Felix Salmon


How the art world embraces much more photography than, say, painting — WaPo

Choosing BofA’s CEO

Running a bank the size of BofA is impossible. So long as the Fed does its best to make the banking system profitable, you could put a baked Alaska in charge and the bank would throw off billions of dollars a year in profits. The job of the CEO is not really about managing down, so much as managing out — repairing relationships with Andrew Cuomo, Sheila Bair, Barney Frank, Mary Shapiro, Elizabeth Warren, and other Washington VIPs. The board will want an experienced manager, to be sure. But they’ll really want someone with political skills, who can calm the savage beast that has woken up DC and which is eyeing the giant of Charlotte.

Ken Lewis, RIP

Ken Lewis is leaving Bank of America — and about time too. The board now has three months to find a successor; the new chairman, Walter Massey, has no real choice but to move “in a deliberate and expeditious manner” to find a replacement.

The unwilling risk-takers

Comment of the day comes from Chris:

The person most willing to take on risk is the one unaware he is doing so. He charges no risk premium…

Philanthrocrat of the day, ProPublica edition

Paul Steiger’s salary in 2006, his last full year as editor of the for-profit WSJ: $547,692

The Zero Hedgies

I met up with Joe Hagan this morning, in the wake of the appearance of his big New York story on Zero hedge. The vitriol aimed at him from the Zero Hedgies is something to behold, both in the comments on nymag.com and on ZH itself. For instance, these three consecutive comments:

Resolving banks by guaranteeing short-term debt

Robert Pozen has an interesting idea:

In my view, the adverse repercussions of Lehman’ failure could have been substantially reduced if the federal regulators had made clear that they would protect all holders of Lehman’s commercial paper with a maturity of less than 60 days and guaranteed the completion of all trades with Lehman for that period.

Shiller’s underwhelming innovations

James Kwak has a great response to Robert Shiller’s FT op-ed about financial innovation. But his line at the end about how “for the sake of argument, I am willing to concede that these are useful innovations that would make people better off” has been misconstrued, and it’s worth pointing out that in fact they’re not useful innovations that would make people better off.


Ryan Avent defends me against DeBord: “there is a very strong correlation between living in sprawl and being obese”. — The Bellows