From the category archives:

News

QOTD: cow tipping edition

May 13, 2009

Michelle Obama is speaking at UC Merced's commencement, and it is big news for the relatively low-profile school. But the best line from the NYT's coverage is this, describing the setting of the graduation activities: ...the campus, which sits in a former cattle field surrounded by hay-laden farmland and cows of unknown political leanings.

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Nature of the Ponzi

May 13, 2009

The front page of the NYTimes today reported "Billions Withdrawn Before Madoff Arrest." This is an expected development. A Ponzi scheme can run indefinately until large sums of money are redeemed, at which point it collapses. Barring a change of heart, these billions of withdrawals represented an immediate and necessary precursor to Madoff's downfall.

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Projections of future losses may appear closer than they are

May 7, 2009

AK pointed me toward this piece from The New Yorker, "Stress Test Results: In Line With Other Estimates," which I excerpt here in its entirety. I've bolded the last sentence: From the moment the Treasury Department announced its plan to stress-test the country’s nineteen biggest “bank holding companies,” the process was dismissed as a whitewash. […]

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Quick thoughts: stress tests and such

May 6, 2009

Front page of the NYT tonight: "As Stress Tests are Revealed, Markets Sense a Turning Point." I know I'm a cynic, but my first thought was "...which way?" Is it even possible to turn upward after a 40% rally? Sure enough, the article is quickly laced with the caveat "All of this assumes that the economy […]

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Just in time for the LOST season finale

April 30, 2009

ABC shows are coming to Hulu!  Cleverly, NBC/News Corp-owned Hulu has always listed ABC shows, but the links directed to ABC's hosted player. Will you watch LOST at Hulu? (Obviously. Multiple times. ) Can CBS's tv.com stand up to the challenge? (Hulu is more of a video aggregator; tv.com is more of a television resource […]

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How (not) to design a stress test

April 25, 2009

Of course the big news of Friday afternoon was the preliminary release of the metrics used in the bank stress tests.  Unfortunately it didn't turn out to be much news at all; few hard figures were revealed and those that were came largely within expectations.  The NYTimes published an excellent copy of the document right […]

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Morgan Stanley's missing month

April 23, 2009

Morgan Stanley took a page from the Goldman playbook and disappeared their month of December and it's $1.3B loss. For some reason, the WSJ decided to write an actual article about it, whereas GS's December loss was only worthy of a blog post.

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Batter up: WFC

April 22, 2009

The newest sideshow in the circus that is the banks' 1Q earnings is Wells Fargo, who most recently was spotted igniting a strong rally with the early announcement that earnings would not only beat the expected number of $0.39/share, but knock it out of the park, guiding expectations to $0.55/share. Today the number came in right […]

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The hits just keep on coming: Citigroup earnings

April 17, 2009

The accounting alchemy Citi used this morning to report a "profit" is being much more widely reported than Goldman's Decembrist revolt, but I want to address it nonetheless. On the surface, Citi reported a profit of $1.6B.  Unfortunately, by the time that trickled down to common shareholders there was only -$966M left, a loss of […]

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China: Where Information Flows Freely

April 16, 2009

Floyd Norris on China's reported GDP figures: China is becoming the world’s most energy-efficient economy. Or maybe its statisticians are just the most creative. Essentially, for the past decade China's GDP has grown at a slightly slower rate than its electricity usage (which makes sense, since production requires energy).  This year, GDP growth contracted sharply […]

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Goldman Sachs loses a month and $1B

April 14, 2009

Goldman Sachs announced stellar earnings last night of $1.8 billion, or $3.39/share.  The expected number was a mere $1.64/share, which GS more than doubled. The press went crazy, although the reported earnings were in line with the whisper.  Goldman used the positive momentum to push through a $5B equity offering, the proceeds of which will […]

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If it looks like a missile, sounds like a missile, fires like a missile...

April 7, 2009

I couldn't help but smile at the wry tone of the last two paragraphs of Bloomberg's latest article on the North Korean missile launch: North Korea, which broadcast a video of the launch on state television, says the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite entered orbit and is now beaming back patriotic songs. The U.S. says stage one of […]

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Scary (but not surprising)

March 28, 2009

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries (NYTimes)

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Hot wheels

March 1, 2009

German youths are protesting their country's economic troubles by torching Porsches and BMWs. Unfortunately I don't think their strategy is going to improve anything.

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RIAA just can't get it together

February 26, 2009

MB makes an excellent point on "why everyone hates the music industry." I could not agree more. Is there any more idiotic corporate group? Oh... yes.

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Let's focus on what really matters

February 6, 2009

George W. Bush's former Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card, Jr., has a request for President Obama: "I wish that he would wear a suit coat and tie." Just last week, the NYTimes reported on Obama's relaxed Oval Office dress code.  The article retells a famous story about President #43, whose adherence to formal dress […]

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On the legitimization of terror

February 4, 2009

An excellent and moving piece by the father of Daniel Pearl, the WSJ reporter who was brutally murdered seven years ago: Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil. Neither [Daniel], nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South […]

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I could say the same about that metaphor

February 2, 2009

The NYTimes had an article today rehashing the super bowl ads (surprise!). It contained this paragraph early on: Few commercials that ran during Super Bowl XLIII on NBC offered viewers anything special. To paraphrase a line from the movie “Sabrina,” you could pick some ads out of a hat blindfolded and come up with better […]

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Police 1; Black Magic Robber Goat 0

January 26, 2009

Today Nigerian police arrested a goat on suspicion of armed robbery. Yes. It seems that two men were caught trying to steal a Mazda 323.  One of them, clearly the brains of the group, ran away; the other used black magic to turn himself into a goat. Naturally, the police arrested the goat. In fairness, the BBC […]

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