Links New Year’s Eve 2009

Why Powerful People — Many of Whom Take a Moral High Ground — Don’t Practice What They Preach Science Daily (hat tip reader John M). Research shows Lord Acton was right!

Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve NASA (hat tip reader Michael T)

A Convenient Delusion TruthOut (hat tip reader John D)

California Science Center is sued for canceling a film promoting intelligent design Los Angeles Times (hat tip reader John D)

Pinnacle Notes are blasting off again! Josh Reviews Everything (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck). Not to confuse readers, but collateralized loan obligations (which technically are a type of CDO, but the press usually say, “CLO” for them and reserves “CDO” for the asset backed securities type) were a favorite way to lay off CDS exposures on to hapless retail investors. This was amazingly common overseas. One example here.

Move Your Money: A New Year’s Resolution Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson, Huffington Post. George Washington also linked to it, this is worth your consideration.

Agency FICO Redline? A Question to Ask Bruce Krasting. Bruce’s posts have been particularly strong recently, and this is no exception.

TNR on 2009’s most important economic policy Noam Schreiber, The New Republic. Even though we have very different views of the stress tests (yes, they were a very effective expedient, but I view this as another element of the “extend and pretend” strategy which a good deal of prior history shows is more costly in the long run than cleaning up the financial system) but I was surprised to see a mention (the MSM seldom mentions bloggers, this was a nice surprise)

What’s a Bailed-Out Banker Really Worth? Steve Brill, New York Times. I must confess I only started this piece, and got very annoyed, in that it framed the discussion of banker pay in free market v. equity approaches. Ahem, this conveniently ignores the elephant in the room: THE BANKERS ENJOY HUGE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT. They did even before the bailouts (regulated businesses with limited entry) and it is even more so now. Brill may get around to that issue later, but framing the piece this way at the top skews the entire presentation. And as reader Hillary D pointed out, “It made me think of something a compensation consultant told me: every one of his clients wants to be in the 75th percentile for pay among their peers.” That guarantees ever escalating pay, performance or not.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Ernesto):


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  1. fresno dan

    What’s a Bailed-Out Banker Really Worth? Steve Brill, New York Times

    Uh, how about 0??? (actually, I would say negative 4 trillion, equally apportioned among GS, BoA, Wellls Fargo, et al).

    Why Powerful People — Many of Whom Take a Moral High Ground — Don’t Practice What They Preach

    Was the theme of the links Irony? Bankers and Irony – free market, profit and loss, capitalism.

  2. i on the ball patriot

    Fucked by a giant or fucked by a midget …

    Arianna Huffington, a Vanilla Greed champion, and one of many hosts of the co-opted fake progressive scamerican left, makes a pitch to the marks to move their money from the perniciously greedy big banks back to the warmth, love, and comfort, of the vanilla greedy smaller banks.

    Rich bitch Arianna, who never talks about what a fair limit in total assets owned might be, or what a fair limit on total yearly income might be, says it is much better to be fucked by a midget bank rather than to be fucked by a giant bank because it will send a message to Obummer, the leader of the totally non responsive to the will of the people scamerican government. Don’t forget your condoms!

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. LeeAnne

      Its the cheap faux news that’s such a time waster. The video accompanying that article about moving her money out of the bank is a lady sitting in a car TALKING about moving her money.

    2. craazyman

      Youze guys . . . I gotta hand it to ya.

      I was reading that article thinking “Well, that’s a good idea that’s finally getting some legs. Only way to kill these beasts is to pull their plug . . . ”

      and then I read I-on-the-ball’s critique. And I stopped dead in my mind tracks.

      “Shit! That dude is right!” I said, feeling kind of dumb about how easy I swallowed that hook. ha ha ha

      Income and asset limits. that might actually work. say once you get past a reasonable living portfolio size — like $5 million — then 90% beyond that gets redistributed to the lowest of the low. Sort of like the NFL draft. I can see that! Same for income. Past, say, $1 millio per year, you’re 90% taxed. And the firm can give you medals of honor for hard work — like Hitler did for his field marshals right before they went to the Eastern Front. OR, even better, the big hitters get the hottest lap dancers. ha ha. Seriously, incentives can come in varieties other than hard cash. Prestige is the key. Give them a plaque on the wall to admire their name on.

      1. DownSouth

        Ah, but that would fly in the face of classical and neoclassical economic theory.

        And you know we can’t have that!

        1. i on the ball patriot

          DownSouth … you sound a bit pessimistic … when the election boycotts win back the government for us we will need a game plan … craazyman makes some good suggestions for alternative rewards … would love to see you elaborate on them …

    1. LeeAnne

      A little more than halfway through the article I couldn’t help thinking this paean to sensible celebrating published as it is in of all things the Wall Street Journal on New Year’s Day, could be the harbinger for the end of fiendish consumption and wanton corporate abuse and the beginning of a new era of sensible saving, home cooking, corporations are forced to disgorge their ill-gotten assets, and Medicare for everyone who wants it becomes available.

      Happy New Year!

  3. kevinearick

    Thank you your patience Yves:

    Understanding Relativity &
    Using It To Solve All Kinds of Practical Problems

    First of all, step out of the problem. View it as someone else’s problem. Become objective. That puts you on the circle with a focal point in the middle. The point has become a circle.

    Now, you are standing on the circle at the reference point 0. Look at the problem and record your observations. Turn 90 degrees, and move 3 steps along the circle, without looking at the problem. Turn back, look at the problem, and record your observations.

    You now have an angle on the problem. Compare the two observations and record the difference. You now have a distillation. This makes you “comfortable” at location 3. Keep the distillation and the observation from location 3. Throw away the observation at location 0. This makes location 3 your new reference point. Re-label it 0.

    Turn, move 5 steps, and repeat the process. Now, you are comfortable on the circle, and can make any point 0. Walk all the way around to the other side of the circle, and repeat the process. That’s calculus. You are now distilling the distillations, and quickly find that you are moving in the direction of a foreseeable solution.

    At this point, you see the half-life. You solved half the problem, but also see that it would take forever to completely track down every detail. You realize that the circle is very big now, so that at any given point, it appears to be a straight line. In your travels, you learn that the way individuals think depends on their mobility – physical, mental, and psychological.

    With the half-life in hand, you realize that you are traveling on a helix, which stretches in both directions. The point has become a circle, which has become a helix, and any given point can be your reference 0.

    Suddenly, you remember that you have many problems to solve. Turn 180 degrees from the focal point of the current problem, and you see helices running parallel to each other. Jump to the parallel helix that forms a circle around another one of your problems, and repeat the process. Now, you have distillations for two problems.

    Continue jumping helices until you have several individual problem distillations. Distill the distillations. You see that time is relative, that perception depends on the reference point, and that you are on a point, a line, a circle, a helix, and articulating across helices simultaneously. When you distill the parallel helices into a common point of solution, you create a vortex.

    Given what you have now learned about the speed of disclosure, you see that there are quantum jumps between the circles in the vortex, orbits of a given energy. It takes a great deal of energy to move beyond that infinite second half after the half-life on the helix. The circles appear to isolated, but they are not.

    Now, you remember that the history you were programmed with by the proprietors of each circle, and realize that there are infinite possible pasts and infinite possible futures, depending on which point you choose as a reference.

    Dissect the circle into a pie with many pieces. Place yourself in the center of the intersection. At any given “time”, you are at the gate of an infinite number of vortexes, angles of perception.

    The default clock in your head, linear forward travel and linear memory retrieval, creates individuality in time, perception.

    What you are doing here on the Internet is distilling the distilled distillations of many people. In effect, you are “re-writing” History. That is called re-coherence on the event horizon. History perceptions are intersecting. By “re-writing” History, you are building an abutment for a bridge between circles, allowing capital to migrate. Left to its own devices, capital cannot get significantly beyond the first half-life, and is stuck incrementally advancing on the helix.

    Labor builds bridges, only without the Internet. With a little practice, you will see that the Internet is just another temporary bridge, a tool, one of many in parallel series. Once you do not need it, you are in a position to operate as an equal to capital, the capital of your choice, in the stage of development of your choice. The point of the Internet is to build the next bridge.

    From the perspective of labor, other people’s debt, on any given circle, is a non-performing asset, dead weight.

    That is enterprise architecture in a nutshell.

    E = mc2 / 0 in this universe.
    E = mc2 = mc2(1) + mc2(2) = E1 + E2 = mc2(1) + mc2(3) + mc2(4) = E1 + E3 + E4 …

    Creating diversity is important; understanding creation is important toward that end / beginning. Shared perception, knowledge, is a temporary bridge. Over time, circulation slows with deposits until knowledge acts as a filter against learning. That is where the economy is now.

    Success to all in the new year. Capital will come around. It’s not accustomed to operating in the daylight.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Is that sarcastic?

        If not,

        (1) Explain to me the origins of the universe and what existed prior.
        (2) Describe string theory.
        (3) Find a solution to the “prisoner’s dilemma” in which the players do not always end up in the worst position. And while you’re at it, just determine how best to get people to cooperate in general. I’m sure there is a simple prescription to follow, even though it hasn’t been found in millennia.
        (4) Formulate a theory (more subtle than merely “deception”) that explains why two experts with decades of experience (and IQs over 140) continue to have fundamental disagreements over their fields of expertise. As a random example, “Krugman is an idiot” does not count as intelligent analysis.

        The greatest deception on this planet is that people convince themselves that the world is simple. “The stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

        1. craazyman

          1 the origin Is IMagination. Before was only energy

          2 string theory = the form of imagination that preceded the string

          3 cooperation = invent hell but never send them there, they will fear you, then love you.

          4 because he’s an idiot-savant, not an idiot

          Happy New Year!

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why does the New Year’s Day not start on the day of the winter solstice or the day after? Did someone make a mistake in the beginning?

  5. DellaTerious

    In regards to white elephants: “THE BANKERS ENJOY HUGE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT.” It is/was not just the banks. In the class warfare we love to deny exists, the upper/financial/management classes have been given a steady stream of government-developed weapons: the computer industry, the internet, & WTO/NAFTA with which to destroy the middle classes. I worked in the computer/internet/telephony fields for decades, and there is complete denial of the fact that industry would NEVER have paid for the research and development dollars to bring these technologies to light. They wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the US govt.

    Working in those industries gave me a lot of inside views of Corporate America, and in Every Single Case, every business and industry in the country jockeys for government contracts and governmental guarantees: Capitalism abhors risk and always and everywhere pushes it off onto the feckless public, while skimming the profits into their own pockets and berating the workers, Jack Welch-style, for being unimaginative and risk-averse droids. We are all fools for swallowing this claptrap of free markets and EMH.

    1. emca

      Perhaps another assessment of financial Capitalism would be: while seeking risk, the best profit is made when someone else shoulders that risk.

      Welcome to the ship of fools.

  6. Ed

    Steve2241, thank’s for the link on the Wall Street Journal article. I always thought New Year’s Eve celebrations were stupid, but it never occurred to me that there were much better alternatives to marking the change in the calendar. I think I’ll go to bed early tonight.

    However, in New York, some bars are given special permits to stay open until 8 AM. Maybe the best way to mark the new year is to go to bed early, get up before dawn, and then have a drink while the sun rises. Maybe in later years I’ll do that if I still live here.

    According to wikipedia, January 1st was the ignaugeral date for the Consuls during the Roman Republic and Empire. When the Romans did this, they didn’t celebrate Christmas and it doesn’t get that cold in Rome in mid-winter. So they avoided the two biggest problems with using January 1st as the New Year date. I much prefer the date of the Annunciation, March 25th, or the French Revolutionary calendar date of September 22nd, close too or on the equinoxes, and in decent though transitional weather, and not close to other big secular holidays.

  7. Dean Stockman

    New Year’s celebrations are sure to uplift everyone’s moods and hopefully inspire people to invest in the stock markets as well!

    Many stock investors could use a similar inspirational website and I have found that inspiration for myself, and hopefully for other traders at

    It is a great website with free stock trading signals, which has already earned me a few thousand dollars. Make sure you check it out!

  8. gordon

    The Truthout piece “A Convenient Delusion” is about how global warming is true and denialists are either deliberately misleading (the leaders) or misled (the footsoldiers).

    Personally, I think global warming is happening, along with soil degradation, natural resource depletion and water and air pollution.

    But looking at the pathetic efforts of Govts. to mitigate global warming I can see practical benefits in denialism. Wasting time with cap-and-trade/offsets schemes which have loopholes you could drive a truck through may actually be worse than doing nothing. If we are truly in a “sauve qui peut” situation, let’s admit it and start working out where we want to move to. Spending money on the sorts of things that happened at Copenhagen is a waste.

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