Links Tax Day (US)

A Coral Transplant for Japanese Reefs New York Times

Ants inhabit ‘world without sex’ BBC

Facebook Users Get Worse Grades in College LiveScience

For developers of Bend’s Shire, ‘dream’ is over Bend Bulletin (hat tip reader Susan)

Lehman Sits on Bomb of Uranium Cake as Prices Slump Bloomberg

Asking Questions of Larry Summers Felix Salmon

Developers Struggle to Fill Manhattan Office Space New York Times

The Case of the Missing Month Floyd Norris, New York Times. Did you catch this? Goldman disappeared December! I’m not making this up! How can a public company get away with this?

Banks Ramp Up Foreclosures Wall Street Journal

Goldman $10bn repayment faces opposition Telegraph

Useless finance, harmful finance and useful finance Willem Buiter

Cheap Credit = Crummy Companies Paul Kedrosky

Uncertainty and capitalism Edmund Phelps, Financial Times

Cutting back financial capitalism is America’s big test Martin Wolf, Financial Times. Wolf agrees with significant amount of Simon Johnson’s thesis, that the US is captured by financial interests, but also has some important areas of dispute.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Kendall). Trust me, you MUST watch this, and you will thank me (and Kendall) for it. Unfortunately, embedding is disabled on this video. so you need to follow this link.

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  1. Richard Kline

    So Yves, yes I read that over at the Gray Lady. There are no rules. I don’t think anyone grasps this, but since Sep 08 _there are no rules or laws operative for regulating the financial industry_. We no have a government of men, who decide day by day what to do, who to enrich, what lie will serve, and what statute to stuff under the mattress. Everything the government has done is a Big Lie straight into the the camera. I mean that sincerely. If the Government chooses to selectively enforce law, there is no law.

    That can change back, but I’m not holding my breath. ‘Nother couple of election cycles methinks.

    Word verification says we speak of ‘crima’ here. There is a god in the machine, if not a ghost, nor less a Goddess beyond.

  2. RebelEconomist

    You are right, I do thank you and Kendall for posting the link to this video. I live in UK but only rarely watch these programmes and would have felt socially excluded if I had not seen this! Susan Boyle is so good that I wondered whether she was miming or it was an April 1st posting. Uplifting stuff!

  3. Carrick

    Re: ants
    Fungi and females colluding to advance society toward becoming an increasingly collectivist social organism… to drive the male sex into extinction.

    I know we’re not on anonymous comments anymore, and I may be sticking my neck out here.. but I blame Obama.
    No surprise that a woman authored the post either..
    Connect the dots everyone! Buy guns and start tea bagging, BEFORE the Fema camps open!

  4. russell1200

    You have to love the grade inflation of the facebook link. The poorer grades are in the 3.0 to 3.5 range. Maybe I am dating myself but a 3.5 grade used to be a pretty strong grade. Even 3.0 was solid. I guess B now means below, rather than above average.

  5. John Rosevear

    Yves, looks like the Shire story is from July of 2008. Still an eyebrow-raiser, though.

  6. MattJ

    No links to any of the Tea Party stories? The populist movement building in America needs the influence of the left-leaning bloggers who have been right on the economic issues facing us as well as those from the right.

  7. Anonymous Jones

    RE: Cheap credit and crummy companies. I do have a feeling this is true, as many of the real estate companies I represent show signs of survivorship bias. I mean by this that the companies that ignored all management of their staff and simply sought risks at all costs outperformed competitors in the easy credit environment of the last decade. Survivorship bias based on risk seeking explains both why intrinsically weak companies are born during cheap credit periods and also why sturdier companies born in tight credit periods cannot compete as credit starts flowing again because their sensitivity to risk makes them losers against those who run and gun. Having lived through these cycles since the mid-80s, it’s difficult to see it any other way.

  8. salmonrising

    re: Susan Bristol

    I was referred to this video yesterday…then it had 2M hits; it is now over 4M…probably because so many of us emailed the link to others.

    Additional information in the Daily Mirrow quoted Susan Bristol as saying she was bullied and ridiculed as a child because of her frizzy hair and alleged disabilities.

    What an undefeatable spirit must reside in her heart.

  9. Carrick

    Re: MattJ

    I think the reason the "tea parties" get so little coverage from non-admittedly right media, is that there is no coherent message or movement going on. It was a little trend kicked started by the disappointed Ron Paul supporters/libertarians, which was quickly co-opted by the GOP & Fox News. That party is lost, and they're trying to jump on the populist wagon. The reason they're not taken seriously, is that those same outraged people, voted lock-step w/ Bush's massive expansions. They didn't start this populous outrage, they started shouting along when they saw they had no power, credibility, and a huge image problem (having spearheaded the dereg stuff.)

    Just like the anti-Bush/Anti-war protests, the tea parties have too many grievances to really be taken seriously as a 'movement.' From the outside, to me it just looks like the people who embarrassed themselves by proclaiming Obama to be the anti-christ, not being able to let go, and joining ranks (and shouting over) of genuine fiscal conservatives.

    It seems liek the "tea party" thing is trying to own the populist outrage category as well. When I see Obama birth certificate and 2nd Amendment stuff in the mix, I really just see sour grapes. The fact that Fox News sponsored and advertised a bunch of these, helps to explain why its taken on this sour grapes twist, and makes me not take it seriously as grassroots movement.

  10. Yves Smith


    Thanks for highlighting that point in the Norris article, but that wasn’t my point. How can Goldman get away without reporting what happened in December? This is outrageous. I dimly recall from my youth occasions when companies changed reporting periods, and they never left a period in a black hole.

  11. Justin

    I know this blog is generally about finance and global economics. I apologize for the slight detour.

    I’m about as opposite a target audience for a show like American Idol as one can be. I try and claim to be a rational scientist and mathematician.

    Gosh darn if I didn’t weep for 30 minutes watching that video of Susan Boyle over and over.

    I have no idea why but it really pierced through me like nothing has in years. Such a shock that I would feel so strongly.

  12. donna

    Loved Susan, beautiful woman, beautiful song, beautiful courage.

    A cruel video? Not really; merely the reality so many of us face every day as our talents and abilities go unrecognized. I know many, many people who can sing this well and will never get that recognition, it’s why I quit music theatre and became an engineer. The business is a very cruel one, indeed. But we all have talents that others sneer at enough that we give up trying. The substance of the song tells us as much — the tigers snarl at us and our loves until we give up in shame.

  13. DownSouth

    I’m with you salmonrising, what an undefeatable spirit must reside in her heart.

    In her we find the indomitable qualities that make one proud to be part of the human race.

  14. Carrick

    She sings like a disney character, its a disney story… she’s great, I bet this really hits home for that reason a bit.

  15. john bougearel

    A toast to Susan Boyle for not neglecting her gifts, and the courage to persevere and cultivate them

  16. Keenan

    RE: Ms Boyle:

    With its substantial visual cortex, the primate brain seems to be wired to prejudge on the basis of appearance. Unfortunately we tend to select political and organizational leadership on the same visual standards. It is heartening to see such a demonstration by an individual who magnificently vaults over such preconceptions.

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