Monday, November 30, 2009

Post on banking and jobs

I also have a blog called "Mortgage Maven" where I post about issues in the banking industry to supplement my freelance writing for banking trade magazines and other bank/economic related issues and information.

Read my latest blog post called "Jobs, cash and credit"

Friday, November 13, 2009

MLB.com coverage of the 15th Annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit Dinner


Williams, Gossage honored at ALS benefit
\Yankees legends feted at 15th annual event in NY
By Mark Newman / MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Yankees legends Bernie Williams and Goose Gossage joined the New York Jets' all-time rushing leader, Curtis Martin, and NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins as honorees at the 15th annual Lou Gehrig Sports Award Benefit on Thursday night. The event was put on by the ALS Association's Greater New York Chapter, which raised $700,000 toward the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Click here to read the full story on MLB.com

Thursday, November 05, 2009

American Anarchists Bomb Wall Street

No. That’s not the plot of the next blockbuster movie (though it should be) and it’s not a political statement (though it should be) or a controversial newspaper headline (New York Post, perhaps?). It is a statement of fact (historical fact). Anarchists once blew up a bomb on Wall Street to destabilize the economy and overthrow the capitalist regime. In a note left by the perpetrators they proclaimed: Remember we will not tolerate any longer. Free the political prisoners or it will be sure death for all of you. American Anarchists Fighters.

Everyday I pass the fa├žade of 23 Wall Street on my way to work. Right in front of the area where I get my coffee and where thousands of people pass every day, some with suits and briefcases and others with cameras and “I Love New York” t-shirts is a pockmarked section of stone on what once was the headquarters of J.P. Morgan & Co. With all of the construction on the street installing automatic traffic barriers on the newly laid cobblestones you’d think someone would think to fix the deep craters and scattered pits on the stone wall of this historic building. They’re not going to anytime soon and it’s no real secret that the building owners purposely left this evidence of anarchy for all to see almost 90 years ago.

On September 16, 1920 at around lunchtime a horse and wagon was parked across the street from the building at 23 Wall loaded with “100 pounds (45 kg) of dynamite with 500 pounds (230 kg) of heavy, cast-iron sash weights” according to Wikipedia. Set on a timer the explosion blasted the horse and wagon to bits, ultimately killing 38 people and injuring 400, making it the most deadly bombing on US soil up to that time. In an article in L Magazine it was said that some of the largest remains of the exploded horse and wagon included “two charred hooves, which landed in the cemetery at Trinity Church, three blocks west.” The blast also caused about $2 million in property damage, destroying much of the interior of the J.P. Morgan building.

Italian anarchists were blamed for the attack. The FBI stated a few years later "the best evidence and analysis since that fateful day of September 16, 1920, suggests that the Bureau's initial thought was correct—that a small group of Italian Anarchists were to blame. But the mystery remains."

Some say that the bombers were mad about the murder charges brought up against a duo of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. The pair was accused of killing a clerk and a security guard during an armed robbery. It seems from historical accounts that Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty by their association to the anarchist organization and that was enough to bring about a conviction and execution. Their trial is infamous for the gross mishandling of the case by the prosecutors, defense and the judge. It was such a well-known debacle of justice and the rule of law that in 1977 Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis declared, "Any stigma and disgrace should be forever removed from the names of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. We are not here to say whether these men are guilty or innocent. We are here to say that the high standards of justice, which we in Massachusetts take such pride in, failed Sacco and Vanzetti."

The 1920 attack brings to mind of course the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers (and elsewhere) by zealots with no less of an objective than the 23 Wall Street bombers to destabilize the capitalist regime as well as take American lives. The great economics commentator, Daniel Gross wrote about this parallel of historical tragedy in an article in TheStreet.com just after the 2001 attacks.

Walking down Wall Street toward the New York Stock Exchange you can see to this day—just east of the corner of Broad and Wall Streets—the historical damage of this 1920 explosion. While tragic and sad, it is another testament of the stoicism of New York City and the important history that pervades this downtown area.

Most people walk by that corner everyday on the way to work without knowing what happened right under their feet almost 90 years ago. When I see the tourists taking pictures of the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall I want to turn them around and march them only a few feet to what must seem now a mundane detail, a piece of a structure that to them must need maintenance but once represented the deep philosophical battle that was waged between anarchists and capitalists on our own city streets in modern times. Sure, it makes for a boring picture, but it’s really a great story.