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The tiny *expletive* man

August 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Of course, this is round #N in their training manual of media-aided kabuki. Confuse the main issues (defend the horribly un-thought-through recovery plan and focus on the long-term regulatory requirements), reframe the debate (concerns about not having strong regulations expressed by the people who implement them are now suddenly due to ‘turf wars between regulatory authorities’) and make the whole thing public before the other party does.

Bravo, Geithner. Looks like you learnt from the best in the business: your boss!

Me, I’m just grateful we have people like Elizabeth Warren and Sheila Bair still willing to work around this half-brained nutjob.

Categories: economics, politics, stupidity

The Best Picture Ever

April 24, 2009 Leave a comment

*permitting myself to be totally frivolous for a while*

So you may have heard of the Great Speechifier President Obama. When he speaks, flowers bloom on desert lands all by themselves. When he speaks, people of all races start magically living in harmony, all wearing Abercrombie & Fitch (but of course). And he spreads iHopeTM and iChangeTM, all just by his awesome TelePrompter skillz (hey, the thing even has a blog of its own).

And if you do know of all this, you also must know of the President’s right hand man on all things Economic, LarryHe-Man-Who-Knows-Math-Better-Than-All-The-Wimminz-Of-The-World-Summers. Lawrence Summers is important to the President and to all of us around the world, because he and only he can rescue us from this economic crisis (since he helped create it, maybe?)

So today, when the great speechmaker was speechmaking, this happened:


and then this:


The best parts are this:

Mr. Summers “appeared to be nodding off near the beginning’’ of Mr. Obama’s remarks, the report said. It went on “And then he DID nod off, doing the head on the hand and then head falling off the hand thing.’’

and this [emphasis mine]:

All the other officials in the room, including Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner; senior adviser Valerie Jarrett; chief of staff Rahm Emanuel; Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Gene Sperling, counselor to Mr. Geithner, seemed to be fully awake.

(LOL. don’t you love how they need to specify that the others were actually awake during Obama’s speech?)

*end of permission*

And in other god-awesome news, via Shakesville: Mystery donor to woman-run colleges strikes again (here and here).

As the USAToday article says:

“Coincidence? Unlikely. With about 23% of U.S. college presidents women, the odds of a dozen randomly selected institutions all having female leaders are 1 in 50 million.”

Bad NBC. Down, boy, down.

April 20, 2009 Leave a comment

NBC suffering?

NEW YORK: NBC Universal saw its profits fall by 45% to $391 million (€301m; £267m) in the first quarter, with chief executive Jeff Zucker writing in a memo to staff that “a weaker advertising market and slower consumer demand,” along with one-off costs, all contributed to the decline.

Profits down 45% this year? Yay!

He also stated that without “one-off” costs, its profits would have fallen by just 15% during the first quarter as a whole.

These costs included a $45m fee to broadcast the Super Bowl, as well as a writedown in the value of its local TV unit ION Media, and increased film development costs.

C’mon, that doesn’t even make any sense. If the Super Bowl had costs, there had to be profits too. You’re not telecasting the Super Bowl out of the goodness of your hearts, are you? Just admit you did a really bad job and kept trying to upcharge advertisers who were, not making too much money. There’s just so much you could’ve got out of them, even if the upfronts sold mid-year last year there was already strong talk of a worsening economy.

And oh, wait, it gets worse:

[Jeff Zucker] praised the “incredible strength” of the company’s cable TV operations, which now account for 60% of NBC’s operating profit, and are continuing to perform at “record-setting levels.”

Srsly??!!!!

People, stop watching stupid TV content. Vote with your remotes, or you will perish! And take the rest of us down !!!!111!!!1!!!!!

When will America really change?

Sigh.

Importing not just fruits of business, but also business models

April 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Papers in Michigan cut home delivery to only thrice a week starting this week, in order to save costs. But why are European newspapers doing better?

But there are signs of journalistic life in Europe. Circulation is falling more slowly than in the United States. Most papers have been less affected by the recession than their American counterparts because they rely on readers more than on advertisers, who tend to be more fickle.

Would explain not just financial health but also journalism quality in the US, wouldn’t it?

Sadly, Indian papers seem to be doing things the Yankee way. Duh.

$ no more reserve currency?

March 24, 2009 Leave a comment

This is HUGE:

China will propose the new world ‘currency’ with reserve status, in fact a basket of major currencies as defined by the IMF Special Drawing Rights, at the G20 meeting on April 2.

This will have some serious implications for everybody. And it basically means that as US citizens are now seeing their credit card statements come due, so is their government. Good that it’s going to happen, bad for the people it’ll hurt.

See my earlier post here – this may just be the beginnings of a brave, new, equal world.

Change is here. Truly.

[edited for grammar, punctuation]

Categories: corruption, economics

Coincidence?

March 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Citigroup spark ignites rally that flames a modest hope

What perfect timing.

Maybe the whole current economic crisis is/was manufactured.

Follow the money

March 11, 2009 Leave a comment

An old post, drafted in November/December 2008:

Who stands to gain if the US economy crumbles because of terrorism? Who stands to gain if India is destabilized? Yes, we know it is jihadists, “Islamic terrorists” who actually carry out the attacks. But take a look at the numbers.

The average annual per capita income of an person in Pakistan is ~$1000 (source and source), and for PoK it would be considerably lower since there’s far less industry or agriculture and far less legitimate income. An average AK-47 costs ~$1000 (source); an average magazine for the AK-47 costs ~$30. Both would cost less on the black market/weapons market, and esp so in the sub-continent. The average cost of a rocket launcher on the weapons market is around $500 per launcher and $300 per rocket (source, unverified).

Clearly, the pathetic blokes who actually use these weapons don’t have the money. Kasab, for instance, was promised 1300 GBP (source), which is ~$1800, or about 2 AK-47s (fools that they were, the ten of them could’ve taken all their stockpiled weapons and the boat and just sold the things and vanished with a lot of money and their lives. They could’ve still been watching Hindi movies somewhere in the sub-continent. Bah! for non-economic thinking).

So if the weapons are bought and the ‘terrorists’ are mercenaries, who’s behind them all? Not just the people with the money and the means, but also others who have the motive. We need to look at who is funding them and why – and this isn’t just the Pakistani government, and not just Dawood and other rich Sheiks in Saudi. Who stands to gain if India loses its economic potential? Which country stands to gain if the USA loses its financial muscle? Which entity is it that is the only viable, credible, plausible threat to both and is threatened by both? And which nation would think in such zero-sum-game terms, anyway?

Oh, btw, this and this too.