Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Financial Week That Was

I've been busy enjoying myself in NYC at Phish this week, but I saved a bunch of financial stories to mention:

 - Nassim Taleb gives up:

"What I am seeing and hearing on the news -- the reappointment of Bernanke -- is too hard for me to bear. I cannot believe that we, in the 21st century, can accept living in such a society. I am not blaming Bernanke (he doesn't even know he doesn't understand how things work or that the tools he uses are not empirical); it is the Senators appointing him who are totally irresponsible -- as if we promoted every doctor who committed malpractice. The world has never, never been as fragile. Economics make homeopath and alternative healers look empirical and scientific.

No news, no press, no Davos, no suit-and-tie fraudsters, no fools. I need to withdraw as immediately as possible into the Platonic tranquility of my library, work on my next book, find solace in science and philosophy, and mull the next step. I will also structure trades with my Universa friends to bet on the next mistake by Bernanke, Summers, and Geithner. I will only (briefly) emerge from my hiatus when the publishers force me to do so upon the publication of the paperback edition of The Black Swan."

-Dan Loeb:  "It's a bull market in government regulation and intervention."  Via Dealbreaker

- Karl Denninger:  none of the trial mortgage modifications have been made permanent.

- Via Felix Salmon:  Fama and French's latest study on fund returns:

"For the vast majority of actively managed funds, true α is probably negative; that is, the fund managers do not have enough skill to produce risk adjusted expected returns that cover their costs."

- MISH 3-pack:   Virginia Borrows Money To Pay Unemployment BenefitsArizona Maxes out Credit Line in Two Weeks Flat24 States Borrow Money To Pay Unemployment Benefits

 -Somali Pirates Form Stock Exchange:  again, a real story - not from the Onion:
"The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials ... we've made piracy a community activity."

A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY!   My graphics department, which consists soley of my most loyal reader, Bones, provides this graphic for the pirate story:

-Karl Denninger on how banks are ripping off the FDIC 

-Baseline Scenario:  BankAmerica paid back TARP money to avoid executive compensation caps. 

-Michael Panzner: "An altogether different picture,"  anecdotal stories of just how "not good" things are.

-Floyd Norris thinks unemployment may have peaked.  I happen to think he's wrong (see: exhaustion rate, average length of employment, employment/population ratio, number of people unemployed over 26 weeks, etc)

-quality satire:  Zero Hedge announces new partnership with Google

- The solution to our economic woes.  cartoon: "much like the Federal Government, my wife has a plan to spend us out of debt." 

Another graphic from my hard working graphics department, Bones:

"Come on - that HAS to be photoshopped,"  I told him.  He merely replied with the link:, where the ad is displayed.


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