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Dig a little deeper, though, and Citi’s stress-test results look more like an F than the B+ the bank seemed to get. Among the 19 banks the government probed, Citi was found to have the lowest common capital ratio, which the government said was a key measure to protect against insolvency. What’s more, Citi also got credit for a capital conversion it has yet to complete. Strip that out, and the amount of capital Citi needs balloons to nearly $63 billion, more than any of the other banks tested. –“Inside Citi’s Stress Test: More like an F than a B+,” Stephen Gandel, Time (via)
The [Washington] Post argued that the bondholders are supposed to have a preferred position in the event of bankruptcy compared to workers’ claim for retirement health benefits. This is true under bankruptcy law. However, the factor that has apparently escaped the Post’s attention is that the government is giving money to Chrysler and General Motors. Bankruptcy law does not require the federal government to hand Chrysler and General Motors a penny. It is doing so as a matter of public policy. There are two policy goals that the government hopes to advance with its intervention. First, to try to keep jobs in these firms and their suppliers at a time when the economy is shedding jobs at an incredibly rapid rate. Second to protect the retirement health benefits of workers. The Post openly shows contempt for ordinary workers (as opposed to bankers), but President Obama was elected in large part because he promised to use the government’s power to advance their interests. One of these interests is protecting the retirement health care benefits for which they worked– just as the government protects the pensions for which they worked. –“Post Misrepresents Situation of Creditors in Chrysler/GM Bankruptcy,” Dean Baker, The American Prospect
American workers afraid to take vacations; Bid $15,500 for an unpaid internship at the Huffington Post; Recession sing-along (via); The new Blackwater/Xe logo; Jarvis Cocker reviews pop music with his sons
“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued. It is all quite a step up from the square knot. The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence– an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters. –“Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More,” Jennifer Steinhauer, The New York Times
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. “Happiness will conquer the embittered,” he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”