Mark McHugh

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

To Harvard: (upon return from the Twilight Zone)

In Open Thread on Friday, February 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

When I checked the blog late last night, I saw I was getting hits (a lot of hits) from something called Greg Mankiw’s Blog. I’d never heard of Greg, so I went to check out his site.  It turns out that Greg is a professor of economics at Harvard.  Harvard??? I suppose he got a chuckle out my adaptation of M. C. Escher’s art and thought it was worth sharing.  After playing it cool for about thirty seconds, I went and woke up my wife.  Honey, wake up! you gotta see this…….

I had to get up and out early this morning, so the buzz that I had gotten from knowing that some of the sharpest young minds in the world had paused for a second to see what I had wrought was gone.  It had been replaced by that familiar lower back pain I get from being stuck in traffic, and the simmering hostility I have for those responsible for the desperate state of our economy.  Supposedly well-educated men and women that blazed the trail to destruction, and want others to foot the bill.

more…………………………………..

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Ritholtz Pop (I’m not worthy)

In Open Thread on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 10:25 pm

If you’ve ever wondered what a mention from a popular blog can do for an unpopular blog, wonder no more:

ritholtzcapture1One of my heroes, Barry Ritholtz was nice enough to post some of my silliness on his blog, The Big Picture.  It’s great when anyone acknowledges you, but when it’s someone that you respect so much,  it’s (…well.…I’ve been trying to describe it for about fifteen minutes now, so I’m gonna go with….. ) indescribable.  All I can say is THANKS!!!!!!

more……………………………………………………..

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BRRRIINNG…..Margin Calling

In Open Thread on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm

As far as I know, there is no accurate data available to the public about margin calls (please correct me if I’m wrong).  We have to guess.  My guess is that there are still a whole lot of people out there playing with fire margin.  Those trying to make up losses by doubling down.  So far the YTD chart is ugly, to say the least:

ytd1

from Yahoo

more…………………………..

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M. C. Escher – Economist

In Open Thread on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm

NOTE: THE ESCHER DRAWINGS CAN BE FOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE……..

 The pending reappointment of Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve is the non-story of the Century, and I find this terrifying.  Propaganda of his alleged “success” has been crammed in every orifice of the American people by the rich and shameless (yet relatively few believe it).   This is truly the time for action, unless you really enjoy Tea-partying ’til you puke.  I’m asking every American to demand that their Senators stand up and oppose the nomination.  Our future depends on it. 

 Contact your Senator

So much for that “Of the people, by the people,  for the people” crap…

Explain this to me: 21% of adult Americans favor the re-appointment  of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, yet only four Senators have had the intestinal fortitude to step up and say they oppose him.  An alarming 39% of Americans aren’t sure.  This I cannot fathom;  it’s as pathetic as being “on the fence” about slavery or child-pornography.  Let’s review the mind-boggling difference between what Bernanke did and what he was supposed to do.

Here is the Federal Reserve’s Mission Statement, presented in its entirety:

  • conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates
  • supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers
  • maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets
  • providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system.
  • These four simple sentences comprise Ben Bernanke’s job description.  There’s not anything in there about monitoring men’s underwear sales to divine economic conditions (which seriously, is what Greenspan did).  Worse yet, the Fed is trying to leverage its own criminally negligent failures into a coup to seize even more power and control.  But hey, if four sentences is too much for you, the so-called congressional mandate for the Fed can be boiled down to five words:

    Stable Prices and Maximum Employment

    The Federal Reserve failed to follow very simple instructions.  There is no other way to see it.  It wasn’t circumstances beyond their control, it was the very circumstances that they were supposed to control that caused the meltdown.  They sat on their hands while housing prices soared on easy money and created the biggest asset bubble the world has ever seen.   No money down, subprime, ARM, 125% loan-to-value, and interest-only mortgages were “all-good” with Ben and Al.  The fact that these were credit-driven, unstable, and unsustainable prices was lost on them.

     Bernanke ignored both reality and his job instructions for as long as possible.  The fallout from that failure looks like this:

    It is important to note that this is the polished-up “official” government numbers.  Anyone on this side of the rainbow already knows, the reality is much worse.  In fact the smart guys at Trim Tabs assert that the BLS missed the November jobs report by over 200,000. 

    A Vicious Cycle continues…

    Thanks to Bernanke incompetence, price instability has reached biblical proportions.  For example, Oil has traded everywhere between $32.40 and $147 per barrel in the last 18 months.  How’s that for price stability?  I can sight so many examples of price instability that, rather than list them all, I made this nice collage:

    And if this isn’t enough to convince you how horrendous a job Bernanke has done, there’s always this:

    (Image from http://www.babylontoday.com/)

    Bernanke “saved” Wall St.  with US taxpayer money who have borrowed more than $6000 for every man, woman and child in the country in the last twelve months alone.  Yet  to this day, he refuses to divulge exactly what  is on the Fed’s balance sheet.  The idea that any nation can borrow its way to prosperity is utterly insane, yet here we are, trying to drink ourselves sober, and sticking our kids with the bill.  To call the architect of such a plan a “hero” is an insult to our intelligence.  

    America should be discussing prison terms for Bernanke and his accomplices (who incidentally will be getting record bonuses this Christmas), not reappointment, and anyone who says he’s done a good job is either a liar or a fool.  He’s an arsonist masquerading as a fire fighter and there is no other way to see it.  This story should be front and center in America.  Instead it’s being treated like a non-event, a forgone conclusion.  And the few Senators who have stood up against the generational-rape of America are being labeled cranks. 

     Madness……

    Let your Senator know that if he doesn’t stand up right now, his punk-ass is gone!  Link to list at Senate.gov

    (this is the official end of the post)

    Bonus material (how I really feel):

    I am an American, first and foremost.  The principles our Country was founded on are more important to me than my own comfort, even my own life.  Anyone willing to compromise those principles is destined to be enslaved, and of no use to me.

    Change you can believe in” has been cancelled, we now return to another episode of “Crooks playing musical chairs

    Pick a Conspiracy Theory….

    Any shit-for-brains conspiracy theory you want, and you’ll find those whack-jobs have far more evidence than Bernanke supporters.  I find Bernanke supporters every bit as loathsome as Holocaust deniers.  People willing to stick their heads in their asses, so they can live with themselves. 

    I’m making a list and checking it twice…..

     It’s time to do the right thing.  I expect every American to make their voice heard loud and clear about Bernanke’s reappointment.  This goes a hundred-fold for those in the public eye (TV personalities, writers, and yes, even bloggers).  Those who fail to take a clear stand are cowards in my eyes and will be treated with the disrespect cowards deserve.

    ***

    I saw enough of The Da Vinci Code to know that things are not always what they seem.  It has become clear to me that the works of the great M. C. Escher are not impossible designs;  They’re Economic Models….check it out:

    escher-economy1a

    more…………………..

    Read the rest of this entry »

    How Hot is Gold?

    In Open Thread on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 2:31 am

    It depends on where you’re from.  Here’s a chart of gold’s 6-months performance in the world’s most popular currencies:

    gold-currency-captureChart compiled from data at Kitco.com

    The performance of gold has been anemic in terms of US Dollars when compared to the rest of the world, but it looks amazing compared to the 40% shellacking stocks have taken in the last six months.  However, the question  is always what’s going to happen next.

    more………

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    Should I jump in?

    In Open Thread on Friday, February 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I’m watching CNBC and hearing panic in their voices (probably because they are GE employees, who know the tide is going out…).  This isn’t even a particuarly bad day by recent standards, but we are looking at breaking into new lows.  That has already happened with the Dow.

    But:dollarcapture1Here’s an intraday dollar chart from Quote.com

    1. Stock rallies have been accompanied by dollar drops many times recently.
    2. On Options expiration days, markets have had supernatural bounces before (like November 21, 2008) .

    All we need now is some “Breaking News”…..

    Yeah, I know this is a Train dodge, but I’m bored.

    I’m no Harry Markopolos either…(Me and the SEC)

    In Open Thread on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 12:18 am

    I’m trying to put a piece together that details my thoughts on  Harry Markopolos.  He is the stuff American heroes are made of.  If you haven’t read his 2005 report on Bernie Madoff to the SEC, it can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/9231188/MadoffSECdocs20081217 .  I find it unfathomable that the SEC would ignore such a detailed analysis.  These useless cowards were handed a smoking gun on a silver platter and what did they do?  Tossed it in the trash saying, “another tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist”.  Why should any of them be allowed to keep their jobs?  Or the money they were paid, for that matter?

    I got no answers for you, people.  Just another disgusting story of sleazebags entrusted to protect the public looking the other way.  My own.

    (There should be a “read more” button somewhere down there…….)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    So I’m an Idiot…

    In Open Thread on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Yeah, Yeah.  I saw.  Gold’s up another 20 bucks.

    I’m not ready to admit defeat yet.  The Dollar looks strong again too.

    Busy day today, but if anyone wants to expand on the idiot theme, I’m all ears.

    Squashing Gold Bugs

    In Open Thread on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I’m an unapologetic conspiracy theorist.  I believe the people in charge would rather try to manipulating public sentiment(and markets),  than face reality (and justice).  I had reserved judgment on the new administration (which looked a lot like the old administration), until last week.  First we had last Thursday’s (Feb 05)  market likes the idea of abandoning mark to market rally.  Then, we had Tuesday’s Market hates Geithner fade (it was more than sell the news).  This Thursday (feb 12), we had a market likes helping homeowners rally to close the abyss.  Bullshit, Bullshit and more Bullshit. Point is, you are still dealing with a game of Three Card Monte (and not a cop in sight).

    So what’s all this got to do with gold?

    Everything.  The performance of gold is an embarrassment to Central Banks, Governments and Wall Street.  It confirms the idea that they are idiots, and more and more people are figuring this out.  It’s time once again to shoot the messenger (more accurately, push the messenger off the cliff).  Of course, as long as you can make it look like an accident…… Read the rest of this entry »

    Homework Assignment

    In Open Thread on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Barry Ritholtz challenged readers to redesign an accurate graphical representation of some data here.  The idea was to show how certain financials market caps have shrunk.  The author of the original chart seems to have used circle radii to construct the graphic.  The trouble is, you would want the area of the circles to be the comparison visual, not the radius.  You could take the raw data divide by 3.14 (pi), then take square root.  That would give you the correct radius size to use for comparison.  If you can construct such circle charts in Excel, I don’t know how (I run an old version because I’m cheap as hell).

    I would think you would need an engineering program, like AutoCAD to create the circles.  You could also do it in a Google Sketch-up (free), but that’s a full pot of coffee assignment.

    So here’s what I came up with using the author’s data:

    jpmdata1Basic side by side.

    I thought a more powerful presentation would be to show the losses, in Billions of dollars and percentage of Market Cap.  Which looks like this:

    jpmdata2Using the secondary scale, I could not get the data to display side by side (hopefully this has been corrected in more recent versions of excel), so I had to use the overlay style you see here.

    Hope you like it (tough shit if you don’t).

    A Whole Flock of Black Swans?

    In Open Thread on Friday, February 13, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Pleas note: click on the headline to see charts full size.

    OK, so I’m not above misusing the buzzword-du-jour, that’s not important right now.  From January 1950 until September 28, 2008 the S & P 500 had moves of 5% or more (up or down) a total of 19 times.  That’s an average of one every three years.  For perspective, keep in mind that so-called great earthquakes (8.0 or higher) occur about once a year.

    swan1Looks like a .wav file, eh?

    Lately, there’s been a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.  What took over 58 years to happen once,  happened again in just 78 trading days.  That’s right, there were 19 days between September 29 and January 20 with 5% moves (that’s an average of one every 4.1 days).

    Interesting times, indeed……(hope you’ve got good veins in your legs)

    My move today

    In Open Thread on Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I’ve decided that the smartest thing I can do today is clean the grout and re-caulk my shower.

    4 p.m. update – Stocks pretty much flat – guess I didn’t miss anything.

    Days like today make me proud to be a conspiracy theorist:

    feb12

    Another X-files chart

    Ah yes, The Market liked something at 3:08 (breaking news: we’re thinking about helping homeowners?).  Give me a break.

    9 p.m. update: Breakthrough.  I’ve realized that my seething hatred of General Electric is rooted in my experiences with Silicone II caulk.  Still want to see them go to zero (I need closure).

    So what about today?

    In Open Thread on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    If you don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to talk about it.  Besides, LOST is on.

    NOT BORING!

    In Open Thread on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Here’s a big shock.  Reassigning crooked cops to different posts doesn’t clean up the town.  Geithner just gave his buddies the green light to steal everthing that’s left in your retirement.  Way to go Timmay!

    The only thing clear in his muddy plan is that Justice is the only option off the table.  By the Way, have you ever noticed that the phrase, all options are still on the table means We’ve got no idea what the fuck we’re doing?

    So how’s GE’s follow-up to there best day ever going?

    Happy Anniversary to me! A year ago today I published a piece about the removal of the uptick rule. here What seemed alarmist then, doesn’t look so crazy anymore.

    BORING!

    In Open Thread on Monday, February 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    So far, today’s been a snoozer for stocks.  A little surprising, given the dollar’s weakness.

    I’m guessing there are some escaped lunatics buying GE and BAC.

    The most interesting thing I experienced today was not being able to get live quotes from about 10:58 to 11:03 – neither from my broker or yahoo.  And that window was the day’s high (thus far).  Weird, huh?

    I’m wondering if anyone else experienced this “quote outage”.

    Update 4:15

    The market remained catatonic for the afternoon.  And speaking of catatonia, when was the last time you saw gold with this little price action?

    gld2-9capture

    What do YOU want now, Mr. Market?

    In Open Thread on Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Any of you that were paying attention last week should know that you’re still playing a crooked card game.  If Thursday’s Hey! the market likes the idea of suspending mark to market accounting rally didn’t convince you, good luck and God Bless.  Suspending mark to market is like telling a fat chick to dress in black.  Personally, I think we should start tossing TV pundits into Mount Redoubt to see if that might appease this disgruntled god.  It’s worth a shot, anyway.

    So here’s the thing: We should have taken out the November lows last week and we didn’t (thanks to some supernatural price action).  To me, this is reminiscent of what happened in September 2008.  The piece I wrote about that week, was never published (bastards!), but can be found here. This is not a carbon copy of that week at all, but to me it’s clear strange things are afoot.

    In the last two weeks UBS, Goldman, DB, Merrill and Morgan Stanley have all upped their target prices for gold.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love gold; it’s durable, scarce (which means finite) and beautiful.  Everything a civilization wants in money.  God’s money.  What’s scary is the guys who want me to accept thinly sliced trees as payment, are telling me to buy gold now.  All primary dealers for the fed, and  all members of the London Bullion Markets Association (LBMA).  Not the kind of people likely to throw me a bone, right (ther’s a joke in there somewhere) Why?  Why do I get the feeling I’ve just been given a ticket for RMS Titanic?

    Probably, because I have:

    goldcapture

    The chart tracks  the money flow on the PowerShares DB Gold Double Long ETN(DGP) vs. PowerShares DB Gold Double Short ETN (DZZ) over the previous twenty trading sessions and creates a ratio (shown in blue).  The idea was to quantify speculative sentiment.  In this past year, gold’s biggest corrections coincided with this bullish / bearish speculation ratio rising above two (yellow).  The ratio is currently at 2.8.  Which means (A) a whole lot of people are about to get rewarded for shunning fiat currencies.  Or (B) a whole lotta people are gonna get killed for shunning fiat currencies.  Being a contarian (and conspiracy theorist) I have to go with B.  I think gold investors will find much lower prices by waiting.

    Currencies and Stocks

    Sorry, I got nothing.  I have no idea what’s driving these currency gyrations.  My guess is that both will muddle through another week without clear direction.  Then, we’ll be told Stocks are forming a base, buy now etc. If we are to see any dramatic moves, I would expect to see it first in the Dollar index.

    $500K not enough?

    In Open Thread on Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    As if losing 598k jobs in January wasn’t bad enough.  Now, Wall Street’s “best and brightest” are threatening to walk.  For the uninitiated, Wall Street’s best and brightest are probably better known to you as those sleazy jerk-offs who stole half your retirement last year and want your grandkids to bail them out.  You say potato(head), they say best and brightest.  Apparently what exactly makes them better and brighter than you is a closely guarded secret (that you probably wouldn’t understand even if we tried to explain it to you).

    Self-appointed spokeswoman for the elite Erin Burnett actually said this out loud on Meet the PressVIDEO (audio is poor)

    erincapture

    • ….The taxpayer money is not being used to pay the bonuses.  I think people could understand, if you work for a company, right?  The three of us work for a company…And I lost ten billion dollars.  Steve, over there he made a billion dollars.  So, overall the company actually loses money, but Steve went and did his very darndest for the company, and he actually made money.  So should he be paid for his work?  That’s essentially what we are talking about here…..

    Now, in my little world, after losing 9 billion of other people’s money,  me and Steve both need new identities and plane tickets to South America.  But on Wall St, we get $10B from the government, pay Steve (best and brightest), and start rolling the dice again.  So it’s actually my inability to think outside the balance sheet that’s been keeping me poor all these years.  No wonder capitalism works so well.  When you lose money, other people foot the bill and when you make it, you keep it!  PLEASE NOTE:  These capitalist principles do no apply to Automakers, Steelworkers or anyone else on this side of the rainbow.

    Here’s another example of Erin’s  keen insight (from crooksandliars.com):

    • “A lot of people like to say, uh, scaremonger about China, right? A lot of politicians, and I know you talk about that issue all the time. I think people should be careful what they wish for on China. Ya know, if China were to revalue it’s currency or China is to start making say, toys that don’t have lead in them or food that isn’t poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up too. So, I would say China is our greatest friend right now, they’re keeping prices low and they’re keeping the prices for mortgages low, too.”

    When she’s not busy destroying America, Erin enjoys yoga, travel, and loogies in her food.

    Sources say she can rotate her head 360 degrees, but I digress……

    The point I’m trying to get at is:  This is not Class warfare.  I think it’s some kind of inter-dimensional warfare.  Inter-dimensional warfare, as you know, can be tricky because the laws of physics (and economics apparently) work differently.  In any sort of reality-based universe, these Wall Street clowns are worthless bumblefucks, but we’re not talking about our universe anymore……

    Friday Feb 06 Open Thread

    In Open Thread on Friday, February 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Dow up over 200 at 2 p.m. and it should power further into the close. Maybe really big. Well folks, we’ve seen this before. It’s right from the old playbook. Hopefully, I’ll put together some comparison data this weekend.

    Meet the new boss….same as the old boss….

    Ya know, the traffic counter says people are reading this stuff, how ’bout some of YOUR THOUGHTS?  Or would you like to see me develop Multiple Personality Disorder so I can have some comments?  Oh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?

    Thursday 02/05/2009 the Return of Fun and Games

    In Open Thread on Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Days like today are the reason I started my own blog.   This was a good example of market manipulation.  There were rumors that the SEC was going to suspend mark to market accounting.  We’ve seen this kind of extortion before (remember when rumors circulated about an RTC-style bailout-how’s that working out?).  Just when the market is about to fall into the abyss, a rumor starts circulating and the market rallies.  This is how the thieves of Wall Street communicate what they want you to do for them next.

    So another stupid idea gains momentum, because desperate investors think Hey, the market likes it – it must be a good idea! News flash this market that we speak of like it was some mythical god that must be appeased is actually a bunch of crooked liars trying to save their own skin and keep their little gravy train on track.  But, trust me, these tactics are enough to warp simple minds into agreeing to their own destruction.  It really doesn’t matter if this is actions of the PPT, or the insolvent institutions trying to bend policy to their will.  It’s bullshit.  It’s criminal.  And quite frankly, it will probably work.

    Anyone who bought that even lamer RSI technical bounce promoted on CNBC (whose parent General Electric managed another 3.5% drop today)  belongs in a straight jacket.  Maybe you should be thinking about is the implications of that 2.5% drop in the yen midday.

    BAC’s Ken Lewis buying?  So what.  If he’s your leader – you are lost.

    The good thing about a day like today is it should tell you that you are still playing a crooked card game.

    feb5

    GE will change ticker to HFS

    In stocks finance on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    That would be the headline if I were king, anyway.  Inspired by the cranial diarrhea spewed  this week on CNBC (see Erin Burnett – Shithead of the week), I started wondering how poorly run a company must be to employ the likes of Dennis Kneale and Erin.  Well, I’m finding out.  Upon further investigation, I’ve realized that a more appropriate name for the organization would be Holy Fucking Shit!

    Fun fact: General Electric Co. has $523.8 Billion in debt and only $12.3B in cash.  That works out to $1.6 million in debt per employee!

    How can a company with 1.6 million dollars in debt per employee be anti-protectionist?

    Super-Duper fucked-up fact: GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt is a Class B Director of the New York Federal Reserve.  Class B Directors are elected by member banks to represent the public (you can’t make this stuff up).

    Oh yeah, Once again the common stock hit fresh 13 year lows.


    Today’s rally explained

    In Open Thread on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    In my opinion, today’s rally in stocks was a direct result of a weaker dollar.  That is not to say that we won’t continue higher, but higher stocks at the expense of your currency is nothing to get too jazzed about (go ask Japan).

    Today’s WTF – GLD trades

    In Open Thread on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Well somebody out there in trader-land really got hosed by their broker today.  The SPDR gold ETF (GLD) traded in a range from $87.50 to $89.58…….except for at 10:03

    intradaygldWhere it traded briefly at $86.00.  How the fuck does that happen?  I verified this price at Yahoo finance (note day’s range).

    yahoogldThen, at 12:23, my broker (Scottrade) seemed to try to deny that it happened….(note the day’s low $88.66 & note that it is higher than the last price $87.89)……

    falselowgld2But, by 12:50, they fessed back up to really hosing somebody:

    fixed-low-gld1If you are a retail investor, you’ve probably seen shit like this before (maybe you’ve even been a victim, like me).  I can only offer my condolences to the victim (assuming that $86.00 was a sell, maybe even a limit order).

    So when us mainstreeters call you Wall Streeters (and Finra and the SEC) a bunch of fucking thieves that don’t even deserve food stamps…well, this is just one of several trillion reasons why.

    Dylan Ratigan – not just another Talking Head

    In Open Thread on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I spend much time bashing the mainstream media (MSM).  In general, they spend more time obfuscating the truth than reporting it.  It’s truly a pleasure to highlight those who break that mold.  Originally, I had thought of CNBC’s Dylan Ratigan as an above average reporter.  He interviewed pundits objectively, soliciting their opinions rather than promoting his own.  That’s what a good journalist does.  I also got the very mistaken impression that he really didn’t understand what was going on.

    All that changed when Ratigan was made host of the post-market show “Fast Money” (which I sometimes think should be called Half-fast Money).   He is an excellent moderator of ego-centric personalities, making the show fast-paced, diverse, humorous and interesting.  What has been most surprising to me, however, is his ability to editorialize.  His rants against the causes and fixes of the financial crisis are nothing short of brilliant.  Yesterday, he made another succinct, articulate point about unfettered free markets:

    • …and I would leave business alone if I didn’t give bank CEO’s the opportunity at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley …making 40% of their revenue selling credit default swaps, which is tantamount to insurance fraud.  They take the money and stick the taxpayer with the bill.  So you want to be left alone?  Stop doing insurance fraud and stop asking for taxpayer money.

    Amen.

    Video (quote begins at 12 minutes)

    How did a smart guy like this end up working for GE?  No matter.  Dylan will have no trouble finding work when GE goes to zero.

    Ground Hog’s Day!!!!

    In Open Thread on Monday, February 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Well, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, predicting six more weeks of winter.  Meanwhile, CNBC’s commentators spent the day criticizing outrage over Wall Street Bonus (averaging $108,000 per person), and thinking up creative ways to waste taxpayer money by supporting foriegn businesses.

    Unfortunately, they failed to see their own shadow, as GE common stock hit fresh 13-year lows.  Maybe they should start cutting some heads over at CNBC, seeing as how they don’t even have enough cash left to pay this years dividends.

    I must say, however, Charlie Gasparino made a terrific point sparring with professional numbskull Dennis Kneale today.  When Dennis said that the Wall Street Super-Geniuses would leave if we didn’t give them obscene bonuses, Charlie quipped, “and do what? Sell Amway products?”  Good stuff.

    By the way, how much did we bonus the crew of the Exxon Valdez? (a lot I hope)

    I still see no reason to buy anything.  Watch the river roll.