- Citi – which loaned billions on crap mortgages – terminates account of gay social networking site because of "objectionable content”: And then changed its mind when the feces hit. “This situation had nothing to do with the content of his web site and any comments by our staff to the contrary were incorrect; we are reviewing what happened.” (BusinessInsider)
- Ad banned because of Miss Piggy’s cleavage: COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Puppet cleavage has been ruled out for advertising posters in Colorado Springs bus shelters. Lamar Advertising rejected posters for a touring production of the Broadway show "Avenue Q" because they show the cleavage of a fuzzy pink puppet. (WaPo)
- Wingnuts see Obama/Islam overtone in new Federal agency logo: “The conservative blogosphere is abuzz about the new logo of the US Missile Defense Agency, which they say looks suspiciously similar to both the Obama campaign logo and the crescent moon typically seen on Islamic flags.”(RawStory)
- Brazil government says Paris Hilton ad demeans women: Brazil’s Secretariat for Women’s Affairs wants a beer commercial starring the hotel heiress, model and actor off the air. Brazil’s regulations say beer commercials cannot treat women as overtly sensual objects. "It’s an ad that devalues women — in particular, blond women," according to a spokeswoman for the Women’s Secretariat who said it received numerous complaints. (AP) (How much did Paris pay to have someone get her back into the news?)
- Apple bans & then brings back some boob apps: Wobble’s developer Jon Atherton has been restored to the App Store after complaining about being booted from it. “This time, there’s no suggestive images or language in the app’s marketing materials. But you can still make boobs wobble — the app’s original point — if you bring your own artwork. Wobble simply had to remove illustrations featuring a silhouette of a naked woman from its app.” (BusinessInsider)
- Man sues Royals after team mascot hits him with a hot dog: (This is my favorite lede of the week) “If there’s anything more American than shooting and throwing encased meats into a throng of loud and hungry people, it’s silly-sounding lawsuits that make for good headlines on Internet websites.” (YahooSports)
In the event of revolution I have some thoughts about who to put up against a wall.
Some of New York’s biggest companies, including Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, received doses of swine flu vaccine for at-risk employees, drawing criticism that the hard-to-find vaccine is going first to the privileged. [emphasis added]
That’s not criticism, that’s a statement of fact.
New York city defended its actions by saying that distributing large doses of the vaccine to such businesses is "a great avenue for vaccinating people at risk." ASTERISK/FOOTNOTE: And by people at risk we mean those who are rich and have health insurance. I’m not sure what the risk is here, but I’d like to have some.
This event has revealed a previously unsuspected gift for irony at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC responded to this by saying any decisions that appear to send vaccine beyond high-priority groups "have the potential to undermine the credibility of the program." You think?
Goldman, Citi, et al, got the vaccine because they have their own doctors. Before getting the vaccine, doctors at these companies had to agree to only vaccinate high-risk employees. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) And I am sure they are doing just that and ignoring any VIPs who ask for it and could have them fired.
It is nice to know that at least one of the firms who have received billions in tax dollars has spent some of that on competent PR people. While Goldman Sachs kept its 200 doses and Citigroup kept its 1,200, Morgan Stanley turned over its 1,000 doses to local hospitals after finding out they had not yet received any vaccine.
I realize our government is a corporate whorehouse, but would it mind at least pulling the shades down over the windows?
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Senior health officials in the Canadian province of Alberta said on Wednesday they had fired an unidentified worker for giving National Hockey League players preferential access to the H1N1 flu vaccine. The controversy boiled over this week when it was revealed that players for the NHL’s Calgary Flames and their families received shots on an exclusive basis one day before the province closed public flu clinics due to a shortage of the vaccine.
Remember: Before getting the vaccine, doctors at these companies had to agree to only vaccinate high-risk employees. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
Last week saw some quite impressive accomplishments, even by Citi’s august standards. In just a few days it tried to come up with a new way to overpay its investment bankers and traders, then it had to remind its staff NOT to accept undocumented mortgages and finally its Japan operations were shut down because of money laundering.
Last Tuesday, Citigroup walked into a feces storm entirely of its own making by announcing it would raise salaries by 50% to offset cuts in bonuses.
To be fair to Citi, they are taking (well-deserved) crap for the entire industry on the salary issue. BofA, Morgan Stanley, UBS and others are also trying to dodge the bad PR when huge bonuses are awarded following huge losses. So now instead of bonuses for bad performance execs will just get a huge salary for bad performance. It’s all about retention – or so Citi would like us to believe. Quote from the NYT: “Citigroup executives are so eager to keep employees from fleeing, that in some cases, they are offering them guaranteed pay contracts.” Well, given that those contracts are being paid for with $45 billion of US taxpayer debt who can blame them. Citi is once again free to play with someone else’s money and are being just as responsible as they were the last time. BTW, the idea that these raises are going to the rank-and-file is absolute hogwash. As Alphaville notes, “the biggest increases will go to investment bankers and traders.”
Also on Tuesday, Citi temporarily stopped buying new loans after “discovering” it was missing property appraisals and documents showing borrowers’ incomes.
The discovery came in Citi’s correspondent division, which buys loans from banks and independent mortgage firms, and was responsible for about half of the bank’s $115 billion in mortgages last year. Two great quotes about this:
“There remain key areas that fall short of our quality- control process. We ask you to review your processes and join us in this effort to collectively address these areas of concern.” — Brad Brunts, a managing director at the bank’s CitiMortgage division.
And this from an analyst
Not a good sign when you have to re-train people processing mortgages on the most basic elements of how to do their jobs. Are these some of the folks being offered those guaranteed contracts?
- Finally, on Friday Japan ordered Citi to halt the marketing of all financial products to retail customers for a month because of bank “failed to implement sufficient measures aimed at preventing suspicious transactions, including money laundering.”
This really takes the idea of not verifying income to a new level.
RealityFrame’s comment about the raises could really be applied to pretty much everything the bank touches: Anybody want to dispute that those banksters aren’t indeed the "best and the brightest"?