Monthly Archives: December 2008

John Gapper

I am taking a Christmas – and Hanukkah and other festivals – break. I plan to be back with you in the New Year. Happy holidays to all and, to those lawyers, bankers etc who have to keeping working through the break, commiserations.

John Gapper

It strikes me that one New Yorker who has reason to be grateful to Bernie Madoff as the year concludes – and there are not many – is Dick Fuld.

Until Mr Madoff came along, Mr Fuld was set to be the face of the 2008 financial crisis, and to attract the lion’s share of the opprobrium that came with it. He had even been pictured on the cover of New York Magazine in devil’s hornsRead more

John Gapper

If Bernie Madoff has lost $50bn of other people’s money, as he is said to have admitted, why did they trust him with it? Read more

John Gapper

I can see two obvious flaws in the proposal by David Paterson, governor of New York (and Eliot Spitzer’s successor) to impose a “fat tax” on soft drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi while allowing the diet versions of the drinks to escape.

One is that, if it really worked as advertised in making people cry off Coke and Pepsi, then the measure would not raise sorely-needed taxes for New York. In practice, the health aspect seems more like a cover story, rather like marketing taxes on petrol as “green taxes”. Read more

John Gapper

If Eliot Spitzer had had to choose a venue at which to make his re-entry into society, he would presumably not have selected a former massage parlour in Chinatown on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

But Mr Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York state after getting caught up in a call girl scandal this spring, did not get the choice. Happy Ending, the former parlour in question, is now a sleek bar and it is where Slate, the online magazine was holding its seasonal drinks party. Read more

John Gapper

Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford law professor who has become a leading expert on copyright and other matters affecting Silicon Valley companies (including, see below, net neutrality) is moving back to Harvard.

I like the sound of his new job, as director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Centre for Ethics: Read more

John Gapper

The Wall Street Journal has a story this morning suggesting that Google has stepped back from its support for network neutrality by suggesting to internet service providers that it puts technology at their facilities to cache its content locally.

Google has struck back by denying that this idea – which would help to speed up the rate at which internet users can access web pages and video from Google and YouTube – is either a change of its stance, or a breach of net neutrality principles. Read more

John Gapper

The retirement of Robert Scully from the office of the chairman at Morgan Stanley makes me wonder more broadly about how many bankers who have not been forced out by their banks may decide to hang up their hats anyway.

Look at it this way: if you have been with an investment bank for a long time, and have accumulated some wealth, it must be tempting now to step out of the door. Few people think the industry will recover quickly, and there is a decent chance that its best days – certainly in terms of bonuses – are in the past. Read more