Links 2/7/09

“Black Saturday” doesn’t have much of a ring to it, does it? Josh Reviews Everything

Pay Cap Debate: They Don’t Go Far Enough . . .Lucien Bebchuk, Wall Street Journal

CEOs, Bankers Used Corporate Credit Cards for Sex, Says New York Madam ABC (hat tip reader Tim). This would be vastly amusing, but we probably won’t get names. Darn.

Jobs Report: It’s Worse Than It Looks Dean Baker. Thank our old friend, the birth/death model.

Fed’s Yellen sees dynamics similar to Depression Reuters

Dry bulk freight surge ‘could be shortlived’ Lloyd’s List (hat tip reader Michael)

China’s official figures obscure sharp decline Associated Press (hat tip reader Michael)

Gaza offensive boosted Hamas, poll concludes Financial Times

Mitsui Is Accused of Bias Against Non-Asian Employees Bloomberg. I’m not current on Japanese hiring practices, but in the 1980s, they were discriminatory on their face. Foreigners were “local staff” and had no opportunity to be promoted above a certain level (I was the first Westerner hired into the Japanese hierarchy and was roughed up accordingly). And per the complaint, the Japanese had considerable latitude on expenses (one guy in the branch was known to expense hookers; I think he ran them through his car service).

Insurers’ Finances Clouded by Bookkeeping Changes Washington Post

Verizon Math Fail Barry Ritholtz. Unbelievable.

Contraction, not tightening David Altig, Macroblog

Nationalized Banks Are “Only Answer,” Economist Stiglitz Says Deutsche Welle (hat tip Angry Bear)

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Shnaps):

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  1. lewy14


    …Yellen said she was “absolutely open” to the idea of the central bank buying long-term Treasuries if it would help the overall functioning of the credit market.

    Meanwhile, Yellen told reporters the Fed needed to fight back against the notion that its liquidity efforts would inevitably lead to higher inflation and higher interest rates, terming the notion “ludicrous.”

    Hmm… pace Fox Mulder, I WANT TO BELIEVE… but I don’t, quite…

  2. Anonymous

    Re the Post article on insurers, on Wednesday a banker he told my side of the table that he thought the insurance sector was going to be the next stage in the systemic crisis and would require a big gov’t bailout. This was said during a sales pitch mind you.

    Yellen sounds like she’s scared.

  3. jmd

    General Counsel

    [SEC Chairman Mary] Schapiro yesterday named David Becker, 61, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Washington, to become the SEC’s chief legal officer and senior policy adviser.

    Obama must realllllly be in bed with Wall Street, inexplicably, since the pitchforks are being prepared.

    Those in the community will recall that Giovanni Prezioso, also a Cleary alum, was the GC of the SEC during the period when some of the most egregious 'dis-interest' in Markopoulos type information was the norm. After his tenure in Wdc, he promptly returned to Cleary to continue building their securities and corporate practice. I'm just sayin', Becker has no incentive to make a difference, just to restore the status quo, same as his boss, Schapiro, who is besties with all of the usual suspects. La plus ca change!!!

  4. Anonymous

    More Dubai news:

    “Abu Dhabi’s unilateral move to recapitalise its own banks has sparked fears among investors that the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates may hesitate to support Dubai as the impact of the credit crunch worsens.

    A senior Abu Dhabi official said this week’s decision to inject Dh16bn ($4.3bn, €3.4bn, £3bn) of extra Tier 1 capital into its five banks, but ignore other banks of the seven-emirate federation, was meant to add an addition layer of protection for its own local houses.

    Bankers warned that Abu Dhabi’s go-it-alone attitude could mean the federal government might not be as willing as expected to rescue Dubai entities facing default.”

    Will loan defaults in Dubai and Abu Dhabi trigger a collapse of British Financial institutions, which are heavily exposed there?


  5. Anonymous

    Re: article on Mitsui discrimination: Ever notice that despite the huge, disproportionate numbers of east asian graduates from colleges and professional schools, they are almost completely invisible from executive ranks here in the US? I always have a chuckle when these kinds of things come up — the reality is that all societies run the same discrimination games.

  6. Anonymous

    Lewy14: Inflation? You think that the US will bump against its capacity ceiling, so as to trigger a rise in prices? While the world economy contracts?
    You REALLY do “believe”, don’t you?

  7. "DoctoRx"

    The Janet Yellen article repeats the FOMC position indicating their horror that the (say) 10% rise in consumer prices over 2 years could have a tiny (1%, say) reversal via trivial deflation.

    Does anyone really think that such an event would immediately condition Americans to expect deflation endlessly and therefore not buy things they would normally buy? Not my wife!

  8. Anonymous

    Re “CEOs, Bankers Used Corporate Credit Cards for Sex, Says New York Madam”: This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “stimulus package.”

  9. jm

    Yves, you wrote, “Foreigners were “local staff” and had no opportunity to be promoted above a certain level (I was the first Westerner hired into the Japanese hierarchy and was roughed up accordingly).”

    This is ambiguous — does this mean that you were hired in at or promoted above “that certain level”? Were you able to rise in the hierarchy? Did the “roughing up” drive you out? Having much experience with Japan, and knowing that not all Japanese companies behave in the same way, I am very interested to know more.

  10. Anonymous

    on abu dhabi default troubles, barclays got a ‘bailout’ from abu dhabi and somewhere else in the middle east.

    barclays is as clear, as mud (and oil).

  11. Anonymous

    “”Yellen, speaking on the same day the government announced the biggest job losses in 34 years, said now is not the time to dither or debate endlessly on the shape of fiscal stimulus.

    “It is critical that decisions on these matters be made on a timely basis,” she said.””

    In the thin-strip-of-wintry-settlements-along-the-northern-US called Canada, our great Leader HelmetHair is repeating (with vigour) the “pass my budget or starve” argument.

    For some odd reason, I doubt His sincerity. Maybe it was the impassioned predictions of calamity that accompanied Generalissimo Bush and Hank Paulson’s last efforts. Or the odd politically convenient “terror alerts.” Or maybe I’m too cynical and tired.


  12. Don

    I kind of like this idea:

    “Lars Nonbye, general manager of the Nonbye sign-making company in Denmark, has found his own way to tackle the global economic slump. He has banned it from work premises. Newspapers are clipped to remove doom-laden articles, talk about the crisis is banned at the start of meetings and anti-crisis stickers are handed to customers. “You have to say, ‘enough is enough’,” maintains Mr Nonbye.

    As strategies go, his is arguably as effective as any yet devised by a politician or central banker. “

    Don the libertarian Democrat

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