was burned in effigy on the Capitol steps.
But when Volcker finally broke inflation's back in 1983, healthy growth resumed almost immediately, and Ronald Reagan rode the result to a landslide victory in 1984 -- a little fact that people worried about a one-term presidency for Barack Obama should note.
The arithmetic of our current problem is pretty simple: From 2000 through 2007, U.S. households borrowed $6.2 trillion, nearly doubling their debt. Most of it was borrowed against houses, and about two-thirds was spent on things other than another house or paying down mortgage debt -- including SUVs, flat-screen TVs and all the other consumer baubles of an American lifestyle. But when house prices collapsed, the home-equity cash spigot shut tight. U.S. consumer spending has fallen off the cliff, devastating car companies and shuttering factories throughout China.
The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have responded with pyrotechnics. The Treasury has infused hundreds of billions in cash into banks and other financial players. Even more remarkably, the Fed has distributed more than $1 trillion in new loans and credits to a broad range of financial and non-financial companies. The automobile manufacturers have now joined the queue, and President-elect Obama has signaled that he'd like them to be included in the bailout.
So far, none of this has worked very well. Banks continue to tighten credit and lending standards. Even interbank lending came close to freezing up last month -- a level of disruption not seen since the 1970s.
Pouring money from the Fed into the banks just delays the day when banks -- and now we taxpayers -- will have to tally up our losses. The Fed is exchanging Treasury bonds for bundles of subprime mortgages at 98 cents on the dollar. But in the real world, those bundles could barely fetch 30 to 50 cents on the dollar. Does the Fed seriously believe that subprime mortgages are going to recover their value? The Japanese tried papering over bad assets during their 1990s credit crunch, and their economy has barely budged in 20 years.
Democrats should seriously study the 1979-84 period. The political lesson is that Reagan backed Volcker all the way, even when the Republican Party was calling for Volcker's head. The deep recession cost the Republicans seats in the 1982 midterm elections. But when inflation suddenly cleared and growth resumed, Reagan won the 1984 election in a landslide. The dollar was once more the world's strongest currency, and the Reagan era had been launched.
If Democrats insist on piling on the palliatives, as the party's congressional leaders seem to be advocating, and the country hobbles along at 0 to 1 percent annual growth, they may get through the midterms, but they may also ensure that President Obama gets an early release from the burdens of office.
I like this WaPo reporter, Chris Cillizza.
1. The Republican Party suffered a death blow.
2. A wave of black voters and young people was the key to Obama's victory.
Exit polling suggests that there was no statistically significant increase in voting among either group. Black voters made up 11 percent of the electorate in 2004 and 13 percent in 2008, while young voters comprised 17 percent of all voters in 2004 and 18 percent four years later.
The surge in young and African American voters is not entirely the stuff of myth, however. Although their percentages as a portion of the electorate didn't increase measurably, Obama did seven points better among black voters than Sen. John F. Kerry did in 2004 and scored a 13-point improvement over Kerry's total among young voters.
3. Now that they control the White House and Congress, Democrats will usher in a new progressive era.
The fact that roughly a third of the Democratic House majority sits in seats with Republican underpinnings (at least at the presidential level) is almost certain to keep a liberal dream agenda from moving through Congress. The first rule of politics is survival, and if these new arrivals to Washington want to stick around, they are likely to build centrist voting records between now and 2010.
4. A Republican candidate could have won the presidency this year.
5. McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin.
For skittish conservatives looking for more evidence that McCain understood their needs and concerns, Palin did the trick. It's hard to imagine conservatives rallying to McCain -- even to the relatively limited extent that they did -- without Palin on the ticket. And without the base, McCain's loss could have been far worse.
Last night Brigid and I attended the fourth annual HNM Parish dinner-dance. We were actually one of the honorees (jointly) - more on that in another post.
However our author friend Maggie Barbieri was the Master of Ceremonies, and she did the expected excellent job, moving things along with grace and a great deal of humor.
Maggie told me the third book in her murder mystery series came out yesterday and is available for pre-order. Sure enough, I checked Amazon and here it is:
I per-ordered the book, which ships Dec. 9th. Murder mysteries are not a genre I ever was particularly interested in, but I thoroughly enjoyed Maggie's first two books -
The heroine, Alison Bergeron, is an English prof at a small women's Catholic College on the Hudson (sounding suspiciously like the Colllege of Mt. Saint Vincent, now a co-ed college and the alma mater of Maggie - as well as of my mother). She has romantic issues, complicated by the fact that bodies turn up in her car trunk, kitchen, or in parts spread around the Bronx. Hmmm.
You can read about - and order! - Quick Study by going here Amazon.com: Quick Study: A Murder 101 Mystery: Maggie Barbieri: Books
This was just posted on LifeNet, the weblog of the Hudson Vally Coalition for Life.
Everything is now approved, every taboo is broken, every possible outrage against human dignity is now formally endorsed: animal-human embryos, artificial gametes, cloning using two maternal egg sources, germline manipulation, preimplantation diagnosis for eugenic purposes, posthumous conception, removal of the child’s need for a father, use of tissue without proper consent … The list goes on.
Rove's pre-eleciton column nailed the electoral result almost perfectly. Here he looks at the results of 2008 and then to the next national election round in 2010.
First, the predicted huge turnout surge didn't happen. The final tally is likely to show that fewer than 128.5 million people voted. That's up marginally from 122 million in 2004. But 17 million more people voted in 2004 than in 2000 (three times the change from 2004 to 2008).
Second, a substantial victory was won by modest improvement in the Democratic share of the vote. ...
One of the most important shifts was Hispanic support for Democrats. John McCain got the votes of 32% of Hispanic voters. That's down from the 44% Mr. Bush won four years ago. If this trend continues, the GOP will find it difficult to regain the majority.
Then there were those who didn't show up. There were 4.1 million fewer Republicans voting this year than in 2004. Some missing Republicans had turned independent or Democratic for this election. But most simply stayed home. Ironically for a campaign that featured probably the last Vietnam veteran to run for president, 2.7 million fewer veterans voted. There were also 4.1 million fewer voters who attend religious services more than once a week. Americans aren't suddenly going to church less; something was missing from the campaign to draw out the more religiously observant.
In a sign Mr. Obama's victory may have been more personal than partisan or philosophical, Democrats picked up just 10 state senate seats (out of 1,971) and 94 state house seats (out of 5,411). By comparison, when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980, Republicans picked up 112 state senate seats (out of 1,981) and 190 state house seats (out of 5,501).
History will favor Republicans in 2010. Since World War II, the out-party has gained an average of 23 seats in the U.S. House and two in the U.S. Senate in a new president's first midterm election. Other than FDR and George W. Bush, no president has gained seats in his first midterm election in both chambers.
In politics, good years follow bad years. Republicans and Democrats have experienced both during the past 15 years. A GOP comeback, while certainly possible, won't be self-executing and automatic. It will require Republicans to be skillful at both defense (opposing Mr. Obama on some issues) and offense (creating a compelling agenda that resonates with voters). And it will require leaders to emerge who give the right public face to the GOP. None of this will be easy. All of this will be necessary.
Donald Luskin is a financial guy whose weblog I read, and Wednesday night he made one of his frequent appearances on Larry Kudlow's evening CNBC show. Now the stock market didn't bounce back by almost 7% yesterday because of what he said, but nevertheless it is worth hearing it ... video is less than four minutes. Luskin usually posts his TV excerpts on his blog The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid
It's OK for the navy to have sonar than to worry about the unproven damage that might occur to the fishies.
That a case like this even got to the Supreme Court defies any logic. And two of the justices sided with the fish and against the navy... How sick is that?
If the bureaucratic distinction between an "environmental impact statement" and an "environmental assessment" sounds like a flimsy excuse for second-guessing the judgment of admirals in wartime -- well, this case was never really about the welfare of Baby Humpback. Instead, green activists and liberal judges were looking to assert their dominance in matters of war and peace.
Not so long ago, an opinion so obviously rational might have been unanimous -- or, more to the point, superfluous in the first place. Yet Justice Roberts's decision was joined in full only by Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy. Justices Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens dissented on a side issue, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter dissented outright.
Justice Ginsburg's dissent is telling about the willful cast of mind on the judicial left about war powers. She does not seem troubled that a nonexistent threat to whales impaired the readiness and effectiveness of the military, which in any case she dismisses as "an alleged risk." Rather, the main offense is the Navy's "rapid, self-serving resort to an office in the White House" and the President's subsequent actions as Commander in Chief.
Such thinking is an indication of where the U.S. is headed if the Supreme Court's composition swings left in the coming years. We are very close to making judges co-Secretaries of Defense -- and next time they may want to do more than save the whales.
Tonight I watched this 1954 movie, based on the novel of the same name by James Michener. I don't watch much TV, but a few days ago I saw this was on the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) channel, and DVR'd it. I had read the novel, probably when I was in high school. I remember my parents had it in hard cover.
The story is about aircraft carrier pilots - especially one in particular, played by a very young-looking William Holden - in 1952 during the Korean War. And here's what struck me about the movie; it dwelt on the point that while their fellow citizens were living "normally", a few men were carrying the water for the country and the free world, in the Korean conflict. (Including my father, who like Holden's character was recalled to Korea, after participating in WW II.)
Sounds familiar, right? While we mostly live pretty well, we're depending on a few noble men and women to carry the water for us in the very real War on Terror. We make very little/no sacrifices, while they risk and sometimes lose their lives.
This incongruity was one of the themes of the movie. The day before the crucial and frighteningly dangerous mission - to knock out the bridges - pilot Harry Brubaker (William Holden) walks out of the pre-flight briefing and into the mess room, where everyone is listening over the intercom to the San Francisco - LA Rams football game. "Van Brocklin drops back to pass...". Very surreal. I'm sure our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan feel much the same way Brubaker felt.
The movie ends with a very famous line, "Where do we get such men?"
Where indeed. And in several ways a disturbing movie indeed. But in a good way, as we need to reflect on these things.
UPDATE: If you want to read about the movie, go here - a good summary, but a spoiler if you ever want to watch it. The Bridges at Toko-Ri - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Competitive? How can they survive?
This is off Larry Kudlow's weblog:
Here’s a stat from my friend, blogger Mark Perry: Total compensation per hour for the big-three carmakers is $73.20. That’s a 52 percent differential from Toyota’s (Detroit South) $48 compensation (wages + health and retirement benefits). In fact, the oversized UAW-driven pay package for Detroit is 132 percent higher than that of the entire manufacturing sector of the U.S., which comes in at $31.59.
I don’t care how much money Congress throws at GM. With that kind of oversized comp-package they are not gonna be competitive. It’s throwin’ bad money after a bad cause.
Got that? The total compensation per hour in the auto industry is $73.20. In the rest of the U.S. manufacturing sector it's $31.59.
You can't blame the UAW, working for their members and negotiating the best deals they could in past decades, but what now?
Sad. I have friends going through this. The Obama campaign gave meaning to their life, and now ... what?