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Your Breakfast read, served by The Confluence

Morning reading

  • Considering the mood of the country after the Republican rule, the enormous mandate the Democratic agenda received from the American people and his shellacking of McCain, Obama had the opportunity to bury Reagonomics once for all and decisively shift the direction of the country. He did some of it but I think he wasn’t bold enough, at least in the first 100 days.
    Obama Overthrows Reagan’s Government-Bad Dogma to Rescue Market
  • Are these still the US of A, or has the Bush cabal turned this into some Banana Republic?
    US refuses to let jet into its airspace because it is carrying a journalist who criticizes US foreign policy

    Hernando Calvo Ospina has written articles about the United States involvement in Latin America, and is currently writing a book about he CIA. The exact reason for him being on the terrorist watch list is unknown, and we’ll probably never know what criteria are used for adding people to it.

    And here’s the account of that “evil” journalist:
    The criminalization of journalism

    Again in the air, and preparing for another four hours of travel, a man who identified himself as the copilot came to me. Trying to look discreet, he asked if I was “Mr. Calvo Ospina.” I told him yes.

    “The captain wants to sleep, that’s why I came here,” he said, and he invited me to accompany him to the back of the plane. There, he told me that I was the person “responsible” for the detour. I was astonished.

    My first reaction was to ask him: “Do you think I’m a terrorist?” He said no, that’s the reason I’m telling you this. He also assured me that it was strange that this was the first time it happened on an Air France plane. Shortly before we landed in Martinique, a stewardess had told me that, in her 11-year career, nothing like that had ever happened to her.

  • This is getting scary.
    U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu

    Asia on high alert for flu virus

    Mexican swine flu spreads to Europe

  • SoS Hillary Clinton engaged in a very delicate dance.
    Clinton’s Mideast Pirouette

    She’s transitioned with aplomb from the calculation of her interests that she made as a senator from New York to a cool assessment of U.S. interests. These do not always coincide with Israel’s.

  • Paul Krugman is still shrill.
    Money for Nothing
  • The latest of Timmy countdown. How much longer is he going to last?
    Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club

    Today, Mr. Geithner is Treasury secretary, and as he seeks to rebuild the nation’s fractured financial system with more taxpayer assistance and a regulatory overhaul, he finds himself a locus of discontent.

    Even as banks complain that the government has attached too many intrusive strings to its financial assistance, a range of critics — lawmakers, economists and even former Federal Reserve colleagues — say that the bailout Mr. Geithner has played such a central role in fashioning is overly generous to the financial industry at taxpayer expense.

  • Gulp! Even Larry doesn’t see the end of the tunnel yet.
    US economy to continue down, says Summers

    “I expect the economy will continue to decline,” Mr Summers said in an interview on Fox News, predicting “sharp declines in employment for quite some time this year.”

  • Huh! We’re using Monte Carlo Simulations to stress-test the banks?
    Gambling on Monte Carlo simulations

    If the inputs and assumptions are wrong then the Monte Carlo simulations will be of very little use. In that sense they’re very similar to the magic worked by David Li’s Gaussian Copula. They give a false sense of security.

    And that’s precisely, some might argue, what the US government is going for with its bank stress tests anyway.

    (For geeks out there here is the stress test methodology)

  • A former Wall Street insider talks about what went on. For those who read Liar’s Poker nothing surprising but still…
    American excess: A Wall Street trader tells all

    I understood it well. I put on 45 pounds in my first year at the bank, and, as you might guess, it was not from eating McDonalds. Occasionally I ate stuff like sushi, but mostly it was steak. We went to the good places like Sparks, Peter Luger’s, and the Strip House. We tended to look down on chains like Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris-they were for car dealers or stock brokers, not traders. Regardless of where we ate, we ate in quantity. My standard strategy was to order half a dozen appetisers, plus a steak and lobster, plus a few desserts and much wine as I could drink, as long it was under a few hundred dollars a bottle. Followed by a digestif, typically a 30-year-old port. There’s not any way to justify this except to say I was trying to catch up to my colleagues. We would treat those restaurants like Roman vomitoriums. And it wasn’t the food so much as the wine. Being a junior employee, I couldn’t really order bottles that cost more than a few hundred dollars, but the senior guys could get nicer stuff – Opus One, Chateau Latour. As long as we were out with a client, the bank paid. I remember being stunned the first time I saw a dinner bill for ten grand. But that was just the beginning.

    What it boiled down to was austerity for everyone else and rampant consumption for ourselves. I never saw anyone literally set fire to money, but I did drink most of a bottle of 1983 Margaux ($2,000).

  • Is this story ever going to end?
    U.S. forces say kill 7 al Qaeda suspects in Iraq

    Iraq says U.S. raid violated security pact

  • Brilliant! IBM program to take on ‘Jeopardy’ champions
    Computer Program to Take On ‘Jeopardy!’
  • Oh great! Some Australian trying to suck up to Riverdaughter by beating up on us. What have we ever done to people besides fixing companies to make them more efficient and more competitive. Sigh!
    MBAs: Most Bloody Awful, Aussie radio documentary on the problem with biz-school
  • Why does the church hate “great sex”?
    Church giving ‘great sex’ sermons might get booted
  • 26 Responses

    1. have a to i would like to ask everyone question the most media telling everyone that berrys 100 day he like one of the best prezz ever . my everyone getting in some way or form weather it layoffs losing homes, 401 ks taking hits.. do you think the American people will buy it

    2. At least we can read in this morning’s NY Daily News that President Obama does NOT have swine flu

      • That’s good, because I heard that a man Obama spent time with at a museum in Mexico died of swine flu the following day.

      • Odd. What with him being such a fan of pork and all.

    3. I actually saw that story I think yesterday. I don’t quite remember why I didn’t link to it.

    4. MaBlue, thanks for the link round up!

      As for Barry’s 1st 100 days, any time one’s see the same subject and even the same words used in supposedly different broadcasts…. you are seeing kabuki . They have been talking about his “1st 100 hundred days” for every one of those days like it was a movie ….my biggest reaction is I’m glad they are finally over! It’s like no one else had a 1st 100 days….let’s talk about Hillary’s 1st 100 days… ((( crickets))))

      • Just makes me want to scream, all over again and again and again. With very exceptions, the MSM have become one big Obama pimp machine.

      • I read Bill Maher’s oped piece and thought about linking to it yesterday, but I wasn’t so sure.

    5. MABlue,

      Why would Obama bury Reaganomics? Reagan is is primary role model. Obama has imitated Reagan in appointing Cabinet secretaries who are basically foxes guarding the henhouse. He seems to like trickle down theory as well, since he is doing absolutely nothing to deal with unemployment.

    6. Somewhat related to your story about airspace and CIA, there’s been a lot of talk in Europe about whether or not governments have allowed CIA planes, carrying alleged ter rorists, to overflow or land in certain countries.

      Now the Swedish newspaper Expressen has a story, where
      “… Sweden’s military admitted Friday it inspected an alleged CIA plane that landed at a Stockholm airport in 2005, after an official report found no proof of CIA flights visiting Swedish airports since 2002.”

      • By the way: Love the painting above!

        … but miss your original avatar. 😦 Don’t recognize you anymore.

    7. just so yall know, i have two masters an MS in economics and an MA in Finance … no MBA for me. I found out early that the academics make fun of the degree and just consider it a way to fund research priorities and the academic business students. Phd’s in the business fields don’t take MBAs seriously at all. Only MBAs take MBAs seriously … Most Bloody Awful is a kind renaming.

      • Leave us alone, would you.

        Academics are the weenies who don’t have the stomach to get into real life and fix things, people who cannot withstand a fight, buncha wet noodles.

        Companies that don’t listen to us get in trouble or and then they call us.

        • I ran a very profitable consulting group for years. Most of the academics I know consult with international entities or governments.

          Completely different thing. But again, most MBAs I know didn’t even take what most consider graduate courses. Executive MBAs don’t even take senior/junior level course.

          Some people, do just get it for the title though but most of them had it going on before then even.

        • Don’t worry mablue2, it’s not like economists have covered themselves in glory during this financial debacle. A lot of dubious economic theorizing, especially from the University of Chicago crowd, was the um…”intellectual” underpinning for a lot of the recent industry fraud/shenanigns.

      • I used to have one mistress but she ran off with my second wife.

    8. Great links MABlue-thx!!!

      Particularly liked the ones on the Colombian journalist, Krugman’s piece together with the ex-UBS banker, And Hillary in Israel, and the Geithner biography article. 🙂

    9. Excellent news items. Love the Steph Hall painting too. Nice choice.

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