Banned OSHA Films

Here’s a nice Labor Day themed story.

In 1980, the last year of Jimmy Carter’s administration, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) commissioned a series of three 30-minute films about worker safety.  These were real pro productions, with Studs Terkel as narrator on two of the productions.  In 1981, Reagan appointed 36-year old Florida construction executive Thorne G. Auchter, who proceeded to systematically dismantle the agency.  Evidently, the 3 films disturbed Thorne greatly, because OSHA issued a recall, threatening to withold OSHA funds from any organization that did not return their copies of the films, which were promptly destroyed.

But, a few union officials defied the ban and "stole" copies so they weren’t able to be returned.  Over the years, they would occasionally show them to their troops, using the fact they banned as a way to get them to watch the films, which have important messages about worker rights and workplace safety.  But, aside from these bootleg showings, the video disappeared.

PublicResource.Org got a note recently from Mark Catlan, a health and safety expert for one of the unions for the last 28 years (he actually started working for the union the year the film came out, and remembers his education director stealing a copy out of his office so it wouldn’t get returned).  A year ago, Mark decided the world needed to see these films, so he found 16-mm cannisters and made them available to us to transfer to DVCAM and then disk.

Making their public debut after 30 years are "Worker to Worker," "Can’t Take No More," and "The Story of OSHA."

Link to YouTube

The Story of OSHA

Can’t Take No More

Worker to Worker



Link to the Internet Archive:

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Via Dave Farber’s Interesting People list

Category: Employment, Video

Labor Day Weekend Linkfest

Category: Financial Press

UNOFFICIAL Troubled Bank List

Category: Credit, Finance, Psychology

Variation on the GDP/Inflation Chart

Category: Commodities, Data Analysis, Economy, Inflation

Bloggers versus MSM

Interesting discussion from the Denver Convention:

Category: Financial Press, Video, Weblogs

Gone Forecasting: Fishing for Economic Answers

CNBC’s Steve Liesman on "Unique insights on the credit crisis and the future of the banking system from a stream in Maine…"

I have a few words in this, along with my pal Scott Frew, and colleagues David Mordechai (Swiss Re) and David Kotok (Cumberland).

click for video


via CNBC

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Category: Credit, Derivatives, Economy, Video

2001-07: Weakest Post WW2 Recovery on Record

Category: Economy, Employment, Wages & Income

GDP: Lowest Inflation Rate in 5 Years

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Inflation

Grapevine Fires

Category: Digital Media, Music

Market Monopoly

A bonus Friday afternoon guest post via Macro Man
– a portfolio manager at a London-based hedge fund, he trades global
currencies, equities, fixed income, and commodities. Over a long and
varied career, Macro Man has been an international economist, a
sell-side currency strategist, and a currency options market-maker.

His amusing Friday afternoon topic?  Market Monopoly!


With the Olympics and the summer drawing to a close, it’s now time for market participants to get themselves back from the beach, turn off the TV, and focus on making money for the four-and-bit months that remain of 2008.  Yet the Olympic spirit lives on, and many of us would love to channel our inner Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps.

Indeed, over the course of his career Macro Man has met many market people who are just as competitive as Bolt, Phelps, or Tiger Woods, for that matter.   Sadly, while the mind is willing, the flesh is all too often weak (in this case, literally.)   How, then, can desk-driving market  people bring out the Olympian that lurks within us all and keep the competitive fires burning?

Macro Man has hit upon the answer: Monopoly.  The game requires no discernible athletic ability and is predicated upon acquiring assets as cheaply as possible, levering them up,  and separating other players from their cash.  It’s a skill set with which many (but by no means all) market punters are well-acquainted.   

Of course, in Monopoly, as in life, chance can play a significant role in determining winners and losers.   In real life, these slings and arrows of outrageous fortune can come from anywhere, but in Monopoly they derive from the dice and the Chance/Community Chest cards.   Come to think of it, it looks like the game of Market Monopoly has already started, because some of the cards have already been drawn.  Consider who’s already holding the following (vintage) Monopoly cards:

ADIA, CIC, and Temasek holdings.  These SWFs  already own very significant stakes in a number of banks in the US and Europe, in many cases via high-yielding preferred shares.  Though it may be a case of thrice bitten, four times shy, Macro Man can’t help but think that at the end of the dilutive capital-raising process, these guys will be the only ones left with enough equity to get paid any meaningful dividend income.

Counterparties of Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers
in the structured credit space appear to have quite a few of these cards up their sleeve.

Holders of 2007 vintage AA-rated ABX.   Unfortunately, to collect the prize, they have to tender $100 of face.  (Since this vintage card was printed, prices have fallen further.  In the modern editions of Monopoly, second prize winners only get $10.)

John Thain.  Mr. Thain’s tenure at the helm of Merrill Lynch has been characterized by three things: large write-downs, a fire sale of assets to clean up the balance sheet, and Merrill itself providing the funding to the buyers in the aforementioned fire sale.  Alternatively, this card could represent Merrill’s settlement of its part of the auction rate securities fiasco.

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Category: Corporate Management, Credit, Earnings, Valuation