Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No joy in Bank Town today? A little

Good morning. Welcome to the Observer's O-pinion blog on a rainy Wednesday.

I'm associate editor Fannie Flono and I'm your host today. Our itinerary, as it is every weekday: We'll bring you roundup below of opinion we see locally, regionally and around the country. You'll see tomorrow's print editorials here as they're written, and we'll tell you at the end of each afternoon who we thought had a good day or bad day.

The dreary day sets the mood for us in Bank Town where our Bank of America lost its perch as the nation's largest bank by assets to the Big Apple's JP Morgan Chase & Co. Boo hoo.
(BofA still managed to post a profit though, to the glee of investors.)

Still, the Wall Street Journal's Dan Fitzpatrick writes that "J.P. Morgan's toppling of Bank of America as the industry's king in asset size marks a closing chapter to one of the most colorful and ambitious expansions in the history of commercial banking. It also illustrates the diverging fortunes of the two longtime rivals amid changes to the economics of the U.S. banking industry."

Fitzpatrick quotes UNC Charlotte professor Anthony Plath (he was also quoted in the Observer this morning) as saying Bank of America "has definitely lost its pre-eminent position in the American banking industry."

The BofA branch in Santa Cruz, Calif., might have lost something else: It's mind. According to Addicting Info, the Huffington Post writes, two women involved with the Occupy Santa Cruz movement in California walked into a Bank of America branch earlier this week and attempted to close their bank accounts. In response, the bank manager threatened to lock the doors and call the police on them. Her reasoning? You can't be a customer and a protester at the same time, the manager said.

Republican Debate in Las Vegas
Last night's Republican debate had some nifty fireworks. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry traded barbs about immigration and Romney's religion - Mormonism. Both men lost their cool, and things got a bit heated.

And Herman Cain, the surprising rising star of the GOP debate season, got tongue-lashed about his 9-9-9 budget plan. Where's the pizza, uh, beef, the other candidates wanted to know.

Back to Romney's religion. It seems to be a sticky issue for some Republicans about whether Mormonism is part of the Christian faith. Pundits last night were claiming that Perry was surreptitiously using surrogates to keep the controversy percolating - even though Perry disavowed again last night comments from a supporter that called Mormonism a cult.

Economist Peter Morici comes to the defense of Mormonism and Romney in his column this morning. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart tagged the winners of the debate as front-runners Cain and Romney.

Just the Facts?
The St. Petersburg Times' did some fact-checking on last night's debate, and Herman Cain's assertions about his 9-9-9 plan had more truthiness than truth on its side.'s ruled that his statement that "The 9-9-9 plan does not raise taxes on those that are making the least" is false. Why? Check out the details. Cain wasn't the only one making not quite true assertions so look at their examination of other candidates assertions as well.

Tweet of the Day (courtesy of Andrew Sullivan)