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The Greatest Trade Ever: Profiting from The Crash

It was the fall of 2007, financial markets were collapsing, and Wall Street firms were losing massive amounts of money, as if they were trying to give back a decade’s worth of profits in a few brutal months. An investor named John Paulson somehow was scoring huge profits. His winnings were so enormous they seemed unreal, even cartoonish. His firm, Paulson & Co., would make $15 billion in 2007.

Mr. Paulson’s personal cut would amount to nearly $4 billion, or more than $10 million a day. That was more than the 2007 earnings of J. K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods put together. At one point in late 2007, a broker called to remind Mr. Paulson of a personal account worth $5 million, an account now so insignificant it had slipped his mind.

Mr. Paulson, known as J.P., bet that the housing market would collapse and risky mortgages would tumble in value. The moves put the fund manager from Queens, N.Y., alongside Warren Buffett, George Soros, and Bernard Baruch in Wall Street’s pantheon of traders. And as one rival fund manager later would say, with equal parts envy and respect, “Paulson’s not even a housing or mortgage guy…. Until this trade, he was run-of-the-mill, nothing special.”

Read the rest here.

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IBD: Conservatives Have Better Sex than Liberals

Just when President Obama and his shrinking band of backers got a whiff of hope from a job approval blip, comes the devastating news that conservatives not only give better sex but have better sex.

A new report from Match.com based on an outside survey of some 6,000 single Americans confirms what most conservatives had long believed privately but could never confirm because, being conservatives, they can’t really talk about sex or acknowledge its existence, despite all their children.

The finding: Republicans have the highest rate of orgasm of any group in the report. Especially conservative Republicans. No wonder those tea partiers always look so happy.

In fact, a majority of self-identified conservatives reported that during sex they reach orgasm just about every single time. That’s way higher than the Democrat’s national job approval.

Such a high conservative orgasm rate compares with only 40% reported success for liberal Democrats who, being liberal, talk openly forever about subjects like sex to affirm their liberality.

But we now know they’re over-compensating for inadequacy and self-report experiencing considerably less satisfaction in private.

Read the rest here.

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Thresholds in the Economic Effects of Oil Prices

As U.S. retail gasoline prices once again near $4.00 a gallon, does this pose a threat to the economy and President Obama’s prospects for re-election? My answer is no.

Read the rest and see some nice graphs, here.

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Astrology Guides some Financial Traders

New York is full of people who make big decisions about billions of dollars. To the person on the street, these decisions look rational, like something that’s part of a bigger plan.

But the course of true investing never did run smooth, and there are some traders who look to the stars to tell them what to do. Financial astrologers like Karen Starich say traders know they’re up against a lot of rich, smart people.

“They want to have that edge,” she says. “They want to know what the future is.”

Read the rest here.

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Report: Terrorist Behind Ambassador Murder ‘Ally of Sorts’ to Obama Admin

You say Osama, I say Obama, let’s call the whole thing off…

The Obama administration promptly labeled Qumu an “ally of sorts,” according to the New York Times – that despite the fact that as of 2005, he was known as a “medium to high risk … likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.” What made him an ally? According to the Times, that status change was due to the Obama administration’s “remarkable turnabout resulting from shifting American policies rather than any obvious change in Mr. Qumu.”

Read the rest here.


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FINALLY: A Liberal Atheist Nails the Free Speech Right to Offend

Thank God for liberal atheists of the caliber of Sam Harris.

The contagion of moral cowardice followed its usual course, wherein liberal journalists and pundits began to reconsider our most basic freedoms in light of the sadomasochistic fury known as “religious sensitivity” among Muslims. Contributors to The New York Times and NPR spoke of the need to find a balance between free speech and freedom of religion—as though the latter could possibly be infringed by a YouTube video. As predictable as Muslim bullying has become, the moral confusion of secular liberals appears to be part of the same clockwork.


What exactly was in the film? Who made it? What were their motives? Was Muhammad really depicted? Was that a Quran burning, or some other book? Questions of this kind are obscene. Here is where the line must be drawn and defended without apology: we are free to burn the Quran or any other book, and to criticize Muhammad or any other human being. Let no one forget it.


The freedom to think out loud on certain topics, without fear of being hounded into hiding or killed, has already been lost. And the only forces on earth that can recover it are strong, secular governments that will face down charges of blasphemy with scorn. No apologies necessary. Muslims must learn that if they make belligerent and fanatical claims upon the tolerance of free societies, they will meet the limits of that tolerance. And Governor Romney, though he is wrong about almost everything under the sun (including, very likely, the sun), is surely right to believe that it is time our government delivered this message without blinking.

Read the rest here.

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Regulatory Tsunami To Hit Business

Using official government sources, the National Federation of Independent Business calculates there are more than 4,000 federal rules in the pipeline, and that just the 13 biggest ones would, if imposed in an Obama second term, cost businesses a total of more than $515 billion over four years.

That tally doesn’t include more than 100 still-to-be-written regulations needed to enforce the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, or the mountain of regulations required by ObamaCare. The health law has already resulted in thousands of pages of rules, including 18 pages simply to define what a “full-time employee” is.

Among the most expensive new rules now waiting in the wings:

Smog rules.

Read the rest here.

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Regional Manufacturing Update: Empire State Looking a Bit Scary

Doug Short from Advisor Perspectives is out with a thought-provoking new article:

Until the past few months I’ve not routinely reported on monthly manufacturing data, regional or otherwise. However, now that I’m tracking the Big Four economic indicators, which includes Industrial Production, I’m watching these indexes more closely. This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions was not good.

Read the rest and see the charts, here.

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The Magnitude of the Mess We’re In

The next Treasury secretary will confront problems so daunting that even Alexander Hamilton would have trouble preserving the full faith and credit of the United States.

Sometimes a few facts tell important stories. The American economy now is full of facts that tell stories that you really don’t want, but need, to hear.

Where are we now?

Did you know that annual spending by the federal government now exceeds the 2007 level by about $1 trillion? With a slow economy, revenues are little changed. The result is an unprecedented string of federal budget deficits, $1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010, $1.3 trillion in 2011, and another $1.2 trillion on the way this year. The four-year increase in borrowing amounts to $55,000 per U.S. household.

The amount of debt is one thing. The burden of interest payments is another. The Treasury now has a preponderance of its debt issued in very short-term durations, to take advantage of low short-term interest rates. It must frequently refinance this debt which, when added to the current deficit, means Treasury must raise $4 trillion this year alone. So the debt burden will explode when interest rates go up.

It gets worse. Read the rest here.

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NYSE Hit with $5M Fine for Playing Favorites

The fine seems to me to be very little…

It’s no wonder so many on Main Street believe the stock market is rigged.

Adding to the crisis of confidence on Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange admitted yesterday that it gave select clients a major trading advantage over average investors.

The Big Board agreed to cough up $5 million and make a number of fixes to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it delivered precious trading data to paying clients ahead of everyone else.

While paltry in terms of dollars, the fine marks the first time a major exchange has been slapped with a monetary penalty by Wall Street’s biggest watchdog.

Read the rest here.

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Chicago Teachers Union to continue strike

The Chicago Teachers Union will continue its week-old strike in the nation’s third-largest city, extending an acrimonious standoff with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over teacher evaluations and job security provisions.

Emanuel said he would seek a court order to end the strike, which he said is illegal under state law.

Read the rest here.

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The Market’s P/E Ratio Is Lower Now Than It Was Most of the Time from 1991 to 2010

Via Crossing Wall Street

What’s interesting is that despite the higher valuation’s, the S&P 500’s Price/Earnings Ratio is still lower now that it was at any point from March 1995 to October 2008. And except for some brief periods, the market’s P/E Ratio is currently lower than it was during the vast majority of the time from 1991 to 2010.

Read the rest here.

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Libyan President el-Megarif Reportedly Eyes Al Qaeda in ‘Preplanned’ Attack on US Consulate

Al Qaeda is obviously upset that they have not yet been treated to a beer summit with our Dear Leader.

Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif said he believes Al Qaeda is responsible for the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans and said roughly 50 people have arrested in connection with the violence, according to two broadcast interviews Sunday.

Megarif, president of the Libyan National Congress, also reportedly differed with the Obama administration’s position that the attacks Tuesday were sparked by an anti-Islamic video on the Internet.

In an interview with NPR, Megarif said foreigners have been infiltrating his country over the past few months, which has been undergoing major changes since the uprising against the late dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi.

Megarif says the attackers, who he believes are connected to Al Qaeda, used the protests at the consulate as a cover to attack the U.S. Consulate on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate,” Megarif told NPR.

Read the rest here.

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Occupy Wall Street Plans to Surround NYSE to Mark Anniversary

(Reuters) – Occupy Wall Street marks its first anniversary on Monday, and, in a bid to rejuvenate a movement that has failed to sustain momentum after sparking a national conversation about economic inequality last fall, activists plan once again to descend on New York’s financial district.

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Almost 40% of Chicago’s Public School Teachers Send their Kids Elsewhere to Learn

The national average for children attending private school is 12%.

As the Chicago teachers’ strike continues, we’ve learned that they make $71-76,000 a year and they turned down a 16% pay increase, which amounts to $11,360.  They work nine months out of the year, but say that this strike is benefits oriented.  However, given that ABC World News didn’t even air this story last Sunday and most of the media, with the exception of CBS, failing to mention the compensation statistics in their broadcast – suffice to say that the  media will probably ignore the fact that almost 40% of Chicago’s public school teachers send their kids to private schools.

Read the rest here.

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