BUSINESS
06/15/2012 07:55 am ET

Greece Will Be Ruining Your Weekend Now: Seven And A Half Things To Know

Thing One: Zombie Weekend: One reliable feature of the global financial crisis-zombie apocalypse we've been enduring for the past four years is that everything truly bad happens over the weekend.

Lehman Brothers bankruptcy? Happened on a pleasant fall Sunday. U.S. debt downgrade? A quiet summer Friday evening. What's going to be ruining this weekend? Just the biggest moment for Greek democracy since Pericles. Greeks go to the polls on Sunday to decide, essentially, whether they want to stay in the euro zone or not. And nobody really knows how it's going to go, the Wall Street Journal writes, which is awesome. Who doesn't love surprises? Which means your money might or might not have been turned into a smoldering pile of ash when you go into work on Monday. The UK and Switzerland are taking no chances; yesterday they put their banks in the financial root cellar to protect them from the firestorm ahead, The New York Times writes.

But not to worry, everything's cool. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi yesterday kinda sorta hinted that maybe central banks around the world were standing by with firehoses to put out any money fires as a result of the Greek election, which caused another furious rally in stock markets around the world. The bond market, as usual, was a little smarter, keeping borrowing costs high for Spain and Italy, the two nations most likely to secede after Greece goes. The lesson of the past four years is that cash firehoses are great and all, but don't solve any long-term problems, which tend to require difficult political solutions. And those solutions only seem to be getting harder to reach, with Germany's Angela Merkel drawing hard lines about what Germany will and won't do to save Europe.

Thing Two: Nasdaq Isn't Scared Of Your Lawsuits: The easiest scapegoat in the Facebook IPO, which as you may recall went off with all the grace of a busload of screaming clowns plunging from the top of the Sears Tower, has been the Nasdaq stock exchange. It's sort of an easy target, as it's the only party to the whole miserable affair who admits to making any mistakes, namely a series of technical snafus. Naturally everybody wants to sue it. But it has what it thinks are some iron-clad legal defenses, the Wall Street Journal writes, which could make it hard to sue. Also, the Nasdaq didn't relentlessly hype the stock or overprice it or sell too much of it, the way Facebook and Morgan Stanley and the other underwriters did. But who's counting?

Thing Three: Scamming The Elderly: The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched an investigation yesterday into scams targeting the elderly, the Los Angeles Times writes: "'The silent crime of financially exploiting the elderly is widespread and it is devastating. It is critical for us to act,' Richard Cordray, the agency's director, said at a White House forum Thursday marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. ... Cordray cited a recent study that said Americans 60 years of age or older lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation in 2010, up 12% from 2008."

Thing Four: Letting Down The Young: Meanwhile, a for-profit youth prison in Mississippi, cited months ago for being a "cesspool" of violence and sexual abuse, continues to be a cesspool of violence and sexual abuse, writes The Huffington Post's Chris Kirkham: " [T]wo months after a federal court settlement, violence and poor staffing have persisted, including a fight that resulted in a young man being stabbed in the eye, according to recent court transcripts."

Thing Five: Letting Down The Young, Part II: Austerity in the U.S. today is hurting American competitiveness tomorrow, by gutting our higher education, a group of businesspeople and teachers said yesterday, the Wall Street Journal writes: "U.S. research universities 'are in grave danger of not only losing their place of global leadership but of serious erosion in quality,' the committee of 22 academic, business and nonprofit leaders warned in a 250-page report issued Thursday."

Thing Six: See You In 2122: Allen Stanford, convicted of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to a whopping 110 years in prison yesterday. Something tells us the conditions won't be much like those in that Mississippi prison. Stanford, defiant to the last second, told the court he was "at peace" with how he had run his business.

Thing Seven: RIM Job: The two former co-CEOs of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion helped build that company, but then they also presided over its long, painful demise as the BlackBerry was slowly marginalized by Androids and iPhones. They were finally ousted, but not without getting about $12 million in going-away cash, The New York Times writes.

Thing Seven And A Half: The Onion: Romney Spends Most Of Factory Visit Yelling At Employees To Work Harder: "According to sources, the GOP candidate continually screamed at workers throughout the expansive paper mill to 'stop slacking off,' and in some cases even stood behind individual employees for as long as 15 minutes, loudly critiquing what he called the 'unbelievable sloppiness' on display during every step of the paper's production cycle."

Now Arriving By Email: If you'd like this newsletter delivered daily to your email inbox, then please just feed your email address to the thin box over on the right side of this page, wedged narrowly between the ad and all the social-media buttons. Nothing bad will happen to you if you do, unless you consider getting this newsletter delivered daily to your email inbox a bad thing.

Calendar Du Jour:

Economic Data:

8:30 a.m. ET: Empire State Manufacturing Index for June

9:15 a.m. ET: Industrial Production for May

9:15 a.m. ET: U. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for June

Corporate Earnings:

Nothing much.

Heard On The Tweets:

@PlanetPonzi: #Spain #Debt service questionable as #Spanish 10-year #Bond rockets to a historic high's of 7%.

@chrisadamsmkts: The Spanish 10 year bond needs its own Twitter account

@maxkeiser: Elites juice Athens stock market to snuff out support for Syriza. This time next week, markets will be trading at new lows.

@zerohedge: To summarize today's action: Central Banks will act if Syriza wins and Greece leaves Eurozone. The market is surprised by the news.

@pdacosta: Sometimes financial markets act like a cannibal that has decided to eat himself for lunch.

@LaMonicaBuzz: Hi. My name is Ben Bernanke. Unless you want world to be engulfed in flames Monday, please vote for my good friend Antonis Samaras. Thanks.

-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.

And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja

CONVERSATIONS