OK folks, what’s on your minds?

Recession? Geithner? Swine flu? Gold? Earnings? Obama’s 100th day?

Outside of office, what are you actually talking about with loved ones, friends and family members these days?


What say ye?


Category: Current Affairs, Weblogs

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

88 Responses to “Monday Night Open Thread”

  1. Bruce in Tn says:

    I would STILL like to hear how Franklin did with the blonde…did his Mom help him dress? Did she drive him to the date? Did he get her home by 9:30? Why no details?

  2. VennData says:

    Vice President Dick Cheney, who defended secrecy while in office, has sought the release of more classified memorandums, to save his rep. This is the same guy that suffered through the Clinton years, hearing about how he didn’t take out Saddam when he had the chance.

    But is this investable?

    With a lot of conservatives calling for DOW 2000 a last month, I think the thin markets are missing a lot of angry Cheney-supporters, too grumpy to believe in Obama, too happy at the ridiculous spin after Geithner’s first Congressional hearing and too sure of themselves…. making the same mistakes they made in ’92, ’93 after the GOP promised their minions that Clinton’s tax hikes would wreak the economy.

    Get long America.

  3. Wes Schott says:

    Everything is wonderful, right?

  4. blueoysterjoe says:

    Honestly, I have been talking with my wife about the swine flu thing. We have a very young baby, and she was without a phone for a number of days, so I caught her up on the news re: pig plague.

    I know it’s fashionable for elites such as myself to “tut tut” all the freak-out coverage on all the television shows, but … really? Are we so retarded, as a people, that we want there to be _less_ coverage about a potential pandemic?

    When the plague comes, and oh yes it will, I hope it eats the brains of media critics first. And then the media. And then clowns.

    Over and out.

  5. Wes Schott says:

    BOcultJoe – man, relax. I got bugs in my computer, and cyliric characters on this blog. But, the chance, even in NYC are small.

  6. SWMOD52 says:

    We have to save more for the kids (8, 6, 4) college. Have fully funded Pre-Paid college plan but need to save more.

  7. AlGore says:

    So Barry, your saying Geithner and Obama are destroying Earnings and turning our Recession into a depression in less than a 100 days and I should buy Gold TOMORROW? OMFG where’s my BAR! (Browning automatic rifle)

    Outside the office I told my stupid family to get out of stocks. Now they all need a double to get well. Worst, they all hate me for my anti-American shorting of their 401k’s. So I say, “you mean your 201k ass hole”.

  8. Wes Schott says:

    SW – we all need to save more. we do not need to borrow more. good luck to you and your kids.

  9. franklin411 says:

    I replied to that a long time ago! And at the time, I said that she’s not terribly curvy but she’s got that 1940s pinup look goin’ on! It was all strictly PG…but that doesn’t mean what it used to! ;-)

  10. mhm says:

    This swine flu reminds us all of our human condition… a good thing after this all-number virtual life on capital markets.

    And the real swines are the one driving the price indexes on vapor earnings.

  11. Wes Schott says:

    Al, that is not green speak.

  12. Wes Schott says:

    from…..”Our Next Troubled Bank: The Fed”

    Wes Schott Says:

    April 27th, 2009 at 8:28 pm
    F411 – I am starting to understand where you are coming from. Finally.

  13. Mannwich says:

    I’m waiting for the sheeple flu to hit. Oh wait, I think it’s already afflicted us.

  14. Bruce in Tn says:

    OK…open thread, gonna jump back on my soapbox…

    For you boys and girls in the generation after mine…the baby boomers didn’t “create” this mess…now hear me out…I have voted in presidental and congressional elections since I was 18… soon enough that will be 4 decades…I have NEVER voted for someone I thought would continue deficit spending…believe it or not, there are millions of other boomers who felt the same way. Yet our presidents and congresses, dems and repubs, continued year after year to spend more than the taxes brought in…

    I will again put the very simple question to you: If your generation doesn’t demand a balanced budget amendment, WHERE is the guarantee you won’t be bled to pay the debt service the same way my generation was? My generation protested the Vietnam War and racial inequality…now you have a different type of inequality, but it is brought on by an increasingly overwhelming government that just can’t say no to spending….and yes, this for you Keynes fans is a tough time to bring it up, but if not now, when? Are you lost in the moment?
    Do you think social security will be there for you? It won’t even be there for me.

    No greater philosopher than Daniel Boone was asked if he was ever lost…his reply was: No, I was never lost, but sometimes I was confused for weeks at a time…

    Don’t be confused; the fact is that these budget deficits have been going on all my working life…a little more every year, never paid off. And now, either we control the monster, or default, or have massive tax increases/inflation….

    As someone once asked Meatloaf..”What’s it gonna be, boy?”

  15. Wes Schott says:

    My 22 year old son was questioning why should he/they/his generation pay into the social security Ponzi scheme. What’s up with that? Deflation, inflation, WTF.

  16. Mannwich says:

    Wow, Bruce, quoting Meatloaf? Getting serious, are we?

    You are right, of course, but I fear the can-kicking will continue until it can no longer be kicked. These problems are now too big and intractable for any of our current crop of leaders to confront head on and truly fix even if they really wanted to do it. As a solution, then, they will give the appearance of fixing the problems that ail us, but it’s merely more can-kicking and delaying the inevitable event that will be our undoing.

  17. call me ahab says:

    Wes Schott Says:

    “F411 – I am starting to understand where you are coming from. Finally.”

    where?- at a University run by the remnants of the Weather Underground- with one hand on Das Kapital and the other on the Communist Manifesto?

    Go get ‘em franklin

  18. HCF says:

    @ Bruce:

    As much as joke about baby boomers screwing things up, I agree with you, it isn’t a generational fault thing. I believe that the principal precursor to instability is stability. Policy makers and voters became complacent following prolonged prosperity, thinking we had solved all the major issues of humanity. Rather than prepare for the 1000 year flood, they believed that sea-level would never rise even one inch. Sometimes, a bit of paranoia is healthy. I’m pretty sure that my generation will have more than a bit of it….


  19. d_gray says:

    Remember the Snail Darter controversy.. (1973)
    Who’s the greatest president in the whole wide world?
    Idiocracy..is it really a dark science fiction movie?

  20. pmorrisonfl says:

    Bruce writes:
    > the baby boomers didn’t “create” this mess

    While I value and respect what you say and who you are, I must disagree here.

    I come from 1962, either toward the end of the boom or somewhere in the hinterlands depending on which demographer you talk to. Whether boomer or not, I’d say the people in charge (govt or private) for the last 20 or so years have to take some responsibility for our current state of affairs. More strongly, they’re boomers and they turned it in to a mess. Personally, I think the boomers got the idea that the relative strength the US enjoyed post-WWII was literally our birthright and therefore guaranteed, freeing us to run up the credit card. Meanwhile, whether leader or follower, the success lulled us asleep. I know I wasn’t politically or economically aware for most of my life, and so now I struggle with how to be effectively active. I do think it will take more than voting. I’m drafting a follow-up letter to my Congressperson (remember how I griped about the TARP but you voted yes anyway? How’s that going? And what are you going to do now?)

    At home we’ve broken out the grill, and are looking at rib recipes. Alton Brown is usually our first stop when trying something new.

  21. b_thunder says:

    TARP from Hank
    PPIP from Timmy
    Stuffing the Fed with worthless (or worth_a_lot_less) paper
    0% Fed rates
    = Biggest bonuses for the remaining (read: best-connected) bankers

    Let’s celebrate! Booyah!

  22. deanscamaro says:

    Its time the GM bondholders took it in the bum and stop their squealing like little girls. Perform a bankruptcy and blow them into the wind.

  23. Marcus Aurelius says:

    blueoysterjoe Says:

    When the plague comes, and oh yes it will, I hope it eats the brains of media critics first. And then the media. And then clowns.

    Funny stuff. Good name, too.

  24. Wes Schott says:

    It is not the generalized “baby boomers” by demographic time frame. But, you may have a point regarding those that are aligned with the “establishment”, which by default timing may just be classed as “baby boomers”.

  25. pigpen says:

    The tyranny of our financial experts must end bc they WUZ Wrong. Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner and the end of the tyranny of experts.

  26. TheCynic says:

    Was thinking where will the gold go.. up or down?
    It seems possible to go both ways – up to $1800 or down to $400
    Up, if China and others continue to buy scared that the dollar will go bust or down, if America start selling gold from the reserves to cover the debt…
    What do u think?
    O, yeah also thinking which face mask is best for the flu.

  27. Bruce in Tn says:


    Actually you agree with me. My underlying point is that as a voter, not someone in politics, I have pulled the lever every time for someone as fiscally responsible as I was…or so I thought. As you say “the people in charge” have to take responsibility….well, that IS my point…they are NOT ever going to do that until our constitution prevents them from doing so…there has to be a groundswell for this, even though this is not as concrete an idea to most of us the way the Vietnam War was, or racial injustice, it too will prove to be a crushing burden until society repudiates it…

  28. bobby says:

    been drinking heavily…..

  29. Wes Schott says:

    Bruce, You are sooo idealistic. And, they said F411 was an oldy goldy – while I thought he was a newbie. Guess I am out of calibration.

  30. Bruce in Tn says:

    No, if I was idealistic, I’d run for office…instead I have just worked and taught all my life.

  31. Outlier says:

    Anyone seen a really good breakdown on what happens inside a leveraged ETF? It’s getting clearer and clearer that those things are radioactive with short half lifes. Try graphing a bear/bull leveraged pair over a few months and odds are you’ll find a negative return for both sides…. Still haven’t found a clear explanation of why though, but take that day trader (or maybe week) only thing seriously people.

    Following from that any suggestions on a good simple replacement for SRS? Selling IYR short I guess, but is there something better?

    Been seeing/hearing a bunch of anecdotal signs of retail warming up, but I’m guessing that’s really a correction from the oct/nov extremes and towards a lower baseline than the bubble times.

    Also a more random thought, what if the recent run up is not as irrational as it seems, but merely the market pricing a dose of coming dollar inflation?

  32. Wes Schott says:

    You are a good man.

  33. Bruce in Tn says:

    Enough soapbox…sorry. I know it won’t get fixed.

    If only I could roll my eye around like Jack Elam…

  34. franklin411 says:

    If you can’t appreciate a pretty blonde…you’ve already lost the game!

    Anyway overall, I reject the idea that the fix for America’s economic weakness is to starve ourselves to death with false economy. The only way forward is to take a chance on rebuilding America as a great nation once again. The world will not stand idle while we pinch pennies in an attempt to pay down the debt. China and India are spending incredible amounts on infrastructure–both physical and human–to outclass us 25 years from now. If we’re too stupid to see that…if we refuse to invest in ourselves…they we’ll deserve what we get.

  35. AlGore says:

    VennData Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Vice President Dick Cheney, who defended secrecy while in office, has sought the release of more classified memorandums, to save his rep. This is the same guy that suffered through the Clinton years, hearing about how he didn’t take out Saddam when he had the chance.

    But is this investable? >>>>>>>>>>>

    Venndata, Your allowing the Media and Politicians to control you while your being raped. Mis-information, outright lies and victimization politics are blinding you. A common affliction with many of the Obama sheep I’m afraid. Get off the Left against the Right Crap! THEY both are robbing you!

    Victimization politics is a MUST for cover while their Fed & Treas are funneling trillions of your kids money to their campaign contributors(banks etc) through various means. Your being fooled!
    I eat my boiled frog with eggs & hash browns.

    We Americans have to break out of the Right against Left(their control of us as a whole) and stop their Looting and start Prosecuting the Bastards or your offspring are bankrupt.

  36. Andy T says:

    Love the term “sheeple.”

    What’s on my mind??? Some quick technical thoughts….

    Short, short term bears should be concerned. This is not acting like a market that wants to rollover hard. Swine Flu talk all weekend and all we could do was drop 10-15 pts and then recover? We may see a little dip down to 830s next 24-48 hours, but there’s a decent chance we take out 875 and “grind” to 900 next few weeks.

    I’m bearish this market over the medium to longer term (Oct 2009), but must admit it’s not acting like a market that has “peaked” just yet. I still see the whole 870 – 906 as a “zone” of resistance. If the market can drop very hard in the next 48 hours and take out 822, then the most bearish case comes alive. If the market continues to grind up to 900, then longer term “investors” should look at it as a chance to get out before the summer dump. [There's a very real reason you Sell in May and Go Away.]

    The other thing is the currencies…..the DX, while it was good rebound today, looks very much like it needs to take one more little leg down before resuming it’s longer term uptrend (DEFLATION). Another leg down in the DX will provide the artificial boost necessary to peak all the various asset classes.

    So, if your a short term trader, and you really want to be short the stock market, I would recommend a DX short of some kind to go with it…for now. Don’t mean to come off as a “waffler,” but I have to pay attention to what the market is saying, and right now it’s a little confusing.

    Disclosure: I remain 25% short the sp futures, but have coupled the position with a short DX trade for the short term. It’s time to be nimble with dry powder.

    AT (Andy T. handle replaces Andy Tabbo hereafter)

  37. Northern Observer says:

    I work in sales for a manufacturer so I’m just praying that the flow through at retail matches what the buyers are taking. We don’t do open terms for anyone anymore so I’m not worried about a surprise but the lower the ambient demand is the harder the job gets.

    Besides that, occasionally I think about how America is going to save itself, since there is no solution that doesn’t involve long term higher taxation and less spending… but your politicians are too much narcissistic hacks to make it happen. What can I say, America ain’t Denmark or Singapore. To be fair most countries aren’t, but that is the kind of level headed leadership that is required now, and it ain’t there. Obama was a big step in the right direction, but he’s just one man. I mean look at how Larry Summers advice has already handicapped him. Tough times.

  38. JRobie says:

    Well first we talked about hos the old Tom & Jerry cartoons from the 1940s are better than anything that came afterwards.

    Then we talked about how “Doc Hollywood” Obama seems to be getting a lot of photo opps lately. Doesn’t he do any work?

    The we contemplated why anyone would opt to pay taxes if all the money went for millionaire bankers and billionaire hedge funders, and military, and then we wondered about the informal economy.

    Then we took a nap.

  39. Bruce in Tn says:

    By the way, I looked at the Japanese retail sales again today…


    If the Japanese were a city, they would unincorporate…they don’t have light at the end of the tunnel…they don’t even SEE the tunnel…I am not sure what the average American would do with an economy the Japanese are putting up with…

  40. Rajesh says:

    Bruce in TN,

    Down only 4% looks pretty good to the Japanese by now. When you strip out inflation, it’s only down by 3%. Party likes it’s 1989.

  41. Rajesh says:

    Does anybody know what’s going on with the $200 billion the Treasury is putting into the Supplementary Funding Program? I’m sure the Fed announced they were phasing that out but $200 billion a quarter doesn’t sound like phasing out.

  42. Transor Z says:

    Here in Boston, I’m wondering whether my family might actually be getting over swine flu. Everybody either had a GI version or upper respiratory or both last week. My wife and I had all of the symptoms CDC provided, not kidding. Definitely a flu, but was it THE flu? Some thinking that the swine flu has been here percolating for a few weeks but has been under the radar.

    Bruce with the Jack Elam eye reference. Awesome. I’ve got one for you: Scatman Crothers.

    Introduced my eighth grader to the joys of listening to her father riffing in the manner of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the 1977 Chuck Norris classic “Breaker, Breaker.” Had her laughing pretty good so I guess the old man still has it. Took her and the toddler to see “Monsters vs. Aliens” this weekend. Thought it was much better than the reviews, but I’m a connoisseur of trashy monster movies from way back.

  43. What have I been talking about?

    At dinner tonight, I told my kids about this article on Bloomberg about an economist that still has $700,000 left (out of $1.4m) from when he was laid off several months ago, and how he was depressed, blah, blah, blah, and at age 61 did not know what he would do…that he couldn’t find a new job, etc.

    This was ridiculous on so many levels, I’ll spare you most of ‘em, but here’s TBP problem, and what I presented to my kids:

    He is lost because he worshipped false gods (this isn’t a religious speech, bear me out). He worshipped money and status when he should always have been happy to survive, and doing things to protect his survival. For heaven’s sake, he made $500,000 for a couple of years working for BofA as a mid-level economist! And that was only three years ago.

    His gods are revealing their true character now, and because they were false to begin with, he very likely won’t survive. If you worship a god, worship one that enhances your survival prospects, not one that impairs it. If this guy’s predicament and his view toward it is a harbinger of how utterly incapable we are at adjusting to new realities, then America truly is doomed.

    Read the article. It turned my stomach to see these panty-waists whine about their exceeding mild impoverishment.


  44. Bruce in Tn says:

    Curmudgeon: Thanks. Very nicely stated.

    Ok…I found something else…now I’m going to go read more on the 87th precinct.

    But the Financial Times put figures to my earlier points…if you increase your debt 9 per cent in a year, pretty soon you can see if the king has clothes or not.


    IMF says national deficits to remain sky-high

    “Staff at the US Federal Reserve estimate that the ideal interest rate for the US economy under current conditions is minus 5 per cent, according to an internal analysis prepared for its last policy meeting.

    The IMF said on Sunday the UK deficit would rise from 9.8 per cent of gross domestic product this year to 10.9 per cent next, while the deficit in Japan would increase to 9.6 per cent of GDP. It predicted that the US deficit would inch lower, but to a still high 8.8 per cent of GDP.”

  45. 40 reasons why the economy will get worse and stocks are overvalued: HERE

  46. newcreature says:

    I have been thinking about three things. Well, four being I live in Texas (way too close to Mexico these days) but I will leave that one for another time.

    1. Haircuts. I was reading something this weekend about the banks getting haircuts if the FDIC fixed the problem with the banks its way… CRAM DOWN. It got me thinking who should be getting a haircut in all of this mess and who shouldn’t.

    As a general rule, I think the people who should get haircuts are those who made risky investments. This list would include banks who provided sub-prime mortgages that created the real estate bubble; the big banks and shadow banks that created all the obscure financial instruments like CDSs that allowed them to game the system; home owners who bought more home and took on way more debt than they could afford; and all those who got stuck upside down in their bad real estate investments.

    The people who shouldn’t get haircuts are the government and the tax payers. As much as I would like to punish those who twisted the rules that allowed sub-prime mortgages, if you punish the government, you are punishing the taxpayer (me!).

    2. HyperInflation. I realize there isn’t any velocity right now so the risk of hyperinflation in the short term is highly unlikely, unless China does something real stupid. But, I am starting to think that the only way for the US to get out from under all this debt is for it to be inflated away. We know that Ben believes an annual inflation rate of about 4% would be about right, but I wonder if they don’t want to hit it much harder than that, intentionally.

    3. Contingency planning. Every good financial planner talks about having a rainy day fund in case things go bad for a season. Lately I have been thinking that our economy is very fragile right now and if something bad came along like a natural disaster or a terrorist attack or maybe even a flu pandemic, the slippery slope Ben and Tim are trying to carefully walk the country down will get very steep and very icy and our economy will start a catastrophic downward spirl.

    We sure need to look hard to find good news these days.

  47. greg says:

    Random thoughts I’ve been having. What has swine flu to do with anything market related? Why are people always surprised by the actions of politicians once they become elected? When did people first rationalize that paying $1500 per square foot for real estate made sense. How did anyone who followed the market in the last 15 years not realize that GM was bankrupt 10 to 15 years ago? You were told enough times. Why don’t some people want to do away with private health care? Would these same people want Jimmy Cayne or Angelo Mozilo or John Thain as CEO’s of any of the large private health care providers? Who’s paying for the really nice car ads we are still seeing on TV? Why are any of the people who were on the Boards of Directors of any auto company or bank, still on those Boards?

  48. EAR says:

    Obama calms people.

    And with the confluence of many really shitty events along with easy access to scores of sources of information, factual or in the wheelhouse of the deranged, providing details of these events, that’s a good thing for now.

    “Sheeple” yes, but we know what they do when startled.

    About them stress tests…

    A possible justification to partially or fully nationalize some banks, perhaps?

    If not, why release the results publicly?

    “Listen up, America. We know that you hate the idea of taxpayer money going to these banks to prop them up until they become solvent which was proven the longest possible kamikaze dive in history.

    So we’re gonna beat you over the head with the unthinkable consequences of systemic risk and the failure of entities that are too big to fail for a few months until your frightened enough.

    Then we’ll let your fury over the CEOs and their bonuses stick in your craw for a while until you’re angry enough.

    Finally, we’ll test the viability of banks that we know aren’t viable, throw up our hands and say ‘We tried to maintain as best we could the purity of capitalism by keeping them standing so they could walk on their own but… now we have no choice. It’s time for the big N. We have to do whatever it takes.’ But look at it this way, we already put so much of your money into these things they’re really yours (cough!) ours (cough!) anyway.

    When that PPIP finally gets goin’ you’ll be subsidizing private investors who buy toxic assets from, well, from you! How cool is that? Really? Well, we think it’s cool. Do what? We wish we could but it’s physically impossible. Listen, don’t get mad at us, if all of those dopes didn’t label Obama a socialist we would have done this sooner.”

  49. Oleg says:

    Pig Flu fluke. WHO needs money.

  50. Mannwich says:

    @Curmudgeon: I read the same article. I actually couldn’t get through the whole thing. We’re in deep, deep do-do. Too many of us still rely on Corporate America to save us. It ain’t gonna happen.

  51. Marcus Aurelius says:

    The real reason I want society to fail on all levels, and the sooner the better, is because I truly believe that at age 50, I can still whip any man in the place. Any place. I was born to be a war lord.

    I need to stay out of the Wild Turkey. Time for bed.

  52. Mike in Nola says:

    Just unsubscribed from John Mauldin’s newsletter.

    He often throws in comments about “class warfare,” i.e. trying to stop the rich from screwing us as much as they have been. This week, it’s a defense of torture. I don’t really care what his political opinions are, or if he thinks it justified, but I’m really not interested in reading them in what’s supposed to be an economics newsletter.

  53. EarlGrey says:

    My wife and I were looking at houses recently and we were offered a nothing down, 30 year fixed rate loan at 3.875%. The terms on home loans these days are VERY attractive. And they still can’t sell them.

  54. Stuart says:

    we’re alive inside the matrix.

  55. EAR says:

    The matrix has decided to move some of us to the recycle bin.

  56. RockyR says:

    Why in the world can I not get sellers around here to come down off of their listing prices??? I thought we were supposed to be in a housing slump for Pete’s sake!

  57. s0mebody says:

    Re: What I’m thinking

    The 747 “photo op” was some kind of psyop. Either to instill fear in the populace or as a symbolic warning sign of things to come.

  58. akahn says:

    what’s on my mind is how do I play this swine flu thing… And as usual, I have swirling in the back of my mind how Geithner is a crook.

  59. JD says:

    1. The worst is not over, because the majority thinks it is.
    2. The United States, by any rational measure, is bankrupt. It is the greatest pyramid scheme in the history of civilization.
    3. Alan Greenspan is the worst Fed Chairman ever, and deserves to be incarcerated or placed in a mental institution, for the rest of his miserable life.
    4. Ben Bernanke is an incompetent idiot. (this is not obvious to everybody yet, but will be in a couple years)
    5. Fiat currency is the equivalent of Government raping the citizens. (which is redundant, since the purpose of Government is to rape the citizens, while convincing them that they are actually being protected)
    6. Ron Paul for President. (like that could ever happen in a nation of sheep)
    7. Wells Fargo, compared to other major banks, is a far superior lier. This too shall come to an end.
    8. General Motors is toast. Stupid dumbf*cks, welcome to capitalism.
    9. The real estate bottom is not in.
    10. Jim Simons is losing money. wtf?
    11. We’ll be damn lucky if we get through the next decade without WWIII.
    12. 2009: LeBron beats Kobe. (barely)
    13. Good luck, President Obama. But as they said in the Matrix, your men are already dead.
    14. FDIC: another government promise, about to come crashing down. (see: Black Swan)
    15. The individual, with effort, can act rationally. But society cannot. Hey Congress! Fix that.
    16. The solution to the greatest credit bubble in the history of the world is more debt. (let’s keep pretending everything is OK)
    17. The Democrats will fix everything. (if, by fix everything, you mean screw things up in the way that only government can)
    18. The Republicans, if they had a majority, would fix everything. (if, by fix everything, you mean screw things up in the way that only government can)
    19. 401K: apparently it’s a little more involved than just putting money in and then taking money out when you retire. Welcome to reality, Darwinism-believers.
    20. O Lord, if there is a Lord, save my soul, if I have a soul.

  60. ohemingway says:

    A visit to NYC.
    Katz’s Deli
    Peter Lugars’s Steak House
    Jersey Boys
    David Letterman

  61. FrancoisT says:

    @Curmudgeon: I read the article too. That is, until the warm and fuzzy feeling called nausea got the best of me.

    I was talking to a colleague of mine who practice cardiology in Western VA near the Tennessee border; very rural and econ depressed area. He told me something startling; They’re seeing more and more patients coming from families that are homeless. (The entire family! kids Mom and Dad) He was told by the social services people that this is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population nationwide.

    Viewed with that perspective, our poor economist who has ONLY 700K left doesn’t inspire me a lot of pity, to say the very least.

  62. johnny says:

    bull make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.

  63. Tradebum says:

    I’m wondering if my FAZ long is going to pay off soon. And I watched the video on LTCM. I read the book When Genius Failed which gave a pretty good picture of what happened. The video was an added bonus so thanks for the turn on.

  64. RockyR says:

    “Katz’s Deli”

    Oh good lord that place rules.

  65. EAR says:

    Welcome, ohemingway. We’re finally having some nice weather :)


    How ’bout this…

    “In this room are people who have built this firm and lost a lot, our fortunes,” one Bear executive said to Mr. Dimon with anger in his voice. “What will you do to make us whole?”

    “Whole?” Wholey shit. What a quote.


    I’ve been thinking if I see Randall Flagg near my wife or my boys I’m takin’ him down.

  66. Tradebum says:

    And the earnings all suck. Why aren’t we shorting this market back to 1969?

  67. jz says:

    I was having a laugh at the least bearish item in Barron’s annual survey of 100 money managers. Soda almost came flying out of my nose when I read the asset they are least bearish on was oil. It has finally caught on a little in the MSM that supply keeps going up and up and demand has been completely flat. The last time we had this much oil in storage, oil was $10.

    So I went back and looked at last year’s survey and almost did the soda thing again. Last year, 0% of money managers were very bearish. 74% thought a U.S. recession wouldn’t spread to the rest of the world. The top two favorite stocks of the biggest money managers were GE and (drum roll please) AIG. You’d think it could not get any worse, but their favorite sector for 2008 was the financials.

    When asked how many of said money managers were beating the S&P 500 in 2008, 74% said yes. This year, that number was 89%. To me, that gives the most interesting result of all. It means that only 11% of money managers are capable of telling the truth.

  68. Tyler K says:

    Over the weekend I read through the BCI article on leveraged and inverse ETFs that made the rounds last week. As one reader had pointed out (either here or on ZeroHedge), the article pretty much had a strong bias against such instruments (not really a surprise given they compete with BCI’s stable of products).

    One of the main points of arguments in the BCI article was that these 2x, 3x, -1x, -2x and -3x etfs are indirectly contributing to overall equity market volatility due to the end of day rebalancing of hedge positions taken on the underlying swap transactions by the fund’s counterparties. The point about these etf associated mechanics being an added source of volatility was itself contested by a few analysts, as was noted /presented in the WSJ’s pickup on the article. Unfortunately, non of the rebuttals that I saw addressed the particular point that sheds some light onto this BCI claim; specifically, the case BCI is trying to sell should naturally lend itself to an examination of the method of hedging being employed by the counter parties….I don’t know what these are (though I have a few guesses), but, in any regard, by the nondescript way the BCI analysts have laid it out in their article, it seems as if they are implying that the counterparties to the swaps are, in rebalancing their hedge positions, dipping into the equity markets within the last half an hour of the regular trading sessions to do so. Now, if that is occuring, then I would agree with BCI’s position, as that would be a large disruptive process. Howeverk personally, that strikes me as being the most transactional inefficient method possible to maintain the neutral hedge position.

    In some cases, the nature of the etf (i.e. based upon the S&P500), would allow (to a fair degree) the counterparty to use future contracts to manage the hedge. Okay, and given that, I can see how observed directionally pressure in the futures market would lend itself to increased pressures in the equity markets. However, in other of these etf cases (i.e. where the etf’s underlying focus/index is not replicated in popular exchange traded products), rebalancing the hedge wouldn’t be possible via futures. So does this mean they are dipping into the market to buy/sell weighted amounts of shares proportional to the constituent entity’s representation in the underlying index the etf attempts to track? Again — can you say inefficient. Besides, even if this was the case, I’d think that dark pools would be a better fit for such activity, and in particular to clear such large blocks all coming down the pipe at the same time. So my guess is that the counterparties are actually turning to options on the etf itelf to carry out their re-hedging needs.

    Comments? Can anyone confirm such suspicions…. Anyway, I think the BCI article was intentionally alarmist in these regards …. still, it was a very interesting read in infomative to many degrees.

  69. dawase says:

    @ Tradebum:

    Because the market can remain irrational a lot longer than we can remain solvent or maybe Because GS has a bigger book than we do? Not sure which.

  70. investorinpa says:

    Here’s what is going on in my life and those around me. Unlike others on here, I am not going to just give a cynical remark or talk about hypotheticals, what the stock market technicals are saying, etc. I am just going to tell you the reality around me.

    I was a pretty active RE investor who sold off several of my properties 3-4 years ago. I still keep a 10 unit apt building, a duplex, and a single family home. I’ve got a lot of fellow RE investors as friends. Right now, in the Philly suburbs (Montgomery County, one of the most popular “swing counties” every election), every foreclosure and REO bank owned property is getting chased by hungry RE investors like you wouldn’t believe. Several deals were lost as investors/speculators are outbidding each other above asking.

    Now, for homes priced over 200K, the market is not moving very much. But for anything with foreclosure/REO/bank owned/ written on it, things are getting bid up. Apartment buildings that have any semblance of cash flow are quickly sold. Local homebuilders around here such as Toll and THP properties are in the news for all the wrong reasons. The realtor that I use to sell my properties had 3 closings on Friday and she said the tax credits are luring the first time homebuyer into the market once again, as long as the property is under 200K. She has 7 settlements scheduled in May already.

    OTOH, the “mainstream” person is very focuesed on paying down credit cards, cutting back A LITTLE bit on going out, and nearly everyone this year is growing a garden. I’ve found contractors and handymen that I use who were very slow for the last 4-6 months of 2008 are now busy with jobs. Lines have returned at Home Depot. My tenants are in various stages of financial being…a few have jobs that are paying well, a few lost jobs and quickly found another, and 2 lost jobs and have yet to found anything else.

    So here is my advice to all you casino, er stock players out there…most retailers that have not closed down their doors already are probably not going to, so stop shorting them. Some homebuilders are pretty crappy, but others are starting to build 1st time homebuyer type homes and they will sell them out. Don’t bet wrong. McDonalds is doing great business right now, but when the economy picks back up, those same coffee drinkers will gladly run back to Starbucks when cheap is no longer chic. Myspace is dead, Facebook is nearing its apex of popularity, everyone is starting to Twitter. Hotel rooms and wedding hall space is hard to get. The American consumer is not dead, but is just taking a breather. Invest accordingly. Don’t let your desire to be right (this includes you too, Barry) or to say Obama is a bad prez cost you money!

  71. CTB says:

    Ok, here’s an answer to a crisis:

    China, with the massive human capital of its army deploys to Pakistan, where it drives out the Taliban and helps to stabilize the region so we can finish the job in Afghanistan. They redeem some of their Treasury bills for our military hardware technology — effectively killing two birds with one stone.

    Heck, China is tomorrow’s superpower. Why don’t they start acting like one?

  72. constantnormal says:

    sell in May …

    Well, May is just around the corner — so exactly when in May?
    Is that May 2009, or 2010?

    And, as this was a “24″ broadcast night, it strikes me that this is certainly a Jack Bauer kind of economy. I fully expect the next season of 24 to have some sort of tangled, convoluted global financial crisis as its tableau, complete with Madoffs and an assortment of conflicted and compromised federal “leaders”, with everyone trying to bamboozle trillions out of the system, leaving the hapless American taxpayer to clean up the mess.

    I sure as hell wish there were a Jack Bauer out there somewhere, someone you could count on to punish the guilty and set things right.

    Jack Bauer, where are you?.

  73. kansascitypothole says:

    I’m thinking

    1) they’re starting to get the right idea

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20670001&sid=aR.qr6xHEaUA (the headline has been changing in the last few minutes)

    2) Two steps forward, one step back


    3) blueoysterjoe’s comment needs to be a BP quote of the day sometime soon

    “When the plague comes, and oh yes it will, I hope it eats the brains of media critics first. And then the media. And then clowns.”

  74. The Cynic says:

    I think the Swine Flu began on Wall Street and in Washington D.C.
    They’ve infected one another through greed, power, and arrogance.
    This particular strain has been around for many, many years.
    This pandemic is spreading across the world.
    Unfortunately it may be too late to eradicate it

  75. Been thinking about how fast this swine flu thing is spreading and going to spread… oh yea, mostly talking about how fast the mania is spreading, not the actual virus.

  76. Outlier says:

    The BGI (not BCI) Leveraged ETF article mentioned by Tyler K is quite informative and available here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14485183/BGI-Leveraged-Etf

    still feel like an important piece of the picture is missing on these vehicles, but maybe it’s all in there and I just haven’t parsed it all yet.

  77. adavydov says:

    In private, with my family and loved ones, I am talking about the sh!t that I am way too scared to express to my clients. It is extremely difficult these days to streamline my personal beliefs with what I see happening all around us…lots of cognitive dissonance! The number one thing on my mind is the same thing that was the number one thing through out the election cycle last year (and the thing neither candidate had a plan for)…the National Debt of this country; and I am not talking the 10tril. number that the government is all too happy to roll out in front of you but the more like 50-60tril that is owed over the next 40-50 years.

    The other thing I have been talking about, and trying not to go about this in a conspiracy theory sort of way, is how the people that made of with billions of dollars in the “sunny” years are able to plead ignorance, remain in power and continue on their way manipulating markets (see GS). Over the recent months I have become more and more convinced that the people at the top (government, quasi-government, and leading financial institutions) orchestrated this mess, continue to perpetuate, and avoid any sort of punishment by perpetuating the nepotistic (in the sense that the same people go from gov’t to the street to the fed to the treasury and back) cycle, thereby protecting their own asses. These a$$holes knew what they were doing, they grasped the consequences, and yet they continued on doing it to the peril of the nation and the world. They knew the system, they new their a$$ would get bailed out, they knew their friends would be in power so that they would avoid any sort of retribution and may even be able to keep their jobs so they gamed it!

  78. Darkness says:

    Here in Boston, I’m wondering whether my family might actually be getting over swine flu. Everybody either had a GI version or upper respiratory or both last week. My wife and I had all of the symptoms CDC provided, not kidding. Definitely a flu, but was it THE flu? Some thinking that the swine flu has been here percolating for a few weeks but has been under the radar.

    We were discussing the same thing. We came back from two weeks in San Diego last month and a week later were very ill with the whole shebang of symptoms. It was like two flus at once, so it really stood out. I guess that’s a happy thought for the day. Immunity is nothing to sneeze at.

  79. Thatguy says:

    Swine Flu has been waiting 33 years for this! Sitting, biding its time, waiting for its moment to strike. If only we had listened back in 1976!!!!!!!

  80. If you want to make your computer blow up
    Ford + Rumsfield + Swine Flu + Gilead + Roche

  81. rachel says:

    I, too, think that I have had something like the swine flu. I left Boston, felt sick and then sicker in LA and Palm Springs, and ended up in the hospital at Rancho Mirage with undiagnosed respiratory and stomach problems.
    But what I want to talk about is two facts that have been public knowledge now for a while, but have received insufficent attention. Frank Rich said that Summers was working for a hedge fund WHILE he was president of Harvard. If you know what Harvard is now going through because of the disastrous loss of endowment income closely tied to Summers’ preferences for derivatives, this merits more anger than it has had. How can this guy be Obama’s spokesperson on the economy? I think this is a terrible mistake.
    The threads that tie everyone important in the economic disaster and its putative recovery put GS at center stage all the time. These guys are still making money!!! They are responsible for the losses the rest of us have endured in our retirement and college savings, not to mention the loss of jobs for many people across the boards. Why are they still in power? Why are they still being rewarded? Can this be stopped?

  82. adavydov Says:
    April 28th, 2009 at 8:33 am

    In private, with my family and loved ones, I am talking about the sh!t that I am way too scared to express to my clients. It is extremely difficult these days to streamline my personal beliefs with what I see happening all around us…lots of cognitive dissonance!

    much like that, other things related to Golf, and the Hound Dog..

  83. jankynoname says:

    @ Bruce in TN

    “I will again put the very simple question to you: If your generation doesn’t demand a balanced budget amendment, WHERE is the guarantee you won’t be bled to pay the debt service the same way my generation was?”

    The baby boomers are at fault here, and you guys can’t just claim you were powerless over this. I mean the “guarantee” that we won’t debt spend like you guys is the simple fact that no one’s going to want to finance us. I’m 25 yrs old. I’m betting that sometime in the next 5-10 yrs the spigot is going to run dry on China and Japan subsidizing your oversized standard of living. And the result – my generation will live at a much lower standard than you guys did! That’s BS. We’re going to have to work till were 75 and pay effective tax rates >50% (on income and cap gains) just to clean up this stinking pile of dung you’ve left us with. I’m not saying my generation is all that virtuous… I’m sure if we could live way beyond our means like the boomers we absolutely would. But it’s just not going to work out for us.

    Obviously unexpected things are going to happen that’s going to force additional spending to respond to emergencies etc. That’s why it’s not enough to run a “balanced budget.” You have to plan to run a surplus every single year – mandate it. And then when the Katrina’s and 9-11s and Modzillas come and reak havoc in our country we’ll have a cushion to absorb it. So thanks for selling us into indentured servitude. I just hope my Chinese massa’ will treat me well after you’re long gone.

  84. Greg0658 says:

    adavydov says at April 28th, 2009 at 8:33 am .. just about what I’m thinking for sometime now ….
    pirates pirates everywhere .. doing what folks do when the system is falling apart for their tribe

    JD lists 20 at April 27th, 2009 at 11:37 pm .. I was with ya for a while .. then the “Conservative” view – we don’t need no stinkin system started to roll .. freemarket capitalism is the way to dah dah dah dah da

    Conservative – what a fractured definition word these days … bring babies into the world (then they are on their own) because every breathing being is a meal ticket to a Conservative …. no homosexual equal rights because they skate the previous enactment system …. if a tribe doesn’t match the ideology kill it financially or physically

    IMO its now time for the world to accept a new financial pay system for work and commodity disbursements
    … since that ain’t gonna happen .. and the powers will continue to use government .. it’s time to get lite on the feet .. there goes the neighborhood

    ps – and Senator Arlen Specter way to go – I liked you even with the R

  85. Greg0658 says:

    jankynoname says on April 28th, 2009 at 1:12 pm … I hear ya J and at double your age I’ll take a minute to set you straight as I see it … our USA world post WWII was ruled by the so called Greatest Generation who defeated a single world terrorist with many country tenticles … they returned from that hell * (and some others infiltrated I’m sure) and had a Generation of babies that grew up and doubled the world population in a short time .. thats good for the business sector … now as the boomers grew up and started to request from the Greatest Generations setup system for retirement a pyramidal problem started to show … so for the tribes survival the system engineers dreamed up getting a disenfranchised population into the American Dream and set them up with factories using our savings … now the top down trickle down is doing what it does – ReBalance …. I have no palatable advice for myself .. let alone you

    * now having the view that forgiveness is devine and a rare commodity deepest at heart .. I ditto “I have no palatable advice for myself .. let alone you”

  86. Greg0658 says:

    pss – I intended to mention .. just who is having the babies today .. imo .. a) those doing it cause it happens when the brain in the pants has its say … b) those who need the benefits that come along from a compassionate society …. c) those who want to carry on the tribe genes for its/their survival
    d) those who still believe in the happyness and purpose of a familyman / that the kids can overcome this world if given a chance

  87. All you young’uns gather around the fire and listen.
    In any race, the goal should be to finish first and kiss the trophy girl, get the check, yada, yada.
    We are now in a race to the bottom, rebalance as it were.
    So, get there first.
    Ditch the yuppie lifestyle and embrace the old ways.
    Move from the city, buy you a patch of dirt and own it. Build on it. Make it yours.
    There is a wonderful fable I’m sure you have heard of, “The Ant and the Grasshopper” goggle it, read it, heed it.

    As for the Bboomers, they really did rebel against the system,
    until Kent State.
    You young’uns might want to google that also.