Alan Grayson: Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve?

unbelievable . . . Must Watch.

And now, back to my Mistress of the Universe theme . . .

James S. Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the main subject matter is how to reform the world’s financial system.

Mr. Turley’s advice is to add diversity to decision making, and pointedly, diversity of the female persuasion.

In an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, he points out that


It is not just about adding a woman here or there. It is about building the critical mass that gives people the power to speak up, and to have their views heard. It’s not that women make better decisions, have a greater sense of risk, or can sniff out fraud better than men. But they tend to approach decisions differently than men, with different frames of reference. Not having enough women in positions of power and decision-making capacities has deprived major firms—and the global economy of the diversity in thinking and resulting positive outcomes, which were desperately needed then, and now.

He reminds us that

  • Companies who have put women in top positions report significant gains. A recent report from research group Catalyst found that, on average, Fortune 500 companies with more women on their boards outperformed those with fewer women directors on a broad range of financial indicators.
  • A McKinsey study showed that companies with three or more women in senior management scored higher than companies with no women at the top on a range of measures for organizational excellence.
  • A 2002 report from the Conference Board of Canada, a research group, found that boards with three or more women were more likely than all-male boards to be thinking about risks and ensuring that conflict-of-interest guidelines and a code of conduct for their organization were in place.rq

the article, reprinted from the WSJ

What drives this country to maintain its glass ceiling, when such evidence exists that women in business would benefit both the companies they work for and ultimately the country in which we live?

If you’re interested in further reading, here’s a link to Ernest&Young’s “Groundbreakers, Using the strength of women to rebuild the world economy.”

And if you think it’s a stretch, you should consider what we ask of women already. . .

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report in August, 2007, that there are approximately 13.6 million21.2 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today).single parents in the United States today, and they’re raising.

Jennifer Wolf of About.Com assimilated the following data from the US Census Department. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005. By Timothy S. Grall. Census, 2007. 17 Mar. 2008

  • 84% of custodial parents are mothers, and
  • 16% of custodial parents are fathers

Of those Moms,

  • 44% are divorced or separated
  • 33% have never been married
  • 22% are married (and mostly these are remarried)
  • 1% were widowed

* 79% are gainfully employed

  • 27.7% live in poverty . . . in case the math doesn’t come easy, that is 5,955,500 children living in poverty in the richest country on earth.

Only 31% of ALL single parents receive public assistance and 6% receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)

Our greatest resource is our children, and women are expected to do whatever it takes to care for them and nurture them, in any and all circumstances, without a lot of help . . . And while we freely give them that responsibility and expect the best, we don’t ask women to manage adults? We don’t let them help improve the economy, when they obviously know how to live on less?

Organization skills? Codes of conduct? These single women with children don’t have to work to learn those things. They live them as a matter of course. And we could be using those skills to help us recover? Not take over from men, not take away.

Just help us recover.

I’ve been a single Mom for 16 years. I’ve worked all that time, gone to most every school function, have become known on a first name basis to most of my children’s teachers over the years, and all the counselors and principals at the high school my children attended.

I’ve worked longer hours than any man I know in my business, and stayed up more nights with sick kids.

And, I”ve been treated as “just a woman” at a lot of places I’ve worked. (When I was younger, I was treated as just a sex object, but that’s a completely different rant.)

You know, as Americans we won’t approach being an enlightened group of people until women are actually at the top, and the fact that our President is Black isn’t even remarked upon.

State and local governments adjust to money crunch

Reading the Times this morning, I was saddened to see that the state of Florida, in its own economic crisis, has stepped up efforts to collect fines . . . sometimes years old, and unbeknownst to the people they are going after.

Did you know there are conferences on collecting money, and state executives are attending them . . . and they are really interested in Florida’s success with their  “exceptionally aggressive” approach to collecting fines.

Real estate related fees are down everywhere, just another ripple in the trickle down from the mortgage money crises, and states and local governments are trying to hold on to their people and maintain their services, with a greatly reduced budget.

Thankfully, there are people with a voice who decry Judges as debt collectors, and realize that they are probably penalizing the people who are in the worst shape.  We’re not talking about Wall Street bonuses, we’re talking about people who were so broke they bounced a check for food and then paid ten times the amount of the check for fines to their banks and the court.

Municipalities aren’t going to maintain gracious standards of living by beating down poor people even more.

Eveyone isn’t out for blood, Rhode Island has gone so far as to pass a law allowing leniency of  fines for poor defendants in contrast to some Florida counties who are actually using collection agencies!

If debtor prisons are next, they need to figure out how they’ll ever pay for them.


I just signed up for to add my blog posts to my twitter. Sweet!

Stock Loans for Investors Outside the US

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Victoria, Australia bushfires, from someone who's living it . . .

I just received this from one of my Australian connections on Linked In.  I had NO idea the bushfires were so extensive in Australia.  Here it is in her words: Dear Traci, I am taking a minute to email all of my LinkedIn connections in relation to the horrific Bushfire situation in Victoria, Australia. I live in the rebuilt township of Cockatoo, Victoria; the worst hit town, obliterated in the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires in which 75 people died and 2,545 homes were lost, total land area burnt was approximately 2,100 km². On the weekend I evacuated my young family ahead of the warnings that the fire conditions on Saturday 7th January 2009 would be worse than those on Ash Wednesday, and they were. Thankfully our area was spared this time around, however many areas weren’t. The current situation is that there are 25 fires still burning out of control and a total 152 fires burning in Victoria yet to be declared safe, 173 people are confirmed dead and over 750 homes lost, 3,218 km² of land burnt, and still more to come. I personally have dear friends still missing in Kinglake and Narbethong, including two children aged 6 and 3, and several other friends are thankfully safe, but without homes. It cost $1.3 billion (in today’s adjusted terms) to rebuild after Ash Wednesday. Victorian citizens, Corporate and Government have already raised $28 Million, however it will take much more to rebuild after this devastating event. I am making a heartfelt appeal to anyone who can spare a few dollars to please make a donation to the Australian Red Cross, Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009 on this link, every single dollar counts. Please could you also share this email with your professional networks, or on blogs, etc. Thank you for your consideration and for sparing a thought for all who have lost beloved ones, animals, homes and memories. Kind regards, Katherine

Was the problem on Wall Street elevated testosterone? and not subprime mortgages?

You really must read this article . . .

Mistresses of the Universe

Nicholas D. Kristof, writing in the New York Times tells us that
“At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, some of the most interesting discussions revolved around whether we would be in the same mess today if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters. The consensus (and this is among the dead white men who parade annually at Davos) is that the optimal bank would have been Lehman Brothers and Sisters.” (Italics mine)

“Wall Street is one of the most male-dominated bastions in the business world; senior staff meetings resemble a urologist’s waiting room. Aside from issues of fairness, there’s evidence that the result is second-rate decision-making.”

And, the same conclusions are being reached around the world: The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor; Stanford University, and The Journal of Economic Theory.

So that’s the job I’m applying for . . . Mistress of the Universe

Read his full article here . . . The New York Times.

You're losing access to one of your credit scores after February 14th

Experian has fired Fair Issac, and Fair Issac will not sell Experian credit scores to consumers after February 14. Well, Happy Valentines to you, too.

Experian will sell FICO scores to lenders, but with Experian not selling to consumers, you’re now flying blind about that score if you’ve been working to keep up with your credit record and keep track of your scores. You will, after the 14th, only have access to TransUnion and Equifax.

Ironically, lenders are making credit standards higher and tougher, and qualifying for all kinds of credit is getting harder. The benchmark score of 680, which was the score necessary for any mortgage loan in recent years, has been replaced with a “good” score of 720, and interest rates on mortgages are driven specifically by credit score.

So, knowing your score is important unless you have scads of cash in your personal safe and don’t want to ever borrow again (Not a bad idea, but my own safe is lately out of the stacks of cash . . . )

Tom Quinn, vice president for scoring at Fair Isaac said, “We are surprised that Experian made such a decision, particularly given what’s going on in the national economy and with consumers being concerned about their credit standing. Their decision means that consumers will no longer be able to see or manage their scores based on the Experian data.”

Experian computes another score and they will provide it to consumers . . . but since it isn’t the one that goes to lenders, who really wants or needs it? I suppose people who don’t know it isn’t used in credit decisions will continue to buy it, and that may be the reason for Experian offering it . . . it is all about money, isn’t it?

You can read full details on The New York Times
Posted via web from Traci’s posterous

Posted by Traci on February 09, 2009 at 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) ShareThis

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