Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 12 December 2014

Corporate America's Diversity Problem On Display At DealBook Conference - lack of women and people of color -

Corporate America's Diversity Problem On Display At DealBook Conference -  lack of women and people of color -  


It’s no secret that the leadership of corporate America, and Wall Street in particular, has a serious diversity problem. The lack of women and people of color in senior positions at the country’s largest businesses was on clear display at the New York Times DealBook conference on Thursday.

The theme of the conference, hosted by the paper’s finance and deal reporting site, was “Taking Stock of the Future: Rebuilding the Economy, Growth and Trust.”

Despite focusing on the future, the cast on stage looked a lot like the distant past.

Just three of the 20 people appearing on stage were women: Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, and Jessica Alba, the actress and co-founder of eco-friendly family products company The Honest Company. During her interview with DealBook founder Andrew Ross Sorkin, Alba was joined by Honest Company co-founder Brian Lee. Alba was the only executive who shared the stage with a colleague the entire day.

Only four of the 20 participants in the conference were people of color: Alba, who is Hispanic; American Express CEO Ken Chenault, who is African American; Lee, who is Korean American; and Jawbone co-founder and CEO Hosain Rahman, who is Pakistani American.

In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post, New York Times spokeswoman Stephanie Yera wrote: “Our DealBook conference is inclusive of innovators in business, finance, investment, retail, sports, media and tech, among other industries. We aimed to provide our audience with a diverse group of leaders, which included the first female C.E.O. of a major automaker, the first woman to be U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and our current chair of the S.E.C., and an entrepreneur who has found success as both an actress and a founder of a billion-dollar company."

The conference did manage to improve on corporate America’s standards of inclusion. Reuters reports that women account for 4 percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, and a 2012 McKinsey study found that women make up only 14 percent of executive committees on corporate boards in the Fortune 500. The Center for American Progress found that a similarly tiny fraction of Fortune 500 CEOs, 4.2 percent, was made up of people of color.

McKinsey came to the numerically incontrovertible conclusion that in corporate America, “the top circles of leadership remain male bastions.” It is also incontrovertible that executive America remains a white male bastion. Unfortunately, the stage at the DealBook conference was like a refrigeration unit at a weisswurst factory: full of white sausage.


Pope Francis says dogs can go to heaven - "Paradise is open to all of God's creatures." -

Pope Francis says dogs can go to heaven - "Paradise is open to all of God's creatures." - 

dog pet canine pope francis heaven angel paradise soul catholic animal

Pope Francis continues to show he's anything but traditional. During a recent public appearance, Francis comforted a boy whose dog had died, noting, "One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God's creatures."

Theologians say Francis — who took his papal name from the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi — was only speaking conversationally.

But the remark is being seen by some as a reversal of conservative Catholic theology that states because they are soulless, animals can't go to heaven,The New York Times reports.

In 1990, Pope John Paul II said animals have souls, but his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, gave a 2008 sermon that seemed to say the opposite.

Francis' comment has now sparked a new debate on the subject, and the Humane Society says it has been flooded with e-mails. If Francis does, in fact, believe animals have souls, "then we ought to seriously consider how we treat them," a rep says. "We have to admit that these are sentient beings, and they mean something to God."

PETA is also running with Francis' remark, suggesting Catholics should move toward a vegan lifestyle.

Animal souls aside, a recent Pew survey finds Francis has a 60% approval rating worldwide and 78% approval in the US, the Washington Post reports.

China may be growing fond of the pontiff, too, considering he allegedly refused a meeting with the Dalai Lama because, as the Dalai Lama reportedly said, "It might create inconveniences," the Times reports.


Rats like Sexy Underwear too! Rodents prefer females clad in BRAS compared to their naked counterparts, study reveals -

Rats like Sexy Underwear too! Rodents prefer females clad in BRAS compared to their naked counterparts, study reveals - 

delia taylor rats

When it comes to sex, it seems that rats - like men - get turned on by sexy lingerie.
In a bizarre study, 12 virgin male rats were given the chance to have sex with female rats wearing special rodent 'bras.'
When the rats were allowed to mate for a second time, the creatures chose to have sex with female rats wearing lingerie, rather than those who were naked.

The study, by Concordia University in Montreal, suggests that, like men, male rats can learn to associate sex with clothing.
Male rats learn that 'each time my partner wears lingerie [a jacket], I'm going to have sex,' co-author Gonzalo R. Quintana Zunino told Tanya Lewis at Live Science.

Professor Zunino explained that when a male rat attempts to have sex, it approaches the female from behind, which causes the female to do a 'wiggling dance'.
The study found that if the female rat was wearing the lingerie, the male rat would feel it with his whiskers.

In a second test, virgin males were exposed to both sexually receptive females wearing the jackets and non-sexually receptive females not wearing jackets.
These males were then exposed to two sexually-aroused female rats, one in a 'bra' and one naked, at the same time. 
More of the males ejaculated sooner when mating with the female rats wearing the sexy lingerie.
After they conducted the study, the researchers injected a dye into the rats' brains to show the inner workings.
They found that the males trained to find bra-wearing females attractive showed more neural activity in the pleasure centre of the brain.
The same research team had previously carried out a study with the use of scents, and found they could train rats to prefer to mate with females wearing perfume.
'We have the same brain structure and neurochemistry as our rats,' Dr Jim Pfaus, a professor in the psychology department at the university, told Ed Mazza at the Huffington Post.
'We can see this in studies of brain activation in humans and rats, even though our patterns of copulation appear utterly different.'
The study was presented last month at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Washington.


Presenting The $303 Trillion In Derivatives That US Taxpayers Are Now On The Hook For -

Presenting The $303 Trillion In Derivatives That US Taxpayers Are Now On The Hook For - 


Courtesy of the Cronybus(sic) last minute passage, government was provided a quid-pro-quo $1.1 trillion spending allowance with Wall Street's blessing in exchange for assuring banks that taxpayers would be on the hook for yet another bailout, as a result of the swaps push-out provision, after incorporating explicit Citigroup language that allows financial institutions to trade certain financial derivatives from subsidiaries that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, explicitly putting taxpayers on the hook for losses caused by these contracts. Recall:

Five years after the Wall Street coup of 2008, it appears the U.S. House of Representatives is as bought and paid for as ever. We heard about the Citigroup crafted legislation currently being pushed through Congress back in May when Mother Jones reported on it. Fortunately, they included the following image in their article:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 3.32.12 PM
 Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 3.32.12 PM

Unsurprisingly, the main backer of the bill is notorious Wall Street lackey Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Goldman Sachs employee who has discovered lobbyist payoffs can be just as lucrative as a career in financial services. 
We say explicitly, of course, because taxpayers have always been on the hook implicitly for the next Wall Street meltdown.


Exhibit A: US banks are the proud owners of $303 trillion in derivatives (and spare us the whole "but.. but... net exposure" cluelessness - read here why that is absolutely irrelevant when even one counterpaty fails):

Exhibit B: Here are the four banks that are in complete control of the US "republic."

At least we now know with certainty that to a clear majority in Congress - one consisting of republicans and democrats - the future viability of Wall Street is far more important than the well-being of their constituents. Which also, implicitly, was made clear when Hank Paulson was waving a three-page "blank check" term sheet, and when Congress voted through the biggest bailout of banks in US history back in 2008.

The only question is when the next multi-trillion (or perhaps quadrillion now that all global central banks are all in?) bailout takes place.

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