Daily Archives: December 9, 2013
Regulators have been meeting to finalize tougher post-financial crisis rules on how Wall Street banks can trade with their own money, and it looks like one of those rules will be that Wall Street banks cannot have compensation arrangements that reward it. Period.
That goes for foreign banks operating in the U.S. too.
The WSJ is reporting the same thing. Wall Street’s got some awfully clever minds, and tons of friends of Barry’s, so there’s probably a work-around here but if not, after this year, (some) bonuses just went kerploof, and bonuses pay for Greenwich mansions.
Of course, it was the banks’ screaming for a D.C. bailout that brought this on, so ….
Today is the start of the new MLS system, a date picked, no doubt, because it’s a slow time of year and traffic will be low – agents are all busy trying to break into the ObamaCare site. In any event, here are two sales. New format, let’s see how it works.
UPDATE: Looks like you have to click on the MLS # to get the detail. Click on the image itself and you just get pictures.
32 Loughlin Avenue, new construction, April contract, closed today at full asking price of $1.795 million.
22 Wildwood, Milbrook, sold for $1.840. I haven’t figured out how to do the history feature of the new system, so you’re on your own here, for now.
Putin dissolves state news agency replaces it with one of his own creation – modeled after MSNBC, doubtless.
CREEPY UNCLE SAM: FBI can turn on your Web cam, and you’d never know it. As I’ve said before, hardware on-off switches for cameras and microphones may come back into style. Plus this: “The FBI can also burrow into a suspect’s computer and download files, photographs and stored e-mails.” If they can do that, of course, they can also plant evidence without a trace. . . .
And rich people, at that, yet Wall Street appears to be migrating south.
The Big Apple’s fabled Wall Street district steadily is becoming more of a tourist hub than a financial hub.
New York’s share of jobs in the securities industry dipped below 20 percent earlier this year to an all-time low, according to government statistics.
Moreover, jobs lost after the financial crisis are being replaced in the city at less than half the rate of the rest of the country. Two decades ago, New York had 30 percent of all such jobs.
The securities industry has recovered 54 percent of the jobs lost nationwide after the 2008 financial crisis, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But Wall Street has recouped only 23 percent. The workforce has been hollowed out — 167,000 employed at securities firms, down from 191,000 in 2008.
“The numbers say there are a lot of Wall Street jobs that don’t need to be in New York,” Barbara Byrne Denham, an economist who tracks the local business scene, told Crain’s New York Business. “That has all sorts of implications for the city’s tax revenues.”
Facing regulatory changes and with the advent of new trading technologies, the banks that long ago transferred lower-level personnel out of New York have started moving up the corporate ladder to put higher-paid people — such as investment bankers, analysts and financial advisers — in places like Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., and Salt Lake City.
What’s more, real estate prices are a fraction of Manhattan’s, and employees as a rule make much less than the $360,700 collected by the average New Yorker who works on Wall Street.
Just days after calling Joe Biden “the best VP in history”, Obama leaves him behind as he and an entourage of 700 head for Mandella’s funeral. Of course, it’s possible that Joe asked to stay home, so he could have some privacy.
The Republican Party’s leadership is more concerned with threats to its power than threats to liberty, according to Angelo Codevilla, author of “The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It.”
“The Republican establishment most certainly does not see any threats to liberty, because it doesn’t care about threats to liberty,” Codevilla said in a phone interview from his California home last week. “Being part of the ruling class, it is more concerned with threats to power.”
The disconnect between the base of voters who expect Republicans to fight for limited government and the behavior of Republican politicians is growing more pronounced, he explained.
Why is the Republican leadership part of the ruling class? Because it has constituents other than Republican voters,” he said. “And these constituents are the large corporations and the various monied interests that happen to be the same as the people who support the Democratic Party.”
Codevilla also described the lure of power: “There is also another factor — and that is the attraction of power, the attraction of prestige, the attraction of favorable treatment by the media, easy access to the universities and to the prestigious foundations, to the best dinner parties, the A-list in Washington, etc. These things are enormously attractive.”
“We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,” exclaims the president of the California Medical Association, as The Washington Examiner reports, independent insurance brokers estimate 70% of California’s 104,000 licensed doctors are boycotting the exchange. “The Covered California board says we have plenty of doctors, and they allege they have 85 percent of doctors participating, but they’ve shown no numbers,” and if a large number of doctors either balk at participating in the exchange or retire, the state’s medical system could be overwhelmed. “Enrollment doesn’t mean access, because there aren’t enough doctors to take the low rates of Medicaid,” warns one health director. “There aren’t enough primary care physicians, period.”
California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country — 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower.
“Some physicians have been put in the network and they were included basically without their permission,” Lisa Folberg said. She is a CMA’s vice president of medical and regulatory Policy.
“They may be listed as actually participating, but not of their own volition,”
ATF used brain damaged, mental defectives and teenagers to run drug and gun sting operations. Read the whole thing, while remembering that the ATF is overseen by Obama and his friend running the Justice Department, Eric Holder.
Earlier this year when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposed a botched ATF sting in Milwaukee — that included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him for his work — ATF officials told Congress the failed Milwaukee operation was an isolated case of inadequate supervision.
The Journal Sentinel reviewed thousands of pages of court records, police reports and other documents and interviewed dozens of people involved in six ATF operations nationwide that were publicly praised by the ATF in recent years for nabbing violent criminals and making cities safer.
Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employed rogue tactics similar to those used in Milwaukee in every operation, from Portland, Ore., to Pensacola, Fla.
Among the findings:
■ ATF agents befriended mentally disabled people to drum up business and later arrested them in at least four cities in addition to Milwaukee. In Wichita, Kan., ATF agents referred to a man with a low IQ as “slow-headed” before deciding to secretly use him as a key cog in their sting. And agents in Albuquerque, N.M., gave a brain-damaged drug addict with little knowledge of weapons a “tutorial” on machine guns, hoping he could find them one.
■ Agents in several cities opened undercover gun- and drug-buying operations in safe zones near churches and schools, allowed juveniles to come in and play video games and teens to smoke marijuana, and provided alcohol to underage youths. In Portland, attorneys for three teens who were charged said a female agent dressed provocatively, flirted with the boys and encouraged them to bring drugs and weapons to the store to sell.
■ As they did in Milwaukee, agents in other cities offered sky-high prices for guns, leading suspects to buy firearms at stores and turn around and sell them to undercover agents for a quick profit. In other stings, agents ran fake pawnshops and readily bought stolen items, such as electronics and bikes — no questions asked — spurring burglaries and theft. In Atlanta, agents bought guns that had been stolen just hours earlier, several ripped off from police cars.
■ Agents damaged buildings they rented for their operations, tearing out walls and rewiring electricity — then stuck landlords with the repair bills. A property owner in Portland said agents removed a parking lot spotlight,damaging her new $30,000 roof and causing leaks, before they shut down the operation and disappeared without a way for her to contact them.
■ Agents pressed suspects for specific firearms that could fetch tougher penalties in court. They allowed felons to walk out of the stores armed with guns. In Wichita, agents suggested a felon take a shotgun, saw it off and bring it back — and provided instructions on how to do it. The sawed-off gun allowed them to charge the man with a more serious crime.
■ In Pensacola, the ATF hired a felon to run its pawnshop. The move widened the pool of potential targets, boosting arrest numbers.Even those trying to sell guns legally could be charged if they knowingly sold to a felon. The ATF’s pawnshop partner was later convicted of pointing a loaded gun at someone outside a bar. Instead of a stiff sentence typically handed down to repeat offenders in federal court, he got six months in jail — and a pat on the back from the prosecutor.
“To say this is just a few people, a few bad apples, I don’t buy it,” said David Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and an expert on law enforcement tactics and regulation. “If your agency is in good shape with policy, training, supervision and accountability, the bad apples will not be able to take things to this level.”
Interview with Obama’s healthcare architect, Zeke Emanuel. “If you like your doctor, you can pay more”.
Chris Wallace: “President Obama famously promised, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Doesn’t that turn out to be just as false, just as misleading, as his promise about if you like your plan, you can keep your plan? Isn’t it a fact, sir, that a number, most, in fact, of the Obamacare health plans that are being offered on the exchanges exclude a number of doctors and hospitals to lower costs?”
“The president never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to,” said the Obamacare architect.
“No. ‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.’ Did he not say that, sir?”
“He didn’t say you could have unlimited choice.”
“It’s a simple yes or no question. Did he say if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?”
“Yes. But look, if you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice. We know in all sorts of places you pay more for certain — for a wider range of choices or wider range of benefits.The issue isn’t the selective networks. People keep saying, Oh, the problem is you’re going to have a selective network–”
“Well, if you lose your doctor or lose your hospital–”
“Let me just say something,” said Emanuel. “People are going to have a choice as to whether they want to pay a certain amount for a selective network or pay more for a broader network.”
“Which will mean your premiums will probably go up.”
“They get that choice. That’s a choice they always made.”
“Which means your premium may go up over what you were paying so that, in other words —
“No one guaranteed you that your premium wouldn’t increase. Premiums have been going up.”
“The president guaranteed me I could keep my doctor,” said Wallace.
“And if you want to, you can pay for it,” said Emanuel.
Idiot Georgian hunter who accidentally shot acquaintance is now dating her. That she’s willing, and her family approves, doesn’t offer much hope for the Georgia gene pool.
Johnny Jones is a fifth grader at South Eastern Middle School. A few weeks ago, he was walking back to his desk when a friend aimed a folder at him and shot it like a gun. Jones retaliated by pulling back his arm as if releasing an arrow from an invisible bow. Whether either of the imaginary projectiles hit their target is unknown, since neither actually existed.
Still, this act of domestic terrorism was enough to merit a one-day suspension for Jones.
School principal John Horton also called Jones’s parents to inform them of the seriousness of their son’s offense. Because young Johnny had “threatened” another student with a “replica or representation of a firearm,” he was in danger of being expelled, according to The Gilmer Mirror.
[D]efense attorney Jonna Spilbor called the school’s actions ridiculous.
“If we’re going to punish this poor kid for pretending to shoot a bow and arrow, let’s ticket his parents for parking their unicorn in a fire zone,” she said.
The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.