Links 4/27/11

Skimpy links, I need to be at a conference at 8:00 AM! Eeek!

Alaska man defiant after fine for feeding young moose McClatchy (hat tip reader Buzz Potamkin)

More free money from Google for site scrapers Ed Harrison

The bureaucracy of Gitmo Crikey (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

Representative Ryan’s $30 Trillion Medicare Waste Tax CEPR

McDaniel Details Effect of Foreclosure Info Bill Fox (hat tip Lisa Epstein). This is an important development in mortgage land.

Wealthy Leaving Las Vegas Mansions as Foreclosures Spreading Bloomberg. We reported on very high foreclosure rates in very high income neighborhoods in Vegas over a month ago.

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-04-27 at 2.32.26 AM

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  1. skippy

    Financiers Switch to GOP WSJ

    Daniel Loeb, founder of Third Point LLC, was one of the biggest Obama fund-raisers in 2008, rounding up $200,000 for him, according to campaign-finance records. In the decade prior, Mr. Loeb and his wife donated $250,000 to Democrats and less than $10,000 to Republicans.

    But since Mr. Obama’s inauguration, Mr. Loeb has given $468,000 to Republican candidates and the GOP, and just $8,000 to Democrats. Hedge-fund kings have feelings, too, and the president appears to have hurt them.

    “I am sure, if we are really nice and stay quiet, everything will be alright and the president will become more centrist and that all his tough talk is just words,” Mr. Loeb wrote in an email about four months ago expressing frustration with the president’s posture toward Wall Street. “I mean, he really loves us and when he beats us, he doesn’t mean it.” The email, sent to eight friends, was widely circulated on Wall Street.

    Mr. Loeb is part of a shift in political allegiance within the world of hedge funds that also includes such big names as Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors and Kenneth Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group. Managers and employees of hedge funds directed a majority of their contributions to the GOP in the 2009-2010 election season, a pattern not seen since 1996, when the industry was much smaller.

    Managers of hedge funds—private investment partnerships that cater to institutions and wealthy people—are reacting to what some criticize as Mr. Obama’s populist attacks on Wall Street, as well as to Democrat-led efforts to raise their tax bills. They had hoped to be protected from such a tax move by their relationships with prominent Democratic members of Congress. “Hedge funds bankrolled the Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections, and the very people they helped put in power turned around and screwed them,” said Sam Geduldig, a former Republican congressional staffer who is a Wall Street lobbyist.

    Skippy..go have a look…barf.

  2. Dirk77

    Re Gitmo link: Hurray for McClatchy. They were the only ones (as Knight-Ridder whom they bought) to question the government’s line (I.e., lies) in the run up to invading Iraq. I guess there is some consolation in that our glorious country is not very good at being a police state. But let it go on for long enough and practice will make it perfect.

  3. financial matters

    It’s interesting how difficult it is to put basic protections in place like this against the power of the banks… These are the sort of problems that Geithner and other apologists for the banks want to ignore to ‘save the system’

    McDaniel Details Effect of Foreclosure Info Bill Fox

    “”The measure requires mortgage holders to inform homeowners about the foreclosure procedures and will let homeowners attempt to make good on delinquent payments or otherwise develop a plan to continue making payments.

    Rogers said mortgage services will be required to provide homeowners with copies of the note, mortgage and any assignments, along with the physical location of the note and payment history, to any homeowner before initiating a foreclosure on their home.””

  4. LeeAnne

    Wealthy Leaving Las Vegas Mansions as Foreclosures Spreading

    and prices (oh, my) for private jets under $20 millions or so are in the biggest decline every seen; not so, private jets over $25Mil.

    And how are pilot’s salaries going? Never mind.

      1. LeeAnne

        +1 as zero hedgers would say : )

        OT, I was just thinking of the obscenity of someone like Bill Gates, or anyone for that matter, with $100,000,000,000 tax free to spend untaxed any way he personally wishes; to imagine changing the world in his own image.

        It is disgusting beyond consideration that there is any support among civilized people for this outcome. This has to be stopped. The people of the western world need to confiscate anything over personal wealth of $50M, and let them hide their money in China. See how long it lasts there.

        1. skippy

          Funny thing about some investment bankers for the government out of Newport, CA. circa early 90s. One offered his daughters boyfriend a cool million to look after her [his private account (the rest on tab)], after tragic head injury, permanent grade level 6 morbidity (bike riding after Superbowl drinking session [no helmet] attending CU Boulder Co. All after he took a year off studies to assist in her rehabilitation. Only one stipulation, he had to keep all dalliances out of sight [perception…eh..turf habits die hard].

          He said no, and last I saw him he was back to school (Jesse was always a good sort).

          Skippy…the red felt couch from the house in Sun valley did match the new red F-150 4×4 nicely…all just to drive it down to Boulder…kinda like the investing done for the tax payers…eh.

          PS…hope you upgraded the jet NP banker, you earned it!

        2. BondsOfSteel

          I don’t know. Bill Gates’s image of the world (via The Bill Gates Foundation) is much better that say Donald Trump’s world.

          What with 45% of republicans beliving Trump and his birtherism… well… given a choice, I’d pick Bill.

          Yea… Bill may use the F-bomb a lot and call you stupid… but then… he’s super smart and usually right.

          1. ScottS

            Super smart? He’s a convicted crook. He isn’t much of a techie, and he isn’t a good businessman unless he is violating antitrust law.

            And his “philanthropy,” outside of malaria cures, is to privatize education. How is making a profit off of public education philanthropy?

            I don’t know why people are so impressed with him.

        3. Andaemon

          That’s the beauty of America. With a bad product, an anti-competitive spirit, ruthless amorality, and a strong desire to scam your fellow man no matter what it takes every American can aspire to become a decabillionaire and remake the world in their own image.

  5. bmeisen

    Is it somehow devolved to hope that a blog that runs warm and fuzzy animal pictures every day would go after this year’s royal wedding? And maybe you’ve got something in the works, but if not then PLEASE Yves remember, you are in the United States of America, the germ of the French Revolution, the Ur-opponent of the Monarchy, the holder of truths self-evident! Don’t let them walk down the aisle without a sneeze:

    1. Name (required)

      So the present workings of a written constitution as exemplified by the USA are a shining example of justice, democracy and Government by the people for the people?

      To confuse Constitutional Monarchy with the pomp and ceremony which surrounds it is the worst case of judging a book by its cover.

      1. bmeisen

        Now that’s an interesting question: Is the pomp and ceremony that surrounds a system of government something other than the system of government itself? Let’s assume that a discrepancy exists and that this week’s royal wedding is indeed the political equivalent of a misleading book cover. The Westminister model is robustly democratic. William and Kate are a shallow marketing event pasted around and otherwise virtuous relationship between monarchy and state. Please then tear the cover off.

        I see 2 arguments against tolerating the Windsors:

        1. They serve as ceremonial Heads of State without a democratic mandate, enjoying privileges based on a tribal concept of society. This is fundamentally anti-democratic, right? ergo the Westminister model is fundamentally flawed. The voters must be regularly seduced into accepting this little deficit and marketing events like this one tend to do the trick as long as the happy couple toes the line and fulfills its Barby and Ken assignment at least until the baby pictures are released. Let’s leave the welfare checks issue for another argument.

        2. Because they are in fact not allowed to rule and therefore effectively have no subjects, their fundamental relationship to the citizenry is that of Capital to Labor, which when push comes to shove is predatory and extractive. The notion that William and Kate are surrogates for young British couples is a calculated deceit that uses spectacle to lure the underprivileged deeper into ignorance about the true nature of their world.

  6. Jim Haygood

    This just in, after the NC publication deadline:

    ‘The White House hopes to finally end a long-simmering conspiracy theory among some conservatives.’ — NYT

    Standard politicization from the MSM — got to stoke the left-right, Dem-Rep, Chevy-Ford rivalry.

    But it’s not just conservatives wondering, What the HELL was he thinking? If he had the long form birth certificate all this time, why on earth would he keep it secret? And why is he keeping most of his academic records secret too?

    Sorry, I don’t get it. As the saying goes in Washington, he seems to have been badly advised.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The odds are still against him getting a new passport though.

      Does he remember every single job he has had?

      Who was present when he was born?

      1. Andaemon

        How can you forget who was present when you were born? It’s a most important time. Right after I was born, I went around collecting everyone’s data including their telephone numbers, employment history, addresses, and mother’s maiden names. Didn’t you?

  7. Jackrabbit

    I don’t expect much out of Bernanke’s news conference today. Anyone that follows the Fed at all knows that the Fed has its own logic. Many questions at Congressional hearings are simply dismissed as not relevant to the Fed’s mission. And at least half of the questions will be open-ended softballs that he can bloviate on while giving terse answers to more difficult one’s.

    But what’s been bugging me is: why have news conferences at all? I doubt Bernanke likes the spotlight or that he is really concerned about the “abolish the Fed” movement (IMO its unlikely that there is sufficient support for an alternative any time soon). Is he afraid that the dollar might lose it’s reserve currency status? The Fed has little real control of that. Does he really think that he can “talk up” the economy? And is Fed communications really that unclear to those who care enough to follow them?

    Searching for more compelling reasons leads me to these speculations:

    1) The Obama administration wants Bernanke to take a more public role so that if the economy double dips, Bernanke shoulders the blame. That darned Fed . . . (sigh) . . . they’re independent, you know.

    2) Bernanke’s more public image puts him in a position to provide PR for Bank equity raises. The Fed has provided enormous support to heal the ailing TBTF Banks, including QE I and II, and has recently approved payment of dividends to Bank shareholders. Bank equity raises would a) accord with Geithner’s view that Banks need more capital, not more regulation, and b) put the market’s stamp of approval on the Fed/Tsy effort to save the Banks. Whose gonna buy Bank equity? (hint: not Sovereign Wealth Funds and other “smart money”). Positive comments from Bernanke about Bank prospects would get wide press coverage and been seen as coming from an independent but knowledgeable source.

    3) Both 1 and 2

    4) Bernanke’s higher profile justifies higher book sales. How else can “Wall Street” reward his support? (I imagine that “Wall Street” will buy the majority of the books printed.) (PS I never used to be so cynical. I would not have even thought of adding #4 before a couple of years ago.)

    5) All of the above.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My questions would be

      1) Why are some cruising on his QE2 in first class cabins and some on second class cabins?

      2) Are there enough lifeboats on board his QE2?

  8. Tertium Squid


    “Las Vegas’s affordable housing and warm weather will be the theme of a promotional campaign the city plans to use to attract out-of-town investors and potential new residents, Mayor Oscar Goodman said.

    The city, he said, will be “showing the opportunities to people who are freezing to death in the middle of the country in the worst winter imaginable — that they can come out here and buy a home at one-third what it cost five years ago and have a wonderful quality of life.”


    1. DownSouth

      When I heard that I was thinking more in terms of the amount of energy it takes to keep oneself cool on those 120° days.

      1. Andaemon

        I thought the same thing. An added benefit is that your swimming pool becomes a hottub every time the temperature gets up above 110 degrees.

  9. john

    Watching the first ten minutes of the Bernanke press conf, it seems his plan is to kick the legs out under any potenntial hard-hitting questioners by boring the living shit out of them.

  10. john alt

    Maybe this is just my current obsession, but isn’t this a pretty extreme case of “nothing to see here, keep moving…”?

    Why is this not a huge story? A private lobby is threatening the president if he suggests that the scale and vector of graft in our politics is cast in even the most crepuscular light.

    Not only have the senate Royalists doused the sparkler house Dem’s sent them on this but the president hasn’t even proposed a rule yet, he’s just mooted the idea of proposing a rule. And you know any rule he proposes will not prevent him from raising the billion or billions he intends for his re-election. and the huffing an puffing begins at CoC!

    While our press remains free and anyone who cares to look can see just how perverted the system is, one would think that institutionalized bribery so insouciant the premier bribe payer publicly threatens the bribee in chief, hypothetically a public servant, would be a front page story!

    1. Andaemon

      You seem to be under a delusion that bribery is not the way things get done in Washington. If that was the case, I would agree that this might be a major story.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I know the one on the left is called Banker.

    Does anyone know what the right squirrel is called?

    1. Max424


      Fedchair is letting Banker know, he’d need never worry about running out of nuts. Fedchair will magically supply them — forever.

    2. Cedric Regula

      I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, but after tuning in late to the Fed press conference and seeing the last half, I think I got it figured out.

      Left Squirrel (when viewed by a human facing computer screen…I know how MLTPB gets confused sometimes)

      The Honorable Ben Bernanke

      Right Squirrel

      Steve Liesman…yes, he got the invite that Yves didn’t get.

      The picture is showing how a press conference would go if you had to do it without a teleprompter facing Ben and another teleprompter facing the reporters.

      Lois Lane was not present either.

      For anyone who is still wondering, QE II worked wonderfully, it made stock prices go up. Additionally, Ben reminded us that the Fed has extensive experiance with the effect that interest rate policy and the wealth effect has on the economy. Also that Fed tools work, even the new ones they haven’t used yet and even the American clones of BOJ tools.

      I may try and track down an archived copy and watch the beginning just to make sure Bill Gross wasn’t invited, or any Chinese people.

      If I don’t get around to it, I’ll just catch it next quarter.

    1. ScottS

      I realize you’re being facetious, but yes, I’m sure they are. The race to the bottom has to have two teams to be a race. The tension on Democrats’ faces when the Wisconsin thing hit was palpable. They were obviously uncomfortable with the sudden association with unions, especially public ones.

      Democrats have no problem taking money and campaign energy from unions, but generally want unions to be seen and not heard and preferably not seen.

  12. kevinearick

    Unfortunately, the only way to help those at the bottom, at this point, is to shut down distribution and enforce re-localization.

  13. Anon

    Rolling Stone says US NRC aka nuke regulator didn’t believe zirc-clad fuel rods could ever catch fire!

    But in America, most [nuclear] plants have no way of keeping the water circulating in the event of a power failure. Nor are the [spent fuel] pools themselves typically housed in secure bunkers, because the NRC long considered it virtually impossible for the special alloy to catch fire. Fukushima proved them wrong.

    Too big to fail – and too stupid to live.

    We are all Fukushima now.

    1. Andaemon

      It’s true they can’t catch fire. I read an expert who said this. If they caught fire they’d be defying an expert, which is strictly speaking frowned upon.

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