Felix Salmon

Bob Rubin sex scandal: He can’t get past second base

April 30, 2010

Now this is what we really need on a Friday afternoon: a Bob Rubin sex scandal!

It’s all based on a whopping 3,500-word blog entry from Iris Mack, who had a long relationship with Bob Rubin which involved hundreds of phone calls, a few dates, the occasional “cuddle” — and no sex.

Does Justice care if Goldman settles its SEC suit?

April 30, 2010

Why did Goldman stock fall so far today? It’s pretty standard practice for SEC complaints to get forwarded over to Justice, so the news that Justice was looking at Goldman could hardly have come as all that much of a surprise to the market. But perhaps Justice isn’t looking at Abacus: if it’s looking at Timberwolf instead, then that’s a whole new can of worms for Goldman to deal with, and would help turn one bad deal into a fully-fledged pattern of criminal behavior.

Housing quiz answers

April 30, 2010

The wisdom of crowds, it turns out, is pretty reliable. I asked for the names of the two unidentified cities at the top of the housing-price and price-to-rent scales, and the correct answers started rolling in immediately: Honolulu and San Jose. Here’s the chart with a bunch more names added in:

Europe’s strained marriage

April 30, 2010

On Monday, I looked at Germany’s attitude to Greece from a nationalist/tactical perspective, and promptly got slapped down by dsquared: “Congratulations,” he wrote, “you’ve proved the impossibility of not only the 2004 and 2007 accessions, but also of the Common Agricultural Policy.”

Switzerland’s non-exposure to Greece

April 30, 2010

exposure.gifRemember all those Swiss banks with massive exposure to Greece? Er, never mind. The WSJ’s Brian Blackstone has* this great little chart, which shows Switzerland’s $79 billion of exposure falling by 95% between the third and fourth quarters. He’s got to the bottom of what exactly happened, too. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with CDS:

Angus Maddison, RIP

April 30, 2010

photo.jpgMy reference library is the internet. But I do have a few indispensible books on my shelves, and right next to the OED is Angus Maddison’s magisterial The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. The product of a lifetime’s erudition and research, it might get updated over the coming few decades but I doubt it will be replaced for a very long time, if ever.


April 30, 2010

Markets in everything: A one-week internship at Vogue sells for $42,500 — Gawker

Housing quiz

April 30, 2010

Chart of the day comes from Richard Florida:


He’s re-running the numbers on the rent-vs-buy debate, and the first thing to notice about this chart, if you just look at the distribution along the y-axis, is that there really aren’t all that many cities below David Leonhardt’s cut-off of 20, and there are precious few indeed below Dean Baker’s cut-off of 15. Most of the country, it seems, is still pretty expensive on a rental-ratio basis.

Fuld’s perjury

April 29, 2010

Dick Fuld said under oath that he was paid less than $310 million from 2000 through 2007, and that he held, rather than sold, the “vast majority” of his shares, if not all of them. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that he was lying. The latest bombshells come from former Lehman lawyer Oliver Budde, who spent many years drafting the bank’s compensation disclosures and hiding the restricted stock unit (RSU) component of Fuld’s pay. Lehman had to change that after Budde left, but it didn’t: