Monday, March 23, 2009

In Geithner's own words, here's what he's doing

The Treasury secretary has a piece in the Wall Street Journal today telling what he's doing about those bad assets that are weighing down the world.

There's debate raging all over as to whether this will do the job. This blog claims no great economic expertise, but, nonetheless, is not happy to see that the hedge fund crowd is going to get richer than ever out of this rescue -- assuming it works. Isn't this the crowd that led us over the edge?

Here are a couple of links to commentary on the plan:

Wave of the future for failing news industry?

Try the free and see if you think it can be a model for a future for-profit news industry that doesn't require felling so many forests.

This on-line piece from the New York Times is food for thought here in Miami-Dade as we gird our minds for this Wednesday's discussion on a Miami without the Herald.

Without the Herald!? Before you run out and see if the yellow box that usually dispenses the Herald is missing from your neighborhood, be assured that we're not there yet. (Only on Saturdays, when there isn't really a paper now.) Other big cities are already there or heading that way, but surely we'll be excepted and immune. As we were to be excepted and immune from the collapse in real estate prices because our climate, our proximity to South American money, our good air, our beautiful ocean and bay and the Everglades would block the tsunami. Not to speak of the open arms of our clean politicians and developers, who would wave in the happy buyers in droves forever and ever Amen

What's happening Wednesday? At 11:30 a.m. the Downtown Bay Forum is chewing over the future of the newspaper in Miami. Call Annette Eisenberg at 305 757-3633 to reserve a place and have a nice lunch. And let's think big -- not just Miami, but Florida, too, needs to have a free and vibrant reporting industry. This blogging is fine, but there must be reporting if people are to have some idea of what's going on.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let's think again of how Jeb and Lehman cost Florida bigtime

In Wednesday's NY Times, this article:
New Jersey Sues Over Its Lehman Losses - DealBook Blog -
served as a reminder of how Florida got ripped off in the same way. Has Florida sued? Not mentioned in the article, though California was cited as having sued before New Jersey.

Where are we? Why no suit?

New Jersey is out $180 million thanks to the collapse of Lehman. Florida also lost many millions, though a light search doesn't reveal how much. There is an interesting similarity between Florida and New Jersey, in that both states had a board of officials supposedly overseeing the operation of the fund -- like the money market funds we ordinary citizens have been forced to use by our friendly banks -- where revenue was parked until needed by local governments to pay their staff and other obligations. In Florida it's the State Board of Administration. New Jersey calls it the State Investment Council. Here's a quote from the Times story about that board:

State Senator Joseph Pennacchio, a Republican who has been critical of both Lehman and the State Investment Council, told The Times in an interview that it made sense to sue. But he also called for legislative hearings into the council’s investment practices and said that the council included three former Lehman executives and the wife of a former Lehman executive.

“That raises our level of suspicion and cynicism about the whole deal,” Mr. Pennacchio told The Times. “It makes sense to go after Lehman. But we also want to know if people on the council did things they should not have done.”

I'd like to know the same kind of stuff about our Florida counterpart. It's deeply suspicious because Jeb Bush was on that board and then when he left the governor's office he became a well-paid consultant to Lehman.

Jeb, are you refunding your bonuses?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How busy are we? How bored are we?

Here’s a fascinating video about the explosion in information technology.

And the antidote from the New Yorker: Are we bored silly in our frenetic lives? The late novelist David Foster Wallace says yes. Is all that information not getting the job done? Warning: This is a long read, especially if you continue in the same issue of the magazine and read an exerpt.