Posts Tagged ‘Goldman Sachs’
* More than 115,000 students earned baccalaureate degrees in the humanities in 2011, a 20-percent increase in absolute terms over a decade earlier. And 84 percent of students who earned bachelor’s degrees in the humanities said they were satisfied with their choice of major one year after graduation.
* As long as the dream world of nebulous “karma jar” income pollutes the atmosphere, no one can reconcile the insane injustice of an unpaid labor force reimbursed through the guilty feelings of their coworkers.
* The University of California at Irvine and Instructure, an education-technology company, are hoping that recipe will produce a successful MOOC. They have collaborated with AMC Networks to offer a massive open online course that uses The Walking Dead, a popular AMC show, as a jumping-off point for Irvine instructors to talk about various topics in mathematics, physics, and public health. Regis tration opened on Wednesday. Maybethe Variety link is more appropriate for this one.
* Elsewhere in exciting new synergies: Teach For America is Proud to Partner with Goldman Sachs.
* Brave Girls Want Dolls That Do Not Originate In or Reflect Porn Culture. (Link may be NSFW.)
The story of how this works begins in 27 industrial warehouses in the Detroit area where a Goldman subsidiary stores customers’ aluminum. Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of the metal among the warehouses. Two or three times a day, sometimes more, the drivers make the same circuits. They load in one warehouse. They unload in another. And then they do it again.
This industrial dance has been choreographed by Goldman to exploit pricing regulations set up by an overseas commodities exchange, an investigation by The New York Times has found. The back-and-forth lengthens the storage time. And that adds many millions a year to the coffers of Goldman, which owns the warehouses and charges rent to store the metal. It also increases prices paid by manufacturers and consumers across the country.
Following a damning resignation letter from Goldman whistleblower Greg Smith, Goldman’s stock plummeted 3.4 percent in trading yesterday. The company saw “$2.15 billion of its market value wiped out.”
* The headline reads, “Student Loan Debt Delinquency Is Much Worse Than We Thought.”
We find that 27 percent of the borrowers have past due balances, while the adjusted proportion of outstanding student loan balances that is delinquent is 21 percent-much higher than the unadjusted rates of 14.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively
Meanwhile, college costs have sextupled since 1985.
* The Supreme Court looks prepared to rule that international law doesn’t apply internationally. Well done, sirs.
* Attorney General Eric Holder concludes no due process is a kind of due process. This whole “rule of law” thing is going great.
* Paul Pillar: We can live with a nuclear Iran. Of course we can.
The simple argument is that Iranian leaders supposedly don’t think like the rest of us: they are religious fanatics who value martyrdom more than life, cannot be counted on to act rationally, and therefore cannot be deterred. On the campaign trail Rick Santorum has been among the most vocal in propounding this notion, asserting that Iran is ruled by the “equivalent of al-Qaeda,” that its “theology teaches” that its objective is to “create a calamity,” that it believes “the afterlife is better than this life,” and that its “principal virtue” is martyrdom. Newt Gingrich speaks in a similar vein about how Iranian leaders are suicidal jihadists, and says “it’s impossible to deter them.”
The trouble with this image of Iran is that it does not reflect actual Iranian behavior. More than three decades of history demonstrate that the Islamic Republic’s rulers, like most rulers elsewhere, are overwhelmingly concerned with preserving their regime and their power—in this life, not some future one. They are no more likely to let theological imperatives lead them into self-destructive behavior than other leaders whose religious faiths envision an afterlife. Iranian rulers may have a history of valorizing martyrdom—as they did when sending young militiamen to their deaths in near-hopeless attacks during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s—but they have never given any indication of wanting to become martyrs themselves. In fact, the Islamic Republic’s conduct beyond its borders has been characterized by caution. Even the most seemingly ruthless Iranian behavior has been motivated by specific, immediate concerns of regime survival. The government assassinated exiled Iranian dissidents in Europe in the 1980s and ’90s, for example, because it saw them as a counterrevolutionary threat. The assassinations ended when they started inflicting too much damage on Iran’s relations with European governments. Iran’s rulers are constantly balancing a very worldly set of strategic interests. The principles of deterrence are not invalid just because the party to be deterred wears a turban and a beard.
On the other side, of course, we have the not-at-all-fascistic-sounding slogan “peace through strength.” Occupy Everywhere? What could possibly go wrong?
* Matt Zoller Seitz on what makes Mad Men great.
Marquez: Thank you very much. All things considered, I think that if I were Japanese I would be as unyielding as you on [the subject of the bomb]. And at any rate I understand you. No war is good for anybody.
Kurosawa: That is so. The trouble is that when the shooting starts, even Christ and the angels turn into military chiefs of staff.
* How Goldman Sachs does it: they’re on every side of every deal.
* Archie Comics continues to insist on its own relevance: now they’re giving Cheryl Blossom breast cancer.
* And exactly how long ago was a long time ago in a galaxy far away? io9 is there.
Great Unknown, Han and Chewbacca are forced to make a jump to hyperspace to flee Imperial attackers. (OK yes, we know it’s non-canonical, but this is a thought experiment so just bear with us.) The Millennium Falcon crash lands on Earth, where Han and Chewbacca are attacked by Native Americans. Han receives several arrow wounds in the process, and Chewbacca holds his partner as the last bit of life flees from him. The second half of the story leaps 126 years into the future, with Indiana Jones and Short Round searching for Sasquatch in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, only to find Chewbacca and the bones of Han Solo.
* International adoption nightmare. What a mess for everyone involved.
* Here’s something much less horrible: Where’s WALL-E?
That is, I propose starting the forum from scratch. In our classes we’ll explicitly (and temporarily) forbid students from reading the House of Leave forum. Instead, we create an alternate forum of our own, seeded with a few initial threads that appeared in the original forum. The idea is to recreate the forum, and see how its trajectory would play out ten years later, in the context of a literature class. The 50-60 students from the five classes seems a manageable number to launch a new iteration of the forum; enough to generate a sense of “there” there, but not such an overwhelming number that keeping up with the forum becomes unmanageable (though that would in fact replicate the feel of the original forum).
After three weeks of intensive cross-class use of the renetworked forum, the final step would be to lift the ban on reading the official forum, giving students the opportunity to compare the alternate forum with the original, and draw some conclusions from that comparison.
* A provocative Matt Yglesias post asks what exactly right-wingers are so nostalgic about if not male privilege and white supremacy.
* The coming war on the NLRB. A key figure in all this is the legendary Darryl Issa, who made news this week after the discovery of a former Goldman Sachs VP working incognito for him as a staffer (under an assumed name!).
* And from the “Damn you Krugman!” files: Just 48% of Democrats in a recent national poll said they were “very excited” about voting in 2012. In 13 previous polls, the average level was 57%. It had been as high as 65% and only twice had the number even dipped below 55%. Meanwhile, confidence in both Obama and the economy is cratering. It didn’t have to be this way, but it’s hard to imagine the way back now.
* Matt Taibbi: The People vs. Goldman Sachs.
* Slavoj Žižek: Our situation is thus the very opposite of the classical twentieth-century predicament in which the Left knew what it had to do (establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, etc.), but simply had to wait patiently for the opportunity to offer itself. Today, we do not know what we have to do, but we have to act now, because the consequences of inaction could be catastrophic.
* Rand Paul has one of the best “freedom is slavery” riffs to come along in some time.
* Democrats retake edge in generic ballot. It’ll be interesting to see how the Democrats manage to squander the opportunity if they do retake the House.
Think of all the profits produced by businesses operating in the U.S. as a cake. Twenty-five years ago, the slice taken by financial firms was about a seventh of the whole. Last year, it was more than a quarter. (In 2006, at the peak of the boom, it was about a third.) In other words, during a period in which American companies have created iPhones, Home Depot, and Lipitor, the best place to work has been in an industry that doesn’t design, build, or sell a single tangible thing.
* Durham in the news! And not even for something bad.
* If I ever manage to scrape together a hundred dollars, I certainly won’t want it to look like this.
* A brief history of Crazy Eddie. Via the MetaFilter thread on former Crazy Eddie CFO Sam Antar’s recent post on Goldman Sachs, in which he declares: My research on Goldman Sachs is a freebie for securities regulators and the public in order to help me get into heaven, though I doubt that I will ever get there anyway. I personally believe that some people at Goldman Sachs may end up joining me in hell.
* OK Cupid’s case against paying for online dating is compromised only a little by the fact that they run a free online dating site.
* Utah Tea Party: We’ve Taken Over the State GOP. What could possibly go wrong?
* Six states are considering legislation that will allow secretaries of state to arbitrarily remove candidates Obama from the ballot “if the secretary of state has reasonable cause to believe that the candidate does not meet the citizenship, age and residency requirements prescribed by law.” What could possibly go wrong?
* And we must ban involuntary microchip implantation before it is too late.
* Longtime gerrycanavan.wordpress.com favorite Kim Stanley Robinson profiled in the L.A. Times. Great photo.
* It’s hard not to love Taibbi: The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There’s even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn’t call the cops is known as the “Cool Off.” More at MetaFilter.
* See also: doomsday cycle capitalism.
* The White House proposal for health care is now online. The oh-so-crucial bipartisan summit is this Friday, and hopefully that will give the Democrats sufficient political cover to finally get this over with.
* And now Ezra Klein looooooooves Evan Bayh. Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
Matt Taibbi has now responded to Tim Fernholz’s response to his original article on how “Barack Obama, a once-in-a-generation political talent whose graceful conquest of America’s racial dragons en route to the White House inspired the entire world, has for some reason allowed his presidency to be hijacked by sniveling, low-rent shitheads.”
The Prospect writer argues that “the problems Taibbi tries to describe aren’t some ridiculous cabal” but instead “come from group-think and structural influences.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is exactly my point. The issue with the modern Democratic party is that its leaders all share a world view that’s extremely narrow. They genuinely believe in Rubinite ideas, have grown accustomed to an incestuous relationship with Wall Street, and they probably think that the right people were put in charge. Their failure to look beyond their own “group-think” for solutions to economic problems is exactly the issue.
“The investment community feels very put-upon,” Fass explained. “They feel there is no reason why they shouldn’t earn $1 million to $200 million a year, and they don’t want to be held responsible for the global financial meltdown.”
This time around Matt Taibi’s monthly essay blasting the Obama administration focuses on his terrible economic team. The article weirdly blames Obama for things that happened while Bush was still president, but even putting that aside it’s still a disappointing list. Via MetaFilter. There’s video, if you prefer.
UPDATE: Some analysis and fact-checking from Ben Smith.