Save For The Fact That Its Reporters Are Just Ghostwriters For The Financial Services Industry, The WSJ Is Great: Michael Lewis

The author has some thoughts on the caliber of the work being done at the paper.
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‘I’m not saying there aren’t good financial journalists,’ he concedes. But the qualification seems half-hearted — and is quickly reversed. ‘The Wall Street Journal is a much worse newspaper than it was 20 years ago,’ he asserts, taking aim at the bible of US high finance. ‘The news side of the paper has the fingerprints of the finance industry all over it’. [Spectator via BI]

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Evil Incarnate Thinks LightSquared Is Great

As those of you who keep up with the trials and travails of hedge fund manager Phil Falcone, a wireless start-up called LightSquared is his baby and the thing that stands to make or break him. To that end, Falcone's invested a significant amount of time, energy, and, most importantly, investor money in seeing his baby succeed. Unfortunately, in the last year or so, LightSquared has been met with some significant setbacks, namely with regard to GPS interference it is said to cause. The yachting community worries that said interference will cause boats to get lost at sea. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says LightSquared“may degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers and help build flood defenses.” The FAA put out a study that estimates LS "may cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation." To all of that and more, one man asks, "Yeah, AND???" More Job Killer Than Creator By Karl Rove ...after nearly a decade of regulatory “green lights,” the Obama administration reversed itself and started proceedings to kill LightSquared’s ambitious plan to upgrade the U.S. cellular infrastructure. Why? Because at the eleventh hour, concerns were raised about potential interference with GPS devices — interference that occurs because these devices are listening into the part of the spectrum licensed to LightSquared....This will have consequences. Consumers will lose the chance to get better, cheaper wireless service. Owners of tablets, smartphones and other new devices won’t get faster downloads and greater bandwidth. The country would miss out on a valuable infrastructure improvement based on cutting-edge technology. Thousands of workers in construction, steel, transportation and other industries won’t get work, along with the good paychecks that a privately funded $14 billion project like this generates. Why? Because the Obama administration, which first endorsed and encouraged LightSquared, has now reversed course and gutted it. Given that this is the slowest, most anemic recovery from any recession since World War II, you might expect the administration to be eager to encourage companies to invest in creating jobs, making the economy more productive and increasing economic growth...But based on what it’s done to Keystone XL and now LightSquared, you’d be wrong. All because of some eleventh hour concerns about planes crashing. More job-killer than job-creator [Politico]

Ken Lewis's Great Idea Pad Sells For $3.15 Million

They said it couldn't be done. They said it didn't matter if it was $4.5 million or $2.5 million or if they were giving it away. They said potentials buyers wouldn't be swayed by the pitch to "sleep where Angelo Mozilo hath slept, after a few too many troughs of Boone's farm" (AKA "The Mozilo Bedroom"), or to impress guests with the cocktail party fodder that "that chair you're sitting in right now the very one Ken Lewis was sitting in when he decided to buy Merrill Lynch, can't get better investing karma than that." They said the vomit stains on the rug would not be a selling point. They were wrong.

Are You A Financial Services Company Stuffed To Gills With Toxic Assets And/Or On The Verge Of Bankruptcy? Don't Hold Your Breath For Brian Moynihan's Call

Time was, Bank of America loved buying companies. Bonus points if there was a not-so-subtle suggestion by the target's CEO that BofA would one day be very sorry for doing so, or that they would've been better off picking up an asbestos manufacturer, or that they were looking at roughly $40 billion (and counting) in legal fees associated with fuck-ups that were to become Bank of America's problem, or that they would have night terrors for the rest of their lives about signing those papers. As it's been a while since BofA went shopping, some in the financial services industry have been wondering if we can expect any announcements re: big deals anytime soon or if Ken Lewis's unsolicited suggestions (Groupon, Sino Forest, The Thirsty Beaver, and most recently: "a P&C insurer with outsized exposure to the Northeast") are or have ever been under consideration? Sadly for fans of the Lewis Era/style of doing business, not so much. Mr. Moynihan said in response to an audience question [at the bank's two-day investor presentation conference for financial companies at the Plaza hotel] that the bank has "no acquisition plan at all." BofA's Moynihan Says Fiscal Cliff Impact Already Happening [WSJ]