Some interesting reading material for your afternoon pleasure:

• Wall Street’s Euthanasia of Industry (Michael Hudson)
• Mastering the Hedge Fund Machine (New Yorker)
• BofA Mortgage Settlements Magnify Capital Strain as $50 Billion Gap Looms (Bloomberg)
• The U.S. Is Not Drowning In Debt (Moneyland) see also Wall Street’s Shocking Debt Denial (The Daily Beast)
• Dearth of Demand Seen Behind Weak Hiring (WSJ)
• Four things Republicans used to believe (Market Watch)
• As ethanol’s ravages grow, phony ‘reform’ emerges (Examiner)
• Murdochs Empire Has Troubles That Money Can’t Dispel (NYT) see also How We Broke the Murdoch Scandal (News Week)
• 3-D Printing: A Game-Changing Technology? (Washington’s Blog)
• Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops (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.

18 Responses to “10 Monday Afternoon Reads”

  1. Top Chinese gymnast found begging on the street

    One of China’s most promising young gymnasts, who seemed destined for Olympic glory before his career ended in injury, has been found begging on the streets of Beijing, prompting criticism of the country’s Soviet-style sports system.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8645237/Top-Chinese-gymnast-found-begging-on-the-street.html

    History made as nipple is found on foot

    The foot fetish crowd are making pilgrimages as we speak

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3701059/History-made-as-nipple-is-found-on-foot.html

  2. Robespierre says:

    Whenever company giants merge you get the usual headline: Merge is good because the new company will be more efficient when duplicated functions get laid off from the company. So here is an idea. Lets force all TBTF corporations to break up into many other small companies. That by itself should have the reverse effect of a merge (more employees needed) and as a added benefit it will be more difficult for single companies to buy our congressmen.

  3. rktbrkr says:

    BAC,Chase,CITI and WF control about 3/4 of the nation’s banking activity, that never should have been allowed to happen. Actually it wasn’t just allowed it was encouraged during the crisis, Wachovia, WaMu, Countrywide.

    Set aside TBTF just for a minute – this never should be allowed to continue just for the element of competition.

    After all we’ve been thru the past few years there still hasn’t been sound financial reform or effective regulation. Force them all to break up into at least 3 truly independent units – each.

  4. CentralIowaFarmer says:

    http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/nw_gr212.txt

    Just remember that every bushel of corn turned into ethanol (a bushel is 56 lbs), 17.75 lbs., approximately a third of the product, is typically turned into Dried Distillers Grain(s), which is used for feed for cattle, hogs, or chickens.

    At least this article pointed out that the subsidies eventually lower the price at the pump for the consumer.

    As for being the Number one Boondoggle in the U.S., I think that I’d be GLAD (I’ve sat in meetings and heard two different ethanol plant managers say it is okay to lose the subsidies) to get rid of these subsidies. Maybe we could pay the same price at the pump as other nations do, and fix Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae problem, and get our TARP money back.

    The bill is applauded by the two organizations mentioned because it will encourage small gas stations to put in “Blender’s Pumps” i.e. consumer would choose to put in 0%, 10%, 25%, or 85% blended ethanol/gasoline. Most gas stations need to have 2-4 more storage tanks installed, but in the end this would give consumers more choice and better market and more competition between Canada/Saudi oil v. corn ethanol.

    It is a government program that encourages cheap fuel. Cattle and hogs and chickens are still getting feed, believe me.

    Corn is high priced because everyone in China likes to eat pork and beef. They can actually afford to pay for the stuff.

  5. Sechel says:

    Ethanol is symbolic of much that’s wrong with government
    – Public is misled
    – A few big companies benefit
    – The rest of the country pays the price directly(subsidies) and indirectly(higher food prices)

  6. Greg0658 says:

    Spectrum Battle Heats Up as Debt Ceiling Deadline Nears
    http://tvtechnology.com/article/122544
    free thru the air vs. pay to receive via broadband … add all the viewer metrics that come with descrambler boxes and those additional fees for more channel boxes … I’ve been hope’g for repeater stations for further deap space reach

  7. The Wired piece below is the most hair-on-fire insane technofascist nonsense that I’ve encountered since Jesse Schell’s, Future Where Soda Cans Have Screens.

    In short: It’s ALL your fault and the Machine will make you less bad. Step right up and behold the incredible healing properties of the feedback loop. Do it for your health. Do it for the children. Do it for the Earth.

    Via: Wired:

    The signs leverage what’s called a feedback loop, a profoundly effective tool for changing behavior. The basic premise is simple. Provide people with information about their actions in real time (or something close to it), then give them an opportunity to change those actions, pushing them toward better behaviors. Action, information, reaction. It’s the operating principle behind a home thermostat, which fires the furnace to maintain a specific temperature, or the consumption display in a Toyota Prius, which tends to turn drivers into so-called hypermilers trying to wring every last mile from the gas tank. But the simplicity of feedback loops is deceptive. They are in fact powerful tools that can help people change bad behavior patterns, even those that seem intractable. Just as important, they can be used to encourage good habits, turning progress itself into a reward. In other words, feedback loops change human behavior. And thanks to an explosion of new technology, the opportunity to put them into action in nearly every part of our lives is quickly becoming a reality.

    The intransigence of human behavior has emerged as the root of most of the world’s biggest challenges. Witness the rise in obesity, the persistence of smoking, the soaring number of people who have one or more chronic diseases. Consider our problems with carbon emissions, where managing personal energy consumption could be the difference between a climate under control and one beyond help. And feedback loops aren’t just about solving problems. They could create opportunities. Feedback loops can improve how companies motivate and empower their employees, allowing workers to monitor their own productivity and set their own schedules. They could lead to lower consumption of precious resources and more productive use of what we do consume. They could allow people to set and achieve better-defined, more ambitious goals and curb destructive behaviors, replacing them with positive actions…”
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=23586

    Did the USDA Just Deregulate All New Genetically Modified Crops?
    July 18th, 2011

    Via: Mother Jones:

    In a surprise move, the agency green-lights Roundup Ready lawn grass—and perhaps much, much more.

    It’s a hoary bureaucratic trick, making a controversial announcement on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend, when most people are daydreaming about what beer to buy on the way home from work, or are checking movie times online. But that’s precisely what the US Department of Agriculture pulled last Friday.

    In an innocuous-sounding press release titled “USDA Responds to Regulation Requests Regarding Kentucky Bluegrass,” agency officials announced their decision not to regulate a “Roundup Ready” strain of Kentucky bluegrass—that is, a strain genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, which we know as Roundup…”
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=23597

    Location Intelligence by TruePosition: System for Tracking People via Mobile Devices
    July 18th, 2011

    For years, I’ve been speculating that the secret sauce in Russell Tice’s, “Angle that you haven’t heard about yet,” is full time tracking of individuals via their mobile devices.

    My guess is that the capability is a key component of MAIN CORE:

    The U.S. Government has, almost certainly, established a database and tracking system for something like eight million Americans who have been designated as threats to national security. The system is called MAIN CORE and it is being run under the auspices of highly classified Continuity of Government (COG) operations. MAIN CORE uses a variety of intelligence sources as inputs, including your email, web activity, telephone and private financial information. In the event of a major national security crisis, it is alleged that Americans listed in the MAIN CORE database, “Could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.”

    So, here’s a piece about TruePosition, a company that’s helping governments around the world track people’s movements via their mobile devices.

    Via: Wired:

    Chances are you’ve never heard of TruePosition…”
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=23578

  8. streeteye says:

    Simon Johnson on contagion – “This is about what Germany is willing to do and what it can persuade its EU partners to go along with.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-17/contagion-in-three-forms-now-has-grip-on-europe-simon-johnson.html

    Larry Summers – How to Save The Eurozone – time for major restructuring and commitments now. Or dither until even strong action can’t avert a massive crisis, and you’re faced with the choice between monetizing everything, or financial collapse

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/324f9054-b0a7-11e0-a5a7-00144feab49a.html

  9. Mike in Nola says:

    Some pretty good investigative reporting from Bloomberg on the huge Chinese municipal debt overhang:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-13/china-cities-sell-land-at-winnetka-values-with-bonds-seen-toxic.html

    Thought the part about Dagong Credit Rating Agency was priceless. But not surprising.

  10. Mike in Nola says:

    Borders Bookstores could start liquidating as early as Friday.
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/business/7658676.html

  11. GrafSchweik says:

    Well, I’m not reading anything else at the moment except for reveling in my daily soak in the News Corp/Murdoch scandals in the Guardian and digesting Michael Hudson’s interview on Wall Street’s euthanasia of American industry.

    Many thanks for the link, Barry, I would have missed it otherwise.

    Although between my own ruminations over 40 years and the marvelously stimulating knowledge and insights I’ve garnered from following The Big Picture for the last 3 I am familiar with just about everything he covers, the breadth and dispassionate concision of his survey makes for very chilling reading.

    I’ve posting the link wherever I can.

    I think it will take us far longer to recover from this ‘cultural revolution’ than it took the Chinese to recover from theirs. Primarily because the residents of former empires tend to live in the past and hang onto to past glories.

    Especially so here as the burgeoning peonage throws its weight behind oligarchs wrapped in the stars and stripes, while their livelihoods are asset-stripped or sucked up and deposited overseas. Throw in additional factors such as crumbling infrastructure in a continent spanning nation with strong regional identities, a plethora of poor educational systems and whole regions lost in religious manias and one has the potential for a long lasting national miasma.

    I lived in the UK–another country which de-industrialized instead of modernizing in the wake of shedding its empire–for 16 years between 1973 and 1994 and witnessed a similar process first hand. The UK is still de-industrialized and ruled by FIRE, but it is much smaller and has Europe next door. Not that that will be much help in the short or medium term.

    A similar process is presently afoot in Russia. Leave Moscow and St Petersburg and you soon find yourself hip deep in poverty and alcoholism. Oligarchy is in the cultural DNA there. I expect they’ll have an even harder time of it.

    We live in interesting times.

  12. whatever says:

    Thanks for the link to Michael Hudson.

  13. digistar says:

    Barry,

    Add my thanks for the link to Michael Hudson.

    We have been saying we are screwed every time Obama destroys another bit of the hope he promised. This conversation puts all those little pieces together and shows how they fit into the world picture. Now we can see how we are REALLY SCREWED.

    Can anyone see a way to stop this tragedy?

  14. Unmitigated Audacity says:

    My thanks as well for Michael Hudson. My first encounter with him. Cogent, fairly dispassionate (altho with a certain undercurrent of rage) dissection of the rape and murder of the American republic.

  15. DeDude says:

    Sechel @ 6:24

    “Ethanol is symbolic of much that’s wrong with government
    – Public is misled”

    You certainly go on to demonstrate that point with your next 2 sentences.