Links 10/26/11

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery Live Science. Old but not stale. h/t aquifer.

Up to 20 million tons of debris from Japan’s tsunami moving toward Hawaii The Envoy

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Released Far More Radiation than Government Said Scientific American, hat tip Robert M.

EU rescue plans hostage to raw politics Daily Telegraph (AEP)

EU Crisis Roadmap: Key Milestones WSJ with a Eurocrisis roadmap for the month ahead. Plenty of potholes.

Eurozone crisis: live blog FT Live blog, behind the paywall.

Dexia is seeking a new brand name Credit Writedowns

Oh my God, Church of Scientology dug up dirt on Matt Stone and Trey Parker Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

AUDIO: Elizabeth Warren Clarifies Her Occupy Wall Street Comments Mother Jones. When I was sent Warren’s earlier statement, I remarked that it as an “Al Gore invented the Internet” moment. She tries recovering, but she does not seem at all comfortable with OWS.

OWS’s Beef: Wall Street Isn’t Winning – It’s Cheating Matt Taibbi (hat tip reader Caitlin O)

Wall Street protest plans global rally ahead of G20 Reuters (hat tip reader LeeAnne)

The New Gilded Age and Top Earners Doubled Share of Nation’s Income, Study Finds and As the Data Show, There’s a Reason the Wall Street Protesters Chose New York NYT (hat tip furzymouse).

How the Rich Subverted the Legal System and Occupy Wall Street Swept the Land Glenn Greenwald, The Nation. He is speaking at OWS on November 8 (sadly I will be out of town at a conference).

The dukes and earls in America’s Great Tower of Bulls**t are starting to blink a little. Ian Fraser

Feds Embrace Lying in Response to Public-Record Requests Wired

Bill Black: What I’d Demand Of The Fed Real News Network (hat tip reader Reader of Tea Leaves)

White House Hands GOP Victory In Jobs Bill Shadow Boxing Match TPM (hat tip Debra C)

Consumer Confidence Hits an All-Time Non-Recession Low Doug Short (hat tip reader Jim Haygood)

Bankers fear political moves will kill off CDS FT.

Pauley’s BofA MBS ruling is boon to New York, Delaware AGs Alison Frankel, Reuters (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). I could not disagree with her more. One case, even involving 400 investors in one trust, is NOT the same as one settlement involving 530 MBS trusts, each with its own pooling and servicing agreement, and as important, each and every RMBS having investors in different tranches, hence with different interests! This is two orders of magnitude more complicated than the IBJ Schroder case she mentions. Moreover, she makes much of an isolated mention in Schneidrman’s filing of fiduciary duty. That was a throwaway remark (one I winced at) and NOT essential to any of her legal argument. This isn’t the first time I’ve see Frankel running a bank friendly line in her posts, although a past one was particularly egregious. And notice her comment at the end versus the reading by Chris Whalen below, who has a substantial discussion of the implications of the Pauley ruling.

Is Countrywide Still Bankruptcy Remote? Interview with Neil McCarthy Chris Whalen


Weird reader query: I have a young male colleague who was is about to lose his health insurance (end of Cobra). What options if any are there for people to get health insurance that isn’t at horrible non-group rates? Any ideas appreciated.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Knative). This verges on being a Richard Smith style antidote.

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    1. LucyLulu

      Been there, done that, Yves. Does he belong to any organizations that might offer health plans to their members?
      If he’s in a high risk group and is unable to find insurance through private carriers, i.e. uninsurable, most states have high risk pools available (albeit pricey). Otherwise, he’s going to have to bite the bullet and price individual policies. If he’s healthy, he may want to check into catastrophic coverage, as high a deductible as he can afford…… basically self-insured but coverage in case of serious illness or accident that would wipe him out. That was what my sister did when doing legal consulting work.

      We need universal health care. Insurance rates, esp. without the benefit of group coverage, are ridiculous. It’s the reason so many people are uninsured. Living in NYC area doesn’t help either, it’s got either the highest or second highest rates in the country (forget which), primarily due to high litigation rates.

    2. Geo-environmental Engineer

      Some professional societies and organizations have group health care coverage available.

  1. taunger

    healthcare q: move to massachusetts. Seriously, healthcare isn’t the only or best reason.Most of my adult life in MA I have been a working poor father, with a stay at home mom or a student, with mom still at home. A strong safety net and the smarts to use it has allowed us to live a comfortable life (though I now have a mid-size mortgage amount of student loans, but that is another day).

    I’ve always either had affordable access to state care, or a subsidy for our private insurance. It may not work for everyone but it has worked for us.

    1. Tiercelet

      Seconded. If he can establish that he’s been paid for work under his own name or a business name that he owns for a certain period of time, he would be eligible. Their rates aren’t super hot any more (at least here in New York), but they’re better than getting fleeced on the individual market.

      That said, he could also move to Jersey City (I’m assuming he’s a New Yorker). Jersey insurance rates are actually far better than New York ones.

  2. Jefe

    Health Care / Health Insurance/ COBRA question. Martyrdom. Best investment is eating well, staying fit, and living a happy life. You can’t insure health, don’t buy in and support the concept. He makes other discreet choices every day, resources are limited… opt out while you legally can.

    1. Soho

      Ladies and gentlemen, it’s taken years but we have finally located the stupidest person on the internet!

  3. Jim Haygood

    While munching your popcorn and watching the euro-shambles unspool, give a thought to poor Nihon-koku (Japan, that is):

    Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa offered few clues on whether the BOJ will ease monetary policy at Thursday’s rate review.

    The BOJ is likely to debate easing policy at the meeting after the yen rose to another record high on Tuesday of 75.73 yen to the dollar and doubts mounted over whether Europe can forge a clear plan to tackle the euro zone debt crisis, sources say. But the decision will be a close call and much will depend on the outcome of Wednesday’s summit of European leaders on the debt crisis, as well as fallout on the yen.

    Asked by a lawmaker if the BOJ should do more to ease the pain on Japan’s economy from the strong yen, Shirakawa said the BOJ already keeps interest rates virtually at zero and buys the biggest amount of government bonds among advanced nations in terms of the ratio of GDP. “The BOJ now buys massive amount of government bonds. By creating very easy monetary conditions, we are helping to support the economy,” Shirakawa said.

    Japan’s quiet horror is that with China and much of developing Asia effectively pegged to the US dollar (and thus insulated from exchange rate pressure), the strong yen erodes Japan’s competitiveness quite severely.

    Like America’s Benny Bubbles, Japan soldiers on with quantitative easing, a term they invented in the Nineties. But it ain’t working.

    Just as rampant inflationism can cause currency depreciation, deleveraging of the financial system and its attendant disinflationary effects can produce currency strength at the most inconvenient moment, when export-oriented economies such as Japan and Europe would benefit from greater export competitiveness to offset domestic weakness.

    Both the yen and the euro are strong, adding to headwinds against growth. Though the relatively weak US dollar allowed the US to sidestep an equity bear market (barely … and so far), it evidently did not provide enough of a boost to keep the US economy out of recession.

    Sad times all around, comrades. Let’s burn the furniture and throw a last rave!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m aware of that, but it has been taken that way. Self-aggranzing gaffes have a way of growing.

  4. Tyler

    Fukushima is the bell weather for why we need to close the same design of nuclear plants along the California coast. Two reactors at San Luis Obispo, are owned and run by Pacific Gas & Electric, (PG&E) a corporation that has been revealed to be utterly incompetent and homicidal after killing 16 people south of San Francisco when a large gas pipeline made of scrapped pipe segments–no one is sure because
    the utility has lost, shredded or hidden documents–barbequed their neighborhood.

    Major mistakes in construction were revealed when the utility managed to build part of the reactors’ seismic upgrades backwards. New earthquake faults have been discovered along the coast. Plenty of hotel rooms for rent in San Luis Obispo just downwind and Cal Poly is the college of last resort when all you other admission plans melt down.

    Their business plan is seemingly to milk the gas and electricity infrastructure for all its worth, not maintain it, fire veteran employees, use “smart meters” to harvest personal time of use and type of device data and to grab all they can and cross their fingers that the NRC will renew their license. Meanwhile they have gotten involved in politics after sponsoring a failed state ballot proposition that would have guaranteed their monopoly.

    Their actual byzantine role as a utility is nicely sketched out in this article.

  5. prostratedragon

    Possible captions:

    1. “Thank you for coming! We must do this again sometime -soon!”

    2. Agitprop theater demonstration at OccupyYourWashingtonElectedOfficials.

    1. ows crack down

      “2. Agitprop theater demonstration at OccupyYourWashingtonElectedOfficials.”

      You must mean like that performed by those well-equipped, well-paid, public servants, the local police, who dismantle OWS after clearing out the public space, and then blame the mess they themselves created on “dirty hippies”?

      Images of that performance, unlikely to be widely reported or reviewed in the “mainstream” Media:

  6. Bill

    @Yves: “This verges on being a Richard Smith style antidote.”

    Yeah, I wish you would get back to choosing YOUR style of antidote, in which we have no doubt there is no
    chance that the animal is being harmed… today’s
    that’s really not clear.
    Richard Kline contributes so much to this blog, but
    I don’t at all like his taste in animal photos.
    Perhaps he could confine those to his home, and
    not burden us with them…….. :)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Richard Kline and Richard Smith are two different people. Richard Smith is in London, posts fairly often on matters ranging from Basel III to antipodean scamsters, and also helps out a lot on an informal basis. Richard Kline is in Seattle, had provided less frequent guest posts, usually on social sciences matters, and provides erudite remarks in the comments section, most recently on OccupyWallStreet,

      I usually don’t go for symbolic animal pix, but that one seemed weirdly evocative.

      1. Barbyrah

        Yves, I’ve gotta agree with Bill…I can’t tell for certain if this pic is related to outright animal brutality, but obviously the animal is in distress. Significant distress.

        Please reconsider posting these types of photos, even if they seem to be “symbolic” of something, or “evocative.”

        There’s enough misery, cruelty, viciousness in the world. Especially toward animals, though plenty comes the way of Homo sapiens too, I know.

        FYI: I’m on the planet, not to reinforce these patterns, but to help turn the tide, help transform. And, based on the usual fare of photos you post, assume you are, too.

        Thanks for reconsidering.

  7. duffolonious

    Re: young male friend – get married? To a woman with insurance of course.

    Anecdote: “Let me touch your face…OK OK, hoof’s fine – very nice”

    We should have an occasional craption contest, no?

    1. JTFaraday

      Eh. I kind of loathe the (growing, apparently) idea that f***ing has some kind of social value that various organizations are supposed to subsidize.

      Time for an affordable universal health plan. Because you’re already a whole human being.

  8. Steve

    Best option for health insurance in his situation (if he’s relatively healthy) is probably a high-deductible plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA). I recently went this route myself. I pay $102 per month, with $5500 deductible and 0% copay after that, but you can get the deductible down to around $2000 (I think) and still qualify for the HSA. If you contribute enough to the HSA, the tax break considerably lowers the cost of the insurance.

    1. psychohistorian

      Just make sure that you have more than a couple grand in your MSA savings account or the administrative fees will eat up your principal.

        1. RA

          For sixth months or less, short-term health insurance is even cheaper. Look to major insurers like Blue Cross or Aetna. The policy can typically be rolled over for another six months.

  9. EmilianoZ

    Matt Taibbi is on fire. Great piece.

    I had no idea the police got a cut every time they enforced a foreclosure. LOL! Those banksters sure know how to make capitalism work against the 99%.

    Is it the same with the SEC? Do they get a cut when they manage to make a bank pay? I guess even if that were the case it might not be enough to motivate them. The banks have the resources to drag a case forever and the would-be enforcer would lose any chance to ever get a job with them.

  10. Mille

    Fukushima Nuclear Power Generation Accident:

    Japan’s Ministry of Education & Science published “Radioactive Dust Map” on its website a couple of days ago. It includes data on air qualities monitored since July 2011 with the addition of the measurement of cesium 134, 137 & 134 + 137 since August 30, 2011. It’s user-friendly for those who read Japanese. No English version yet (or never).

    Go to:

    On this page, there are some explanation of measurements and disclaimers.

    Click the right circle at the bottom of the page, which means “I agree.”

  11. ftm

    If he lives in NY, income lowish then Healthy New York, state program reduced rates with private insurers . If he has self-employment income, which has several blue cross plans in NY.

  12. JD

    Reading your comments, (here and there, there, here…) regarding Elizabeth Warren I must say that I would never want to count on you on my way to a Revolution. To be sure, we are at the beginning of a Revolution in this country. I hope it can be Gandhi like.

    That depends upon the violence that comes against it. Americans are not an extremely, deeply, profoundly peaceful people, you may have noticed from our long time “addiction to war”.

    But, back to my point: there must be a basic rule of politics that probably goes something like this, don’t bring an ally down who is doing more and has done more than you have. This will make your allies, inferior to you, like me, pull back, away from you because you might be seen as just “a B—-” instead of one of the 10 most brilliant people on Earth (which was my opinion of you and one I hope to recover soon, well…).

    There must be still another, even a more basic rule of politics, don’t bring down any ally, because you need so many different kinds of people to have a successful revolution.

    So, sorry…end of lecture…you needed this…sorry.

    1. bobh

      Wow, that was dumb, JD. Here’s a better rule: Always try to tell the truth about what is happening and let the chips fall where they may.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Allies who are not reliable are not worthy allies.

      Warren has chosen to align herself far too closely to Obama, who is center right and a huge part of the problem. She also is getting advice from mainstream Democratic hacks, which means they are also neoliberals.

      She might be able to redeem herself after the primaries. She might be playing a cunning game of toeing the line until she clear the party primary. But I doubt it. She made a telling “standing shoulder to shoulder” remark while she was with the CFPB which made it sound as if she was proud to be associated with Obama. Being proud to have worked for Obama (in any other way save hoping to use him in the way he clearly hoped to use her) is a basic contradiction of her claim to be a big supporter of the downtrodden middle class.

      1. aletheia33

        once i saw the quote from warren (reported to us recently by yves) saying fighting terrorism should be our number one priority, that was it for me with the admiration.

        may she continue to do some good in the area she has focused on until now. may she be honored for the role she’s played in helping the public so far.

        going forward,i look for better leaders than the current congresscritters and the political system that fosters them to emerge from the Occupations. i’ll support the new litter, bred and raised in the open air.

      2. Robert

        Wow Yves, you’ve seen the light. We’ve been trying to tell you this for months while you ran an endless stream of sympathetic press for her.

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          What kind of revisionist history is this? I’ve been saying for MONTHS she was being used by the Obama administration and that running for the Senate was a terrible idea if she was serious about helping the middle class. I ALSO said, when she was being hailed as the Progressive Second Coming, that all we knew about was her stance on consumer related finance, and we had no idea whether any of her other views, particularly on the war, were progressive. And I’ve flagged concerns about her “shoulder to shoulder” comment as soon as it was reported.

          Warren is undeniably accomplished. There is no reason to be churlish and deny how far she has gotten with her agenda. But even though she did the equivalent of a high school football team that was pitted against pros getting the ball down to the one yard line, she did not score.

          What you may not appreciate is that she did take a tremendous amount of ground in her set up of the CFPB than most imagine, and was engaged in pretty regular battles with Geithner. But I think she focused on winning a battle she was very dedicated to while not recognizing she had lost the war by joining the Administration.

          Warren is stuck in time. She published The Two Income Trap in 2003. The CFPB was a solution to the problems set forth in that book. We’ve had a global financial crisis and far more radical measures are needed, yet Warren seems not to have adjusted her world view.

  13. craazyman

    @OWS’s Beef: Wall Street Cheating

    Matt Taibbi just rocks. The problem is I get so upset reading his articles I have to run 4 miles along the river then take a Xanax just to level myself out.

    And if I feel this way, I can only speculate how the less-fortunate 99% feel. Many have nothing left to lose and there’s an Albert Camus moment possibility there. he is still so relevant, but I guess they don’t read The Rebel in MBA or CFA programs. LOL.

    Yet, I still seem to be the only person on the bus or #6 train subway with an Occupy Wall Street button on my jacket. I’m trying to re-assure all the proper white collar folks (which I resemble) that it’s OK to think for themselves. ha ahaha ahahahahahahah. yeah. but it can hurt, so take an Advil, especially if you’re one of the bankster enablers just below the 99%, it is confusing for you I can see that in the hardened vacant eyes Like a roman statue.

      1. aletheia33

        keep up your good work of reassurance and confusion.

        a kind of startle mid-objection, bewilderment, and “oh… i never thought of that” seems to be a common response to the raising of issues the Occupation is calling attention to. somehow the Occupation has opened a conversational space for that raising that was not very open before.

        it’s good to know you’re there, taking full advantage of the opening.

  14. Herman Sniffles

    Buy the Blue Shield policy with the hightest deductible possible, probably around $350 per month for a middle age single male. That will cover getting run over by buses, cancer, heart attack, stuff like that. Then get the rest of your care at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s a beautiful, clean hospital with ultra modern equipment, US and German trained doctors and surgeons, and higher international ratings than most US hospitals. And it’s located in the cultural heart of Thaialand, one of the most wonderful cities in Asia. I had to have dental surgery a few years back. US estimate was $4000 just to walk through the door, and more to come. I had 3 hours of surgery at Ram by a (lovely) 26 year old German-trained Thai dental surgeon. Total cost $240 us. She told me that the success rate for this particular operation is 50%, but when she does it it’s 70%. I am part of the 70%. Last year I had my varicose veins stripped on both legs. US estimate $30k plus. My total bill at Ram was $3600, and that included 5 hours of surgery and 3 days in recovery. The surgeon was trained at Stanford. The medical staff at Ram are thoughtful, helpful, caring, professional, and friendly. The opposite of the US. I never even had to tell them the joke I always tell rude American doctors:”What’s the difference between God and a doctor? God knows he’s not a doctor.” And you get a trip to Chiang Mai. You might even see Marc Faber in a coffee shop.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I went to a private hospital in Bangkok, just a flareup of a long standing knee problem, and was very impressed with the doctor and the facility. It wasn’t glam, a bit spartan, but the doctor was very professional and they had all the right modern diagnostic equipment, and it was super clean. They had invested in what counted, which were the tools, not fancy lighting and comfy waiting room chairs. I never got to Chiang Mai (which was stupid, but I was in Bangkok on a round-the-world ticket, it was cheaper to get to Sydney that way than on a round trip, so it was only a break rather than a real holiday, plus the wrong time of year to go to Chiang Mai, since I’m told most foreigners can’t take the head to visit the ruins save during the winter months). But this is a very good tip. Hope I never need it but good to know.

      1. Small and medium enterprises

        I live 200 meters from Ram, and I lived in a townhouse next to Bumrungrad in BKK for a few years before that. Health care much cheaper than USA but its 5 times more expensive than it was in 2000.

        Doctors/Hospitals have no insurance, and if they cut off the wrong leg in surgery I think the going penalty is about $125. That being said, I moved to Thailand because I had a genetic disorder and can’t get any insurance in the USA. For the simple things I need done, I tell the lab what tests to run and determine my own regular procedures. They are cool with that because everybody realizes the doctors are using the same PDR I do, and have little to add.

        My friend had a concussion and a hematoma in his brain that CM Ram fixed with brain surgery for about $2000 (+ 2 weeks intensive care). The doctor trained in USA and worked at the Mayo clinic so he had a nice outcome although my friend forgets alot of stuff now. Keep in mind that they have mucho experience with motorbike accidents…

          1. aletheia33

            @ skippy,

            did you get all wet AGAIN?
            how many times have you been told to wear your galoshes.

  15. PQS

    Re: Health Insurance…

    I second the high deductible options. However, if said person lives in WA State, we have a non profit Co-Op that has its own doctors and hospitals and provides XLNT care. Group Health. I get $2K deductible insurance and dental for my 7 year old kid for $150/month. There is another co-op in another state, I want to say Minn or Michigan?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Question du jour – What do you like more:

      1) Too big for my taste banks

      2) Fee-happy banks

      3) Under-capitalized banks

      4) Piggy banks

    2. Pat

      The article says, “As I have said for some time, it is the man on the street – not economists, politicians or bankers – who is going to get the final word on this.”

      Exactly. This is what happened in Iceland. There was a panic bank run by everyone in 3-4 days as the currency was collapsing. Then the government closed the doors and instituted an Emergency Plan, which guaranteed deposits by the government and put the banks into bankruptcy and put in strict currency controls.

      The Greeks will try to clean out all their deposits. Then the Greek government will shut them down. Depositors in Portugal, Spain, Italy et al will then try to move all their money to German or Swiss banks. Then — and only then — will the Euro governments do something realistic. No more negotiations over bazooka leveraging. Now they will have to shut down all the Eurozone banks at once, reinstitute native currencies, and peg them at realistic rates and set up currency controls.

  16. Hugh

    Re Taibbi, this is part of class warfare. In a kleptocracy, all transfers of wealth from the 99% to the rich are portrayed as legitimate and hard earned. All transfers from the rich to the 99% are portrayed as immoral, undeserved, and quite simply theft.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    With so many occupiers unjustly imprisoned, is it time to start #OccupyPrisons?

    I know some of you might also want to look into #OccupyOutrageouslyExpensiveHotels.

  18. Evan J

    Re: Young male colleague needing health insurance. How about a marriage of convenience? Find a single female serving or about to serve in the military, in a war zone. Both the service member and the male spouse benefit, both financially and with various perks, including health care. Execute a prenup agreement, providing that neither party will contest a divorce or request alimony or property division. They never need to actually live together, or “consummate” the marriage. For the service member, such an arrangement could also help to conceal a same-sex orientation. I don’t know how often this happens, but it does happen.

    1. Bill

      @Evan J:

      I know it sounds like a good idea, but there was a recent story in the press (sorry, I don’t have a link)
      about the military prosecuting two soldiers who had
      a marriage of convenience (also, I forget what thee reason was, my brain is ageing). Remember, the military
      owns its members, and things that are not prosecutgable
      for civilians are crimes for soldiers — e.g., adultery.

  19. A Good Bankster

    Re: Wall Street isn’t Winning – It’s Cheating

    After reading the Taibbi article, the one thing I don’t understand is why isn’t Taibbi working for our side like Andrew Ross Sorkin, Rich Lowenstein, everyone at CNBC, NPR, the NY Times, etc. In fact, as far as I know every financial “reporter” in the USA is on our side with the exception of Taibbi.

    I even contribute once a month to a “reporters fund” that pays for miscellaneous items such Sorkin’s S&M sessions, just to give one example. (I understand his dominatrix arrives dressed up as a Wall Street banker, complete with an Armani suit, high heels and a strap-on, all so that Sorkin can continue his humilation/boot-licking fetish after hours.)

    And so forth. Whatever it takes to keep them happy.

    So again, my question, what went wrong with Taibbi? Did one of my colleagues forget to include him on the payroll?

    1. A Good Bankster

      All right, it’s not Rich, it’s *Roger* Lowenstein.

      He just tweeted my secretary to complain that I got his name wrong, and also why is he having to pay his own S&M sessions when Andy’s are free, and is this the thanks he gets for writing a book where he claimed Wall Street was not guilty, no financial crimes were committed and Blankfein was right about doing God’s work.

      1. Bill

        I never knew Banksters had such a good sense of
        humor, thanks for the laughs……now get the f***
        outta here you swine……. :)

  20. just me

    Yves, did you see this story? CalHFA is foreclosing on people current in their loans if they rent their home out:

    Sacramento Bee story with link at end to California Senate report PDF:

    Each foreclosure costs the agency more than $50,000 in uninsured losses, according to the report, “Good Deeds Punished: State-Run Mortgage Lender Forecloses on Californians Current on Their Loans.”

    From the report PDF:

    The state of affairs at CalHFA should not be confused with the larger foreclosure crisis among private lenders, in terms of the number of people affected or the causes. But the relatively small number of borrowers squeezed by CalHFA’s policy find themselves in a unusual situation not seen in the private sector: They are willing and able to live up to their commitments, only to be told that their mortgage payments will no longer be accepted.

    Has to do with federal IRS rules that CalHFA is interpreting more strictly than anybody else is, even the IRS?

  21. Mark P.

    “More Than 80 Percent of Hedge Funds Underwater’


    ‘The selloff in most of the global markets in the third quarter heavily impacted a large number of hedge funds.

    ‘In fact, not only did it put many funds into the red for the year, it pushed a huge number of hedge funds below their high water mark.
    According to HFR, at the end of the third quarter just 19.3 percent of all hedge funds were above that critical level that determines whether their investors’ accounts are in the black. This is way down from 44.2 percent at the end of the second quarter and less than half the level of each of the three prior quarters.

    ‘In fact, the 19.3 percent is the lowest level since the end of the first quarter of 2009, when it bottomed at 18.7 percent, by far the all-time low since HFR began keeping score in 2003….’

    But even the 19.3 percent figure could be overstating how the average investor in those funds is faring in general.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Marketwatch has an article about Bozo the chimp outsmarting many hedgies (or is it ‘most of them’).

    2. scraping_by

      Does that 20% above water exclude management fees?

      It’s interesting to know if entitlement is a class thing or just inculcated in, say, business school.

      Still, if finance were a utility rather than an industry, the rate of failure endemic to chasing outsized returns would shrink. Fewer million dollar bonuses, fewer brainless investments. Sounds fair.

  22. rps

    We have a choice. We can keep complaining about greed, fraud, and cutthroat business practices. We can put up with the daily stress of unsuccessfully juggling jobs and family. We can tell ourselves there’s nothing we can do about policies that damage our natural environment, create huge gaps between haves and have-nots, and lead to untold suffering. Or we can join together to help construct a saner, sounder, more caring economics and culture. ~ Riane Eisler

    Video of what is real wealth:

  23. rps

    I’ve been thinking about poster signs for our brave OWS demonstrators such as:
    Mr. Policeman I am:
    Your Mother
    Your Father
    Your Daughter
    Your Son
    Your Sister
    Your Brother
    Mr. Policeman, I am you…..

    We must make them see who they are injuring.

    1. aletheia33

      the one in the rainbow hat must be you?

      hope those uniforms are water tight.

      thanks for the whole series of photos, cracked me up more than once.
      and the photos of brisbane giving a good sense of the scene there.

  24. aletheia33

    i am not a practicing christian, but i just sent the following email to st. john’s, a large cathedral in DENVER that i located via google, suggesting they invite the Occupiers to make use of their shelter as they see fit so that they don’t freeze. they’ve had 10 inches of snow and some Occupiers down with hypothermia last night.

    the Occupiers may decline such an invitation. but large churches should extend it, and be honored if Occupiers agree to make use of their buildings even on a temporary or ad hoc basis.

    (because friends to whom i’ve copied this note have immediately taken it upon themselves to forward it to clergypeople they know, i post it here as well for anyone to use/spread as they wish if they feel it might help support the Occupation as temperatures begin to fall.)


    i hope this suggestion will reach and be considered–urgently–at the highest levels of your church organization at saint john’s.

    now is the time to offer shelter in the cathedral, in keeping with the original purpose of cathedral buildings.

    you should open saint john’s as a winter shelter to those occupying the public square in denver in the name of the 99 percent of the population who are losing their material, social, psychological, and spiritual well-being due to the promulgation of economic policies worldwide that do not take the well-being of the individual human body, psyche, or soul into account.

    let us not withhold from earnest, sincere, brave, even saintly people who are acting from their conscience and heart for the good of all–and lest any man, woman, or child die of hypothermia or other complications–the space of the cathedral’s floor and the shelter of the cathedral’s roof.

    let us revive the practice of christ’s teachings in real time and space.

    thank you.


  25. Andrew


    This article deserves to read and linked to. I read it through a link at, but I haven’t seen it getting the props it deserves, and I’ve never heard of the publication before:

    1. aletheia33

      this blog post of today by tina dupuy, “americans see themselves as homesteaders . . . not the eventual rich,” seems apropos of the above-linked (by Andrew) breakdown of the bootstrapping myth.

      a myth that i’m afraid has a lot of staying power. especially if giving it up and facing the current reality looks like a one-way doorway to despair (not yet the beginning of real empowerment), and to fully feeling one’s terror of a destitution one is still hoping to avoid, if one feels barely perched above what one thinks is the abyss (from which one is trying to keep one’s eyes turned away).

      it won’t be until you let go of that perch, when your fingernails give out or get kicked loose, that, when you fall, you’ll discover you haven’t died at all, and there’s a space (real and symbolic), held by the army of the heart, which you may join, and where you may begin to set up a new kind of homestead.

  26. skk

    RE: Health Insurance
    When I needed to worry about it, I noted the name Integra Insurance Group –

    I listen to the Tom Martinho TroubleShooter ( Consumer Advocacy ) Radio show in Denver and he had a guy on from this company who definitely offered to finx good rates ( for quality coverage) for several callers. I made a note to call them to check them out – but other solutions have come into play.

    FD : I have absolutely no connection to this company nor to the Tom Martinho radio show.

    Perhaps the reader can check this out and report back too.

  27. Robert

    Strangely all those trolls who swooped in after Fukushima to reassure us that the radiation was much less than we thought are not still around here to eat crow.

  28. Mark Naess

    On the health insurance question–depends where he lives, and his health/money situation.

    –he may be able to “convert” his current policy to an individual policy, but this is usually expensive, and benefits not necessarily the same. Can’t hurt to ask though.

    –most (all?) states have an insurer of last resort mechanism which predates the new health care law–these policies are usually guaranteed issue (no pre-exisitng exclsions) and not medically underwritten. Check the state insurance commissioners website.

    –National Writers Union ( used to have coverage available for members, and not too hard to write enough to become a member (any professional writing counts).

    –Be careful to sign up with a reputable insurer, who will be able to actually pay claims. This is a bigger problem than you might imagine, even with state guarantee funds.

    –check other professional associations, including business groups like the state Chamber of Commerce.

    –if considering a high deductible plan, ask about being able to switch in future to a lower deductible plan with same carrier if you develop an ongoing illness.

    –if healthy, call around to major HMO and insurance plans in the area, or use a reputable broker to do it for you. Rates will likely not be that bad, since he is young (if healthy)

    –marry a Canadian

    –wait until 2014, when you’ll be able to jump in the big pool of people buying through Exchanges! :)

  29. freelancer

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