May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Financial Humor Bulletin, March 2009

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

[Mar 30, 2009] M of A - Looting Is Simon Johnson Right

Call it  "Change", "Hope for Change", or "Hope I Changed My Drawers", but in reality this is the Great Liquidation...

[Mar 30, 2009] G.M. Stands For . . .

The Big Picture

OK, time to crowdsource some comedy from your creative minds.

So far, we know that GM stands for:

Government Motors

Gimme Money

Anything else? Use comments for suggestions . . .

Selected comments

The Cult of Finance

naked capitalism On Cuomo's Forays Against Financial Chicanery at the Big End of Town

Good Dilbert cartoon today that is very apropos.


And that raises another issue. One or two day hearings are grossly inadequate venues to get to the bottom of anything. The US needs a full bore major investigation, ideally on the scale of the Pecora Commission. Those took nearly a full two years of hearings, including testimony of pretty much everyone who counted in the world of high finance. These half way measures instead create the illusion that Something Has Been Done at the expense of making real inroads.

Delicious said...
It reminds me of the Roman Senate, which still kept the form of government going for centuries after true power had gone elsewhere.

[Mar 28, 2009] naked capitalism Alan Greenspan's Disingenuous Financial Times Comment

[Mar 28, 2009] Letters Comparing the U.S. to Russia and Argentina - Salon

Made My financial crisis playing cards are here!

The Mess That Greenspan

My set of "Financial Crisis Playing Cards - Most Wanted" came in the mail today. When you do what I do, people send you stuff like this for free which, actually, is kind of neat.
To get your own you'll have to go to this website.

Below are a couple of the face cards from the real estate industry.
IMAGE These would go very nicely on dart boards, so, if you place an order (only $6 each), you might want to get an extra deck.


[Mar 17, 2009] The Real Scandal of AIG

Mar 14, 2009 | Robert Reich's Blog

...any mention of the word "talent" in the same sentence as "AIG" or "credit default swaps" would be laughable if laughing weren't already so expensive.

[Mar 17, 2009] Bernanke on drugs?

Possibly medicated, possibly clueless Ben: "Bernanke reports from the Titanic: smooth sailing ahead!!"
Kevin Smith said...
Yves said: "But I must say, Bernanke is either an astoundingly self contained man or is on the best meds modern science has to offer."

Bernanke's blink rate seems to be about half that of his interviewer, suggesting to me that he is taking a highly lipid soluble beta blocker like propranolol or oxyprenolol. These are commonly prescribed to control hypertension (and commonly taken by public speakers and muscians to block the effects of adrenaline). Propranolol et al are banned in the Olympics because they make shooters TOO calm and tremor-free.

RN said...

The most frightening part of it was when he said his biggest fear was the political system stonewalling getting anything done. Because I think with psychopaths like McConnell, Boehner, and McCain wielding any kind of power in the process, that's exactly what'll happen.

[Mar 16, 2009] Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line - by Donald Luskin

Its been exactly 6 months since the single dumbest newspaper column ever published appeared in The Washington Post. It was written in September 14, 2008. Now even more funny then it was in September.

[Mar 15, 2009] When CEOs Speak Like This ...

Moon of Alabama

"There is absolutely no truth to the rumors of liquidity problems."
"Bear Stearns's balance sheet, liquidity and capital remain strong."
Alan Schwartz, CEO, Bear Stearns, March 10, 2008

March 16, 2008: Bear Stearn Forced To Sell For $2 Per Share,

[Mar 15, 2009] Robert Gibbs Cracks Jokes, Wen Jiabao Remains Stoic

Zero Hedge

Otherwise humorless White House press secretary Bob Gibbs had his first attempt at cracking jokes when he told Chinese premier Wen Jiabao that the latter doesn't have to worry about anything and that "there's no safer investment in the world than in the United States." [but to please not compare U.S. CDS levels to those of other G7 countries]. This came in response to Wen's earlier admonition that he wants assurances he isn't just funding the U.S. obesity epidemic, purchases of 5th vacation homes and bathroom ceiling-installed plasma TVs, by buying T-Bill after T-Bill

Brawl Street Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer - BusinessWeek

Michael Randallbard

March 13, 2009 02:37 AM


[Mar 14, 2009] Anti-Climax Cramer vs. Stewart

I like Stewart quote “How weird is our world that Jim Cramer is on TV baking pie and Martha Stewart  is the one who went to jail for securities fraud?” My God, Steward just proved that CNBC talking heads and Cramer as one of those clowns are so corrupt that it's not even funny... Like OkieLawyer aptly put it: " CNBC has become the Fox News of the financial networks." As for Cramer he will probably survive. Still  the man acted like a high school student in the principal’s office caught red-handed cheating on a test. The level of corruption, the gaming of the system, and the failure of our institutions—including the press— is so infuriating that the whole interview is not even funny. 

The Big Picture

  1. schoolsout Says:

    March 13th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I’d say Cramer got his ass handed to him

    Stewart should have been even harsher. If Cramer claims to not know what is going on then he deserves no show. For Christ’s sake, I’m 26, work a full-time sales job, and saw what was going on…

  2. Stuart Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 9:24 am

    BR, you points are well taken. Lots of missed opportunities but enough was articulated IMO to get the message across about CNBC and other financial journalism carrying on more as infomercial storefronts for the offending vested interests. Cramer was in a tough spot, much deserved, some not. Was impressed by how much Stewart “gets it”. Look at the mileage this has received through the media, mainstream and internet. I am watching with interest to see if CNBC makes any changes to their broadcasting ethics as a result of what is undeniably bad press, widely circulated bad press.

  3. OkieLawyer Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I think John Stewart did a fine job given the amount of time that he had. He dedicated pretty much the entire show for the interview. And I also felt that Jim Cramer had a tough time defending some of his statements made on the internet interview (that many of us here knew about from back when he made them).

    I, for one, appreciate John Stewart’s bringing these facts to light. He is rightfully expressing the outrage that many of us feel at the shenanigans of Wall Street. I particularly liked it when he pressed Cramer on “Who do you work for? The corporations and the (insider) traders or your viewers?”

    And I think you have hit on something, Barry: CNBC has become the Fox News of the financial networks. It seems to be letting ideology color its coverage. So-called “permabulls” aren’t so bullish now that Obama is president. (Perhaps that is a contrary indicator?) I for one am going to press for my news outlets/cable/satellite/trading platform to start carrying Bloomberg — or some other ostensibly more balanced financial news network — so that I can have access to better information.

  4. wnsrfr Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    schoolsout, you are in a better position to not miss certain things by being in a full-time sales job. I do remember Barry writing that he will NOT talk with CEO’s, because they always either lie or slant the truth heavily. We are all subject to influence from those around us that we talk to face-to-face.

    Witness the buildings full of pretty smart investment professionals at places like Sanford-Bernstein that rode the banks practically to zero while never seeing the 800 lb bad paper gorillas hiding in their assets.

    When you talk to con-men you get conned, and Cramer is talking to everyone all the time including the biggest cons (CEO’s)…

  5. Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    It seems clear to me that Cramer is now the fall guy for the multiple failures of financial journalism in this country. His sagging, submissive body language told me that he knows it.

    I also think Stewart knows it. He was clearly angry, but equally clearly taking no satisfaction in it.

    Prediction: Cramer will face indictment for securities fraud, based on some of the clips that Stewart played last night, and that will be CNBC’s excuse to drop him. Or maybe they’ll just drop him as an embarrassment.

    Then business as usual.

    At least someone on national television finally said, Where are the indictments?

  6. Andy Tabbo Says:

    March 13th, 2009

    It was sort of “beat down” of CNBC. I think the network will have to go into some “soul searching,” if they have one. Because the crux of Stewarts problems is: “You tout yourselves as experts and the channel to watch to know what’s going on, but you guys don’t know shit and you’re part of the problem.” Which, for the most part, is EXACTLY the problem of CNBC. So, good luck with all that NBC….

  7. super_trooper Says:

    March 13th, 2009 I thought Stewart would be lame and just joke about the controversy, instead he stayed focused and delivered a consistent message during the entire show. A message he’s had to all networks (build up to the war in Iraq), for journalists to be investigating, take responsibility and be accountable for their reporting. Stewart could have spend hours pointing out ethical issues at CNBC and especially the snake oils salesmen they consistently put on the show. With all the information we have today, why not call them out for the BS they sell. I do appreciate that Cramer did respond to the issues (the deck was stacked against him). I could easily see numerous TV personalities turn this into a screaming match and be completely in denial.

  8. rln2433 Says:

    March 13th, 2009

    I don’t care much for Stewert given his reliance on snark and uninformed outrage on issues but Cramer is just awful and why any respected business network would give him (and Crudblow) a platform is beyond me. CNBC wanted to be the ESPN of financial markets which is half about sports and the rest of it rather trite analysis. They jam far too much into short segments and allow far too many morons on their to promote stock buying. Lastly, the Repubs are the opposition party so if the Democrats are the one driving policy then the Republicans should be the ones offering counters. OTOH, neither party has been good on spending. The dems campaigned for fiscal restraint, PAYGO and restraint then completely threw that aside when they regained power. Anyone who believed that they would do anything but spend is a moron. Let’s hope the Repubs learn their lesson and return sufficiently chastened to enact real change instead of the lies and cheap sloganeering thrown about in 2007/2008.

  9. b_thunder Says:

    March 13th, 2009

    The interview wasn’t better because Cramer was clearly taken out of his comfort zone from the very beginning when Stewart started the interview with Cramer’s “self-incriminating” web videos - after that JC wasn’t himself. Especially as Cramer tried to defend himself bypointing out that he was only describing how others “do it on Wall St,” Stewart smacked him with two more clips where Cramer clearly talked from the first person perspective. Cramer clearly wasn’t ready to defend against that. Even though Cramer preaches “buy-and-homework”, he didn’t even mention it against Stewart’s “buy-and-hold” tirade. Seriously, when someone runs on TV (even if it’s basic cable) a video that most people will think is clearly self-incriminating of him, how many of us would remain 100% calm and have a clear mind for a serious verbal combat with JS?

  10. Marcus Aurelius Says:

    March 13th, 2009

    There was little or no humor during the interview - the audience seldom laughed, and what laughter there was, was nervous. Jon Stewart, in spite of being the host of a “comedy” show, is highly credible as an investigative journalist. This fact alone speaks volumes on the state of journalism in America. BR: While there were some weaknesses in the interview, I don’t see any of this type of direct confrontation of guests (supported by evidence) taking place on the other Pundit-fests or “news” shows currently on the air.

  11. franklin411 Says:

    March 13th, 2009

    I think Cramer had a great point, though: 50.7% of this nation voted in favor of Bushonomics in 2004. They loved it when the market was going up up up, when their home values were going through the roof. They ignored John Kerry when he said we can’t have an upside down economy where workers get poorer and the rich get richer. They did more than ignore him–they laughed at him. And now that we’re seeing the natural result of that ideology (that which produces booms also produces busts), people are looking for scapegoats. Sure, there are people who are directly, criminally responsible for what has happened. But 50.7% of this country is an accessory to the crimes of Wall Street and its traitors. I fear that we haven’t suffered enough to really repudiate the ideologies that got us in this mess. It happened during the Great Depression, but when I see large segments of American society claiming this mess was all caused by a few Wall Street traitors working with “colored” homebuyers who don’t deserve to be in the middle class, I fear for my country.

  12. JohnnyVee Says:

    March 13th, 2009

    Stewart’s outrage is that he expects journalist to ask questions and independently confirm responses. He believes that a journalist has an independent obligation to people–they are the watchdogs of the truth. I saw him do an interview with a few pundints from hard ball or I’ll kick your ass, or whatever show, during the Bush and Gore campaigns. The problem is that real journalism is dead and even if it were not, CNBC is not about presenting the news. Its about ratings. The problem is that most people believe what they see and hear on TV.

  13. aitrader Says: March 13th, 2009

    Shame on you Barry! The video clips trotted out by Stewart show Cramer in unethical and probably criminal acts of stock manipulation. You, Barry, probably know what we all suspect. This is just the tip of the iceberg slamming into the CNBC Titantic. Just because CNBC butters parts of your proverbial bread is not reason enough to kow-tow to a stock manipulator or a network of folks in bed, both literally and figurateively, with a financial industry so rotted with incometence, malfeasance, and manipulation that we are all now suffering collectively through what will likely be viewed in retrospect as a second Great Depression. You’re better than than Barry. Show some cojones and call it for what it is. Even if they are friends of yours.

  14. HCF Says: March 13th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    the network is paid by advertising fees by the same people who have proven to be dishonest…

    @Bruce: I absolutely agree with you about the advertisers. I’d actually feel better if the ads were mostly for beer, tampons, and ED tablets, instead of mutual fund and brokerage houses.

    I guess it’s not a surprise that most TV people are whores, but CNBC is the worst offender.

    I see CNBC purely as entertainment. Any “advice” is certainly tainted. I wish the hosts called out guests on their bad calls more often.

    That’s one good segment that sometimes shows on ‘Fast Money.’ We need guests saying more often “My call to BUY BUY BUY at Dow 14,000 was f***ked. I am such a conflicted a-hole.” One can only dream… HCF

[Mar 12, 2009] U.S. Household Net Worth Falls 18% The Big Picture

Interviewing this pathetic "stock clown" Jim Cramer would be a nice next step ;-). "Money honey" should probably be next...
  1. Trainwreck :

    I pray Jon Stewart does not let up on CNBC until they are driven into the ground. Perhaps when that happens Rick Santelli can offer jobs to what is left of the Staff of CNBC as he goes on the road to promote his winners over the losers idea.

[Mar 10, 2009] Bear Market Rally The Big Picture


No matter what Pisani says, this is the Jon Stewart Rally.

Stewart cold-cocked the entire CNBC circus — which extends to the trading floor by way of Steve Grasso and other professional bedwetters — and they’re still reeling.

I loved seeing Cramer soiling himself yet again this morning, with his nursemaid Erin alongside. He’s left pathetic far behind and now creates a new level of sniveling weasel.

It’s lately occurred to me that the CNBC logo should be replaced with a picture of C. Montgomery Burns.

[Mar 9, 2009] In Cramer We Trust CNBC Gives Financial Advice

CNBC Gives Financial Advice The Daily Show With Jon Stewart CNBC's Rick Santelli is angry that those loser homeowners are going to get bailed out.

In Cramer We Trust Jim Cramer didn't recommend buying Bear Stearns stock a week before it collapsed -- he did it five days earlier.

[Mar 8, 2009] The New F***ing Citibank By Barry Ritholtz

March 7th, 2009

This is hysterical (NSFW): The New Nationalized Citibank from Funny or Die
After Citibank becomes nationalized, expect to see commercials like this.


[Mar 7, 2009] Dow 6,500 ? By Barry Ritholtz

Inflation Adjusted Dow is at 1966 Levels ;-). For additional fun see latest completely and utterly meaningless prediction of Jeremy "Stocks for a long run" Siegel . Siegel is no Shiller, the charming Wharton professor is as close to incompetent jerks from CNBS as one can get. Should this incompetent jerk be tarred and feathered now ? May be not, but it looks like he have killed what's left of his reputation after 2001. To laugh at Siegel's bone headed calls see 
March 6, 2009 | The Big Picture

How low, can she go?

I never expected the infamous Dow 6,800 to become an UPSIDE price target . . . its now 5% above us.

[Mar 7, 2009] Bank Rescue Programs- Setting the Stage for More Looting-

"...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The road to economic hell is paved with good intentions and bad banks.

[Mar 6, 2009] Was the ‘00-03 Crash Bush’s Fault ‘09 Obama’s The Big Picture

"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. " George Bernard Shaw

As a registered Republican, I revoke your GOP book-burning discount card, Republican Ritholtz. May you never enter the eternal kingdom of our party’s official God, Jesus Christ.

All kidding aside, if you did not see it last night, Jon Stewart took on CNBC and the entire U.S. financial system last night,

[Mar 6, 2009] City shares price hit $.99 ;-)

Secret conversation between Volker and Geithner.

Hat tip to The Mess That Greenspan Made
BIG PAULIE: Good evening Tim. How you doing Kiddo? You still in the office?

TIMMY: Hi Paul. Thanks for calling. I guess I am okay. It was another bad day for me.

BIG PAULIE: Those Senators tough on you? I could not tell. CNBC had you on in a small box in the corner with no sound.

TIMMY: Yes it was tough. Not as bad as the House though. They all want to blame someone and I am always in the way. I am at my desk now, looking at the email and phone messages. 90% are negative. The press, half of Washington, foreign finance officials, industry leaders. Irate voters from every State. They all hate me. They blame me because I am the one in the hot seat.

BIG PAULIE: That bad huh?

TIMMY: You should see the Blogs. It breaks my heart. Half of them refer to me as a tax cheat.

BIG PAULIE: You are a tax cheat.

TIMMY: That was a computational problem. 80% of all Americans have had this problem at one time or another. I did get one nice note from Jeff Immelt. He wrote of kum by ya. What does that mean?

[Mar 5, 2009] Was the ‘00-03 Crash Bush’s Fault- ‘09 Obama’s-

The Big Picture
This collection of seers, pundits and talking heads have a track record that would make the 1927-1933 group of Pompous Prognosticators blush with pride. Their sterling track record includes:

And many more.

That this pool of idiots missed all of the above merely suggests that are grossly incompetent as market and/or economic observers.

[Mar 3, 2009] VIX Premium Forecasts Two More Years for Bear Market, Aligning With Financial Crisis Pattern

Mar 2, 2009 | naked capitalism

“The market is subdued now because we have enough morphine in our system that we won’t see the spikes we did in October and November,” Britton said. “The uncertainty comes when the medication runs out.”

Anonymous said...
Where do the more reliable chartists now have the bottom? The recent 9000 + achievement at the time of the first stirings of the legend of Abraham Delano Obama was clearly a sucker punch with another major down wave, currently in progress, to go. A former trader, I'd venture a 6000 Dow based on instinct alone.

[Mar 2, 2009] Black Hole Alert AIG to Get as Much as $30 Billion More

naked capitalism
Anonymous said...
Another 24 months of $25B each to go. Black hole do increase their mass, and emits lights near the event horizon :-(.  We're heading for a big bang of $. Long live the United States of Socialist republics.
Anonymous said...
I remember when 80B was a lot... That was less than six months ago.
Anonymous said...
Looks like Obama's "Spread the wealth around" agenda has morphed into "Spread the losses around."
The guy's really into spreading....

[Mar 1, 2009] Layoffs (short comedy)

Not too much zeal is a very good recommendation for modern workforce ;-)
2/28/2009 | CalculatedRisk
For your Saturday evening ...

Posted by CalculatedRisk on 2/28/2009 08:29:00 PM Comments (169)


Lucifer says:

Dilbert cartoon (old)
PHB - where did employee loyalty go?

Dlibert - It flew out of the window after job security.

[Mar 1, 2009] US to Convert Preferred Shares in Citi to Common at 32% Premium to Market Price

"Funny how a deal that is giving Citi a premium on its common shares that one typically sees in an M&A transaction (i.e., the target is sought after) in the course of a salvage operation is being ." And I think that "at a premium of 300% to quoted price" doesn't quite have that same ring to it, does it? So they set the premium to 32% in best Pravda traditions ;-)
naked capitalism
alex black said...
So, Citigroup still has its "stress tests" to endure. Can we use some of the stress tests we used at Abu Ghraib?
Anonymous said...
Sy Krass said...

Alex Black, I don't think putting female underwear over Vikram Pandit's head will give us any more clarity on the viability of Citigroup. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous said...
February 28, 2009

Case Study Econ. 407, Final Grade:

Company X has a market cap of $8.18 billion as of DJIA market close 02-28-09.

Entity Y purchases 36% of company X for $25 billion on same day.

Solve: Why would entity Y pay a premium of $22.05 billion premium over market price for company X common stock?

32% premium my ass.

[Mar 1, 2009] Reader Sanity Check on What to Do Next With Banks

naked capitalism
Anonymous said...
Hanging some bankers is a START.
Throw in some politicians and you'll be talking.
Anonymous said...
I'm a California liberal, old-style, so naturally my comments don't count. That said,
1. Hang them all.
2. Regulate everything.
3. Do not underestimate the stupidity of the younger generation - the evil spawn of Reagan.




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