News from around the web: 2009-09-11

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  • Follow the money – BBC News

    "Find out how the money was spent and what it means for the taxpayers who have funded it"

  • To the victors, the spoils: a post-Lehman scorecard | Reuters

    A year after their high-speed takeovers, Britain’s Barclays is confident it is on course to fulfill long-held ambitions now it has a foothold in U.S. equity and mergers and acquisitions markets, and Lehman has already boosted its bottom line. But Japan’s Nomura, a conservative brokerage which went for Lehman in its own bid to become an international investment bank, is still hobbled by a lack of scale in the United States and insiders say lingering cultural differences are a burden.

  • Gillian Tett – Market Insight: Banks can learn from football

    “These bonuses are crazy – we all know that. But we don’t know how to stop paying them without losing our best staff.”

  • Priceless: How The Federal Reserve Bought The Economics Profession

    "The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found."

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  • JPMorgan steps up lending, eyes real estate | Reuters

    An increase in credit availability is what most are looking for. "JPMorgan Chase & Co is expanding its U.S. commercial banking business, even amid the recession, and is considering a return to commercial real estate next year."

  • FT Alphaville – China’s industrial production rises 12%

    "Premier Wen Jiabao said on Thursday that the government “cannot and will not” pull back from stimulus measures."

  • Lessons Learned and Soon Forgotten – Simon Johnson

    "we have learned so much about the functioning of our financial system… But how much good does all this new knowledge now do for us? There is very little real reform underway or on the table. We can argue about whether this is due to lack of intestinal fortitude on the part of the administration or the continued overweening power of the financial system, but the facts on the ground are simple: our banks and their “financial innovation” have not been defanged."

  • Viewpoint: Lessons to be learnt – FT

    I love Bess Levin’s headline linking to this – “Jim Rogers: Can We Get Some More Lehmans Up In This Piece?”

  • London Suicide Connects Lehman Lesson Missed by Hong Kong Woman – Bloomberg.com

    The third in a series of Bloomberg’s series

  • Geithner defends bailout effort at town-hall event – MarketWatch

    "I wouldn’t give a penny to a banker, to benefit a banker," Geithner said at a town hall meeting hosted by CNBC at the Newseum in Washington. "But if you let the system get to the point where people are taking their money out of banks, where people can’t get credit, where things stop, then you will see companies fail, unemployment rise, pension values fall by 30%, people having to work a decade longer than expected because of that damage."

  • Spain’s growing budget deficit: Taxing times | The Economist

    "First it was spend, spend, spend. Now it is tax, tax, tax. As Spain’s budget deficit soars and economic recovery remains elusive, the Socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has made clear how he expects to start balancing the books. “I am going to ask for a share of people’s incomes out of solidarity and to meet the demands of the most needy,” Mr Zapatero told parliament on September 9th."

  • America and eastern Europe: End of an affair? | The Economist

    The ascent of Barack Obama has boosted America’s image in most countries, but only modestly in places like Poland and Romania. Among policymakers in the east, the dismay is tangible. In July, 22 senior figures from the region, including Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa, wrote a public letter bemoaning the decline in transatlantic ties.

  • New York landmark Tavern on the Green in bankruptcy

    Years ago I used to skate an inline-skate slalom course just outside Tavern on the Green religiously every weekend. Good memories.

  • FT Alphaville – Don’t worry about deleveraging…

    "Goldman Sachs says more “ease please.” Will the Fed listen?"

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  • FT Alphaville – Non-ferocious Japanese orders

    "Japanese machinery orders fell to a record low in July of 665bn yen ($7.2bn) in July, according to data released on Thursday. The 9.3 per cent decline was more than twice the 3.5 per cent drop forecast by economists."

  • Merkel Breaths ‘Deep Sigh’ as GM Taps Magna for Opel – Bloomberg.com

    "General Motors Co.’s decision to back Magna International Inc. as the buyer of its European Opel unit may give Chancellor Angela Merkel a campaign boost before German elections on Sept. 27."

  • Belgium wants probe of Opel sale

    Belgium wants the European Union to investigate Germany’s role in the sale of General Motor’s European units.

  • FT.com – Board ban sought for ‘Phoenix Four’

    "About 6,000 workers lost their jobs when MG Rover closed. The failure was seen as inevitable by many car industry experts because of the company’s relatively small size and its lack of up-to-date smaller models."

  • Fate of Vauxhall and Opel in the balance

    "The board of car giant General Motors has decided against selling its European operations, which include Vauxhall in the UK, according to unconfirmed reports this morning."

  • James Pethokoukis – The speech that didn’t matter

    Obama’s speech was a resounding success. The question is whether the speech will have any meaningful effect on getting Obama’s bill passed or on his popularity and his party’s electoral chances in 2010. On these scores, it is unclear. "the unemployment rate does continue to climb. And that will continue to erode Obama’s popularity and drain his political capital."

  • CQ Politics | Notepad – Debt-burdened Joe Wilson Amends Financial Records

    Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., is heavily leveraged and his debts may even exceed his assets, according to an amended financial disclosure form for 2008 that for the first time reveals hundreds of thousands of dollars in previously unreported loans from federal credit unions and banks.

  • Pollster.com: Instant Poll Roundup – Obama’s Healthcare Speech

    In terms of these "instant reactions," this speech falls within the range of previous addresses. Depending on the measure it’s better than some, worse than others. But keep in mind that none of these positive reactions translated into meaningful changes in presidential approval. Will the speech lead to lasting change in perceptions of health reform? To know that, we will need more surveys of the general population and, mostly, more time.

  • Obama’s healthcare speech: soaring rhetoric, scant imagination » New Deal 2.0

    Marshall Auerback has a less kind assessment of the healthcare speech than I do.

  • Los europeos vuelven a confiar en los fondos y los aúpan a máximos en julio | Fondos de inversión

    Europeans are abandoning savings accounts in favour of riskier assets as low interest rates have created a liquidity-seeking-return dynamic. This is true as much in the US as it is in Europe and it proves that a wall of liquidity can induce a cyclical recovery based on asset price inflation aka the fake recovery. The question is what comes next?

  • FTD.de | Politbarometer: Vorsprung von Schwarz-Gelb bröckelt

    Germany’s governing CDU/CSU has decided to ditch its grand coalition partner in favour of the FDP, its previous partner under Helmut Kohl. Will they succeed? The latest poll numbers leave doubt. The CDU/FDP pairing is down in polling, coming in at about 50% now. Elections are in two weeks. It will be down to the wire.

  • Why People Believe in Conspiracies: Scientific American

    "How can we tell the difference between information and disinformation? As Kurt Cobain, the rocker star of Nirvana, once growled in his grunge lyrics shortly before his death from a self-inflicted (or was it?) gunshot to the head, “Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after you.”"

  • Velociraptor’s ‘killing’ claws were for climbing – life – New Scientist

    According to Jurassic Park, everyone’s favourite fleet-footed predators dispatched their prey by disembowelling them with deadly "killing claws"Movie Camera. Not so, say palaeontologists who have studied the biomechanics of Velociraptor claws. Instead, the notorious dinosaurs used their claws to cling to prey and to climb trees

  • Children Can Learn A Second Language In Preschool, Study Finds

    The researchers use a concept called ‘immersion teaching’, whereby children are addressed in each language by the respective native speaker and asked to respond in that language.

  • Norman Podhoretz: Why Are Jews Liberals? – WSJ.com

    This is a provocative piece on ethnicity and voting.

  • Argentina Faces 2010 World Cup Fight as England, Spain Advance – Bloomberg.com

    Look at the photo of Maradona here. The man is huge. As for England, Capello has done a remarkable job. "England and Spain booked soccer World Cup berths by extending perfect qualifying records as Paraguay sealed a spot to leave two-time champion Argentina in danger of missing out for the first time in 40 years."

    Remembering the victims of 9/11

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