June 2012 archive

Hebrew National Forced to “Answer to a Lower Authority”

A class action lawsuit has been filed against ConAgra Foods, Inc. [“ConAgra” or “Defendant”], the manufacturer and distributor of Hebrew National meat products such as beef franks, deli meats, and beef knockwursts.  The lawsuit alleges that the Defendant misled consumers in labeling its products “strictly 100% kosher.”  Con Agra has responded that the lawsuit is …

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Microsoft Does “One More Thing” to the Tablet

When he was alive and leading Apple product announcements, Steve Jobs had a moment that was nearly as signature as his black turtleneck and jeans.  He would get to what seemed to be the end of the event and then say “Oh, and one more thing.” Microsoft’s unexpected announcement that they would be selling a …

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Fed reports a significant decline in net worth under two measures, but in different amounts

Last week, the media quickly dispersed the jaw dropping statistic just released by the Federal Reserve in its Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF):  household median net worth fell by almost 40% from 2007 to 2010, the mean fell almost 15%.   According to SCF, the median inflation adjusted net family worth (i.e.,  the value of its home(s), bank account(s) and retirement …

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Fathers Are Getting More Expensive Gifts (But Still Below Spending on Moms)

The National Retail Foundation reports that the average person will spend $117 on Father’s Day gifts, up 10% from last year’s number.  Spending for Father’s Day is expected to total $12.7 billion.  While an impressive number, it still falls well short of Mother’s Day spending, when consumers spend $152 on average. Some have suggested that …

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Another 100+ Years for a Ponzi Schemer

Allen Stanford was facing up to 230 years for bilking investors out of $7 billion in one of the largest frauds in US history.  As a reminder, Bernie Madoff, the most famous name in Ponzi schemes aside from Charles Ponzi himself, received a sentence of 150 years for his $20 billion fraud.  So in the interest of …

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MF Global Trustee Reports Significant Management Malfeasance

On June 4, 2012, James Giddens, the SIPA (Securities Investor Protection Act) Trustee for MF Global, issued a detailed 275 page report that provides enormous detail of what happened at MF Global before it became the eighth-largest U.S. bankruptcy.  MF Global appropriately received even greater attention because substantial amounts of customer deposits were missing.  The …

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LA pension reform receives encouragement from San Jose and San Diego

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 2012-13 budget proposal includes lots of the usual stuff that one comes to expect when a city faces yet another financial crisis: some layoffs, some reduced services, and, of course, “revenue maximization efforts” (i.e. tax hikes). But this budget also has something that is different and somewhat bold: pension reform. Pension …

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‘Jungle Primary’ Postmortem. Part 1: Congress

The June 5th primary was California’s first statewide experience with the top-two ‘jungle’ primary in which all candidates appear on the same ballot and the top two, regardless of party designation, Appear on the November ballot. Proponents of the measure saw it as a way of giving more power to moderate and decline-to-state voters.  Some …

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Here we go again…more Fed insanity

At this point, some may be wondering why a picture of the Federal Reserve Bank is not posted next to the definition of insanity (i.e., doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result).  After the most recent barrage of economic bad news last week (e.g., increased unemployment rate, lowered 1st quater GDP growth, …

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All Not on Board the California Express

In November 2008 a slim majority of California voters (52.6%) thought it would be cool enough to have a high speed rail run from San Diego to Sacramento that they voted for it. Buyer’s remorse soon followed. The Los Angeles Times confirms this buyer’s remorse in its finding that the slim majority has morphed into …

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