Study: top bank execs saw the crash coming and sold off shares in their own institutions

In a new working paper from the Center for Economic Policy Research, scholars look at the trading records of shareholders, directors and top executives of major financial institutions in the runup to the crash of 2007, and find that the sell-offs by the top five executives at a bank strongly correlated with that bank’s losses in the crash, but that other stakeholders’ trading do not correlate: in other words, the very top brass of banks knew that they were sitting on piles of worthless paper and sold before anyone else knew about it, and kept their shareholders, direct reports, and the board of directors in the dark.

The significance here is that after the crash, the standard line on the banks’ risky behavior was that they simply didn’t anticipate the consequences of their recklessness; this research suggests that they knew exactly what was coming, but that “explicit and implicit bank guarantees by states, such as deposit insurance, provision of central bank liquidity, and bail-outs make it rational for banks to take on excessive risk,” the result of which is that “bank managements can escape from control of their shareowners and holders of bank debt.”
Transgender bathroom access fight set to reach Supreme Court
The legal fight over whether transgender people can use public bathrooms that reflect their gender identity is set to reach the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time on Wednesday in a case involving a Virginia high school student who was born a girl but now identifies as male.

The legal fight over whether transgender people can use public bathrooms that reflect their gender identity is set to reach the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time on Wednesday in a case involving a Virginia high school student who was born a girl but now identifies as male.

The Gloucester County School Board has lost its fight in lower courts to prevent Gavin Grimm, 17, from using the boys’ bathroom while litigation continues.

The board is expected to file an emergency application with the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking to block a lower court’s injunction requiring it to allow Grimm to use the boys’ bathroom, according to Kyle Duncan, one of the school board’s lawyers.

The move comes after a federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to put the injunction on hold.

The school board is expected to ask Chief Justice John Roberts, who has responsibility for emergency actions that arise from the regional federal appeals court that covers Virginia, to grant a stay of the injunction. Roberts could act alone or refer the matter to all eight justices. Five votes are need to grant a stay application.

The American Civil Liberties Union had sued on behalf of Grimm to challenge the school board’s bathroom policy, which requires transgender students to use alternative restroom facilities.

The April ruling by the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Grimm was the first by an appeals court to find that transgender students are protected under federal laws that bar sex-based discrimination.

Transgender rights have become an increasingly divisive issue in the United States, and the issue of the use of public bathrooms has been a key part of the controversy. Some conservative states sought to require people to use bathrooms that reflect their gender at birth.

The Obama administration issued a directive in May telling public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity or risk losing federal funding. So far, 23 states have sued to block the directive.

Separately, the Justice Department sued North Carolina in May over a state law requiring people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates.

The Obama administration’s May letter said transgender people are protected by prohibitions on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to employment, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which applies to federally funded schools.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Daniel Wiessner; Editing by Will Dunham) 

Expect this ruling to be decided next June at SCOTUS. Hopefully the court rules in favor of Gavin Grimm and transgender rights. 

h/t: The Raw Story, via Reuters

paint runs, like my mind.

Penelope rarely went to Belle’s studio. She always felt like it was sort of off limits, like entering part of Belle’s mind. The few times she had been there had her in awe. Her room mate was so stunningly talented and a swell of pride filled her when she walked through the doorway. “Belle, your bestie’s here.” she called out, her melodious voice bouncing off the walls. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the newest paintings around her before spotting her friend. A bright smile colored her cheeks as she approached the other girl. “I see you have it all set up.” Her eyes were directed at the large board in front of her. 

Hemsworth pushed to film Thor in Australia

Chris Hemsworth helped bring Thor: Ragnarok to Australia and was even instrumental in landing the film’s Kiwi director, Taika Waititi.

The Aussie actor, who is on the Gold Coast filming the Marvel movie, said he had been trying to shoot a film back home since his soapie days.

“I haven’t been back here since Home and Away and loved shooting here, being here, and working on that show. I had looked for something that would take me back here,” Hemsworth told AAP.

When it came to his fifth outing as the Norse god, Hemsworth, who lives in Byron Bay in NSW, suggested his own country as the perfect place to shoot the film.

“This time around I said ‘why can’t we shoot in Australia for this film?’ and it became a conversation, and here we are and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Hemsworth was also integral in getting Waititi on board to direct.

The director seemed at first to be a bit of an outside choice, having specialised before in smaller, quirkier movies such as Boy, vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows and funny family film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

But the Aussie actor reveals he’s been a fan of the director’s work for a long time.

“When I saw Boy I wanted to meet him and then sought him out. When I met him I said 'I want to work with you’ and then when this opportunity came up it was just like 'yes’. This is exactly what I felt Thor the character needed and what the world needed,” he said.

When Waititi was named on a shortlist of potential directors, Hemsworth made it clear who his preference was.

“His name came up among a handful of people and he was certainly the one I pointed to,” he said.

“But he got himself the job through true talent. But he had my vote.”

Hemsworth says Thor has been gradually getting funnier over his past few onscreen outings.

“It’s been sort of creeping to the surface over the years and at times he’s become too earnest. But especially in the last Avengers I thought 'I want more of that fun. I want more of that sort of humour’. There’s plenty of it in this film, which is refreshing,” he said.

“We have the script, which is great but then Taika will say 'Let’s just try the wacky version now and send it in this direction’ and 90 per cent of it might be unusable. But hopefully there’s 10 per cent in there that can be used.”