Toward a Perfect Vagina: Cutting-Edge Operations Another Boost to Burgeoning Cosmetic-Surgery Industry

The quest for the "perfect vagina" — the growing trend of labial surgery — is fraught with peril, according to a new report in a British medical journal.

But the increasingly popular surgery (the 2008 video above has been viewed 3 million times), which clips flesh for a neater (and critics say "more pubescent") look down there, is yet another boon to the $30 billion cosmetic-surgery industry.

Goldman's Sick Strategy on Two Fronts: Not Just Swine Flu Vaccine But a Cynical Low-Income Housing Ploy


Quick roundup in the WSJ Deal Journal by Michael Corkery about Goldman Sachs's great week:

Lusting after cheapo Fannie Mae housing tax credits so it can offset its taxes and perform its required community-reinvestment duties without creating new affordable housing.

Scoring swine flu vaccine at a higher rate that Memorial Sloan-fucking-Kettering Cancer Center, for Christ's sake. And getting the vaccine while kids around the nation are told there's no vaccine to be had.

This Afternoon: Larry Summers Reflux; Tax Credits Bandied About; Debt Market Infantile and Still Supposedly Paralyzed

Support Is Building for a Tax Credit to Help Hiring (NYT)

Now they're talking about it. Barack Obama had dropped it from his stimulus plan last winter.

AP Poll: Health Care Overhaul Has a Pulse (NYT)

Polls are usually bullshit, but people pay attention to them. The public is the last group of people to know what kind of health-care bill will emerge from Congress and the White House. Fact is that some kind of change will be made, has to be made. Whether it turns out to be "reform" is another matter. Intensive lobbying for the insurance industry and Big Pharma make that an almost impossible task, as this story doesn't note.

VAT's The Matter? (

The pondered value-added tax is "a potential money gusher for strapped governments but a massive new levy on all Americans."

U.S. Recession May Erase Prior Expansion's Jobs, Goldman Says (Bloomberg)

Considering that Goldman Sachs runs the nation's economy, this is worth heeding.

California's Zigzag on Welfare Rules Worries Experts (NYT)

Analyzing Larry Summers (Seeking Alpha, Rortybomb)

Riffing on Ryan Lizza's profile in the New Yorker.


This A.M.: Public Option at Death's Door; Wall Street Bonuses, Profits Getting Healthier; Blogger Shills Get Smacked Down

Is the tide turning for the public option? (Salon)

"As healthcare reform moves to backroom talks, supporters say its chances may be improving."

U.S. Losing Ground on Preventable Deaths: Despite High Medical Spending, Results Trail Other Wealthy Countries (WashPost)

Pay Czar Targets Salary Cuts (WSJ)

Ken Feinberg might actually be planning a crackdown. Instead of cash, execs would have to take stock that they couldn't fuck with for several years. "Most intrusive [move] yet into corporate compensation."

Obama Weighs Spending to Stem Job Cuts Without Second Stimulus (Bloomberg)

Or at least without something that carries the label "stimulus." More gullible NYT story here.

One-Third of Wall Street Workers Expect Bigger Bonus This Year (Bloomberg)

U.S. Seeks to Restrict Gift Giving to Bloggers (WSJ)

Cracking down on the shilling of products "for fun and profit." Bloggers supposedly have to reveal freebies or money they get for writing product reviews. Also cracking down on celebrity endorsements.

Recession Spells End for Many Family Businesses (WSJ)

The ones that Wal-Mart and fast-food chains hadn't already killed.

Google to blight smartphones with big ads (Register U.K.)

Prepaid, but Not Prepared for Debit Card Fees (NYT)

Yet another legal scam foisted upon a recession-plagued public.

Comedian pitches $100k for Twitter account: Drew Carey eyes @drew for charity (Register U.K.)

If you're willing to pay $100,000 to outbid Drew Carey, then you have too much money. Cancer becomes a Twitter game.


This A.M.: Public Money For Flu Shots Down; Public Money For Banks and Leveraged-Buyout Firms Up

Public Faces Long Wait to Get New Flu Vaccine (WSJ)

State and local budget cuts, stemming from the Wall Street meltdown, the problem. Meanwhile, Wall Street firms get healthier and healthier.

Once Rich, Swindler Marc Dreier Now Sells Piss Poor Excuses (Gawker)

Last night on TV, 60 minutes (well, not the full hour) of self-serving bullshit. Commenter OrneryBabe on Gawker provides the best review of the post-game show: "The only explanation I can think of for his exploits is that he probably has a very small penis."

On the Internet, Everyone's a Critic -- But They're Not Very Critical (WSJ)

Smart, shrewd story: "The Web can be a mean-spirited place. But when it comes to online reviews, the Internet is a village where the books are strong, YouTube clips are good-looking and the dog food is above average."

Wall Street's Near-Death Experience (Vanity Fair, Andrew Ross Sorkin)

Long excerpt from promising new book on meltdown.

Wal-Mart Sharpens Its Pricing Pincers (WSJ)

Doing well during recession, giant chain goes for the kill against its rivals by cutting prices.

Roubini Says Stocks Have Risen 'Too Soon, Too Fast' (Bloomberg)

NYU economist who predicted meltdown says consumers "overdebted" and banking system "basically bankrupt" and U.S. "has a long way to go."

Inside the Crisis: Larry Summers and the White House economic team (New Yorker, Ryan Lizza)

Good piece, once you get past a typical New Yorker lede sentence: "In early August, Lawrence H. Summers, President Barack Obama's top economic adviser, accompanied Vice-President Joseph Biden aboard Air Force Two on a trip to Detroit."


Top Doc: Racial Disparities Directly Add Billions of Dollars To Health-Care Costs

health study600.jpg
"The Economic Burden of Health Inequalities in the United States," from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

The figures are stark: A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland reveals:

"Eliminating health disparities for minorities would have reduced direct medical care expenditures by $229.4 billion for the years 2003-2006."

This A.M.: Saturn Blasted Out of GM Orbit; Wall Street Dizzy With New Alchemy; Globe Surfs Google Wave

Saturn to Close After Sale Falls Through (WSJ)

About 13,000 workers will be shit out of luck, but impact on nation's unemployment rate will be miniscule. Meanwhile, bad news in New York for jobless: "Mayor Bloomberg vows to snuff out smoking in parks, beaches." No job, no hope, and now no cigarettes. Stop, you're killing us.

Dow, Up 15%, Has Best Quarter Since '98 (WSJ)

Bubble news: "Many of the riskiest stocks" led the charge. What happens when the Fed starts to dismantle its supports propping up the whole thing? You think this is a real bull market? Story doesn't judge that, but it does paint the most rosy picture of the turbulent market: "Corporate profits have come in above reduced expectations, in large part due to cost cutting." So what happens to profits after the cost-cutting slows down, which it inevitably has to?

Google Wave Invites for Sale on eBay (WSJ)

Zuckerberg Now Worth $2 Billion, Says Forbes (Silicon Valley Insider)

Facebook CEO is the richest American who primarily wears T-shirts.

The Balance Sheet: Interview with Joseph Stiglitz (New Yorker, James Surowiecki)

Click above video or here.

Wall Street Wizardry Reworks Mortgages (WSJ)

"A new wave of financial alchemy" to "make soured securities look better." A test for regulators. Matthew Goldstein of Reuters warns, "Beware the bull market in derivatives."

Swiss Health Care Thrives Without Public Option (NYT)

Highly misleading propaganda piece against the "public option." Switzerland offers strong, immediate public subsidies of health care to its citizenry, and that could have been the story's spin just as easily as this one conjured up by the Times.

A Dealmaker Out of Time: And With Lewis, an Earlier Era on Wall Street Fades (WSJ)

"Ken Lewis was shot with his own gun." David Weidner asks: "Exactly who pulled the trigger?" (And in a nation that's running short of bullets, who was lucky enough to buy the ammo?) For speculation on the next Bank of America outlaw, see the NY Post's "He's not even cold: Top dealmakers already being eyed for Lewis job."


This Just Out: Public Option

It's official: Even a watered-down, weakened "public option" didn't make it into the health bill.

It doesn't matter that most Americans apparently want it.

"Dealing a blow to liberals," says MarketWatch of the 15-8 Senate Finance vote against Jay Rockefeller's amendment. Chuck Schumer's got an amendment of his own coming up.

For now, though, happy days are here again for the private managed-care companies. Humana and other stocks got a good boost on Wall Street this afternoon.

'Public Option'? Americans Want It, Congress Doesn't.

Bloviation about the health-care package's "public option" is continuing at this moment at a Senate Finance Committee debate, and you can check in on the NYT's live-blogging. But that's weak shit. The best thing is to go back to NYT reporter David Herszenhorn's "A Primer: The Public May Have More Appetite for a 'Public Option' Than Congress."

Putting it mildly, Herszenhorn points out that a big-shit NYT/CBS News poll found that fully 65 percent of Americans favor a public option for all Americans. That's not new; it's a consistent result. That's a real public option, whether it's "socialism" or not. And Congress is debating a "public option" that really doesn't even come close to what most of the public apparently wants.

This A.M.: G-20 in Pittsburgh a Gas; IPOs Up, Home Sales Down; Twitter Valued at $1 Billion

Emerging economies get new role (BBC)

G-20 roundup from Pittsburgh. Click on the above video for Russian TV footage of black-clad cops rousting black-clad protesters, as a robotic-sounding voice emanates from a police loudspeaker: "No matter what your purpose is, you must leave." NYT story here.

Twitter's Value Is Set at $1 Billion (WSJ)

Thanks to all of you who get paid nothing by Twitter despite your being its only product/asset, the company that hasn't yet generated any significant revenue is about to get $100 million in new funding. In August 2008, Twitter had 4.3 million unique visitors; this August it had 54.7 million. Now hooked, users are, like it or not, about to be bombarded by advertisers and marketers. Too bad most of you are either out of work or otherwise can't afford to buy all the shit you'll be told to buy. (See next item.)

The Long Slog: Out of Work, Out of Hope (WSJ)

Typically excellent human-interest WSJ story, this one focuses on jobless Americans. Introducing an array of hard-luck yarns: "Nearly 15 million Americans are jobless, and the number is widely expected to remain high even as the economy slowly begins to recover. Part of the problem many of the unemployed face: the very fact that they have been out of work a long time."

IPO Market Snaps Back as Taste for Risk Returns (WSJ)

Five companies go public — the biggest IPO week in a year and a half. One of them is electric-car battery maker A123 Systems. Two others are REITs.

Boss blames smartphones for stress as company suicide rate comes under scrutiny (The Age, Melbourne)

CFO at France's biggest telecom warns that, as story says, "the barrage of emails from smartphones and personal computers was stressing out employees."

Market's Eyes Are Bigger Than Its Stomach; Chokes On New Supply (

Double bubble trouble.

Yes, Celebs Have Tax Issues Too (ABC News)

No, not a reality show, but a slideshow.