Categories
NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Sneak attack: Stimulus bill, just passed, sparks fears of internet monitoring

The Senate just passed an $789 billion stimulus package, but parts of it are already scaring hell out of web users.

The devil may or may not be in the details, as broadbandreports.com explains:

Consumer advocate group Public Knowledge issued an alert saying that Democrat Dianne Feinstein was trying to sneak copyright filters into the bill (it’s not clear if she was successful).

Consumer advocate group Free Press issued a statement applauding the fact that grant money in both bills [the House and Senate versions] still requires carriers to hold fast to network openness.

Anyway, the gigantic bill passed, 61-37.

 

Categories
Living NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Nissan crashes; hedge funds lick chops; incoming Israel govt. may take ‘harder line’

Harkavy

Plans are moving apace to purposely set up a “toxic bank” full of poisonous assets to further bail out those banks that had greedily and recklessly accumulated them.

Call it Shitibank. And give it the naming rights to the new baseball stadium for the New York Mets, taking the moniker away from toxic Citibank.

No joke. As Ground Zero reminds us of 9/11, ShitiField would serve as a monument to the global financial meltdown caused by New Yorkers. ShitiField would remind us to burst any future Wall Street bubbles before they blow up in our faces.

And, once the toxic bank is up and running, we proles can move our non-existent pension money to it. But don’t count on driving a new Nissan to the new bank: Even if you could afford to buy one, Nissan can’t afford to keep its factories open to manufacture one.

What’s really going to happen this week sounds just as far-fetched, but it’s not: Many investors on Wall Street don’t want the market to recover. They want it to hit bottom so they can start buying shares and companies again.

Bigwig Ray Dalio of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates tells Barron’s:

“Buying equities and taking on those risks in late 2009, or more likely 2010, will be a great move because equities will be much cheaper than now. It is going to be a buying opportunity of the century.”

Meanwhile, corporate welfare is humming along, as government’s sudden socialists are coming to the rescue of capitalism. Heartwarming, especially for the likes of Nissan, which, as the Wall Street Journal reports, plans to “seek government assistance from Japan, the U.S. and elsewhere.”

And now the rescue plan for America calls for a combination of the toxic bank and encouragement by the government for hedge funds to profit from the grief by expanding their investments (instead of the government’s clawing back ill-gained profits from hedge funds). And don’t worry about Wall Street’s top execs: All the scoldings by President Barack Obama won’t stop them from making their big bucks. See? The free-market system does work.

At least we know that defense contractors will make it through the depression in good shape. Bibi Netanyahu is about to reclaim control of Israel, and that will signal that, as the BBC reports, “Israel is shifting to the right” and, as the Daily News says, “a harder line is coming with Israel’s Arab neighbors.”

Could the line get any harder, you ask?

While you’re investing in weapons makers or just waiting to pour your money back into the market or snap up some ailing companies, click on these…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Seeking Alpha: ‘U.S. Government vs. the Stock Market’

This week we’ll see a knock-down, drag-out battle between Obama, Geithner and the Senate who want to keep the market from falling, and the market itself which wants to drop precipitously.

Gawker: ‘Top Five Kellogg’s Recipes For Stoners’

As Seth Meyers pointed out on Saturday Night Live, Kellogg Company’s image is closer to that of bong-smoking Olympian Michael Phelps than the cereal maker likes to admit.

Kellogg’s Keebler Elves, after all, “live together in a treehouse and do nothing all day but think of new things to put cheese on.”

N.Y. Times: ‘U.S. Bank Bailout to Rely in Part on Private Money’

Wall Street helped produce the global financial and economic crisis. Now, as the Obama administration prepares to unveil a revised bailout plan for the banking system, policy makers hope Wall Street can be part of the solution.

Administration officials said the plan to be announced Tuesday was likely to depend in part on the willingness of private investors other than banks — like hedge funds, private equity funds and perhaps even insurance companies — to buy the contaminating assets that wiped out the capital of many banks.

N.Y. Times: ‘Applications Surge at Cooper Union’

For many high school seniors who are applying to college in the midst of an economic meltdown, Cooper Union’s commitment to full scholarships — regardless of need — has given the institution an almost mythic allure….

While many of the nation’s elite colleges underwrite the education of poor students, Cooper is among a handful of private colleges that are tuition-free for everyone (it does not, however, pay for room and board, though financial aid is available for living expenses).

Newsday: ‘Explore LI: Pamper your pooch’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Bailout Revamp Could Use Private Bank for Bad Assets’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Investors Staying Away from Banks; Gold Attempts to Break Downtrend’

Another Bank Bailout: On Monday, Treasury Secretary Geithner is due to announce the next phase in a long series of government bailouts for banks. The leaks about the plan thus far have indicated a hybrid approach using elements of a “bad bank” and more government guarantees on bank assets. The price action of Bank of America and Citigroup does not inspire confidence in the market’s reaction to previously announced government guarantees of toxic bank assets.

If the regulators hope to bring stability to the markets, they might want to consider leaving the rules unchanged for more than two weeks at a time.

N.Y. Times: ‘Leader of Afghanistan Finds Himself Hero No More’

Fox: ‘Australian PM: “It’s Mass Murder”‘

Officials believe arson may be behind nation’s worst-ever wildfires as entire towns burn.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Bank Bailout Plan Revamped’

Geithner is considering a plan to help purge banks of their bad bets by partnering with the private sector to buy troubled assets.

N.Y. Post: ‘E. HARLEM FIRE DEATH’

A 21-year-old autistic man perished and his grandmother was left fighting for her life as flames engulfed their 17th-floor East Harlem apartment yesterday morning, police said.

Forbes: ‘Nissan To Ax 20,000 After Loss Warning’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Saks Upended Luxury Market’

Saks’ decision to cut prices by 70% on designer clothes in mid-November set off a domino effect in the luxury goods business.

Fox: ‘Stimulus Plan Includes Billions for Colleges and Students’

The stimulus plan emerging in Washington could offer an unprecedented, multibillion-dollar boost in financial help for college students trying to pursue a degree while they ride out the recession.

N.Y. Times: ‘In Congress, Aides Start to Map Talks on Stimulus’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘One BIG question remains: Who ratted out Alex Rodriguez?’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Netanyahu: the Golan Heights ‘will remain in our hands’

Former Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, who is poised to be swept back into power Monday, declared Sunday he would not give up the strategic Golan Heights, signaling a harder line is coming with Israel’s Arab neighbors.

Fox: ‘Octuplets’ Grandmother Calls Daughter’s Actions ‘Unconscionable”‘

N.Y. Post: ”ROID-RIGUEZ IN HALL OF SHAME: TOOK 2 DRUGS THEN GOT TIPPED OFF TO MLB TESTS’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘GOP’s losses just might save party, says Lazio’

Bloomberg: ‘MGM Doubles Down on Lobbying as U.S. Senators Work on Stimulus Measure’

Casino operator MGM Mirage says a tax break for forgiven debt is a good way for Congress to stimulate the U.S. economy; Granite Construction Inc. favors more money for roads and bridges; General Motors Corp. wants incentives for car buyers.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Jewish Charities Look to Stimulus Bill To Stave Off Cuts’

Onion: ‘Per Tradition, Ex-Presidents Watch Obamas Christen White House Bed’

Crain’s New York Business: ‘Parents question mayor’s math’

Critics are skeptical of gains cited by school officials at an Assembly hearing Friday on whether mayoral control of the school system should continue.

Wall Street Journal: ‘U.S. Weighs Fed Program to Loosen Lending’

The Obama administration is considering turning to a new program run by the Fed that depends heavily on hedge funds to jump-start the financial system.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Mike to GOP: Miss me, baby?’

Mayor Bloomberg came to a Queens banquet hall Sunday like a man looking to woo a lover he once spurned, sweet-talking a roomful of Republicans to take him back. It didn’t work.

N.Y. Times: ‘2008 Taxes: Big changes may come in expanded tax breaks to the less wealthy’

CNN: ‘Man, 47, marries girl, 8’

The debate over the controversial practice of child marriage in Saudi Arabia was pushed back into the spotlight this week, with the kingdom’s top cleric saying that it’s OK for girls as young as 10 to wed.

“It is incorrect to say that it’s not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger,” Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the kingdom’s grand mufti, said in remarks quoted Wednesday in the regional Al-Hayat newspaper. “A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she’s too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her.”…

Late last month, a Saudi judge refused to annul the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a 47-year-old man.

The judge, Sheikh Habib Abdallah al-Habib, rejected a petition from the girl’s mother, whose lawyer said the marriage was arranged by her father to settle a debt with “a close friend.” The judge required the girl’s husband to sign a pledge that he would not have sex with her until she reaches puberty.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Pay Collars Won’t Hold Back Wall Street’s Big Dogs’

While a pay cap for financial executives punishes yesterday’s fools, it may inadvertently create tomorrow’s culprits.

N.Y. Post: ‘RAGING PENSION FIRE’

More than 70 percent of firefighters who retired in the past five years did so on disabilities – hiking the cost of taxpayer-funded FDNY pensions to nearly $1 billion a year, a Post analysis shows. At the same time, a rise in final-year overtime racked up by firefighters – even those retiring on disabilities – has boosted pension costs…

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Bloody mob chop shop could become school bus depot’

N.Y. Post: ‘3 DEAD IN BLOODY UPPER WEST SIDE SLAY-SUICIDE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Soaring Job Losses Drive Stimulus Deal’

Bloomberg: ‘U.S. Said to Hire N.Y. Bankruptcy Lawyers to Advise on Automakers’ Bailout’

A law firm with bankruptcy expertise, three capital-markets lawyers and an investment bank are advising the U.S. government on how to restructure General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, two people involved in the work said.

New Yorker: ‘Can We Transform the Auto-Industrial Society?’

The present and impending disorder of the automobile companies is a reminder, even more than the decline of the housing and banking industries, of the desolation of the Great Depression. It is a reminder, too, of economic history, or of the rise and decline of industrial destinies.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Final nails in coffin for city welfare burial fund’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Railing Against the Rich: A Great American Tradition’

The Great Depression of the 1930s created hardship and suffering among millions of Americans. It also created populist resentment of elites. Among the many signs of this anger was the astonishing popularity of Huey P. Long, governor of Louisiana and then U.S. senator, a figure so dominant in his own state that his enemies called him a dictator. But to the ordinary people of Louisiana — and later to millions of ordinary people across the U.S. — Mr. Long was a heroic figure, fighting for the “common man” and challenging the right of elites to monopolize power and wealth….

Crain’s New York Business: ‘NYC, London vie for the bottom’

Bloomberg: ‘Fed Calls Emergency Consultants to Triage and Treat AIG, Stricken Markets’

Every Sunday night, New York bankruptcy lawyer Marshall Huebner spends a 13-hour shift on call as an emergency medical technician. His day job involves work on another sort of rescue: The government’s $152.5 billion bailout of American International Group Inc.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Summers Crafts Broad Role in Reshaping Economy’

Onion: ‘Liberals Horrified By Lack Of Inexperience Among Obama Appointees’

Bloomberg: ‘Notre Dame Cathedral, Louis XIV Chateau Reap Bonanza From France’s Crisis’

For Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the economic crisis is turning into manna from heaven.

Bloomberg: ‘India Bucks Global Auto Trend After Rate Cuts Spur Record Sales at Suzuki’

After six months of deliberating whether to buy a car, Mumbai real-estate agent Abraham Mathew took out a 300,000 rupee ($6,200) loan to buy a Suzuki Motor Corp. sedan. The clincher: a 20 percent drop in interest rates.

IRIN: ‘Homeless Gazans struggle to find shelter’

 

Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES FILM ARCHIVES Living NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

New York City’s jobless rate soars; Toyota drives off a cliff; Sullenberger lands in limelight

Heaven can wait: Chesley Sullenberger live, in “US Airways Flight 1549 Full Cockpit Recording”

To try to counter the sickening economic news, remember another horror story that actually had a happy ending.

Sully Sullenberger knows what “sickening” feels like, although his voice in the above cockpit recording doesn’t reveal it. Now, Sully is talking in detail about his astounding, life-saving jet landing on January 15 in the Hudson River, as the Post reports this morning:

First came the bird strike. Then everything went dead silent.

“It was the worst, sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling I’ve ever felt in my life,” hero pilot Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III told CBS’s 60 Minutes, according to excerpts released yesterday.

“I knew immediately it was very bad,” he said in the interview, set to air Sunday at 7 p.m.

When asked if he wondered how he could get the crippled plane down safely, Sullenberger said he was just stunned.

“My initial reaction was one of disbelief,” he said.

And now for some bad news that only seems unbelievable…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Post: ‘SULLY RELIVES SPLASH: JET’S “SICKENING” SILENCE’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Bronx teen missing for a month spent it misidentified in city morgue’

N.Y. Times: ‘In the Red, Toyota Sees Loss Tripling’

N.Y. Post: ‘CITY JOBLESS RATE MAY HIT CRIPPLING 10.5 PERCENT’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘N.Y.C. so costly you need to earn six figures to make middle class’

N.Y. Times: ‘As Layoffs Surge, Women May Pass Men in Job Force’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘More soldiers committed suicide in January than killed by Al Qaeda’

N.Y. Times: ‘Violence and Abuse at City-Run Psychiatric Unit’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Butt-grabbing pervert strikes for 5th time in Gramercy Park’

N.Y. Times: ‘U.N.’s Gaza Refugee Director Criticizes Israel and Hamas’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Anti-Arab Israeli Party Surges’

Polls Show Avigdor Lieberman’s Far-Right Platform Gaining Ahead of Vote

N.Y. Observer: ‘New York’s Stimulus Take: At Least $41 Billion’

Newsday: ‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized with pancreatic cancer’

N.Y. Post: ’10 YRS. LATER, RED TAPE KEEPS DIALLO MOM FROM HIS GRAVE’

N.Y. Times: ‘Pakistani Nuclear Scientist Set Free’

A Pakistani court declared disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan free on Friday, ending five years of house arrest for the man at the center of the world’s most serious proliferation scandal.

Khan, lionized by many Pakistanis as the father of the country’s atomic bomb, confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya in 2004, but was immediately pardoned by the government, although his movements were restricted to effective house arrest.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Does New Jersey smell? Just ask the folks who live there…’

N.Y. Post: ‘UNIFORMLY ABSURD’

New uniforms for everyone!

The massive $900 billion stimulus bill making its way through Congress would require the feds to purchase up to 100,000 uniforms for the Transportation Security Administration and other Department of Homeland Security workers — a provision critics say won’t do anything to spark the economy.

ChannelWeb: ‘Privacy Group: Google Latitude Could Track Unsuspecting Users’

N.Y. Post: ‘”CUT!” & RUN LOOMS: NY OUT OF FILM LURE$’

Wall Street Journal: ‘When People Stop Moving, So Do Congressional Seats’

Seeking Alpha: ‘The Next American Revolution: Main Street vs. Wall Street’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Toyota Flags $3.84 Billion Full-Year Loss’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Stimulus Watch: How the Devil Are They Going to Finance All of It?’

N.Y. Times: ‘Sales Fall Sharply for Retailers Not Named Wal-Mart’

N.Y. Post: ‘MIKE SCOFFS AT ELEX-CASH CAP’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Deutsche Bank Fallen Trader Left Behind $1.8 Billion Hole’

The fall of Boaz Weinstein, once one of Wall Street’s hottest traders, speaks volumes about why financial firms still are reeling from the shattered global markets.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Octuplet mom Nadya Suleman released from hospital — to what kind of future?’

N.Y. Times: ‘In New York City, an Aromatic Mystery Solved’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Judge might toss damning evidence against Barry Bonds’

N.Y. Post: ‘BABY MAMA OUT FITTY MIL’

A Manhattan judge has thrown out a $50 million lawsuit against 50 Cent by the baby mama who said he’d promised to always take care of her.

Bloomberg: ‘Fertility Drugs Don’t Raise Ovarian Cancer Risk, Study Shows’

N.Y. Times: ‘A Diverse Group of Senators at Center Stage in Economic Debate’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Why Are the Fed and Treasury Working Against Each Other?’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Sleepwalking to Economic Oblivion’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Nations Rush to Establish New Barriers to Trade’

N.Y. Post: ‘SPITZER GAL BARES EXEC HO $CANDAL’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama Turns Up Heat, Slams GOP Ideas’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Panetta Hearing Focuses on Bush-Era CIA Challenges’

Pick to Run Agency Calls Waterboarding Torture, but Says Employees Following U.S. Lawyers’ Opinions Shouldn’t Be Prosecuted

Wall Street Journal: ‘U.S. Presses Europe for Aid in Afghanistan Amid Political Chill With Russia’

 

Categories
Living NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Obama’s scolded for picking Larry Summers; Abe Foxman’s scolded for picking at Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers talks with two Times reporters last September about Wall Street’s meltdown.

Almost lost amid the usual knee-jerk preaching to the choir that is the 21st century Nation are a couple of excellent stories — one of them scolds Barack Obama for relying on such dubious characters as economist/erstwhile Harvard prexy Larry Summers, and the other roasts Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.

In “Never Say You’re Sorry,” Christopher Hayes points out the clay feats of Obama economic-world appointees Summers and Gary Gensler.

In “The Defamation League,” Eric Alterman takes Foxman to task for the latter’s astonishing blast at Bill Moyers, who had the audacity to suggest that Palestinians are people, too. (See Foxman’s rip and Moyers’s response.)

Really juicy in Alterman’s piece is this passage:

What’s more, the defamation of Moyers escalated further. Following Foxman’s fusillade, New York Times neocon William Kristol inserted in a regular column–yet another devoted as usual to the majesty of George W. Bush‘s leadership–an attack on Moyers for allegedly “lambast[ing] Israel for what he called its ‘state terrorism,’ its ‘waging war on an entire population’ in Gaza.” Like Foxman, Kristol also implied that Moyers was guilty of racism.

Again, read the text of Moyers’s remarks. Neither Kristol nor Foxman notes his stated belief that “every nation has the right to defend its people. Israel is no exception, all the more so because Hamas would like to see every Jew in Israel dead,” or his deep concern about the growth of “a radical stream of Islam [that] now seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.”

Yet despite the fact that Bill Moyers is, well, Bill Moyers, the Times editors not only allowed Kristol to deliberately distort and decontextualize his remarks; they would not allow Moyers to defend himself in his own words in response. After the PBS journalist submitted a letter to the editor, he was told, “We will not print that ‘William Kristol distorts or misrepresents,’ and the editors will not budge.” They insisted that the letter be changed for publication to read, “I take strong exception to William Kristol’s characterization,” and they truncated much else.

Hmmm…Kristol has exited the Times‘s op-ed page. He probably wanted to pursue other opportunities.

Hayes’s lively piece on Obama’s appointees even throws in a couple of apt sports metaphors. More importantly, Hayes dredges up some valuable history regarding both Gensler and Summers.

In doing so, he doesn’t spare the Clinton Administration from its disastrous destruction of the Glass-Steagall Act, a strict banking law from the last Depression that, had it remained in place, would probably have prevented Wall Street from creating the current Depression.

I’ve harangued about Glass-Steagall’s repeal many times, but Betsy L. Angert said it more gracefully in an item last year:

Softly swayed by seemingly selfless actions, those charmed by the Clinton charisma do not recall that the Clintons helped to create the financial debacle the electorate now experiences. An audience content with celebrity, dazzled by a drama, and grateful for fiscal favors sees no reason to reflect upon what might have been had the Clintons not repealed the Glass-Steagall and Bank Holding Company Acts.

Also see Frontline‘s “The Long Demise of Glass-Steagall.”

Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES FILM ARCHIVES Living NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Fossils still bite: Bernie Madoff and prehistoric snakes

Good for the New York Times! Always trying to take a broad view (even when one doesn’t exist, as Jack Shafer often points out), the paper weighs in on how the plight of Bernie Madoff‘s white-haired victims gives us valuable insights about the global meltdown with this morning’s “Fossils of Largest Snake Give Hint of Hot Earth.”

Good info that the “prehistoric snake” was “a giant relative of today’s boa constrictors.” The elderly Madoff wasn’t the first, nor will he be the last, snake to swallow your money. Wall Street is really is a dangerous place, even for celebrities — see the latest list of Madoff’s victims.

Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos‘s testimony yesterday on Capitol wasn’t quite as colorful, but the bookish-yet-tigerish accountant was pretty damn intense, as I previously noted.

Among other fascinating details, Markopolos told the dazed House members that he planned to deliver to the SEC today a “mini-Madoff.” The agency is sure to accept this silver platter with respect and care.

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, is showing me no respect with his $500,000 limit on CEO pay ( VIDEO). To get a bailout, I have to limit my pay? I don’t think so.

While I wait for my manservant to dress me, I’ll also point out that the Times story “Daschle’s Ambitions Collided, Friends Say” does little more than say what I already said yesterday. The Times was more polite.

Please click on these items. Pretty please…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

CNN: ‘Toyota shuts down all but one assembly line’

N.Y. Post: ‘BANKS’ MONEY WELL SPENT’

New York’s top banking firms went on a multimillion lobbying spree late last year — just as the feds were crafting a $700 billion rescue plan for struggling banks.

The banks got an extraordinary return on their investment, as they got federal cash injections that were thousands of times larger than what they spent trying to influence Congress and the administration – which doled out the cash.

Newsday: ‘Drilling leases on Utah land scrapped’

In a high-profile reversal of the Bush administration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said yesterday the government is scrapping the leases of 77 parcels of federal land for oil and gas drilling in Utah’s redrock country.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Twins’ rage: Coward could never face our father’

N.Y. Times: ‘Senate Adds Homebuyer Tax Credit to Stimulus Bill’

N.Y. Post: ‘O WARNS OF “CATA$TROPHE”: URGES STIMULUS OK AMID MOUNTING RESISTANCE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Forget Golf: Street Junkets Get Junked’

CNN: ‘Overseer calls for bank bailout makeover’

Special inspector general for Treasury’s $700 billion financial sector bailout said program needs tighter regulation and a better investment strategy.

Financial Crisis Update: ‘SEC Official Endorses Central Counterparty for Credit Default Swaps as Global Consensus Grows’

N.Y. Times: ‘Daschle’s Ambitions Collided, Friends Say’

N.Y. Times: ‘Science Found Wanting in Nation’s Crime Labs’

N.Y. Post: ‘ON WALL STREET: WHO COULD LIVE ON $500K?’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Study: 9/11 Lung Problems Persist Years Later’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Cops on hunt for suspect in brutal rape in East Harlem laundromat’

N.Y. Times: ‘Boo Hoo in the Boardroom’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Faith-Based Program Gets Wider Focus’

When President Barack Obama launches his version of the faith-based initiative Thursday, he will expand the mission to include abortion reduction and outreach to the Muslim world. He will also try to avoid the thorniest constitutional issues that beset the program for years under his predecessor.

Mr. Obama’s approach to the federal faith office reflects his search for common ground on contentious social issues, and his willingness to dial back some of his campaign positions.

N.Y. Post: ‘AMAZIN’ AMBUSH! SHAMSKY’S ANGRY EX POUNCES’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Cheney: Beware nukes’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Gaza’s Isolation Slows Rebuilding Efforts’

N.Y. Times: ‘Societal Cost of Meth Use Is Gauged in New Study’

Bloomberg: ‘”Failed” Wall Street Forces Biggest Rewrite of Rules’

N.Y. Post: ‘PLAYBOY’S ROCKER SCRIBE RIFFS ON STREET ROGUES’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘The great Big Apple sports broadcaster debate’

N.Y. Post: ‘SMOKING FEATHER OF FLIGHT 1549’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Lehman judge charged with hitting wife gets lawyer’

A federal judge charged with slapping his wife hired a big shot defense attorney as he faces a misdemeanor charge that could land him in the clink.

James Peck, 63, the bankruptcy judge overseeing the breakup of Lehman Brothers, hired Barry Bohrer, a prominent criminal defense lawyer whose clients have included Sam Israel, the hedge fund swindler who went on the lam last summer after faking his own suicide to avoid a 20-year jail term.

Peck, who was briefly assigned to handle the Bernard Madoff bankruptcy until he recused himself in December, told cops when they came to his Park Ave. apartment Saturday afternoon that “I was defending myself.”

He said his wife, Judith Peck, 64, was late in returning to the city from their home in the Hamptons and then they argued over a ladder that she had put in his closet.

“I was moving the ladder out. She slapped me in the face,” he told cops. “I put the ladder down and slapped her back. We slapped each other back and forth.”

Bloomberg: ‘Soros Imitators Reap Riches in Financial Whirlwind on Global Macro Funds’

Forbes: ‘Buffett Sinks Billions Into Swiss Re’


‘Sandy Koufax, John Malkovich among Bernie Madoff victims as court filings are released’

From the Daily News:

…Other victims were identified as Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein, the estate of late singer John Denver, actor John Malkovich, former Mets second baseman Tim Teufel and even Madoff’s lawyer Ira Sorkin. The 163-page list also includes hundreds of trust funds, charities, pension plans and unions, as well as entries for Madoff’s grandchildren. [FULL LIST]

Boston Globe: ‘The whistleblower: Dogged pursuer of Madoff wary of fame’

U.S. News & World Report: ‘5 Things to Know About Whistleblowing’

Bloomberg: ‘Madoff Said Only Brother Could Do Audit, Witness Tells Congress’

Whistleblower Lawyer Blog: ‘Whistleblower Protections Added to Economic Stimulus Bill Passed by House’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Photo gallery: Madoff’s victims’

N.Y. Post: ‘DIVORCEE BIDS TO ‘EX’-TEND MADOFF PAIN’

Whistleblower Lawyer Blog: ‘Hedge Funds Face Regulation & Oversight by SEC–Will There Be Another Compliance Tool in Addition to IRS Whistleblower Program?’

Fortune: ‘Did Madoff’s feeder fund shop for friendly audits?’

Whistleblower Harry Markopolos testifies that Fairfield Greenwich switched auditors three times in three years.

AP: ‘[Massachusetts] pension fund fires 2 managers’

Two managers of the Massachusetts state pension fund have been fired for poor performances, including one who lost $12 million investing with accused Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘$1B of swindled funds uncovered, Madoff’s alleged vics to get paid “in the near future”‘

N.Y. Post: ‘HOW SEC BOZOS BLEW IT: WHISTLEBLOWER RIPS DO-NOTHING FED “FLEAS”‘

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Car dealer hopes to say, “I Madoff with 100G”‘

N.Y. Daily News: ‘GM Omar Minaya says Mets will not go after Manny Ramirez’

Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon computed the Mets’ 2009 payroll at $143 million when factors such as Freddy Garcia‘s probable salary with bonuses, the $1.6 million owed to the Diamondbacks for Scott Schoeneweis and $2.25 million owed to Willie Randolph are included. Wilpon handed Minaya that budget early in the offseason, before Wilpon learned his family had lost money in the Bernie Madoff scandal. Wilpon declared that the Mets had accomplished their winter objectives, mentioning the acquisitions of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz and “addition by subtraction” with trades that shipped out players such as Aaron Heilman and Schoeneweis.

 

Categories
Media NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Markopolos bombshells: ‘I’ll deliver a mini-Madoff tomorrow!’ and ‘Arm SEC with Bloomberg machines!’

After only part of this morning’s House hearing starring Harry Markopolos, there’s little doubt that Bernie Madoff‘s true identity is Dr. Evil.

What else can one think when House members wondered aloud whether there are “mini-Madoffs” or “medium-size Madoffs” lurking in the Wall Street wastelands.

Markopolos answered in the affirmative and said he plans to “deliver a mini-Madoff to the SEC tomorrow,” adding, “Hopefully they listen to me this time.”

The House Financial Services Committee members agreed that this time the SEC will probably listen to Markopolos. There’s no hint, however, of who Markopolos is talking about.

A mini-Madoff! Like Mini-Me! Cool!

But speaking of Dr. Evil, Markopolos also pointed out (as I and some others have) that Wall Street’s fraudsters couldn’t pull off their schemes without Mayor Mike Bloomberg‘s proprietary sophisticated hardware/software machines.

There’s no other way, many say, to conjure up the increasingly sophisticated financial instruments that ruined Wall Street and will no doubt ruin it again during the next bubble.

Bloomberg is supposedly the biggest philanthropist in America; he got the money from the sale of his machines on Wall Street.

Which leads to the question: How could Mayor Bloomberg not have known the various nefarious uses to which his machines could be put? Of course he knows.

Which leads to this: Wall Street’s meltdown happened on his watch, and it was created by his pals — his customers — at the Street’s big banks. So why didn’t he stop it or at least see the signs of an impending disaster?

If not him, who? If not then, why not?

And now he wants another mayoral term to keep our streets supposedly safe when the only street he knows — Wall Street — has become the most dangerous stretch of pavement in the country?

Just wondering.

Markopolos didn’t make that point, but he did say that the SEC operates at a tremendous disadvantage in trying to understand the complex schemes of the Street’s white-shoed gangsters by not having nearly enough Bloomberg terminals. Give the SEC more Bloomberg terminals, he told the House panel, because the fraudsters and scamsters have them.

Wild-eyed Harry also has a beef with the press: He contended that a Wall Street Journal reporter (whom he didn’t name) was very interested three years ago and was willing to fly to Boston to meet with Markopolos but that the reporter’s editors were scared off by Madoff’s power and reputation and nixed it. (For more on that, see Gary Weiss‘s post on Seeking Alpha.)

Treated with extreme deference, Markopolos is surely one of the most brash witnesses to testify on Capitol Hill in quite a while. And well-prepared — browse his lengthy (but entertaining) written testimony if you can’t wait for the sound bites later today.

Of course, he can back it up, having warned a decade before Madoff confessed to his sons that Bernie was a fraudster.

At least, Markopolos can back it up for now. His hubris, his zealotry, his sense of certainty — they make you wonder whether Markopolos, like Madoff’s scheme, is too good to be true.

Anyway, Markopolos’s halo — or is it his intense eyes? — cast an eerie glow for now on the scene of perhaps capitalism’s all-time worst disaster.

California Democrat Brad Sherman noted that Markopolos isn’t just some “wild-eyed populist.” Sherman was half-right. Markopolos is definitely wild-eyed — he has the look and tone of a zealot — but he’s also the staunchest defender of capitalism one could imagine, and that includes Ayn Rand.

And imaginative, too. Markopolos raised the intriguing notion that retired Wall Street bigwigs, people with little or no hair, as he put it, should be hired by the SEC to replace the young whippersnappers who now infest the agency’s lower ranks.

Markopolos reasons that veterans won’t have to do it for the money, because they’ve already made theirs and that they would be foxes able to sniff out the rotten eggs in the henhouse.

This probably won’t happen, unless these Wall Street veterans are suddenly imbued with that sense of civic responsibility that Barack Obama mentioned in his inaugural address.

Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES FILM ARCHIVES NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES Washington, D.C.

Tom cries ‘Uncle’! Daschle’s exit an embarrassing end to Obama’s embarrassing decision to pick him

Tom Daschle‘s quick exit from the health-care Cabinet job is just proof that he was a poor choice for the job.

If the guy can’t get it together enough to wipe his nose clean after rubbing it against the rear of society schmuckettes like Catherine Reynolds, then he’s not the person to tackle the extraordinarily tricky job of cleaning up the health-care mess.

He should just return to his destiny: playing off his former job in Congress to lobby his former Congress pals on behalf of rich clients.

Daschle wasn’t a notable senator in the first place, despite his high post in the Democratic Party heirarchy. Teddy Kennedy or Paul Wellstone he wasn’t.

Barack Obama did take responsibility for the Daschle embarrassment and did admit that he, the president, screwed up, but it was Daschle who screwed up his own nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

All he had to do was come clean to Obama or Obama’s vetters, and this wouldn’t have happened. Actually, he could have just paid his taxes in the first place. But hubris isn’t exclusive to Wall Street bankers or pro athletes. Former senators often think that they, too, are above the law or the law’s consequences.

Obama’s screw-up came when he picked Daschle in the first place — unless Obama wanted a weak-sister guy like Daschle in there. All of this leaves murky the question of what exactly the Obama regime has in mind for health care.

The last time a Democratic administration came to power, Bill Clinton turned the health-care issue over to Hillary Clinton, who, true to her conservative roots, immediately reneged on her vow to supporters and advisers to consider a national health-care plan. Instead, she relied on the inherently corrupt health-care industry — not the doctors, but the insurers — and any hope of a cleaner, fairer, more inclusive national health-care plan that wouldn’t be controlled by the middlemen (the insurers) was doomed. (Click here for my February 2005 rant about this; you’ll have to scroll down a little ways to get to it.)

In any case, good-bye, Daschle. Don’t let the revolving door hit you on your way into and out of government offices.

The rest of you, however, are welcome to stay right here and click on the following items…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

CBS: ‘Bailed-Out Bank Nixes Lavish Vegas Junket: After Outcry From Capitol Hill, Wells Fargo, Which Got $25B In Taxpayer Money, Calls Off Gathering’

CBS: ‘MySpace Boots 90,000 Sex Offenders: N.C. Attorney General Demands That Much Larger Facebook Follow Suit’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Obama puts salary cap on bailout businesses’

President Obama will announce a crackdown on Wall Street fat cats on Wednesday, setting a $500,000 cap on executive compensation for companies getting taxpayer bailouts, a senior administration official said Tuesday night.

N.Y. Post: ‘VANISH CO-ED COMES CLEAN’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama on Defense as Daschle Withdraws’

…One of President Barack Obama’s closest political confidants and early mentors, Mr. Daschle had been tapped to spearhead the effort to overhaul the nation’s health-care system. But concerns arising from Mr. Daschle’s failure to pay more than $100,000 in taxes on time, coupled with tax problems involving two other cabinet nominees, threatened both the administration’s health-care agenda and the credibility of Mr. Obama’s pledge to raise the ethical standards of Washington.

Mr. Daschle’s sudden withdrawal came two weeks to the day after Mr. Obama took office, and 24 hours after the president told reporters that he “absolutely” stood by his nominee. The abrupt move stands to potentially dent the reputation for steadiness and managerial prowess that the 47-year-old president had cultivated over a smoothly run campaign and a transition to power that boasted of a swift vetting and nomination of top aides.

Brooklyn Paper: ‘Macy’s to Brooklyn workers: You’re safe for now’

N.Y. Times: ‘Despite Vow, Target of Immigrant Raids Shifted’

Federal immigration officials had repeatedly told Congress that among more than half a million immigrants with outstanding deportation orders, they would concentrate on rounding up the most threatening — criminals and terrorism suspects.

Instead, newly available documents show, the agency changed the rules, and the program increasingly went after easier targets. A vast majority of those arrested had no criminal record, and many had no deportation orders against them, either.

NBC News: ‘Obama to Limit Executive Pay at Companies Getting Aid’

President Barack Obama will announce today that he’s imposing a cap of $500,000 on the compensation of top executives at companies that receive significant federal assistance in the future, responding to a public outcry over Wall Street excess.

Any additional compensation will be in restricted stock that won’t vest until taxpayers have been paid back, according to an administration official, who requested anonymity. The rules will force greater transparency on the use of corporate jets, office renovations and holiday parties as well as golden parachutes offered to executives when they leave companies.

Bloomberg: ‘”Failed” Wall Street Means Biggest Rules Rewrite Since 1930s’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Blago’s sideshow visits Late Show

If David Letterman is the typical juror, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should get ready for prison food.

N.Y. Post: ‘PROTESTERS CRASH BASH TO BOO BLOOMY’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Tax would be curtains, Broadway tells Gov’

N.Y. Times: ‘In Shattered Gaza Town, Roots of Seething Split’ (Ethan Bronner)

The fighting in El Atatra tells the story of Israel’s offensive, with each side giving a very different version of events.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Stimulus Brings Out City Wish Lists’

Most cities want stimulus funds for roads and sewers. But others are using a kitchen-sink strategy, asking for neon signs or a frisbee golf course.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Plans Emerge for New Troop Deployments to Afghanistan’

Senior U.S. commanders are finalizing plans to send tens of thousands of reinforcements to Afghanistan’s main opium-producing region and its porous border with Pakistan, moves that will form the core of President Barack Obama’s emerging Afghan war strategy….

Virtually none of the new troops heading to Afghanistan will go to Kabul or other major Afghan cities. By contrast, when the Bush administration dispatched 30,000 new troops to Iraq as part of the so-called surge, the bulk of the new forces went to Baghdad….

The deployments, part of a planned doubling of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, are almost certain to spark heavier casualties and push the war squarely onto the public agenda. “I hate to say it, but yes, I think there will be [more U.S. casualties],” Vice President Joe Biden said on CBS Sunday. “There will be an uptick.”

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Man with pigeons in his pants gets nabbed at airport’

N.Y. Post: ‘BRUTAL BRONX THUG CAUGHT IN THE ACT’

Bloomberg: ‘Clean-Coal Debate Pits Al Gore’s Group Against Obama, Peabody’

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and his Alliance for Climate Protection say clean-coal technology is a fantasy.

Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest U.S. coal producer, says another prominent Democrat has pledged to make the technology a reality: President Barack Obama.

The Gore-Obama split illustrates a growing debate in the U.S. as the new president attempts to deliver on his promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the country 80 percent by 2050. Depending on who’s speaking, coal is either the villain or part of the solution.

N.Y. Times: ‘As Iraqis Tally Votes, Former Leader Re-emerges’

Ayad Allawi, the first prime minister selected after the Americans handed power back to Iraqis in June 2004, has made a comeback in the provincial elections, unofficial preliminary returns indicate, setting himself up as a potential rival to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Time Warner Falls Into the Red’

N.Y. Post: ‘MILLIONAIRES TOLD TO BITE SILVER TAX BULLET’

New Yorker: ‘Another Country: James Baldwin’s flight from America’

Bloomberg: ‘Cohen’s Hedge Fund Taxes Can’t Fix Connecticut’s Fallen Revenue’

Connecticut, the wealthiest U.S. state with per capita income of $54,117 in 2007, has profited from its proximity to Wall Street since rail lines from the city reached north to Fairfield County more than a century ago. According to Forbes magazine, the state’s richest residents now are hedge fund managers including Steven Cohen and Paul Tudor Jones, who live and work in and around Greenwich. Cohen earned $900 million in 2007 while Jones made $300 million, according to Institutional Investor magazine’s Alpha publication.

Newsday: ‘Fortunoff Shutters NYC Store, Stoking Bankruptcy Rumors’

N.Y. Post: ‘EYE’M NOT SORRY: GUY WHO BLIND-SIDED DAVE DEFENDS AD SLAM’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Iran’s Report of Satellite Launch Stirs U.S. Concern’

N.Y. Post: ‘JUDGE: GAY SPOUSE GETS ESTATE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Ticketmaster Is Near Deal With Live Nation’

Ticketmaster and Live Nation are close to an all-stock merger to form the world’s dominant concert promotion, ticketing and artist-management company.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Detroit Reels as Auto Sales Skid’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Dissed as kid, Spitz pimp cries’

N.Y. Post: ‘COLUMBIA “THIEF” BUST’

A one-man crime wave from Massachusetts road-tripped it to Columbia University every weekend for the past two months — stealing wallets from gymnasium lockers and a dozen laptops, the Post has learned.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Border-Fence Project Hits a Snag’

N.Y. Post: ‘SHUTTERING NEWS FOR BRANDEIS HS’


‘Markopolos Blasts SEC for “Financial Illiteracy”‘

From the Wall Street Journal:

Fraud investigator Harry Markopolos blamed the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “financial illiteracy” for failing to heed his warnings about money manager Bernard Madoff.

Mr. Markopolos had warned the SEC for nearly a decade that Mr. Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme. Mr. Markopolos is set to testify before a House committee Wednesday, and 311 pages of his written testimony became public Tuesday evening.

N.Y. Times: ‘Witness on Madoff Tells of Fear for Safety’

House Committee on Financial Services: ‘Assessing the Madoff Ponzi Scheme and Regulatory Failures’ (Today’s hearing, featuring Markopolos and government officials)

Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES Equality FILM ARCHIVES Living Media NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Cardinal calls Gaza ‘concentration camp’ — lit up by white phosphorus, observers say

Al Jazeera report on white phosphorus in Gaza.

As Chico Marx said, “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

That’s easy when it comes to Gaza. The Jewish state’s brutal use of white phosphorus — alleged over the weekend by observers on the ground dispatched by NYC-based Human Rights Watch — is lighting up the landscape.

However, most of the U.S. press (a notable recent exception is Newsweek) has its usual blind spot when it comes to Israel’s war on Gaza. As the Daily News noted late last week in “‘Concentration camp’ Gaza stirs fire”:

Relations between the Holy Land and the Holy See were tense Thursday night after a leading Vatican cardinal compared the besieged Gaza Strip to a concentration camp.

“Defenseless populations are always the ones who pay,” Renato Cardinal Martino told the Italian daily Il Sussidiario. “Conditions in Gaza increasingly resemble a big concentration camp.”

That drew a furious denunciation from Israeli officials, who said the comment was “based on Hamas propaganda.”

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the son of Holocaust survivors, called on the Pope to apologize to Israel.

Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, defended his comments.

“They can say what they want, but the situation in Gaza is horrible,” he told the newspaper La Repubblica.

Confirming that is Human Rights Watch, whose observers belie Hikind’s claim that the brutality in Gaza is propaganda.

In fact, it’s even worse than the cardinal says, according to HRW.

You question the watchdog group’s credibility? HRW broke several major stories of U.S. atrocities in Iraq — including the horrific tale of the American soldiers in Fallujah who proudly called themselves the “Murderous Maniacs” and admitted to kicking the shit out of Iraqis just for the fun of it. (See my September 2005 item “U.S. Soldiers Reveal New Torture Tales.”)

Now, here’s what HRW says about what’s going on:

On January 9 and 10, 2009, Human Rights Watch researchers in Israel observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City/Jabaliya area.

Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus as an “obscurant” (a chemical used to hide military operations), a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law (the laws of war). However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world.

“White phosphorous can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch.

If the Nazis had had white phosphorus — the 21st century version of napalm — they would have used it against the Jews.

Now for less bad news…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Times: ‘Adding to Recession’s Pain, Thousands to Lose Jobless Benefits’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Retail Bankruptcy Wave Expected’

N.Y. Times: ‘Storm Sinks Indonesian Ferry, 250 Feared Dead’

Bloomberg: ‘U.S. Consumers Keep Autos Longer, Shun Showrooms as Cuts in Payrolls Mount’

Drivers rattled by the worst U.S. labor market since World War II are hanging on to old autos longer instead of buying new models, threatening to crimp sales again in 2009 after demand plummeted to a 16-year low.

N.Y. Post: ‘INFANT DUMPED IN B’KLYN’

N.Y. Post: ‘Sex, Drugs & Death at Luxe Hotel’

A Long Island banana mogul at the center of a deadly sex romp at a tony Midtown hotel lives a double life – married suburban dad and…

Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama Plans To Keep Estate Tax’

Obama and congressional leaders plan to move soon to block the estate tax from disappearing in 2010.

N.Y. Times: ‘Obama Signals His Reluctance to Look Into Bush Policies’

Barack Obama indicated that he was unlikely to authorize a broad inquiry into Bush administration programs like domestic eavesdropping.

N.Y. Times: ‘Democrats Look for Ways to Undo Late Bush Administration Rules’

Harper’s: ‘The $10 trillion hangover:
Paying the price for eight years of Bush’ (Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes)

N.Y. Post: ‘ISRAEL VS. B’KLYN IN FAKE-AND-BAKE MATZO WAR’

Wall Street Journal: ‘New Playing Field In Electric Car Push’

Fewer barriers in electric-car production have leveled the playing field for newcomers hoping to compete against established car makers.

N.Y. Post: ‘PLACARD BLITZ NAILS DA COPS: PARKING-PERK ABUSERS’

Mayor Bloomberg’s crackdown on motorists who abuse official parking placards has snared a slew of detectives and investigators who work for the city’s prosecutors, the Post has learned…

N.Y. Times: ‘In Emphasis on Economy, Obama Looks to History’

Harper’s: ‘A Farewell to Dick Cheney’

Dick Cheney is the man that James Madison was warning us about.

Harper’s: ‘Harper’s Index: A retrospective of the Bush era’

Bloomberg: Paulson Bailout Fails to Give Taxpayers Buffett’s Terms With Goldman Sachs

Henry Paulson‘s bank bailouts, done under “great stress” during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, failed to win for U.S. taxpayers what Warren Buffett received for his shareholders by investing in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The Treasury secretary made 174 purchases of banks’ preferred shares that include warrants to buy stock at a later date. While he invested $10 billion in Goldman Sachs in October, twice as much as Buffett did the month before, Paulson gained certificates worth one-fourth as much as the billionaire, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Goldman Sachs terms were repeated in most of the other bank bailouts.

Salon: ‘Bill Moyers on Israel/Gaza’ (Glenn Greenwald)

N.Y. Times: ‘Citi Is Urged to Replace Chairman’

Regulators are pressing Citigroup to shake up its board and replace its chairman in an effort to restore confidence in the beleaguered bank.

Newsweek: ‘If Obama is Serious: He should get tough with Israel’ (Aaron David Miller)

N.Y. Post: ‘PATERSON JOINS ISRAEL SUPPORTERS IN MIDTOWN’

Gov. Paterson joined an estimated 10,000 Israel supporters in Midtown yesterday to proclaim the Gaza offensive an act of self-defense. “We recognize the right of the state of Israel to…

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Eyeless in Israel’

N.Y. Times: ‘Few in U.S. See Jazeera’s Coverage of Gaza War’

Tel Aviv-based journalist Lisa Goldman takes the Israeli press to task over its coverage of the Gaza campaign. “For the most part, Gaza as a place inhabited by human beings has been ignored,” she writes of Israeli media coverage.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Timeline: The Gaza Strip, From Disengagement to Operation Cast Lead’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Israel hints at end of Gaza operations’

Israeli leaders hinted Sunday the Gaza assault might soon wind down, even as thousands of fresh reservists joined the battle and infantry units pushed toward the crowded heart of Gaza City.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Analysis: Ceasefire hinges on Egypt closing smuggling routes’

The Nation: ‘Can Labor Revive the American Dream?’

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘If at First You Don’t Succeed: Hasidic Singer, Subject of Rabbinic Ban, Tries Again’

Hasidic singing sensation Lipa Schmeltzer was set to perform last March before a crowd of thousands at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater in New York. The concert, a charity fundraiser, was billed as “The Big Event.”

Then, less than three weeks before the concert date, 33 ultra-Orthodox rabbis — including some of the community’s most prominent figures — issued an edict banning attendance. The event, they warned, was likely to cause “ribaldry and lightheadedness.”

Deferring to the rabbis, organizers promptly canceled the concert. The ban, however, roiled the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, world, sparking an unusual public outcry in a community known for its scrupulous obedience to rabbinic authority.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘What Happens to Gaza When the Fighting Stops?’

Nation: ‘Moral Blindness on Gaza’ (Robert Scheer)

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Fact or Fiction?: The Story of the Fake Holocaust Memoir’

A children’s book based on Herman Rosenblat‘s Holocaust love story, which was recently exposed as a hoax, was pulled from bookstores. The East Village Mamele explains the scandal to her daughter.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘ABC’s hidden cameras unveil anti-immigrant prejudice’

Investment News: ‘Morgan Stanley, Citi in retail merger talks’

Nation: ‘Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction’ (Naomi Klein)

To end the bloody occupation, Israel must be the target of the same kind of global movement that finally ended apartheid in South Africa.

Nation: ‘Toward Peace in Gaza’

Investment News: ‘Rubin retires from Citi’

Nation: ‘Caroline and Me’ (Katha Pollitt)

Caroline Kennedy would like to be a senator. I don’t blame her. So would I!

Especially if Governor Paterson could just waft me into office, and I didn’t have to, um, you know, campaign. I’ll bet some parts of the job are really fun, and it’s public service, which is so uplifting. You think I’m joking, but every argument that has been advanced for Kennedy is just as true for me. She’s a mother, a writer, a person with no electoral experience or, so far as we know, longstanding interest in acquiring any–me too! She has more kids; I’ve written more books–I’d say it averages out.

Nation: ‘Obama Anoints Kaine, Praises (And Snubs?) Dean’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Big shakeup at fatal psych ward’


Fox News: ‘”Victims” of Madoff Scandal Do Math, Realize They Profited’

From Fox News: “Hundreds and maybe thousands of investors in Madoff’s funds have been withdrawing money from their accounts for many years. In many cases, those investors have withdrawn far more than their principal investment.” And more:

“I had a call yesterday from a guy who said, ‘I’ve taken out more money then I originally put in, but I still had $1 million left with Madoff. Should I file a $1 million claim?'” said Steven Caruso, a New York attorney specializing in securities and investment fraud.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Madoff vics: Let him rot in jail’

Madoff’s victims say it’s outrageous that he has been allowed to serve house arrest in his cushy East Side pad.

N.Y. Times: ‘Eight Years of Madoffs’ (Frank Rich)

Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Prosecutors Push Back Deadline’

Federal prosecutors bought more time to focus on their investigation of Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion fraud scheme after they reached a deal with Mr. Madoff’s lawyers to delay the deadline to bring an indictment in the criminal case against him.

Prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan had faced a deadline Monday to convince a grand jury to indict the New York money manager on fraud charges or show at a public court hearing that there was “probable cause” to arrest him, but Mr. Madoff’s lawyers agreed Friday to give the government until mid-February to do so.

Delaying any indictment gives prosecutors time to investigate Mr. Madoff and others without having to prepare for trial, or negotiate a deal in which he agrees to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for a lower prison sentence, says Anthony Barkow, a former federal prosecutor.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘AJCongress Crippled by Madoff Scandal’

Telegraph: ‘”Hellishly hot” sauce dedicated to Bernard Madoff’

Wall Street Journal: ‘New Ponzi Case Pursued’

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil charges against a Pennsylvania man accused of running a $50 million Ponzi scheme since at least February 1995.

Gothamist: ‘Bernie’s Weekend at Home, Before Judge’s Decision’

N.Y. Times: ‘GMAC Chairman With Ties to Madoff Steps Down’

Gawker: ‘Marc Rich Lost “Insignificant” Millions to Madoff’

N.Y. Times: ‘New Description of Timing on Madoff’s Confession’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Brother, at Arm’s Length?: Peter Was No. 2 and Close to Bernard; Investigators Now Scrutinizing Role’

Crain’s New York Business: ‘Bernie Madoff’s bagman had everything to lose’

J. Ezra Merkin, former chairman of national lender GMAC, crashes to earth as the second biggest conduit for Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Funds of Funds & Madoff: “Like Presiding Over the Long-Term Funeral”‘

Advanced Trading: ‘Fund-of-Hedge Funds Lacked Technology to Avoid Madoff Losses’

Investment News: ‘Madoff scam hurts Mackenzie Financial’

HedgeFund.net: ‘Activist Gunning For Yeshiva Board’

A hedge fund is campaigning to fire the board of Yeshiva University because of its investment with Bernard Madoff.

HedgeFund.net: ‘Commentary From Our Publisher: Bernie, We Hardly Knew Ya’

HedgeFund.net: ‘Merkin Liquidation Stymied By NYU’

HedgeFund.net: ‘Woman Tied to Madoff in Hiding’

Categories
Living NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

‘Times’ declares war on news, gets right in your grille — for a change

The Times as Jimmy Cagney and the reader as Mae Clarke. It’s about time.

A banner day for the New York Times.

Newspapers that don’t go out for blood are worthless. The Times often should be itself flayed because it so often doesn’t take full advantage of its tremendous resources and usually undeserved clout and instead exudes arrogance and condescension.

This morning, however, its reporters slapped on their fedoras and got the goods, and their editors snapped out of it, rolled up their Brooks Brothers sleeves, and laid it on us.

Like Jimmy Cagney shoving a grapefruit into Mae Clarke‘s face in The Public Enemy (1931), Ethan Bronner‘s “U.N. and Red Cross Add to Outcry on Gaza War” calls a war a war and shoves the details into your face during your breakfast before you have time to take your first sip of coffee:

“International aid groups lashed out at Israel on Thursday over the war in Gaza, saying that access to civilians in need is poor, relief workers are being hurt and killed, and Israel is woefully neglecting its obligations to Palestinians who are trapped, some among rotting corpses in a nightmarish landscape of deprivation”.

You can see that Bronner’s piece doesn’t fiddle around with the paper’s usual stiff, officious lede followed by some boring, pseudo-analytical claptrap about how something affects decision-makers.

Bronner’s second paragraph is the kind of thing you usually see as the lede of such a story:

“The United Nations declared a suspension of its aid operations after one of its drivers was killed and two others were wounded despite driving United Nations-flagged vehicles and coordinating their movements with the Israeli military. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called for an investigation by Israel for a second time in a week after the more than 40 deaths near a United Nations school from Israeli tank fire on Tuesday”.

The paper’s still not up to speed on the fact that many Jews, both here and in Israel (particularly in Israel), are angrily opposed to the war on Gaza.

The peace movement among Jews gets prominent play in the vibrant Israeli press and in other outlets around the world. But not in the U.S. media.

However, you can always go to New York’s own Forward, thank G-d, where the indefatigable Nathan Guttman‘s “Peace Groups Lose First Major Gaza Challenge On Capitol Hill: Attempts by Activists To Shape Resolution Come Up Short” opens a window on news that most of the rest of the U.S. press routinely ignores.

Enough of the negative stuff about negative stuff: The Times does deserve another kudos or two or three: Another example of today’s fired-up Times is a Paris dispatch from veteran Alan Cowell, “Gaza Children Found With Mothers’ Corpses”:

“The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday it had discovered “shocking” scenes — including small children next to their mothers’ corpses — when its representatives gained access for the first time to parts of Gaza battered by Israeli shelling. It accused Israel of failing to meet obligations to care for the wounded in areas of combat”.

Years ago, Cowell did a bang-up job writing such pieces day after day for the Times from apartheid-era South Africa. Now he’s filing stuff about apartheid-era Israel.

Even the paper’s editorial page this morning took off its kid gloves, dismissed its manservants and maids, and unleashed a sneer or two at its fellow Establishment members. Labeling the confirmation hearing for the new Secretary of Health and Human Services a “cuddly welcome for Mr. Daschle,” the editorial board climbed down from the pedestal it has built for itself and started punching at the incoming Obama regime:

“…The hearing before a Senate health committee was mostly a love-fest as senators from both parties expressed admiration for their former Senate colleague….

Unfortunately, the hearing did not tell us much at all about how the incoming Obama administration intends to pay for its emerging health care programs or how, for all of his smoothness at the hearing, Mr. Daschle will deal with the very real and very big differences his team has with Republicans on this and other vital issues.

Instead, the senators avoided asking such tough questions, and Mr. Daschle bent over backward to reassure Republicans that he would not try to ram anything too unpalatable down their throats….”

A welcome dose of cynicism instead of the expected deadly dull civility and caution.

Yes, there are still some nits to pick in the Times, but this morning the paper emits a louder buzz than usual.

Tally-ho! Release the hounds! The paper usually acts more like C. Montgomery Burns hounding the beleaguered folk in Springfield. This morning, it’s dogging a newspaper’s proper targets.

While you’re wiping the grapefruit off your face, click on these items, front-loaded this morning only with other Times pieces, most of which have surprisingly hard-hitting, newsy ledes…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Times: ‘Latinos Recall Pattern of Attacks Before Long Island Killing’

N.Y. Times: ‘Senate Allies Fault Obama on Stimulus’

N.Y. Times: ‘As His Inmates Grew Thinner, a Sheriff’s Wallet Grew Fatter’

N.Y. Times: ‘Fatal Avalanches Rattle Ski Country in the West’

N.Y. Times: ‘Bill Easing Unionizing Is Under Heavy Attack’

N.Y. Times: ‘Nationwide Inquiry on Bids for Municipal Bonds’

“The federal investigation that prompted Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico to withdraw his nomination as commerce secretary offers a rare glimpse into a long-simmering investigation of possible bid-rigging, tax evasion and other wrongdoing throughout the municipal bond business.

Three federal agencies and a loose consortium of state attorneys general have for several years been gathering evidence of what appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year”.

N.Y. Times: ‘For BlackBerry, Obama’s Devotion Is Priceless’

Bloomberg: ‘Excrement, Insulation, Bike Paths Trim CO2 Emissions in Cities’

Wall Street Journal: ‘A Wolfe in Regulator’s Clothing: Drug Industry Critic Joins the FDA’

N.Y. Post: ‘KID PERV IN AIDS SCARE’

Bloomberg: ‘Brokers Disdain Toaster Salesmen in Bank America’s Merrill Deal’

N.Y. Post: ‘SLAY FESS: REALTOR SENT ME OVER EDGE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Business Warms to Obama, but Frictions Loom on Climate’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Gotti hit man dips his foe in acid, but loves mommy’

N.Y. Post: ‘CAROLINE HAS “A MINUS”: GOV’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Wall Street Is Big Donor to Inauguration’

N.Y. Post: ‘JUST LIKE OL’ CRIMES: NYPD’S LETUP STIRS FEARS OF ’80S FLASHBACK’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Brooklyn Nets Arena cutbacks? Bruce Ratner scales back plans; Star architect Frank Gehry may go’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Lehman Brothers Plans Private-Equity Spinoff’

N.Y. Post: ‘UPSTATE “PONZI” HITS CHURCHES’

N.Y. Post: ‘FORMER GOPER MIKE WANTS TO GET BACK IN’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Bailout Pact Of GM, U.S. Would Block A UAW Strike’

Bloomberg: ‘London Boom Time Bill Comes Due as Bankers Buy Coffee on Credit’

N.Y. Post: ‘PUSH VS. TERRORIST “CELLS”‘

N.Y. Daily News: ‘I snapped & whacked her: Chilling confession in Linda Stein slay aired’

N.Y. Post: ‘MTA’S “GREEN” BACKS’

N.Y. Post: ‘NY CIVIL WAR BONES FOUND’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Hedge-Fund Middlemen Get Pinched’

N.Y. Post: ‘RATTNER BLOWOUT: BOTTLENECK DEVELOPS IN POSSIBLE CAR CZAR APPOINTMENT’

N.Y. Post: ‘MORTGAGE RATES DROP’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Chevron Warns of Hefty Drop in Earnings’

Bloomberg: ‘Billion-Dollar U.S. Verdicts Vanish After Appeals, New Rulings’

N.Y. Post: ‘DTV DELAY BACKED BY OBAMA’

Bloomberg: ‘Obama Must Tackle Fannie, Freddie’s Federal Ties’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Panel Steps Up Criticism of Treasury Over TARP’

Bloomberg: ‘Al-Jazeera Said to Mull Bid for English Soccer’s Mideast Rights’


Bloomberg: ‘Madoff’s Three-Bedroom Riviera Retreat Belied Ponzi Scheme Role’

Bloomberg: ‘Merkin Intimidated Co-Op Board While Building Funds Madoff Lost’

N.Y. Post: ‘FINAL MADOFF PLUNDER PLAN’

Bloomberg: ‘Uma Thurman No Help to Arpad Busson in Madoff Fraud’s Nightmare’

Wall Street Journal: ‘U.S.: Madoff Had $173 Million in Checks’

Bloomberg: ‘Madoff Con Hits Boston, Home to Victim Shapiro, Ponzi’

Categories
Living Media NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Blintzkrieg in Gaza; Madoff covers up family jewels


“Gaza medics in the line of fire,” from Al Jazeera


Congratulations to the New York Times. The word “war” made it into a front-page story this morning about Israel’s war on Gaza.

Ethan Bronner‘s piece even sports the word in its headline: “Gaza War Role Is Political Lift for Ex-Premier.”

As I noted yesterday, the Times has a particular problem calling a spade a spade in the Middle East. Witness one of its other war stories this morning, Steven Erlanger‘s “Rockets Fired From Lebanon Into Israel,” which generally avoids the word “war” and features this lede:

Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza threatened to broaden on Thursday as at least three rockets were fired into the north of Israel from Lebanon.

Yeah, “conflict.” Please. The pro-Israel New York Post has no problem calling this a war.

Even Israel’s government is calling its bombardment of Gaza “Operation Cast Lead.” Compare that with the B.S. euphemisms the U.S. is using in Iraq and Afghanistan: “Operation Iraqi Freedom and “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Look, if people don’t want to call what’s going on in Gaza a “war,” I’ll settle for “blintzkrieg.”

There was a time, oh about 40 years ago, when the Jews of Israel were an underdog state with a sense of humor (especially among their American Jewish supporters) melded into their fight for survival. See this Time story from 1967, in the midst of what became known as the Six-Day War, that rounded up jokes about that “conflict” under the headline “Blintzkrieg” (supply your own ba-dum-pum rim shots after each line):

“It’s unfair,” said a U.A.R.[United Arab Republic] spokesman. “They have 2,300,000 Jews on their side. And we have none.” He denied, however, that Egypt had asked the Russians for their 2,500,000 Jews. Soon after the war’s start, Nasser made a brief guest appearance on the popular Cairo TV show, Where’s My Line? Reports from the second day of fighting indicated that the Egyptians had destroyed four Jeeps, a kosher mobile kitchen and 14 air-conditioned Cadillacs. The Israelis claimed 400 MIGs and 24 flying carpets. Ralph Nader launched a campaign to provide Arab tanks with back-up lights.

The unstoppable Israeli thrust through the Sinai Desert quickly became known as the blintzkrieg. It was led by the crack regiment known as the Bagel Lancers. When Israeli troops reached the Suez Canal, they grabbed the lox. At one point in the campaign, an Arab division spotted a lone Israeli sniper on a sand dune. The commander dispatched three men to get him. When they did not return, he sent a dozen. None of them came back. So he finally sent an entire company. Two hours later, one blood-splattered Egyptian soldier crawled back. “It was an ambush,” he explained. “There were two of them.”

The Six-Day War was a turning point. Forty years later, the laughter has died out. Israel acts less and less like an underdog and more and more like an overlord, thanks to its decades of harsh occupation policies, and as many commentators in Israel have noted with anguish, the decades of acting like occupiers have coarsened Israeli society.

The Jewish state’s grim throttling of Palestinians these days is pretty much unleavened by humor. Insanely orthodox. Humanism is also kosher, but you wouldn’t know it these days.

Anyway, I’m still willing to be assaulted by a blintzkrieg. Make mine raspberry…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Post: ‘EX IS AN ORGAN MOANER’

N.Y. Times: ‘Sarkozy, Merkel, Blair Call for New Capitalism’

New Yorker: ‘Will the Times live?: More on the end of newsprint’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Macy’s to close 11 stores; other retailers report dismal sales figures’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Citigroup, Senators in Talks to Let Judges Modify Mortgages’

N.Y. Post: ‘TRIAL BY JEWRY: FEUDING BIZ PARTNERS EYE RABBINICAL JUDGE’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Hugo Chavez flips oil aid back on for Bronx poor’

New Yorker: ‘Beware of Pity’

Like so many Jewish writers of her generation, Hannah Arendt attempted in her work to shine the light of intellect on the extreme darkness she lived through…

New York: ‘The Worst Movies of 2008’

N.Y. Times: ‘China Losing Taste for Debt From U.S.’

As the global downturn has intensified, Beijing is starting to keep more of its money at home, which could have painful effects for U.S. borrowers.

N.Y. Times: ‘Obama Promises Bid to Overhaul Retiree Spending’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Homeowners get soaked by shoddy homes’

N.Y. Post: ‘CRITICS LACE INTO BLOOMY’

This time, a picture was worth several dozen shoes. At least 150 pro-Palestinian New Yorkers rallied against Mayor Bloomberg for his recent trip to Israel and unfettered support of that country…

New Yorker: ‘Homelands’ (David Remnick)

N.Y. Post: ‘GOTTI HIT OF “ACID”: SON’S KILLER IN VAT’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Aftershocks from the Satyam scandal’ (via Bloomberg)

After admitting over $1B of value on its books was fictitious, Satyam (SAY) is dealing with the fallout, as are the accounting industry, investors and Indian markets. In frenzied premarket trading, Satyam shares lost 99.89% yesterday, plummeting from $9.35 to $0.01, and were halted before regular trading hours began.

New Yorker: ‘Barney’s Great Adventure: The most outspoken man in the House gets some real power.’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Dell to Cut 1,900 Irish Jobs, Shift Operations to Poland’

U.S. computer maker Dell Inc. announced Thursday it will slash its Irish work force and shift its European manufacturing operations to Poland in a move certain to undermine Ireland’s recession-hit economy.

Dell is Ireland’s second-largest employer, its biggest exporter and in recent years has contributed about 5% to the national gross domestic product. Economists warn that each Dell job underpins another four to five jobs in Ireland.

N.Y. Post: ‘GAL’S CORPSE ON BX. ROOF’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘New administrator blamed for faculty revolt at Bronx High School of Science’

N.Y. Post: ‘NEW FERRY TO CONNECT BROOKLYN TO GOVERNOR’S ISLAND’

New York: ‘Caroline’s Quiet Rebound’

N.Y. Post: ‘EMPIRE STATE DEATH PLUNGE’

N.Y. Post: ‘CON ED EYES NEW $5 JOLT’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Housing: Where Is the Bottom?’


Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Is a “Danger,” Argue Prosecutors’

N.Y. Post: ‘FEDS WANT BERNIE IN CAN FOR CLAMMING UP’

N.Y. Times: ‘UK Fraud Office Starts Madoff Investigation’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Chicago lawyer cursed by same name is Mad as hell’

N.Y. Times: ‘Elderly Madoff Investors in Financial Trouble’