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From The Business Pages: October 17, 2008

Thanks to news of the worst month for housing starts in 17 years--and despite better-than-expected quarterly returns from a bevy of businesses--the market is expected to drop again today. That said, it's a relatively slow day in the biz biz:

  • British PM "Flash" Gordon Brown continues his push for a new global financial architecture, this time in the Washington Post: "The old postwar international financial institutions are out of date. ... We need cross-border supervision of financial institutions; shared global standards for accounting and regulation; a more responsible approach to executive remuneration that rewards hard work, effort and enterprise but not irresponsible risk-taking; and the renewal of our international institutions to make them effective early-warning systems for the world economy." Preach on, Flash.
  • Also in the Times, a great and scary analysis of why banks are unlikely to convert their bailout cash into loans--i.e., what the whole thing was designed to do. The long and the short: A) Banks are so far in the hole that all this money still doesn't get them above water, and B) they're afraid of losses in an economy that's not looking so hot itself.
  • Not news, exactly, but Forbes has a list of the most charitable corporations, broken down by total amount and contributions relative to income. Number one and number two in total giving? Wal-Mart and Bank of America. On a personal note, number one in relative giving is Kroger's, of which I have fond memories: My family shopped for groceries at the Brentwood, Tennessee, Kroger's when I was growing up, a store popular for spotting country music stars buying milk and eggs late at night. I saw Dolly Parton once, in the bread aisle.