My Sunday morning reads:

• Mary Jo White will Make Them Pay (and Confess)  (NYT)
• Has Apple Lost Its Cool to Samsung? (WSJ) but see Apple’s Stock Drop Might Bite Hedge Funds Badly (Forbes)
Shiller: A New Housing Boom? Don’t Count on It (NYT)
• Just who should we be blaming anyway? (Economist)
• Big Med: Restaurant chains have managed to combine quality control, cost control, and innovation. Can health care? (New Yorker)
• Contagion Thesis Once Derided Proven by Kristin Forbes (Bloomberg)
• Something sinister about the lack of prosecutions at Lehman Brothers (Ian Fraser) see also Goldman Overcomes Its Latest Headache (DealBook)
• Pattern Recognition (Research Puzzle Pieces)
• About that Global Secular Bear Market (Pragmatic Capitalism) see also Bull market winding down. Don’t panic (CNNMoney)
• Fracturing the Ronald Reagan Republican Coalition (Robert Reich)

What’s for brunch ?


Apple’s Semi-Soft Quarter In Charts
click for full size graphics

Source: Dan Frommer

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.

36 Responses to “10 Sunday Reads”

  1. ilsm says:

    Book: Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin

  2. given..
    • Fracturing the Ronald Reagan Republican Coalition (Robert Reich)

    recall, Reich is delusional, for a more fulsome take, see some of..

    “The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street”
    Robert Scheer (Author)

    and, close by Reich, in the *League Tables..

    How to Debate Paul Krugman: “Ask Questions Like a Child”

    I received an interesting email the other day on debating Paul Krugman. I did a search on the topic and found a post with that exact name: How to debate Paul Krugman

    Paul Krugman is the high priest of Keynesianism and modern interventionism, of economic improvement through inflation and budget deficits. As such he is bête noir among us libertarians and Austrian School economists. What makes him so annoying is his unquestioning, reflexive and almost childlike enthusiasm for state intervention, even in the face of its obvious failure, and his apparent unwillingness to probe any deeper into the real causes of our present economic problems or to show any willingness to investigate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of his particular medicine. His Keynesian convictions are presented as articles of faith that no intelligent person can seriously question. A Krugmanesque argument is always built on a number of assumptions that are beyond doubt: ….

  3. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    From the NYT article, “…By nominating Ms. White, a former federal prosecutor, to head the S.E.C. last week, President Obama appeared to send a message that Washington was finally going to get tough with financial wrongdoers….”

    Here is a different opinion on Ms. White’s nomination:

    Not surprisingly, the Wall Street stenographers at Dealbook insist that since White is a prosecutor, it means the White House is “send(ing) a signal about the importance of holding Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing.”

    It is designed to sound reassuring: A day after the airing of PBS Frontline’s damning indictment of the Obama administration’s refusal to prosecute Wall Street crime, we are all expected to breathe a sigh of relief and believe that the Too Big to Jail paradigm is finally going to change because now a prosecutor is in charge.

    However, Mary Jo White isn’t just any prosecutor. Her name should ring a bell, or really, sound a frightening alarm. I knew I had heard of her before, and not in a good way. So I fired up Google this morning and sure enough, I discovered why my superficially good feeling was quickly turning into a deeply ominous nausea. I suddenly remembered that this is the same Mary Jo White who has built the latter part of her career leveraging her position in governmental law enforcement positions to land lucrative private-sector jobs defending Wall Streeters. In moving through that revolving door, she has been a part of a corrupt culture that has weakened the power of the very law enforcement agency President Obama is now nominating her to run….

  4. BusSchDean says:

    That has to be the most not-optimistic but potentially hopeful opinion Schiller has expressed in some time.

  5. econimonium says:

    Sometimes, with people like Schiller, I think they spend so much time functioning in an academic way that they forget some very basic behavioral rules. For the last few years, people didn’t really want to not buy houses, but they knew the employment situation wasn’t good, yes rates were low but loans were a pain in the ass to get, and a lot of good stock was off the market because people were sitting on it eager not to sell to bottom feeders. So there is pent-up demand. Will that demand come flying out of the tube now? No. But it’s there and will start to come into play now. So that’s why people are optimistic. Will house prices start rising like they did again? No way. But until inventory picks up to demand, there will be gains. And as prices gain, more inventory will come on the market. So it makes complete sense that there will be an upward trajectory in prices. Not leaps and bounds, but fits and starts with the general trend up.

  6. arthurcutten says:

    Here is another take on the Mary Jo White appointment from Matt Taibbi.

    “I thought to myself: Couldn’t they have found someone who wasn’t a key figure in one of the most notorious scandals to hit the SEC in the past two decades? And couldn’t they have found someone who isn’t a perfect symbol of the revolving-door culture under which regulators go soft on suspected Wall Street criminals, knowing they have million-dollar jobs waiting for them at hotshot defense firms as long as they play nice with the banks while still in office?”

  7. arthurcutten says:

    FDR appointed Joe Kennedy Sr. to the SEC, and it worked. And Joe came in with a very spotty reputation. He was picked because he knew how the stock operators worked. But he did a good job because of the direction and leadership of FDR with regard to the need of reform.

    Do we still have any confidence that Obama feels the same way, and provides the same level of leadership to encourage such reform? I have an open mind, but that is the best that I can say about it.

  8. Greg0658 says:

    @arthurcutten and your 1026post (any others out there)
    I’m gonna blurt out what I’m thinking – I hope its not cry’g FIRE
    I wonder how a Mitt Romney appointment would go over in that vain?

  9. VennData says:

    Zappa’s revolutionary legacy endures

    And the GOP wanted to do everything they could to minimize this musician’s contribution to freedom.

  10. romerjt says:

    I loved the irony that the Cheesecake Factory is seen as a example or model for Big Med to get more efficient – cheesecake? Anyway, given the excessive and wasteful costs in Big Med (great article) cutting benefits as THE way to reduce health care costs just seems, as Bobby Jindle said, “stupid”.

  11. Unrelated Question:
    Barry, did something in your site’s design change? Since the Mauldin post your content gets scrunched up in the google reader rss.

  12. If you’re wife made ya watch the Carrie Diaries last week and you are a Sopranos fan, y’all really gotta watch a rerun of last nite’s SNL segment: the Soprano Diaries!

  13. VennData says:

    The Silicon Valley Housing Market Is Only Going To Get Crazier

    “..Across the 20 markets Redfin serves, only Phoenix saw more rapid price increases than the Bay Area. Over the last 12 months, San Francisco prices rose 20 percent; San Jose prices jumped 23 percent. When the market moves this fast, the appraisals required by a lender reflect last year’s prices, and sellers just take all-cash deals instead — even when another bidder with a mortgage offers more money. Across California, we are starting to see conventional sales handled more like the sale of foreclosures once were, with the home sold as-is…”

  14. Jojo says:

    BBC News Magazine
    24 January 2013
    Why did men stop wearing high heels?
    By William Kremer BBC World Service

    For generations they have signified femininity and glamour – but a pair of high heels was once an essential accessory for men.

    Beautiful, provocative, sexy – high heels may be all these things and more, but even their most ardent fans wouldn’t claim they were practical.

    They’re no good for hiking or driving. They get stuck in things. Women in heels are advised to stay off the grass – and also ice, cobbled streets and posh floors.

    And high heels don’t tend to be very comfortable. It is almost as though they just weren’t designed for walking in.

    Originally, they weren’t.

    Continue reading the main story

  15. Jojo says:

    America Has Hit “Peak Jobs”
    January 26, 2012

    “The middle class is being hollowed out,” says James Altucher. “Economists are shifting their attention toward a [...] crisis in the United States: the significant increase in income inequality,” reports the New York Times.

    Think all those job losses over the last five years were just caused by the recession? No: “Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market,” according to an AP report on how technology is killing middle-class jobs.

    When I was growing up in Canada, I was taught that income distribution should and did look like a bell curve, with the middle class being the bulge in the middle. Oh, how naïve my teachers were. This is how income distribution looks in America today:

    That big bulge up above? It’s moving up and to the left. America is well on the way towards having a small, highly skilled and/or highly fortunate elite, with lucrative jobs; a vast underclass with casual, occasional, minimum-wage service work, if they’re lucky; and very little in between.

    But it won’t be 19th century capitalism redux, there’ll be no place for neo-Marxism. That underclass won’t control the means of production. They’ll simply be irrelevant.

    Why? Technology. Especially robots.

  16. abhikush says:

    Google reader RSS feeds are not working properly. Could you please look into it.

  17. willid3 says:

    the model austerity….needs more help…seems to be working as well some like claim

  18. Jojo says:

    Computer files stored accurately on DNA in new breakthrough

  19. willid3 says:

    regulatory capture…with financial corruption…just cultural corruption

    not sure the housing market will recover as the easy money thing is gone (that’s what blew up that big bubble. but that was when wall street and banksters could depend on house price going , or so they thought, and being able to convince those with little reason to buy a house, based on the lack of jobs, to buy. now we dont have easy credit. and people still know that jobs are pretty scarce). so housing isn’t coming back till jobs do, and income of the middle come back too.

    most of the big job losses (which has been happening since 2000) aren’t from technology. but some are. consider many companies (banks,etc) have been ‘outsourcing’ customer service type work to computer and labor to their customers (electronic banking just one example of this). some of the jobs have been lost to ‘low cost countries’. aka the BRICS. now that some of the job lost to BRICS are coming back (mainly cause its getting expensive to ship all that goods. guess that high price oil has one good side to it. its no cheap to ship goods world wide any more). but when they come back, or at least the production of goods any way, a lot of those jobs wont be. as in the US its a lot cheaper to get robots to to do the work . and consider just this. in the 60s GM made several million cars in the US. and had a work force in 200,00–300,000 range. today they make as many cars, with 60,000 workers.
    but the problem of how to support a population of 300 million, 99% of whom aren’t going to be in the top 1% (or even the top .01%).

    but we need to. and the 1% need it to be done too. cause not doing ends up with massive economic and social and political problems. and we last faced that after the great depression.
    when the majority see no benefit from capitalism, why would they want to keep it?

    and cheap goods wont overcome lack of income from low paying jobs

  20. Joe Friday says:

    Mark posted:

    Paul Krugman is the high priest of Keynesianism and modern interventionism, of economic improvement through inflation and budget deficits.


    What makes him so annoying is his unquestioning, reflexive and almost childlike enthusiasm for state intervention, even in the face of its obvious failure…

    Except it is historically and documentably irrefutable that Keynesian intervention has worked like a charm every time it has been enacted. THAT is what the American RightWing finds “so annoying“.

    and his apparent unwillingness to probe any deeper into the real causes of our present economic problems

    Au Contraire.

    Krugman has repeatedly NAILED what are the “real causes of our present economic problems“.

    or to show any willingness to investigate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of his particular medicine.

    Again, the evidence is irrefutable.

    His Keynesian convictions are presented as articles of faith that no intelligent person can seriously question.

    Actually, it’s the American RightWing’s convictions that are mere “articles of faith that we are all supposed to believe in even though they have been dismal miserable failures each and every time they’ve enacted.

    The Emperor has no clothes, and we’re way past being sick of him parading about naked.

  21. Joe,

    you might have ‘clicked thru’ (for the rest of it..)


    …On and On

    The above article goes on and on. Moreover, it appears to be 100% accurate. Unfortunately, it’s not the correct way to debate Paul Krugman at all.

    Economist Hans Hermann-Hoppe explains the Right Way To Debate Paul Krugman in the following video.

    The video is a mere 63 seconds long. Here is the key snip.

    “It is very important in replies to people like Paul Krugman, that we don’t get involved in technical details. Ask some questions almost like a child. Explain to me how increases in paper pieces can possibly make a society richer. If that were the case, explain to me why is there still poverty in the world? Isn’t every central bank in the world capable of printing as much paper as they want? I am sure the guy cannot answer this type of question. Nobody can answer this type of question. We always get bogged down in technical details of his argument instead of always repeating this question: Please explain to me how a piece of paper can make society richer.”

    Would that work?

    Krugman would respond with incomprehensible gibberish “for wonks only” as well as typical Keynesian nonsense about how paying people to dig holes and other people to fill them up would start a chain reaction of growth.

    A child would see the answer was preposterous, but not a trained economist, politician, or brainwashed academic. Paul Krugman, keynesian economists in general, politicians wanting a free lunch, and most academics are all incurable.

    Nonetheless, Hans Hermann-Hoppe’s answer is indeed the correct one. By asking questions a child will understand, some non-brainwashed people will see Keynesian and Monetary stimulus for what they really are: economic stupidity.

    Mike “Mish” Shedlock

    “Please explain to me how a piece of paper can make society richer.”

  22. DiggidyDan says:

    BR, as the car buff you are, thought you might enjoy the new world’s fastest accelerating street legal car, the custom Hennessey Venom GT. . . a modified Lotus chassis with a twin turbo corvette engine shoved into it!

    Amazing video of the record runs:

    and for the swimsuit competition portion:

  23. hue says:

    two Paul Graham short essays & Seth Godin
    Top of My Todo-list: Don’t be a cog
    Godin: You can’t afford to be a cog
    How to Create Wealth

  24. Iamthe50percent says:

    “Please explain to me how a piece of paper can make society richer.”

    When your economy is running sub-par with idle resources because fearful consumers and corporations are hoarding pieces of paper that society demands be used for commerce, then and only then, printing additional pieces of paper so that men can be hired and goods sold can make a society richer.

    One of the big problems with Right Wing philosophy is that it demands that the solutions to problems be not only simple but static as if carved in stone like their God’s commandments. The real world is complex and control systems must be adaptable to changing inputs as any real world engineer will tell you. Instead of looking for engineering solutions, the Right looks for religious dogma like the nonsense from the Austrian school.

  25. “…pieces of paper that society demands be used for commerce…”

    if that were so, then this, whole, Line of Inquiry..

    would be superfluous, at best.

    “…because fearful consumers and corporations are hoarding pieces of paper…”

    care to see some of..

    “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalistic System was to debauch the currency… Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million can diagnose.”

    and, with..”…then and only then, printing additional pieces of paper so that men can be hired and goods sold can make a society richer…”

    interesting, haven’t ‘We’ been doing this (What would you call “QE”?)

    How’s that been workin’ out? for Whom?

    don’t forget, to say Nothing of..

    instead, you act as if our Currency emanates from our own Treasury..Sadly, no. (it does not)

  26. Joe Friday says:


    The above article goes on and on. Moreover, it appears to be 100% accurate.

    Apparently for you, appearances are deceiving.

    You (and they) are arguing with evidence that is historical, documentable, and irrefutable.

  27. Joe,

    with..”…You (and they) are arguing with evidence that is historical, documentable, and irrefutable…”

    Please, help out, and show me what you’re referring to..

  28. Joe Friday says:


    Saw the Hennessey Venom debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance. I believe they said it was the only vehicle on the market with a one hp to kilo horsepower-to-weight ratio.

  29. Glen says:

    Shiller needs to start an index tracking boxes, crates, and cars used for housing. Then we can have a mini-boom in housing.

  30. willid3 says:

    well if those disparaging the pieces paper dont like them i am sure that i can find a few folks who will take them off their hands.

    not sure some think that currency must be backed by gold. why gold? its a shinny metal. but then so is aluminum, tine and bronze. while it may have been important as a store economic value in the past, why is it still? and why not just go back to barter? and the old problems with gold haven’t really been fixed (and they have been around for over 2000 years). some can nudge the quality (but reducing the purity. very hard to detect in mas transactions) and one can also make corrupt the measurement of it. all not exactly a good thing for economies. unless you are pretty small

  31. willid3 says:

    is the 401k…(ok ok….0002015k) ever really going to be a retirement plan that can really be depended on, in good time and bad? so far, unless you are really lucky and retire at the right time, it seems to fail?

  32. DiggidyDan says:

    Joe Friday,
    I saw that statistic too, unreal. That’s how they got it to beat the Veyron in 0-300 kph. Looking at the videos, it looks like a real life version of that urban legend of strapping a JATO rocket on a car!

  33. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    Further evidence of why the Too Big To Jail strategy is A Good Thing.

  34. willid,

    @ your 8:05..

    don’t be dense, see some of..

    and, remember, it isn’t, necessarily, What? (it is, that acts as Currency), but Who? (Issues it..)

  35. parsec says:

    How can a piece of paper make society richer? Well, if enough of you send me your contemptible pieces of government-printed paper I’ll finally be able to afford that gold-plated trebuchet I’ve always wanted. In addition to employing the folks to make and gold-plate the trebuchet this will benefit the folks at the quarry who provide the stones which I will hurl through the windows of the local Austrian Economists’ Association thus also benefitting the glass replacement people and the hospital employees who treat any Austrian economists unfortunate to be in the building at the time.

    Beats digging up buried banknotes.