Felix Salmon


Crowded Rush-Hour Roads in Utrecht — How We Drive

For Mosel wines, “a 1°C increase in temperature would yield an increase in farmer revenue of about 30%” (pdf) — Wine Economics

Does a European fire break exist?

Mohamed El-Erian had one of his most explicitly bearish op-eds yet in the WSJ this weekend, saying that “the unwind of unstable investor positions is still in its early stages”. But he also talked a little about the necessary policy responses which have yet to be seen in Europe:

The Shorebank rescue

There’s a lot of conspiracy-theorizing going on around the high-level rescue of Chicago’s ShoreBank by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and General Electric. The founder of the bank is BFF with BHO, and Chicago politics being what it is, everybody is assuming that the banks involved are expecting some kind of political quid pro quo down the road, for rescuing one of Chicago’s most-loved financial institutions.

Siwoti Friday: Kwak fisks Langeler

This is where the blogosphere comes into its own: Gerry Langeler, a venture capitalist, takes to Dealbook to try to defend the crazy way in which most of his income is taxed at the 15% capital gains rate. And then James Kwak reads his piece, comes down with an acute case of Siwoti, and delivers a textbook fisking of what passes for Langeler’s argument.

Good news Friday: Litton withdraws in Ohio

While we’re still celebrating the passage of the finance bill through the Senate, I hear this morning that Litton, the mortgage servicer owned by Goldman Sachs, will no longer auction off that house Ohio and try to kick the occupants out. Litton’s law firm, Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss, confirmed to me that the sheriff’s sale is being withdrawn, and Jorge Newberry of AHP, who’s trying to buy the house and lease it back to its current owners, says that although Litton has yet to approve the short sale, at least the Monday deadline is no longer looming.

The great news from the Senate

It’s almost enough to restore your faith in government. The details have yet to be worked out — and you can be sure that after letting the Senate deliver its own bill on its own terms, Treasury will be deeply involved in the reconciliation process, trying to marginalize any measures it doesn’t like. But the outlines of financial regulatory reform are now clear — the NYT has the best chart, I think — and I have to admit that it’s much, much better than anything I dared hope for even just a few weeks ago.


Long PHYS short GLD is earning >25% annualized — Yahoo

Are you human? Try deciphering CAPTCHA graffiti — Vimeo

When RSS feeds commit libel — VF

A Smoking Gun in BP’s Deep Horizon Mess — Thom Hartmann; See also

Sen. Ben Nelson: ‘I’ve never used an ATM, so I don’t know what the fees are’ — World-Herald

How financiers are like illegal construction workers

Mark Beauchamp, following up from yesterday, provides some eye-popping numbers:

In the U.S. finance and insurance sector, we estimate that in 2008, 34% of the workers are not covered by unemployment insurance…

Revisiting the equity premium

Allison Schrager takes up the question of the equity premium today:

The return equities generate in excess of the risk-free rate (which is normally short-term Treasuries), is often assumed to be between 5% to 8%. In my experience risk managers go silent when asked where exactly this number comes from.