TLP: Bubba & Newt, Political Foes, But Both Generals in the Dick Army

clinton gingrich
Nobody gets to pick their own name, but anybody can change that. Some people should, but haven't. Like Dick Armey. He could easily be Richard. Much more fun that he isn't and even more fun that he loves the sound of his own voice so much that he talks about all kinds of shit.

The Huffington Post got wind of what Armey is saying as he relaunches his political career as a teabagger:
President Bill Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich shared similar fidelity failures during their time in office, but new accounts of their relationship suggest that the two were closely bound by their flaws, so much so that the two would privately discuss their indiscretions over drinks and cigars.

Dick Armey, former House Majority Leader and FreedomWorks chief, sat down with Marvin Olasky of World magazine for an interview Thursday that drifted to talk of the sex scandals of the 1990s.
The HuffPo then goes on to cite The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which pulled the relevant Q&A from the World interview. (Still following along?)
Armey: When I heard that Newt had been carrying on an affair for all the years that we’d worked together, I went home and said, “Honey, I had no idea about this.” She said, “Of course not. You’re the last person in town Newt would have wanted to know about this.” Newt was scared of me. What I discovered: Clinton found out about the Gingrich affair and called Newt over to the White House for a private meeting between the two of them. Clinton said, “You and I are alike.” Which meant, shut up about Monica or I’ll start telling your story.

Olasky: Was it blackmail or bonding?

Armey: Newt and Clinton actually developed sort of a bond over it. They had many meetings that we didn’t know about where they’d drink wine and smoke cigars and talk about their girlfriends. It’s fascinating; why would you confess to your mortal enemy what you wouldn’t tell your closest friends?
Oh, I don't know, maybe just a way to show whose big swinging dick is bigger and swinging harder? slapslapslap "Take that!"

Anyway, just goes to show how much things have changed since the '90s. These days, when the president and the leader of the congressional opposition get together, they compare tans and Obama probably sneaks a smoke.

A note: As readers may know, JDA is midway through her crosscountry journey from San Francisco to her new Fedbashing base in the DC area (Exact location classified, duh). Despite her considerable multi-tasking talents, a girl needs some time to enjoy the trip and pick up a souvenir here and there.


Here Is What Your Iowa Farmer Bribe Money Buys You, America

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 11 Comments

Driving through Iowa yesterday, I asked out loud where the fuck they get all their money from (after the car came to a full stop and the vehicle was in park, of course). The rest stops are the best I've seen along 80 (WiFi, people. In Iowa. I know) and those things can't be cheap. Their fantastic Wi-Fi enabled potties actually don't cost the people of Iowa anything through an advertising agreement with Internet provider I Spot so maybe they aren't really as costly as they appear. No, I'm pretty sure those are expensive toilets.

Anyway, while cruising along (more pics of my trip from one coast to the other are up here) I was doing my own expenditure calculations in my head ... superior rest areas, massive clean energy wind farms, perfect roads ... WTF? Where's the money coming from?

I've been assured that Iowa can boast a 6% unemployment rate as well as 6% sales tax (coming from San Francisco that is a bargain) thanks to subsidies and lots of them. Turns out Iowa is #2 for federal farm handouts but why? Neighbor Nebraska is broke down (I swear I used the same rest area five times in a row and each time it got scarier like advancing through levels in Silent Hill) and they surely have just as many if not more farms than Iowa, no? Nebraska comes in 5th in the nation for farm subsidies but Lord knows where their money goes, they certainly aren't flaunting it on brand new road signs and fancy rest areas.

A word on the roadsigns: if the font looks strange (it did to me), it should, it's not the Highway Gothic most of us are used to. Check out the background on "Clearview" roadsigns via NYT. Strangely it seemed like the ones Wyoming has planted along the highway read clearer and less "foreign" and bizarre than the ones Iowa has plastered all over. Again, those things aren't cheap.

Anyway, we were talking about subsidies. Subsidies are tempting to politicians, so much so that they'd even compromise their core values if given the chance just to get a cut. Everyone wants a piece of those pretty rest areas, right?

Iowa senator Chuck Grassley (who I like simply because he had the balls to tell AIG execs they should do the honorable thing and kill themselves) knows all about hooking up deals for his people. Come on, it's politics, people.
‘Pay attention to what your constituents’ problems are at home. If a little old lady asks you to clip her toenails, then clip them.’” Grassley said in an interview. “That’s basically saying that your constituents have a problem and you should do what you can to help them get their problems solved. You may not always be able to help, but at least you’ve given it the good ol’ college try.”
And what do we get for all that cornfield protection money we pay out to Iowa each year? Fat asses and health problems. Way to go, America, you fucked this one up too.

See Obesity in America linked to 'liquid Satan' from Iowa corn fields via the Times (UK):
The link has not been proven, but the theory is compelling. It suggests that America is doomed to lead the world’s obesity rankings as long as the process by which it elects its presidents starts in Iowa — a state known for its cornfields and corn subsidies.

With a minimum price of $1.90 per bushel of corn guaranteed by the 2007 Farm Bill, activists say that the crop is a guaranteed winner for the farmers of the Midwest — and one of the results is something called super-abundant high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Known to its detractors as “liquid Satan”, HFCS is the sweetener of choice in the vast bulk of fizzy drinks and packaged cakes and biscuits consumed in the US. Its producers have long enjoyed the solid support of the US Senate and most presidential candidates, who gravitate every four years to Iowa to pledge their allegiance to its voters. “Farm subsidies are a third rail of Iowa politics,” a former staffer on Senator John Edwards’s presidential campaign said yesterday. “You don’t touch them.”
I'm not against Iowa getting a piece, I think as long as the federal government is handing it out states would be stupid not to. However I would still like to know where the fuck Nebraska's cut went because they could really use some spare cash to at least put in a 3G toilet or something.


Hello From the Road!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 9 Comments

 Looks like someone got the QE 2 memo...

As most of you know, I'm in the middle of a cross-country move (by car!) and therefore barely posting as it has been a horrendous journey thus far. Lots of rain, some snow, more rain, a little bit of frozen slush in Wyoming, a destroyed BlackBerry (thank you, Verizon, for letting me upgrade a year early and only charging me $250 for a new device... let's not talk about it) and lots of cat puke. And don't get me started on these crap hotels overcharging for mediocre rooms (I'm talking to you, Holiday Inn) because they are desperate to come up with revenue.

If you're interested, there are some pics from the road over at my Flickr with more to follow if I ever make it to DC.

Here's to a fabulous second half of the journey, hopefully Bernanke can behave himself until I'm back on a full schedule of kicking ass and taking names.


Goodbye, California

Saturday, October 23, 2010 15 Comments

 pic credit: Markus Wandel

The day is finally here. My car is packed, path mapped out, tank gassed up and cat properly tranquilized for the trip.

11 years ago, I arrived in San Francisco fresh off the boat from the Midwest and if you would have told me three years ago that I'd be moving east I would have slapped you first and cut you second. But the San Francisco I live in (at least until today) is not the San Francisco I fell in love with over a decade ago, it is not the place I called my only home and it is not the place that I want to say I live anymore.

The parking gestapo circle the streets like bloodthirsty sharks and it's a combination of the anti-car mentality in this town and City Hall's desire to fund their political payoffs that found me some months shelling out as much as $350 a month to the DPT for tickets. Curb protection money I call it and after 11 years of on-again-off-again car ownership in this town I am over it. Let them keep their bike lanes and filthy Muni buses, I'm done.

Bright-eyed Midwesterners wander out here (much like I did at 18) and suddenly forget where they came from (and the manners they should have been programmed with), turning into snooty, swill-sipping hipster bastards taptaptapping away on identical iPhones. Fuck that, I've been out of the bar scene for quite some time and even when I was in it I couldn't stand some of these pricks. You're from Kansas, get over yourself. You think you're better than your friends back home because you can afford $2400 a month for a closet apartment in a crackhead-infested hood? They pay $350 for a 3 bedroom on the fringes of the "hip" side of town with a coffeeshop and bookstore - who is the moron now?

I also blame Nancy Pelosi for my departure. I'm sick of being affiliated with my location simply because I choose to remain here. Being a capitalist pig libertarian in San Francisco is about as easy as being a cucumber in a women's prison (or at least what I imagine that is like) and it gets hostile when you're the only one. This didn't matter to me when I was 19 and still wet behind the ears with my blue state programming but it's gotten to the point now that I feel my reputation is somehow tainted simply because I live in Pelosi's territory, as if I must be in cahoots with them if I can tolerate being surrounded by them.

It's also the state's fault. IOUs, tax hikes, public transportation hikes, state office closures... the list goes on and on and on. Filed under: absolutely fucking sick of this shit. A driver's license costs nearly twice as much now as it did when I hopped off the boat. Sales tax is nearly 10% in San Francisco. It costs $2 to park for half an hour at a meter. Muni is $2 a ride. Rents aren't getting any more realistic. The homeless problem in San Francisco is not going away. So at what point does the Californian pack her shit and head somewhere - anywhere - but here?

Today. And on this particular day, I get to be that Californian.

I am completely open to coming back and hope, in fact, that California gets its shit together so one day I can come home again and actually feel proud to say it's mine.

I'll take some of the blame. Maybe I didn't appreciate where I got to spend the last 11 years of my life. There's a reason tourism is San Francisco's greatest strength ("great to visit, not to live") and there's something to be said for finding breathtaking views waiting for you on even the simplest errand. People pay a lot of money to hang out (and live) here and I just don't feel like I am getting the ROI I once did.

You can only go to Pier 39 or the Mission so many times.

Thanks for a great run, San Francisco.


St Louis Fed's Bullard Would Like To See "Small" Asset Purchases

What was that about the Fed being the firefighter and not the arsonist? Looks to me like St Louis Fed President James Bullard is grabbing the matches and lighter fluid as we speak.

The call for QE 2.0 continues!


Bullard suggested that the FOMC announce Treasury purchases in “small increments,” similar to the way the Fed typically raises or lowers the short-term federal-funds rate by a quarter percentage point, or 25 basis points.

The St. Louis Fed chief envisions Fed purchases of $100 billion to start, with further Treasurys buys contingent on the evaluation of economy at future FOMC meetings. The FOMC would have the flexibility to pause or increase the Fed’s Treasurys purchases depending on economic conditions, Bullard said.

Maybe I don't have my macro glasses on but since when is $100 billion small? And if it is, in fact, just a tiny little blip in a sea of Dirty Fed blips, why even talk about it?

As I have said before, if the Fed is going to come I want them to come monetary guns blazing, blowing up the joint with automatic fire. Small increments? Please, where is your sense of adventure, JB?


OMG! Obama Wishes He'd Been Clearer About the Awesomeness of Obamacare

To hear Obama tell it, Obamacare is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Sure he wishes he'd been more transparent about the impact of health care legislation from the gate but the important thing is that he's doing it now, right?


Asked about the negative perception that many Americans have about signature legislation of his first two years in office, Obama said opponents of reform fought hard against it and he could have done more to sell it.

On such a complicated issue as health care reform, Obama said, the administration knew opponents would offer distortions in opposing the bill.

With provisions of the reform bill starting to take effect, people now can see the benefits for themselves and therefore understand it better, he said.

His government must continue "beating the drum and clarifying what's in the bill," he said, noting that negative advertisements that lack specifics can influence public opinion.

Negative advertisements huh?

Guess what, my dear OMG-in-Chief, people now can see the benefits for themselves and therefore understand it better, people like corporate CFOs who now have to change their rules and put aside whole stockpiles of cash to deal with this crap.

See Qualcomm slashes health care benefits in response to ObamaCare law via WC Varones or Citing health care law, Boeing pares employee plan via AP for more on the subject. AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar, John Deere, McDonalds and 3M have all come out saying they may or have slashed health care as a direct response to Obama's fantastic, ground-breaking health care legislation. Does that clarify what's in the bill enough for you?

Don't forget to buy all the OTC meds you can now before new FSA rules kick in.

The economics of Obamacare speak for themselves, OMG can find something else to be transparent about while we have a nice long chat with the actual impact.


Worst Case Scenario Optimism Guesses Fannie and Freddie Could Cost $363 Billion

Oh it's so cute when they spit out optimistic numbers that have no basis in reality, isn't it?

Via the LA Times

The taxpayer bailouts of housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost as much as $363 billion through 2013, according to government projections released Thursday.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has regulated the former government-sponsored enterprises since they were seized during the financial crisis in 2008, said the figure was based on the worst of three scenarios for the economy and housing market that assumes a "deeper second recession."

Under the best-case scenario, which would be a "stronger near-term recovery" in housing prices, the bailouts of Fannie and Freddie would reach $221 billion. The third scenario, in which housing prices continue on their current projections, would result in the combined bailouts reaching $238 billion.

Now while I may disagree with the auto bailouts, small business bailouts, bank bailouts and any other number of bailouts I have to point out here that the loan sharks at the Treasury have at least recouped some kind of return off of those bad business moves. But Fannie and Freddie? An endless black hole.

It takes a village to raise a country after it's been razed to the ground by poor practices and irresponsible behavior and the only way that can happen is if the entire market is subsidized. With Fannie and Freddie on the front and Bernanke on the back the mortgage market is safely propped up indefinitely, no? It's a genius plan!

Dow Jones:

Federal Housing Administration Commissioner David Stevens Tuesday said the Obama administration would ratchet up pressure on mortgage lenders to write down principal for borrowers who owe more than their home is worth.

"In my view we need to push hard on the industry. Servicers and investors have got to begin writing down principal," Stevens said at an event organized by Women in Housing and Finance.

The FHA last month started offering some "underwater" non-FHA borrowers who are current on their existing mortgage opportunity to qualify for a new FHA- insured mortgage. But for borrowers to qualify for the short refinance option, lenders have to agree to write off at least 10% of the unpaid principal balance of the first mortgage.

"We are concerned in the administration that this is probably the next critical element in getting the housing market stabilized--this issue around negative equity," Stevens said.

If we do not get off this train RIGHT NOW the banks better be prepared to write all this garbage down. Trust me, it's handled differently when it is all a liability of the government. You didn't think they had a better plan, did you?


Richmond Fed's Lacker: QE 2 Is a Hard Case To Make

I wonder who is going to be put in charge of making that case. Sure hope it isn't NY Fed's Dudley as he's already blown it by whining about inflation being too low. And it better not be Kamikaze Ben Bernanke, he's far too scared by deflation to make an effective case for scaring it off.

Thankfully my second favorite Fedhead hasn't totally lost his way, though saying easy money whores have their work cut out for them is not even close to saying easy money whores are out of their minds for asking in the first place. Just sayin.

Business Week:

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said a new round of asset purchases by the central bank “would be a hard case to make” with economic growth in line with his outlook.

The Beige Book report released by the Fed today shows “what I expected several months ago,” which is an economic expansion of about 2 percent during the second half, Lacker told reporters in College Park, Maryland. He said he would make up his mind on monetary policy when Fed officials meet in two weeks.

Earning his central banker keep, I believe he shares my opinion that the easy money whores (see also Dudley and Bernanke above) have been way too loose-lipped lately, inserting all kinds of expectations in just about every statement I can remember going back to "we are monitoring the situation" in early 2008 when shit really started going wrong.

Inflation targets (or promises) don't belong in Fed statements. The sheeple just can't handle such a thing and knowing the messengers, it would get screwed up one way or another in the nuance.

“I’m not sure that’s the appropriate place for it, just because you want an objective to be viewed as chiseled in stone and not frequently changed,” Lacker said of putting an inflation target in the statement. He spoke at an economics seminar for the press held by the Richmond Fed at the University of Maryland.

Lacker said he doesn’t have a “lot of confidence that we can engineer through our statements or actions variations in expected inflation at a relatively frequent periodicity.”

Endearing. Still not as ballsy as I like them but maybe he's just taking a break after last year's ridiculously tough battle against the deflationistas. I trust the Lacker I know will make a triumphant return in 2012, just in time for doomsday and that Fed rate hike we'll have waited 4 years for at that point.

I can't wait!


Happy Birthday Jr Deputy Accountant and Thanks To You, Ben Bernanke

Thursday, October 21, 2010 7 Comments

I can't believe it but it's been two years. Two long, exciting, thrilling, mind-numbing years.

Couldn't have done it without you, stalker, commenter, subscriber, reader, casual checker outer, supporter, donor, asshat and nemesis. I'd especially like to thank Ben Bernanke for making this moment possible, were it not for his constant shenanigans, I would not have had a single thing to write about these past two years and my little world would be that much emptier.

Thanks to TLP for carrying the load when Google is pissing me off and/or hating and being my constant source of entertainment when everything else sucks raw donkey balls.

Thanks to brilliant folks like WC Varones, Skeptical CPA and Michael Panzner for cheering me on in those dark months of 2008 when everything was going awry and I couldn't write fast enough.

Thanks to my wonderfully strange readers who delight and fascinate me all while feeding my constantly hungry ego.

And thanks most of all to J.P. Morgan and the fine Rothschild family; were it not for your hard diabolical work, I really wouldn't have anything at all to say as this world just wouldn't need me.

While I'm thrilled to say JDA is celebrating two years on this trip, I have to say I certainly didn't think I'd still have so much to write about on the financial doomsday front two years later. Oh well. See you kids in a decade, I'll still be here bitching about Fed asshats and the pending commercial real estate collapse, I'm sure.


That's Two

Thursday, October 21, 2010 , 0 Comments

JDA 2nd anniversary
At some point on this day two years ago, Jr Deputy Accountant pushed a button and published “The Baby Post.” It was “tentative,” she said, and entirely dependent on two things:
Response and Responsibility

That's it.

If no one's reading, I might as well not be writing. That part is pretty simple, no?

And if I'm not saying anything worth reading, why should I expect anyone to read it?
More than 3,200 posts later, there’s very little that’s tentative anymore about JDA, the woman or the website, if there ever was. If I’m gauging her reactions right, the response has been sometimes overwhelming, often gratifying and always appreciated. And I’m absolutely biased in the matter, but I’m going to say she fulfills the responsibility she set out for herself to be worth reading.

So, congratulations, Jr. Happy second anniversary. And thanks for giving a lazy fuck like me all you do.


Bank of America Sues the FDIC Over Taylor Bean Whitaker Garbage

What a tangled web we weave when we are bitches for the US government and take bites too big to chew out of rotting carcasses.


The Federal Insurance Deposit Corp. was sued by Bank of America Corp. over $1.75 billion in investor losses stemming from an alleged fraud by failed lender Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp.

The FDIC has denied claims by Bank of America against Colonial Bank and another financial institution in receivership that bought fake mortgages from a Taylor Bean unit, Ocala Funding LLC, according to a complaint filed Oct. 1 in federal court in Washington. Bank of America was the trustee for notes issued by Ocala Funding, according to the complaint.

Ocala financed Taylor Bean’s mortgages, issued debt and used the proceeds to buy the mortgages, Bank of America said in the complaint. Ocala then sold the notes to pay off the debt or buy additional mortgages, according to the compliant.

I'm curious, did Bank of America do its due diligence when it agreed to take over where TBW failed? Even without a full financial autopsy at that point, available data at the time certainly seemed to make it clear that something was awfully wrong with the entire Colonial Bank/TBW debacle, starting with the SIGTARP raids. Or was Bank of America so used to that sort of thing that they chose to ignore the red flags and do it anyway?

Colonial Bank/TBW is still all kinds of screwed up. The case against TBW's Lee Farkas was filed in Virginia due to the physical location of the SEC's EDGAR database, and not in Ocala, FL where the lender was based. Alabama state regulators (where Colonial Bank was based) didn't know how to handle the mess. The FDIC sued TBW in September for failing to assist in the Colonial postmortem. The list goes on and on and on and on...


FASB Wants to Make Sure You're Clear On New Lease Rules

In case you have questions related to this new FASB/IASB lease accounting thing, some of which could be: don't you have better things to do, is this the most important thing you could find to mess with and/or is there a reason why you decided to shuffle these particular deck chairs around on the Titanic?

Proposed Changes to Lease Accounting

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is pleased to announce an upcoming webcast to discuss the Exposure Draft, Leases, which was issued on August 17, 2010. The webcast is scheduled for Thursday, October 28, 2010, from 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., and will include an overview of the changes to lease accounting proposed by the FASB and the IASB in their joint leases project.

Panelists Larry Smith, Kevin Stoklosa, and Danielle Zeyher will discuss the Exposure Draft and some initial stakeholder reactions gathered as part of the Boards’ outreach activities. Larry Smith is a member of the FASB, Kevin Stoklosa is an FASB Assistant Director, and Danielle Zeyher is an FASB Project Manager.

More information about the Boards’ leases project is available on their websites and

The live webcast is offered free of charge. Viewers will have the opportunity to email questions to panelists during the event.

The FASB will archive the live webcast on the FASB website for access by the public. Register for the live or archived webcast.

I'll be on the road so am hoping someone else will volunteer to attend and ask the "didn't you have anything better to do?" question. Just sayin.


TLP: High-Tech Stalking

anita hill
Virginia Thomas seems to have a bigger pair than her husband. Apparently not content with Tea Party politics, she's going back into a nearly ancient (but still delicious) Washington episode.

Nearly 20 years after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Justice Thomas’s wife has called Ms. Hill, seeking an apology.

In a voice mail message left at 7:31 a.m. on Oct. 9, a Saturday, Virginia Thomas asked her husband’s former aide-turned-adversary to make amends. Ms. Hill played the recording, from her voice mail at Brandeis University, for The New York Times.

“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” it said. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

Ms. Thomas went on: “So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K., have a good day.”

Ms. Hill, in an interview, said she had kept the message for nearly a week trying to decide whether the caller really was Ms. Thomas or a prankster. Unsure, she said, she decided to turn it over to the Brandeis campus police with a request to convey it the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Well, I suppose the FBI already has a file on this. A little dusty, maybe, but I imagine all the pertinent details are there. Could be good training for a new agent. Or punishment.

Hill called bullshit. “I appreciate that no offense was intended, but she can’t ask for an apology without suggesting that I did something wrong, and that is offensive,” Hill told the Times.

Justice Thomas can't be enjoying this, but it may spike interest in "Long Dong Silver" and provide some royalty income for retired porn stars. And you'd have to think he found his wife's stunt something worse than "offensive."


TLP: White House Unfriends Facebook, Staff Forced to Remember Myspace Passwords

white house facebook
The bad news for White House staff: No more Facebook.

CNN Political Ticker:
For employees inside the White House, wasting time on Facebook is not an option.

"You cannot get on Facebook at the White House," Council of Economic Advisers chairman Austan Goolsbee told CNN Money's Managing Editor Lex Haris during an interview.

"Government rules."

Ironically, Haris was interviewing Goolsbee during the weekly White House "Open for Questions" session that was streamed on the White House Facebook page where users could also summit questions live on the social network.
The good news: So many more places to go on the Internet that don't count as "wasting time." You're welcome.


Fed's QE 2 Threats Are Messing It All Up For Canada And Beyond

While WSJ took this to imply Flaherty was taking jabs at China, I can't help but think our friends up north are taking not-so-subtle stabs at us or, more specifically, our fearless Fed leader and his loyal band of monetary lemmings who are ready to hurl themselves off a cliff at the first sign of deflation.

Time to level the playing field and that means starting with pot and working our way down to kettle.


Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday that any further quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve will affect market-based currencies like the Canadian dollar.

His remarks come three days after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reinforced expectations for further action to boost the weak economy.

Flaherty said Canadian policy-makers are "always concerned about volatility" in the Canadian dollar.

"I know Mr. Bernanke has given some indications of the possibility of more quantitative easing in the United States. That affects our dollar, it affects the Australian dollar and the Brazilian real and all the free-trading currencies," Flaherty said after Question Period in Parliament. "So we monitor that and we watch that."


"We'll go back and look at world economic growth, we'll go back and look at the currency issues as well, particularly the currency issues relating to some of the Asian economies," he said. "I'm hopeful we can make some progress on that in terms of increased cooperation by all of us with respect to world currencies. This is important so that we avoid the kinds of retaliatory actions that nations can take, where they feel that they are aggrieved by the policies of particular countries."

Canada does have a chance to decouple and thrive if they play this right. Pending issues being, of course, the Canadian housing bubble that has yet to pop and the problem with the United States being their most excited customer when it comes to delish goods like timber and oil. (In case you guys didn't notice we haven't been gobbling up as much crap as we once did)

Bernanke! You're killing the dollar and you're killing other people's dollars now too!


Atlanta Fed's Lockhart Wants Some (More) Action

Who doesn't want some action? I practically felt him drooling as I read these comments, grab yourself a tissue.


“I am leaning in favor of additional monetary stimulus while acknowledging the longer-term risks the policy may present,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said in the text of a speech to be delivered Monday. Lockhart isn’t currently a voting member of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

“At this juncture, and given the circumstances of sluggish growth and measured inflation that is too low, I give greater weight to the risk of further disinflation leading to deflation,” the official said. Buying long-term assets “is a form of risk management — an insurance policy that is prudent to put in place at this time.”

So what exactly does acknowledging the risk but doing it anyway accomplish? Having an out when it all goes awry later? Being able to say "Hey, I warned you guys that this was dangerous even though I said we should do it anyway"?

Lockhart would also like to see a "more explicit" inflation target as if 2% and MORE isn't explicit enough. Check out The Challenges of Monetary Policy in Today's Economy for more mad money-printing goodness if you aren't dripping with central banker drool at this point.


How Does It Feel To Be The Second Most Powerful Man In The World?

Ben Bernanke, your headline reads Australia Shares End Down 0.8% After Bernanke Speech:
The Australian share market suffered a broad-based retreat Monday as a recovery in the U.S. dollar weighed on commodity prices and U.S. stocks index futures after the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, made a case for further steps to support economic growth, but said the Fed is proceeding with "some caution."
That has to suck!


TLP: Now Hiring, Comedy Central Staff Need Not Apply

statehouse news
Now that NPR has made it clear what the rules are for employees and fake news, maybe they can concentrate on how to cover the real news.

NPR has received a $1.8 million grant from the Open Society Foundations to begin a project called Impact of Government that is intended to add at least 100 journalists at NPR member radio stations in all 50 states over the next three years.

The reporters, editors and analysts will cover state governments and how their actions affect people.

The project “creates capacity for local stations to hire reporters and to cover issues that matter that other places aren’t doing,” said Vivian Schiller, NPR’s president and chief executive. “Everything that we’re doing as relates to member stations comes down to two things: building local news capacity and making sure the content we create is available to all people across all platforms.”

Ms. Schiller said the journalists would not be part of typical statehouse coverage, but instead would work on enterprise journalism that looks at how state government decisions play out over years, and extend beyond a single state’s borders.
This is a good idea. Statehouse news coverage has suffered in recent years as media companies have lost ad revenue and been forced to cut back. The easy target? The reporters who cover the ins and outs of state government, with its plodding pace, scintillating subcommittee action and bitchfights settled by Robert's Rules of Order. Fuck all that, just run more celebrity news off the wire.

But guess what? A lot of what happens in the statehouse matters. To people and businesses. Nothing like some new tax proposal or having state budget cuts affect you to make it suddenly much more interesting.

Of course, this being NPR, there's a fund-raising plan in the works.


TLP: And She Knows Nutjobs

o'donnell campaign
If you believe her book, Meghan McCain has seen some nutty political behavior. But that's so 2008. Now, McCain is on the interview circuit and has been assessing the current crop of candidates. Care to guess what she thinks of Christine O'Donnell?

The Huffington Post runs down her appearance on ABC's "This Week":
"My problem is that, no matter what, Christine O'Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office," McCain said on Sunday. "She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business."

Continuing the attack, McCain added that "what [O'Donnell's success] sends to my generation is: one day you can just wake up and run for Senate, no matter how [much of] a lack of experience you have. And it scares for me for a lot of reasons. I just know, in my group of friends, it turns people off because she's seen as a nutjob."
That's got to make Sarah Palin feel a whole lot better.


No on 19?

I have to change my vote: that's no on 19, not yes. Schwarzenegger just legalized it and 19 could effectively make it illegal again. Illegal to sell and buy on the "black market" that is; because once you put a "tax" value on it, it becomes what the state perceives as a revenue, whether or not what it is expecting is actually realized.

That's how government accounting works and I would hate to see weed owned by the corporation state at this point. The state is not capable of maximizing the revenue potential on marijuana (if there is an optimistic one) without screwing with its citizens' right to use it already allowed as of Oct 1. That was a late trick move by the Taxinator but hey, he owes us.

When free markets are being strangled by the corporate state or being threatened with as much, we need to do the responsible thing and protect those that exist now. What next? Taxes on Craigslist sales of crap you don't want anymore that's barely used?

See also: A Pandora's Box of Unintended Consequences: Why We Must Vote No on Prop 19


My Guess Is Timmy Won't Be Invited To China's Party

Does Tim Geithner think being able to speak the language is the only requirement necessary to get China to bow to our awesomeness and stop being so damn cheap? Please, we created this beast and NOW we're whining about it. That's cute.

Check it (Reuters):

The Obama administration will keep up pressure on Beijing over its currency policy, the White House said on Thursday, after Chinese imports into the United States hit a record high in August.

"There's no doubt that the president, the secretary of the treasury and others will continue to put pressure on the Chinese government to live up to its obligations," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a media briefing.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said he will push for progress on increasing the flexibility of the Chinese yuan currency during meetings of the Group of 20 rich and emerging industrial powers in South Korea.

U.S. lawmakers say Beijing keeps its currency artificially cheap against the dollar to help its exports, at the expense of American jobs.

Meanwhile, leaders in China will be meeting to discuss their goals in the next 5 years. Of course the economy is a hot topic but without being familiar with what's on their minds going into the meeting my guess is "appeasing Tim Geithner's whiny whims" is low on their priority list.

How's that working out for us?


TLP: Green, For Lack of a Better Word, is Good

wal-mart produce
Americans, apparently, have gotten over the WTF factor of buying their groceries alongside motor oil, office supplies, Mom jeans, video games and nearly everything else. Yes, Wal-Mart is the world's largest grocer. And now, the company is turning locavore, putting locally grown produce in its stores.

The program is intended to put more locally grown food in Wal-Mart stores in the United States, invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets, and begin to measure how efficiently large suppliers grow and get their produce into stores.

Advocates of environmentally sustainable farming said the announcement was significant because of Wal-Mart’s size and because it would give small farmers a chance at Wal-Mart’s business, but they questioned how “local” a $405 billion company with two million employees — more than the populations of Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont combined — could be.

Given that Wal-Mart is the world’s largest grocer, with one of the biggest food supply chains, any change it made would have wide implications. Wal-Mart’s decision five years ago to set sustainability goals that, among other things, increased its reliance on renewable energy and reduced packaging waste among its suppliers sent broad ripples through product manufacturers. Large companies like Procter & Gamble redesigned packages that are now carried by other retailers, while Wal-Mart’s measurements of the environmental efficiency of its suppliers helped define how they needed to change.

“No other retailer has the ability to make more of a difference than Wal-Mart,” the retailer’s president and chief executive, Michael T. Duke, said in remarks prepared for a meeting on Thursday morning. “Grocery is more than half of Wal-Mart’s business. Yet only four of our 39 public sustainability goals address food.”
This is a good thing, right? Supporting local growers has its green benefits, certainly, and should be popular with shoppers who'd rather get food fresher than what comes off of the 18-wheelers run by big food suppliers. Plus, it's good PR for Wal-Mart, which is used to being criticized for the impact its massive stores have on the viability of some local businesses.

But another green aspect of this development is the green of envy from competitors, who have just seen the ante raised and may feel compelled to match Wal-Mart in stocking local or fresher produce. Generally, that's a costlier alternative and not everyone can match the resources Wal-Mart has to put into this venture.

But if Wal-Mart's competitors find themselves spending more green to sell greener products, well, that's just business, right?


TLP: Maybe There Was Something To Those Saudi BlackBerry Suspicions After All

click it, (unless you're a Saudi)

Really, if you're going to risk getting beheaded — or worse: losing your BlackBerry — why not search for something with a bigger porn payoff?

Come on, "ass"?


CVS Gets Hit With a $77.6 Million Meth Charge

Filed under: whoa, someone really needs to look at their regulatory compliance procedures


CVS Pharmacy Inc. has agreed to pay $77.6 million in fines and returned profits in a case alleging improper control in the sale of an ingredient used to make methamphetamine, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said CVS, the largest operator of retail pharmacies, repeatedly failed to properly monitor sales of pseudophedrine, which is contained in some cold medicines and is also used to make meth.

Through failing to monitor these transactions, the pharmacy helped methamphetamine traffickers in Southern California and the area around Las Vegas to get their hands on "large amounts" of pseudophedrine, the prosecutors said in a statement - adding that the sales fueled a rise in methamphetamine production in California.

As part of the pharmacy's agreement with prosecutors, CVS will pay a $75 million fine, the largest civil penalty ever paid under the Controlled Substances Act, the prosecutors said. They also said CVS will forfeit $2.6 million in profits received from illegal transactions.

Looks like CVS is going to have to arrange an even bigger sale leaseback of its stores with hungry investors. Landes Investment Group - based in Dallas - recently acquired 36 CVS properties to go with the 313 purchased by Landes affiliate LLWG Capital last year. The new deal cost Landes $110 million, hardly enough to make up for CVS's lax controls over mildly controlled substances like cough medicine.

CVS is cooperating with authorities and not expected to face criminal charges. Amazing what a few fines can accomplish when it comes to doing the right thing.


TLP: Can They Make the Same Rule About Pledge Drives?

npr politics
There's a reason NPR is no fun. And those lame Saturday "game" shows don't fucking count.

The Huffington Post:
NPR has reminded its employees that they are not allowed to participate in the upcoming rallies led by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

"NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them," Senior Vice President for News, Ellen Weiss, wrote in a memo Wednesday morning. "This restriction applies to the upcoming John [sic] Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies."

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller forwarded the memo, sent initially to news staff, to the entire organization, telling employees that the note applied to "digital, programming/AIR, legal and communications" employees in addition to the news staff.

"However, no matter where you work at NPR you should be very mindful that you represent the organization and its news coverage in the eyes of your friends, neighbors and others," Schiller continued. "So please think twice about the message you may be sending about our objectivity before you attend a rally or post a bumper sticker or yard sign. We are all NPR."
Well, this last bit is pretty standard stuff for the media. Not taking sides is smart. You know, when we're talking about real candidates and elections and not a couple of satirical smartasses. No matter how many people claim that the Stewart and Colbert shows are where they get The News.

I think NPR just gave up.

Snark Bonus: "The Huffington Post is sponsoring buses from New York to DC for the rallies."


Incredible! Janet Yellen Acknowledges Bubble Danger, Increased Risk-Taking Thanks to Easy Fed Policy

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 , , 0 Comments

Unbelievable UNBELIEVABLE and I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't read it four times. Is this the Janet Yellen I know and don't love? Could it be that removing her from San Francisco resolved her mental imbalance and granted her sanity and the ability to think ahead in a cool, calm manner?

It makes the bile rise in my throat just to think about but I have to admit I am impressed. Go Janet go!


Janet Yellen, in her first public remarks as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman, said low interest rates may give firms the incentive to engage in excessive risk-taking.

“It is conceivable that accommodative monetary policy could provide tinder for a buildup of leverage and excessive risk-taking in the financial system,” the 64-year-old central banker said in a speech today in Denver.

Yellen warned that Fed policies may in some cases be encouraging firms to “reach for yield” and could present officials “with difficult tradeoffs” if “emerging threats to financial stability become evident.”

The Fed vice chairman spoke while central bank officials debate whether to take further action to stimulate the economy, and as the Fed board in Washington gears up to implement directives under the Dodd-Frank law that overhauls U.S. financial regulation. Her comments weren’t specifically focused on the Fed’s current monetary policy.

“Our goal should be to deploy an enhanced arsenal of regulatory tools to address systemic risk,” Yellen, the former president of the San Francisco Fed, said in a luncheon address to the National Association for Business Economics. “We need macroprudential policy makers ready to take away the punch bowl when the party is getting out of hand.”

OK well we already know they don't have ANY arsenal, let alone an enhanced one but beyond that I'm thrilled to hear Janet is considering not only the instant effects of her Fed's easy monetary policy but also the potential consequences. Such a proud day.


Why I Am Writing In My Dead Hamster As California Governor on November 2nd

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 , , , 9 Comments

RIP, Smoky.

Anyway, because it might be illegal to write in an animal (a dead one at that) in a serious political contest, I feel compelled to disclaim that I am not actually going to do that. I'm just not voting for governor this year.

Firstly, I'm on my way out. That means my bitter, pissed off, had-it-up-to-here-with-this-California-shit ass probably shouldn't be allowed to vote to right now. I'm trying to be reasonable and not angry at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors going into my last Californian vote, I'm trying to put the improvement I have seen in San Francisco in my 11 years here into perspective and trying to puzzle out the right thing to do as a California voter without allowing my obvious angry bias to come into play. Someone put a proposition on the next ballot that pissed off, about to self-exile Californians should be forced to un-register 6 - 9 months before they leave or at least 90 days after realizing they have had it up to here and must get out. I'd support that. I'm fucking angry, this place is a mess. I don't recognize San Francisco anymore and that's sad, I have spent my entire adult life in a city most people pay way too much to visit and wish they could live in (minus the crackheads I'm sure).

See also Sidewalks of San Francisco:

Police officers in the Tenderloin are as eager for a sit-lie law as their colleagues in the Haight are. The Tenderloin is the smallest police precinct in the city, but it has the highest number of parolees and sex offenders and the highest rate of violent crime. It’s also right next to Union Square, San Francisco’s central tourist area. Tourists walking through the Tenderloin to its few remaining theaters have been mugged; those waiting for the cable car at the bottom of Powell Street are routinely accosted by panhandlers. The city’s persistent failure to dent the disorder has kept the area, along with the adjacent Market Street Corridor, in thrall to crime and blight for years, as have strict laws protecting single-room-occupancy buildings from acquisition and development. Police officials and local entrepreneurs speak wistfully of the transformation of New York’s Times Square, and they still hope that it could happen here.

Whereas street sitters in the Haight are usually engaged in various forms of consumption, many in the Tenderloin are in sales. Asked how he would use the proposed sit-lie ordinance, Officer Adam Green responds, “I’d ask these ladies to move on,” referring to a group of women sitting on folding chairs on the sidewalk. Green’s “ladies” are most likely holding drugs for the dealers milling around a few paces down the block. “It’s a very sophisticated game,” Green explains. “They know it’s harder for us to search women. We try to prevent people from congregating, because that’s when we get our drive-by shootings.” (A few weeks later, an Oakland man wearing body armor was gunned down in the Tenderloin in a cascade of 16 bullets, saved from death only by his foresight in putting on his bulletproof vest before entering the area.) Other sidewalk sitters serve as lookouts against the cops.

Eager for sit-lie? What is wrong with San Francisco that our own police can't just round them up and ship them off? Why is this allowed in SF and why are the city's residents forced to accept both that and the astronomical cost associated with living here? That does NOT make sense. And then we want to tax visitors even more as if they are stupid and don't notice the excrement on the sidewalks? Paris is burning and they're trying to double the fee to get up the Eiffel Tower but hey, let them, I'm out.

Watching the Brown and Whitman ads in between KTVU traffic reports is obnoxious. I just want to get to the weather so I can figure out whether I should wear one hoodie or two and get out the door and don't need to be accosted by vicious attacks every morning (I get enough of that if I brave Muni through the TL). Something about Meg Whitman annoys me and I can't believe we are even serious with Jerry fucking Brown so I won't even comment on that.

SF Gate:

Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown made a critical pitch to millions of California voters Tuesday in their final televised debate, battling over controversies including her hiring of an undocumented maid and the use of a sexist slur by a member of his campaign staff.

Democrat Brown and Republican Whitman also tangled over whether to cut the capital-gains tax and pension reform in a lively, unscripted exchange at Dominican University in San Rafael.

So I'm just not deciding. I reserve that right and hell, you guys are going to screw it up like you screwed up Prop 8 anyway (if any of your lazy asses bother to show up and vote, that is) so why bother?

I've made my decision on San Francisco props but have been dragging my feet on California props and might sit most of those out too except for Prop 19 (Yes on 19) because trust me on this the state could use the money and the prisons could use a break. Update: NO on 19

Don't listen to me, do your own research and form your own position. YOU FUCKING HAVE IT so if you sit there and don't use it and continue bitching about it instead you are in no position to complain. Use it and then realize your vote means nothing and then you can complain.

And remember, it could always be worse:


Psst, The Fed Is Not Going to Monetize

Everyone and their mother is saying the Fed is about to start up a fresh round of money-printing er buying up everything that isn't nailed down er easing of one sort or another and I'm not scared anymore because I know that is exactly what they want you to believe.

They would like us to believe that they have arrows left in their quiver. They do not. Rates are still at zero, the free money is pouring out, banks are getting better cash back on their deposits at the Fed than we are at them and they are not cashing out their chips anytime soon when it comes to security purchases that they say are necessary. Somehow they would like us to believe that they have other weapons and are not afraid to use them. I think the nuance is in the have other weapons part and not necessarily the severity of whatever the Fed could possibly have up their sleeve next dismal FOMC announcement.

They would like us to believe that they are ready with the monetary firehose extinguisher because they really do not have control of the fire. To think otherwise would be foolish. They have been throwing buckets of money at this blaze and nothing is working, so they'd like you to believe that they're actually in control of the thing so you don't flip out and take care of the fire your own damn self. If their incompetence were at all apparent to the masses, you can guarantee Ben Bernanke wouldn't have a pole to slide down come morning.

They would like us to believe that they will monetize everything that is not nailed down because you believing is worth nearly as much as them doing except without as destructive consequences. See also: point one, they have nothing left to launch. The monetary WMDs are dry, there is no exit strategy, their political capital has been spent and they are tired from fighting both the economy and our bullshit for the last two years. So they'd like for you to think that they are going to come hard with a second round of special Fed stimulus as only they can but no one is buying it. No one except the paid shills who keep jerking themselves off in the media over just how big a stimulus package Bernanke is going to drop. Please. Open your fucking eyes, people, they got nothin'.

It's all shooting blanks at this point and everyone knows it. Reinvesting proceeds from previous easing into new easing? Please that's pathetic.

If the Fed is going to bring it, I want Bernanke and Yellen to wheel out a big fucking monetary cannon and blast one so hard all of us end up covered in shrapnel claiming PTSD on our Obamacare plans. If the Fed cannot handle this, perhaps they should A) shut the fuck up and stop trying to send these coy signals when, in fact, they lack the large central banker cojones required to shut all of us up with what will go down as the Money Bomb Heard Round the World and B) actually fucking pull the damn trigger already.

Also I'm still waiting to see an exit plan, boys. Can someone please hit me up when y'all have figured that out? I'm getting tired standing around like a jackass growing cobwebs and trying to spend 'em before you devalue 'em over here.


Socialist Asshats Over at MarketWatch Want More Job Action From the Government

No kidding, they titled it "Government needs to step it up on jobs" and went into dismal job numbers that everyone knew would be dismal with the expiration of temporary census gigs that have now officially dried up. So sad.

The latest jobs figures show that the U.S. labor market remains stuck in first gear and is in danger of stalling altogether.

The private sector added 64,000 jobs last month, far less than half as many as necessary just to keep pace with population growth. This is a significant improvement over going in reverse, but it’s insufficient to bring down the near-record-high unemployment rate of 9.6%. Read more about the jobs report.

The federal government shed 77,000 temporary U.S. Census Bureau workers last month, and local governments laid off 76,000 workers amid declining tax revenues due to high unemployment and high home foreclosures. This is exactly the wrong time for state and local governments to drag down our economy, yet that’s what’s happening.

Listen, we all know it's an election year but now is not the time for the government - federal or otherwise - to start doing somersaults it is going to have to pay for with interest later to create jobs. Hate to break this to anyone who is holding out for that but it is not and never was the government's job to sustain the workforce, nor should it be expected now. How difficult is this for the media and talking heads to understand?

For example, JDA's home state of Wisconsin. When I was growing up in Milwaukee, my mom told me tales of working in factories until she got her degree as a Registered Nurse and many of her friends slaved away bottling beer or stamping machine parts because, well, that's just what you do if you live there. Johnson Control, Badger Meter, Harley-Davidson, Miller... all of these were iconic employers of my youth and a huge motivator to little JDA dreaming of an escape to California, lest she end up stuck in one of those factories stamping widgets herself for the remainder of her days.

But those days are long gone and it shouldn't be surprising to hear that the government sector now employs more Wisconsinites than manufacturing.

Check out the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's PolitiFact:

"For the first time in history," [GOP Senate candidate Leah] Vukmir declares in a flier that she distributes door to door in the district, "Wisconsin has more government jobs than manufacturing jobs."

Such a statistic, if true, would indicate a profound change in the very complexion of the state.

Vukmir, according to her campaign staff, based her statement on a December 2009 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The article was about a state Department of Workforce Development report on unemployment in the previous month.

The report said the state had 438,200 government jobs (federal, state and local, including schools) in November 2009. That was 2,400 more than the 435,800 jobs in manufacturing.

The article went on to say government employment had exceeded manufacturing employment in April and May of 2009, as well.

Those developments were notable because, on an annual basis, manufacturing jobs exceeded government jobs in every year since 1966, which is as far back as the state statistics go.

Keep begging for those government jobs, people, just don't come crying to us later when it all goes awry. Meanwhile, hate to break this to anyone but the manufacturing jobs are gone and that was kind of the plan. Hence shipping everything over to China and India years ago.

Again, careful what you wish for, morons.


Because He Is Going to Be The One Manning the Printing Press...

... Fed’s Dudley Confident Banks Will Adapt To New Rules (via WSJ's Real Time Economics)

Of course he is confident, he knows his Fed is going to be the one pumping in all that extra capital. Duh! See also: The Basel Bankers Ensure Easy Money From the Fed as Far as the Eye Can See


TLP: "J.R." Takes on Citigroup and Hits a Texas-Sized Gusher

citigroup investments
The last time someone shot J.R., it took forever to find out who did it. This time, the alleged culprit was no secret. But actor Larry Hagman had to go through an arbitration process to get a resolution.

A securities arbitration panel awarded Mr. Hagman and his wife Maj, 82, a big victory against Citigroup, which had overseen some of the couple’s investment accounts. The three arbitrators who heard the case ordered Citigroup to pay the Hagmans $1.1 million in compensatory damages — slightly less than the $1.345 million they had requested — as well as $439,000 in legal fees.

But the kicker was the punitive damages award in the case, which accused Citigroup’s brokerage unit, Smith Barney, of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and failure to supervise the broker overseeing the Hagmans’ funds. The panel ordered Citigroup to pay $10 million to charities chosen by Mr. Hagman.

The award was the largest given to an individual this year, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which oversaw the arbitration. The Hagman award was also the only one in which a panel ordered that punitive damages go to charity, Finra said. ...

So here’s what happened to the Hagmans: In 2005, they moved their account from a registered investment adviser to Lisa Ann Detanna, a broker at what is now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. (When the couple first invested with Smith Barney, Citigroup still owned it; Citigroup sold a controlling stake in the brokerage to Morgan Stanley in 2009.)

According to documents produced in the Hagmans’ case, Ms. Detanna quickly began upending the couple’s portfolio, taking it from a conservative blend of 25 percent stocks and 75 percent fixed income and cash to the opposite: 75 percent stocks and the rest cash and bonds.

Never mind that when the Hagmans first sat down with Ms. Detanna, they told her they needed income-producing investments that would preserve their principal, according to the documents.
Doesn't sound like the problem was some misunderstanding caused by that "Dallas" drawl Hagman rolled out for the show. For its part, Citigroup said it wasn't responsible for the losses, the Times reports, and may be considering trying to get the decision reversed.

But who knows who Hagman may have in his corner. After all, "Dallas" wasn't his first rodeo.


TLP: "Turn Left at Banana Republic, Enter Victoria's Secret"

Monday, October 11, 2010 , , 0 Comments

indoor gps
As if people texting and walking weren't annoying enough on the sidewalk. Now, shoppers in malls all over the country will be bumping into each other trying to find their way around.

Mobile phone maps have guided people through streets and alleys around the globe. But when those people step into a sprawling building, they can get lost.

Inside, people have to ask strangers for directions or search for a directory or wall map. A number of start-up companies are charting the interiors of shopping malls, convention centers and airports to keep mobile phone users from getting lost as they walk from the food court to the restroom. Some of their maps might even be able to locate cans of sardines in a sprawling grocery store.

“It was my wife’s idea — she was six months’ pregnant and she couldn’t find a restroom,” said Sam G. Feuer, chief executive of MindSmack, the New York company behind FastMall, one of the indoor mapping services. “It’s the same thing for people in wheelchairs or with strollers who need an elevator.”

Users see a floor plan of a shopping mall, for example, with stores indicated by name. Escalators, exits, restrooms and elevators are also marked.

FastMall has a search engine to help users find stores on its maps. Enter “Banana Republic” and the service places a pin on the map to show the store’s location. Tap the “take me there” button and the service plots a route to the destination. To find the nearest restroom, all users have to do is shake their phone.
Shaking it to find the restroom? Might be better to wait til you're inside and about to zip up before you shake it. Just a thought.

Maybe this is a good idea. It certainly makes sense to use a GPS to get to the mall. But at some point, you kind of have to rely on yourself. What's next? Geo-mapping the Gap so shoppers can get to the skinny jeans and don't wind up lost in the pocket-tshirts?

Oh well, could be a fad. If you've got some available investment cash, now might be the time to get in. If you can find your way to the ATM without help.


What I'm Beating TLP With: 10/10/10

Sunday, October 10, 2010 1 Comments

Today is supposed to be some magical day, being 10/10/10, but I didn't see anything magical go down (at least nothing that I can share with you, dear JDA reader) so instead let's get right back to all the unmagical greatness that is the state of things.

Forgive me for the quickie but it's been a busy weekend as this is my second-to-last chance to sleep in and pack before I head out east for good.

And You Thought Last Time Was Bad... We've been playing kick the can for far too long and our day of reckoning is approaching. You can't say we didn't warn you. (Financial Armageddon)

Eleven Grand: Isn’t it Ironic (don’t ya think)? These fundamentals... I can't put my finger on it but... gee... something just isn't right here. Hey, Dow 11,000, who cares bout fundamentals?! PILE IN!!! WEEEEE!! (The Reformed Broker)

OS Has A Change Of Heart: So Does Sony--No Pressure A true patriot, OS keeps the flame of truth burning bright and likely does so using low carbon-emission fuels like anger and/or general disgust with the state of our world nowadays. If you missed the bile-inducing climate scam videos featuring kids being blown up for disagreeing with "completely voluntary" initiatives to reduce one's carbon footprint, relive the madness here. (OldSouth)

In The Home Country Of Beer, Oktoberfest Prices Tell A Different Inflation Story Deflationistas can suck my stein, looks like price inflation is hitting right where it hurts. (Prudent Investor)

Meet Herb Allison: Minister Of Bailout Propaganda Lies, lies and more lies. I believe TPTB have forgotten that TARP did accomplish one thing: it made us a whole lot less likely to buy into their bullshit. Whoopsie! Worth every penny of that $700 billion price tag! (The Daily Bail)

What If The Culture Dies To this JDA says SO THE FUCK WHAT. Maybe it's time for us to have a funeral so we can grieve and move on. Click over for more thoughts on TPTB propaganda versus reality and our difficult task of digesting it all. (Prudens Speculari)


The Economist Reveals Its Easy Money Whore Stripes While Fisher Bashing

Ohhhh Economist, when will you learn? Are you an economist? Do you know anything about the dangers of reckless money-printing? Of course not, all you care about is nit-picking the good guys while crying for more easy money along with fellow leftist deflationistas like Krugman. So sad and so horribly transparent.

Yesterday I covered Dallas Fedhead Richard Fisher's speech To Ease Or Not To Ease whereupon he trashed the notion that more or easier easing can help us now. Relying on his familiar argument that it is regulatory uncertainty and fiscal irresponsibility fueling the obvious rot in the economy and not any lack of action on the part of the Fed (ha! who could argue that they haven't acted enough?!), Fisher nailed it once again and managed to bitchslap all the deflationistas with one swift smack. Of course the folks at the Economist, easy money whores that they are, didn't find this to be entertainment.

The Economist's Free Exchange blog:

Since the FOMC meeting, a handful of my colleagues have fanned further speculation about QE2 by signaling their personal positions on the matter quite openly in recent speeches and interviews in the major newspapers. Hence the headline in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “Central Banks Open Spigot,” a declaration that surely gave the ghosts of central bankers past the shivers and sent a tingle down the spine of gold bugs from Bemidji to Beijing...

There is a great deal of legitimate debate still to take place within the FOMC on the subject of quantitative easing and the pros and cons and costs and benefits of further monetary accommodation. Whatever we might do, if anything, must be consistent with long-term price stability and not add to the nightmare of confusing signals already being sent to job creators.

Can ghosts get shivers? More importantly, who cares what they think? And perhaps even more importantly, who cares what Richard Fisher thinks? He's not an economist. He's not a voting member of the FOMC. And he seems to be much more interested in behaving like a caricature of a central banker than looking at actual data and making a reasoned monetary policy decision.

Inflation expectations have fallen steadily over the past year, and for the moment, markets are indicating a belief that inflation may remain below 2% for the next ten years—or longer. Meanwhile, as Mr Fisher notes, several members of the FOMC have been voicing their support for additional easing, in a move that has been widely interpreted as a semi-coordinated signal that a majority of FOMC members are ready to pull the trigger on new easing. Markets have reacted to this—equity indexes have risen and the dollar has declined. But have interest rates soared? No. Have inflation expectations shifted? They've ticked up a bit but remain well below the Fed's unofficial target. In other words, markets are signalling that new easing will shift inflation back toward the Fed's desired level but will by no means lead to uncomfortably high or runaway inflation. Mr Fisher seems to think he knows more than markets. But who cares what Richard Fisher thinks?

Hey you dumb fucks, those of us who care about what happens to the dollar at the end of all this bullshit care what Richard Fisher thinks and in case you weren't aware, he DOES have a vote in a few short months. Not to mention the fact that the FOMC, being a committee, allows for the open exchange of ideas and suggestions regardless of whether or not one actually votes. But obviously you guys don't get that. Really it's all up to Bernanke, his #2 Easy Money Whore and whichever asshat is running the NY Fed but that might be getting too complicated for you guys to understand so I'll leave it be.

Fisher does know more than markets because markets are drunk on Bernanke's easy money and obviously too fucked up to be capable of thinking lucidly. If the fine folks at The Economist would like to prove me wrong I implore them to send me evidence to the contrary. Markets are cracked out, broken, raped and pillaged, manipulated and artificially inflated to the point that there is no such thing as fair market value nor reasonable functioning of said markets nor any logic to be found anywhere within any component of any market. So there. Any idiot can see that but obviously the idiots at The Economist are having a little trouble. I sincerely hope my uncensored bluntness helps make it a tad clearer for them.

I humbly suggest The Economist shut the fuck up and not speak again until invited to do so on matters that they actually understand.


TLP: Somewhere, Someone is Happily Saying 'I Told You So'

Thursday, October 07, 2010 , , , 0 Comments

It's not the first time that parents have wanted to distance themselves from a mouthy and opinionated 14-year-old. But changing the family name and moving away seems a little extreme. Pity poor little

NBC Universal and Microsoft, the parents of, are holding high-level talks about changing its name, an unusual and potentially risky endeavor for the third most popular news Web site in the United States.

The two parents have not yet agreed on what to call the site. But according to internal memorandums obtained by The New York Times this week, the parents have concluded that the brand known as, a strictly objective news site, is widely confused with MSNBC, the cable television channel that has taken a strongly liberal bent in recent years.

Charlie Tillinghast, the president of, wrote in one of the memos, “Both strategies are fine, but naming them the same thing is brand insanity.” The channel and Web site are already separate companies.

Under the current plan, the Web address would become a site exclusively for the cable channel, fulfilling the channel’s desire to have an independent site to promote its TV programs. The existing news site, called the “blue site” internally, would move to a new and as-yet-undetermined Web address. There is a subsection on for the cable channel.

The network of Web sites under the umbrella are visited by almost 50 million Internet users each month, according to the measurement firm comScore. Only two news brands, Yahoo and, are bigger. ...

The change is being contemplated because MSNBC and are on somewhat divergent paths.

They were founded together in 1996 by NBC and Microsoft, with the cable television channel based in New Jersey and the Web site based at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. In 2005, NBC bought Microsoft’s stake in the cable channel, but the two parents remained together for the Web site, which is a crucial provider of content to Microsoft’s portal.
Sounds a little tricky. The website is successful, but makes everybody think whatever it is they think about the cable network. Olbermann and Maddow are about as polarizing as O'Reilly and Beck. And Chris Matthews (he's not the one who died, is he?) works himself into a grating lather pretty quickly.

And, as parents know, there's no guarantee the kid will like the decision. Especially a teen.