Black on Dodd-Frank; USAS Victory; etc.

Various items:

(1) New Blog Feature:  Possibly Irrelevant Images. With this post I inaugurate a new feature for the D&S blog (or at least my posts here): Possibly Irrelevant Images, random images I have come across on the Internets (as I like to call them, in tribute to GWB).  An inspiration for this feature is the “Antidote du jour” feature that is part of the daily links posts at Naked Capitalism. But I’ll be aiming for images that are visually interesting and possibly leftist, vs. cute animal pictures.  As the name of this new feature implies, the images may or may not have anything to do with the posts they introduce or with left economics. If there is a connection, it may be obvious, but it may also be oblique, or downright recondite–it is up to you to decide. Blog readers are encouraged to submit interesting images; if I post yours you’ll get my gratitude and a hat-tip. For now two of my main sources for interesting images will surely be This Isn’t Happiness and Eric Becker’s “Today” over at Design Observer. (I also welcome suggestions for good sources of groovy or weird or beautiful images.) I will include a link to the source where I found it.

Here is today’s Possibly Irrelevant Image:

Boxes on Heads
Boxes on Heads

(2) Bill Black on Frank-Dodd at Real News Network: The New York Times just posted an article, Army of Ex-Regulators Set to Lobby on New Financial Rules, suggesting that the revolving door between the banks and their regulators is in full operation. William K. (“Bill”) Black is one former regulator not going that route.  Regular readers of this blog will know that Bill Black wrote a great article for our Nov/Dec 2007 issue about the then-nascent banking crisis. There’s a nice series of interviews with him over at the Real News Network.  The fourth installment, posted today, is Who Regulates the Regulators?

(3) Nonprofit Compensation:  The Times had an interesting article about how much CEOs and other bigwigs at nonprofits make (Lawmakers Seeking Cuts Look at Nonprofit Salaries). The article has a heart-warming picture of “Roxanne Spillett, the chief executive of Boys & Girls Clubs, [who]was paid $988,591 in 2008,” tending to a boy and a girl at one of the clubs and looking more like a teacher’s aide than a gazillionaire. She actually tears up when she tells the reporter: “I have worked in the organization for 32 years, and I’ve never been motivated by a dime, not for a single minute.” A Boys & Girls Club board member calls the suggestion that Spillett makes too much money “offensive,” citing the growth of the organization under her leadership. “Do they really think we’d waste their money? Or anyone’s money?” Scrutiny of the organization raised other concerns; Senate investigators are now “are now questioning Boys & Girls Clubs investments in private equity and offshore funds and its use of its endowment.”

The funniest bit was from the head of the American Heart Association, M. Cass Wheeler, who is eager to emphasize that his reported compensation of $995,424 is misleading, because it includes supplemental retirement payment. “If you peeled all that back, you’d get to a base salary less than $600,000.” Well, in that case…  How on earth does he get by?

An item from the Dealbook blog at the Times reports on a new study of compensation, according to which corporate boards “use peers to inflate executive pay.” Find that blog post here;  find the abstract for the original study, which appears in the Journal of Financial Economics, here.

(4) Laying off Workers and Squeezing the Ones You Keep Is Good for Profits. According to the New York TimesIndustry Finds Surging Profits in Deeper Cuts. This relates to the article we are likely to post to the D&S website tomorrow, John Miller’s “Employers Go on Strike–Because They Can.” But…

(5) Huge Victory Against Nike for United Students Against Sweatshops. Nike finally agreed to compensate Honduran workers who were fired by Nike subcontractors several years ago.  Here’s the press release from the USAS campaign website. Here’s the Wall Street Journal story;  here’s the Democracy Now! story. Of course $1.5bn is chump change for Nike, but it is a nice precedent, and good for those workers.

–Chris Sturr

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