James Cameron had to go 35,756 feet underwater to film this video, but you only have to know seven and a half things each day to be fully informed. Here they are:
Thing One: MF Doom: Do you enjoy disaster movies? Well, you’re in luck, almost: Today’s hearing of the House Financial Services Committee’s oversight and investigations subcommittee looking into the MF Global collapse will be like a disaster film. Except with a lot more talking. And congresspeople. And no special effects.
Some MF Global employees are going to say they were awwwwfully worried about customer money in the days MF Global was going down like the Poseidon, at a time when Jon Corzine was probably not leading a group of survivors bravely to the back of the ship where they could be rescued, report Azam Ahmed and Ben Protess in The New York Times. Thus they were not exactly shocked, shocked to find the customer money missing when all was said and done.
One who will not actually be testifying, except to talk about the Fifth Amendment a whole lot, will be Edith O’Brien, the assistant treasurer at MF Global, who supposedly knows about client money being transferred to J.P. Morgan. She has been talking to the Justice Department about what she knows, in an effort to get immunity from prosecution, reports the Wall Street Journal in one of a handful of walk-ups to the hearing.
Thing Two: Squid Clings To Lloyd: So a big labor union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, happens to own a lot of shares of Goldman Sachs in its pension fund. It wanted Goldman to boot Lloyd Blankfein from the role of Chairman of the Board of the company, which might help the Vampire Squid improve its horrible image just a smidgen, reports Liz Rappaport of the Wall Street Journal. Heaven forbid, though, that Lloyd Blankfein not be CEO and Chairman at the same time. Heaven forbid! So Goldman worked out a deal with AFSCME that will appoint a “lead” director instead. And now shareholders don’t get to vote at all on whether Blankfein will be stripped of power. All they get is this Funny Or Die video.
Thing Three: More Worries For Rupert: Crikey! If it’s not one thing it’s another for Rupert Murdoch these days. The News Corp. chieftain, already watching his British tabloid empire wither under charges of hacking and bribery, now faces charges that another News Corp. unit worked to foster piracy of competitors’ TV offerings, Reuters writes: “The Australian Financial Review on Wednesday alleged that News Corp had used a special unit, Operational Security, set up in the mid-1990s, to sabotage its competitors, reinforcing claims in a BBC Panorama documentary aired earlier this week.”
Thing Four: Artful Dodgers: So here’s some hopefully good news: A group of investors led by Magic Johnson — Magic freakin’ Johnson! — was the winning bidder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, topping a list of less-fun competing bidders that included reclusive hedge-fund emperor and thing-buyer Stevie Cohen. This also gets the team out of the hands of the god-awful McCourt family, though at a hefty price.
Thing Five: Crazy Like A Foxconn: Once upon a time, Japan was the country that took our jerbs and threatened to take over the world with its cheap labor and electronics and supposedly unassailable business practices. Today that country is China, and you couldn’t make up a better symbol of this handoff than to have Foxconn, the infamous Apple product assembler, becoming the biggest shareholder in Sharp, a once-mighty Japanese manufacturer on the skids.
Thing Six: En-Durable: It’s another big day for economic data, as the gubmint tells us how strong demand was last month for long-lasting stuff made in U.S. factories. Economists think durable-goods orders were, in the words of Gaylord Focker, “strong to very strong,” which will make up for January’s orders, which were “awful to very awful.”
Thing Seven: No Coal For You! The Environmental Protection Agency, which obviously hates America and the good old fashioned American smog our forefathers breathed, has imposed tough new restrictions on carbon emissions at new power plants. Of course, Reuters writes, this is pretty much a moot point, as America is now a wonderland of natural-gas fracking and drilling, meaning most new power plants are going to run on cheap natural gas. Oh, well, at least that barn door is shut, whether there’s a horse in there or not.
Thing Seven And One Half: The Rise Of The Elephants: Is this for real? This Samsung video that shows an elephant working a smartphone like a boss? Because if so, then wow. Also, thank goodness elephants don’t have opposable thumbs, because then we’d be in for something like this.