Felix Salmon

The House of Representatives vs automaker bankruptcy

July 10, 2009

I’m no great fan of the Senate, and especially of the way in which you seem to need a 60-40 supermajority to get just about anything passed these days. But then along comes the House to make the Senate look great:

What’s the price-quality correlation for bicycles?

July 9, 2009

Although I’m generally a fan of credit unions, and I’m certainly a fan of bicycling, I’m not at all a fan of this new bike-loan product:

Is McQuade now Pandit’s heir apparent?

July 9, 2009

Yes, Vikram Pandit is still a robot. Here’s his latest press release:

Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup, today announced several senior management changes to support the company’s business and strategic priorities and to ensure that proper management is secured to lead these efforts.

Urban underfunding datapoint of the day

July 9, 2009

Anecdotally (which means that I don’t have any empirical data on this, but it feels this way), transportation spending is second only to defense spending when it comes to waste, inefficiency, and a general syndrome of money going to politically-influential districts rather than where it would make the most sense.

Does Felix have criminal tendencies?

July 8, 2009

Joe Weisenthal asks, provocatively enough, whether I, had I been a banker during the credit boom, might not now be held criminally liable were the crime of bankslaughter on the books:

Who gets hurt by toxic mortgages?

July 8, 2009

Mike at Rortybomb explains just how dangerous mortgages can be, even to people who avoid the toxic ones:

Behavioral economics question of the day

July 8, 2009

For reasons which are far too boring to go into, I just bought an expensive (four-figure) item for a friend, using my credit card. He paid me back in cash, which is now burning a hole in my PayPal account. And of course I have a human tendency to want to spend that money now, even though I know a monster credit-card bill is going to be arriving in a few weeks. So the question is: how do I maximize the utility of having use of those funds until the credit-card bill is due, while minimizing the temptation to just go out and spend all that cash?

Wine market datapoint of the day

July 8, 2009

Some good news is coming out of California:

Total U.S. wine sales rose about 5% in terms of volume in the first quarter from a year earlier, but wines priced at $25 a bottle and up fell about 12%, estimates Jon Fredrikson, an industry consultant with Gomberg, Frederikson & Associates in Woodside, Calif…

Tuesday links underperform

July 8, 2009

Justin Fox wants contingent stimulus legislation which kicks in if the unemployment rate passes 11%