October 18, 2013 archive

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More of ‘God’s Work’

Suit Revives Goldman Conflict Issue


October 10, 2013, 2:43 pm

At a March 2012 meeting, a group of examiners at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York agreed that Goldman Sachs had inadequate procedures to guard against conflicts of interest – guidelines aimed at stopping firms from putting their pursuit of profit ahead of their clients’ best interests.

The examiners voted to downgrade a confidential rating assigned by the New York Fed that could have spurred costly enforcement actions and other regulatory penalties. It is not known whether the vote in fact led to a rating change. The former examiner who pushed for a downgrade, Carmen M. Segarra, now contends in a lawsuit filed on Thursday that just weeks after the vote, her superiors asked her to change her findings on Goldman and fired her after she refused.

After Ms. Segarra joined the New York Fed, she said she examined several potentially controversial Goldman deals. For instance, in 2012 Goldman advised El Paso, an energy company, on its decision to sell itself to Kinder Morgan. Goldman owned a big stake in Kinder Morgan, which angered a number of El Paso shareholders, who argued this gave Goldman an incentive to undervalue El Paso. Goldman maintained that it had properly managed the conflicts but was later admonished by a judge, who noted the “disturbing behavior” that led to the deal.

As the deal was coming together, the lawsuit said, Ms. Segarra urged Goldman to provide her with its firmwide conflict-of-interest policy. But Goldman, the lawsuit said, told her that it had no such policy.

Such concerns, the lawsuit said, prompted Ms. Segarra to raise the issue with Mr. Silva, her boss, in a meeting in early December 2011. He seemed to agree. Mr. Silva “expressed concern that Goldman would suffer significant financial harm if consumers and clients learned the extent of Goldman’s noncompliance with the rules on conflict of interest,” according to the lawsuit.

Soon, though, Ms. Segarra was looking at another deal, involving Banco Santander, the largest bank in Spain, and Qatar Holding. As part of her review, Ms. Segarra asked Goldman to provide documentation that it had performed an anti-money-laundering analysis.

According to the lawsuit, Goldman executives told Ms. Segarra that it had done the analysis, but the bank later backpedaled, admitting that no such work had been performed.

Ms. Segarra took her concerns about the transaction to her bosses, who confronted Goldman. She contends that Michael S. Koh, another senior staff member at the New York Fed and a defendant in the lawsuit, told her that Goldman admitted to the misconduct but then he dismissed her concerns. Further efforts to raise the issue were also stymied and her bosses prohibited her from asking Goldman more questions about the deal – a decision that prevented her from finishing her report.

In March 2012, Ms. Segarra got her chance to voice her concerns to the New York Fed’s legal and compliance risk team. At the meeting, the group, roughly 20 people, agreed that the issues with Goldman’s conflict-of-interest procedures warranted a warning, known-as a “matter requiring attention,” or M.R.A., according to the lawsuit. As a result, the team approved a downgrade of Goldman’s annual rating from a 2, indicating satisfactory to a 3, indicating fair, according to a confidential document reviewed by The Times. The rating involving policies and procedures is one of several measurements that make up Goldman’s overall score, which is confidential.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Beets, Raw and Cooked

Spinach Salad with Red and Chioggia Beets photo 07recipehealth-articleLarge_zpscc82e015.jpg

Beets are available year-round, but the best time to buy them is June through October, when they are at their most tender. Look for unblemished bulbs with sturdy, unwilted greens. In addition to the usual red variety, you may find beautiful golden beets, and pink-and-white striated Chioggia beets. Unless a red color is important to the dish, either type can be used interchangeably with red beets.

~Martha Rose Shulman

Spinach Salad With Red and Chioggia Beets, Quinoa and Walnuts

This is one of those salads where the grain enhances texture and adds a nutritional punch, but isn’t what the salad is about. It’s about beets and spinach.

Shredded Beet and Radish Slaw With Rice Noodles

If you do want to wrap this salad, I suggest wrapping it in romaine lettuce leaves.

Stir-Fried Beet Greens, Tofu and Beets

The greens should be crisp-tender.

Beet and Chia Pancakes

It’s important to purée the roasted beets until they’re really smooth; I found using a powerful hand blender was more effective for this than my food processor.

Seared Fish With Beet Salsa

The sweet crunch of the apple contributes texture and juice to the tangy/pungent salsa, which is delicious with all sorts of foods, not just fish.


Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette


Health-challenged states like Texas and Mississippi refuse to take advantage of a federally subsidized Medicaid expansion.

If statehood was health care, moocher states like Mississippi and Missouri would be rejected as having a preexisting condition.


On This Day In History October 18

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 18 is the 291st day of the year (292nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 74 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1767, Mason and Dixon Draw a line.

Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete their survey of the boundary between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as areas that would eventually become the states of Delaware and West Virginia. The Penn and Calvert families had hired Mason and Dixon, English surveyors, to settle their dispute over the boundary between their two proprietary colonies, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In 1760, tired of border violence between the colonies’ settlers, the British crown demanded that the parties involved hold to an agreement reached in 1732. As part of Maryland and Pennsylvania’s adherence to this royal command, Mason and Dixon were asked to determine the exact whereabouts of the boundary between the two colonies. Though both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel, what is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line finally settled the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s crest on one side and Maryland’s on the other.


Maryland’s charter granted the land north of the entire length of the Potomac River up to the 40th parallel. A problem arose when Charles II  granted a charter for Pennsylvania. The grant defined Pennsylvania’s southern border as identical to Maryland’s northern border, the 40th parallel. But the terms of the grant clearly indicate that Charles II and William Penn assumed the 40th parallel would intersect the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle, Delaware when in fact it falls north of Philadelphia, the site of which Penn had already selected for his colony’s capital city. Negotiations ensued after the problem was discovered in 1681. A compromise proposed by Charles II in 1682, which might have resolved the issue, was undermined by Penn receiving the additional grant of the ‘Three Lower Counties’ along Delaware Bay, which later became the Delaware Colony, a satellite of Pennsylvania. These lands had been part of Maryland’s original grant.

In 1732 the proprietary governor of Maryland, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, signed a provisional agreement with William Penn’s sons which drew a line somewhere in between, and also renounced the Calvert claim to Delaware. But later Lord Baltimore claimed that the document he signed did not contain the terms he had agreed to, and refused to put the agreement into effect. Beginning in the mid-1730s, violence erupted between settlers claiming various loyalties to Maryland and Pennsylvania. The border conflict between Pennsylvania and Maryland would be known as Cresap’s War.

The issue was unresolved until the Crown intervened in 1760, ordering Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore to accept the 1732 agreement. Maryland’s border with Delaware was to be based on the Transpeninsular Line and the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle. The Pennsylvania-Maryland border was defined as the line of latitude 15 miles south of the southernmost house in Philadelphia.

As part of the settlement, the Penns and Calverts commissioned the English team of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to survey the newly established boundaries between the Province of Pennsylvania, the Province of Maryland, Delaware Colony, and parts of Colony and Old Dominion of Virginia.

After Pennsylvania abolished slavery in 1781, the western part of this line and the Ohio River became a border between free and slave states, although Delaware remained a slave state.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Late Night Karaoke

Congressional Game of Chicken: Hostages Get A Reprieve

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

President Barack Obama signed the bill early Thursday morning that reopens the government and raises the debt ceiling, officially ending the 16-day shutdown, the White House said.

CNN Breaking News

If anyone thinks that the latest budget crisis is over, or that there was a victory, they are living in the bubble of a fool’s paradise.

This has cost the economy billions, hurt countless individuals in many ways for a deal that merely kicks the can down the road. Come January, unless a long term budget deal is passed, another continuing resolution (CR) will be needed. February is even more ominous when again the US hits its borrowing limit.

Obama should have stood his ground last year when he caved and gave the Republicans the sequester which is far more damaging to the economy than the ACA. Look what happened to the Republican brand. That could have been last year and the Democrats might have stood a better chance of increasing its majority in the Senate and gaining even more than 8 seats in the House.

There is no sense in rehashing what can’t be undone. The Democrats now need to deal with repairing the damage of the last 5 years continuing to hold firm on the budget, ending the sequester cuts for more reasonable spending that will benefit the majority of Americans and finally killing the biggest threat to the US and World economies, the debt ceiling cap.

Time to take the bullets out of the gun.

2013 Junior League Championship: Boston @ Detroit Game 5

Knotted at two.  Some idiots are opining that Boston should feel totally intimidated by last night’s loss and might as well pack up and go home.

Folks, they are going home, to the friendly confines of Fenway and the Green Monster under the watchful eye of The Great God Citgo.  The team that has to win tonight is Detroit otherwise we have almost surely seen the last of Comerica (and good riddance to all Ballparks named for a corporate sponsor and yes, I do include Citi Field unless they spell it with a “Y”.  Now, about what is and isn’t a “Stadium”…).  In any event if the Tigers drop 2 of 3 at home, they are in deep trouble and the Red Sox already have their split.

Not that last night wasn’t exciting.  Just the kind of game I like.  It was a desperation line up that worked for once.

Fans of the Tigers didn’t have to wait long.  They scored 5 in the 2nd from a Leadoff Single, and 2 Walks to load up with No Out.  After a Pop Fly the Sox Walked in a Run and Scored on a Sacrifice.  Corners 2 Out.  2 RBI Double and an RBI single and they were 5 up.  Not that they weren’t 5 up in Game 2 which they lost.

In the 4th the Tigers went for the kill with a Leadoff Double, an RBI Single, a Steal, a Sacrifice, and another RBI Single.  Seven unanswered, but Detroit was through for the night.

The Sox got on the board in the 6th, 3 straight 1 Out Singles, the last an RBI.  They struck again in the 7th with a Leadoff Single and an RBI Double.  They wasted the 8th and in the 9th, down 5, threatened another one of those Game 2 comebacks.  Leadoff Double, RBI Triple, KO, KO, and then Ortiz, mighty Ortiz at the bat-

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;

It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;

It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,

For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;

There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,

No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;

Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.

Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,

Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,

And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.

Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-

“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,

Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.

“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;

And it’s likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;

He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;

He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;

But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;

But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,

And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;

He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.

And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,

And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;

But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

Well, actually it was a fly to Center, but you get the picture.

So tonight Detroit is sending out Anibal Sanchez (14 – 8, 2.75 ERA R).  This post-season he has won 1 and lost 1 with a 4.35 ERA based on 10 and a 3rd innings allowing 8 hits and 6 runs all against Oakland.  Boston will counter with Jon Lester (15 – 8, 3.75 ERA L), 1 – 1 post-season  with an ERA of 1.84 based on 9 hits and 3 runs in 14 innings including a loss to the Tigers.

On paper a great matchup.