Opinion

Felix Salmon

Counterparties

By Felix Salmon
March 28, 2011

Dana Vachon on Rebecca Black — Awl

Instead of giving public money directly to NPR and PBS, let’s just launder it through Goldman Sachs first — Twitpic

Take your iPad 2 or iPhone 4, go to this page, reload it, push it up to full screen, hold the screen up, turn around — Stefan Geens

Kathryn Schulz on Big Idea books: astute — NYMag

Oxford charges $3000 to put papers online for free, even though its authors can do that at SSRN for nothing — Oxford Journals

A speed camera which pays you when you observe the speed limit — NPR

The editorial search engine. An essay on Google, algorithms, and original reporting — Jonathan Stray

In case you were wondering who the judge was in the case Joe Nocera wrote about on Saturday, it’s Jerome B Friedman — Charlie Engle (who’s also on Twitter)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, directed by Sofia Coppola — YouTube

Michael Bierut reviews Helvetica and the New York City Subway System — WSJ (see also)

I can’t imagine that the city of Florence has much in the way of non-Italian assets — Alphaville

“It is unclear whether Cates actually understands that the money is real”: a fantastic portrait of a young poker pro — NYT

Excellent GiveWell update on Japan — GiveWell

Comments
12 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, directed by Sofia Coppola.”

Jeepers Salmon, that’s seriously recherché. You should have FakeFS on your tush about that one.

Posted by ottorock | Report as abusive
 

That deconstruction of “Friday” is just … bizaare. I can’t tell whether it is a parody of vacuous over-intellectualizing Frankfurt-school-addled theorizing at the expense of pop culture, or whether it is the real thing.

I half expected it to end with a ;-) — to let us know it was the former!

No such luck.

Posted by Christofurio | Report as abusive
 

Regarding the Joe Nocera item, the IRS of course is a part of the Treasury Department, headed by Tim Geithner, who failed to pay his income taxes. His punishment was, well, to be appointed Treasury Secretary. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive
 

I got a brilliant idea today!

Political issues can be so confusing (and stressful!). Why not allow people to sign over their votes to professionals? For a modest fee, they can then pay somebody to do the necessary research and make the best choice in each election. Moreover, those vote managers could use their collective influence to achieve goals that the individuals never could alone.

For those who don’t trust the expertise of the professional managers, we can create special programs in which the votes are equally distributed among all candidates. Of course there are likely to be some duds on the slate, but the votes cast for those will be balanced out by the votes cast for the best candidates. Because this version requires less research to implement, we’ll reduce the fee to a quarter of what you would pay an active vote manager.

Like the idea? We already encourage people to follow this model of “professional management” with their life savings, so it should be only a small step to extend that to voting as well.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive
 

Regarding paying to put papers online: I had to pay $40 to download a dissertation a few weeks ago. That’s more than most hardcover bestsellers, and was most certainly not branded Oxford.

Posted by Uncle_Billy | Report as abusive
 

No banksters or servicers have taken a perp walk… and reading this left me rather speechless.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/busine ss/26nocera.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

And yes, Curmudgeon,Tim Geithner failed to pay his income taxes, but Wesley Snipes is doing time for him as well it seems.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive
 

@ hsvkitty… help this banker understand how you were speechless to read that someone who freely admitted intentionally committing mortgage fraud managed to get himself convicted for committing mortgage fraud?

I’ll agree that Mozilo came out of this mess better than he should have. We’ll have to settle for the 67million dollar fine, his company taken over, and his reputation destroyed… still a better deal than 2.5 years in minimum.

The Feds did go after a couple “banksters” after the first Walstreet firm went down: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/b ear-stearns-trial-how-the-scapegoats-esc aped/

but they were acquitted by a jury of their peers.

The feds looked pretty hard at Lehman too but it looks like they don’t like their chances at getting a conviction http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/12  /sec-officials-lehman-brot_n_834910.htm l

It looks like they have made a big push at mortgage brokers and I’m sure they will catch a few of the worst actors in this effort. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/18/ business/la-fi-mortgage-fraud-20100618

Bottom line is 2 years after the crisis we have small honest community banks like mine thriving… while C, BAC, GS and other big banks are playing nothing but defense.

Add to that the most meaningful financial reform of my lifetime and I’m not sure this crisis was totally wasted as many have claimed.

Be well!

Posted by y2kurtus | Report as abusive
 

y2kurtus, the “sting” tactics employed were pretty aggressive. Try that on mortgage brokers and I bet you could put half of them in prison.

The big-time con-artists are mostly smart enough not to engage in obvious fraud. Doesn’t make them honest.

I *am* pleased to hear that the community banks are thriving. And at least some of the big banks that “got away with it” also got away with 70% to 90% declines in their share price — wiping out their shareholders and much of the value of the bonus packages.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive
 

y2kurtus, I realize you belong to one of the “little” banks and are tired of bank bashing. HOWEVER, unless you consider yourself one of the banksters, it wasn’t directed at you. (was it?)

This guy was no angel, but I and many, many others would like to know why banksters are allowed to buy their way out of jail time!

The URL you cite shows that the prosecution put forth a bad argument with little proof. Being acquitted does not mean they were not guilty.

Financial reform has to come with enforcement. It ain’t meaningful unless enforced.

And if you read the whole story, the guy wasn’t even caught with his hand in the cookie jar. A zealot IRS agent felt Charlie Engle was running too damned much so must be a criminal. The agent started the investigatin under false pretenses of money laundering to be able to wire him and get a “confession.”

Those with their hands in the cookie jar had a hand slapped and this guy is doing jail time AS WELL AS paying a fine to Country wide, who we all know must be a victim … right? Or were they also an honest little bank in your eyes?

There is no meaningful enforcement of legislation, and the same old same old will continue, while you are mired in a debt crisis with a new (old) recession on the horizon.

Bottom line is many little banks are hardly thriving… and many continue to go under. (but bully for you, thus far)

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/fail ed/banklist.htmland

Mozilo should be in jail. THAT is the bottom line.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive
 

Sorry, here is the URL. ANd not just the 2011 dates to now are not in order. March has not been kind…

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/fail ed/banklist.html

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive
 

Ok, y2kurtus, please tell me why banks were allowing liar loans (loans that were given purely on stated income with no back up paperwork)

Being people forget that these loans were a tipping point in the financial crisis, read on…

http://www.businessinsider.com/only-lyin g-lenders-made-liars-loans-2011-3

http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/20 11/03/97-of-all-us-mortgages-are-backed- by.html

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive
 

@hsvkitty “Mozilo should be in jail. THAT is the bottom line.” -on that we agree fully.

“Financial reform has to come with enforcement. It ain’t meaningful unless enforced.” -again total agreement.

“I realize you belong to one of the “little” banks and are tired of bank bashing.” you got that right… I grew up dreaming of being Jimmy Stewart and in the current enviroment I feel like Al Capone.

While I will defend the profession of banking till my last breath as one of the most impactful positive forces in human history… I am shocked to see just how bad things got at banks like countrywide. The very idea of a no-doc loan is just foolish but it became standard at the peak of the bubble.

Every 20 years banks go a bit crazy… senior people at my bank say it’s because as soon as people who didn’t work through the last crisis start making Senior VP then diciplin goes out the window. I guess the key is learning from the last batch of mistakes. I do think that is happening with Basel III, and the FinReg package, and most imporntantly the elimination of the worst actors from the competitive enviroment.

Posted by y2kurtus | Report as abusive
 

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