Felix Salmon

Counterparties: The pundits vs Nate Silver

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How resilient is New York City?

What a difference a day makes: yesterday, the streets of hurricane-devastated New York were largely empty; today, the electrified parts of the city are in a massive state of gridlock. It’s just as well the threatened Obama visit isn’t happening: traffic in Manhattan and most of Brooklyn is bad enough without it.

Counterparties: Sandy Tuesday

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Counterparties: The Sandy economy

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How Goldman Sachs protects itself from a hundred-year storm

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(Picture from Stephen Foley)

“When it comes to natural disasters,” says Rob Cox today, “there’s no such thing as too much preparation.” He then goes on to extend the analogy:

Argentina’s stunning pari passu loss

I have to give it to Reynolds Holding on this one: he called it, I was wrong, and today I paid him $5 in settlement of our bet. To the astonishment of almost everybody I know (except Ren), the Second Circuit sided with Elliott Associates and ruled unanimously against Argentina today. It’s a hugely important decision, which will certainly have unintended consequences for many years to come.

Counterparties: Fannie and Freddie’s slow metamorphosis

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Why analysts got fired for talking to journalists

Journalists are up in arms about the latest fine to hit Citigroup. In general, journalists tend to like it when banks get bashed for violating rules, but in this case the bashing hits home: Citi was fined $2 million, and two analysts were fired, because those analysts talked to the press — actually, emailed reporters — and got caught doing so. And reporters, of course, hate anything which makes it harder for them to talk to sources.

Can charitable donations offset despicable behavior?

It was quite surprising when Jed Rakoff, scourge of Wall Street, sent Rajat Gupta down for only two years on Wednesday. After all, federal sentencing guidelines suggested that Gupta should get a sentence four times longer than that. And Gupta wasn’t some small-time crook grubbing for dollars with inside information, either: he did enormous damage to the reputations of central icons of our capitalist system, like McKinsey and Goldman Sachs. But for all that, said Rakoff, he is at heart a good man: