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U.S. bank bailout encourages risky behavior

Posted on January 31st, 2010 at 13:55 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

[Quote:]

The U.S. taxpayer-funded rescue program set up to save banks from collapse during the financial crisis makes future reckless behavior more likely, the government’s bailout watchdog said in a quarterly report.A quarterly report to Congress on the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, made available in draft form late on Saturday, said financial firms seen as too big to fail before 2008 have only grown larger as they feasted on subsidies from the bailout program.”To the extent that institutions were previously incentivized to take reckless risks through a ‘heads I win, tails the government will bail me out’ mentality, the market is more convinced than ever that the government will step in as necessary to save systemically significant institutions,” the report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, said.


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  1. So maybe giving those too big to fail banks the Ma Bell treatment. That way, no bail out will ever be needed. Maybe competition might even keep some of them honest.

Cartoons

Posted on January 31st, 2010 at 11:33 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Cartoon


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  1. That guy in the top cartoon, is wearing the wrong T-shirt.

Start Wandows Ngrmadly

Posted on January 31st, 2010 at 11:32 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!, Microsoft

[Quote:]


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  1. This isn’t that hard to do. We used to prank our users with stuff like this by modifying the strings in binary executable programs to display almost readable gobbledygook. If you’re careful, you won’t affect the operation of the program. Of course, if the application were internationalized and message strings were kept in external files, it was even easier to do, and no changes to the executable image was required.

Charlie Brooker – How To Report The News

Posted on January 31st, 2010 at 10:42 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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And it’s still better than Nickelback.

Posted on January 31st, 2010 at 10:29 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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  1. Reminds me of some rock concerts I’ve been to! Better guitar playing than some of them as well! :-)

In Soviet Mushroom Kingdom, Goomba Eats You!

Posted on January 31st, 2010 at 9:57 by John Sinteur in category: awesome

The true story behind Comrade Mario.

And in case you’re wondering, the music is Farewell of Slavianka performed by the Red Army Choir, written by the composer Vasily Agapkin in honour of the Bulgarian women bidding farewell to their husbands who left for the First Balkan War. The march premiered in Tambov in 1912 and was subsequently released as a single. Slavianka means “Slavic woman”.


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AppKit may be the next Carbon. UIKit is the frontier

Posted on January 30th, 2010 at 23:06 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote:]

Yes. Five. We want to bring all five of our productivity apps to iPad: OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, OmniPlan, OmniFocus, and OmniGraphSketcher.


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Why do people often vote against their own interests?

Posted on January 30th, 2010 at 15:25 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

In his book The Political Brain, psychologist Drew Westen, an exasperated Democrat, tried to show why the Right often wins the argument even when the Left is confident that it has the facts on its side.

He uses the following exchange from the first presidential debate between Al Gore and George Bush in 2000 to illustrate the perils of trying to explain to voters what will make them better off:

Gore: “Under the governor’s plan, if you kept the same fee for service that you have now under Medicare, your premiums would go up by between 18% and 47%, and that is the study of the Congressional plan that he’s modelled his proposal on by the Medicare actuaries.”

Bush: “Look, this is a man who has great numbers. He talks about numbers.

“I’m beginning to think not only did he invent the internet, but he invented the calculator. It’s fuzzy math. It’s trying to scare people in the voting booth.”

Mr Gore was talking sense and Mr Bush nonsense – but Mr Bush won the debate. With statistics, the voters just hear a patronising policy wonk, and switch off.

For Mr Westen, stories always trump statistics, which means the politician with the best stories is going to win: “One of the fallacies that politicians often have on the Left is that things are obvious, when they are not obvious.

“Obama’s administration made a tremendous mistake by not immediately branding the economic collapse that we had just had as the Republicans’ Depression, caused by the Bush administration’s ideology of unregulated greed. The result is that now people blame him.”


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  1. The (the Dems) forgot how short the people’s memory is. Most just take what’s happening now, and believe the lies placed before them by the likes of Fox “News” and such. It’s just human nature. I’ve been so pissed at the Democratic Party because they have become such wusses. I’ve been a registered Democrat all my adult life, and Young Dem before I was old enough to vote. Even though I intellectually understand how this works, it still boggles my mind that people eat the sludge most of the Republicans and all of the so-called conservatives place before them, and the only reason they do so is because the right-wing keeps it in front of them. When the public starts listening to the likes of Obama et al, the RW (right wing) just pushes their faces into the bowl until they can’t hear the truth any longer.

  2. Bingo spaceman spiff! You got it in one. Nevermind, try this – it might cheer you up. ( http://www.evergreenreview.com/121/a-day-spent-in-hell.html – yesterdays country-wrecker – todays boring bum)

Obama Goes To GOP Lions’ Den — And Mauls The Lions

Posted on January 30th, 2010 at 15:13 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

President Obama traveled to a House Republican retreat in Baltimore on Friday and delivered a performance that was at once defiant, substantive and engaging. For roughly an hour and a half, Obama lectured GOP leaders and, in a protracted, nationally-televised question-and-answer session, deflected their policy critiques, corrected their misstatements and scolded them for playing petty politics. (Full video and transcript available HERE.)

White House officials told the Huffington Post they were absolutely ecstatic. MSNBC’s Luke Russert, who was on the scene in Baltimore, relayed that a Republican official and other GOP aides had confided to him that allowing the “cameras to roll like that” was a “mistake.”

So effective was the president that Fox News cut away from the broadcast 20 minutes before it ended.

Translation: “We forgot that he is intelligent.”

No surprise, really, if you see what candidates they come up with themselves.


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The iPad provides the ultimate browsing experience?

Posted on January 30th, 2010 at 8:30 by John Sinteur in category: Software

Lee Brimelow is a Platform Evangelist at Adobe focusing on the Flash, Flex, and AIR developer communities.

And he posted this, apparently to show that the iPad doesn’t fit his own browsing experience.

He gets bonus points for linking to a porno site, even if he removed the image later.

The problem is, if you remove games from his screenshots (because people who want to play games on an iPad are not likely to do that on a website), and if you remove video (because video isn’t a problem on the iPad and iPhone, and more and more video sites are offering h264 instead of flash, which works much better not just on the Apple hardware but on other devices as well) there’s not much left.

And there’s another side to browsing without flash.

Sorry, dude, go look for an other job, because the technology you’re promoting has started a well-deserved decline.

(oh, and that porno site? They have an iPhone optimized version – you don’t need flash for your porn either)


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Comments:

  1. The comments on the flashblog are quite telling.

    The only site I regularly visit, that frequently gives me the missing flash icon, is the failblog.

  2. I thought this commentary was relatively cogent:
    http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/01/sympathy_for_the_devil.html

    When you read that much of Flash-based video streaming is already in H.264, it’s less surprising that YouTube was able to offer the HTML5 alternative, and you wonder if Vimeo and other will be following behind before long. I don’t care about Flash games or sites for kids. What does that leave? Sites that shouldn’t be in Flash to begin with and… a few things like Google Finance charts. The latter ones I’ll miss, agreed.

    On the down side, advertisers are likely to be motivated to switch away from Flash before most other sites, making FlashBlock much less useful. :-p

iPad keynote

Posted on January 29th, 2010 at 22:02 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

I finally had some time to watch the keynote.

Now all you folks saying that the iPad is just a bigger iPod Touch, go watch the iWorks demo in the keynote presentation.

Go ahead, I’ll wait….

Back again? Okay. Now ponder the following things:

- multi-touch (as in, three fingers or more)
- user interaction design

There’s some major progress being made here. Regardless of hype, the way Apple does introductions and all that. The real progress being made will not be by iPhone apps being scaled up. The real progress will be made with the mundane productivity apps.


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Comments:

  1. And because I am biased, Apple can do no wrong.

  2. Oh fuck off – am I going to get that every time I point out something nice by Apple without pointing out flaws as well?

  3. Oh, and go read this so you can whine some more.

  4. Well, to say something negative. I HATE the fact that it does not have several (ok, one) CF slots. Cheap 32GB to plug in. Why not? That would have been quite possible. The thing must be mostly empty so people will glue them in there. But why make us break it open? Man, I HATE that. I know there is, I even have, a Apple dongle thing that takes CF cards and plug into the bottom. But there it sticks out. There is no other reason I can think of but market domination. :-(

Cartoons

Posted on January 29th, 2010 at 19:57 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Microsoft: iPad’s Closed Platform is “Humorous”

Posted on January 29th, 2010 at 19:48 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft

[Quote:]

Watson claimed that many developers of applications for the iPhone OS–which the iPad uses–are not making money. Developing applications for the iPhone and iPad is expensive, he said, because iPhone OS uses the Objective C language rather than Microsoft’s more pervasive .NET platform. And Apple’s control over the platform has alienated some people that make software for its products, he said.

[Quote:]

Yes, there is much jealousy from iPhone developers at the sacks full of money being made by Zune and Windows Mobile app developers.


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Comments:

  1. Honestly, I don’t understand why people bother reporting what Microsoft has to say about mobile devices.

  2. Well, you can run the .NET stack on an iPhone, as soon as you update the processor and the memory and attach an external disk. Easy peasy…

  3. I didn’t know Windows Mobile had developers. Oh, and what’s a Zune? I heard rumors about it but I have never seen one in the wild.

  4. Sack Ballmer, and the higher management, and set MS on a definite track. They are ruining the company.

Nope.

Posted on January 29th, 2010 at 17:14 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


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Congressman’s Foundation Has Money for Golf Outings, but Not for Scholarships

Posted on January 29th, 2010 at 17:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Frontier Foundation, established seven years ago by Congressman Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) to award scholarships, has yet to help any students, but it has financed Buyer’s golf game. Buyer’s foundation has collected more than $800,000, while not giving out a single scholarship, and prompting a government watchdog group to ask for an investigation of the congressman’s operation.

I guess his kids aren’t of college age yet…


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Google responds to the iPad

Posted on January 29th, 2010 at 17:04 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google


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Cruft: A message to the Internets regarding the iPad

Posted on January 29th, 2010 at 8:16 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote:]

Remember way back to January 2007, when the iPhone was announced? Oh Internets, you wailed and gnashed your teeth endlessly. No 3G network? No MMS? No apps on the iPhone? No replaceable battery? Oh, your complaints were endless. You were sure that the iPhone was doomed because it didn’t meet all your requirements.

And what happened? Well, Apple has sold 40 million iPhones. FORTY MILLION. They have become the largest mobile device company in the world.

So today, you moan on and on about all the features you expected and demand in the iPad. What no Verizon? No two-way camera? It’s not weightless? A full half inch thick? Only 10 hours of battery life? You make tons of predictions on the success and failure with scant details and without ever actually trying one.

[..]

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs


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Comments:

  1. Generally, I agree with you. However, I do hope that they open the iPad more than they have the iPhone, et al. A single source of software and add-ons for such a device is not accepatble, to me at least.

Cartoons

Posted on January 28th, 2010 at 18:52 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Apple Special Event January 2010

Posted on January 28th, 2010 at 8:11 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

The video is available here.

I can’t wait for the next generation – I expect Apple, just like with the iPod, to introduce an iPad Nano….


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Comments:

  1. Well, at least you skipped the joke that everyone else is making (maxipad).

    I was thinking.. Given that this is an iPod Touch on steroids, and therefore the logic board need not be much bigger, what’s in that thing? Is it otherwise all battery?

  2. well, 10 hours of video is pretty impressive battery-wise. I guess we’ll know when the first one ships, because within 24 hours some website will have done the usual apple-porn unpacking and opening up the device…

  3. I’ll believe the 10 hours when I see it–especially since the phrase I saw started with “up to”.

    I had really hoped for a camera, and was thinking 50-50 they might have multitasking, but alas.

    The most interestng question I saw is whether this will allow for user profiles, or if it’s essentially a personal gadget. If you leave this lying around the house, family members are going to want their own email, Facebook, and other accounts separated.

  4. Well, forgive me for not talking about the features in OS 3.2, and whether there’s something like that in there, or not at all. I’ve been playing around with it because all my apps will have to be reworked a bit to support the iPad, and I want to make sure I’m not breaking my agreement with Apple.

    But yes, I can see your point – and even if they have profiles now or later, I suspect Apple would really like you to buy one for each family member. It will be interesting to see future versions exploit that by doing a lot of sharing amongst devices, like you can do in iTunes and iPhoto on the mac.

  5. it would be really nice to see a next-gen version of the iPad that uses Qualcomm’s mirasol display tech. I’ve done enough reading of backlit text to know that a book reader with a backlit display is not something i’m willing to pay for. if then it’s just a mobile internet and media player, i might as well stick with my iphone.

  6. Well, I think flow has a point, it was one of the first things that I noticed about the pad: it uses a backlit display. Great for watching movies, nice for browsing, but everyone knows that it does not work well for reading.
    @Maarten: indeed an ‘iPod Touch on steroids’. It’s too big to fit in a pocket, so won’t replace the smartphone. Not easy to type on, so won’t replace the laptop (certainly not for working travellers that want to do some work in the train or on the couch like me). But it is the coolest clipboard I have seen yet. I never use a clipboard however, and have no intention to either.

    It would be a fun thingy to have lying about to surf the web on at home, but I don’t see much more use for it than that. I’d rather invest the $500+ in a good tablet – though I must admit I haven’t seen many of those yet. I’m sure we’ll see more of those emerge this year.

  7. Gotta say my reaction to the iPad is pretty much the same as the HP Slate: Meh!

  8. Well, my wife gets at least 8 hours on her Toshiba netbook (10″ screen, 250GB HDD), even with the WiFi running. So, I think it’s safe to assume Apple is getting 10 hours out of theirs, especially since I think they are using a lower-power display.

  9. It is very much an Itouch on steroids…but I would expect from that to support flash. That disappoints me very much. I think it’ll be great to watch a movie on, even read a book (as I find the back-lit screen not a problem as on the itouch you can set the luminosity). But that’s not enough to make me buy it. I’ll have to wait what apps are developed for it and see if any of them makes it worth my money.

  10. No flash – no cash

Frantic Steve Jobs Stays Up All Night Designing Apple Tablet | The Onion

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 19:23 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote:]

Claiming that he completely forgot about the much-hyped electronic device until the last minute, a frantic Steve Jobs reportedly stayed up all night Tuesday in a desperate effort to design Apple’s new tablet computer. “Come on, Steve, just think—think, dammit—you’re running out of time,” the exhausted CEO said as he glued nine separate iPhones to the back of a plastic cafeteria tray. “Okay, yeah, this will work. This will definitely work. Just need to write ‘tablet’ on this little strip of masking tape here and I’m golden. Oh, come on, you piece of shit! Just stick already!” Middle-of-the-night sources reported that Jobs then began work on double-spacing his Keynote presentation and increasing the font size to make it appear longer.


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Comments:

  1. That must be why it is so full of DRM goodness… :-)

  2. The Onion also reported that Apple’s stock is down 3.60% with the following comments:

    Panicked investors dumped shares in this leading tech company on word that CEO Steve Jobs had delivered a trade-show speech in a heather-gray crewneck sweatshirt instead of his trademark black mock turtleneck.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/economy

iPad

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 19:16 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

Remember, everything Steve does during a keynote is on purpose:


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20 or better

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 17:23 by John Sinteur in category: personal, Software

On Amazon, a product with one single 5 star review is rated higher than a product with 200 reviews an average 4.5 star rating.

Is that product with just one reciew better? I don’t think so, so on 20orbetter.com, I only list products that have at least 20 reviews to their name. Amazon doesn’t let you filter based on the number of reviews, so this is filling a gap left by Amazon.

There’s a few features I still want to add – but I’d love some feedback as well. Do I need to add a full-text search? Anything else?


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HuffPost Comedy’s State Of The Union Drinking Game 2010

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 16:54 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

[Quote:]

Event Instructions
Obama says “let me be clear” Do one shot
Obama says “change isn’t easy” Do one shot
Obama says “make no mistake” Do one shot
Obama says “Let me be clear, change isn’t easy, make no mistake.” He’s screwing with you to get you drunk, so five shots
Joe Wilson yells something Do two shots
Obama yells back Finish the bottle
Obama says “jobs” Do one shot, two if you’re unemployed
Obama says “health care” Do not drink, you will not be given a replacement liver
Nancy Pelosi claps like a seal Do one shot
Nancy Pelosi becomes a seal STOP DRINKING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
Obama mentions Bo Put beer in your dog’s water bowl
Michelle Obama wears a slinky dress Go immediately to the HuffPost Style page for close-ups
Joe Biden nods-off/laughs inappropriately/starts talking before the speech is over Do three shots
Obama uses the term “Congressional leadership” Do two shots carefully as all that laughing will make it difficult to swallow
Obama says he’s “fighting for you” Do one shot, two if you believe him
Obama mentions Haiti Text “Haiti” to the number 90999 and donate $10 to the Red Cross

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Which? warns on pirate letters

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 16:41 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property

[Quote:]

Consumer organisation Which? said it has received over 150 enquiries from people who believe they have been wrongly accused of pirating copyrighted content.

ACS:Law sends out letters offering to settle the file-sharing accusation in exchange for £500. The company gets its information from internet service providers.

The scheme was run by lawyers Davenport Lyons but was transferred, along with some staff, to ACS:Law last summer.

Which? said it had been contacted by over 150 people, with even more getting in touch after the last wave of letters.

One letter to Which? said: “My 78 year old father yesterday received a letter from ACS law demanding £500 for a porn file he is alleged to have downloaded. He doesn’t even know what file sharing or bittorrent is so has certainly not done this himself or given anyone else permission to use his computer to do such a thing.”

In other words, ACS law is just running an old-fashioned protection racket. Imagine what would happen if they could cut off your internet after the third letter…


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Tablets

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 16:20 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

[Quote:]


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Science Channel Refuses To Dumb Down Science Any Further | The Onion

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 16:11 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Frustrated by continued demands from viewers for more awesome and extreme programming, Science Channel president Clark Bunting told reporters Tuesday that his cable network was “completely incapable” of watering down science any further than it already had.

“Look, we’ve tried, we really have, but it’s simply not possible to set the bar any lower,” said a visibly exhausted Bunting, adding that he “could not in good conscience” make science any more mindless or insultingly juvenile.


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First picture of the Apple Tablet leaks!

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 15:59 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


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Comments:

  1. And here I thought it was the one you turned upside-down and shook to erase… Or did Microsoft patent that one?

Burning Time

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 9:05 by John Sinteur in category: Puzzle

[Quote:]

You have two one-hour fuses: If you light one, it will be consumed in exactly one hour.Unfortunately, they’re badly made — some sections of each fuse burn faster than others. You know only that each full fuse will burn in one hour.Using only these two fuses and matches to light them, how can you tell when 45 minutes have passed?


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Comments:

  1. light both ends of first fuse, and one end of 2nd fuse at the same time. 30 min later, first fuse (lit both ends) will burn out. At this point, light the 2nd end of 2nd fuse (still burning from one end). 15 min later, 2nd fuse will burn out. Total = 45 min.

  2. Ooh. yj, that’s clever. (:

    Hey, John, maybe you should come up with another category for puzzles? They’re not news. ;p I like them!

  3. Yeah… when I can’t think of a category, I just leave it defaulting to “news”. Perhaps I should rename it to “bog if I know how to call this” or something…

  4. This was a puzzler on the NPR radio show “Car Talk” a year or 2 ago. Still, it’s neat.

Poll: Fox most-trusted news outlet

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 8:04 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

A new poll shows Fox News is the only major TV news operation in the country given a positive review, thanks to Republicans and independents.

Public Policy Polling reports 49 percent of those surveyed trust Fox. The other big media guns – CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC – are wallowing in red polling territory.

[..]

As for the poll, after Fox comes CNN, with 39 percent of those polled saying they trust the cable giant. Next is NBC, with 35 percent trusting it; 32 percent trust CBS; 31 percent back ABC.

The most trusted network is also the network whose target audience has the lowest level of critical thinking skills.

Makes sense.


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Comments:

  1. ah, once again I see that for some reason the percentages don’t add up to hundred…
    lets see, 49 + 39 + 35 + 32 + 31 = 186…
    if for some reason its not meant to add up to 100%, then im sorry and u may laugh at me :)

  2. <nelson> HA HA </nelson>

    You can trust more than one network, you know…

  3. And there’s a difference between trust and preference. Not sure if any of these network boosters/trustees have that cleared up.

  4. I like the comment “It’s the sinking of the Democrats and the rising of Fox News with the anger of voters at the Democrats in power.” Actually it is further indication of the steady decline in critical civic thinking and the rise of the wholesale acceptance of news as entertainment along the lines of the “friday night smackdown.” What a stupid F**king country.

  5. Why pussyfoot around – Why didn’t they just say people with IQs in single figures are told what to do, say, think, etc …… by Fox and they enjoy it! Meanwhile the country has gone to the dogs.

Ailing Banks Favor Salaries Over Shareholders

Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 7:22 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

[Quote:]

At some banks, the relationship between pay and profit is a bit tenuous. In 2005, for instance, Morgan Stanley made a pretax profit of $7.4 billion. That year, compensation at the bank averaged $212,000 for each employee. Last year, Morgan Stanley made about $857 million before taxes. But compensation averaged $235,000 for each employee.

In other words, Morgan Stanley employees collected roughly 61 cents out of every dollar the bank made in 2005, and about 94 cents of every dollar last year.

[..]

“If the shareholders would wake up, executive compensation would not be what it is,” he said.

The problem is that the larger shareholders, who could presumably do something about this, are usually big institutions themselves, like pension funds. The people running those have no personal interest in curbing executive pay, so they won’t. Meanwhile the small shareholder, and the owner of a pension fund, is getting royally screwed.


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Comments:

  1. I have to say, if EACH Morgan Stanley employee got $235,000 as their salary, I’d be much less unhappy. Sadly, it’s the old joke about Bill Gates walking into a pub and everyone’s average salary jumping up by a couple of mil.

    The office staff etc. are certainly paid a LOT less than that and the selfish barstewards at the top are getting much, much more.

    The idea of passing legislation so that the top-earner cannot earn more than 5x what the lowest earner gets sounds better and better every day…


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