Monday, April 26, 2010

Palin Inc

How Sarah Palin Has Become a Singular National Industry -- New York Magazine

Buffet shows his true character

Wanting to exempt his company from the financial overhaul bill, using the familiar
"Can't now, I have a headache" excuse.
Deal Near on Derivatives as Warren Buffett's Berkshire Presses for Eased Curbs - "Mr. Sokol told lawmakers the Senate bill would force Berkshire to post collateral against good-faith contracts into which it had already entered, for a total congressional aides put in the billions of dollars. Renegotiating those contracts would be a logistical headache, people familiar with his arguments said."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cooper Union Speech

Remarks by the President on Wall Street Reform | The White House

The Case Against Goldman Sachs - TIME

Sums up my thoughts on this.
The law does not matter but the intentions were so wrong.
GS lied.
On the surface, these deals look complicated. They are. But the alleged fraud at the heart of the case against Goldman and its CDO dealings is one of the simplest and oldest forms of deception: lying. According to the SEC, Goldman told one group of investors they were buying a AAA-rated (by lapdog ratings agencies, but that's another story) high-yield investment put together by an independent firm called ACA Management. But the SEC says the person really picking the collateral was Paulson, an investor whose only interest was: Paulson. What Goldman allegedly sold, like any good snake-oil salesman, was a worthless, well-packaged fake.

Read more:,8599,1983747,00.html#ixzz0lqmgsrOD

The Case Against Goldman Sachs - TIME

Paulson and Magnetar are  a bit more complex. Agreed that he was a smart guy and did his homework.
But he too could have found other ways to short the market rather than dress up a portfolio of bonds as AAA. He was just greedy and wanted to maximize his profit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New $100 Bill | The Big Picture

New $100 Bill | The Big Picture

Why the Abacus investors weren’t speculators | Analysis & Opinion |

The argument that the CDO's in question had two counterparties , a long and a short does not hold water.
The two investors thought that they were making very different bets. The longs thought they were buying bonds, and highly rated bonds. They did not think that they were betting on the housing market.
The shorts knew that they were betting on the housing market.

Why the Abacus investors weren’t speculators | Analysis & Opinion |

Friday, April 16, 2010

Michael Lewis on Wall Street

Michael Lewis on Wall Street � The Baseline Scenario: "Barack Obama: “He’s been captured by his banker, just like the ordinary American’s� captured by their stockbroker. He’s been buffaloed by the complexity of it all, he doesn’t have time to sort it out for himself, and he has to trust the people who seem to know."

The single mother's manifesto

J.K. Rowling on why she does not move to evade taxes. She "organizes money around her life and not her life around her money".

The single mother's manifesto | J.K. Rowling - Times Online: "The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.

A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug."

Thursday, April 15, 2010


By Samuel Ullman (1840-1925)
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind;
it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and
supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of
the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the
freshness of the deep springs of life.
Youth means a temperamental predominance
of courage over timidity of the appetite, for
adventure over the love of ease. This offen exists in
a man of sixty more than a body of twenty. Nobody
grows old merely by a number of years. We grow
old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up
enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, selfdistrust
bows the heart and turns the spirit back to
Sixty or sixteen, there is in every human
being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing
child-like appetite of what's next, and the joy of
the game of living. In the center of your heart and
my heart, there is a wireless station; so long as it
receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage
and power from men and from the infinite, so long
are you young.
When the aerials are down, and your spirit is
covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of
pessimism, then you are grow old, even at twenty,
but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the
waves of optimism, there is hope you may die
young at eighty.

The Limping Giant:

Not sure whether to laugh or cry about this.

The Limping Giant: The American Economy 1974-75 - Annual Reports 1974 - Publications & Papers | The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Tax facts, financial reform and voting/supporting against interest

The rich are different from us. This is why they fight over tax rates is so fierce. There is a lot at stake for the people with wealth and power.

"average tax cut per filer of 400 wealthiest taxpayers in 2007 was $46 million"

ataxingmatter: Tax facts, financial reform and voting/supporting against interest

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Taxes over Time

The tax rate of the highest earners has dramatically declined over time.

Economist's View: Taxes over Time

Mankiw argues that the declining tax rate might be part of the explanation for the dramatic growth in income of the top earners.

And notes on the top 400.

Hearts and Minds

"Everybody hates them in the valley," Haji Nizamuddin, a tribal elder in Korengal, said of the Americans. U.S. forces "shoot at people, they raid our houses and kill our women and children."

U.S. Exits Afghanistan's 'Valley of Death' -

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

China: A Chinese trade deficit | The Economist

China has a trade deficit for March

China: A Chinese trade deficit | The Economist

Queen of the Net

Meeker always puts out a great piece.

Mary Meeker's Internet Presentation 2009

The Killer App of 1900

Early tea baggers warning against socialism:

“Unless we adopt the principles of socialism, It can hardly be contended that It is the province of government, either state or municipal, to undertake the manufacture or supply of the ordinary subjects of trade and commerce, or to impose burdens upon the whole community for the supposed benefit of a few…

The Killer App of 1900 � PubliCola