In Memoriam: Santa Natalie Fichera, 1925-2013

December 15th, 2013 by Joseph S. Fichera 
My mother, Santa Natalie Fichera, died Saturday 12-14-13 in the early morning hours at the age of 88. She died after losing a battle with a suddenly rapidly advancing leukemia. Her death, during the Christmas season, a time of joy and celebration, is poetic. Christmas is likely the reason why my immigrant Italian grandparents named their daughter, my mother, “Santa Natale.” And, Christmas...

Mandela and Traveling “Great” Distances

December 6th, 2013 by Joseph S. Fichera 
In the early 90′s, as South Africa was transitioning to freedom, I traveled there several times as an investment banker seeking to help South Africa with their first sovereign debt offering, the privatization of state assets as well as equity offerings for South African businesses that had been shut out of US markets because of apartheid. There is a spot in Capetown called “Table...

Obama-Biden or Clinton 2012

November 3rd, 2013 by Joseph S. Fichera 
A new book (“Double Down”) says that Obama’s campaign staff explored the option of dumping Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton as VP. No confirmation that Obama knew of the “testing the waters.” What’s most troubling for me is the lack of personal loyalty solely for political/personal gain. It is one thing to ask someone to step aside because of a specific issue that creates...

The “You Can Keep Your Health Plan” Pledge

November 3rd, 2013 by Joseph S. Fichera 
The President was wrong when he said you could keep your health care plan under the Affordable Care Act. He should have said you can keep your health care plan IF it meets the new minimum requirements that Congress believes are in the best interests of all Americans. It’s ok to establish new minimum standards but nothing is free. And that’s what has been glossed over/distorted or whatever...

In Memoriam: Sebastian Joseph Fichera, 1920-2013

August 18th, 2013 by Joseph S. Fichera 
My father, Sebastian Joseph Fichera died today on his 93rd birthday on August 18, 2013 He was the only son of Joseph Paul and Ignazia Fichera who came to America from Sicily 103 years ago. Sebastian continued the promise of the American dream that brought his parents here. That promise allowed his father, my grandfather, a barber, to create a family, become a community leader and, upon his death, leave...

Chief Justice John Roberts Bipartisan Challenge

July 4th, 2012 by Joseph S. Fichera 
The Democratic party is missing a tremendous chance to change the tone in Washington by not praising Justice Roberts’ bold bipartisan move to support the President’s health care legislation. The Chief Justice put aside the “no prisoners” approach of the Republican party from which he was nominated and grew up in. Judges are to be non-partisan but we also acknowledge the reality...

Gabby’s recovery

January 15th, 2011 by Joseph S. Fichera 
It is 1 week to the hour that I learned of the attack on my friend Gabby Gifford. I find it hard to return to “normal” chats here and elsewhere. But the miracles of prayers with her progress gives us hope. The discussion that has ensued is not about blame. It is about behavior. Those with access to a public forum (indeed a national forum) speak both to the serious and the delirious. They/we...

Words have meaning

January 9th, 2011 by Joseph S. Fichera 
Words have meaning. Gabby’s opponents have been reckless in their use of emotionally charged words and images. Here is a story from CNN that discusses this issue and how Gabby herself warned Palin and others to consider the consequences. We can only hope that Gabby’s personal sacrifice and pain will awaken Americans to stop those who seek to inflame. Let’s not just shake our heads...

Securing the Grid

December 7th, 2010 by Joseph S. Fichera 
Intelligent financing creates new options for grid modernization By Michael Ebert and Joseph Fichera — Improving the delivery of electricity over the existing strained electric power grid through grid modernization-”smart grid”-is a national priority, but it is in danger of becoming another victim of the financial crisis. Federal economic stimulus funds from the American Recovery...

Thanksgving 2010

November 25th, 2010 by Joseph S. Fichera 
Today, generations from the Greatest to the Boomers to Generations X, Y and Z, will sit together and share a meal reminiscent of when all the generations were just known as a family. Our country has many difficult challenges ahead. Thanksgiving began as the celebration of the harvest which was the hard work of the family. Let’s be thankful for what we have and mindful that each harvest requires...

9/11/01

September 11th, 2010 by Joseph S. Fichera 
About this time on 9/11/01 two of my colleagues and I had safely walked up the West Side Highway from the WTC. We didn’t leave when the planes hit only when the first Tower went down while we were in the World Financial Center directly across the street. The smoke and debris was difficult to navigate at first but quickly dispersed. As we walked from the site, emergency vehicle after vehicle...

“Targeted tax cuts are government programs”

August 20th, 2010 by Joseph S. Fichera 
Martin Feldstein wrote an important op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journalyou might have overlooked.  We need to see that the popular positions of Democrats and Republicans for so called “targeted tax cuts” are really taxpayer subsidies and government programs. This is not a moral issue but one of efficiency and effectiveness. Whether we should subsidize the activity directly with...

“But everybody is doing it.” Denver Board of Education and Synthetic Fixed Rate Swaps

August 6th, 2010 by Joseph S. Fichera 
As I noted in Friday’s (8/6/10) front page NY Times article attached, the Denver Board of Education was another issuer of a complex derivative deal who took on risks and wasn’t prepared for a downturn. Can risks be better known and managed? One help would be if the advisors weren’t also on the other side of the transaction. But equally important to remember is that, in the long...