Lewis: Disappearing Proprietary Traders?

Michael Lewis
In the run-up to the vote on the financial overhaul bill, the big Wall Street banks squashed an attempt by Senator Carl Levin to pass a simple ban on any form of proprietary trading. A Senate staffer close to the process told me the amendment was one of Wall Street’s highest priorities, spreading money around to exert as much pressure as possible. It worked: Levin’s amendment never reached the Senate floor for a vote. The final version of the bill restricts proprietary trading but allows big Wall Street firms to invest as much as 3 percent of their capital in their own internal hedge funds. How exactly the new rules are enforced is left to regulators inside the Federal Reserve, but it’s not hard to see how a wholly owned hedge fund might become a proprietary trading group, with a different name. The 3 percent loophole amounted to an invitation for the big banks to keep on doing at least some of what they had been doing -- which is why Levin felt compelled to remove it, and the banks fought so hard to keep it. Read more here:

Yields on Two-Year Note Sets RECORD low .4066%

Treasury two-year yields touched a record low as a report showed U.S. manufacturing growth slowed, encouraging speculation that the central bank will increase purchases of government debt. U.S. notes rallied for a third consecutive week as Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said the outlook for job growth and inflation is “unacceptable” and that more monetary easing is probably needed to spur growth and avert deflation. “It’s all about the Fed,” said Richard Bryant, senior vice president for fixed income in New York at MF Global Holdings Ltd., a broker of exchange-traded futures. “The Fed has communicated its intent to reflate our way out of the current environment. That has allowed yields to remain at these historically low levels.” The benchmark 10-year note yield was little changed at 2.51 percent at 4:15 p.m. in New York, according to BGCantor Market Data. The price of the 2.625 percent security maturing in August 2020 was 100 31/32. The two-year note yield was 0.41 percent after falling to the record low of 0.4066 percent. Read more here:


Fed's Dudley: Let's Always Do What We Always Did

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said the outlook for U.S. job growth and inflation is “unacceptable” and that the Fed will probably need to take action to spur the recovery and avert deflation. “We have tools that can provide additional stimulus at costs that do not appear to be prohibitive,” Dudley, who serves as vice chairman of the Fed’s policy-setting Open Market Committee, said today in a speech to business journalists in New York. “Further action is likely to be warranted unless the economic outlook evolves in a way that makes me more confident that we will see better outcomes for both employment and inflation before too long.” Read more here:

U.S. Consumption Isn't What it Used to Be

Larry Summers
U.S. trading partners should no longer rely on American consumers to drive global growth, said Lawrence Summers, the departing director of the National Economic Council. “The global economy needs to be rebalanced,” Summers said today in Washington, speaking by video link to an economic development conference in Yalta, Ukraine. “It can’t have the United States consumer being the single engine of global economic growth.” Summers will return to Harvard University, where he has served as president and is a professor on a two-year leave, by the end of the year, the White House said last week. He leaves the Obama administration’s economic team at a time when the U.S. is climbing out of the worst recession since the 1930s. “Growth, while clearly still unsatisfactory, is positive,” Summers said in response to questions. “The process of recovery is under way.” Read more here:

Progressive Magazine: Charmer in Chief?

President Barack Obama rolled into Madison, Wisconsin, on a crisp fall afternoon to rally his base for the upcoming midterm election. He spoke on the stairs of U.W.-Madison’s Memorial Library to an energetic crowd of 26,500 people. I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up,” he said when he took the stage to a roar of applause. Obama was noticeably looser in his speech than in previous visits during the presidential campaign. Casually dressed in a light blue dress shirt with rolled sleeves and no tie, the President warmed up the audience with tales of his youth.
When he was a young man living in Chicago, he would occasionally drive up north to visit friends who went to school here. “I had some fun times here in Madison,” he said, adding with a chuckle, “I can’t give you all the details.” Read more here:


Richardson to Parents, Teachers, and Day Care Operators............Sorry We'd Rather Have a Ranch

Bill Richardson
From the Santa Fe New Mexican - More than 200 parents, teachers and child care providers — as well as some children — crammed into a Legislative Finance Committee meeting Thursday at the Capitol to express their disapproval of cuts in reimbursements to day care operators. Legislators expressed shared concerns and an overall commitment to investing money in children. But Legislative Finance Committee members had bad news: They also have to manage funding for health care, education and a cartload of other demands on the state budget. "We are not magicians," said state Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela, D-Santa Fe, who chairs the committee, referring to the fact that New Mexico is operating on a $5 billion budget, $1 billion less than a year ago. As a result of the financial crunch, child care providers are going to receive 8 percent less per child from the Children, Youth and Families Department, down from a 10 percent cutback that was first announced last Friday. Read more here: 
News New Mexico note: If you are wondering about other "stimulus" money Richardson had to work with click to read Richardson Diverts Stimulus Money to Buy a Ranch here:


Denish Activities as Chair of NMFA Under Scrutiny

Diane Denish
From NMPolitics.net - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish has been hammering her GOP opponent, Susana Martinez, because the district attorney office Martinez runs bought office supplies from a business owned by an employee. It turns out that Denish, as chair of the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, voted in 2003 to give a no-bid contract to a business owned by the wife of an employee. Read more here:

To Lobby or Not to Lobby - That is the Question

Herb Denish
From NMPolitics.net - Diane Denish’s gubernatorial campaign has said her husband attended State Transportation Commission meetings as “an observer, not a participant,” but it turns out he did participate in an October 2003 meeting. Herb Denish appeared before the commission as the “City of Albuquerque – Bernalillo County Coordinator” for the Mesa del Sol project, according to minutes of the Oct. 16, 2003 meeting obtained through a records request. At that meeting, Herb Denish introduced Dean Wingert, a company official who asked the commission for $6 million to extend University Boulevard in Albuquerque to provide access to the Mesa del Sol development. Read more here:
Note: Definition of LOBBY (intransitive verb) - to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation
1: to promote (as a project) or secure the passage of (as legislation) by influencing public officials 2: to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action

Fox Guarding the Secretary of State Hen House?

Dianna Duran
From the New Mexico Independent - Secretary of State Mary Herrera’s decision to add a space to November ballots for a write-in candidate for governor was legal, Assistant Attorney General Tania Maestas wrote Thursday in letters to Herrera and state Sen. Howie C. Morales, D-Silver City. Dianna Duran, Herrera’s Republican challenger in the November election, had objected to Kenneth A. Gomez’s registration as a ‘tea party’ write-in candidate for governor because Gomez has no running mate. “(T)he New Mexico Constitution states that ‘the governor and lieutenant governor shall be elected jointly by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both offices,” Maestas acknowledged.

Air force raises concerns in Northern New Mexico

From KOB.com - A new proposal from the U.S. Air Force to send low flying aircrafts from Cannon Air Force Base to Northern New Mexico hasn’t been going over well in some cities and towns. The Four Corners Regional airport may play a part in the new plan if the proposal goes through. The Air Force's plan designates the airport as a place where planes can stop and refuel. Mayor Tommy Roberts drafted a letter Thursday to the Air Force in response to the concerns he has with the proposal. He likes the idea only if it works out for both the community and the airport. “We’ve made specific requests that those activities not occur over our residential areas. That they occur in from the west and out towards the west,” Roberts said. But Councilwoman Mary Fischer says the place Mayor Roberts is talking about is still populated. "There's thousands of people who live up there and they have every right to live an undisturbed life as well," Fischer said. Read more

Steinborn offers reward to help catch sign thieves

From NM Politics.net - by Heath Haussamen - State Rep. Jeff Steinborn says his campaign signs are being stolen – and he’s offering a reward for information that helps catch the people who are doing it. “It appears that my opponent’s campaign or his supporters are stealing large quantities of our signs,” Steinborn, the Democrat representing District 37, wrote in an e-mail. “Our yard signs are being systematically removed and several of our big signs have been stolen.” Steinborn said he wants to remind people that stealing campaign signs is illegal. Read more

Campaign Sign Trickery

Twenty years ago my wife and kids were in Alamogordo to help a family member in his run the the NM House of Representatives. On one particular weekend the assignment was "campaign sign duty." The strategy made alot of sense once it was explained to me. The theory goes like this. After about ten days to two weeks, particularly as campaign signs begin to proliferate, they tend to simply blend into the surroundings. Voters really don't even see them anymore, let alone read them. So, with the help of paint, the graffiti crew went around the town and "defaced" all the signs they had helped erect a few weeks earlier with happy faces etc. The goal of the tactic was to draw fresh attention to the campaign signs. Should anyone jump to the conclusion that the modifications were done by supporters of the opponent, or better yet discuss the subject of what sort of person would paint over another candidate's signs, so the better. I was amazed by the subtle cleverness of the tactic, but apparently the psychology of campaign sign trickery is one of the oldest methods in the books when it comes to trying to win favor with the electorate.


Vindicated: The Truth about Conservative Economic Policies

From the American Thinker - by John Griffing - Over the years, conservative economic policies have been the subject of heated attack by liberals seeking to justify punitive taxes and a bloated regulatory state. But far from failing, conservative economic values have delivered on every point. Liberal economists frequently claim that tax cuts -- the centerpiece of effective conservative economic policies -- harm revenues and contribute to deficits. But this claim is patently false. Out-of-control spending, not tax cuts, causes huge deficits. President Reagan cut the top tax rate to 28 percent for joint filers during the eighties. During the Reagan expansion, total revenues jumped nearly one hundred percent. President Kennedy cut the top rate for joint filers to 70 percent from the confiscatory level of 90 percent under his predecessor. Real revenues in the sixties following the Kennedy tax cuts grew by 60 percent, or 30 percent minus inflation. Although blasted in the mainstream media -- often without factual validity -- the Bush tax cuts achieved comparable success to the Kennedy and Reagan cuts. Read more

Government Borrowing Rampage in 3rd Quarter

News New Mexico took to the airwaves on July 1, 2010. Though it might seem to some like we have been around for an eternity, actually we have only been on the air for one calendar quarter. Alot can happen in ninety days. We have attracted a significant number of site visits from our followers. Our listenership has grown by leaps and bounds. Our show's guest list includes a host of names that could be found on the Who's Who List of people in New Mexico. And most important of all, the federal government has borrowed $2,870 for every taxpayer in the nation. We know here at News New Mexico we feel like we have alot to show for the $2,870 that was borrowed on our behalf and we feel virtually assured that the President and Congress did a much better job of managing those borrowed dollars than any of us dumb clucks out here in the general population could have. How about you?


Turney: Waiting for Superman a Uniting Force

There are very few political issues that can unite conservatives and liberals. The political polarization has reached such an intractable state that it seems the two sides will never agree on solutions for society’s pressing problems. But occasionally the opposing ideologies can set aside differences and accomplish real, beneficial change. School choice may be the rare issue that forces each side to ignore political influence and do away with tired bromides in order to truly save the children. The new documentary “Waiting for Superman” perfectly exemplifies this fleeting moment of unity that can have a lasting impact. It’s hard to know what to expect when an avowed liberal takes on the controversial issue of school choice. Director Davis Guggenheim is the director behind “An Inconvenient Truth,” the global warming film that lionized Al Gore. Guggenheim also directed the Barack Obama biographical film played at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the Obama infomercial that aired on television during the 2008 presidential campaign. His liberal bona fides are stellar. So it’s only natural to anticipate a school choice documentary that defends the status quo and toes the party line blaming lack of funding for the woeful state of America’s government education system. Prepare to be surprised. Read more here:

MickyDs could drop health insurance for tens of thousands of workers

From the New Mexico Independent - by Trip Jennings - McDonald’s could drop health insurance for tens of thousands of its workers across the nation if the federal government doesn’t relax a rule set to take effect in coming months, the Wall Street Journal reports. The issue revolves around a new rule in the federal health care law that requires health plans to spend the vast majority of its revenue from policy premiums on health care vs. administrative costs, or face penalties. The Journal captures the fast food chain’s challenge succinctly in a couple of paragraphs high in the story. “A senior McDonald’s official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain’s insurer won’t meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80% to 85% of its premium revenue on medical care,” according to the Journal story. That’s because the so-called “mini-med plans” McDonald’s offers workers at 10,500 U.S. locations requires a high degree of administrative costs “owing to frequent worker turnover, combined with relatively low spending on claims,” the Journal reporter explains. It’s unclear from the Journal story if any of the McDonald’s in New Mexico might be affected. But it stands to reason that some might. Read more

Blackwell: "Do as I Say Not as I Do"

Ken Blackwell
Parents of the 216 students in Washington, D.C. who have seen Mr. Obama’s congressional cohorts gut the Opportunity Scholarship program must have found cold comfort from the President’s soothing words on NBC. The Heritage Foundation’s able education analyst Lindsey Burke tells us what Mr. Obama said to The Today Show’s Matt Lauer: "I’ll be very honest with you. Given my position, if I wanted to find a great public school for Malia and Sasha to be in, we could probably maneuver to do it. But the broader problem is: For a mom or a dad who are working hard but don’t have a bunch of connections, don’t have a choice in terms of where they live, they should be getting the same quality education as anybody else, and
Malia and Sasha Obama
they don’t have that yet."
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter did find a good public school in Washington to send their daughter to. But now, the Obamas have rejected that option. While his administration shuts the door to excellence for thousands in the District—and nationwide—the President and Mrs. Obama conveniently skip out. Read more here:

Great Divide: Landrieu and President Obama

Pres. Obama at Grand Canyon
The standoff between the Obama administration and Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu over an offshore drilling moratorium also is creating hurdles for White House officials putting together the next budget. The Louisiana senator is blocking the confirmation of Jacob Lew, President Barack Obama’s choice to be White House budget director, to protest the administration’s temporary ban on deepwater oil and gas drilling, put in place after the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Office of Management and Budget has been without a director since the end of July, disrupting or at least delaying administration decisions on spending levels, taxes, budget cuts and the overall budget direction for fiscal 2012.
 “This is an absolutely key time to have a very top-rate budget director in place,” said James R. Horney, a budget expert at the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities in Washington. “This is such a delicate time and so many big issues.” Lew’s nomination was approved 22-1 last week by the Senate Budget Committee, clearing the way for a vote by the full chamber. Under rules that let any senator block a presidential nominee for any reason, Landrieu put a “hold” on Lew’s nomination Sept. 23. She said the drilling moratorium was having “such a devastating impact on working people and small businesses throughout the Gulf Coast.” Read more here:


Wall Street, Washington, Chicago Triangle

Rahm Emanuel
President Barack Obama made Rahm Emanuel a global name by appointing him White House chief of staff. President Bill Clinton and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley helped make him rich. The wealth and connections Emanuel amassed while working for all three men give him advantages -- and liabilities -- as he explores running for a job he has said he always wanted, mayor of his native city. Emanuel, 50, earned at least $17 million in three years as an investment banker after leaving the Clinton White House, public records show. While that part of his resume didn’t hurt him when he first ran for Congress in 2002, any new bid for public office would come amid criticism of Wall Street’s excesses and a U.S. unemployment rate of 9.6 percent. Read more here:


Geithner: No Danger of a Trade War

Tim Geithner
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner played down the danger of a trade war over China’s currency policy after U.S. lawmakers took a step toward approving a bill designed to protect against Chinese imports. “We’re not going to have a trade war,” Geithner said in remarks to a Washington conference yesterday hosted by The Atlantic magazine and the Aspen Institute. He also said that if the recent appreciation in the yuan “continues, that would make a really material difference on their economics and on our economics in ways that we think are important.” Read more here:

Denish Talks Healthcare Jobs

(Albuquerque) – Standing with University residents and health-clinic workers in front of a South Valley Health Clinic, Diane Denish today called for major investment in developing New Mexico’s health-care workforce. “From Doctors to patient care technicians, from nurses to administrators – health-care jobs are in high demand,” Denish said. “And with health reform covering hundreds of thousands more New Mexicans over the next five years, we simply must be focused on developing a workforce that can take on those jobs. I don’t know about you, but I frankly feel sick every time I hear about New Mexico health-care companies recruiting out of state to fill jobs here.” The Denish plan calls for an intense focus and investment in attracting high-school students to the health-care field, expansion of nursing programs, scholarships for students who take up health-care study in college and incentives for health-care workers who choose to live and work in rural and underserved areas.


Martinez Picks Up Duke City Police Officers Support

Susana Martinez
Albuquerque – Susana Martinez, Republican gubernatorial nominee and Doña Ana County District Attorney today released the following statement concerning the endorsement of her candidacy by the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association (APOA): “I am grateful for the support of those who fight every day to keep us safe. Public safety is one of the most important priorities of those in elected office and we cannot increase safety on our streets, in our schools and within our communities without the advice and hard work of our men and women in uniform. In addition, my record as a member of law enforcement serving as a prosecutor in Doña Ana County gives me the tools and mind set necessary to fight the culture of corruption that has flourished under the Richardson/Denish Administration over the past eight years. In a Martinez Administration, we will not tolerate abuse of the public trust and we will clean up the mess left by Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish, so we can once again instill integrity within state government and get New Mexico back to work.”


Richardson Approval Rating 27 Percent

Bill Richardson
From Capitol Report New Mexico - Among the questions Public Policy Polling asked of New Mexicans they surveyed was their opinion of Gov. Bill Richardson. The results were not good for the guv — an absymal 27 percent approval rating. And this coming from a polling organization that is generally accepted as trending towards Democrats. Here are the numbers: Read more here:

Swickard: Parking Problems at the University

“I find that the three major administrative problems on a college campus are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni and parking for the faculty.” – Clark Kerr, 1958. Parking is always one of those interesting discussions at any university. When I first attending college at New Mexico State University back in the late 1960s I had no parking problems at all since I came to school on foot. I was not all that thrilled with being on foot but it was that or not go to college at all. You lost a lot of desirability when you called up a potential date and said you would walk over and pick them up. Read more here: