Odds and ends…

November 20, 2008

Lots of stuff going on today, so rather than a regular post, here’s some things worth paying attention to:

  • House agriculture hearing (which I’m listening in on right now) on credit default swaps. This is a follow-up to last month’s hearing. Among those testifying is the SEC’s Eric Sirri, whose prepared testimony is here. Apparently, members of the Ag Committee are heading to Europe next week to talk to officials in London and Germany about regulating the CDS market. Members of Congress seem to be poking (over and over) at the jurisdictional issues that seem to be complicating who should regulate this huge market. The live feed is here.
  • UPDATE: Chairman Colin Petersen (D-Minnesota) just asked what would happen if CDS were made illegal. Pretty interesting.
  • ABC News has a follow-up to its story on the Big Three automakers CEOs flying private jets to and from Washington to ask for $25 billion in taxpayer money. No matter what you think about that request, the company’s PR people should all be fired for allowing this to happen. Fairly or not, images count and the ones of these guys emerging from their GV’s was a very bad decision. I’ve done a quick skim of past proxies for Ford (F) and GM (GM) and the corporate jet travel definitely seems pretty generous.
  • ProPublica, a non-profit news organization run by former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger has an interesting story today about how the former CEO of The South Financial Group managed to collect on $18 million in severance while the bank is poised to collect $347 million under TARP just by adjusting his retirement date.

UPDATE 12:55 pm: Chairman Petersen just read a statement from former SEC Chief Accountant Lynn Turner from this Bloomberg story (scroll down to the end) that was highly critical of the Fed’s role. The Fed’s Patrick Parkinson practically bristled essentially saying it was easy to throw stones from outside. The hearing just ended.

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