Felix Salmon

Dennis Berman’s ethics

April 18, 2011

Last week, Ira Stoll took issue with Dennis Berman’s column on SharesPost and SecondMarket, on the grounds that Berman lied about his own identity: he pretended to be his late grandmother. Stoll likened Berman’s behavior to Project Veritas’s entrapment of NPR — something the WSJ itself said failed to “meet the ethical standards of elite journalistic institutions, including of course The Wall Street Journal”.

The implications of a downgraded US

April 18, 2011

Paul Krugman, looking at Japan, says that today’s S&P news is “no big deal”, based on the fact that Japanese long-term interest rates stayed low even after the country was downgraded in 2002. But of course if the fate of the US over the next 9 years is remotely similar to the fate of Japan over the past 9 years, that’s going to be a very big deal indeed — for the US economy, for its fiscal ratios, and for the entire world.

Will S&P downgrade the US?

April 18, 2011

It’s known as Stein’s Law: if something can’t go on forever, it won’t. And it’s the reason S&P has now revised its outlook on the US sovereign credit rating:


April 18, 2011

Did Cisco kill Flip to prevent it from cannibalizing Webex? — Rexblog

For the 400 U.S. taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income, the effective federal income tax rate—what they actually pay—fell from almost 30 percent in 1995 to just under 17 percent in 2007 — BusinessWeek

Adventures with wine lists, Apiary edition

April 16, 2011

I had dinner at Apiary last night, and I can recommend it: the food is spectacularly good. But, go on a Monday — free corkage night — and bring your own wine. Because the wine list — which the restaurant describes as “well-rounded and approachable” — is anything but.

Is informationally-insensitive debt a good thing?

April 15, 2011

A couple of years ago, Ezra and I examined Gary Gorton’s love of what he calls “informationally-insensitive financial assets” — financial assets which (normally) don’t change in price when new information about them emerges. Gorton thinks that such assets play an important role in the financial system, and he reprised that view in a short paper which makes the same claim for corporate debt. Matt Yglesias is buying it:

How Matt Zames reads Barron’s

April 15, 2011

The Picard complaint against JP Morgan, accusing the bank of being “at the very center “of the Madoff fraud, “and thoroughly complicit in it,” is now available in a version which names names. It kicks off in dramatic fashion:


April 15, 2011

Did bad architecture kill Flip? — Mobile Opportunity, see also Pogue

In which I talk to Joe Karaganis about IP protection(ism) — Reuters

Walker admits during testimony that collective bargaining law doesn’t save money — Cap Times

The fortunes of Twitter

April 14, 2011

How much are high-value employees worth in Silicon Valley? Quite astonishing amounts of money: