Lots of Good Stuff to Read

“And the encounters, while distressing, appeared to take a surprisingly severe toll: the 51 drivers who went on paid leave after a spitting incident took, on average, 64 days off work — the equivalent of three months with pay. One driver, who was not identified by the authority, spent 191 days on paid leave.

Transit officials, facing a budget shortfall of $400 million, called the numbers troubling.”
Barry Ritholtz linked to another brilliant effort from The Onion: “New Law Requires CEOs to Humbly Shrug Before Receiving Huge Bonuses.”
“The crackdown comes on the heels of Wall Street’s 2010 bonus season, during which not one executive was observed to look at the floor meekly, sink his hands into his pockets, or dig his right toe awkwardly into the ground before taking his cut of the estimated $55 billion in payouts.
The SEC rule stipulates that CEOs set to receive bonuses between $1 and $5 million will be required to raise their eyebrows in feigned surprise. Those who make between $5 and $10 million will have to smile uncomfortably and say, “Yikes, that’s a whole lot of simoleons,” while executives receiving more than seven figures must now audibly stammer, “It’s, you know, I mean, ha! What are you gonna do, you know?” before having the funds wired directly to an offshore bank account.”
The graphic table in the article is pure genius too:
Bond Girl writes a very interesting meme about the ratings agencies, and the relative absurdity of people trying to sue them.  Now, I think the ratings agencies were probably more guilty of gross negligence than any other single cog in the wheel of the asset bubble, and probably resulted in more damage, but BondGirl’s points are spot on (and I don’t think she’s defending ratings agencies, by the way):
“Segal notes in his article that a couple of judges have dismissed the rating agencies’ arguments that their analysis is protected by the First Amendment.  OK, if the rating agencies’ grades are not opinions, what are they?  Investors like Mr. Grassi – even more sophisticated investors – seem to treat ratings like they are offering investment advice.  But surely a court would not choose to endorse that kind of silly expectation.  Mr. Grassi did not pay S&P for the ratings.  S&P did not recommend that Grassi buy the bonds (presumably, his broker did that).  S&P did not make an effort to get to know Grassi’s investment objectives, his financial position, his risk tolerance, or anything that would traditionally be associated with the process of providing advice.  So how can Mr. Grassi claim that S&P is responsible for his losses?  How can anyone present this guy as a hero?”
Paul Kedrosky presents a NY Times graphic: “Heavy Load Ahead.”
MISH:  “Insanity Down Under.”  MISH highlights the insanity of an article which explains:
“ING Direct, Australia’s fifth largest lender, is preparing to sell loans that have no fixed term and no requirement to repay any capital along the way.
At current rates, the interest-only loans would cut repayments on a $300,000 mortgage by $5000 a year.
“People are needlessly being denied the chance to buy a property while prices spiral rapidly out of their reach” ING Direct CEO Don Koch said. “There is an urgent need to provide more affordable options and borrowers should be able to choose whether they want to repay the capital, or not.””
I don’t know – maybe it’s from the Australian version of The Onion.
VegasRex’s latest piece, “The High Cost of Self Esteem,” has so many quotable passages, I had trouble picking one out…
“Regardless of what you look like, I have nailed way hotter women than you.  I promise.  Yes, even if you are the prettiest woman in your Jazzercise class back home.  Regardless of how cute you are, or have been told you are, there is nothing you have that I haven’t seen before, and the chances of me being smitten by your beauty are damn-near non-existent.”
Rex’s piece reminds me of the one I penned earlier this year, titled “March of the Penguins.”

File under “They actually said this:”  Bank Of America: “We believe the best way to feel better during a correction is to buy some shares.”

Marty up!

Don’t get sore – buy some more!

-KD

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