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    Daily Digest – Apr 21

    by Davos

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009, 2:49 PM

  • Welcome to the exponential function, we hope you enjoy your stay…(H/T CM)
  • 60 Minutes – Cold Fusion is Hot Again…(Video)
  • Big bank profits are bogus!
  • “I Trusted Authority. I Trusted the System." (Video)
  • Uncle Jay Explains the News 2:21 Tea Party Video
  • U.S. may convert banks’ bailouts to equity share
  • BofA: $13.4 billion in Credit-loss provisions
  • The First Step to Fixing the Economy – Correctly Identify the Problem (This might be a first step)
  • Public Pension Shakedown?
  • Owen  Payne Accountants (Video, Humor, check out the surprised looks)
  • Will Bank “Stress Tests” Kill Market…or Government Credibility? (Video)

Economy

Welcome to the exponential function, we hope you enjoy your stay…(H/T CM)

More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than in any other year in American history, according to preliminary data reported Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The 4,317,000 births in 2007 just edged out the figure for 1957, at the height of the baby boom. The increase reflected a slight rise in childbearing by women of all ages, including those in their 30s and 40s, and a record share of births to unmarried women.

But in contrast with the culturally transforming postwar boom, when a smaller population of women bore an average of three or four children, the recent increase mainly reflects a larger population of women of childbearing age, said Stephanie J. Ventura, chief of reproductive statistics at the center and an author of the new report. Today, the average woman has 2.1 children.

60 Minutes – Cold Fusion is Hot Again…(Video)

Big bank profits are bogus!

A big bank CEO on a mission to deceive the public doesn’t have to tell outright lies. He can con people just as easily by using "perfectly legal" tricks, shams, and accounting ruses.

First, I’ll give you the big-picture facts. Then, I’ll show you how big U.S. banks are painting lipstick on some of the fattest pigs ever raised.

“I Trusted Authority. I Trusted the System." (Video)

Uncle Jay Explains the News 2:21 Tea Party Video

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO3v9Hwaip4&feature=player_embedded]

U.S. may convert banks’ bailouts to equity share

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s top economic advisers have determined that they can shore up the nation’s banking system without having to ask Congress for more money any time soon, according to administration officials.

In a significant shift, White House and Treasury Department officials now say they can stretch what is left of the $700 billion financial bailout fund further than they had expected a few months ago, simply by converting the government’s existing loans to the nation’s 19 biggest banks into common stock.

Converting those loans to common shares would turn the federal aid into available capital for a bank — and give the government a large ownership stake in return.

BofA: $13.4 billion in Credit-loss provisions

From CNBC: BofA Tops Forecasts with Help from Merrill

While results topped analysts’ forecasts, they were bolstered by one-time events, including a $1.9 billion gain from selling shares of China Construction Bank and $2.2 billion of gains tied to widening credit spreads.

Bank of America set aside $13.38 billion for credit losses in the quarter, up from the fourth quarter’s $8.54 billion.

Credit quality deteriorated broadly as the economy weakened, housing prices fell and unemployment rose.

Net charge-offs rose to $6.94 billion from $2.72 billion a year earlier. Nonperforming assets more than tripled to $25.74 billion, and rose $7.51 from year-end.

Bank of America’s credit card business lost $1.77 billion in the quarter.

"We continue to face extremely difficult challenges, primarily from deteriorating credit quality driven by weakness in the economy and growing unemployment," Lewis said.

The confessional is still open.

The First Step to Fixing the Economy – Correctly Identify the Problem (This might be a first step)

Last month, a media executive met with a headhunter to plan his next career move. With years of experience at a major media organization, the executive figured that he had some good ammo to jump to the next level, even in the current economic climate.

The meeting did not go well.

“The headhunter essentially told me not to even bother trying,” says the executive. “He told me, ‘The old media model is broken.’ The message was that there really isn’t a next step to take.”

Public Pension Shakedown?

The WSJ reports on the public pension shakedown:

President Obama’s auto fix-it man, Steven Rattner, is in the news as one of the Wall Street financiers hit up for big money as part of New York state’s unfolding pension-kickback scandal. The White House says he’s done nothing wrong, and there’s no public evidence that he broke any laws.

But Mr. Rattner’s high profile is nonetheless useful in drawing attention to the real story here, which is the growing evidence of corruption by officials who use their power over public pension funds to shake down private companies. This is the same political class that has been blaming banks for "greed" in the financial crisis. The pension fund scandal exposes the myth of the superior virtue of the public and nonprofit worlds. Greed is universal. And the opportunity for corruption is enormous when political discretion is tied to vast sums of public money.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the Securities and Exchange Commission allege that investment firms paid politically connected "placement agents" in return for a piece of New York’s $122 billion pension fund. The AG has indicted three politicos for kickbacks, but the media have focused on the private firms that hired some of these political agents. Thus the attention on Mr. Rattner, who as co-founder of the Quadrangle investment firm met with a consultant about paying a finder’s fee for pension cash.

Owen  Payne Accountants (Video, Humor, Check out the surprised looks)

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38IvNhG0GcQ&feature=player_embedded]

Will Bank “Stress Tests” Kill Market…or Government Credibility? (Video)

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