Friday, December 12, 2008

Bernard L. Madoff - Questions Are Raised in Madoff’s Massive Fraud -

Questions Are Raised in Trader’s Massive Fraud - “For years, investors, rivals and regulators all wondered how Bernard L. Madoff worked his magic.

But on Friday, less than 24 hours after this prominent Wall Street figure was arrested on charges connected with what authorities portrayed as the biggest Ponzi scheme in financial history, hard questions began to be raised about whether Mr. Madoff acted alone and why his suspected con game was not uncovered sooner.

As investors from Palm Beach to New York to London counted their losses on Friday in what Mr. Madoff himself described as a $50 billion fraud, federal authorities took control of what remained of his firm and began to pore over its books.”


BANK OF AMERICA PLANS TO CUT 30,000+ JOBS OVER NEXT 3 YEARS AFTER MERRILL LYNCH PURCHASE - New York Post: “Bank of America said yesterday it plans to eliminate 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over three years after it completes its purchase of Merrill Lynch.

The cuts could affect about 11 percent of the combined companies' roughly 308,000-person work force. BofA employs about 247,000 people and Merrill about 61,000.

BofA said the expected cuts reflect the pending merger, as well as "the weak economic environment, which is affecting the level of business activity."”


AIG MAY NOT PAY BACK $60B TO GOV'T AS PROMISED IN BAILOUT PLAN - New York Post: “Uncle Sam may not get paid back as promised in its $150 billion bailout of American International Group, the giant insurer conceded.

AIG had agreed as a condition of its recent government lifeline to escape bankruptcy that it would repay at least $60 billion by selling valuable assets.

However, CEO Ed Liddy admitted yesterday that it may not be that easy to raise the cash.”


NBC UNIVERSAL BOSS JEFF ZUCKER LOOKS TO EXTEND BEN SILVERMAN'S CONTRACT - New York Post: “NBC Universal is in talks to extend chief programmer Ben Silverman's contract for at least another year, The Post has learned.

Silverman has told friends that he is keen to stay at the network, and now that he's improved the entertainment unit's earnings, NBCU boss Jeff Zucker is said to be leaning toward giving him another 12 months to work with the programming slate, said sources close to both men.”


DALLAS COWBOYS TERRELL OWENS, JASON WITTEN, TONY ROMO PREPARE TO PLAY NREW YORK GIANTS - New York Post: “It looks like the Giantsare catching the Cowboys at just the right time, with America's Team about to implode.

One day after Terrell Owens spoiled the holiday mood by saying quarterback Tony Romo was playing favorites with tight end Jason Witten, another starting player told ESPN's Ed Werder, "We are not together as a team, and that includes the coaches."

Owens claims Romo and Witten, who are friends and road roommates, conspire to draw up passing plays that exclude the wide receiver. The perception was denied throughout the organization, but it was revealed other wide receivers had spoken to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett about their roles in the offense.”

Google's NYC holiday party has Filet mignon on menu

Perks: Filet mignon on menu at Google's NYC holiday party -- I wish I were there!

Detroit Free Press To End Home Delivery -

Detroit Dailies to Curtail Home Delivery - “The publisher of the Detroit Free Press, the country's 20th largest paper by weekday circulation, is expected to announce next week that it will cease home delivery of the print edition of the newspaper on most days of the week, according to a person familiar with the company's thinking.”

Inaugural Committee Donors - Presidential Inaugural Committee

Presidential Inaugural Committee | Inaugural Committee Donors From the website:
"In keeping with President-elect Obama’s commitment to changing the way business is done in Washington, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is taking unprecedented steps to insure transparency in the public reporting of donors to a Presidential Inaugural Committee. This chart will allow you to view, sort, and search virtually real-time information on all donors contributing over $200 to the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Unlike previous inaugural committees, the 2009 PIC does not accept contributions from corporations, political action committees, labor unions, current federally-registered lobbyists, non-U.S. citizens and registered foreign agents and does not accept individual contributions in excess of $50,000."

Bush White House Blocks Blair House From Obamas - The Caucus Blog -

Sorry, We’re Booked, White House Tells Obamas - The Caucus Blog - “CHICAGO—The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on January 5.

The Obamas were told that Blair House, where incoming presidents usually stay in the five days before Inauguration Day, is booked in early January, a spokesperson to the Obama transition said. “We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule,’ the spokesperson said. “But, there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn’t be displaced.”

It remained unclear who on Bushes guest list outranked the incoming President.

“It’s not a public schedule,” said Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for First Lady Laura Bush, in refusing to disclose who was staying at Blair House. “It’s not a question of outranking the Obamas. Blair House will be available to them on January 15.””

Fox News - Rahm Emanuel Gave Blagojevich List Of 'Acceptable' Senate Candidates: Report

Rahm Emanuel Gave Blagojevich List Of 'Acceptable' Senate Candidates: ReportHuff Post: “President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had direct conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich about Obama's replacement in the US Senate, FOX News Chicago reports.

Citing "a source familiar with the investigation," Fox says that Emanuel had "multiple conversations" with Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris, who was also arrested Tuesday on federal corruption charges, about the seat and that they we're "likely recorded and in FBI possession."

Fox's source said that Emanuel gave the governor's office a list of "candidates that would be acceptable to President-elect Barack Obama" but no "quid pro quo" or "dealmaking" is suspected.

Meanwhile, an angry Emanuel says he won't go to work because of the media stakeout. He told an ABC News cameraman that has received death threats:”

Norm Coleman - Did Coleman's Financial Straits Force Him To Solicit Donor Favors?

Huff Post - Did Coleman's Financial Straits Force Him To Solicit Donor Favors?: “Did Norm Coleman's financial problems compel him to turn to friends and GOP donors for help with his living situation?

That's what a new story out of Minnesota alleges. Friday morning, a local Fox News affiliate reported that at the time that Coleman allegedly received $75,000 in unreported payments from a prominent Republican businessman, he was also struggling to make payments for the restructuring of his home.”

John Harris - Gov. Rod Blagojevich Chief Of Staff John Harris Resigns

Blagojevich Chief Of Staff John Harris Resigns: “John Harris, chief of staff to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, resigned Friday morning.

Harris submitted his resignation letter in person, his lawyer told the Chicago Tribune, and will not be returning to the office.

Harris and Blagojevich were both arrested Tuesday morning on federal corruption charges. His resignation came as Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the state Supreme Court to have Blagojevich declared unfit to serve and removed from office.”

Al Franken Wins Major Victory In Absentee Count For Senate Seat

Franken Wins Major Victory In Absentee CountHuff Post: “Al Franken received a potentially major boost towards his hopes of becoming Senator on Friday, when Minnesota state officials ruled that absentee ballots rejected because of clerical or administrative errors should, in the end, be counted.”

Who's Buying What in Super Bowl XLIII - Advertising Age - News

Who's Buying What in Super Bowl XLIII - Advertising Age - NewsAn excerpt: “A Rundown of Marketers and Their Spots in the Big Game

Published: December 08, 2008
Buy: The maker of Budweiser and Bud Light is expected to run five minutes' worth of advertising, according to Bob Lachky, chief creative officer of the A-B InBev unit.
Creative: A-B is testing as many as three different ads using its famous Clydesdale horses and is considering one spot apiece for its Bud Light Lime and Budweiser American Ale products. Bud Light is also expected to get plenty of face time, with at least three spots possible. A-B is famous for testing its Super Bowl ads among consumers again and again, so the final lineup is still in question.
Agency: Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago; Havas' Euro RSCG, Chicago; and St. Louis independent Waylon are among the agencies with ads that could appear.
Buy: The automaker will air one :60 during the game's first quarter. Audi's 2008 Super Bowl spot featured its R8 sports car in a spoof of "The Godfather," and earned Audi the No. 2 spot in total buzz after the game, the company said. It also successfully drove traffic to Audi's web site.
Creative: Audi declined to comment on which vehicle would be featured or what the content of the spot will be.
Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco.
Buy: The tire maker will once again sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show, which this year features Bruce Springsteen. The company will also run two 30-second commercials, according to Phil Pasci, VP-consumer marketing for Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire. Placement of the ads during the game is being negotiated with NBC and the NFL.
Creative: The ads will contain humor while focusing on showcasing the performance of the company's tires.
Agency: Independent Richards Group of Dallas
Buy: The jobs site intends to run two 30-second ads, one in the second quarter and one in the third, according to Cynthia Walker, the company's senior director of advertising.
Creative: Ms. Walker said the ads will not use the famous monkeys from Super Bowl ads past.
Agency: Independent Wieden & Kennedy
Buy: The website will air one 60-second ad in the second quarter.
Creative: A person familiar with the situation said the ads are expected to be humorous.
Agency: DDB, Chicago
Coca-Cola Co.
Buy: The beverage company intends to advertise its flagship cola in multiple spots.
Creative: In the last Super Bowl, Coke received critical acclaim for a majestic ad featuring balloons from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade slugging it out for a bottle of the fizzy brown liquid.
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
E-Trade Financial
Buy: A company spokeswoman said E-Trade has purchased one spot; in recent years, E-Trade has run two 30-second commercials.
Creative: A person familiar with the situation suggested E-Trade is likely to bring back the talking baby it used in the last contest. E-Trade declined to comment on the content of its Super Bowl advertising.
Agency: WPP Group PLC's Grey New York
PepsiCo's Frito-Lay
Buy: The company's cheesy-chip brand will solicit self-made ads for Doritos from consumers and air one as a 30-second spot.
Creative: Doritos will give the winning entry $1 million if the ad becomes "the first-ever consumer-created commercial to claim the No. 1 ranking in USA Today's annual Ad Meter."
Agency: n/a
General Electric
Buy: The owner of NBC, broadcaster of the 2009 Super Bowl, intends to run one spot in the game.
Creative: A company spokeswoman declined to speak about the length of the commercial.
Agency: Omnicom Group's BBDO
Buy: The registrar of online domain names has purchased one 30-second ad in the Super Bowl and is mulling the purchase of another, said Bob Parsons, the company's CEO and founder.
Creative: GoDaddy is producing two ads, both of which will feature race-car driver Danica Patrick and embody the slightly inappropriate tone of the company's past Super Bowl ads.
Agency: In-house
Buy: Two commercials
Creative: The ads are for the launch of its 2010-model Genesis coupe.
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
Buy: One 30-second ad
Creative: Monster is kicking off a campaign highlighting the fact that it has become the official careerservices sponsor of the NFL. As part of that pact, the company said, it will run an additional 30-second "in-game enhancement" to launch an NFL-themed promotion intended to drive traffic to the site.
Agency: BBDO”

Mayor's Office Treatment of Anne Campbell Washington Example of How Terrible City of Oakland Can Be - Chip Johnson, SF Chron

Mayor's Office Treatment of Anne Campbell Washington Example of How Terrible City of Oakland Can Be - Chip Johnson, SF Chron: “Chip Johnson SF Chron: - Loyalty or else in King Dellums' realm: “The city of Oakland no longer operates under a representative democracy - it's now a monarchy.

And within the confines of that form of government, any criticism or disloyalty directed at the king - whether real or imagined - is dealt with.

Her crime: She gave an affectionate hug to an elderly woman who spoke at a City Council meeting against a Dellums appointment to the city's housing authority commission in early October.”

--- This is unfortunate but nothing new. It's what happens when you are in an arena where people are not compensated for creating wealth but for artificially giving loyalty just to get paid. Thus, the way to rise in such organizations is via the backstabbing Johnson points to.

It's why we didn't get the 2005 Super Bowl. Forget the Raiders and the legal matters, it's this kind of rampant disfuction that is the reason. It's fair to say if you see a person of high rank in the offices of elected officials, it's commonly for this reason.

Now here, I'm going to give my friend Oaland City Attorney John Russo his "props" -- you'd never hear of that coming out of his office. And there's a way to measure how people do their jobs. Mayor Dellums should be ashamed that a story like this ever developed.”