A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ok, forget everything we told you

Betsy's husband, Bill has been skeptical about our abilty to validate the theories relating global warmimg to greenhouse emissions. I thought he was allowing his political sentiments to influence his scientific objectivity. Maybe not. He mentioned these new observations while we were at his home on Sunday. So stop worrying about warming and look out for the new ice age.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boy, this clip actually isn't funny, and really it's

kind of sad. My brother Mike sent it to me.

video

Well, I guess it's a little funny. Thanks Mike

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh no, it's him again

I'm posting the final section of an article by simon Johnson from Atlantic Online. Of course, I think you should give it a once over. I know I'm a downer, and we'd all rather not to have to deal with this crap every day, but this crap is going to deal with us in unfortunate, if not tragic ways. Knowing what is happening and what is likely to happen, at least allows us to brace for the assault, and maybe marginally mitigate our circumstances. At least, now that it's happening there are plenty of skilled and informed commentators writing articles to clip and paste, and you don't have to read as much of my laboured prose.

In my view, the U.S. faces two plausible scenarios. The first involves complicated bank-by-bank deals and a continual drumbeat of (repeated) bailouts, like the ones we saw in February with Citigroup and AIG. The administration will try to muddle through, and confusion will reign.

Boris Fyodorov, the late finance minister of Russia, struggled for much of the past 20 years against oligarchs, corruption, and abuse of authority in all its forms. He liked to say that confusion and chaos were very much in the interests of the powerful—letting them take things, legally and illegally, with impunity. When inflation is high, who can say what a piece of property is really worth? When the credit system is supported by byzantine government arrangements and backroom deals, how do you know that you aren’t being fleeced?

Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just can’t seem to get into gear.

The second scenario begins more bleakly, and might end that way too. But it does provide at least some hope that we’ll be shaken out of our torpor. It goes like this: the global economy continues to deteriorate, the banking system in east-central Europe collapses, and—because eastern Europe’s banks are mostly owned by western European banks—justifiable fears of government insolvency spread throughout the Continent. Creditors take further hits and confidence falls further. The Asian economies that export manufactured goods are devastated, and the commodity producers in Latin America and Africa are not much better off. A dramatic worsening of the global environment forces the U.S. economy, already staggering, down onto both knees. The baseline growth rates used in the administration’s current budget are increasingly seen as unrealistic, and the rosy “stress scenario” that the U.S. Treasury is currently using to evaluate banks’ balance sheets becomes a source of great embarrassment.

Under this kind of pressure, and faced with the prospect of a national and global collapse, minds may become more concentrated.

The conventional wisdom among the elite is still that the current slump “cannot be as bad as the Great Depression.” This view is wrong. What we face now could, in fact, be worse than the Great Depression—because the world is now so much more interconnected and because the banking sector is now so big. We face a synchronized downturn in almost all countries, a weakening of confidence among individuals and firms, and major problems for government finances. If our leadership wakes up to the potential consequences, we may yet see dramatic action on the banking system and a breaking of the old elite. Let us hope it is not then too late.

I want a shower

We went for a walk at Lord's Park today, then I put in a few hours at the office. This evening I'm the mop and vacuum guy. I want to clean up and cool off first, maybe change into shorts and a jersey. One day near 80 and I have a Summer's Here attitude. I made a pitcher of iced tea and while it's chilling a bit I thought I'd write.

You know what? I'm just going to post this very nice picture of Janett, Owen, and me and write later.




Things we might have talked about:
Do you think the Road to Emmaus is an OK First Communion gift to an eight year old?

Do you think the markets high close today means this rally will continue, or are you thinking "double top"?

Why haven't I even mentioned the Blue Gold Spring game?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I just looked up Activision

They make WoW and Guitar Hero. Begads, sometime's it's better not to know. Anyway, here's what their chart looks like.




.

Just goes to show how wrong you can be

I mentioned yesterday having lost money on agn and dri. I don't mean to beat a dead horse but look at DRI today.



It's up 50% from where I bought my put. Chipotles, Cracker Barrel, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dine Equity (Applebees and Ihop) are all running up in the current rally. I guess we've found something American's are good at - dining out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The song that snaps me out of it

Mick taylor's Rolling Stones

Here's a happy picture

I'm cranky and out of sorts

I felt like typing "I already know what you think and you don't care what I think" or visa versa. Which wouldn't be true, but reflects a monumental self absorbtion. Maybe because I didn't make Easter services, I'm a little out of touch with God.

Maybe, because Janett and I were quarreling about inconsequential things today.

Maybe because I lost money on two consecutive trades.

Maybe because I'm floundering about in my efforts to get the bookkeeping business off the ground.

Maybe it's the sense of the economic malaise, accentuated with my cynicism

Maybe it's something in my horoscope.

But there are good things, too. It was sunny and around seventy today. Kim posted pictures from her garden. Janett posted a slideshow of photos from our trip to Fabyan park, and Steffy posted Easter pictures with a nice comment.

Saturday I'm invited to a luncheon at Jose's celebrating Abraham's first holy communion and Sunday I'm invited to Betsy's for a Traynor family get together. We are picking up a few bookkeeping clients, and yesterday I made a very careful purchase on a put, using all the tools in my little toolbox, which still looks OK. (Activision, but I've got my eye on BOK Financial.)
Tonight, I even got to make a call to an old friend about the reunion.

But I'm still colored in earth tones and lack that radiant aura that I always assume envelops me.

PS Floundering must be about the fish.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm embarrassed to stand before you after AGN

galloped 2$ up on Thursday, breaking my down-trend lines and leaving me with a loss on Friday whwn my option expired. But i had to bring you the news that Susan Boyle is facing some spirited competition in the current England's Most Talented. Take a look.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Steff and the boys had us over for Easter.



Mark was busy at church till after we'd gone home, but there were plenty of leftovers, and Kim and Ross said they'd come back tomorrow.

That blog post I copied here about Geithner and

Goldman Sachs, and others by the same author must have hurt someone's feelimg at GS.

Goldman Sachs hires law firm to shut blogger's site

Goldman Sachs is attempting to shut down a dissident blogger who is extremely critical of the investment bank, its board members and its practices.

By James Quinn, Wall Street Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:16PM BST 11 Apr 2009

The New York headquarters of Goldman Sachs, which has instructed a Wall Street law firm to tell a blogger to stop criticising the bank.

The bank has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website.

Florida-based Mr Morgan began a blog entitled "Facts about Goldman Sachs" – the web address for which is goldmansachs666.com – just a few weeks ago.

According to Chadbourne & Parke's letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site "violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights" and also "implies a relationship" with the bank itself.

Unsurprisingly for a man who has conjoined the bank's name with the Number of the Beast – although he jokingly points out that 666 was also the S&P500's bear-market bottom – Mr Morgan is unlikely to go down without a fight.

He claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website – and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank....

I don't think they have a case, but they can hire enough lawyers to keep him too busy to post objective assessments and honest appraisals.

As in re most matters spiritual, I refer you to Kim's blog

Her quote from Frederick Buechner reminds us that God gave up his son to suffer and die in order to show He would overcome wickedness, His own human vulnerability, and death. Why? To extend to us the opportunity to do the same.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shocked but not surprised, Asia edition

Thailand - pesky mice,

PATTAYA, Thailand (Reuters) – A summit of Asian leaders in Thailand was canceled on Saturday after anti-government protesters swarmed into the meeting's venue, renewing doubts about the durability of the government.

The events will pile more pressure on an economy teetering on the brink of recession, especially if foreign tourists are put off by the scenes of chaos and emboldened protesters intensify the fight to kick out Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Abhisit imposed a state of emergency for a few hours in Pattaya, a resort about 150 kms (90 miles) south of Bangkok best known for its racy nightlife and as a port of call for U.S. sailors*, which was to host the East Asia Summit.

He lifted it after the foreign leaders had left the country. About half of them had had to be evacuated by helicopter from the venue to a nearby military airbase.

The summit fiasco is a huge embarrassment for Abhisit's government, which came to power in December through parliamentary defections that the opposition says were engineered by the army.

*cute

our old friend Hekmatyar,

Holbrooke reaches out to Hekmatyar
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

The recent meeting between a deputy of Richard Holbrooke, the United States special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an emissary of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), is by all accounts a landmark move in the United States' stated aim of involving militant groups in ending the conflict in Afghanistan.

The choice of Hekmatyar also indicates just how desperate the US is in finding an escape route from the escalating crisis in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar is a declared terrorist with a reported $25 million price on his head. The 61-year-old engineer from Kunduz province and his anti-government fighters are responsible for large numbers of attacks against Afghan and international forces, mainly in the northeast of the country. For years, Washington has branded Hekmatyar an irreconcilable militant.

The HIA, founded by Hekmatyar, was one of the most effective mujahideen groups to fight the Soviet invasion during the 1980s. But, according to reports, the party became a favorite of Pakistan's intelligence agency and Hekmatyar's men were known as the most fundamentalist of all Afghan resistance fighters.

To date, however, the US has failed miserably in attracting mainstream Afghan forces of the past back into the political process, including tribal warlords, the Taliban, the Northern Alliance and the HIA. This means, as Peter Lee wrote last month in Asia Times Online, "...the unpredictable Hekmatyar, who has survived the jihad, the civil war, defeat at the hands of the Taliban, exile in Iraq, an assassination attempt by the CIA, and return to Afghanistan as an insurgent leader, is the great hope of all parties as the only Pashtun strongman untainted by al-Qaeda and possibly capable of taking on the Taliban."

and a new concern

Cows With Gas: India's Contribution to Global Warming
By MADHUR SINGH / NEW DELHI Madhur Singh / New Delhi – Sat Apr 11, 2:00 am ET
Indolent cows languidly chewing their cud while befuddled motorists honk and maneuver their vehicles around them are images as stereotypically Indian as saffron-clad holy men and the Taj Mahal. Now, however, India's ubiquitous cows - of which there are 283 million, more than anywhere else in the world - have assumed a more menacing role as they become part of the climate change debate.

By burping, belching and excreting copious amounts of methane - a greenhouse gas that traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide - India's livestock of roughly 485 million (including sheep and goats) contribute more to global warming than the vehicles they obstruct. With new research suggesting that emission of methane by Indian livestock is higher than previously estimated, scientists are furiously working at designing diets to help bovines and other ruminants eat better, stay more energetic and secrete lesser amounts of the offensive gas

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Redacted

L_____ and J_____ dropped in this evening and J_____ brought Janett a lovely gift. In the course of the visit it came to light that parties not to be named thought my reference in a previous post to L_____'s not to be named horse was, potentially, a source of embarassment to L______. That post has been deleted. I am filled with remorse and apologise profusely to all concerned.

Any and all other person(s) named in any past or future posting at this site are humbly requested to notify this writer of any possible discomfort any such reference(s) may (have) cause(d). The offending post(s) will be likewise deleted and (a) similar apology(ies) issued.

Sincerely,

A___

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

One other thing before bed

I followed a link to the Asia Times On Line. I've dropped in there often enough that I ought to mention to you all that it should be one of your top three news links, and I'm not sure who the other two ought to be. Link

PS that wasn't entirely true. I guess you need Google News. then BBC or NPR with honorable mention to C S Monitor. Oh, and I used to try to read the Economist, but for the casual observer, their stuff is a little ponderous.

Flowers for Allgeran

This is a picture of my AGN chart from Incredible charts. It shows the stock at the high end of its declining range, bumpimg off the 50% retracement level. I pay $12 per month for this service and the charts can be updated daily.



Click Here forthe AGN chart from BestFreeCharts showing the same trend line, and the same Fibonacci retracement level, but with more panache, and the free service updates at almost any interval you'd like (1 min, 5 min, 10 min,...daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly) and shows market activity in real time

Which do you prefer? and would you think less of me for using one rather than the other?

Monday, April 06, 2009

"Oh, the Mendacity"

Burl Ives said that in a movie made from a Tennessee Williams play, maybe Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Elizabeth Taylor. Hmmm, maybe my blog does have a theme, with frequent asides.

I'm sure you've all noticed the link to Slope of Hope, Tim Knight's (technical) market analysis blog that I refer to sometimes. Well, click here, and I'll take you there, where you'll find links to three UTube videos from the Bill Moyers show. Moyers is interviewing a former regulator, Bill Black, about the financial crisis. You should watch these. They're interesting and easy to understand, and more than a little disconcerting.

I'm beginning to register some disappointment in Obama as he allows the Goldman Sachs crew, especially Larry Summers, to funnel hundreds of billions of money the government has to borrow, and that taxpayers will have to pay back, to the corrupt institutions and individuals that knowingly perpetrated fraud in order to collect their bonuses, supposedly "earned" by packaging up crappy debt and poisoning world-wide financial markets with it.*

Because some of my readers are too young to remember, Bill Moyers was President Johnson's press secretary. Over the years he has outlived the unfortunate association with the Viet Nam war and is probably the only true representative of the populist tradition left in the American media. Good for you, Bill.

Oh, and one other serious question, After bailing out the banks from the mortgage debt crisis, do the G-S guys plan to bail out the banks in the consumer debt crisis now developing, and then the munincipal debt crisis which will follow, as well as the commercial debt crisis we can all see coming? Come on Barack. You have very limited time to find a radical solution to an unprecedented dilemna. Relying on the self same representatives of the corrupt system that created this mess isn't going to lead to an acceptable outcome (and vouching for their credibilty now insulates them from the legal penalties they should be facing.)

*68 word sentence, a new record?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cacophonous

My blog lacks a theme.

I post about whatever's on my mind. Visitors don't know what to expect, and probably find some posts uninteresting, or even annoying. Is there a benefit to being informed on a topic you don't really care about? It kind of gets back to the inductive vs deductive thing.

One can observe the big picture and try to figure out how it happened to develop, or one can observe a myriad of lesser phenomena and try to assemble them into a workable model.

Anyway, sorry to be chaotic. Hope it doesn't give you a headache.

Friday, April 03, 2009

I mentioned in my Tuesday post re Louie that I had bought

an AGN put. After the DNI debacle I didn't want to make a big deal out of it.
Also, I felt bad about shorting into a rally. The stock han run up $10 dollars a couple of days before on acquisition rumors which were probably just rumors.

That's the chart I was looking at. I sold a 45 put at 46.50. The stock went up to 48.50 this week. What do you think?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Geithner = Dupe?

Last week I posted that Geithner reminded me of Bobby the day after Jack got shot. This blogger suggests that Geithner was at best a willing dupe of the Goldman Sachs crew.

Facts About Goldman Sachs
An open forum for facts and discussion about what part Goldman Sachs and their executives played in the current Global Economic Crisis.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Geithner - Goldman - PIMROCK
I received this from a reliable source. I cannot verify everything in this post, but I don't see anything out of place or totally off the wall. - Mike

I've been peeling the onion on Geithner, and I keep coming up with more onion. What I've learned, however, allows me to shed a little light on "PIMROCK" (PIMCO, BlackRock)..

Pete Peterson, former Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, hand picked Geithner for the position of NY Fed President. Geithner was a Senior Fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations. Peterson was co-founder and CEO of the Blackstone Group hedge fund, which spun off BlackRock. 49% of BlackRock is owned by Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch is owned by Bank of America. Bank of America and Bank of America bonds have arguably taken over from Citigroup as the most important financial stock and bonds to watch.

Geithner, who was little more than a glorified clerk, was made President of the NY Fed in 2003. His boss and chief advisor was Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. Alan Greenspan works today as a consultant for PIMCO. "Why would PIMROCK go along with this?.....because they hold $100B in J.P. Citi of America bonds, and they've received assurances that if we can get the nation out of the financial pickle it's in, there will be no haircuts on those bonds." (quoting Waldman).

Who really ran the NY Fed when Giethner was President? Well, his three "class-A" Directors were Jamie Dimon, Stephen Friedman and Richard Fuld.

Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JP Morgan, receipient of at least $25 billion in TARP money and another $30 billion in Fed funds collateralized by Bear Stearns paper (which had been formally managed by BlackRock, and is now being paid for by the US taxpayers). The Bear Stearns give away to JPM was supposed to be Geithner's idea, but it had to be Dimon's idea. After all, Geithner is worth $1.6 million while Dimon is personally worth over $2 billion. Who was the real force behind that deal?

NY Fed board member Stephen Friedman, also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, was Chairman of Goldman Sachs until 1994. Friedman still sits on Goldman's board. I think it's safe to say he's got the Fed looking after Goldman Sach's interests. But, just in case, there is Edward F. Murphy, Execuitve VP of the NY Fed. Murphy was A former VP and CFO at Goldman Sachs.

Former Lehman CEO, Richard Fuld, who resigned his position on the NY Fed Board when Lehman collapsed, was the sacrificial lamb. The Lehman collapse had to happen, if for no other reason, so that Geithner could send Dimon $138 billion to give to Citigroup to cover the $138 billion in bad paper it was stuck with. So, even though Lehman went down, those Citigroup/Bank of NY Mellon bondholders walked away whole. Geithner had to protect his old Treasury boss, Rubin, who had over $100 million stuck in Citigroup.

Ironically, another of Geithner's former bosses, Larry Summers, who was working for the D. E. Shaw & Co., a hedge fund that Fortune Magazine called, "the most intriguing and mysterious force on Wall Street", and that specialized in acquiring the assets of distressed companies, dumped a 20% share of that quant company on Lehman in 2007.

I guess Shaw & Co. had learned its lessons about bad assets after it had been clobbered during the LCTM (Long Term Capital Management) crash. If you remember, it was Summers who negotiated the LCTM bailout. It looks like he finally got rewarded by Shaw & Co., a company best known for its "quantitave investment strategies particularly statistical arbitrage". Anyway, don't cry for Richard Fuld, he still walked away with over $22 million. Fuld, GE CEO Jeff Immelt and GS CEO LLoyd Blankfein all sit on the board of the Robinhood Foundation. I ain't making this stuff up.

E. Gerald Corrigan was the 7th President of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and the Vice-Chairman of the Fed Open Market Committee. He had one of the strongest influences on Geithner. Who else influenced Geithner when he was NY Fed Chairman? According to Corrigan, "He (Geithner) brings in groups of people. That includes, at times, some of his old Treasury buddies"(he's talking about Rubin and Summers). "As I said, he has really worked at this networking thing I keep talking about". Rubin, of course, was not only Geithner's former boss at Treasury, but he was also a former CEO of Goldman Sachs. Corrigan, by the way, is now a Chairman at Goldman Sachs.

John Thain, that other Goldman Sachs guy, once bragged about his access to Geithner. He said, "sometimes I talk to him multiple times a day".

Remember, John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch and of $35,000 toilet fame (where much money was flushed), when Merrill owned BlackRock, had, at one time, been COO at Goldman Sachs until 2003. Then he went on to become Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.

So, when BlackRock was controlling the Bear Stearn/JPM "assets" at the Fed, it was Thain, the former Goldman Sachs COO, who managed the company that owned the company that "managed" the toxic Fed (now taxpayer) assets. It gets complicated, but whether it was Thain managing the BS/JPM assets, or Thain running the NY Stock Exchange, it's just one more Goldman Sachs crony running another part of the corrupt business universe. All we can do is to continue to CONNECT THE DOTS.......