Felix Salmon

Closing the Beetroot Arbitrage

Joe Wiesenthal is a well-known finance blogger. But he will surely go down in history as the person who used the internet to close what he calls "the biggest arbitrage of all time", with the earth-shatteringly groundbreaking website that is beetswap.com.

Geithner’s Doomed Bailout Plan

Finally, the bank bailout plan has been released. There are still details to be filled in, especially as regards its second leg, the expansion of TALF. But the big-picture takeaway is simple: the government needs at least $1 trillion, and probably much more, just to make a dent in the problem of the banks’ toxic assets. (The term of art is now "legacy assets", actually.) But there’s no way in hell that Congress would agree to spend even $100,000 on a bank bailout right now. So the government has to come up with some way of taking the $350 billion in already-approved TARP money and multiplying it.

Extra Credit, Sunday Edition

Did CDS Cause Global Warming? – Confronting the Crisis Backlash: A great post from A Credit Trader.

Revolution in the Air

It’s getting impossible to keep up with the rhetoric and political noise surrounding AIG, the banks, and executive bonuses. Will the government try to rein in executive pay generally, rather than just at AIG? Is this an example of the kind of misguided policy and mass hysteria which results when you try to put politicians in charge of for-profit businesses? Will it wreck the economy outright? Or is the real problem that "the administration’s officials are too marinated in the insiders’ culture to police it, reform it or own up to their own past complicity with it"?

The NYT’s Blogophobia

What’s with the sudden blogophobia at the NYT? Between Craig Whitney’s astonishingly tone-deaf memo on how to write a blog, and the legal department’s heavy-handed nastygram trying to shut down Apartment Therapy, it seems that one of the most web-savvy media companies in the world has finally reached the point at which it reckons that the web-savvy types can’t be entrusted with the website any more, and the grownups need to step in and screw everything up.

Ben Stein Watch: March 22, 2009

Business trips: they’re horrible things. "An incredibly heavy burden of work lies on the shoulders of those who attend", says Ben Stein in this week’s column:

How will the Geithner Plan Ever Get Approved?

I do hope the Geithner bank bail-out plan, when it’s announced, doesn’t attempt any rhetoric along these lines:

Whining Rich Person of the Day, NYC Real Estate Edition

It’s become something of a running joke that everybody wants a bailout these days. But really: