Now Cough

Monday, October 17, 2011

Various Thoughts on the eve of Winter

Here is one reason I love the 21st century:

Doing more than dreaming about going to the stars


Assessing risk, and doing it anyway. Comment after the death of Dan Wheldon at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

“We all had a bad feeling about this place in particular just because of the high banking and how easy it was to go flat,” said Oriol Servia, the Newman/Haas driver, in a statement. “We knew it could happen, but it’s just really sad.”

Amid all clucking about the Occupy Wall Street movement or mob or confab, there is this today form the NYTimes Dealbook:

...Citigroup on Monday squeezed out its seventh consecutive quarterly profit, but it faces significant challenges to growth.

Citigroup announced a third-quarter profit of $3.8 billion, or $1.23 a share, beating analyst consensus estimates of 81 cents a share. That represented a 74 percent increase from a year ago, when the bank announced a quarterly profit of $2.2 billion, or 72 cents a share.

...Citigroup benefited from a paper gain of $1.9 billion, reflecting a sharp increase in the perceived riskiness of its debt — an accounting adjustment that gave JPMorgan Chase a similar earnings increase last week. Citigroup also delivered another $1.4 billion to its bottom line from money it had previously set aside to cover losses on credit cards and other loans. Together, those items accounted for more than 85 percent of the company’s earnings.

So, Citigroup made money by protecting itself from credit card losses, presumably losses that will continue. But as unemployment orbits 10%, Citi and JPMorgan are profiting and would not have done so without taxpayer help.

And this from the smart Jim Fallows on The Atlantic blog; the role of the media in distorting the true destruction of the political process, because of its quaint, trembling adherence to the fiction of 'balance' even when there is none to be found :

'Enabler' problem: The reluctance of the mainstream media to call this what it is, and instead to talk about "partisanship" and "logjam" and "dysfunction." Yes, those are the results. But the cause is intentional, and it comes overwhelmingly from one side.