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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Financial Humor Bulletin, July 2010

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

July

[Jul 31, 2010] Should We Buy Fed’s Reports of Gains on AIG Bailout Vehicles

July 30, 2010 | naked capitalism

NOTaREALmerican:

I believe what Pravda tells me.

The five year plan will be finished ahead of schedule.

psychohistorian:

Exactly! All the unemployed would do well to prepare for jobs in the growing disinformation sector. The need is growing exponentially until the empire crashes.

[Jul 30, 2010] John Stewart Mill vs. the European Central Bank by J. Bradford DeLong,

Project Syndicate

One of the dirty secrets of economics is that there is no such thing as “economic theory.”

[Jul 28, 2010] Sell Orders Overwhelm WOPR As 10 Year Recaptures 2.99% zero hedge

StychoKiller

When things things don't go to plan, management and government can be remarkably persistent.

This is otherwise known as - The Corporate Approach to Dead Horses .....

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. But in modern business (education and government), because heavy investment factors are taken into consideration, other strategies are often tried with dead horses, including the following:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Threatening the horse with termination.

4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

7. Reclassifying the dead horse as "living-impaired".

8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

10. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.

11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

12. Declaring that the dead horse carries lower overhead and therefore contributes more to the bottom line than some other horses.

13. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position

[Jul 29, 2010] Jim Rickards Compares The Collapse Of The Roman Empire To The US, Concludes That We Are Far Worse Off

zero hedge

Foremost, this analysis is insulting to the Roman Empire in the most basic way ... they were the pre-eminent global power for hunderds (2-3-4-5 depending on how/when you count) of years, while we've barely lasted 20 (our age of dominance begins with the collapse of the USSR).

Plus they had better orgies.

Bananamerican :

"the downfall of empire was actually greeted by the bulk of the people as the barbarians were welcomed at the gate with open arms"

and i, for one, welcome our new Mexican overlords...

ZackAttack :

This implies to me that, just as there came a point sometime after Constantine where the Romans started looking back fondly on Nero and Caligula, we will look back on the glorious days of Bush and Obama.

e_goldstein:

ask yourself not what the romans did wrong; instead, ask yourself what the Visigoths did right.

Mr Creosote:

Hostile takeover

nope-1004

Shit... as long as American Idol and Dancing with the Stars is on at 8, then will anyone even know?

PIMCO "Chump" Kashkari Rails Against Entitlement Spending After Providing Banks With $700 Billion Taxpayer Funded Blank Check

ussa:

PIMCO's 30 silver pieces were not enough for Mr. K?

DarkAgeAhead :

This confirms my long-held suspicion to beware of engineers with MBA's

docj :

Good Lord - can't these criminals at least have the common sense and dignity to shut the f**k up after having raped us dry lo these last - what? - 100-years.

NumberNone :

Is this the equivalent of telling the girl to get the fuck out after you've used her?

Trash-kari..not even going to pay for grandma's cab?

Misean:

Close. It's the equivalent of demanding that her mother pay for the reupholstery job on your Benz after you left the girl's dismembered corpse in a ditch.

Misean:

Methinks nitwit Cash-n-carry had a few too many "Rails" before burping up this screed.

[Jul 28, 2010] The Daily Propaganda Is Just Getting Painful

"Most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker, but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all". - Michael Rivero
zero hedge

[Jul 28, 2010] Well, don’t let it be said that this Congress isn’t creating jobs

“The answer is yes, it does. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to justify getting out of bed in the morning and charging the outrageous fees that we charge our clients, which they willingly pay.”

-A former regulator, now corporate lobbyist, as to whether he had an inside edge in lobbying his ex-colleagues

[Jul 28, 2010] Fox fleecing Republican rednecks: Glenn Beck Goldline Scheme

How nice of Glenn... Shilling for the firm which managed to sell to those dummies who listen to Glenn $285 coin that competitors are selling for $318 for $813 perfectly reflects Glenn Beck's Republican values ;-)
The Big Picture

Goldline International is under investigation by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office, jointly with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, as well as being the subject of a separate investigation by Congress into the possible criminal practices. The firm has been the subject of an ABC Nightline News Exposé, as well as an investigation by NY Congressman Weiner).

Jess Bachman, who did several of the fantastic illustrations for Bailout Nation, turns his graphic expertise to the Glenn Beck/Goldline endorsement scheme:

Infographic by The Big Picture

[Jul 27, 2010] Luck Or Skill - What Is More Critical To An Exceptional Investor (Or Even A Completely Worthless One)

Ironically, investors have learned their lessons: after a nearly 60% ramp from the all time lows, investors continue to refuse to buy when everyone else is buying, contrary to the pleading by Obama, and all the conflicted fly by night permabullish mutual fund managers which CNBC appears to have an infinite collection of to recycle and fill content inbetween all those incontinence ads 24/7.

Jason T :

Question should be:

What's the less immoral way to make money today: inside information or using your banks deposits to front run your brokerage client's orders?

[Jul 27, 2010] “Lost in the Wilderness of their Models”

The most confused of any putative authorities are the academic economists, lost in the wilderness of their models and equations and their quaint expectations of the way things ought to go if you can tweak numbers. These are the people who believe with the faith of little children that if you can measure anything you can control it. They will go down in history as the greatest convocation of clowns ever assembled, surpassing all the collected alchemists, priests, and vizeers employed in the 1500 years following the fall of Rome.

Jim Kunstler

[Jul 27, 2010] Which is the Bigger Threat Terrorism or Wall Street Bonuses

"Osama Bin Laden always knew to attack America’s economic center first for the greatest results, he just never imagined he’d have such strong and willing allies. "
July 26, 2010 | naked capitalism

NOTaREALmerican:

It depends who the audience is.

If we assume that the goal of any well run society (meaning, well run for the nobility) is to manipulate their peasants into paranoid fear-of-outsiders, then trrrrrsssts are the winning ticket.

In fact, I think all REAL Patriots should be much more worried about trrrrsss getting Wall Street’s bonuses.

(Queue eagle: )

Protect America’s bonuses from trrrrrrssss; vote Republicrat!

[Jul 26, 2010] Headline From The (Immediate) Future 10 Share Block Moves Market By 50% (And Obama Praises Own Economic Policies) As 10 Year Yields -3%

zero hedge

KTAISA:

Anyone else have three different Cramer's staring at you via add space?

101 years and c... :

Yes. My usage of ZH has gone down 25% today thanks to seeing Cramer's mug all over it.

lizzy36:

ZH has NO control over what ads appear on this site. That is google adsense.

Now, because one enjoys irony, one suggests that you should increase your use of ZH 250%, because nothing is more ironic than cramer, funding Tyler(s) work.

[Jul 26, 2010] chicago-fed-economic-activity-declined.html

Juvenal Delinquent:

They didn't have fancy schmancy computers to hide things in the 30's, and Wall*Street laid an egg, the Dow losing 90% of it's value, top to bottom, but we're smarter now.

[Jul 25, 2010] iPhone4 vs HTC Evo

Funny text generated animation ;-).

souleben

"They could put out a f**** brick, and call it an iPhone"
And you'd still buy it.

[Jul 24, 2010] Letters - The Oil Spill as a Teachable Moment

July 23, 2010 | NYTimes.com

Mark Miller

The flawed and fragile deepwater well is like the dirty needle in the arm of an addict, an uncomfortable reminder of America’s ever more desperate dependence on oil.

[Jul 23, 2010] Fed Watch: Bernanke Post Mortem

Economist's View
Goldilocksisableachblonde:

"For all intents and purposes, the Fed is done. To be sure, the Fed would roll out its new set of lending facilities in response to another financial crisis. But setting the possibility of crisis aside, it is not clear what data flow short of a significant drop in activity would prompt a change of heart at the Fed."

When I first read this , I swear , it came out as : "For all intents and purposes , the Fed is dung."

I think I may be having a stroke.

Goldilocksisableachblonde:

"Moreover, even if the economy does worsen more than they expect, the likely candidates for policy action are more smoke than fire. The Fed knows this, and doesn't want to lose credibility on actions with little likelihood of success."

A roomfull of bare-ass Emperors/Empresses , eh paine ?

[Jul 22, 2010] Economists = Idiots- Part 1829

Right, because the $2,534,722.22 a year paid in interest on $1 Billion in excess reserves is a drop in the bucket for the U.S. Federal deficit.

And because the risk-free rate of return that features in so many economic models should be different for intermediaries (financial institutions) than wealth-creators (businesses).

And because "excess reserves" are money issued by the government which is inflationary because of the multiplier effect of money—which, of course, assumes the money is being invested. (As this money is, in taxing our tax dollars and giving them to Vikram Pandit, Ken Lewis, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jamie Dimon [in descending order of theft; YMMV].)

And, of course, because that $1 Billion that is not being used in the economy would only produce about $5-8 Billion in GDP, which is roughly, what, 50,000 to 80,000 new jobs?

[Jul 20, 2010] Merle Hazard- Greek Debt Song

Hat tip to CalculatedRisk. While Greek Debt Song is the newest Merle Hazard has other wonderful songs in his repertoire:
Jul 19, 2010 | CalculatedRisk

Outsider:

By the way, Never on Sunday was my Greek grandmother's favorite song. (She died at 104 many years ago, so it must be an old song)

I didn't even know it had Greek connections.

[Jul 19, 2010] If you want to avoid facing a tough prosecution for malfeasance, be a banker, not a biker by Dave Lindorff

That appears to be the lesson of Saturday’s front page of the Wall Street Journal, where the lead story was about how Bank of America repeatedly hid its massive bad debt holdings from regulators and investors through a creative accounting device called “repurchase agreements,” and the second story, just above the fold, was about how US Food and Drug Administration prosecutors are “Casting a Wider Net” investigating the use of steroids by competitive cyclists.

According to the BofA story, the bank, during a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the real financial condition of the nation’s biggest financial institutions, admitted that at the ends of all the quarterly reporting periods from 2007 through 2009, it had used repurchase agreements, or “repos,” to temporarily shed bad debt before drawing up and releasing its required public filings. That is to say, it managed to lie about and hide from view its weakened liquidity position all through the financial crisis.

Astonishingly, the Wall Street Journal article reports that this practice, known euphemistically in financial industry parlance as “window dressing,” is “not illegal in itself,” unless it is done with the intent of misleading investors. The article is quick to note that “Bof A said its incorrect accounting wasn’t intentional.” (The newspaper didn’t go to the SEC or to any independent source such as an academic expert or lawyer for comment on this laughable whopper.)

BofA, every three months, was transferring mortgage-backed securities briefly to a trading partner in return for a simultaneous agreement to repurchase similar securities from the same partner, once the required SEC filing had been shipped out in the mail. As the Wall Street Journal’s reporter Michael Rapoport writes, “The practice amounts to a bank renting out its balance sheet for short periods; the bank gets fees, and the client on the other end of the trade gets short-time cash.”

If this kind of thing is not deliberate fraud I don’t know what is, and yet the bank, in its statement to the Wall Street Journal, claims the “effort to manage its balance sheet” was “appropriate,” and that the intent behind the shell game was not to mislead investors or regulators, but rather was “to reduce the specific business unit’s balance sheet to meet its internal quarter-end limits for balance sheet capacity.”

How’s that for financial mumbo jumbo?

It would be interesting to see how well an ordinary citizen would fare, if he or she used a “repo” type strategy to hide half his or her income from the IRS (the equivalent scam might involve “donating” half of one’s income on December 31 of the tax year to an accommodating charity, and then taking the money back on January 1 of the next year), and then claimed that the fraud was “not intentional.”

But hey, it works for the banks. The article goes on to report that, “Apart from requiring more disclosure about its repo accounting, the SEC hasn’t taken any action against BofA over the matter. The fact that the [BofA] letter [to the SEC] was released suggests the SEC has concluded its review.”

Meanwhile, even as BofA and other financial behemoths get away with accounting murder, and are held harmless after their crooked dealings brought the US and the global economies to their knees, we’re informed that FDA legal bloodhounds are doggedly stepping up their investigation into illegal steroid use by US cyclists involved in the current Tour de France bicycle competition. The FDA is reportedly hoping to get some participants to turn in competitors who are using illegal substances to enhance their physical performance.

In this fishing expedition, the FDA, according to this second Wall Street Journal article by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell, is not out to prosecute rank-and-file riders, but rather wants to bring charges against “any team leaders and team directors who may have vacillated or encouraged doping by their riders.”

Clearly, it is viewed by the US government as being critically important that the sport of cycling be kept clean of drugs, so that the Americans who watch the race from the comfort of their sofas and barcaloungers will know that the winners really deserved to win. But it clearly is not very important for Americans to know whether the bank where they put their hard-earned savings, or in whose artificially inflated stock they have invested their IRA or 401)(k) retirement funds, is cooking its books.

It is apparently critically important to know that those who encourage the use of performance enhancing drugs, thus undermining the confidence of America’s sports viewers in the validity of their viewing experience, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It is apparently not that important at all that the people who caused a financial collapse that has pushed real unemployment and underemployment in the US up to close to 20 percent, collapsed the housing market, and put school districts, town and state governments on the brink of bankruptcy, be called to account, made to do jail time, or to perform community service.

The absurdity of this juxtaposition is made all the more clear by the fact that the FDA isn’t even able to come up with a significant charge to bring against the alleged dopers in its intensifying investigation of the cycling sport. As the Journal notes, “Federal investigators are exploring several avenues,” for possible prosecution, including “whether teams defrauded sponsors by failing to race cleanly,” or whether US Tour de France multiple winner Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service team might have “misused federal funds.”

It’s the old story: steal a loaf of bread for a family and go to jail for years. Deceive national regulatory authorities and steal from a generation of pension investors and get a Troubled Asset Relief Program handout of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds.

[Jul 19, 2010] Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life

The Baseline Scenario

Can GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance? Is Tim Geithner a lying dirt bag?

[Jul 19, 2010] Weekly Market Comment Don't Take the Bait - July 19, 2010

Hussman Funds

Investors who allow Wall Street to convince them that stocks are generationally cheap at current levels are like trout - biting down on the enticing but illusory bait of operating earnings, unaware of the hook buried inside.

[Jul 19, 2010] To Spin or Not to Spin by Marla Singer

Jul 17, 2010 |

To spin or not to spin– that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous measures,
Or to take arms against a sea of Top 40
And, by opposing, end them. To scratch, to filter
No more – and by a filter to say we end
This track and the thousand natural beats
That dance is heir to – ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To dance, to fall
To roll, perchance to peak. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that roll of bliss what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this trance interlude,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long song.

[Jul 19, 2010] CountryWide goes Kafka – a First Person Narrative

July 18, 2010 | naked capitalism

Cross-posted from http://www.presimetrics.com/blog/

By Mike Kimel of Presimetrics

This post is going to be a bit different, at least for me. Generally I like to write things that are more data oriented, and that involve some pictures and figures. But this is a little story that happened to my wife and me, only a few weeks back, and I think it provides a bit of an illustration about how the economy works, or doesn’t, in these post-Housing Bubble days. It’s an absurd story, it makes no sense whatsoever, it cannot possibly happen in a civilized country, much less one that calls itself capitalist, but every word is true. So here goes…

My wife, deep into her third trimester of pregnancy, went out to run some errands with my mother and a family friend. It was pouring, and when they got back to the house, they saw a piece of paper stapled to a little tree at the end of our driveway. It was a notice from the Sheriff’s Department that our house was going to be auctioned off on October 1st.

Now, obviously it had to be a bad joke. After all:

1. We had only bought the house the previous year and were about two months ahead on our mortgage.
2. The plaintiff was CountryWide, which is not the company with which have a mortgage.
3. The name of the defendant from whom the home was to be foreclosed was not the legal owner of the house – that is to say, my wife or I. In fact, the name of the defendant was similar to the name of the previous owner of the home, but the spelling was definitely off.
4. From what we heard of Sheriff’s auctions, notices tend to be left on the door. Not stapled to a tiny little tree in the pouring rain.

But when my wife checked the Sheriff’s site on-line, it turns out that, indeed, our home was slated to be auctioned off on October 1st. Multiple calls to the Sheriff’s office were not returned. As to CountryWide – who exactly do you call at CountryWide? There’s no “Press 4 if you have no relationship with CountryWide but we’re trying to seize your house anyway.” Ironically, if we did have a delinquent CountryWide mortgage, getting somewhere with them might have possible as any of their call center representatives would have been able to handle taking a payment. But the situation we were in, that they put us in, isn’t one of the options that their call center seems equipped to sort out.

Fog Horn Leg Horn:

This may seem a little surprising to you, but not to lawyers all over the country that have been fighting the “foreclosure machine” for the past three years. This is a very typical scenario; another day at the office.

The only part that surprises me is that you were able to get it shut off short of litigation. Typically, you MUST lose the house and be foreclosed upon and in the process of ejectment before anybody really listens.

[Jul 18, 2010] Its the Law, Bitches!

The Big Picture

How the Common Man Sees It:

I can’t personally say that the people at GS are going to an eternal hell. It is not my place to judge based on such limited information. One thing I can be pretty sure on. If they do get there the one thing they’ll be thinking about this issue, if they have time. The one thing they’ll be thinking is that they will have wished they paid more.

wally:

“Fines are then assessed based on your income and wealth”

… as opposed to the current system where money buys your way out?

alnval:

Thank you. Your statement, “Spin isn’t fact, opinions aren’t laws, and having an opinion is not the same as being informed.” should be writ large in samplers hung on the walls of civics classes (if we still had them) across the country

Ilya:

Br’er Bear caught Br’er Rabbit. Br’er Rabbit pleads ‘Puhleese don’t trow me in dat briar patch.’ Br’er Bear slings Br’er Rabbit into dat briar patch and standing smuggly with a tuft of fur twixt his paw he say ‘dat’ll teach em!’

[Jul 17, 2010] Financial Reform Bill was a Stunning Success

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis
Financial Reform Minuses Financial Reform Pluses

[Jul 17, 2010] Guest Post Lloyd Blankfein's Days Are Numbered As Chairman Of Goldman Sachs

zero hedge

drshock:

I pray to Lloyd Blankfein.

PhD:

The devil is indeed among us as even they who are doing Gods work have to settle in court.
Dark times indeed!

Sqworl :

Breaking news...Geithner with all his new FinReg powers will appoint his Master to head up Consumer Protection Agency...

MarketFox :

Blankfein is just another "Typical Americanized CEO"....This means winning at anybody's cost but the firm's....and using their legal capture and legal largesse to the fullest.....After all...if you are not working for us....you are against us....

Seems to me Blankfein should be given high fives for gaming the system at the highest degree possible....

There should be a "Corporate Heisman Trophy" award as an aside for "CEOs only"....

Maybe even make a new television episode...or even book series....

Why give all the eyeballs and ears away for free ?

King_of_simpletons:

Who is the right guy to change Goldman's image to fit the new paradigm it faces?

GOD.

[Jul 17, 2010] Flash Crash Lows!

Jul 16, 2010 | The Big Picture

Jack Damn:

Here we are: Right back to the very lows of the Flash Crash of May 6th

Discuss:

The Technical Analysis: Looking at the daily chart, the May 6th lows represent significant potential support … however, those lows have been tested multiple time and could weaken with further testing. Plus, this test comes in the middle of a noticeable down trend (lower highs, lower lows). If it fails to hold, expect to see SPX 950.

The Fundamentalist: Charts and technical analysis are medieval alchemy. Fibonacci was a morphine addict for God’s sake, so there’s no real significances in the May 6th lows other than it’s a price point. Stocks are cheap and earnings are going to be stronger than people think. Apple will blow out their numbers. I own copious amounts of AAPL from the mid-40’s, by-the-way. We go up from here, and even if we pull back, we’ll be up for the year by December. Bank it, Sparky.

The Elliott Wave User: I’ll tweak my count to be as backward looking as possible, but right now, I’m looking for a 3-wave, ABC pattern. But that might change if we put in a higher low here. Did I tell you I called the March ‘09 bottom? Upon reflection in July of ‘09, I adjusted my count and I actually nailed it. Yeah.

The Gold Bug: We’re screwed. Sell all fiat and buy physical.

The Investor: Flash crash?

Chief Tomahawk :

Stop with the bad news already… I’m still building my ark, and I thought the latest prognostication said I have until Labor Day. Don’t tell me “the rookies manning the terminals” are going to send us into the abyss!

clinton:

lol. “Earnings are great”.

Anyone that still believes these fake earnings manufactured under fictional accounting standards that can be utterly abused by fiat (suspension of mark to market by FASB a couple years back)…

And the fact that EVERY TOM DICK AND SALLY is telling you to buy Apple tells me that it is a better time to be SELLING it and taking profits versus buying it. lol.

[Jul 17, 2010] Reader Inquiry Tax Havens, aka the Sunny Bahamas

naked capitalism

psychohistorian

Why are there no banksters in jail yet? Oh yeah, they are doing Gawd’s work….or is that Greed’s work.

K Ackermann:

God pays very well, but He only has a few openings.

[Jul 17, 2010] MANHATTAN’S WELFARE KINGS HOW BILLIONAIRES TURNED FARMS INTO PERSONAL TAX HAVENS AND PETTY CASH MACHINES,

Phil’s Stock World

...freemarket ideas don’t apply to members of Manhattan’s genteel farmer class, even billionaires like Norman B. Champ III, who received nearly a half-million dollars in welfare payments for poor farmers, despite the fact that he lives in a multimillion dollar co-op at 828 Park Avenue. From 1995 to 2006, he raked in a total of $405,807 in dairy, corn and soy subsidies via his stake in the Champ family’s dairy farm in Missouri, his home state. Handout-for-handout, even Reagan’s mythic Cadillac-driving Chicago welfare queen and her $150,000 welfare scam got nothing on Champ, who could buy a Lamborghini and still have money left over to reupholster his private jet.

[....]

He might not be what most of us expect a welfare queen to look like, but that’s only because we have been duped by the whole poverty thing, convinced that the crumbs we throw the needy are a huge burden on our budget. So we look for any way to cut them off. For those who want to observe a real subsidy queen in his natural habitat, there’s no better place than Park Avenue. I am not trying to be ironic here. The people are literally welfare queens: They live where queens live and take money from the poor like queens do.

...William Lesse Castleberry, a tax attorney who oversees leveraged buyouts, received $133,680 in cotton subsidies through an Arkansas farm. Mary W. Heller, a photographer with a studio on East 74th Street, got $143,783 via a farm in Kansas for growing wheat and sorghum. William Philip Walsh, who recently purchased a $2.9 million luxury condo with interior design done by Armani, was paid $212,463 to not farm his land. Phyllis A. Joyner, a 77-year old peanut farmer with a swanky Greenwich Village apartment and over $7 million worth of beautiful land in rural Virginia, received $239,624 for her peanut crops

[Jul 17, 2010] Quit Chase Bank, Get A Chicken Sandwich

... I wanted to tell everyone that The House of Dimon may be losing a few customers in the Seattle area today:

We just found out via the Twilight Exit facebook page that the bar/restaurant is offering a free dinner to anyone who closes an account at Chase Bank today.

It turns out Twilight owner Stephen Mollman has a mortgage through Chase and says the bank is penalizing him for paying his mortgage on time.

Steve’s serious, to the point where he says you can even come in and order the steak on the house if you give Chase Bank the heave-ho.

[Jul 16, 2010] Who Steered You Wrong About the GS Case

The Big Picture

curbyourrisk

Sorry but $550 million is not enough as far as I am concerned. Hell…Tiger Woods has to pay $750 million settle his problems and he only slept around, not brought an entire financial system to their knees (maybe a few ex-pornstars to their knees, but not the entire financial system).

philipat

...Sadly, this is probably not Blanfein’s last erection?

[Jul 16, 2010] S&P 500 vs Median Expected Earnings Growth

The Big Picture

dead hobo:

Today, class, we will learn percentages. You should know this is an important concept. Percentages are used in the real world for many important purposes.

If you have 100 of something and remove 20% of them, you have 80 things remaining.

If those 80 things increase by 20%, you have 96 things.

Thus 20% down does not cancel out if you immediately have a 20% gain afterward.

So, using this concept, if you start at 100%, you end at 96%, which is still 4% below your starting point.

In other words, the graph above is deceptive, incorrect, and a likely example of government math. But it sure looks fucking impressive.

[Jul 15, 2010] Guest Post Why Goldman Could Pull It Off

zero hedge

Mr Lennon Hendrix:

Why Goldman Could Pull It OUT.....

"I did pull it out." Said Gold Man's Sach. "No you didn't!" Screamed Mary Shapiro. "You came inside of me!" "Whatever, just abort the damn thing then." The Sach rolled over. "Get me some water and my cigarettes, Daddy is thirsty and tired."

CPL :

And when I say make me a sandwich, you better come back with a goddamn sandwich.

Mr Lennon Hendrix :

The Sach tucked his Lloyd back into his boxers. "Oh, and make me a sandwhich!"

;)

RoRoTrader:

Priceless commentary Mr Hendrix.......so fucking cruel. Love ZH.

[Jul 15, 2010] Artist's Rendering Of Tim Geithner's Desktop

zero hedge

chindit13:

Don't be so tough on Tiny Tim. Having had his acquaintance when he was merely a Deputy Treasury Attache at an Embassy, I can tell you he suffers from a Napolean complex, is humorless and colorless, and probably spent his childhood pulling the wings from flies. You do not want to go out for a beer with this guy. I remember his wife as a granola eating tree hugger, and definitely the pants wearer in the family.

FOC 1183 :

Interesting. As the creator of his desktop (and having had dinner/cocktails with people like him in comparable positions), this was precisely my impression of him. Thanks for the confirmation

[Jul 13, 2010] Hussman & Hester vs Wall Street Finest.......

immobilienblasen

There maybe are legitimate reasons to buy stocks, but a favorable opinion from "Wall Street Finest" should definitely not play any role among your screening process .... Except you use them as a "contrary indicator".... ;-)

[Jul 15, 2010] What is Simon Johnson Smoking

naked capitalism

Alex:

Imagine an honestly written resume for Summers: “As Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, opposed regulation of derivatives. This action helped cause world economic meltdown.”

Or Bernanke: “As Chairman of the Federal Reserve failed to take action or even publicly acknowledge an $8T housing bubble.

... ... ...

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
Currency Manipulation is Free Trade

[Jul 13, 2010] Cramer is Bullish!

July 13, 2010 | The Mess That Greenspan Made

You only have to watch about the first minute of this clip from Jim Cramer’s Mad Money program yesterday to realize what a field day future historians will have when writing about the current period. They’ll look back and wonder how capital markets and for-profit media were allowed to become so intertwined, helping to run the entire financial system into the ground again and again until major reforms were finally enacted.

Outsider:

By the way, Never on Sunday was my Greek grandmother's favorite song. (She died at 104 many years ago, so it must be an old song)

I didn't even know it had Greek connections.

CalculatedRisk

Here is the segment PBSNewsHour

Will Greek Austerity Plans Buckle Under Public Pressure?
YouTube - Will Greek Austerity Plans Buckle Under Public Pressure?

[Jul 13, 2010] SEC Chief Information Officer Finds God, Quits Regulator To Become Deacon by Tyler Durden

07/12/2010 | zero hedge

Today's wtf moment of the day is brought to you by the SEC and god. In a stunning development, we uncover that the SEC actually has had a Chief Information Officer for the past two years (yes, we loled). In an even more stunning development, the SEC has disclosed that this CIO is leaving the organization, and has decided to join the metaphorical Goldman Sachs by doing god's work on earth... but not at 200 West, and is instead joining the church as a deacon.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Charles Boucher has decided to leave the agency after serving as its Chief Information Officer (CIO) since 2008. His plans include not-for-profit work and completion of studies in preparation for ordination as a Deacon in his church next spring." This is merely confirmation that Mr. Boucher must have been rather compromised when Chief Information Officering: he should know, as most other far dumber SEC henchman have figured out, that Goldmanliness is Godliness.

Had he gone to Goldman, he would have already been promoted to Pope, in exchange for a few indulgences on behalf of the Abacus and Timberwolf sins, and have DMA access to High Frequency Communications directly to the One.

[Jul 12, 2010] “Innovation” and the Social Purpose of Financial Services

July 12, 2010 | naked capitalism

a:

For the links for today, from Bloomberg: “China Wins Higher Rating Than U.S. in First Ranking.”

“Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. rated U.S. government debt AA with a negative outlook, and China AA+ with a stable outlook…” So the Chinese have their own credit rating company; the Europeans won’t be long.

Graveltongue:

Ah yes, the cancer stage of capitalism. Radio therapy, chemo or fully invasive surgery? What to do?

[Jul 10, 2010] Ack! The Alan Greenspan Chair at NYU !

It' not this sound a little bit like naming some criminal justice department after one of 9/11 hijackers...
John Paulson’s $20MM gift to New York University is to endow a chair in Economics named after Alan Greenspan. This might have slipped by our notice over the holiday weekend, but for the intrepid eye of Dan B:

“The Stern School will apply $5 million of John Paulson’s gift to support two endowed faculty chairs. The first chair is named for alumnus Alan Greenspan (BS ’48, MA ‘50, PhD ’77), leading economist and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

[Jul 8, 2010] GMO's Jim Montier Destroys Kartik Athreya

zero hedge

Sudden Debt :

When I got promoted to senior management, the first thing my mentor said to me was:

"Senior managers are gods! And the most important thing Gods must do, is not to let the working drones know we exist. Otherwise they might think we get things done and they might try to contact us to get things done."

That's also why these guys say some stuff, but never give detailed plans because they don't have a clue what they are talking about.

And about the PhD's: If I had a penny for every time I've heard this in our company, I'd be a billionaire.

We categorize the people as followed:

And the working places:

drwells :

How did you get promoted to senior management? You don't sound ignorant or arrogant enough.

[Jul 07, 2010] Older, more educated workers, have highest length of unemployment

bearly:

EvilHenryPaulson wrote:

I said pay for performance

Tried to convince my wife of the same thing. I looked on the dresser this morning, and still nothing. Can't win.

Fluffy the Obese Persian Cat:

bearly wrote:

EvilHenryPaulson wrote:

I said pay for performance

Tried to convince my wife of the same thing. I looked on the dresser this morning, and still nothing. Can't win.

Be glad she didn't bill you.

[Jul 06, 2010] Contrarian investing

July 5 2010 | Financial Times

Dear investor,

It has been a profitable first half for Contrarian Partners. Our core investment strategy remains unchanged: to mine the research produced by investment banks every six months to establish consensus trading strategies. Then trade against them.

The year-end produced a rich crop of predictions. The usual sources – let’s spare the names – were generally negative on US government debt, which was expected to show increasing signs of strain. In the event, only Ukranian debt did better than Treasuries; our long position gained about 10 per cent.

For similar reasons we loaded up on Japanese government bonds, which rose by double digits. Currency strategists, meanwhile, reckoned that the euro would benefit from continued diversification of FX reserves. The yen, they added, would be a big loser as the Bank of Japan lagged other central banks in raising rates. Our short euro/USD and long yen/USD trades were two of our best, yielding about 20 per cent. Equities, as ever, provided some good opportunities. Just as no one expected the Mongolian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan benchmarks to finish the half-year on the winners’ podium, few anticipated that last autumn’s correction in Chinese stocks would turn into a rout. Shorting H-shares in Hong Kong returned 16 per cent.

Not all of our positions were successful. We avoided most of the troubles in southern Europe, as almost nobody alerted us that there were troubles ahead. Yet there were enough generalised fears of a sell-off in Spanish government bonds for us to increase our exposure, with painful results (-16 per cent). Regrettably, some currencies did perform as predicted; the Australian dollar and South Korean won in particular. In general, though, the advice was reassuringly poor. The markets continue to reward us for listening to the experts – then doing the opposite.

[Jul 06, 2010] At Goldman, We Used Derivatives From AIG To Hedge Risk, Not Profit Off The Downfall Of America

"I am from Goldman, I am here to help".

George Parr:
If Reagan were alive today, he would update his quip about the 10 scariest words of the English language:

"I am from Goldman, I am here to help".

Which, on second thoughts, would not be an update after all. Goldman is the government, and the government is Goldman (Rubin, Paulson etc etc)

Here's Johnny

@George Parr:

"I am from Goldman, I am here to help". 9 Words
George Parr on Jun 30, 10:54 AM said:
@Here's Johnny:

Touche': "I am from Goldman Sachs, I am here to help"

NY Liberal on Jun 30, 10:16 AM said:

As a liberal, I totally agree with Goldman. If anything they’re enriching through diversity the life’s of their clients by sharing some of that Rich and Celebrated Golden Cultural Heritage of theirs of winch Financial Chicanery plays an intricate part.

I Agree on Jun 30, 10:28 AM said:

@NY Liberal:

All the animosity directed towards them is just one big giant cultural misunderstanding. Kinda like going to McDonalds and ordering a Falafel.

Jeff on Jun 30, 11:06 AM said:

They've been using this schtick for months and no one is buying it. Saying they bought derivatives only as a hedge is like me saying I went grocery shopping only to support American agriculture, and not to feed my family.

[Jul 05, 2010] Professor of economics, Fed researcher, child porno lover

WILLIAMSBURG — The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that an assistant professor at the College of William & Mary has been arrested on a federal charge of enticing a minor to take sexually explicit photos of herself and send them to him through the Internet.

On Thursday federal agents and Williamsburg Police arrested 34-year-old Justin Bradley May. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Norfolk and was jailed pending a bond hearing.

The FBI in Cleveland began investigating the case when agents were notified that a 13-year-old Ohio girl had sent nude pictures of herself over the Internet. After learning that the pictures were sent to a computer at W&M, the case was transferred to the FBI’s Norfolk office.

According to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Paula Barrows, the girl initially posted a clothed picture of herself at www.talenthunter.com, a modeling website. She received an e-mail in April from someone identifying himself as “Jason Marx.” The writer claimed to have inside knowledge of the modeling industry.

The girl told the e-mailer that she was 13. The e-mailer then directed the girl to someone he claimed was a model named Nikki.

E-mails from Nikki persuaded the girl to send nude pictures of herself to that e-mail account. Nikki also offered to send a professional photographer to take modeling photos of her in exchange for sex acts, the affidavit says.

The FBI traced both e-mail accounts to May’s computer at W&M. May has been an economics professor at William & Mary since 2007, and previously served as a researcher for the governing board of the Federal Reserve System.

http://www.vagazette.com/articles/2010/07/02/news/doc4c2e2d130dca1527303...

[Jul 05, 2010] The vampire squid gang has become toxic like a pack of cigarretes by Tyler Durden

Goldman DESERVES to be shaken down. How can a firm that has raped and pillaged the citizenry expect "fairness"?Should not we start with sending Easy Al to spend the rest of his retirement in renovated Alcatraz first ?

Today, the Democratic candidate for Texas AG has filed a Legal Complaint and Legal Brief against Goldman Sachs et literally al for "causing financial crisis and physical harms; recession; unemployment; home and wealth loss; forced cutbacks in a wide variety of critical areas, including medical care, social services, and environmental protection" ...

In other words the vampire squid has become nothing more than a pack of cigarretes: Goldman Lights (recessed filter) ...

Missing_Link :

Don't you get it? "Tyler Durden," in both the movie and the book, is a schizophrenic character who has a separate personality and doesn't realize it's him. Same thing here; the Goldman-accusing TD and the Goldman-loving TD are the same person; they just don't realize it.

Muir :

"Don't you get it? "Tyler Durden," in both the movie and the book, is a schizophrenic character who has a separate personality and doesn't realize it's him. Same thing here; the Goldman-accusing TD and the Goldman-loving TD are the same person; they just don't realize it."

Hmmm... I think you are unto something here.

As one who hates Capitalism in its present form so viscerally and yet trades for a living, I can relate.

unwashedmass :

when do we sue ourselves for sitting quietly while GS and the other banks took over the country? stole the treasury? and basically bought the Congress? We have no one to blame but ourselves for sitting and watching this all happen live and in color on every network....

[Jul 05, 2010] The Laws Of A Traxis: From Permabull To Bear in 48 Hours by Tyler Durden

07/03/2010

June 30 (Bloomberg):

Biggs said bullish bets make up about 70 percent of his investments and isn’t selling because he expects the S&P 500 to finish the year 10 percent to 15 percent above its level now. He favors property developers, oil service companies and technology suppliers in the U.S. and emerging-market equities.

July 2 (Bloomberg):

Signs the U.S. economy is weakening convinced Traxis to reverse course as the S&P 500 posted a weekly slump of 5 percent, bringing its loss since April 23 to 16 percent. Biggs, 77, said yesterday he cut bullish bets by about half since June 29, when they made up 70 percent of his fund.

[Jul 04, 2010] Overstated Job Growth, Understated Inflation

This post was published on Jan 4, 2010 ;-)
The Big Picture

There was an alternative universe where the Job growth was robust , inflation benign, the Housing bust irrelevant, and the credit contagion contained. This universe was populated with pollyannas, perma-bulls, overtly political economists, and Wall Street cheerleaders.

In this alt. universe, Retail is fine, the economic boom was caused by the 2003 tax cuts (not Fed cuts), and the core rate of inflation was all that mattered.

This was Goldilock’s house — only today, she got her foreclosure notice . . .

Ross:

Da pravda, I echo you disgust and salute you tovarisch!! UHRA.

Will T:

You tell ‘em, Barry!

On your next TV gig, maybe you can inform the pundits about the 3-step program to cure Goldilock Syndrome:

1) Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.
2) Put down the glass of Kool-Aid.
3) Step away from the Kool-Aid.

odograph:

“There was an alternative universe where the Job growth was robust , inflation benign, the Housing bust irrelevant, and the credit contagion contained. This universe was populated with pollyannas, perma-bulls, overtly political economists, and Wall Street cheerleaders.”

Good paragraph.

The tough question now is the appropriate degree of pessimism (a little or a lot).

[Jul 04, 2010] Obama on unemployment

"No, We Can't."

[Jul 03, 2010] US Jobs Slipping Away

07/02/2010 | zero hedge

Nihilarian:

Economists polled by Reuters had expected private employment to grow by 112,000 jobs, although some had scaled back their projections in recent days.

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, "What do you want it to equal"?

booboo :

ARTHUR:
Victory is mine!
[kneeling]
We thank Thee Lord, that in Thy mer--
BLACK KNIGHT:
Hah!
[kick]
Come on, then.
ARTHUR:
What?
BLACK KNIGHT:
Have at you!
[kick]
ARTHUR:
Eh. You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.
BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh, had enough, eh?
ARTHUR:
Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left.

Tyler Durden:

Here you go:

[Jul 03, 2010] 24 Types of Libertarians The Big Picturee

  1. SteveC :
    July 1st, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    My brother married a libertarian; that is until she lost her job, and she was immediately in line at the unemployment office, and in contact with her attorney to see if she can sue her former employer for damages, while exercising her Cobra for continued health insurance. That pretty much sums up most so called “libertarians” I know; people who hate the “govm’t” when its time to pay taxes, but more than willing to stick their hand out when they need a hand from Uncle Sam.

  2. heheh :
    July 1st, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Steve C

    Our neighbors are the same — Ron Paul signs on the lawn, every neighborhood get together whining about teachers and unions — but once they could sign up for free government health care, they were right there.

  3. IS_LM :
    July 1st, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I view the Left as inept and economically clueless

    I see the Right as married to intellectually bankrupt ideologies.

    Not sure where that leaves me, but it ain’t a Democrat or a Republican, and the Liberal/Conservative schism is insufficiently nuanced to properly identify my views.

    Arthur Burns and his student, Alan Greenspan, were both Republican Fed Chairman. Burns earned a PhD in economics; Greenspan was issued a PhD at NYU. Both created economic maelstroms (stagflation and real estate bubble). Both were on “the Right.” Economically clueless or intellectually bankrupt? Both? I don’t think it matters much.

  4. GerhardWMagnus :
    July 1st, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Libertarians are just Republicans who smoke dope, whine about their taxes, and have extremely principled and complicated reasons for sucking up to the rich. If they ever did do a John Galt no one would notice. And I suspect many are still pissed off about not being able to take the home office deduction for that computer in the basement.

  5. EAR :

    July 1st, 2010 at 1:01 pm
    Love it.

    There’s Libertarianism and there’s “Hey! Look at ME! I’m a Libertarian!” Libertarianism which is a haven for complainers. If you constantly harp on reality and suggest it can be remedied using policies or dogma that can’t be applied in reality, you’re a complainer. You add nothing of value but your own 2 cents which is worth less and less everyday. Par for the course in the era of Self Aggrandizement.

    HEHEHE said…

    “Unneccessary endless wars; wastes of money like the war on drugs and the resulting private prison system; unsustainable government sponsored ponzi schemes like social security etc., failure to break up TBTF companies, are all things that need to be addressed in this country. I commend Libertarians for bringing them up for discussion when nobody in the staus quo will.”

    Many people of all kinds of shapes, sizes and affiliations have these views. Plenty. How novel and myopic to attribute them to a political group. They “Get it” and others don’t, right?

    Government is a big, clumsy, sloppy mess because it is destined to be as long as homo sapiens occupy it and run it. Power, fame or fortune change the chemistry of the brain, and no one, no matter what -ism they stamp on their forehead, is immune.

[Jul 01, 2010] Obama, the Comedian

Some really perverted sense of humor if you ask me: "we have gone from losing 750,000 jobs per month to five months of job growth now;"

He's made a boatload of mistakes and has squandered every bit of the political capital he came into office with, but at least our 44th president knows how to keep us entertained with his fabulous sense of humor. Just listen to what he had to say in a speech he made after meeting with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just had an excellent conversation with Chairman Bernanke. This is a periodic discussion that we have to get the Chairman’s assessment of the economy and to discuss some of the policy initiatives that we have here at the White House.

I think in our discussions, we share the view that the economy is strengthening, that we are into recovery, that it’s actually led by some interesting sectors like manufacturing that we haven’t seen in quite some time -- the tech sectors are strong; we have gone from losing 750,000 jobs per month to five months of job growth now;

nowhereman

President Obama stated that as result of "Financial Reform that the result will be that: "Main Street is never again held responsible for Wall Street's mistakes." After I stopped laughing, I realized just how clueless this man is, and how dangerous that makes him.

roger

Not in defense of Obama.

I get the feeling that people are looking for a strong leader one who has all the answers, well, millions put their trust in Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin and payed a terrible price for their intellectual laziness.

It's easy to demonize and criticize it's a whole different ball game to come up with intelligent answers.

Is Obama messing up? sure he is and so are all the other leading wizards. This system is nothing more than a global gigantic Ponzy scheme and people are too damn scarred to contemplate an alternative, so change will be imposed by events not Intellect.

Steve

Michael,

Obama was handed a sackful of rattle snakes by his predecessor. He's still dealing with it and will be dealing with it for years to come. He has no leeway to take care of his own programs; he's just putting out the fires of others. Whatever he says may not be what he believes. But unlike those of us who have the luxury to make comments without retribution, Obama must do what is necessary to keep this economy going. I think it's BS that you're taking pot shots at him - it's an insult to your intellgence. You've come down a notch in my opinion.

While we all can make jokes, the truth is that real human misery is happening for tens of millions. Obama's job is to care for all those people, not just those of us who can afford to laugh. So, let's stop taking pot shots. Do you think that Sarah Palin can do a better job? What should we do, go into a debt liquidating depression? Would be interesting to observe, if you're not human.

Should Obama turn the monetary spigots on? Of course, as Keynes said, "In the long run we are all dead." As least inflation is something we can manage. Let's find real stuff to talk about instead of you focusing on American news items all the time. Armageddon in happening in Europe too you know, in case you're aren't aware. Maybe you can cover that once in a while.

its not about left/right, its top/down.

Class War and the Decline of the West

President Obama's recent motto of "fiscal responsibility" and his frequent grumbles about "out of control government spending" are reflections of this insidious strategy of blaming victims for the crimes of perpetrators.

They also reflect the fact that the powerful financial interests that received trillions of taxpayers' dollars, which saved them from bankruptcy, are now dictating debt-collecting strategies through which governments can recoup those dollars from taxpayers.

In effect, governments and multilateral institutions such as the IMF are acting as bailiffs or tax collectors on behalf of banksters and other financial wizards.

http://tinyurl.com/33wvdz8

 

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