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Ball point pen on todays newsprint The Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou announced that Greece has reached an agreement on the European Union's rescue package. The package gives Greece a few years to restructure it's economy and reign in public spending. Few are optimistic. ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint John J Mack once told lawmakers during testimony before a US congressional committee “We love what we do. If you gave us no bonus, we would still be here,” As CEO of Morgan, Mr. Mack ushered in an era of huge risk taking. After almost putting the financial giant out of business and relying on a government bail out, Mack is out, but the bonuses are not. Despite it's first loss in 74 years, Morgan Stanley earmarked 14.4 billion (with a B) for salaries and bonuses. that's 62 cents of every dollar of revenue. ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint Kenneth Lewis is stepping down as CEO of Bank of America, after presiding over the paying a premium for the failing Merrill Lynch, the ill advised bonuses, two government bailouts and the evaporation of fortunes when shares of Bank of America (BAC) slipped from a high of 54.85 in 2006 to 3.14. For said stewardship he was compensated handsomely. In 2007 his compensation was valued at more than $20.4 million, 10% less for 2006. He will collect a pension worth 53.2 million dollars. ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint AIG's stock price two years ago was 69.00 per share, one year ago it was 42.00. Liddy took over the helm in June of last year with the stock in the 30's. Later that year, while Lehman Brothers and other giants were going bankrupt, AIG was deemed too big to fail and received $85 billion in bailout money. A month later Liddy defended spending $440,000 of that money on a retreat at a luxurious California resort saying it was "standard practice in our industry" Today the stock is at 0.42 a share and AIG is receiving another 30 Billion in taxpayers dollars. What started as as a mortgage crisis is now a crisis in confidence. Since shinning a light on the "standard practices" of corporate America, investors have no confidence that this current crop of CEO's know the value of our hard earned dollars. Yesterday the Dow dropped below 7,000 for the first ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint ...When added to the 700 Billion, the numbers start to get abstract. A trillion dollars is a million million. If you laid one dollar bills end to end, you could make a chain that stretches from earth to the moon and back again 200 times. One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, 14 years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills. The tab so far for bailouts has reached 8.5 Trillion Dollars! I wonder how long it will take my great grandchildren to pay it back to China. Blogging note: A special thanks to Charley Parker over at Lines and Colors, for featuring my blog yesterday. I've been a big fan of L&C and I am honored to be included in the pantheon of great art that I've so enjoyed reading about over the years ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint Nancy Pelosi will not schedule a vote on the bailout until it is clear the bill will pass the senate. That may not be feasible until after January 20th when the democrats will increase their numbers. Ford, perhaps the healthiest of the three, has burned through seven billion in assets in the third quarter but has enough liquidity to survive into the new year. GM however is only months away from closing up shop and warned it might not see years end. While that news may have some wanting to act quickly, Pelosi did say that auto makers will need to show long term economic viability before being considered for a loan. That makes sense. After dividing the 25 billion between the big three, that provides each with a little over eight billion each. When you consider that Ford and GM are loosing about two billion a month, that gives them a four month win ...

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