Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop. Sometimes events are just tidbits of more injustice, absurdities and disaster.
Corzine Will Get Away With It
How many times have we seen this?
In a blistering 275-page report, James Giddens, the trustee liquidating the company's broker-dealer unit, said he might bring civil claims against former Chief Executive Corzine and other top MF Global executives for negligence and breach of duties to customers.
Giddens also said he was prepared to sue JPMorgan Chase & Co, one of MF Global's main banks, if he and the bank could not settle within 60 days claims that the bank played a role in the disappearance of customer funds.
Yet another possible action, a threat of a civil lawsuit, in spite of criminality evidence. Of course Wall Street regulators have sat on their hands as well. In other words, in spite of overwhelming evidence of criminality, Jon Corzine looks like he will walk away, scot-free.
Sexism & Discrimination in Silicon Valley? Say It Ain't So
Anyone working knows this lawsuit is true, and no, actually a woman was founder of Cisco and invented some of those routers which helped make the Internets:
Ellen Pao, a junior partner in her early 40s at the distinguished venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the company and her colleagues there.
Some of Ms. Pao’s critics concede that she is exposing an uncomfortable truth about Silicon Valley: starting tech companies in 2012 is still a male game, and so is funding them.
Her complaint goes further. It depicts venture capitalists here as a group of 21st-century men who may be hard at work building the 22nd century but, when it comes to dealing with women in the workplace, are stuck firmly in the caveman era — or at least in the 1950s. It’s a portrait that many women in tech find all too familiar.
More Silicon Valley Sexism & Discrimination
Ya know the claim technology is a guy thing, think again:
It turns out women are our new lead adopters. When you look at internet usage, it turns out women in Western countries use the internet 17 percent more every month than their male counterparts. Women are more likely to be using the mobile phones they own, they spend more time talking on them, they spend more time using location-based services. But they also spend more time sending text messages. Women are the fastest growing and largest users on Skype, and that's mostly younger women. Women are the fastest category and biggest users on every social networking site with the exception of LinkedIn. Women are the vast majority owners of all internet enabled devices--readers, healthcare devices, GPS--that whole bundle of technology is mostly owned by women.
Good freakin' God, how can sexism be so bad businesses do not even know who their 1st adopter customers are?
The American Dream is a Myth
We've been documenting that fact for years but no one say say it better than Economist Joseph Stiglitz. :
Joseph Stiglitz examines the causes of income inequality and offers some remedies. In between, he reaches some startling conclusions, including that America is "no longer the land of opportunity" and "the 'American dream' is a myth."
While we all know stories of people who've moved up the social stratosphere, Stiglitz says the statistics tell a very different story. In the last 30 years the share of national income held by the top 1% of Americans has doubled; for to the top 0.1%, their share has tripled, he reports. Meanwhile, median incomes for American workers have stagnated.
Even more than income inequality, "America has the least equality of opportunity of any of the advanced industrial economies," Stiglitz says. In short, the status you're born into — whether rich or poor — is more likely to be the status of your adult life in America vs. any other advanced economy, including 'Old Europe'.
For example, just 8% of students at America's elite universities come from households in the bottom 50% of income, Stiglitz says, even as those universities are "needs blind" — meaning admission isn't predicated on your ability to pay.
"There's not much mobility up and down," he says. "The chances of someone from the top [income bracket] who doesn't do very well in school are better than someone from the bottom who does well in school."
Because the children of those at the top of society tend to do better than those at the bottom — thanks, in part, to better education, health care and nutrition — the income inequality that's slowly emerged over the past 30 years will only widen in the next 10 to 20 years.
If the root causes of income inequality go unaddressed, America will truly become a two-class society and look much more like a third world economy, Stiglitz warns. "People will live in gated communities with armed guards. It's a ugly picture. There will be political, social and economic turmoil."
HP Firing 27,000 so Pundit Claims There is a Skills Shortage
HP is laying off 27,000 people. So, check out this absurdity! Jason Noland, analyst for the firm Robert W. Baird claimed Hewlett-Packard is going to have a dogfight for really talented engineers. HP is literally laying off yet another 27,000 employees. Excuse me, Hewlett-Packard is firing their engineers, yet they are desperate for talent, their is a shortage? Good freakin' God that is beyond belief a lie HP has a hard time finding engineers. Yet such pure propaganda goes unnoticed and released as opinion! Frankly, no engineer worth their salt would lay a toe inside HP these days, not for permanent employment they won't. HP has been labor arbitraging their staff for 12 years now. Beyond the fact no one would work for them unless they simply cannot dig out anything else, come on, what an rude statement. So, you're claiming yet another 27,000 people are clearly clueless and the real problem is engineering talent? The real question with analysis comments like these is how does this guy even have a job? Big uncle daddy with connections? Gotta be.
Students Loans At Credit Card Interest Rates
Private student loans are charging outrageous interest rates, 9.25% and this Bloomberg article quotes rates as high as 10.24%.
Loans from banks and other private lenders make up about 15 percent of the $1 trillion in outstanding student debt
About 2.9 million students have private loans, according to the most recent federal data
Think Local About Economic Dead Zones
This piece outlines economic dead zones, towns that have been obliterated by offshore outsourcing and globalization, where large manufacturers closed, leaving the littered bodies of workers in the dust. We don't think retraining is the answer, the favorite blow off response by politicians. That said, the idea of acting locally and targeting specific employers, industries by city officials for job creation has had it's successes and this article outlines a few city economic dead zone examples. Notice how Chrysler is saving Kokomo, Indiana. Not ever dead zone has a top engineering school 45 minutes away.
In Kokomo, Chrysler recently announced a $1 billion investment plan to make the city the center for manufacturing certain car parts. The city has partnered with local colleges and even high-school career centers to ensure a steady supply of qualified electrical engineers and other technical workers.
Say It Ain't So - BoA "Withheld" Merrill Lynch Losses
Love how these facts come out years later. It seems Bank of America lied to shareholders about the acquisition of Merrill Lynch.
Days before Bank of America shareholders approved the bank’s $50 billion purchase of Merrill Lynch in December 2008, top bank executives were advised that losses at the investment firm would most likely hammer the combined companies’ earnings in the years to come. But shareholders were not told about the looming losses, which would prompt a second taxpayer bailout of $20 billion, leaving them instead to rely on rosier projections from the bank that the deal would make money relatively soon after it was completed.
ObamaCare Bought and Paid for by Big Pharma? Say It Ain't So
Good god, the New York Times notices pharmaceutical companies demanded legislation to lower drug prices be removed from the health care reform. Uh, yeah, you can say that about almost every bill in the last 20 years.
On June 3, 2009, one of the lobbyists e-mailed Nancy-Ann DeParle, the president’s health care adviser. Ms. DeParle reassured the lobbyist. Although Mr. Obama was overseas, she wrote, she and other top officials had “made decision, based on how constructive you guys have been, to oppose importation” on a different proposal.
Just like that, Mr. Obama’s staff signaled a willingness to put aside support for the reimportation of prescription medicines at lower prices and by doing so solidified a compact with an industry the president had vilified on the campaign trail. Central to Mr. Obama’s drive to remake the nation’s health care system was an unlikely collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry that forced unappealing trade-offs.