Are you enjoying Bonus Day? (It's every New Yorker's favorite holiday, in this long stretch between Christmas and Passover.) The verdicts have been rolling in all day, as they are also rolling across the world between now and the end of the month. It's a funny thing! Remember how we used to hear about "talent retention"? That big compensation was mandatory to keep great talent at a firm (that was performing quite poorly)? That was already rich coming from a small industry that ditched of tens of thousands of staff, but it seems extra-hilarious now in the season of the wee bonus.
Science, you ungrateful, backstabbing sonofabitch! After everything I've done to get your name out there in front of the public, this is how you're going to treat me? I thought we were FRIENDS, Science! I have never felt so betrayed in my life. It's OVER.
Not just two white men are without jobs, though they're the nice anecdotal evidence for the cover of Newsweek, which announced "The Beached White Male." Oh, you do not say: "Through the first quarter of 2011, nearly 600,000 college-educated white men ages 35 to 64 were unemployed." Oh but wait, do not make fun: "It might be tempting to snark at these former fat cats suffering lean times. But when Beached White Males suffer, so do their wives and children." (There are about 52 million married white men in the U.S., by the way.) But it's still safe to say this thesis doesn't have anything to do with [...]
As anybody who has read a John le Carré novel knows, the spooks, many of whom work with or as diplomats, are in the habit of putting false information about in order to achieve this or that noble or nefarious end. Which raises a number of subtle questions regarding the recent WikiLeaks cable disclosures: how much of this stuff is exaggerated or untrue? Is it even possible to untangle the web of deceit and counter-deceit (and incompetence and foolishness) woven by our diplomats and their masters? Exactly what methods are El Pais, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the New York Times and the Guardian—the newspapers called on to vet [...]
One person who went through some recent jobs data says that: "the average length of unemployment is always higher for the older cohort (45+) regardless of the level of education; generally the more education an individual has, the higher the average length of unemployment." But, but, but what about all those factories who were telling the Times they just can't find anyone to hire?
The last two administrations of New York City government have done a unbelievably poor job with their contracts for affordable housing. Back in 2000, Battery Park City, then 25 years old, was to have provided, on-site or off, 60,000 units of affordable housing, but had only provided a bit more than 1500. That has not improved much! More recently, buildings like 10 Barclay St., a 58-story residential building in lower Manhattan, with 451 units, and a cost of around $185 million, which was recently renting 3-bedrooms for 9+ grand per month, was to have 15 apartments set aside as "affordable housing." In exchange for those units, in 2005, the [...]
Be vigilant, America-your entrepreneurs are on the hook for bigger tax payments! That was the plain moral of an addled page one dispatch from this morning's Washington Post. The bulk of the piece, by Lori Montgomery and V. Dion Hayes, plies the heart-wrenching tale of one Gail Johnson, who operates a multistate chain of preschools out of Richmond, Virginia, and as the possessor of $500,000-plus annual income, faces the prospect of a 19 percent increase in her tax liability, from $120,000 to $143,000.
Never mind that Johnson's resourceful accountant, who has supplied these estimates, has her down for $90,000 in annual deductions-or indeed, that he avers that [...]
Bloomberg News finally emerged victorious from an absolutely absurd legal battle with, essentially, bank lobbyists, and has published the summary of its review of documents from America' Big Secret Bank Bailout. It reveals just how much money they all borrowed when they were pretty much all about to go out of business. Here's the meat of the matter: "Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year."
Apart from the absolute madness of the big boys like JP Morgan and Bank of [...]
Why, you may have asked, do we keep telling you that there will be fireworks to see each weekend, and then, when you venture down to the river or up to the rooftop, you find no fireworks at all?
Malfeasance. Potentially mismanagement. Possibly even great evil. Perhaps even a deep-seated hatred of children?
According to (the recently dismembered) Time Out, Saturday, June 18th was to be "Children's Day NYC, at the South Street Seaport. (Not to be confused with Missing Children's Day, which is held on May 25th, and is totally different.) "More free family entertainment closes the day with the Target Fireworks Spectacular," they and many other [...]
It's worth taking a long, slow read of this morning's Times story on lack of prosecution in general and particularly the lack of Justice Department civil or criminal cases regarding the "financial crisis." For one thing, there are at least two instances of someone directly lying to the reporters in the story (although it is unknown to us which of the parties giving conflicting accounts is lying). Elsewhere, people put the blame on regulatory inaction: "In 1995, bank regulators referred 1,837 cases to the Justice Department. In 2006, that number had fallen to 75. In the four subsequent years, a period encompassing the worst of the crisis, an [...]
Not only are the facts and premise of the documentary Waiting for Superman not at all right, but now we learn that at least one scene was staged for the film. This touching scene from the documentary (the overall storyline of which is: poor people desperately yearning to get into charter and private schools), in which a mother first tours the Harlem Success Academy and oohs and ahs, was actually staged after her child was rejected. Here's the director, Davis Guggenheim, telling the Times about that: "So that scene is real; her reaction, her talking to kids touring the school, is how she would play it." So [...]
Excellent! Wall Street firms claim they're going to stop giving money to political candidates, as retribution over minor regulation. That's not going to be true at all, but it'd be a great start.
An article on Tuesday about people who believe that the Moon landing was a hoax referred incorrectly to a picture in a feature on the Lens blog at nytimes.com. As correctly noted in the feature, "Dateline: Space," the photograph of an astronaut standing on the surface of the Moon shows Buzz Aldrin-not Neil Armstrong. (Mr. Armstrong took the picture.)
Mmm hmm. Sure he did.
The August issue of Seventeen (don't ask) has a particularly juicy "LIES He Tells You Straight To Your Face" column! This is an interesting editorial component. Is it… service? Is it fear-mongering exploitation? Somewhere in the middle? Mostly I can't decide which of these two boys sound more evil. (Who am I kidding, THE CAT LIAR. SOMEONE THROW HIM OFF A BRIDGE IN A BURLAP SACK.) I am just so glad this kind of editorial didn't exist when I was a teen—if I'd know the truth about humans, I don't know if I would have ever left the house or spoken to anyone. (Though I guess it's reassuring that [...]
Welcome to the craziest moment in American politics. So, Republicans were going to force Democratic primaries in Wisconsin, alongside the six Republican state senator recall elections, by running fake Democrat candidates. So the Democrats had selected "placeholder" candidates for those primaries. Today, they announced that, since all the Republican-backed but Democrat-registered candidates have now filed to run, the Democrats won't deign to run candidates against them in the primaries, because it's a crazy waste of time and taxpayer money. Boom! Crazy right? Would you like to know more? Here is our helpful explanation of the whole Wisconsin mess. Related: this is a picture of suddenly-Democrat James Smith, [...]
Picture, if you will, the opening scenes of next year's blockbuster, The Quagmire—a dramatic account of America's descent into the war in Vietnam.
The film opens on young Lt. Lyndon Johnson of the U.S. army. He is stationed in Tokyo in the 1950's. As the opening credits roll, he is sulking away from the base’s fancy officers' club, his application for membership having been rejected. He realizes that try as he might, with his poor Texas upbringing, he will never be one of them. Stung, he ventures out into the field, across the Asian continent, turning over those stones that the well-to-do ne'er-do-wells back at the club couldn't be [...]
Daniel Henninger'sWall Street Journal op-ed column today is mind-boggling. He comes out hard, so it's easy to summarize: "It needs to be said. The rescue of the Chilean miners is a smashing victory for free-market capitalism." His point is that the drill and the drill rig used for the miner rescue were developed by two smallish companies, right here in America. Other bits of technology were also created by companies! The free market innovates! Companies make things! So capitalism saved miners. Pretty much everything about this column is utterly undone by the facts.
Yes. Talking headbot Charlie Gasparino really buys the chronic baloney line that the head of Goldman Sachs is concerned about retaining talent if the firm "can't" pay out bonuses because of public outcry. (I mean, "can't?) They don't give a rat's ass about public outcry! And they don't have any problem retaining talent! People are banging down the door to work there, as the company slowly reinflates after its bullshit, made-up layoff crusade of the last year. Where the fuck are people going to work-Lehmann Brothers? Every failed hedge fund in Greenwich? Gasparino presents three alleged "options" for dealing with bonuses, including raising salaries and shrinking bonuses (not going [...]