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Here is Barney Frank’s statement on JP Morgan’s of $2 billion loss in derivatives:

This regrettable news from JPMorgan Chase obviously goes counter to the bank’s narrative blaming excessive regulation for the woes of financial institutions.  Interestingly, in the Economist’s long attack on the financial reform bill, one of their leading examples of the harm the bill is doing was JPMorgan Chase’s assertion that complying with the new rules will cost $400 to $600 million at the outset (a number which will obviously go down as compliance processes are set in place).  In other words, JP Morgan Chase, entirely without any help from the government has lost, in this one set of transactions, five times the amount they claim financial regulation is costing them.

Here is the quote Frank is referring to :

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s boss, reckons the direct costs to his bank, America’s largest, will be $400m-600m annually. “Additional regulations resulting from the Dodd-Frank act may materially adversely affect BB&T’s business, financial condition or results of operations,” said one regional bank in its recent annual filing to the SEC. Other institutions are said to be in the process of drafting similar statements, or, at the least, planning to acknowledge the costs in the conference calls that surround quarterly earnings.

Source: Derek Thompson in The Atlantic 

“Republican Tea Party victory” and that “we are at a tipping point” in terms of a recession.

"To our way of thinking, tax hikes have to be part of the equation, tax hikes for the billionaires and for the hedge funds in terms of carried interest, but we’re talking about corporations as well. Corporations have the lowest tax rate on a historical basis. 10% of GDP that they’ve had over the past century. Those that would suggest that corporations won’t invest unless their taxes are reduced are sadly mistaken.  It needs to be a balanced approach and it needs to be significant.”

-Bill Gross, manager of the world’s largest mutual fund: PIMCO TOTAL RETURN FUND

The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.

Newt Gingrich press secretary Rick Tyler

Click the link below to see John Lithgow give a dramatic reading of the press release. Amazing. Starts at 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

fuck unemployment; look at job growth

The labor force fell by 260,000 in December, and the labor force participation rate fell to at 64.3%, the lowest point of the recession. Incredibly, the labor force is now smaller than it was before the recession started, so the pool of “missing workers,” i.e., workers who dropped out of (or didn’t enter) the labor force during the downturn, remains large. We can estimate its size in the following way. The labor force should have increased by around 4.2 million workers from December 2007 to December 2010 given working-age population growth over this period, but instead it has fallen by 246,000. This means that the pool of missing workers now numbers around 4.4 million. If just half of these workers were currently in the labor force and were unemployed, the unemployment rate would be 10.7% instead of 9.4%. None of these workers is reflected in the official unemployment count, but their entry or re-entry into the labor force will contribute to keeping the unemployment rate high.

-Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute

So, unemployment came out today at 9%, down from 9.4% in December. It’s not because more people are finding jobs. It’s because more people are GIVING UP on looking for work. It’s scary because a lot of these people are qualified….capable….but there is no work for them. Companies are experiencing the highest profits ever because of the highest productivity gains. They are able to do more with less. Because the economy has been so shakey, they have been wary of making investments (building factories, hiring more workers, etc).

For the private sector to have created 36,000 jobs in January, when 15 million people lost their jobs during the recession is a frightening proposition. We avoided a depression, but got the worst recession ever.

The chart above shows that we hit the breaks on job losses, but have barely had any type of significant recovery. Basically we stopped going down, but there’s a huge hole to get out of…..

Rex Ryan after Jets lost

You know, I’m proud of our football team, we had a heck of a season, obviously we came up short tonight…just like we did last year, one game away from the big game…and that’s why we played it - to advance and win a super bowl.  I’m proud of our guys…we played a good half, we just never played a good game, and you gotta give Pittsburgh credit, that’s a heck of a footbacll team there and if you plan on beating them you betta put 4 quarters together and we just didn’t do that today. thought we were going to win that game. that’s the first time in that situation that our defense hasn’t responded and gotten a big stop to give our offense a chance to win the game, obviously there’s just a huge amount of disappointment for us… but like I say im proud of our team I don’t think that there’s many teams who could have gone through what we did for and got here and almost pulled out another one. but again our goal for next year won’t change, and it will never change. we’re going to chase that super bowl until we get it. And then we’ll chase it after that again. if people want to criticize us, they can, but they got no right.

of course it’s emotional. we came up short. 1 game again. It cuts your heart out. but like I say there’s only one way to respond, we’re gonna roll our sleves and go at it again next year. of course, you get this close, go through the battles that we had to go through - you go thru Indy and play Peyton Manning, and go through New England and face tom brady, and play pittsburgh at pittsburgh.. probably no harder three games than any other team in the league has to go through. we played it’s supposed to hurt. it’s only three years in a row for me to be out in this game. and again I’m going to keep swinging…..

I’m fascinated by language. By how we construct reality through words. I think the above remarks by Rex Ryan speaks to someone who has a tremendous goal in sight. Sees it so clearly and will stop at nothing to get it. The heart of a champion. I believe it. As shocking as it is for me to say, this man will win a super bowl and it could be with the Jets.

My favorite quotes from the SOTU address by President Obama

"And now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. (Applause.) We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. (Applause.) And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.”“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.”“In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child - become a teacher. Your country needs you.”

Asking the right questions

My mom tells me that while we were at Disney World,  I constantly asked, “Is that real, is that real, is that real?” It seems like a strange question for a 6 year old to be asking. Why not just relish in the wonderment of the world?

But that’s who I am. Very analytical and very cerebral. Constantly questioning my world, myself, and everything that I do and think. I get caught up in trying to find the right answers…..

Did it matter if the T-Rex was real? Or the ape? Or the explosions or the death-defying stunts? Why did I want to know?

I’ve been told recently to live in the question. That to ask the question is enough. And it reminds me of Letters to a Young Poet and Rainer Maria Rilke’s thoughtful and encouraging words:

"…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

I like that idea very much….of living my way to the answer. I think this is what I must do. So I ask, “What else is possible?” 

A Christmas miracle?

OK. So I arrived in Dallas, and while still on the plane from ABQ, I get a voicemail from American Airlines alerting me that my connecting flight to Newark has been cancelled. They tell me that I need to call to reschedule my flight. I do. They book me for a flight for FRIDAY afternoon.

Are there any other options? They send me outside, pass airport security and back to main ticketing, where I plead my case. All they can offer me is a stand-by flight for 9:35 to Newark the next morning (Tuesday). Better than Friday…so I was excited.

I spent hours fucking around online and 1am saw an exodus of people walking past me. By exodus, I mean, maybe 10. But at 1am, in an airport, that’s a lot of people. I see that the gate ticket center nearby appears open, as customers are standing there, also pleading for assistance. I check the flights that are due to depart and see that there are earlier flights that I’m hoping I can switch to.

I tell the counter lady my problem. And she laughs. “These morning flights to Newark have been cancelled.” Wait? What? Tomorrow? Today? Tuesday? “Yes.”

I just need to get home, I tell her… doesn’t matter. JFK. LaGuardia. Newark. Whatever. But soon. Not Friday. She says, “give me your ticket.” I give her some document, it’s not the right one, and she says “hurry up.” Apparently, she’s found something……but needs to rush to secure it for me.

After a few minutes of typing and clicking and my sweating and gulping, she says, “Dalls to Boston, then Boston to JFK.” Boards at 5:50 am.

Thank you! Thank you! Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukah. Happy New Year. She smiles. Prints out my tickets and gives me the spiel about gates and boarding times.

Suffice to say I am on a flight - BOOKED - for early this morning….to fly to Boston to fly to New York….to just get home.

Now that’s a Christmas gift worth writing about.

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