A couple of items that caught my eye today:

This is bloody brilliant: What Fat Ladies In Bikinis Taught Me About Investing (Weakonomics)

• The Monetary Base and Bank Lending: You Can Lead a Horse to Water… (St.L Fed)

Today’s infoporn: America’s Debt: The Big Wave (Wall St Cheat Sheet)

• ‘Hindenburg’ Creator Sticks to Guns (WSJ)

• Professional Double-Dip Guesses are “Probably” Wrong (Investing Caffeine)

• Foreclosures drop, but new delinquencies rise (Marketwatch)

Surprising from Caroline Baum: Forget Bed Bugs, Tax Increases Are Bush’s Fault (Bloomberg)

• Building a Nation of Know-Nothings (Opinionator)

• Bill O’Reilly on Porn, circa 1974 (The Boston Phoenix)  Original article (1974)

• Happy 35th birthday, global warming!  (Real Climate)

What are you reading?

Use the comments for an open thread about whatever catches your fancy!

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.

33 Responses to “Thursday Reads”

  1. Evoo Kermartin says:

    Barry, appropos of your recent posting on watching out for your online reputation:

    For a fee, digital dirt can be buried

  2. H-P Outbids Dell Again for 3PAR

    Escalating a high-stakes buyout battle, Hewlett-Packard Co. raised its bid for data-storage company 3PAR Inc. to about $1.8 billion, topping a sweetened offer by rival Dell Inc. announced just hours earlier.

    H-P said its $27-a-share offer was 11% higher than Dell’s latest deal, which was worth $24.30 a share. 3PAR, whose board had backed Dell’s earlier proposal, didn’t immediately comment.

    Dell raised its takever offer for 3PAR to about $1.53 billion in cash, slightly topping an offer made by rival Hewlett-Packard. earlier this week. Anupreeta Das has details.

    Shares of 3PAR, which makes storage hardware and software, jumped 6.4% to $27.70 in after hours trading Thursday, on hopes the bidding war will continue.

  3. jack says:

    now i am wondering how to incorporate the bikini theory into my client presentations…..

  4. swag says:

    Joan Walsh nails it – Beck and Palin are “grifters.”


  5. call me ahab says:

    from the “Investing Caffeine” article-

    Economists and strategists may be well-intentioned people . . . but the “probability” of them being right over relevant investing time horizons is best left to an experienced long-term investor that understands the pitfalls of professional guessing.

    as if these “experienced” investors know the future and aren’t making guesses all the time- laughable

  6. Fears of Regime Change in New York

    Normally, I don’t report on anecdotes from my immediate circle, but a set of conversations in less than a 24 hour period suggests that even those comparatively unaffected by the crisis are bracing themselves for the possibility of sudden, large-scale, adverse changes. And that sort of gnawing worry seems to be growing in New York despite being buoyed by TARP funds and covert bank subsidies.

    When out on my rounds the day before yesterday, I ran into an old McKinsey colleague, who had subsequently had impressively titled jobs in Big Firms You Heard Of before semi-retiring to manage family money. He and his very accomplished wife were big Bush donors and had been invited to both inaugurations.

    He made short order of niceties and got to the point: “We need more fiscal stimulus. Obama did too little and too much of what he spent on was liberal pork. We could and need to spend a lot on infrastructure. This is looking a lot like 1936. I’m afraid it could get really ugly. And I’m particularly worried that the Republicans will win big this fall. They’ll cut even deeper, that’s the last thing we need right now.”

    No I am not making this up, and yes, this is one of the last people I would have expected to express this line of thinking.

    Next day, I had lunch with a two long standing, keen observers and participants in the New York scene, as in very involved in some of the city’s important institutions. Both have witnessed the shift in values over the last thirty years and the rising stratification, particularly at the top end (New York has always been plutocratic, but it formerly had a large upper middle class and a much smaller and much less isolated upper crust).

    They started by commenting on my Bill Gross post, which had mentioned the appalling Steve Schwarzman contention that taxing private equity overlords more on their carried interest was like HItler invading Poland. Schwarzman is not only not retreating from his remark, he is convinced that the reason the economy is so lousy is that rich men like him are not getting their way (this is if anything an understatement of their account. Both men expect his head to be the first on a pike)….”


    care to add/ What say ye?

    also, ~”*Reality is slow to go Viral” ..

  7. and, not to put too fine a point on it, More people should avail themselves to “The Deal”

    “August 26, 2010, 9:37 AM
    Dell, HP hunt for the holy stack
    by Olaf de Senerpont Domis

    Unconstrained data growth. It’s what is driving big companies to seek larger storage networking systems that can easily be scaled to keep up with the surging wave of corporate information. By some estimates, the data storage market, on a capacity basis, is growing at a 50% to 70% annual rate.

    It’s also the fundamental factor pushing Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. to engage in the very expensive pursuit of 3Par Inc., an 11-year-old provider of storage networking technology for large enterprises.

    There are certainly other targets out there, and the shares of other companies with similar offerings have benefited. Compellent Technologies Inc. shares, for instance, surged more than 30% in the days since Dell announced its $1.5 billion, $18 per share offer Aug. 16. (3Par late Tuesday said it would enter negotiations with HP, which has offered $24 per share for the company.)

    But 3Par shines brighter — and thus has attracted ardent suitors — for several reasons. The oft-mentioned idea of scalability is a key differentiator for 3Par. The company’s technology can easily be expanded to handle more data capacity while maintaining its performance. Compellent is much more limited in its scalability….”

    this, alone, should help the ‘Doubting Thomases’ “let the Scales fall from their Eyes”, in re: the 168. Track n’ Trace ‘Economy’…

  8. VennData says:

    “…In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday morning, People magazine reporter Sandra Sobieraj Westfall said Nordegren and her team approached the publication…”

    So there’s the problem: dude playing an individual sport marries a broad with a team.


  9. gman says:

    46% of Republicans think Obama is a muslim according to pew..a solid majority think saddam was behind 9-11….stunning …I hope they sweep the midterms..austerity at home…war in Iran!

  10. ACS says:

    Mark E Hoffer, I’m not a fan of giving more money to government but allowing fund managers to pay cap gains on fees is obscene. There is no hope if something so blatantly wrong is allowed to continue.

  11. obsvr-1 says:

    How about changing the rule on the capital gains exemption for people taking a gov’t job. I am sure there were (are) a lot of credible people to take on a gov’t role without needing to waive $M’s in capital gains tax — no wonder there is a revolving door between gov’t and wall street. The conflict of interest was hiring Paulson in the first place.


    Interestingly, under U.S. government ethics rules, while Paulson is required to sell the shares, he is also exempt from paying taxes on any capital gains on the sale if he obtains a certificate of divestiture. The rule granting the exemption is designed to make sure prospective government employees who own a lot of stock are not dissuaded from joining the government.

    Earlier this week, the Economist magazine estimated the rule eliminate a tax liability of up to about $200 million for Paulson.

  12. TakBak04 says:

    @ BR POSTED:

    This is bloody brilliant: What Fat Ladies In Bikinis Taught Me About Investing (Weakonomics)

    Having gotten away to the Beach a couple of times this Summer…..gotta agree with “Weakonomics.”

    What I love about vacations and beaches is that you observe the people around you who are enjoying, or hoping to enjoy a lovely vacation away from problems and cares of the world.

    I actually had an experience this last weekend on my NC beach that had me wondering about the “state of life” in these times…and being of a philosphical bent I observed much of what “Weakonomics” posted in watching the “BEACHWARE SCENE.”

    Oh My…….it’s just incredible interesting sitting there in your chair and soaking in rays and observing all around you!

    Thanks BR…for finding that …or whoever sent it to you. It was a VERY GOOD read for Markets……….and observance.

  13. ACS,

    more Proof that: “It’s not the Rates, It’s the Rules.”

    here, Micro-, the low rates set ‘by Rule’..

    again, Macro-, (ultimately) it isn’t “the Rates”, but “the Rule(s)” that prescribe such levels of Spending…

  14. VennData says:

    First the WSJ says wind power increases carbon emissions…. (REPEAT)

    “Wind Power Won’t Cool Down the Planet”

    “…Often enough it leads to higher carbon emissions…”


    …since when did they care about that anyway? … now this…

    “…The United States military has found a new menace hiding here in the vast emptiness of the Mojave Desert in California: wind turbines…”


    Is that why they call it the Military INDUSTRIAL complex?


  15. Blurtman says:

    What Fat Ladies In Bikinis Taught Me About Investing

    This is a terrible! What next, “What My Spiral Turds Taight Me About Investing”

    Gawd, anyone can blog about anything these days.

  16. TakBak04 says:

    BR and Others….. Have any of you all seen “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday?” Beach for SUMMER…with all Traders out on LI!

    Anyway…some lighthearted Summer Fun..and what I have seen of BR’s Sense of Humor…he might already know this one..or if he doesn’t he might find in “SUMMER BEACH CROWD” very funny!


    Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

    BY ROGER EBERT / November 10, 1996

    The first time I saw Jacques Tati’s “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday,” I didn’t laugh as much as I thought I was supposed to. But I didn’t forget the film, and I saw it again in a film class, and then bought the laserdisc and saw it a third and fourth time, and by then it had become part of my treasure. But I still didn’t laugh as much as I thought I was supposed to, and now I think I understand why.

    It is not a comedy of hilarity but a comedy of memory, nostalgia, fondness and good cheer. There are some real laughs in it, but “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday” gives us something rarer, an amused affection for human nature–so odd, so valuable, so particular.

    The movie was released in 1953, and played for months, even years, in art cinemas. “Mr. Hulot” was as big a hit in its time as “Like Water for Chocolate,” “The Gods Must Be Crazy” and other small films that people recommend to each other. There was a time when any art theater could do a week’s good business just by booking “Hulot.” Jacques Tati (1908-1982) made only four more features in the next 20 years, much labored over, much admired, but this is the film for which he’ll be remembered.

    The movie tells the story of Mr. Hulot’s holiday by the sea, in Brittany. As played by Tati, Hulot is a tall man, all angles, “a creature of silhouettes,” as Stanley Kauffmann observed: “There is never a closeup of him, and his facial expressions count for little.” He arrives at the seaside in his improbable little car, which looks like it was made for a Soap Box Derby and rides on bicycle wheels. (I always assumed this vehicle was built for the movie, but no: It is a 1924 Amilcar, and must have given its original owners many perplexing moments.)

    Hulot, decked out in holiday gear and smoking a pipe, is friendly to a fault, but he is the man nobody quite sees. The holiday-makers are distracted by their own worlds, companions and plans, and notice Hulot only when something goes wrong, as it often does. The lobby of his seaside hotel, for example, is an island of calm until he leaves the door open, so that the wind can create a series of small but amusing annoyances that must have taken days to set up.

    Tati doesn’t make a big point of establishing characters, but gradually we recognize faces. There is a pretty blond (Nathalie Pascaud) who is on holiday by herself, and is always cheerful, in a detached sort of way. Hulot the eligible bachelor walks out with her, takes her for a ride and even attempts unsuccessfully to go horseback riding with her, but she keeps him at a distance with her smile. She remains an elusive vision, like the blond in the convertible in “American Graffiti.”

    Others are busy beavering away at being themselves. There is a waiter who cannot believe the trouble people put him to. An old couple who think they have been assigned to inspect everything in their path. A retired general, easily offended. Small children who are protected by the god of children, so their ice cream cone seems certain to spill but never quite does.

    “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday” is a French film, with hardly any words in it. It plays as a silent film with music (a lilting, repetitive melody), a lot of sound effects and half-heard voices. Tati was a silent clown; he worked as a mime as a young man, and his Hulot seems to lack the knack of getting into a conversation.

    The movie is constructed with the meticulous attention to detail of a Keaton or Chaplin. Sight gags are set up with such patience that they seem to expose hidden functions in the clockwork of the universe. Consider the scene where Hulot is painting his kayak, and the tide carries the paint can out to sea and then floats it in again, perfectly timed, when his brush is ready for it again. How was this scene done? Is it a trick, or did Tati actually experiment with tides and cans until he got it right? Is it “funny”? No, it is miraculous. The sea is indifferent to painters, but nevertheless provides the can when it is needed, and life goes on, and the boat gets painted.

    And then consider Tati when he goes out paddling in his tiny kayak, which like his car is the wrong size for him. It capsizes. In another comedy, that would mean the hero gets wet, and we’re supposed to laugh. Not here; the boat folds up in just such a way that it looks like a shark, and there is a panic on the beach. Hulot remains oblivious. There is an almost spiritual acceptance in his behavior; nothing goes as planned, but nothing surprises him.

    Not only sights but sounds have a will of their own in Tati’s universe. Listen to the thwanking sound made by the door in the hotel dining room. Does it annoy Hulot, who has been placed in the Lonely Guy table near to it? Probably, but it is in the nature of the door to thwank, and we sense that it has thwanked for a generation, and will thwank until the day the little clapboard hotel is torn down to put up a beachfront gargantoplex.

    Let me try to explain my relationship with “Hulot.” The first time I saw it, I expected something along the lines of a Hollywood screwball comedy. Instead, the movie opens with its sweet little melody, which is quite pleased that life goes on. Hulot arrives (inconveniencing a dog that wants to sleep in the road) and tries his best to be a well-behaved holiday-maker. He is so polite that when the announcer on the hotel’s radio says “Good night, everybody!” he bows and doffs his hat. Because there were no closeups, because the movie did not insist on exactly who Hulot was, he became the audience–he was me.

    MORE AT:


    YOU TUBE has Wonderful CLIPS of this Movie

    One example is here:


  17. mrmike23 says:

    I did not find the fat lady-bikini thing “brilliant”. It wasn’t even funny. The analogy was a stretch and not especially enlightening. Beginning investors do not sell when they should because no one ever taught them why and how to limit their losses. Is this just filler for a slow day?

  18. catman says:

    I enjoyed the bikini article. I have been to the beach and discovered that I could lose some baggage. I’m a long time speculator and I’ve had some success, but a few years ago I was forced into a conservative fiduciary situation. I have discovered that the latter has absolutely outperformed the former. I have been to the beach, looked in the mirror, changed my wardrobe and now I look like a million bucks. I’ve only had to give up a diet of junk information and day to day distractions. Our political media is irresponsible, why would our financial media be any different? You wouldnt be reading this if you hadnt got that far. Enough, I got Levon Helm on the box…

  19. wunsacon says:

    Whether you (a) raise taxes for it or (b) spend more than you collect (thereby depreciating the dollars in people’s pockets by raising the amount of dollars in circulation), the invasion and occupation of Iraq was indeed a huge f’n increase in taxes.

  20. wisedup says:

    for a pithy look at the banks screwing themselves, and us, with the CDO blow-up

  21. weimdog says:

    Putting “global warming” into perspective:

    55 million years ago, at the very end of the Paleocene there was an drastic incident called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. You can see it as the spike labelled “PETM” on this graph. Ocean surface temperatures worldwide shot up by 5-8°C for a few thousand years – but in the Arctic, it heated up even more, to a balmy 23°C (73°F). This caused a severe dieoff of little ocean critters called foraminifera, and a drastic change of the dominant mammal species. What caused this? Maybe a sudden release of greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide from volcanos, or a “methane burp” released from gas hydrates on the sea floor. People have indeed found drastically different carbon isotope ratios at this time.

    At the start of the Eocene, the continents were close to where they are now, but the average annual temperature in arctic Canada and Siberia was a balmy 18° C (65° F). The dominant plants up there were palm trees and cycads. Fossil monitor lizards (sort of like alligators) dating back to this era have been found in Svalbard, an island north of Greenland that’s now covered with ice all year. Antarctica was home to cool temperate forests, including beech trees and ferns. In particular, our Earth had no permanent polar ice caps!


  22. V says:

    “Banks back switch to renminbi for trade”

    Thoughts on the increased usage of renminbi? To my eye it’s just another fiat currency. China is going to have to untie it’s monetary policy from the Fed somehow.
    New potential area of profit for TBTF no doubt.

  23. How can you tell summer is over. The yellow dog is out hunting gold shorts again. We’re pretty close to a new record high. Should get it before the end of September

  24. epapyrus says:


    I was most intrigued by this article. Is it spin? Living in India, its difficult to get an accurate sense of what the Obama Administration is up to; my sense was they had lost the plot fairly early on. But now…. I dont know.