It's a cold, rainy day in Paris. The news headlines are filled with speculation about Societe Generale's future after rogue trader Jerome Kerviel caused a 3.7 billion euro (about $7 billion) loss. The outspoken French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the government will intervene, if another bank tries a hostile takeover of Societe Generale.
The bank's board of directors met this afternoon and voted to support embattled chairman Daniel Bouton and his co-chief executive Philippe Citerne. Bouton had previously offered his resignation. The next board meeting is Feb. 20. Meanwhile, many people are aghast that Kerviel has been released on bail, after police questioning.
Societe Generale, France's second-largest bank, has been our bank for the past seven years. As you might imagine, its future has been the topic of much dinner table conversation. French newspapers are speculating that BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, might attempt a takeover. But an international bank also may be interested in Societe Generale, recently touted in the banking industry as a success story.
Edwards, Guiliani bowing out
Sadly, John Edwards is abandoning the race for president. I'd hoped he'd stay in through next Tuesday, February 5, when 22 states host primaries. As he's bowing out today, guess my vote cast via absentee ballot in the California primary is nullified. But I expect Edwards still will have a role to play in the presidential race, by supporting one candidate or another. Possibly he could be named as a vice-presidential running mate or to a cabinet post, if a Democrat wins in November.
Barack Obama's statement after Edwards said he was leaving the race:
"John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn’t popular to do or covered in the news. At a time when our politics is too focused on who’s up and who’s down, he made a nation focus again on who matters – the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington.
"John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this – that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose. So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America."
Besides Edwards' endorsement, both Obama and Clinton are hoping for New Mexico Governor - and former presidential candidate - Bill Richardson's endorsement. California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico - all with significant Latino populations - vote in primaries Feb. 5th.
As for Rudy Guiliani, I'm glad to see him go. He severely lacked strong leadership qualities and good judgement. The Republican presidential debate tonight in California should prove interesting, with John McCain and Mitt Romney trading verbal blows. I don't think either candidate is up to the job. McCain's constant talk about war - not only Iraq, but warning "there will be lots more wars" - and security makes me fear he would have us mired in Iraq for years. Equally worrying, he seems to have limited knowledge about the economy and other important issues.
Yes, he's an American hero. But does that qualify him to be president? No. We need a leader who can understand the enormous global challenges facing our country and its future - not someone whose thinking is status quo. The status quo simply can't match 21st-century realities.
And Romney? I find it hard to get past his statement that he would not shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Even though the notorious "Gitmo" prison violates international law and denies Habaeus Corpus and basic human rights to prisoners, Romney has said he would expand the facility!
Interesting days ahead, sifting the chaff from the grain.
"Through the Glass Darkly" is a quote from the New Testament in 1st Corinthians 13. The phrase is interpreted to suggest that humans have an imperfect perception of reality.