Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:January:28 Wednesday <Tuesday, Thursday>
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2009/1/28-2/1 [Recreation/Dating, Politics/Domestic/Election] UID:52480 Activity:nil
1/28    the baby borg episode of star trek:voyager is so sad!
        \_ Jeri Ryan's firm rear end gave us Obama.  God bless her.
           \_ What about the front?
           \_ How was this supposed to have come about?
           \_ I thought I rehashed this for the motd.  Jeri Ryan used to be
              married to an Illinois senator.  They had a messy divorce.
              Some of their divorce documents became public, which mentioned
              that Jeri was vastly annoyed with her husband because he would
              always try to drag her to public sex clubs and have hot
              threesomes with her in front of other people.  It became clear
              to the senator that he wasn't going to win the next election.
              It wasn't just the public sex with 7 of 9, it was a variety
              of things, but the hot sex with Jeri Ryan's while holding
              Jeri Ryan's firm buttocks in front of a crowd at Chicago's
              very best public sex clubs didn't help.  He dropped out of
              the race, Obama decided to get into the race, the Illinois
              Republican party couldn't find anyone in the entire state of
              Illinois to run against him, so they shipped in Alan Keyes
              to run against him, from another state.  You can't make this
              stuff up!
              \_ This was in the motd previously.  I just forgot about it
                 completely until you reminded me.  Sorry, my brain is
                 defective.  But thanks, also, because my defective brain
                 allowed me to enjoy the story all over again.
              \_ The sex club stuff was accusations, not proven facts AFAIK in
                 the contentious custody fight.  The records were sealed and
                 LATimes got them unsealed.
                 \_ Jeri Ryan also claims that while her husband *WANTED*
                    her to participate she did not. She's now married to
                    a chef who has a very yummy French restaurant in LA.
              \_ Jack Ryan was running for Senate, he was not a Senator.
2009/1/28-2/6 [Politics/Domestic/911] UID:52481 Activity:low
1/28    One of the criticisms of the Patriot Act was that it was rammed
        through without any time for legislators to properly review
        it.  Isn't that the same problem with this $800B bill?
        \_ Is this $800B bill hundreds upon hundreds of pages long? It's not
           coming off the heels of a crisis in national defense; rather, it's
           attempting to fix a spiraling economy. Plus it seems that the
           Republicans are legitimately debating points on it, so I don't know
           that it's really the case that you can make the parallel.
        \_ there is a real sense of urgency as if we don't act, the econmy
           will get a lot worse.  And no, there was no real urgency when
           we passed Patriot Act.
           \_ Right. Because after 9/11 all the terrorist unfurled their
              "Mission Accomplished" banners and decided to rest on their
              laurels. Their job was done...
              \_ When you can explain to me how the Patriot Act actually
                 prevented new terrorist attacks, I will give you a shiny
                 \_ Show me where I said the Patriot Act prevented new
                    terrorist attacks (or even where I defended the Patriot
                    Act for that matter). STFU and learn some reading
                    comprehension. Dumbass.
                    \_ Mighty thin skin you got there, mighty mouse.
              \_ I am sorry.  You have *NO IDEA* what is like when national
                 security is treaten.  Last time US national security was
                 REALLY threaten by a foreign power was year of 1812.
                 \_ So you were alive in 1812?
                 \_ are you connor mcleod of the clann mcleod?
2009/1/28-2/4 [Politics/Domestic/Election, Politics/Domestic/RepublicanMedia] UID:52482 Activity:nil
1/28    Republicans in power?  More Republicans on TV!  Republicans out of
        power?  More Republicans on TV!
2009/1/28-2/4 [Finance/Banking, Finance/Investment] UID:52483 Activity:very high
1/28    Pork bill passes the House, no R's vote for it.
        \_ which pork bill?
        \_ Yay, fair and balanced NPR:
           Also, GOP apparently unclear on definition of pork.
           \_ Even Chris Matthews called it one big earmark.
              \_ The fact that you think he represents informed liberal
                 opinion says a lot about you.
        \_ Pell Grants are pork?
        \_ Apparently the R's haven't heard that old adage about
           holes, shovels, and digging.
           \_ Apparently, you're an idiot.
              \_ Thanks for playing anyway.
        \_ I think Democrats should of tied the "Pork" bill along with
                             should've or "should have" -- ...
           TARP and Auto bail out.  I failed to understand why money to
           investment bank / commercial bank (e.g. TARP) is not considered
           "pork" by Republicans while putting money into infrastructure is.
           \_ Bankers donate money to the Republican party, but construction
              workers do not.
           \_ I wasn't particularly pro-bailout, but there are a few important
              differences.  The bailout money was often used in ways that
              might come back.  (Loans, stock, etc.) The bailout was also a
              targetted attempt to have an immediate effect on a vital piece of
              the economy.  No capital and capitalism doesn't work.
              Infrastructure may take years to even begin construction, that's
              not a quick action.  The stimulus bill also also is not
              particularly targeted.  It seems to chuck a billion or two to
              anyone the dems like.
              \_ As opposed to $18.4 billion for bonuses for the investment
                 bankers who got us into this mess.  -tom
                 \_ tom prefers life in the mud.
                 \_ Yawn.  Justify your side's naked corruption by pointing out
                    the other side's flaws.  How exciting.
                    \_ what in the stimulus bill is naked corruption?  -tom
                       \_ I already told you. Pell Grants. -!op
                          \_ I see: funding golden parachutes for
                             millionaires is OK; funding higher education
                             for the poor is naked corruption.  Great.
                             Enjoy losing in 2012.  -tom
                 \_ This number is bandied about, but what does it mean? I
                    read it is about 50% less than last year. What is the
                    average size of the bonus awarded and what is the base
                    pay? For instance, if total payroll is $1T (say) then
                    $18.4B in bonuses seems small. Or even if total
                    payroll is $18B then $18B in bonuses can still be
                    small if it is spread over 1M employees. I don't
                    sympathize with the banks, but this number is thrown
                    out there without much explanation. Were these bonuses
                    all cash or was there stock or options also awarded?
                    It costs the bank no cash to award someone $1M in options,
                    for instance.
                    all cash or were stock/options also awarded? It costs the
                    bank no cash to award someone $1M in options, for instance.
                       The number is based largely on personal income tax
                       collections.  It excludes stock options.  -tom
                    \_ It almost doesn't matter what it means, other than
                       this: the guys who ruined our economy, destroyed their
                       companies and lost trillions of dollars are being
                       rewarded with bonuses.
                       \_ I think the word "bonus" is what trips people
                          up. It's just salary. It's more in good years
                          and less in bad years, like you might expect.
                          It will never really be zero any more than
                          you can expect those people to work for free no
                          matter how poorly they are performing. Certain
                          professions earn a significant amount of salary each
                          year in a lump sum "bonus" and it's not quite the
                          same thing as if you or I get a bonus at work.
                          For example, my sister's ex-husband worked for a
                          law firm and every year they got a "Christmas
                          bonus" of 1 week's salary. It's common in law
                          just as in banking. Eliminating the bonus is
                          equivalent to cutting salary. Would it make you
                          feel better if they said they were reducing their
                          "base salary" 50%? That's essentially what is
                          happening. Their salary is tied to performance,
                          but that doesn't mean their poor performance = zero
                          salary any more than yours should be. If they
                          perform poorly enough they will be fired and
                          many have been. BTW, the average bonus was $112K,
                          which was down 36.7%. Sounds like a big pay cut
                          to me. Did you get a 37% pay cut because your
                          company's revenues went down in the poor market?
                          many have been.
                          \_ What was the average base pay?  The bonus could
                             go to zero and these losers would still get paid
                             more than enough.  Using taxpayer dollars to
                             give incentive-based pay to people who drove
                             their companies into bankruptcy and the entire
                             economy into crisis is absolutely, completely
                             indefensible.  And then to attack Pell Grants!
                             I suppose the conservative strategy of asserting
                             things too ridiculous to argue against is still
                             in force.  -tom
                             \_ 1. I didn't attack Pell Grants.
                                2. I like how you say their pay would be
                                   "more than enough", comrade. I think you
                                   could survive on half your current salary
                                   and in a studio apartment instead of a
                                   house, but the market values your services
                                   more than that. I read that the average Wall
                                   Street salary is around $300K with a base
                                   salary of $100-250K. So it's reasonable
                                   to think a typical package might be $150K
                                   base salary and a $150K bonus. If you
                                   eliminate the $150K bonus entirely then
                                   base pay is still more than enough to live
                                   on, but likely far less than what it would
                                   take to retain top talent. Heck, you can
                                   barely get a sysadmin for City of SF for
                                   $150K. Lots of these guys are Harvard
                                   Business grad with years of experience
                                   who fell prey to the whims of their
                                   CEOs who decided to use a lot of leverage.
                                   The CEOs should suffer. The rank-and-file
                                   traders and bankers are suffering
                                   enough if you pay attention to how many
                                   are out of work now.
                                   \_ No, they haven't suffered enough. The
                                      banking sector is still bloated and
                                      overpaid. There is no particular reason
                                      that a Harvard MBA should make $300k,
                                      unless he is contributing that much to
                                      society. For the last 10 years, the
                                      bankers have disastrously misallocated
                                      capital. If they don't like mere $150k
                                      salaries, good luck finding an industry
                                      that will support them in the lifestyle
                                      they think they deserve.
                          \_ (WSJ)
                                      \_ People aren't paid according to
                                         "what they contribute to society".
                                         Most of those guys are very smart
                                         and will find something else to
                                         do, which would leave the banks
                                         run by people less capable. You think
                                         it's bad *now*?
                                         \_ I don't think there's any evidence
                                            that the people running the banks
                                            are very capable.  If they're so
                                            fucking capable, why are they all
                                            going bankrupt?  The argument about
                                            "that's what it costs to retain
                                            top talent" is 100% bullshit.
                                            The system is rigged.  CEOs, VPs
                                            and hotshots get to decide who to
                                            pay what--and, surprise surprise,
                                            they decide that it's vital to
                                            the interest of the company to
                                            pay CEOs, VPs and hotshots more
                                            and more as a function of total
                                            revenue and earnings.  Until the
                                            whole thing comes crashing down
                                            and they ask the government to
                                            bail them out.  The absolute first
                                            thing that should happen before
                                            any bankrupt institution is bailed
                                            out is that all performance-based
                                            pay should be immediately suspended
                                            until the company is solvent.  If
                                            that means that executives leave
                                            for other companies that managed
                                            their assets better and therefore
                                            aren't going bankrupt, that's fine;
                                            isn't survival of the fittest one
                                            of the tenets of the market
                                            economists?  -tom
                                           \_ Lots of free-market cheerleaders
                                              seem to forget the basic econ 101
                                              stuff that says what is needed
                                              for markets to function. Namely
                                              competition and low barriers to
                                              What is it about these banks that
                                              makes them able to keep fat
                                              profits year after year?
                                         \_ Somehow society was able to function
                                            with a banking sector that was half
                                            the current size - as a proportion
                                            of the economy - for many decades.
                                            All those Ivy geniuses can go find
                                            another way to game the system (and
                                            ultimately rip off the taxpayer, no
                                            doubt). Almost every "invention" of
                                            the financial sector in the last 10
                                            years was crap. Is it seriously
                                            your contention that these guys
                                            deserve lifetime employment on the
                                            public dime at $300k/yr, even though
                                            what they produce has no value to
                                            society whatsover?
                                         \_ Somehow society was able to
                                            function with a banking sector that
                                            was half the current size - as a
                                            proportion of the economy - for
                                            many decades. All those Ivy
                                            geniuses can go find another way to
                                            game the system (and ultimately rip
                                            off the taxpayer, no doubt). Almost
                                            every "invention" of the financial
                                            sector in the last 10 years was
                                            crap. Is it seriously your
                                            contention that these guys deserve
                                            lifetime employment on the public
                                            dime at $300k/yr, even though what
                                            they produce has no value to
                                            society whatsoever?
                                            \_ I don't think they deserve
                                               lifetime employment on the
                                               public dime forever. I never
                                               said that. However, letting
                                               the big banks BK would be a
                                               disaster. This whole thing
                                               about bonuses is a PR stunt
                                               as is Obama's outrage. Banks
                                               are going to need $1T and we're
                                               worrying about $20B in bonuses
                                               that were earned? Do you really
                                               contend that banks have no value
                                               to society?!
        A bank that does a good job of allocating _/
        capital to productive uses has a value.
        Do you think that the primary inventions
        of the financial sector of the last decade
        or so (CDS, CDOs, SIVs, etc) have had a
        net positive value? If so, why are all
        the banks collapsing? If anything, the
        total contribution to society by the
        financial sector over the last decade
        has been strongly negative. This is
        reflected in the change in their
        equity value, and in the collapse in
        value of all the stupid things they
        allocated capital to (most exurban
        McMansions, but also the mostly
        speculative paper instraments used
        speculative paper instruments used
        to gamble on them).
                          \_ (WJ)
                             Check out the comments. Even the WSJ readers
                             are getting restless.
                             \_ Just the media stirring up shit and now the
                                rabble is roused. What about bailing out
                                auto workers who made shit cars? I know a
                                lot of people are against that, too, but
                                at some point you have to place blame
                                where it is due, which is management. The
                                auto workers were just building the cars
                                they were told to build. Likewise, the bank
                                employees were just selling the products they
                                were told to sell while the government
                                cheered from the sidelines about how many
                                more people could now afford home ownership
                                while keeping rates insanely low and wasting
                                $$$ in Iraq. Blame Bush for this mess.
                                \_ It is funny that you think that the
                                   readership of the WSJ is "the rabble."
                                   You can imagine what the actual rabble
                                   think of the bank bailouts.
                                   \_ Doesn't matter what they think. They
                                      don't realize what will happen without
                                      lending or credit. For instance, most
                                      hospitals use large lines of credit to
                                      cover bills during the period between
                                      when services are rendered and the
                                      insurance companies finally pay. The
                                      average consumer relies on banks for
                                      a lot more than they realize.
                                      \_ In a democracy, what the people think
                                         matters. Especially when you coming to
                                         the taxpayer, hat in hand, asking for
                                         a bailout. The current overleveraged
                                         banks could all fail and all that
                                         would happen is that new bunch would
                                         crop up to take their place. No doubt
                                         the economy needs credit. Why do we
                                         need Citibank, JPM and all the other
                                         \_ That's why we have a republic.
                                            We don't need uninformed citizens
                                            making these decisions.
                                            \_ I am mostly unimpressed with
                                               what our elected representatives
                                               have done so far, but you are
                                               probably right, a directly
                                               democratic response would
                                               probably be even worse.
                            \_ automaker bailout is what, 1/100th of the
                               bank bailout?
        \_ In other industries, you are awarded a bonus for doing well
           or if the company has done well in that year.  There is no sane
           person who can claim the banking industry did well in 2008.
           So why did they get bonuses?  That's what bugs me.
           \_ This is not "other industries" and Wall Street and law firms
              work differently.
              \_ They work differently because they've stacked the deck in
                 favor of lining their own pockets.  The role of government
                 is to protect taxpayer assets, not performance-based
                 compensation for executives of bankrupt companies.  Let
                 them try to convince the bankruptcy court that the first
                 priority is to pay them their bonuses.  -tom
                 \_ Bankruptcy courts are genrally in favor of companies
                    making payroll.
                    \_ Bonuses != payroll.
                       \_ Except that in the case of certain firms (like banks)
                          they really are almost the same thing. Bonuses
                          are not some optional incentives based on merit
                          or something, although they can be tied to it.
                          Think of bonuses more like tips for a waitress.
                          Sure, you make more if you're good but they aren't
                          really optional. Even bad service results in a
                          tip (or should anyway) because the payscale and
                          taxes are based on that.
                          \_ Bankers don't make $2.80/hr.
                             \_ This is back to the "They make more than *I*
                                think they are worth" argument. We can say
                                that about software engineers or any job,
                                really. However, that's not how salaries
                                are determined in this country. Go back to
                                Soviet Russia. It's much more equitable there.
                                \_ Except software engineers are not asking
                                   for handouts from the Federal government.
                                   You keep "forgetting" that part.
                                   \_ Tangential. You can argue that companies
                                      shouldn't be receiving aid, but that's
                                      not your argument. Your argument is
                                      that the government should dictate
                                      salaries in turn for aid. That will
                                      leave those companies without any
                                      employees, because paying them 50%
                                      of market rate for salaries will
                                      have them leaving in droves. How
                                      will that help anything? The banks
                                      may as well BK then.
                                      \_ OK.  -tom
                                         \_ So let's be clear that your issue
                                            isn't "bonuses". It's that the
                                            banks are receiving any money
                                            at all. Why beat around the
                                            bush for 6 paragraphs?
                                            \_ So let's be clear that you
                                               love to beat up straw men
                                               rather than paying attention.
                                               Fine.  I'm not particularly
                                               pleased that the banks are
                                               receiving money, and I'm
                                               outraged that the money
                                               they're receiving is going
                                               incentive-based pay for the
                                               assholes who caused the
                                               problem.  And it's totally
                                               typical for the Republican
                                               typical of the Republican
                                               disdain for the American
                                               public.  -tom
                                      \_ I seriously doubt that the employees
                                         will be leaving in droves, even if they
                                         were paid the starvation wages of
                                         will be leaving in droves, even if
                                         they were paid the starvation wages of
                                         $300k/yr. Especially since 100s of
                                         thousands of others in their field
                                         will be out of work. But it is a risk
                                         I am willing to take.
                                         \_ Exactly... this is ridiculous.
                                            where exactly are they all gonna
                                            go? The best they might do is
                                            start a new company, or perhaps
                                            use their genius to go to one of
                                            those other lucrative $500k
                                            careers out there, which would be
                                            such a terrible loss for America
                                            I know, our capital would be so
                                            \_ One obvious place is to the
                                               hedge funds and regional
                                               banks, growing them into
                                               megabanks of the type they
                                               work for now. Of course, only
                                               the best will leave. The bad
                                               ones will remain to handle
                                               the delevering, valuation
                                               of assets, and spending of
                                               TARP funds. My fear is that
                                               the best ones are leaving
                                               *anyway*. Wouldn't you?
                                               \_ And if they go to a regional
                                                  bank (probably not making
                                                  $300k/yr) and grow it into
                                                  a well-run company that
                                                  efficiently makes loans, has
                                                  a well-run risk management
                                                  department and is not sucking
                                                  off the taxpayers teat, this
                                                  is a bad thing how, exactly?
                                                  \_ The Bad Thing is what
                                                     happens to the banks
                                                     they left.
                                                  Most hedge funds are closing,
                                                  not hiring, btw.
                                                  \_ Many are folding b/c
                                                     investors are withdrawing,
                                                     but this is a blip on
                                                     the radar. Mutual
                                                     funds, pensions, and
                                                     even hedgies still
                                                     manage a lot of money.
                                                     \_ Hedge funds are closing
                                                        because the returns on
                                                        their strategy have
                                                        dropped to 20% of
                                                        the original, rather
                                                        small percentage.
                                                        In fact, according to
                                                        DeLong it was a large
                                                        hedge fund getting
                                                        out of the business,
                                                        which hosed a number
                                                        of other highly
                                                        leveraged hedge funds,
                                                        which acted as the
                                                        trigger for the
                                                        whole liquidity
                                                        crisis.  -tom
                        "It's just a tough, tough time, and there are a lot of
                        good people out there looking for work."
                        \_ Right, but they aren't going to work for $6.50/hour.
                           Let's not confuse "looking for work" with "looking
                           for any work at any price".
        \_ I have a friend who does ibanking for UBS, 1st out of biz school,
           didn't get fired in the 4 rounds of layoffs, I was adding up
           her base salary (120k) to the bonus she got 140k and wondered
           what the hell she did that was worth 260k a year.
           \_ Is she hot? picsP
2009/1/28-2/1 [Uncategorized] UID:52484 Activity:nil
1/28    "big trouble for Obama nod"
        "John Coleman's friendly gesture on Inauguration Day could be the end
        of his marching band career."
        I don't get it.  What's wrong with what this guy did?
        \_ He belongs to an organization bound by officious and arbitrary
           rules. He chose to break those ridiculous rules, so they banned
           him. Sounds like an organization in need of reform.
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:January:28 Wednesday <Tuesday, Thursday>