Explaining Southern California's economy

Congressional insider trading: Best piece of '60 minutes' theater in years

 

The best thing about "60 Minutes" in the Dan Rather/Mike Wallace glory days was when the reporters would just show up someplace with a film crew and start asking uncomfortable questions. Watch 'em squirm! 

This past weekend, Steve Kroft took a page out of that playbook and turned the cameras on...Members of Congress! The issue is insider trading — or maybe more accurately, trading on "non-public" knowledge. The Congress has ethical rules about insider trading, but it exempts lawmakers from...well, the laws that govern people in corporate life. 

This is TV, of course. So take what you see with a grain of well-edited salt. But the members that Kroft and the CBS cameras track down don't really come off looking too good, even if they may have done nothing wrong. What's disturbing is their collective "What, me worry?" reaction to the simple inquiry. You're seriously telling us that you don't know this is kinda sorta going on, even as you enter Congress with investment portfolios?

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Why the Occupy Movement is getting kicked out — and why it doesn't matter

Occupy Wall Street Camp In Zuccotti Park Cleared By NYPD Over Night

Mario Tama/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Occupy Wall Street protesters and police stand outside Zuccotti Park after police removed the protesters from the park early in the morning on November 15, 2011 in New York City. Hundreds of protesters, who rallied against inequality in America, have slept in tents and under tarps since September 17 in Zuccotti Park, which has since become the epicenter of the global Occupy movement. The raid in New York City follows recent similar moves in Oakland, California, and Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

UPDATE: KPCC is reporting that Occupy LA — which hasn't yet been shut down and is actually right across the street from police headquarters — may become a kind of "oasis" for Occupy movements that have been forced out of public sites. It would be quite a trek for Occupy Wall Streeters. But you never know. It's getting cold in New York...

In the very early hours of Tuesday morning, New York City police descended on Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, the site of the original Occupy Wall Street movement, and cleared the site of protestors. Almost 200 people who refused to go quietly were arrested. 

Tensions are mounting at other Occupy sites around the country. In Oakland, protestors have been particularly aggressive. In Los Angeles, they're been mostly peaceful. But it's becoming increasingly clear that, despite a high level of political support in many cities, local governments are losing patience with 24/7 demonstrations at public sites. 

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Three reasons why it makes sense for Van Halen to reunite

Van Halen Press Conference To Announce Their New Tour

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: David Lee Roth (L) recieves a kiss from guitar player Eddie Van Halen at the Van Halen Press Conference announcing their new tour at the Four Season Hotel on August 13, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

What could be better than a Van Halen reunion that features not just David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, but David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen — and Alex's son Wolfgang on bass? That would be Van Halen reuniting at the Grammy Nomination Show on November 30. Maybe they will. Maybe they won't. But the rumor is creating the requisite buzz. This is from Rolling Stone:

Recently the Grammy Foundation tweeted, "Who do u predict the reuniting band will be @ #GRAMMYnoms? Does this hint make u wanna 'Jump' & 'Dance the Night Away'?" – a not-so-subtle hint about a Van Halen reunion at the Grammy nominations concert. But Hagar said any reunion wouldn't include him. "If Van Halen play, it will be Dave [David Lee Roth], Eddie [Van Halen], Alex [Van Halen], and Wolfie [Wolfgang Van Halen], his kid – it wouldn't be Mike [Anthony] and I. First of all, we wouldn't be invited and second of all, if we were invited, we probably wouldn't do it. If Eddie is in the same condition he was the last time I saw him, I don't want to step onstage with him."

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Could France be the next victim of the eurozone crisis?

 

Just to stay current, a little Storify action on the continuing eurozone crisis. Suddenly former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi threw in the towel over the weekend. But without decisive German action, will the single currency be saved? Or is France the next domino to fall?

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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Vivkek Ranadive says replace the Federal Reseve with a computer

Forget PhD economists with beards who make oracular pronouncements about the economy. How about a computer program that can adjust interest rates in real time, rather than humans who are basing their judgments on outdated information?

As you'll see from the video, this is the modest proposal of Vivek Ranadive, a software entrepreneur. I first heard this idea a week or so back, when I saw Ranadive speak at a Drucker Business Forum/KPCC event where I also interviewed Mike Rossi, whom California Gov. Jerry Brown has asked to provide advice on the state's unemployment crisis.

It's a radical notion. But not that radical. A modern economy could benefit from interest rate changes that aren't kept too high, or too low, for too long. Ranadive agues that the Fed has consistenly failed to deliver a "soft landing" with its interest rate policies: cooling down the economy by rasing rates so that inflation is kept under control, yet a recession is avoided.

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