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Linkfest (February 20, 2010)

February 20, 2010 Leave a comment

In other news..

The Forfeiture Racket

Municipalities have come to rely on confiscated property for revenue. Police and prosecutors use forfeiture proceeds to fund not only general operations but junkets, parties, and swank office equipment. A cottage industry has sprung up to offer law enforcement agencies instruction on how to take and keep property more efficiently. And in Indiana, where Anthony Smelley is still fighting to get his money back, forfeiture proceeds are enriching attorneys who don’t even hold public office, a practice that violates the U.S. Constitution.

State Controlled Consciousness

Schooling is a form of adoption. You give your kid up in his or her most plastic years to a group of strangers. You accept a promise, sometimes stated and more often implied that the state through its agents knows better how to raise your children and educate them than you, your neighbors, your grandparents, your local traditions do. And that your kid will be better off so adopted. But by the time the child returns to the family, or has the option of doing that, very few want to. Their parents are some form of friendly stranger too and why not? In the key hours of growing up, strangers have reared the kid.

Tax Law Was Cited in Software Engineer’s Suicide Note

In his suicide note, the computer software engineer who flew a small plane into a building with Internal Revenue Service offices in Texas on Thursday cited a 1986 tax law as a major motivation for his action. The law, known as Section 1706 of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, made it extremely difficult for information technology professionals to work as self-employed individuals, forcing most to become company employees.

School used webcams to ‘spy’ on students at home

According to the lawsuit, the student and his parents were made aware of the district’s ability after the student was accused of “improper behaviour in his home”. As evidence, the school district presented a photograph taken from the webcam embedded in the laptop. It was not clear what the student was accused of.

Shock as British deficit equals that of Greece

Britain’s public finances are in a worse position than those of Greece, according to the latest figures on government borrowing. The Office for National Statistics said yesterday that January alone saw a net shortfall of £4.3bn, far worse than City forecasts and in a month which has always previously shown a healthy surplus. It puts the UK on track for a deficit of £180bn this year, or 12.8 per cent of GDP, economists said, shading the Greek figure, hitherto the worst in the European Union, of 12.7 per cent.

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (15 February 2010)

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

In other news..

Milestone Figures Grab Attention, but Their Impact Is Hazy

The milestones are the result of our brains’ attempts to impose order and assign categories to numbers that vary continuously. “You have to be able to draw some emotion or feeling from information in order to understand it,” says Paul Slovic, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

“Round numbers loom large in people’s consciousness,” Ms. Osler says. She notes that this may extend back to when counting was manual and five and 10 fingers were natural units.

For Some Firms, a Case of ‘Quadrophobia’

A new study provides further evidence suggesting many companies tweak quarterly earnings to meet investor expectations, and the companies that adjust most often are more likely to restate earnings or be charged with accounting violations.

Regulators Hired by Toyota Helped Halt Acceleration Probes

At least four U.S investigations into unintended acceleration by Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles were ended with the help of former regulators hired by the automaker, warding off possible recalls, court and government records show.

Revenge of the Wall Street Traders: The Fat Cats Strike Back

They have already proven that they will destroy the country if you let them, and the only thing you can trust them for is that they’ll happily do it again and host a pep rally afterward to celebrate.

Top five health insurers posted 56 percent profit gains in 2009

According to a study by a pro-health reform group published Thursday, the nation’s largest five health insurance companies posted a 56 percent gain in 2009 profits over 2008. The insurers including Wellpoint, UnitedHealth, Cigna, Aetna and Humana, which cover the majority of Americans with insurance.

Can Eurobanks Take a Greek Default?

Yves here. This is to remind readers that as much as the press and the pols are depicting the Greek/Club Med problem as the the spendthrift vs. prudent nations, the problem not just the prospective extension of credit, but all the debt from these countries and their banks now sitting on the books of institutions in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland.

Wall St. Helped to Mask Debt Fueling Europe’s Crisis

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (January 30, 2010)

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

In other news..

Summers, Obama’s econ adviser, says despite recovery, US in “human recession” over job losses Manipulated numbers overrule human misery and suffering. Welcome to the ivy league vision of USA.

“What we see in the United States and some other economies is a statistical recovery and a human recession”. But the level of unemployment in the U.S. is disturbing, with one in five men between the ages of 25-54 not working.

In the Packaging of Loans, a Bust With Precedent Where did the roaring 20s lead to? Never mind..

The original wave of securitizations took place in the 1920s, when the United States went on the greatest building boom ever. Many investors saw how rapidly real estate prices were rising and wanted in on the action. The builders and brokers were only too happy to oblige.

The Tablets of Our Dreams Merge With Reality We are living sci-fi.

Today we have the iPhone, iPad, Tabletop GUIs and we will soon have “project natal” (xbox360). Once we fit a few more modules to the iPhone, we have a tricorder.. The best part is they are cheap enough for the average person to buy and use.

See this video: Link

A Growing Share of Americans’ Income Comes from the Government But most Libertarians and CONservatives will take the money, and blame poor colored people for their misery

As you can see from the following graph, while the relationship between personal income and GDP has not changed all that much over the course of the past six decades, the share of income accounted for by transfer payments has jumped more than 200 percent.

What happens when the world defaults? The one way out of this hole is a debt jubilee, mutually agreed or otherwise!

Taleb vs Asberger’s Syndrome Sorts

Note that the very same people who attack me, on grounds of political correctness, for discussing Asperger as a condition not compatible with risk-bearing, and its dangers to society, would be opposed to using a person with highly impaired eyesight as the driver of a school bus. All I am saying is that just as I read Milton, Homer, Taha Husain, and Borges (who were blind) but would prefer to not have them drive me on the A-4 motorway, I elect to use tools made by engineers but prefer to have society’s risks managed by someone who is not affected with risk-blindness.

Financial Services: From Servant to Lord of the Economy One picture can often say much more than a treatise.

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (January 12, 2010)

January 12, 2010 Leave a comment

In other news..

The Disposable Worker Who consumes then? Deflationary spiral are not good for anyone. It is ironic that so many idiots still blame “others” for their misfortune, when it is their own “elite” that are pauperizing them.

Pay is falling, benefits are vanishing, and no one’s job is secure. How companies are making the era of the temp more than temporary

Goldman Admits To Frontrunning Clients Through Its Prop Desk Is anyone surprised?

You should not consider Trading Ideas as objective or independent research or as investment advice. When we discuss Trading Ideas with you, we will not be acting as your advisor (including, without limitation, in relation to investment, accounting, tax or legal matters) and the provision of Trading Ideas to you will not give rise to any fiduciary or equitable duties on our part. We will not be soliciting any action based on Trading Ideas and it is your responsibility to seek appropriate advice.

More Bad News From The BLS: Job Openings At 2.4 Million, 50% Decline From December 2007 Let us screw the real economy..

Goldman Sachs Still Shines for MBAs Who Ignore ‘Hype’ Never mind.. MBA = training for becoming a parasitic sociopath.

Even in a Recovery, Some Jobs Won’t Return What recovery?

The Unofficial List of Pundits/Experts Who Were Wrong on the Housing Bubble

The housing bubble has precipitated a severe, and possibly catastprophic, economic crisis, so I thought it would be useful to put together a list of pundits and experts who were dead-wrong on the housing bubble. They were the enablers, and deserve to be held accountable. People also need to know (or be reminded of) which pundits/experts should never be listened to again. But most importantly, I have time to do this kind of thing now.

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (January 11, 2010)

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

In other news..

Geithner Has Support of Obama, Democratic Lawmakers, Aides Say Surprised?

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner retains the confidence of President Barack Obama as he faces questions about why the Federal Reserve Bank of New York tried to withhold details of the government’s financial-industry rescue, administration officials said.

Federal Reserve Seeks to Protect U.S. Bailout Secrets Move along, there is nothing to see..

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve asked a U.S. appeals court to block a ruling that for the first time would force the central bank to reveal secret identities of financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest government bailout in U.S. history.

Bernanke Bond Spread Most Since 2007 Shows Decoupling What growth? Real or accounting shenanigans based?

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) — The correlation between Treasuries and German bunds that has prevailed since credit markets started freezing in 2007 is breaking down as U.S. economic growth leaves Europe behind.

Wages Still Under Pressure

Wages of U.S. employees are generally stagnant and likely to remain so as the pool of unemployed workers helps employers keep wages from rising even as productivity, or output per hour of work, soars.

Economy Still Bleeding Jobs

Employers cut another 85,000 jobs last month, dashing hopes of a turnaround in employment, even as the U.S. economy grows.

CRE: “Almost FREE”

Talk about falling rents … Doug in Chicago sends along this photo “a storefront in a normally bustling neighborhood retail district on North Clark St in Chicago, about a mile south of Wrigley Field”.

The Most Stunning (and Uncommented on) Revelation in Too Big Too Fail

Wilmustad understandably wondered how they were supposed to come up with $14 billion in the next several minutes. Then it dawned on them: the unofficial vaults. The bankers ran downstairs and found a room with a lock and a cluster of cabinets containing bonds – tens of billions of dollars’ worth, dating mostly from the Greenberg era. They began rifling through the cabinets, picking through fistfuls of securities that they guessed had gone untouched for years. In an electronic age, the idea of keeping bonds on hand was a disconcerting but welcome throwback. (p. 400)

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (January 7, 2010)

January 7, 2010 Leave a comment

In other news..

U.S. Job Satisfaction at Lowest Level in Two Decades Why could that be?

“Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend.

Walk Away From Your Mortgage! Suckers pay for underwater houses (and sexless marriages and bastard kids).

John Courson, president and C.E.O. of the Mortgage Bankers Association, recently told The Wall Street Journal that homeowners who default on their mortgages should think about the “message” they will send to “their family and their kids and their friends.”

Krugman Says American Economy Will Not Recover for a Long Time told ya..

and here is more Guest Post: Krugman Says American Economy Will Not Recover for a Long Time, Johnson Says “Crisis is Just Beginning”

The economic ‘experts’ who stopped making sense Because most people like to believe that universe is under control.

Why? We have surely not forgiven the sinners. Rather, in the confusion of economic collapse, and as the economists did themselves, we have lost trust in our common sense and are seeking refuge in apparent certainty. There is a deep-seated human instinct to seek out oracles, and in a world that is less religious than it once was, in an internet age characterised by a relentless blizzard of information, noise and data, we have become more reliant than ever before on “experts”: anyone with qualifications or distinctions which make them worthy of attention.

U.S. Now a Renters’ Market The effects of the housing bubble and a deflating economy.

Apartment vacancies hit a 30-year high in the fourth quarter, and rents fell as landlords scrambled to retain existing tenants and attract new ones.

Geithner’s Fed Told AIG to Limit Swaps Disclosure Did I mention that he cheated on his income tax, a few times.

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then led by Timothy Geithner, told American International Group Inc. to withhold details from the public about the bailed-out insurer’s payments to banks during the depths of the financial crisis, e-mails between the company and its regulator show.

Help Wanted? Not Yet in the Service Sector An understatement

The nonmanufacturing sector comprises 88% of the economy, and it follows that most of the nation’s jobs are in services ranging from construction to finance to pet care.

But guess what, gang? There’s a new religion in these holy wars. And it’s Google. All hail our new overlords..

See, veteran tech columnists know one thing very well indeed: If you write anything positive about an Apple product or negative about a Microsoft product, you get buried by hate mail and personal attacks. The only worse result is if you say something negative about an Apple product or positive about a Microsoft product, in which case you get exposed to the true ugliness of the human spirit (and sometimes, in fact, physical threats).

Simon Johnson: “We Now Have A Financial System That Is Completely Based On Moral Hazard”

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (January 5, 2010)

January 5, 2010 1 comment

In other news..

Obama Says U.S. Had ‘Sufficient’ Information to Stop Bomb Plot OK, now we are talking. Some honesty..

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama said U.S. intelligence services had “sufficient information” to stop the Dec. 25 attempted bombing of an airliner and failed to properly analyze and distribute the data.

Letter from Chicago: F A good read.. with this gem

The math/science majors meant that I was obligated to take humanities and other (non-science) course work. So I signed up for (amongst other courses) Economics 101. It took all of ten minutes into the first class for me to recoil in horror. I asked the prof: “What do you meant that humans are rational? That is obviously not true. How important is this idea to economics?” The response was, in hindsight, not a surprise: “It is the fundamental building block for all of economics. If you fight that underlying concept, if you do not provisionally accept that premise, you will not be able to understand what comes later.”

Hoenig: Reinstate Glass-Steagall About time.. but with a modern version of that act.

“Beginning to break them, to dismember them, is a fair thing to consider.”
-Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig.

Manhattan Apartment Prices Fall as Finance Jobs Lost Not feeling so special? Aww..

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — Manhattan apartment prices fell for a third consecutive quarter as Wall Street job losses drained demand and the decline in co-op and condominium values reached 21 percent since the market peak.

Google Introduces Nexus One Handset to Take On IPhone Finally some real competition for the iPhone.

Iceland President Vetoes Icesave Compensation This what a head of state with balls looks like.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson Tuesday cited massive public opposition in his decision to reject the bill, which was approved in late December by the Icelandic parliament after months of wrangling.

Through the Eyes of the Ultra Rich Can one become super rich through honesty?

Jonathan Dee delves into a Manhattan family’s rise to the super rich via morally questionable means in his new novel, “The Privileges”

6 Ways to Cut Gym Membership Costs Why do people pay for services that you never use, but which make you feel for buying them?

Banks Roll Out New Check, Card Fees You bailed them out, NOW BEND OVER!

The nation’s banks will be bombarding customers with new fees and products in 2010 as they try to replace more than $50 billion in revenue wiped out by new rules that clamp down on certain business practices.

What’s Holding Back the Recovery? What about JOBS that are STABLE? and what recovery?

For More Workers, Home Is Where the Office Is Polishing a Turd?

As we continue to dig ourselves out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, many of us have lost corporate jobs. Others worry that layoffs are lurking. We’re taking on free-lance assignments, contract work and short-term projects — and getting them done in the extra bedroom, eat-in kitchen or spare corner in the utility room.

Personal Bankruptcy Filings Rising Fast The real economy is still in a tailspin.

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy
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