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Yugo, 1953-2008

Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 21:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


Yugo (now Zastava), the icon of Soviet-era automaking, rolled out its last car on November 11th, 2008, a victim of the global financial crisis. The Kragujevac plant, having endured political crises and NATO bombs, has finally been sold to Fiat.

And no bail-out for them, so why should we bail out GM et al?

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  1. “We”? I didn’t know you were going to help out! That’s sweet of you.

  2. Have you seen how much money Europe is sending to struggling car manufacturers, including subsidiaries of GM?

  3. So far the EU is sending 0EUR to help car manufacturers. It is still debated whether it’s needed or not, however Germany stated that they will help Opel. But Germany is not the EU.
    That’s the current status of the car bailout in Europe.

  4. you may want to time-stamp that comment, that zero may change to EUR 50b any second now.

    News: 1, 2, 3.

  5. Yes, that’s what I read too, so far Neelie Kroes holds out on it. I hope she can thwart the “oh, fuck capitalism, we are LOOSING!” movement.

Over 100 U.S. blue chips now selling for under $10 a share

Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 18:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


One hundred and one.

No, that’s not Dalmatians but the number of stocks in the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index now trading for less than $10 a share.


In all, the group makes up the greatest number of sub-$10 stocks in the index in at least 28 years, said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at Standard & Poor’s.

In fact, Silverblatt said it could be the most in the post-World-War II era, though he cautioned that his data reaches only as far back as 1980.

“This is definitely unusual,” he said. “I think you’d have to go back as far as the 1940s, when $10 was worth more to see a similar number,” he said.

According to S&P data, 101 is almost double the 59 companies with share prices below $10 in October 2001 when the dotcom meltdown was in full swing and almost triple the 35 sub-$10 stocks in October 1987.

Ten dollars is more than just a psychological barrier. Some institutional investors cannot invest in shares below $10 and some bond contracts require companies above that level.


In fact, a third of the entire index is not even qualified to be in the index — 186 stocks have market caps under $4 billion, the minimum value for consideration for S&P 500 membership.

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Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 17:28 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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New friendly fire coverup: Army shreds files on dead soldiers

Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 17:26 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


On Oct. 14, 2008, Salon published an article about the deaths of Army Pfc. Albert Nelson and Pfc. Roger Suarez. The Army attributed their deaths in Iraq in 2006 to enemy action; Salon’s investigation, which included graphic battle video and eyewitness testimony, indicated that their deaths were likely due to friendly fire.

After Salon published Benjamin’s Oct. 14 report, the Army ordered soldiers to shred documents about the men. As proof that they were ordered to destroy the paperwork, a soldier saved some examples and provided them to Salon.

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Mike Huckabee Says It’s Not Civil Rights Until ‘Skull’s Cracked’

Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 9:29 by John Sinteur in category: News

Last week in Memphis, Duanna Johnson, a transexual was murdered execution-style. 15 year-old Lawrence King was murdered earlier this year for being gay. 16.6% of all hate crimes are directed at LGBT Americans. 4 out of 10 gay men are the victims of homophobia-related violence, as is 1 in 8 lesbians and bisexuals.

I guess Gay Rights are Civil Rights, Mike.

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Capital punishment for voting the wrong political party….

Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 9:19 by John Sinteur in category: Indecision 2008


“If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys,” Mr. Marcus said, apparently referring to Republican senators facing tough re-election fights, then those retailers “should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs.”

–Bernie Marcus, cofounder and former CEO of The Home Depot, during an Oct. 17 conference call

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Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds

Posted on November 20th, 2008 at 8:35 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation’s capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.

The CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler may have told Congress that they will likely go out of business without a bailout yet that has not stopped them from traveling in style, not even First Class is good enough.

All three CEOs – Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler – exercised their perks Tuesday by flying in corporate jets to DC. Wagoner flew in GM’s $36 million luxury aircraft to tell members of Congress that the company is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone.

Here’s an idea for some interesting legislation: the highest paid employee of a company can make no more than 12 times the amount the lowest paid employee makes. You want to make more money as a CEO? Simple – make sure your janitor increases his salary first.

add some rules to prevent companies from splitting into separate holdings for the purpose of defeating this, of course

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  1. Presumably you’re counting stock grants and stock options in that 12X? How do you work with stock that’s awarded now but vests and attains its value later? How do you deal with someone like Gates, making billions as the part-owner of a very successful company? Note that Msft actually shared a lot of wealth down the ranks, even if they denied it to some (the “permatemps”), but few made 1/12th of Gates’ one-time $40bln.

  2. Gates didn’t make his $40b as “compensation in the form of wages or options”. He’s co-founder, and he saw his initial stock package explode in value.

    So yes, I’m counting stock grants and stock options – here in the NL stock options are already taxed as income, so there’s no problem counting them as income. What I’m not counting is capital gains on stuff people already own, like stock. Just count the stock options at the moment of issue as income, and if converted to stock you never look at it again. I don’t think Bill Gates made all that much in salary, and it’s not fair to count a rise in stock price against him.

  3. How much time is lost by the GM representatives when they have to check in for a flight two hours early, or when the GM representatives are not to talk about business during the flight due to insider trading concerns?

    The question is what is lost? When 12 people fly on a private jet it costs about $20,000. When 12 fly commercially to DC it costs about $12,000. Is a $8,000 savings worth the time lost?

    Isn’t it really worth it in the long run?


  4. You’re forgetting one major cost factor: public image. This story is all over the news. At the cost of two or three extra hours, their image could have been one of real “cost-sensitve” CEO’s.

    Isn’t that really worth it?

    And any CEO not aware of public image is too stupid to be in that job.

  5. I’ve never, n-e-v-e-r had to be at an airport 2 hours early. I’ve often wandered in with less than 40 minutes to my flight. Are we guessing that they have lots of luggage to check in and haven’t bothered to check-in electronically?
    Southwest, business select, one way, out one day and back the next, is $176 X 12 = 2,112. Not exactly 12 grand. 12k only pans out if you assume they “have” to travel first class.
    The shortest flight listed is about 1 hour and 24 minutes. Ohh noes! How will they avoid spilling the corporate beans for nearly an eternity!
    Are we to think that all the execs traveled on the same plane? Jet-pooling?

  6. Here are current CEO compensation numbers. Ballmer makes about 1.2mil, I guess Bill Gates made a similar amount.

  7. Aw c’mon, they’ll soon have dumped four of the seven planes they leased until recently. Now that’s sacrifice.

  8. The daily show had footage of the hearing where the execs where asked to raise their hands if they were prepared to give up their planes. None did. Very funny…