Bernie Madoff, age 71, sentenced to 150 years in jail

Bernie Madoff gets 150 years in the slammer for orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in history and his wife, Ruth, has to sell her beach houses, jewelry and furs. Tear. (NYT)

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is back to work after a scary liver transplant two months ago. (Forbes)

Ivy League endowment funds have shown steep declines, like those at Harvard and Yale, because of risky investments in hedge funds, while universities with endowments less than $1 billion have fared better. (WSJ)

California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger is at odds with the State Senate on how to manage their $24 billion debt. The state may have to issue IOUs to its creditors, but do it with dignity to show they’re no economic girly men. (FT)

Governor David Paterson gets his wish as a judge orders all 62 New York state senators into the chambers to break the month-long political stalemate. Republicans, of course, are already appealing the decision. (NYT)

How can Goldman Sachs afford year-end bonuses in a recession?

Two noteworthy stories chronicling the hegemonic position of the Goldman Sachs Group appeared last week. The first was a scoop by The Guardian about an internal announcement regarding the record bonuses that Goldman will pay at the end of 2009, assuming that the company’s year-end profit projections are borne out. The second piece was a 10-page Rolling Stone spread by Matt Taibbi elucidating Goldman’s central role in every major economic bubble since the dawn of bubble economics.

Continue reading How can Goldman Sachs afford year-end bonuses in a recession?

Sanford-watch, day 6

Disgraced South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford stubbornly won’t give up his post. (We’re taking bets whether his wife will be standing by him when he does it.) (NYT)

Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff goes to court today to receive his punishment, which will likely be a life sentence. (Bloomberg)

Supreme Court Justice David Souter will decide his last case today before retiring, leaving a space open that will hopefully be taken by nominated appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor. (ABC)

Barack Obama praises historic climate change bill passed by the House last week, but calls a provision that imposes tariffs on countries that don’t limit their global warming emissions ” (WSJ)

Governor David Paterson‘s push to legalize gay marriage in New York is at a standstill in a State Senate concerned with more important things, like locking each other out of secret meetings. (NYT)

Countdown to Sanford’s resignation, day 3

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford isn’t leaving the headlines just yet. Turns out, he visited his mistress in Argentina on a taxpayer-funded mission. Here’s the real question: why does the governor of South Carolina need to take a “business development trip” to Argentina? (NYT)

Not to be overshadowed in the news by someone with a similar name, Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford‘s bail is set at $500,000 for masterminding a $7 billion fraud scandal. (NYT)

Senator Max Baucus from Montana says the Senate will keep its health care bill under $1 trillion. But what he’s not saying is what the provisions of the bill will be. (WSJ) One controversial part of the bill is Obama‘s public insurance option, opposed by the American Medical Association. (Balt Sun)

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke defends his actions during the “shotgun wedding” merger of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. (Reuters)

AIG reaches $25 billion debt agreement with the Federal Reserve, giving the Fed a stake in their international investment arms. (FT)

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson. We know the way you made us feel. (LA Times)

LittleSis is growing!

And not just the database. Over the past two weeks, the LittleSis team has added three new members: Ellen Przepasniak, a (recovering?) print journalist, will be coordinating communications efforts and making regular appearances here at Eyes on the Ties; Erin Heaney, a community organizer, will be coordinating special projects, on-site and off; and Kyle Stone, an (involuntary?) social network guru, will be coordinating outreach efforts. You can read more about them here.

We’re really excited to have them on board. They’ve already brought an enormous amount of energy, enthusiasm, and vision to the project. And they know how to get stuff done.

LittleSis will take some big steps forward over the next few months — you’ll hear more about what’s in store soon — and Ellen, Erin, and Kyle are going to play a big part in making it all happen.

A.I.G. releases a payment plan

A.I.G. fully intends to pay back the Federal Reserve Bank of New York … eventually. (NYT)

First Spitzer, then Ensign, now Sanford.  Politicians just can’t seem to keep it in their pants. (NYT)

The auto industry isn’t out of the economic fog just yet.  Toyota’s brand new president, Akio Toyoda, predicts two more tough years before a rebound and lays out his plan to make it happen. (Reuters)

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller determines health insurers are using flawed databases from Ingenix, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, and consequently are underpaying millions of insurance claims. (WSJ)

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa calls shenanigans on the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch “shotgun wedding,” claiming the Federal Reserve covered up details of the merger from other federal regulatory agencies. (FT)

New York Times is on Pimco’s speed dial

On Sunday, The New York Times ran “Bill Gross of Pimco is on Treasury’s Speed-Dial,” a lengthy article on the cozy relations between PIMCO executives Bill Gross and Mohamed El-Erian and the Treasury Department. The piece had the confessional tone that is commonplace these days on the Times business page. To seek absolution for rapaciously self-interested actions, executives seem eager to tell all to Times reporters. Once the conflicts of interest and manipulation are out in the open, they lose their shock factor and can continue unabated.

The article traced the origin of PPIP to El-Erian, a much-hyped bond manager and emerging markets specialist. Although El-Erian’s plan for shedding toxic assets wasn’t adopted immediately, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner eventually warmed to it, and El-Erian and Gross helped shape it at every step. Now PIMCO appears first in line to benefit from the sweet terms they drew up for the government, should any bank ever decide to participate in the program.

Continue reading New York Times is on Pimco’s speed dial

Big Oil back in Iraq

Iraq prepares to auction off oil contracts to foreign oil companies; Exxon Mobil and 34 others prepare to bid. (WSJ)

Obama takes stronger stance, condemns Iran’s crackdown. (NYT)

Citigroup to offer smaller bonuses, but will increase salaries by as much as 50%. (NYT)

Missing SC guv was in Argentina, not hiking on the Appalachian Trail as claimed. (WSJ)

Cuomo‘s money manager received state pension funds to invest, presenting possible conflict of interest. (Bloomberg)

JPM, BofA, Citi top world’s strongest zombie banks list. (Reuters)

Making a list, checking it twice

Littlesis recently welcomed a few new staff members and interns who have been working hard to add content to the site. They’ve created a few new lists that are worth checking out:

We’re working as fast as we can to create complete profiles of the people and firms on these lists but could use your help.  If you are already an analyst, consider spending some time week creating a great profile or two.  If you’re not already a member of the Littlesis community, sign up to begin watching the powers that be.

Goldman responds to bonus uproar

Goldman denies reports of huge bonuses; Blankfein says pay is based on performance. (NY Daily News)

South Carolina governor‘s mysterious disappearance explained: he went for a walk in the woods. (WSJ)

DC metro crash kills 7; NTSB investigates. (AP)

Edsel, William, and the rest of the Ford family rallied around automaker as crisis deepened. (NYT)

Supreme Court, with Kennedy writing for majority, rules that Army Corps of Engineers can dump mining waste in Alaska Lake. (NYT)

Obama, still a sometime smoker, signs tobacco bill. (NYT)