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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The bears math

If you thought Obama suffered from grade inflation, check out what grade Karl Denninger gave himself on calling the market:

"The stock market has not bottomed.  1/2 credit.  It had not bottomed but my SPX 500 @ 500 call was not achieved.  The 50% swing, however, got damn close.  Lots of money to be made if you're quick and good, but an absolute minefield if you're a long-term investor - spot on."

He gets a half credit? For that? Do fries come with that???

And the NAZ and S&P go up over 80% and 60% from the bottom, without a correction greater than 6%, and yet the market was a minefield for long term investors?

Looks like David Rosenberg math to me!

But he has an elaborate post, today, with all kinds of charts, proving that next year will be bad!

With a forecast worse than his grade inflation!

Weather channel marriage proposal



And when the weatherman proposes:



It's pretty easy to guess the over/under on which one of these will FAIL first. After-all lets check out the track record for the on air proposals of the bachelor:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ACORN CEO visits Obama at White House 5 days before Sting Videos (Whooops--wrong Bertha Lewis!)


This afternoon, on arguably one of the slower news day of the year, the Obama White House released another document dump of “visitor records.” According to the White House, today’s batch total more than 25,000 records, covering meetings between September 16-September 30th.

According to the visitor logs, on September 2nd Bertha E. Lewis made an appointment on to visit the White House on September 5th at 12:30. (We usually need to plan further ahead to get our hair cut.) On the evening of the 4th, that appointment was canceled so Bertha could move her appointment earlier, to 10am.

And it doesn’t seem to have actually been a work visit, as her appointment indicates she was visiting the Residence within the White House. Also, September 5th was a Saturday. Nice.

In addition, the record notes that she was to receive a STAFF TOUR, which are different-and more special-than the regular Group Tours available to others.

Ms. Lewis doesn’t seem to have returned to the White House after this visit. Of course, just 5 days after this visit, James O’Keefe would release the first video of his undercover journalism on the systemic corruption within ACORN.

After the firestorm that erupted from O’Keefe’s reporting, President Obama was asked by Fox News for his opinion on the scandal. Despite long-standing ties to ACORN, Obama acted almost as if he’d never heard of the group.

Of course, at that point, it had been…several…days…since ACORN’s CEO was in the Residence at the White House. Who can keep up?

Of course, it is possible that this isn’t ACORN’s Bertha Lewis. After a previous dump of visitor records listed the name, Jeremiah Wright, the White House said, ‘oh, that was a different Jeremiah Wright.’ The media, of course, said, ‘okay,’ and never followed up. So, maybe the Bertha Lewis listed here isn’t the CEO of ACORN. Just another Bertha Lewis who gets special weekend access to the White House Residence, complete with an extra-special staff tour. Sure, possible, but we’d love to see a bookie’s odds on that.


Maybe it's just another blue moon moment in Washington D.C!

Limbaugh rushed to hospital in Hawaii


Limbaugh was treated for chest pains and rushed to The Queen's Medical Center in serious condition.

Body scans at airport said to be too revealing


The backlash is already starting.

The scans are virtual strip searches.

Now I know the "models" next to the TSA scan are just pictured from the backside, and therefore, we can't get an accurate comparison, so here's another picture of the TSA scan.

And, as you can clearly see by that rear view picture, she's wearing a thong!



Wait--was there something else I was supposed to see? (No nipple slip thanks to TSA lighting?)

Besides the thong?

The good thing about these scans, it will necessitate more hiring, and the workers will be more concerned about working the screening booth, than joining the union!

I wonder how quickly the job openings in LA or Miami will fill!

But whatever you do, don't post the new TSA procedures on the net. A blogger did, and a TSA special agent visited him:


Special agents from the TSA’s Office of Inspection interrogated two U.S. bloggers, one of them an established travel columnist, and served them each with a civil subpoena demanding information on the anonymous source that provided the TSA document.

The document, which the two bloggers published within minutes of each other Dec. 27, was sent by TSA to airlines and airports around the world and described temporary new requirements for screening passengers through Dec. 30, including conducting “pat-downs” of legs and torsos. The document, which was not classified, was posted by numerous bloggers. Information from it was also published on some airline websites.

“They’re saying it’s a security document but it was sent to every airport and airline,” says Steven Frischling, one of the bloggers. “It was sent to Islamabad, to Riyadh and to Nigeria. So they’re looking for information about a security document sent to 10,000-plus people internationally. You can’t have a right to expect privacy after that.”
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Big brother can't stop a Nigerian terrorist, who paid for his airplane ticket in cash, who didn't check any baggage, who studied in Yemen, whose visa was denied by the UK, whose name was on every terrorist list in the country, who had explosives sown into his feminine underpants,  but if you write something on the Internet, they're at your doorstep the next day!

Urban Meyer was taken to hospital by ambulance


Not quite just a case of dehydration....

A 911 call made from Urban Meyer's home at about 4:30 a.m. ET on Dec. 6, after Florida lost in the SEC championship game, reveals that the Gators' coach was rushed to the hospital by ambulance after complaining of chest pains and a tingling sensation on his side.

The Dec. 6 call, obtained Wednesday by ESPN, contradicts an earlier statement from the University of Florida that the coach checked himself into a Gainesville hospital that morning for dehydration, only later to admit that he also had chest pains.

Meyer's wife, Shelley, who placed the 911 call, said her husband awoke briefly that morning and tried to get out of bed, but fell to the floor. On the call, Shelley Meyer said he was breathing and had a pulse but would not wake up. She said her husband had been taking the sleeping pill Ambien, which she said often puts him into a deep sleep.

On the call, Shelley Meyer also said her husband had never had a heart attack before but had complained of chest pains due to anxiety.

Doesn't this guy remind you of a shortseller?



OMG-My portfolio is totally underwater!

Rosie's new girlfriend


Which one's the man? Maybe the pink shoes aren't the tell!

A new blood-alcohol record set by South Dakota drunk


Looks like we have a mark that even the New Year revelers can't top.

A Sturgis woman had a blood-alcohol level of .708 percent, possibly a state record, when she was found earlier this month behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle parked on Interstate 90, according to Meade County State’s Attorney Jesse Sondreal.

A South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper discovered Marguerite Engle, 45, on Dec. 1 passed out behind the wheel of a delivery truck reported stolen in Rapid City.

Her blood-alcohol level was almost nine times South Dakota’s legal limit of .08 percent.

Checks with local and state labs where blood-alcohol levels are tested suggest Engle’s reading may be the highest ever recorded in South Dakota, Sondreal said.

Sondreal said a state chemist recalled a sample that tested .53, but nothing higher, in his more than 30 years on the job.

Dr. Robert Looyenga, who recently retired from the Rapid City Police Department’s forensic laboratory, told Sondreal that the highest blood-alcohol sample he tested measured .56 percent.

Sondreal’s research indicates that a blood-alcohol level of .40 is considered a lethal dose for about 50 percent of the population.

“Engle’s was almost double that,” Sondreal said.

After she was found, Engle was hospitalized and freed on bond.

Who needs Hollywood when you have Craigslist?


A letter to my dead girlfriend - m4w


Date: 2009-10-25, 1:36PM CDT


It has been a rough year darling. The ethereal power of Craig's List will get this message to you I am sure, like in some sort of cheesy 80s movie.

Well back to the last year, you of course died at the beginning of it which put things to a sour start. I spent last night with your mum and dad, we went to that Italian place in Wicker Park, who on the surface seem to be coping. I had everyone get together for my 25th which went well, your ladies are on top form and I think some engagements are brewing. Ellen is turning up the heat on Steve who will soon be forced down to one knee as you predicted.

Last weekend I finally took the step of cleaning out your clothes from the closet, which is very barren now. I invited your friends over to take your what they liked, it was an awkward session. I think they took them more as a favor to me than anything else. Liz cried when we pulled out all of your shoes, Miranda joined in and then Catherine broke down. It was strange to stand in our bedroom surrounded by three crying girls. I made a joke about them crying for joy at the prospect of some free Manolo Balhniks which they didn�t seem to find very funny.

A few girls have put the moves on and as you know picking up women is not a forte of mine. It seems the grieving boyfriend seems to be a good angle. Who knew! I went on one date and spent it talking about you, the poor girl. You would have found it quite witty I think. No other dates to report, I am going against your orders to move on for now.

I found one of those hair tie things that somehow managed to squeeze into every crevice in the apartment. It was under the bed. I sat on the floor holding it and cried. Until then I had held everything together but it just all came flooding out.

Every morning when I wake up I forget for a fraction of a second that you are gone and I reach for you. All I ever find is the cold side of the bed. My eyes settle on the picture of us in Paris, on the bedside table, and I am overjoyed that even though the time was brief I loved you and you loved me.

Love,

P.

Goldman Sachs picture book for Q1



Goldman Sachs Q1 2010 Outlook                                                                                                                                                       

Barclays tout on AAPL


Apple (AAPL)                                                                                                                                                

Obama gets an "F" for protecting Americans


The Telegraph:     There is no more solemn duty for an American commander-in-chief than the martialling of “all elements of American power” – the phrase Obama himself used on Monday – to protect the people of the United States. In that key respect, Obama failed on Christmas Day, just as President George W. Bush failed on September 11th (though he succeeded in the seven years after that).

Yes, the buck stops in the Oval Office. Obama may have rather smugly given himself a “B+” for his 2008 performance but he gets an F for the events that led to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarding a Detroit-bound plane in Amsterdam with a PETN bomb sewn into his underpants. He said today that a “systemic failure has occurred”. Well, he’s in charge of that system.

The picture we’re getting is more and more alarming by the hour. Here are some key elements to consider:

1. Abdulmutallab’s father spoke several times to the US Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria and visited a CIA officer there to tell him, apparently, that he feared his son was a jihadist being trained in Yemen. According to CNN, the CIA officer wrote up a report, which then sat in the CIA headquarters at Langley for several weeks without being disseminated to the rest of the intelligence community. This was not just a casual encounter. Again according to CNN, there were at least two face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and written correspondence with the father. If it’s true that the CIA sat on this then it beggars belief.


2. After 9/11, the huge bureaucracies of the Homeland Security Department and the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) were created. Inside the DNI, the National Counter Terrorism Center was created. These organisations were created to “connect the dots”. It may well be that the fault lay with NCTC and not the CIA – CIA spokesman George Little says here that “key biographical information” and information about “possible extremist connections in Yemen” was passed to NCTC. If NCTC knew about it, then did someone at the National Security Council within the White House? There’s a huge blame game beginning so we’ll no doubt know soon enough.

3. It wasn’t just the meeting with the father. According to CBS, “as early as August of 2009 the Central Intelligence Agency was picking up information on a person of interest dubbed ‘The Nigerian’ suspected of meeting with ‘terrorist elements’ in Yemen”. So there were other parts of the jigsaw that were not put together.

4. In his studied desire to be the unBush by responding coolly to events like this, Obama is dangerously close to failing as a leader. Yes, it is good not to shoot from the hip and make broad assertions without the facts. But Obama took three days before speaking to the American people, emerging on Monday in between golf and tennis games in Hawaii to deliver a rather tepid address that significantly underplayed what happened. He described Abdulmutallab as an “isolated extremist” who “allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body” – phrases that indicate a legalistic, downplaying approach that alarms rather than reassures. Today’s words showed a lot more fire and desire to get on top of things – we’ll see whether Obama follows through with action. In the meantime, he went snorkelling.

5. There has been a pattern developing with the Obama administration trying to minimise terrorist attacks. We saw it with Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, a Muslim convert who murdered a US Army recruit in Little Rock, Arkansas in June. We saw it with Major Nidal Malik Hassan, a Muslim with Palestinian roots who slaughtered 13 at Fort Hood, Texas last month. In both cases, there were Yemen connections. Obama began to take the same approach with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. We’ll see whether this incident shakes him out of that complacency. Whether it’s called the war on terror or not, it’s clear that the US is at war against al-Qaeda and radical Islamists.

6. Guantanamo Bay. It seems that two of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) planners behind this attack were released from Guantanamo Bay during the Bush administration. That calls into question the competence of Bush administration officials but also the wisdom of closing Guantanamo Bay. How many other enemies of America and the West are going to be released back to the battlefield? As Mike Goldfarb asks: “Is the Obama administration seriously still considering sending some 90 Yemeni detainees now being held at Gitmo back to their country of origin, where al Qaeda are apparently running around with impunity?”


7. Janet Napolitano, Obama’s Homeland Security Chief, has been a distaster in this, exhibiting the kind of bureaucratic complacency that makes ordinary citizens want to go postal. On Sunday, she told CNN that “one thing I’d like to point out is that the system worked” and ABC News that “once the incident occurred, the system worked”. A day later, she grumbled that quoted “out of context” before reversing herself, telling NBC: “Our system did not work in this instance. No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is under way.” The “system worked” comment was a “heckuva job, Brownie” moment. Is she up to the job?

8. Will Obama hold individuals accountable? Briefing the press today behind a cloak of anonymity as a “Senior Administration Official”, Denis McDonough, NSC chief of staff (he gave the game away by saying he was from Minnesota), said that Obama “intends to demand accountability at the highest levels” before adding: ” It remains to be seen what that means exactly.” If heads don’t roll – and soon – then Obama’s words will seem hollow. It’s an opportunity for him to show some real steel.

9. There’s a continued, unfortunate tendency for everyone in Obamaland to preface every comment about something going wrong with a sideswipe against the Bush administration. On Sunday, Bill Burton, Deputy White House Press Secretary, briefed: “On the Sunday shows, Robert Gibbs and Secretary Napolitano made clear that we are pressing ahead with securing our nation against threats and our aggressive posture in the war with al Qaeda. We are winding down a war in Iraq that took our eye off of the terrorists that attacked us, and have dramatically increased our resources in Afghanistan and Pakistan where those terrorists are.” Why pat yourself on the back for “winding down a war in Iraq that took our eye off of the terrorists that attacked us” when the issue at hand is why the US government under Obama, er, took its eyes off a terrorist who did try to attack us and nearly killed 300 people? It’s bordering on the juvenile. Obama’s been president for a year now. It’s time for him to accept that things that happen as his responsibility, not Bush’s. It’s time for him to echo Ronald Reagan, who said over Iran-Contra: “I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my administration.”

10. Will there be US air attacks against targets in Yemen? Watch this space. It’s safe to say that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, described to me by a senior intelligence official today as “officially recognised and in corporate terms a sanctioned franchise of al-Qaeda” that is plainly now seeking to become an international rather than just a regional Islamist player.

Morgan Stanley sued for fraud for packaging CDOs



Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley was accused in a lawsuit of defrauding investors in a collateralized-debt obligation, called the Libertas CDO, by collaborating with ratings companies to place triple-A ratings on the notes.

Morgan Stanley, the sixth-biggest U.S. lender by assets, arranged the offering as it was short-selling almost the entire $1.2 billion worth of assets in the CDO, according to a complaint filed today in federal court in New York.

“Morgan Stanley was betting the entire investment it was promoting would fail,” the public employees’ retirement system of the Virgin Islands said in the complaint. “The firm achieved its objective

The notes, due 2045, collapsed in value, according to the complaint, which includes claims for fraud and unjust enrichment. AAA is the highest rating for fixed-income instruments. The portfolio was 92 percent residential mortgage- backed securities and included exposure to more than $130 million in loans from Option One Mortgage Corp. and $100 million from New Century Mortgage Corp., both lenders to homebuyers with poor credit scores, according to the complaint..

“By collaborating with major credit-rating agencies to place Triple-A ratings on the rated notes, Morgan Stanley intentionally or recklessly misled investors in the Libertas CDO,” according to the complaint. “But for Morgan Stanley’s violations of law, the rated notes never would have been issued.”

New Year's "blue moon"


1990 was the last blue moon on New Year's Eve, and the next one won't be until 2028.

A blue moon happens when you have two full moons on the same month. That's because a lunar cycle happens every 29 1/2 days, (354 days) while the solar cycle has another 11 days. So 37 times every 100 years, we have a blue moon.

Remember the beer pow-wow/photo-op/summitt at the White House with Sargent Crowley and Professor Henry Gates, Jr?


Barry's beer was Bud Light
Biden's beer was Bucklers
Gates had a Sam Adams Light
Crowley drank Blue Moon

That was also a once in a Blue Moon moment!



And like on New Year's Eve, everyone was kissing face!

WSJ--They now see a profit revival


The forecast of Wall Street analysts is that companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index will earn $77.54 a share next year, according to Thomson Financial, implying a gain of roughly 30% over 2009...

The consensus top-down forecast for 2010 earnings is $72.52 a share, based on a tally of the views of 18 strategists and economists conducted by The Wall Street Journal. That 21% gain is more conservative than the bottom-up forecast, but not by much....

The gap between the camps was much wider, roughly $40 per share, a year ago at the height of the financial crisis. That suggests more clarity and comfort about the 2010 outlook.

There are reasons for optimism. Margins will thicken if companies stay slow to hire, as most economists expect. One-time federal tax breaks for corporations, worth $30 billion by some estimates, also will help. And S&P 500 companies derive nearly half of their earnings overseas, where growth is expected to be stronger.
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Compare today's story to what we heard from the WSJ, who disbelieved this rally the entire way up. And if they were so wrong on the stock market, what makes anyone think that they have earnings estimates that are close to reality?

Isn't the stock market game  beat and raise? So what happens then to estimates?

And why is it, that we can easily spot a phony forecast, even if it's fake, but no-one seems to out on Wall Street?


In March, the WSJ said we were heading for 5,000.

Dow 5000? There's a Case for It

Despite Friday's small gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked its fourth consecutive week of losses as it tumbled through the 7000-point mark and spiraled to new 12-year lows. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is trading below 700 for the first time since 1996. As earnings estimates are ratcheted down and hopes for a quick economic fix fade, the once-inconceivable notion of returning to Dow 5000 or S&P 500 at 500 looks a little less far-fetched.
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On April 6 they called the rally
just another bear-market rally. What did you think they would call it? They were, after all, touting Dow 5,000!

It's Starting To Look a Lot like November.

The recent stock-market rally is turning heads. Why, there hasn't been anything like it since at least...November.

..Until this past Thursday, November's rally was bigger, with the S&P 500 up 21% in 17 days, compared with 20% for the current bounce. The earlier surge carried through to early January, but then fell off a cliff to hit 12-year low..

But this rally's scaffolding includes wishful thinking, too. It was launched by word that some big banks were profitable in January and February. Two months do not a quarter make, and banks indicated conditions got tougher in March.

While this bounce might not mirror November's, it still has the hallmarks of a bear-market rally.
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After being wrong in March, and then in April, the WSJ tried again in May, telling us that stocks are no longer cheap.

By Most Measures, Stocks are No Longer Cheap
The outlook for stocks has brightened but, thanks to the big rally of the past two months, the market is no longer a bargain.

By many measures, stocks are still on the cheaper side of the ledger. But they are approaching levels that bring them closer to long-term averages, making them neither a deal nor expensive.
As a result, valuation has shifted from being a talking point of the bulls to one used by those bearish on the near-term outlook. And even many of those who think the market has hit bottom -- a rapidly growing group -- say valuations now suggest investors should tread more carefully.
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In a fairy tale, you can only cry wolf three times, but this is Wall Street, so we need to treat them biblically. We have to forgive them 70x7 times. So the WSJ warns us again:

A Bear Market Lurks as Dow Nears 10000


Rarely has the stock market seen a six-month rally like the one it just turned in. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's 46% surge was one of just six of that magnitude in the last 100 years. And that is exactly what worries many analysts. 

All previous rallies of this magnitude took place in the 1930s and the 1970s, according to Ned Davis Research. Those were periods of turbulence for both the economy and the markets, and none of the gains was sustained.

Many analysts believe that stocks are again in such a turbulent period, and that this rally could lead to another slump. Stocks did enjoy a rally of 40% in 1982, at the start of a long-running period of stock-market prosperity. That rally wasn't of the same magnitude of the others, however. It came as economic troubles, notably inflation, were finally being squeezed out of the economy. "We could end up having another big decline next year," said Tim Hayes, Ned Davis's chief investment strategist, who correctly forecast a rally early this year. "Right now, people are asking me, 'Is it too late to get in?' We are saying, sure, you can get in, but don't fall asleep at the wheel, you have to get out, too. If you are looking to put money in and then not look at it for a year, you are taking a big chance.
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With forecasts like these, someone should get slapped!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tiger Woods enters rehab for sex addiction in Arizona



A couple days ago he was supposedly in Palm Beach with Rachel, except the guy with her was white and didn't golf. He's in the Meadows in Arizona for rehab for sex addiction.


Seven year old painting prodigy


Why pay full price for an unknown when you can get a painting from a seven year old that could markedly appreciate? I wonder if any of his paintings decorate the walls of these hedge fund traders that collect art who think they are so good at spotting undiscovered talent?

the story

Kieron Williamson kneels on the wooden bench in his small kitchen, takes a pastel from the box by his side and rubs it on to a piece of paper.

"Have you got a picture in your head of what you're going to do?" asks his mother, Michelle.

"Yep," Kieron nods. "A snow scene."

Because it is winter at the moment, I ask.

"Yep."

Do you know how you want it to come out?

"Yep."

And does it come out how you want it to?

"Sometimes it does."


Like many great artists, small boys are not often renowned for their loquaciousness. While Kieron Williamson is a very normal seven-year-old who uses his words sparingly, what slowly emerges on the small rectangle of paper in his kitchen is extraordinarily eloquent.

This month, Kieron's second exhibition in a gallery in his home town of Holt, Norfolk, sold out in 14 minutes. The sale of 16 new paintings swelled his bank account by £18,200. There are now 680 people on a waiting list for a Kieron original. Art lovers have driven from London to buy his work. Agents buzz around the town. People offer to buy his schoolbooks. The starting price for a simple pastel picture like the one Kieron is sketching? £900.

Kieron lives with his dad Keith, a former electrician, his mum, who is training to be a nutritionist, and Billie-Jo, his little sister, in a small flat overlooking a petrol station. When I arrive on a Saturday afternoon, Kieron and Keith are out. When Kieron returns in football socks and shorts, I assume he has been playing football. But no, he has been replenishing his stock of pastels in Holt, a chichi little place where even the chip shop has grainy portraits for sale on its walls....




With all the people wanting paintings, I ask Kieron if he feels he has to do them. He says no.

So you only paint when you want to? "Yep."

Do you have days when you feel you don't want to paint?

"Yep."

So you only do it when you're in the mood?

"Yep."

How many paintings or drawings do you do each week? One or two? "About six."

Is he a perfectionist? "You've got a bit of an artist's temperament, haven't you?" says Michelle, softly, as Kieron continues wielding his pastels. "You get really frustrated if it doesn't work out. You punched a hole in the canvas once, didn't you?"....



Kieron's tips for landscape painting


1 "Go on holiday to where you really want to go, and be inspired."

2 "Start with acrylics, then watercolours, then pastels and then oils"

3 When you set out to do a landscape, "start with the sky first, top to bottom."

4 "When you do distance, it's lighter, and when you do foreground it comes darker."

5 "If you're doing a figure in the winter, do a brown head, leave a small gap, do a blue jacket and brown legs. Then with the gap get a red pastel and do a flick of red so it looks like a scarf."

6 "Keep on painting."

Move your Money!



And you can find your local community bank here. Just put in your zip code!

Shenzhen Power tells Goldman Sachs to f*ck themselves


BEIJING, Dec 29 (Reuters) - A small Chinese power generator on Tuesday rejected demands from a Goldman Sachs unit to pay for nearly $80 million lost on two oil hedging contracts, part of a long-running dispute over how China deals with derivatives losses.

Shenzhen Nanshan Power said in a statement that it received several notices from J. Aron & Company, a trading subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, for at least $79.96 million as compensation for terminating oil option contracts.

"We will not accept the demand by J. Aron for all the losses and related interests," said Nanshan, in line with the stance it took last December.
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A small Chinese firm diid what our big Government couldn't. Tell Goldman to go and f*ck themselves.


After all, isn't this Goldman's salute to us?

Now the only question that remains is--Are these derivatives now on Goldman's Level III assets?

So Goldman can salute shareholders, while it gets saluted by the Chinese!

Karl Rove divorces his wife; reportedly looking for a Washington page


Karl Rove's divorce is here.

He's taking a page from his stepfather's book.

The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree!

Mom and baby die during labor, but come back from the dead during Christmas



I guess they wasn't any room at the Inn in heaven, so St. Peter sent them back.

On Christmas Eve, Tracey's water broke, so the couple went to Memorial Hospital. They thought it would be a routine delivery, just like it was with their other two boys.

"I guess I went into cardiac arrest and I really don't remember anything after that," Tracey recalls.

"She was dead, she had no heartbeat, no breathing,” said Stephanie Martin, D.O., director of maternal fetal medicine at Memorial Hospital. “She was as gray as her sweatsuit, no signs of life."

"I sat there with my wife's hand in mine, ice cold,” said Mike. “She was completely and totally blue."

After trying, in vain, to resuscitate Tracey for several minutes, Dr. Martin decided to do an emergency c-section right there in the delivery room. But when the baby came out, he too wasn't breathing.

"Half of my family was laying there in front of me, there's no other way to say it, but dead," said Mike.

Then came the Hermanstorfer's Christmas miracle. "Immediately after delivering him, her pulse came back," said Dr. Martin. Martin tells 11 News, when pregnant women have complications, they have been known to recover once the baby is delivered.

After the delivery, doctors rushed Tracey to the operating room to complete the surgery. In the meantime, Coltyn's tiny, lifeless, body was handed to his father Mike. Doctors still worked to get the baby breathing. "They actually got him started right in my hands. That is an amazing feeling," said Mike.

Mom and baby now show no sign of complications. The Hermanstorfer family is home, getting to know baby Coltyn, who was born weighing 7lbs. 4oz. and measuring 19 inches long. His original due date was January 5.

After running multiple tests, doctors still don't know what sent Tracey into cardiac arrest. Doctors they tell 11 News, although little Coltyn shows no signs of complications his parents will have to keep a close eye on his milestones. They have to monitor things like when he crawls and sits up, because there is no way to know for sure if he will suffer long-term effects.

Santelli: They're shoveling "pig slop" into the GSE's


Single family delinquencies are increasing, so throw your mortgage paper at Fannie and Freddie

The Government lifts the cap on support to Fannie and Freddie from $200 billion apiece, even though they are just using now just $60 and $51 billion each.

Fannie and Freddie are just another "warehouse that never was."

Throw all your housing slop on Fannie and Freddie shoulders, because the speculation is the Government will push for an enhanced version of HAMP concentrating on principal reduction, because the modifications that cut the principal, instead of just kicking the can down the road with a lower teaser rate, stick.

Homeowners, that want to stay in their home, are being forced to sell their home in foreclosure at a discount to someone else that wants to buy it.  Why not let the homeowner get a modification with a lower rate and a principal reduction, so the modification will stick?

And that's why the bears are b*tching.

They want calamity, while our Government wants to be re-elected.

Apparently, corporate bonds aren't on a "sugar high"

Didn't Mark Kiesel of PIMCO get El-Erian's memo?

Credit Fundamentals Improving
Corporate credit fundamentals have improved with the return of private capital and management’s desire for less aggressive business and financial profiles. Rising cash balances, stronger balance sheets, an improving economy and easier credit conditions are all helping to support corporations....


This improvement in corporate credit fundamentals has materially improved the outlook for default risk, particularly in the high yield market, and increased balance sheet strength and financial flexibility for corporations. As a result, Standard & Poor’s is now upgrading more companies than it is downgrading (Chart 1).

Corporate executives’ confidence has increased with the improvements in balance sheets, credit availability and credit fundamentals, along with the gradual strengthening of the global economy. Nevertheless, management remains conservative on the outlook for sustainable economic growth, as government and monetary stimulus may fade throughout 2010. The longer-term economic outlook remains unclear, causing management to remain highly cautious about hiring and capital spending. This explains why companies are hoarding cash: According to JPMorgan, non-financial corporations, which from 2004–2008 held roughly $500 billion of cash on their balance sheets, increased their total cash holdings to $708 billion by the end of the third quarter of 2009. 

Although corporations remain conservatively managed, corporate profits are increasing with the moderate economic recovery (Chart 2). And, because hiring and capital spending are restrained, U.S. corporate free cash flow is improving significantly. As a result of cost cutting and aggressive expense control, non-financial corporations are now generating free cash flow equal to 29% of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), the highest level in a decade according to a December report from Goldman Sachs. In addition, corporate profits should continue to improve as credit conditions ease (Chart 3). A December global survey by McKinsey suggests that increased availability of credit is leading to a more bullish outlook and greater confidence in companies’ strategic planning and budgeting processes. If so, increased hiring and spending may be on the horizon, which could help improve the outlook for a sustainable economic recovery and a continued improvement in credit fundamentals.

The outlook for positive credit fundamentals is not without risks. The economy is highly dependant on monetary and fiscal stimulus, as both consumers and businesses are continuing to delever. Private sector final demand needs to strengthen before a sustainable recovery can establish itself. While near-term inflationary pressure appears under control, the Federal Reserve may have to tighten monetary policy should inflationary expectations rise. Aggressive Fed tightening would slow economic growth and be a negative for risk assets, including investment grade corporate bonds, high yield bonds and equities. Finally, the surge in cash on corporate balance sheets may be directed toward more shareholder-friendly initiatives such as increased dividends or share buybacks. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) will likely rise in 2010, and bondholders will need to be on the lookout for management teams who appear likely to make changes to benefit shareholders.

Corporate Bond Market Technicals Supportive
Both financial and non-financial debt growth is now declining on a year-over-year basis, while the federal government’s debt growth is rising by 30% year-over-year (Chart 4). Non-financial corporates need less capital because cash on their balance sheets is rising: According to JPMorgan, their cash levels increased by $113 billion in the third quarter of 2009, as cash flow significantly exceeded capital spending. As the corporate sector delevers while the federal government re-levers, bond market technicals should increasingly turn positive for corporate bonds and negative for Treasuries. This will probably be the single largest factor in credit spreads tightening this year for a lot of companies.



Who’s buying Treasuries? Despite rising issuance, almost half of the increase in Treasury supply of $1.89 trillion over the past 12 months, or $889 billion, was purchased by non-U.S. investors. Will foreign investment continue to support the Treasury market to the same degree in 2010 in the face of rising issuance? The answer remains unclear, particularly given the low level of Treasury yields and upcoming surge in government borrowing...

Bank Bonds Likely to Be Winners in 2010
Within the credit market, the banking sector stands out as a likely winner. Banks should see a gradual slowing in the growth of problem loans as well as improving balance sheet strength and profit growth. Banks are delevering their balance sheets, raising more loss-absorbing equity capital and facing increasing regulatory oversight. In addition, bank and financial companies should benefit from reduced issuance needs in the bond market, providing for supportive market technicals. All these factors should support bondholders and lead to strong relative performance....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ambulance rushes to Obama's home in Hawaii


KAILUA, Hawaii — President Barack Obama has abruptly ended a round of golf and sped toward his family's vacation home for what is being described as a "personal matter." An ambulance was seen speeding toward their compound.

White House aides said the speedy departure and return to the president's home was not a matter of national security or because of a threat to Obama's safety.

The Fed is now going to offer CDs to its banking buddies


Why lend? Invest with the Fed and we'll pay you interest! We'll be the bankers piggy bank!

WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve on Monday proposed allowing banks to set up the equivalent of certificates of deposit at the central bank, a move to help the Fed mop up money pumped into the economy to prevent inflation from taking off later.

Under the proposal, the Fed would offer "term deposits" that would pay interest. Doing so would provide banks with another incentive to park their money at the Fed, rather than having it flow back into the economy.

Priceline tips Vegas for New Year's!


Here is Priceline's Top New Year's Party Spots.

Priceline.com's Top 50 New Year's Destinations
  1. Las Vegas, Strip Vicinity South
  2. New York City, Chelsea Area
  3. New York City, Times Square/Theater District
  4. Miami, South Beach/Ocean Drive
  5. New Orleans, Downtown
  6. New York City, Empire State Building Area
  7. Atlanta, Downtown
  8. New Orleans, French Quarter
  9. Orlando, Sea World/International Drive/Convention Center
  10. Fort Lauderdale, Beach Area
  11. Las Vegas, Strip Vicinity North
  12. Orlando, Disney Maingate
  13. Key West
  14. Orlando, Lake Buena Vista/Downtown Disney
  15. Maui, Wailea/Makena
  16. Oahu, Waikiki Beach
  17. San Francisco, Union Square West/Nob Hill
  18. New York City, Madison Square Garden/Convention Area
  19. Fort Lauderdale, Downtown
  20. Puerto Rico, San Juan
  21. Chicago, Millennium Park/Loop/Grant Park Area
  22. Las Vegas, Near Las Vegas Strip East
  23. Chicago, North Michigan Ave./River North Area
  24. Oahu, Waikiki Marina Area
  25. San Antonio, Riverwalk Area
Well, you get the top 25 here.

Which means WYNN Resorts at 58.89 is your New Year's play.


Now!

Saints owner Tom Benson's premature ejaculation


 


Whoops--the field goal was no good!!!

It went from "We did it" to "we missed!"

The Saints miss from 37 yards and lose the game, while in other NFL action Jankowksi kicks it from 61 yards.

But the look on Benson's face, and his consoling wife is MasterCard "priceless!"

PIMCO's El-Erian comes back to his "sugar highs"----again


What else is new?

What do you do if you miss a 85% rally in the NAZ and a 65% rally in the S&P in nine months?

You blame it on sugar.  As in "sugar highs!"

At 980-1010 on the S&P, El-Erian waxed about sugar highs. At 1040 he siad it was a brick wall, and then, we didn't have the "escape velocity" to break through. Now that we are above 1120, he ggoes back to "sugar highs" because PIMCO had already pimped McCulley in November saying that the economy was on a "slow slug."  Now enough time has gone by for the attention-deficit sufferers on Wall Street, that they can trot out El-Erian with the same story that didn't work four months ago, and try it again.  Sort of like the Doug Kass approach of calling the market top! But this time, the interview gets a front page in the LA Times, because maybe the  folks in La-La land will still buy what he's pimping!


NEW YORK (AP) — Homes are selling at their fastest clip in nearly three years, the unemployment rate is falling and stocks are up 66 percent since their March lows — the best performance since the 1930s.

What's not to like?

Plenty, according to Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of giant bond manager Pimco. The investor says the recovery may be gaining steam but is no different than a kid who eats too much candy at one of the birthday parties his 6-year-old daughter attends.

"We're on a sugar high," El-Erian says. "It feels good for a while but is unsustainable."

His point: This burst of economic activity fed by government spending and near-zero interest rates will soon peter out.

As CEO at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Pimco, El-Erian, 51, oversees nearly $1 trillion in assets, more than the gross domestic product of most countries. So when he talks, people listen.
—Stocks will drop 10 percent in the space of three or four weeks, bringing the Standard & Poor's 500 index below 1,000 — though he's not predicting when.

—The unemployment rate will be hovering above 8 percent a year from now.

—U.S. gross domestic product will grow at an average 2 percent or so for years to come — a third slower than we're used to.

8% unemployment in a year? How is that a sugar high? 2% GDP? S&P below 1,000? What happened to the S&P below 600? Where's that forecast?

You want to know where  PIMCO's El-Erian ill fated advice and wisdom comes from when he blows his own horn?


He forgot about comrade Barry's stimulus plans!


Even after our Government allowed PIMCO to front run almost $200 billion of mortgage purchases on behalf of the taxpayer, to line PIMCO's pockets!

And now, our Government has given Fannie and Freddie more unlimited lines, to create another warehouse that never was.

Just look at the action on the NYSE today, and check out the most % ups.

What do you see?

Its full of Fannie and Freddie and their preferreds, basking in the glow of Government largess.

Which means its time for the stock jockeys to squeeze the shorts on AIG again!

They've just gotten another sugar pill!

American Axle


AXL was one of the best performing stocks since the market low.

It still has room to go. Look for another double. After all, how many companies are getting into axle and drivetrain business?

You got a WSJ tip on the auto suppliers:
Auto-parts suppliers are making a surprising turnaround, defying fears earlier in the year that many would collapse amid the car industry's downturn and the bankruptcy filings of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.


"The recession forced all parts suppliers to make their cost structures very lean and now they are potentially positioned for explosive earnings growth as vehicle production gets back to normal," said Morningstar Inc. auto analyst Dave Whiston...


American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. has renegotiated its credit payments, booked new business and says it can now turn a profit even if 2010 U.S. auto sales only reach 11 million cars and trucks, which would still be a depressed level by historical standards...

And here's some grist from Credit Suisse who has a $12 target on this number.

If it goes to 12, why won't it go to 17 and double from here?

American Axle & Manufacturing                                                                                                                                             

Christmas spending up 3.6%


And with the deflationistas saying we have a 5% deflation rate, wouldn't that make sales up 8.6%--according to "their math?"

Just another prediction made by the bears found wanting!

But speaking of predictions, Doug Kass is out with his, warning again that a geopolitical event will cause the market to go down.

I guess that what you say when you can't find an economic reason,and you're in the double dip camp.

Oh that's right--Dougie says stocks will drop 10% in the first half.

They can. Once we get to 1440 first!