Some items that made my reading list for today:

• Battle Inside Fed Rages Over Bank Regulation (WSJ)

• With bank credit frozen, small U.S. businesses starting to turn to microlenders (Washington Post)

• Retail sales show strongest gain since before the recession (LATimes)

• Credit Suisse: $1 trillion worth of ARMs still face resets (SNL Financial)

• Fannie, Freddie Ask Banks to Eat Soured Mortgages (Bloomberg)

The Grim Rater: Countries don’t like bad news about their creditworthiness (The Economist)• Rogoff: Japan’s Slow-Motion Crisis (Project-syndicate)

• Worldwide, January (and possibly February) 2010 was one of the warmest on record (NOAA)

• Bob Cringely is looking for the best and brightest startup companies in America (Cringely’s List)  See also Collaborize

• How OK Go’s Amazing Rube Goldberg Machine Was Built (Wired)

What are you reading?

Category: Financial Press

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.

24 Responses to “Monday Reading”

  1. Bill King says:

    Our friend Ben from across the pond alerted us to this BBC report that sheds light on the folly of government economic statist methodology. How one woman can cause economic boom or bust How? Because her unemployed status is noted. It enters the record. And, in our fiction, 5,037 people who took part in the survey last month were classified as unemployed. This month, in a group that changes partially each time, there are 5,038.

    Calculations are made, the new total of unemployed in the sample is extrapolated to the population as a whole, the unemployment rate found to be 7.8%. At this, the world trembles. For last month – again, in our fiction – the rate had been 7.7%.

    “Analysts” had expected a fall to 7.6% – continuing signs of recovery. They declare themselves “shocked”. They fail to check the headline figure against others that might calm them down and the

  2. bobmitchell says:

    F&F- Wondered how that was going to work out.

    Bove stole my whipping boy. I wish someone with a bit more pull and intelligence would take over for me. Bove is every bit the tool that Cuomo is, and for most of the same reasons.

  3. flipspiceland says:

    Vanity Fair

    Three pieces on: 1) Dicky Fuld And Lehman Brothers culture (must wear ties, must not get divorced, must give $50K to breast cancer research) and great gossip about affairs, etc.

    Next up for reality TV : “The Real Wives of Morally Slimy Corrupt Bankers”.

    2) Larry Fink who manages $12 Trillion dollars for some big institutions like Fannie Mae. Yup. 12 TRILLION bucks and no one has ever heard of him. Till now.


  4. Gutting the US middle class

    A deliberate strategy?
    “…The creator of the “magic bullet” theory, Arlen Specter, a Republican and an assistant counsel to the Warren Commission in 1963, is still around now as a senior Democratic senator, celebrating a long, hearty if nefarious career. His theory posed that the single “magic bullet” “entered the base of the back of the president’s neck, transited his neck without hitting any bony structures, exited his throat right at the knot of his tie, then [and hold your breath for this] entered John Connelly’s back, shattering a rib, exiting from his chest, damaging his right wrist and then entered his left thigh, where the bullet was alleged to have performed all these feats and nevertheless [was] found in virtually pristine condition. The purported third shot that found its mark was said to have hit JFK’s head and killed him. Yet, we still have the nagging reality of the bystander who received a facial scar from the chip of concrete the slug of the first shot kicked up.

    Read that paragraph again and try to process these forensic gymnastics and believe that the journey of Specter’s “magic bullet” could possibly be real. I say this because, as Fetzer reports, “When the official account . . . The Warren Report (1964), appeared, many readers were fascinated to discover that, no matter how implausible it might appear, the ‘magic bullet’ hypothesis was the core of the government’s case.”

    Again, the cartoon-like journey of this zig-zagging “magic bullet” remained the keystone of the government case through repeated reinvestigations of the assassination by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) during 1976-77, and even in more recent books, most notably Gerald Posner’s Case Closed, a bit of government wishful thinking. Although with the government, wishing can make things so…”
    “Only The New York Times…

    We should ignore Al Gore’s bizarre Op-Ed in, where else, the New York Times, but it needs analysis because it includes all the standard errors that entrap and confuse most people.

    It also exposes him as a real hypocrite in his own words. The title “We can’t wish away Climate change” illustrates how little Gore knows or understands. No, we can’t wish it away because it has and will always exist.

    Climate Change Is Normal

    Just 20,000 years ago massive glaciers covered much of North America, Europe and Asia. Figure 1 shows most of the ice covering the land of the Northern Hemisphere….”

  5. Mr.E. says:

    From Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, presenting to the National Association for Business Economics …

    “CBO’s Elmendorf: U.S. Fiscal Policy on Unsustainable Path”

  6. flipspiceland says:

    3) Guy named Burry who taught Goldman Sucks about a few things.

  7. TakBak04 says:

    Michael Burry: The Unlikely Investing Genius In Michael Lewis’s Latest Book

    In his new book, “The Big Short” — excerpted in the latest Vanity Fair — Michael Lewis profiles the value investor who foresaw the mortgage meltdown and made a fortune betting on it.

    Michael Burry, who dropped out of his first year of medical residency to start Scion Capital in 2000, had an unusual approach to investing from the beginning. He charged his investors a fee just enough to cover the fund’s expenses, and he made money only when investors’ capital grew. But it grew, quickly and drastically. Burry’s strategy — to spend long hours alone in his office obsessively studying prospectuses and carefully selecting stocks — led to spectacular results: by 2005, five years after Scion Capital launched, the fund was up 242 percent. (The stock-market index, by contrast, had declined 6.84 percent over the same period.)

    But starting in 2004, Burry’s interest began to shift toward the subprime-mortgage bond market. He noticed that lenders were extending home loans to borrowers who had little or no collateral, usually at low teaser rates that would skyrocket after two years. Burry inferred that after the teaser rates expired, borrowers would default on their loans in waves and the value of securities that were made up of risky mortgage bundles would plummet. So he began purchasing credit-default swaps — essentially insurance — on certain subprime mortgage bonds:

    More At…….

    Betting on the Blind Side
    Michael Burry always saw the world differently—due, he believed, to the childhood loss of one eye. So when the 32-year-old investor spotted the huge bubble in the subprime-mortgage bond market, in 2004, then created a way to bet against it, he wasn’t surprised that no one understood what he was doing. In an excerpt from his new book, The Big Short, the author charts Burry’s oddball maneuvers, his almost comical dealings with Goldman Sachs and other banks as the market collapsed, and the true reason for his visionary obsession.
    more at…….

  8. TakBak04 says:

    flipspiceland Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Vanity Fair

    Three pieces on: 1) Dicky Fuld And Lehman Brothers culture (must wear ties, must not get divorced, must give $50K to breast cancer research) and great gossip about affairs, etc.


    What I’ve learned in the last years is that the Fat Cats like Madoff and all the Wall St. Billionaires are very careful to support “Arts & Entertainment plus CHARITIES.”

    It’s clever what they do. By supporting these groups they are Assured that when any bad publicity or melt down in their finances occurs, they will have huge outcry in Support of them …no matter what they do to ruin the overall economic health of the Country. Enron’s Ken Lay was a huge example of someone who gave Millions to Texas Charities, Symphony, Hospitals…whoever was in need..and when he was exposed those same folks who rely on all that largess would in turn really have to support him as such a good guy …that “How could those Evil Prosecutors” not be “totally wrong about this man?”

    I wonder if anyone has ever looked at how puny the amount of money these Fat Cat’s give in proportion to what they have in their “Total Wealth” to see if it’s not just “pennies on the dollar” they give to all their charities (who legitimately are needy) and if it really is a sacrifice of their wealth to them to give it…given the write offs they can take on their tax forms and the publicity benefit it gets them in case a nasty Government Investigator comes “snooping around.” In fact these folks get “insurance” from Prosecution by the fact that they can deduct “charitable contributions” and the arts, hospitals, health care foundations” are so starved they grow to depend on the publicity and benefits of these “very wealthy” moguls.

    And…we hear that Bill & Melinda Gates want to reform Education in America. More Charter Schools and break the Teachers Unions Backs. Teach to the Text but have Computers Teaching the kids… It’s Cool and it helps Microsoft GROW into the future!

    I’m not saying these folks don’t all have some good intentions and that they don’t all care about the country they live in and trying to do some good. BUT… if the good tends to cover up CRIMINALITY INVESTIGATIONS….what is the trade off? It’s a MORAL QUESTION… I don’t know the answer…but think it bothers me enough that it should bother some other folks.

    Rule of LAW? Or, Rule of Beneficial Charity Giving? What benefits Society in America the Most? Might be open to question these days. ????

  9. Uchicagoman says:

    Internet changing forever?

    Tomorrow apparently, via an acquisition by Cisco….

  10. JohnDoe says:

    Does the recent strength in retail sales have anything to do with tax returns? I know I got an extra $400 back for the making work pay tax credit which I spent on ‘things’… Any data on this?

  11. Dodgy dossier aide now the £100,000 boss of White House lobbying firm
    By Simon Walters and Sharon Churcher
    Last updated at 11:06 AM on 07th March 2010

    The man who wrote the infamous ‘dodgy dossier’ for Tony Blair about Saddam Hussein’s weapons is now a £100,000-a-year adviser working at the nerve centre of Barack Obama’s military and foreign policy establishment.

    The intelligence dossier produced by Downing Street weeks before the Iraq War, which included out-of-date research cut and pasted from the internet, has played a key part in the Chilcot Inquiry into the conflict.

    And today The Mail on Sunday can reveal for the first time how the man who wrote the document used it to launch a career that has put him on the fast-track to making a personal fortune…”
    “Why is the national security community treating the “Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010,” introduced by Sens. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman on Thursday as a standard proposal, as a simple response to the administration’s choices in the aftermath of the Christmas Day bombing attempt? A close reading of the bill suggests it would allow the U.S. military to detain U.S. citizens without trial indefinitely in the U.S. based on suspected activity. Read the bill here, and then read the summarized points after the jump.
    According to the summary, the bill sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning.

    (There is no distinction between U.S. persons–visa holders or citizens–and non-U.S. persons.)

    It would require these “belligerents” to be coded as “high-value detainee[s]” to be held in military custody and interrogated for their intelligence value by a High-Value Detainee Interrogation Team established by the president. (The H.I.G., of course, was established to bring a sophisticated interrogation capacity to the federal justice system.)…”
    “Naomi Wolf on Colbert Report: 10 steps to fascism
    Posted by Mark Frauenfelder, September 21, 2007 3:43 PM | permalink
    Naomi Wolf was on The Colbert Report last night talking about her book, The End of America, A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, which outlines ten steps that “fascist, totalitarian, and other repressive leaders [employ to] seize and maintain power, especially in what were once democracies.” …”

  12. TakBak04 says:

    Mark E Hoffer Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Dodgy dossier aide now the £100,000 boss of White House lobbying firm


    Sadly, I’m Not Surprised..

    And, yes… ADS…(“After Downing Street)

    But, who was listening..?

  13. alfred e says:

    The Burry articles are a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain.

    The story of the short- term dumbed down BananAmerica. Or was it a knowing fraud?

    Well I guess we have to include some foreign banks as well.

    Or is it the unnamed unsophisticated that all the tranches were pawned off on? Like the Royal Saudi family or the Chinese royalty? Wonder how they feel about the Street these days?

  14. alfred e says:

    @MEH: You keep coming up with more facts showing that BSO is more of the same.

    Change you cannot trust.

    Good job.

  15. budhak0n says:

    There is no way possible to Dumb Down “America”. The mainstream bunch have been pretty comatose since the Days of Ronnie.

    It’s not that we’re intellectually elite and they are just dumb people. It’s just that if you’re looking for the best and brightest , you certainly don’t look at your mainstream american.

    The best and brightest reserve the roles of surly malcontent, or flippant stoner in pretty much equal numbers.

    And frankly one of the problems with the “finance” industry is the intellectual capacity of the people it attracts.

    Not exactly think outside the box kind of people. So when you let them get outside the box, they again proved they couldn’t think straight.

  16. Over the past two years an agency of the Clinton White House, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has secretly worked with all of the commercial television networks to broadcast anti-drug propaganda as part of the story lines of popular, prime time programs.

    The networks agreed to weave the government’s anti-drug message into TV scripts, in lieu of their legal obligation to broadcast, free of charge, government-sponsored public service ads against drug use.

    “Anyone looking at their 401(k) portfolio performance since the end of August will undoubtedly be very happy (and extremely surprised), as the market has climbed steadily higher despite i) increasingly declining trading volume and ii) consistent and material withdrawals from domestic equity mutual funds.

    Furthermore, if anyone was merely looking at the trading action in regular hours, one would think there was absolutely no profit made since early September. The reason for that: all the upside since September 14th has come exclusively from after hours action.

    Every single day, minimal volume pushes the futures index higher. Good news, bad news, it don’t matter to the Goldman S&P and Russell 1000 futures desk: they just lift every micro offer, giving the impression that the market is unstoppable, often leapfrogging each other as the latest viagra’ed GDP or unemployment rumor is spread.
    if it’s ‘on the screen’, it must be ^True..

  17. TakBak04 says:

    “Inside the Algorythmic Boxes?” Who needs to think? Just need to “Program,” then trade…trade…trade…

  18. jeg3 says:

    Sounds like America’s vote, the voters reject the bailout, but the politicians keep negotiating to have Icelandic citizens bailout the banks anyway:

    What we need is for Failurenomics to run for senate:

    “Here’s a quick word from Kansas to the MOTUs and the politicians who cater to them: this financial crisis isn’t over. Not by a long shot.”

  19. alfred e says:

    @willid3: Personal income less transfer payments. Thanks for the link.

    Pretty much spells out what’s goin’ on don’t it.

    Where’s the msm on this one? Green shoots? Pump the market?

    The recession is over. The dole is on.

  20. mathman says:

    Yeah, i know it’s Tuesday – i’m like the banks, a day late (and many dollars short):