This morning’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting, albeit breif, article about a spoof email which purported to be sent by an SEC enforcement attorney. The email was critical of the SEC Chairwoman Mary Shapiro and Inspector General David Kotz, particularly as it related to Mr. Kotz’s recent reports regarding the SEC’s performance prior to the economic downturn and its stock-trading scandal involving enforcement attorneys. The situation is a bit strange, but it only reinforces the President’s point about US cybersecurity. The article is available here.
Bankruptcy allows the car companies to shed many of the burdenous liabilities that are their current problems, namely their union contracts. It’s time everyone in the industry feels some pain, and enters the 21st century of retirement benefits. Welcome to the world of the defined contribution plan, not the defined benefit. The auto industry needs to wake up to the current workplace reality, where one pays for his or her retirement benefits.
Between Ken Lewis’ recent purchases and his comments during today’s press conference with Merrill Lynch Chairman & CEO John Thain, it appears to me that he is trying to build a financial institution in the same fashion that Sandy Weill did at Citigroup. During his opening remarks, Mr. Lewis mentioned building the “premier financial institution in the world,” language that reminds me of Mr. Weil. The size of the bank would speak to this tendency. Having added mortgages and private wealth management by way of Countrywide and U.S. Trust, respectively, Bank of America is simply plugging the holes at this point. LaSalle is further evidence, filling one of the largest holes in the bank’s branch network. For Mr. Lewis, his about-face on investment banking makes this purchase that much more curious. The quality of Merrill Lynch’s operations certainly sets this purchase apart because of the value it adds to B of A, apparently relieving the banks concerns regarding investment banking; the many other aspects of Merrill’s operations also make the purchase an attractive addition to B of A’s portfolio.
I was also happy to hear that B of A is committed to retaining the Merrill name and operations. With the number of ongoing integrations, Mr. Lewis doesn’t expect to begin the Merrill systems integration process until 2010 anyway.
Last night, I was watching television with some friends when we heard what sounded like screeching tires followed by a small crash. At first, we didn’t think anything of it, as the noise was so slight. Before we knew it, however, the sound of police sirens filled the humid night air. As the activity in my normally-quiet neighborhood seemed to be picking up, a few of us decided to wander in the direction of the noise to see what the comotion was about.
When we reached the end of my street, we found at least five police cars scattered around Woodland Avenue, some blocking traffic, others shining their teardrop lights into nearby fields. Those officers charged with traffic control quickly set up flares and began forcefully directing cars to turn around. Shortly after the requisite fire truck arrived, two people walked down from the direction of Mills Lane and approached a police officer. At the same time, a man riding a scooter approached us and reported that two officers had detained a white male on Mills Lane. While the scooter rider recounted what he had seen, the two individuals who approached the police officer were overheard discussing an individual they had seen run through their yard.
It would appear that after crashing his car, the driver fled through my neighborhood and was aprehended somewhere along Mills Lane. Woodland Avenue is not terribly well-lighted, and the area where the vehicle crashed is particularly windy. What possessed him to run, though, I do not know. Fortunately for police and the community at large, the man ran in the wrong direction, directly into a dense condo development.