Jodie Fisher, HP Scandal Babe, Softcore Porn Actress

I do not want to make any assumptions about who did what — is imply do not have the facts, I don’t know why Hurd resigned, and I don’t even know whether both parties claims that there was no sexual relations is true or not.

But why are we calling this woman an “actress” ? Ms. Fisher’s film credits include numerous softcore adult films of the “Skinemax”/latenight HBO variety, in the ’90s: “Sheer Passion,” “Body of Influence,” and “Intimate Obsession,” among them. She also performed in the television series “Silk Stalkings,” and the noted B-schlocker “Blood Dolls.”

A NSFW scene from the softporn film, Sheer Passion, starring Jodie Fisher & Lisa Boyle can be found here.

SFW clips below

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Jodie Fisher Demo Reel

via boingboing

Category: Legal, Video

FDIC Bank Failures

If its the weekend, it means the FDIC has been busy (all charts courtesy of The Chart Store) > > >

Category: Credit, Regulation

Breakfast at Ginger’s

Category: Weekend

FT: Goodbye Middle Class

Fascinating piece in the FT about the decline of the US middle class: “The slow economic strangulation of the Freemans and millions of other middle-class Americans started long before the Great Recession, which merely exacerbated the “personal recession” that ordinary Americans had been suffering for years. Dubbed “median wage stagnation” by economists, the annual incomes…Read More

Category: Economy

Versus Underdog Commercial

Versus: Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting. The theory of evolution claims that only the strong shall survive. Maybe so…maybe so…But the theory of competition says just because their the strong doesn’t mean they cant get their ass’s kicked. Thats right. See what every long shot, come from behind underdog will tell you…Read More

Category: Weekend

Follow Up On Temp Services Hiring

You may recall that last month we picked up on a troubling signpost in the divergence between temporary hiring and private sector payrolls (less temps).  In that post, I produced the following chart (below is from last month’s post, not updated with most current data): I wrote: But here’s the thing:  Temp jobs are now…Read More

Category: Cycles, Data Analysis, Economy, Employment

The Scientific Debate on Climate Change: Part 7, 8, 8a

7. Climate Change – “Those” e-mails and science censorship

Are climatologists censoring scientific journals and silencing alternative hypotheses on climate change? This is the second part of my look at the hacked/stolen e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit in the UK. I welcome intelligent opinions in the forum, but please refrain from posting the same inane comment a dozen times. Debates in science aren’t settled by those who argue the longest or the loudest, but by the accuracy of facts and the consistency of hypotheses with the facts.

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8. Climate Change — Has the Earth been cooling?

This video also looks at whether other planets are also warming, and an Internet myth that NASA is now attributing warming to the sun. In this video I examine the importance of sources — tracking information back to a source and making sure the source is credible. My sources are cited in the video, but I’ll also post them here. Sources are also cited throughout my climate change series. These videos are not a personal opinion or a theory of my own; I’m not a climate scientist or a researcher and I have no qualifications to do anything other than report on what real climate scientists have discovered through their research. So there’s no point in disagreeing with me. If you dislike their conclusions, take it up with the researchers I cite. If I’ve made a mistake in reporting their conclusions, please point out the mistake and I will happily correct it. If you think you know better than the experts, write a paper and have it published in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

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8a. Climate Change – supplement

The perfect example of what I was saying in my last video appeared soon after it was uploaded. The Internet was abuzz with a quote from Professor Phil Jones that there has been no global warming since 1995.
But is that what he actually said? Once again, we need to go to the source — Jones’s own words — rather than Internet gossip based on an interpretation of what he said. If we check the primary source, it’s a very different story. In fact, Jones and his team did detect warming since 1995. In this video I go to the source, and find out why the tabloid press got things so wrong. I have to correct part of the video where I gave an example of what an 80% statistical significance would mean (for the statisticians out there, this is a p-value of 20%). I said this would mean 80% confidence that global warming was a real, underlying trend, and not the result of background fluctuations.
While some statisticians accepted this as a broad explanation for the layperson, others felt it deviated too far from the precise meaning, which is this: =If global warming was not happening, there is only a 20% chance we would see this result.= A 90% statistical significance (if that’s what Jones achieved) of the 1995-2009 temperature data would mean If global warming was not happening, there is only a 10% chance we would see this result.

Coming soon: Parts 9, 10

Category: Science, UnScience, Video

Drama at the Fed meeting?

Drama at the Fed meeting? August 6, 2010 The forthcoming Fed meeting (August 10) is likely to feature an internal debate. We MAY see some evidence of it in the statement released after the meeting’s conclusion. We will not know the intricate details for years. The debate is on four levels. The first is, do…Read More

Category: Federal Reserve, Think Tank

Refi Madness: The Heat is Frying your Brain (Redux)

It is a very hot August and the heat seems to be getting to people on Wall Street. In Washington the greater heat stems from fears about the impact of the economy and housing on the mid-term elections. As a result, Wall Street is expecting a big “surprise” in the form of a massive GSE…Read More

Category: Credit, Real Estate, Really, really bad calls, Research

The Problem with Pensions

The Problem with Pensions
August 6, 2010
By John Mauldin

August Surprise from Obama?
The Problem with Pensions
Whither China?

Sadly, I find myself with more than enough time to compose yet another Thoughts from the Frontline in an airport, as a flight booking error has me at JFK for six hours instead of fishing in Maine. Details for those interested or amused at the end. But it does allow me to offer you a peek into a very sobering report on how badly underfunded public pension are. The situation is worse than you think. Then we will close with a eye-opening report on China from the gracious Simon Hunt, who is allowing me to reprint his latest missive in toto. You really want to read this one. And we start with this rumor from Reuters, just in. Read this and weep. It comes from James Pethokoukis.

Political Risk: An August Surprise from Obama?

“Main Street may be about to get its own gigantic bailout. Rumors are running wild from Washington to Wall Street that the Obama administration is about to order government-controlled lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forgive a portion of the mortgage debt of millions of Americans who owe more than what their homes are worth. An estimated 15 million U.S. mortgages – one in five – are underwater with negative equity of some $800 billion. Recall that on Christmas Eve 2009, the Treasury Department waived a $400 billion limit on financial assistance to Fannie and Freddie, pledging unlimited help. The actual vehicle for the bailout could be the Bush-era Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, a sister program to Obama’s loan-modification effort. HARP was just extended through June 30, 2011.

“The move, if it happens, would be a stunning political and economic bombshell, less than 100 days before a midterm election in which Democrats are currently expected to suffer massive, if not historic losses. The key date to watch is August 17, when the Treasury Department holds a much-hyped meeting on the future of Fannie and Freddie.”

Normally I blow this type of stuff off. But Pethokoukis is a serious journalist with a solid pedigree and a long list of inside contacts, which you can see at the link below.

I hope this is just a rumor. Seriously. You want to tax renters (about 35% of us) to help pay for mortgages for people who entered knowingly into a business transaction that sadly did not end well? I truly feel sorry for them. I have several very good (and responsible) friends who are in trouble, and I understand the issues. They just bought at the wrong time. But what about my investment in a start-up that failed? People who are behind on credit cards? If you bought a new car, you are underwater the moment you drive the car off the lot. Help for those? Where does it end? Hundreds of billions of debt that our children will have to pay? Say it ain’t so, Joe. You can read the whole blog if you have adult beverages or blood-pressure medicine nearby. http://blogs.reuters.com/james-pethokoukis/2010/08/05/an-august-surprise-from-obama/

The Problem with Pensions

A report just out from the Center for Policy Analysis, by Courtney Collins and Andrew J. Rettenmaier (solid academic types from Mercer University and Texas A&M respectively), that indicates that state and local pension funds are drastically underfunded.

I first wrote about public pension problems in 2003, suggesting that pensions would soon be underfunded by $2 trillion, as a long-term secular bear market would dampen returns. Turns out that I am once again proven to be a wild-eyed optimist. Quoting from the executive summary:

“Many state and local government pension plans’ liabilities are calculated using discount rates that are not commensurate with the risk they may pose to taxpayers. Accounting standards allow pension funds to calculate their liabilities using a discount rate comparable to the expected rate of return on the funds’ assets. This typically high discount rate tends to reduce the size of a pension plan’s accrued liabilities. However, pensioners have a durable legal claim to receive their benefits and consequently, it is more appropriate to use a lower discount rate in calculating the plans’ accrued liabilities.

“Due to the use of high discount rates, the liabilities of state and local government pension plans are underestimated. For example, recent reports by the Pew Center on the States and others indicate that assets will cover about 85 percent of the pension benefits owed to participants. But other studies that adopted lower discount rates have found liabilities may actually be 75 percent to 86 percent higher than reported. As a result, taxpayers’ role as insurer may be much greater than anticipated.”

You can read the whole report and see how your state is doing at http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=19634

Turns out that, by the authors’ calculations, state and local pensions are underfunded by $3 trillion (with a T). Of course, some states are much worse off than others. The report has numerous graphs but the following one tells us a lot. It is the unfunded liabilities as a percentage of state GDP.

In the paper (less than 20 pages) they cite the work of Novy-Marx and Rauh and another paper by Biggs. They all use very different methodologies but come up with roughly the same $3 trillion underfunding.

First, understand that in most states the law will not allow for adjustment of pensions. Taxpayers are completely on the hook. That money WILL be found at the expense of either higher taxes or reduced services (such as health care, roads, or police).

Second, the hole is getting deeper each year. Most pensions assume they are going to get an 8% return on their investments. This in a time of a slow economy for years ahead (as I have shown elsewhere), very low bond yields, and a stock market that I think is still in a long-term secular bear market for another 6-7 years, which suggests a continuation of the current sideways, volatile market.

What if instead of getting an 8% return, total returns were 5%? That would mean the hole would be getting deeper by about $75 billion a year. And what if people lived longer, as is clearly the trend, as the actuaries keep changing the longevity tables every few years for the better? (Which for this 60-year old is a very good thing!)

Read More

Category: Think Tank