576. No one wants to hear you talk about your health, your dreams, your diet, or your money. - (via Mrs. Maria Matthiessen on This American LIfe)
4 weeks ago
" April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Since the U.S. recession began in December 2007, Congress has extended the length of unemployment benefits for the jobless three times. Now, the lawmakers may have reached their limit.More Than a Million in U.S. May Lose Jobless Benefits - Bloomberg.com
They are quietly drawing the line at 99 weeks of aid, a mark that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already reached. In coming months, the number of those who will receive their final government check is projected to top 1 million.
It’s a deadline that has rarely been mentioned in recent debates over jobless benefits, in which Republicans have delayed aid because of cost concerns. The deadline hasn’t been lost on Teauna Stephney, a 39-year-old single mother from Bothell, Washington, who said she could become homeless once her $407 weekly checks stop in June.
“What happens to these families when they have no money for food, no money for their rent and no money for their health care?” said McDermott. “It’s a problem that nobody around here wants to talk about.”"
"Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."
"Does Goldman deserve the theatrical roasting it has been subjected to all day? Of course. Will anything come out of it? Not too likely. In order to keep a fair and balanced perspective on things, it may behoove those watching Carl Levin's sanctimonious monologues to realize that the November 4, 1999 vote on S. 900, better known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, received Senator Levin's full endorsement. If Goldman is the pure, unadulterated evil it is today, it is so only because of idiotic Senators who were corrupt, or stupid enough, or both, to let GLB pass when it did, and usher in the era of unbridled prop trading/hedge funding by banks with full access to the discount window and taxpayer bailouts.
Any attempt at fixing Goldman must begin with reinstating Glass-Steagal - period. Anything and everything else is smoke and mirrors. Yes it will be painful (for the banks), and yes it will cost massive equity losses due to forced spin offs (for bank shareholders), but it will prevent the next scapegoating circus after the fact. How about we preempt these things from happening for once? That said, we applaud the 8 out of 100 senators who had the foresight to not sell their country's future to the banking cabal."
"At this stage in the proceedings, the Goldman Sachs’ public relations people must be feeling more than a little down. The firm’s lawyers are still breathing fire, Lloyd Blankfein trod the fine line between not being apologetic and actually saying “it’s capitalism, stupid”, and the more junior executives interrogated today did not say anything blatantly incriminating.
Here are three suggestions for the PR team to take up with senior management – once they are in mood to think long-term about their “franchise value” again.
All the senators I saw at the hearing today were angry, with good reason, with one or more (or all) of Wall Street’s practices.
- Come out in support of some form of financial reform.
- Create a corporate pledge not to use “astro turf”/fake grass-roots organizations to spread disinformation, then invite other leading firms to sign on.
- Settle the SEC case as soon as possible. You know that the next crazy boom will take a different form in any case. All the feds really want to do is to bolt the stable door after the horse is long gone; at least allow them that face-saving measure.
The Wall Street temptation, of course, will be to just increase campaign contributions – and I’m sure we will see some of that."
"The financial crisis of 2008 was not caused by investment banks betting against the housing market in 2007. It was caused by the fact that too few investors—including all of the big investment banks—bet too heavily on the housing market in the years before 2007. As in the stock-market bubble of the late nineteen-nineties, the real havoc in the housing bubble was wreaked by investors and institutions who were convinced that prices could only go up. There are many, many things about its behavior during the housing bubble and the financial crisis that Wall Street should be slammed for. Being short housing in 2007 just isn’t one of them."
"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth. Son, we live in a country with an investment gap. And that gap needs to be filled by men with money. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Middle Class Consumer? Goldman Sachs has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Lehman and you curse derivatives. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that Lehman's death, while tragic, probably saved the financial system. And that Goldman's existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves pension funds. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want us to fill that investment gap. You need us to fill that gap. "We use words like credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligation, and securitization? We use these words as the backbone of a life spent investing in something. You use 'em as a punchline. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to a commoner who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very credit we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it! We'd rather you just said thank you and paid your taxes on time. Otherwise, we suggest you get an account and start trading. Either way, we don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!" anon.
"We now live in an era when very serious men and women stay out of politics because our national discourse is conducted by populists with no interest in politics whatsoever. What we have in the UK is a coming together of the political elite and the media in a way that makes people outside London or outside those elites feel disenfranchised and powerless."
"Mom and Pop America, unlike their Asian counterparts, and most speculators apparently, do not favor the precious metals like gold.
They might be right. But sometimes it is safest to be positioned comfortably far from the maddening (pun intended as in 'frenzied' and 'annoying') crowd.
For me that entails being on a short term hedged trade, long stuff and short fluff.
The US financial sector, as represented by the bloated banks, are overvalued based on a business model that relies on gaming the system, routinely defrauding their customers, adding little value to the global economy except for themselves, and feeding off the wealth creation and the labor of the many. That seems to be coming to an end, perhaps not tomorrow, but as time goes by.
If stocks take a serious tumble in the US we'll know which way the wind is blowing. If gold holds its ground, we will have an indication that it is ready for the next leg up, because the drop in stocks is based on a disgorgement of assets which have lost their appeal and confidence because of the repeated, increasingly reckless, and virulent frauds of the American oligarchs."
"In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a notice ordering the demolition of someone's house is found "on display" in a lightless, stairless cellar, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, in a disused lavatory, with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard". The SEC will be lucky if it's as obvious as that."via What really scares Goldman Sachs - Guardian
|Date||Actual Flights||Flights same day previous week||% change|
|Wed 14 April 2010||28,087||27,912||+0.6%|
|Thurs 15 April 2010||20,842||28,578||-27.1%|
|Fri 16 April 2010||11,659||28,597||-59.2%|
|Sat 17 April 2010||4,886||22,653||-78.4%|
|Sun 18 April 2010||4,000 (expected)||24,965||-84% (expected)|
|Mon 19 April 2010||28,126|
|Sunday figures based on assumptions at 12.30CET on Sunday 18 April|
As financial reform proceeds, it's always worth asking whether the changes in the law would have prevented the crisis or reduced its severity. At this point, I'm not sure the conversation in Washington is really focused on that question."
'At today's rate of market melt up, we will hit Dow 36,000 in 332 days, or on March 12, 2011. This should occur a few days before Bernanke finally agrees to raise the discount rate to 0.50 bps. Also, at today's rate of price change, we will hit $715/bbl on the same day. We are confident that gas at $30/gallon will cause the Fed Chief Execution Officer to evaluate his conclusion that his brilliant monetary policy is not causing the single biggest asset bubble in US history. Last and not least, total US Federal debt on that day will be about $14.5 trillion, and when adding all the off-balance sheet items, should hit about $120 trillion. We have less than a year before total Alice In Wonderland oblivion. Oh, and since the latest episode of market melt up began, the SPY [S&P500 Index ETF] is trading as a 4x leveraged ETF on the XLF [Financial Services Sector ETF, ie. Banks]. Ignore that this statement makes no sense. Just buy. Buy everything. Then repo it to the Fed, they are particularly receptive to used single ply toilet paper, and then buy on repo margin. Insanity is here.'Tyler Durden - Zerohedge
'I think he's just venting'
'I cannot believe there is a single short out there left standing, because looking at the intra-day charts, there isn't even a pullback. At this point it surely cannot be a short squeeze, it is simply a liquidity fuelled bubble, manipulated and controlled by the Fed and its agents. But I guess with an infinite supply of money at zero cost this can go on until the Fed decides it has to stop. I am amazed the Hedge funds aren't beginning to show some signs of shorting this, but I suppose they probably feel like the rest of us, that the Fed has an infinite supply of money against our finite funds, and are waiting for signs, as we all are that the Fed is tiring of the game.'
“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.”
"So what kind of picture of Wall Street does The Big Short paint? Banks manipulating the prices of custom derivatives. Traders making stupid bets and taking home eight-figure bonuses. Painfully inadequate risk management systems. Management teams that have no idea what is going on. A toxic combination of cutthroat greed on the part of individual bankers and broken incentive systems on the part of banks."
"First, Goldman royally raped its clients by losing them a boatload in two sequentially failed EURUSD recommendations (on which the firm, of course, being on the other side of the trade, ended up making a killing). Today the firm is handing out vaseline to clients but not in FX - they are now going after commodities and, specifically, gold. Most relevantly, Goldman is once again starting to accumulate Gold. Three months ago Goldman boosted its forecast price target to $1265/toz in 2010 and $1425/toz in 2011, during which period the firms was likely shorting gold to clients who were buying in expectation of a price hike. Today Goldman has revised its call - no surprise: gold is now expected to drop to $1165 in 2010 and $1350 in 2011. Then again, according to former Goldmanite and current gold "expert" Jeff Christian big banks would never do something as risky and foolish as having a naked short position. So please ignore anything we might have said earlier about GS shorting gold unhedged. Bottom line, clients are now expected to sell their gold to Goldman. Which means Goldman is buying. You do the math."
"A year ago, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) suspended rule 157, which had previously required banks to mark their assets to market value when preparing balance sheet reports. The basic argument was that fair values were not appropriate because there was "no market" for troubled assets.
The impact of "extend and pretend" is to create a gap between the reported value of assets and the value they would have on the basis of the cash flows that those assets can reasonably be expected to generate over their maturity. In order to avoid having to restate assets, banks have allowed an increasing gap to develop between the volume of delinquent loans and the volume of loans actually in foreclosure, creating a growing "shadow inventory" of impaired but unmodified and unforeclosed loans.
As of last week, the Market Climate for stocks remained characterized by strenuous overvaluation, strenuous overbought conditions, overbullish sentiment, and hostile yield pressures. True to its short-term form in these conditions, the market pushed to yet another marginal new high last week. The tendency for the market to shrug off widely observed overbought conditions may make it seem that these conditions don't matter. But I can't stress enough that the pattern of short-term continuation to marginal new highs is quite typical once the market establishes this syndrome of conditions, following which abrupt, nearly vertical losses are also typical - if unpredictable in timing.
In short, my impression is that investors are deluding themselves about the solvency of the banking system. People learned in the 1930's that when you don't require the reported value of assets to have a clear and tangible link to the value that the assets would have in liquidation, bad things happen. Yet this is what regulatory and accounting rules are allowing for the banking system at present. While I do believe that bank depositors are safe to the extent of FDIC guarantees, my impression is that the banking system is still quietly insolvent."
"Namaste, entire population of Spaceship Earth. I honor the place where your desire to consume becomes one with my desire to create.An open letter to the people of the world - The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs
Hold your iPad. Gaze at it. Pray to it. Let it transform you. And do it soon, because before you know it we are going to release version 2, which will make this one look like a total piece of crap. Peace be upon you."
"First, low interest rates have helped UK homeowners because many people have variable rate mortgages and thus have not been bushwhacked in the same way as the Americans have by teaser rates. But the same variable mortgages expose people to future increases in rates; the shock may just have been postponed. Second, whether interest rates were high or low, the value of a house is related to the cost of rebuilding it (which has gone up very slowly) and the cost of land (which is linked to GDP). Absent rapid inflation or rapid economic growth, UK house prices cannot be justified; Grantham thinks they will eventually fall 40%."